Electrical products of the future

Creating electrical products of the future


Gemcell suppliers invest huge resources into creating products for the future. We caught up with two of them to get a glimpse into the work that goes on behind the scenes.


In this Article:
It’s critical to understand future trends to stay ahead of the game
Building new tech starts with understanding the needs of workers
New electrical products also come from building on existing technology
Fully connected devices, EV chargers and green energy are some of the spaces where we’re likely to see more innovation
The pandemic has seen great innovation in recent years around analysing pathogen risk





General Manager – Commercial, Legrand

As a company, how do you keep across trends and innovation and how important is it to do so?

Legrand’s purpose is to improve lives by transforming spaces where people live, work and meet, with electrical and digital infrastructures and connected solutions that are simple, innovative and sustainable. To achieve this, it’s critical we not only understand today’s trends but, more importantly, what the trends will be in the future.

Across the globe, we have team members involved in industry regulation groups, technology forums and think tanks, and we collaborate with numerous leading global tech organisations, ensuring we are across the direction of the market. With our commitment to reinvesting five per cent of revenue back into research and development (R&D), this allows us to lead the market in future technologies.


What does your R&D department look like?

Our Australian R&D and Compliance team consists of 30 staff who collaboratively work with Legrand R&D teams across the globe, utilising the strengths of each team’s expertise. Locally, we support all technical aspects for products sold by Legrand in Australia and New Zealand. An example of this is that we’re proudly still designing and manufacturing two of our main product segments – wiring devices and emergency lighting – in Sydney.


How do you interpret information to create new products?

We start by focusing on how new trends will affect our everyday lives, and what will be needed to support these changes. It’s about technically understanding how we can build products to support these needs, and how to simplify them for both the installers and users – while ensuring they are also aesthetically appealing.

What products are on the horizon for the coming years?

Connected devices will eventually be fully integrated into our lives. Legrand is heavily invested in supporting and driving this shift through our Eliot (Electricity Internet of Things) program that has seen incredible growth in recent years. Other areas we have a strong focus on are EV chargers and data centres with green energy and storage being critical growth segments.

What’s your prediction for the one product that’s not mainstream now that will be a staple in 2032? We’ll need to keep this one a secret for now but, looking outside of our direct area of expertise, self-drive transport solutions is an area that will move from a concept today to reality over the next decade.

In the short term, we’ll continue to see growth in connected, smart home solutions as these are becoming necessary in everyday life. While convenience is a must, the cost of everyday living is also on the rise, forcing homeowners to be more conscious of their expenses with a focus on energy management.






Executive Director, Steinel Australia

What does your R&D department look like?

We have four key groups. The core research and development team is in Germany, while the OEM research and development team is Swiss-based. Our optical sensor R&D teams are Czech-based. The Australian development team is more application-based, using core technologies to develop solutions (e.g. configuration of the world’s first IK10 anti-ligature sensor, 240V, Potential-free, DALI broadcast and DALI2 and KNX protocol options).

How do you interpret information to create new products?

We do it in two opposite ways. Firstly, new technology is applied to existing products. For example, the ability to discern the size of a moving object based on the Doppler footprint, to filter out false triggering of sensors by pets and animals (pretty much like radar filters out birds when scanning the sky for aeroplanes). The second way is to listen to customer requirements – really listen.

Knowing the Lego block technologies we have and how to best apply them is imperative. For example, the Australian team has been working with an iconic Aussie brand to develop jointly-owned IP, which we believe would be a world first with a global application.


What products are on the horizon for the coming years?

We avoid comment on future products till they are in beta testing with customers. But innovation releases in the past two years are the HPD people counter and the airborne pathogen risk sensor, which integrates mechanical and electrical services – CO₂, VOC, temperature and humidity, as well as breathing detection calculated to determine risk and alert the BMS to increase outside air, for example.

What’s your prediction for the one product that’s not mainstream now that will be a staple in 2032? Democratisation of SCADA (for the individual). What SAP and ERP systems did for integrating the different silos of an organisation, open systems and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) will do for the built environment. We will have dynamic optimisation and predictive control through the proliferation of sensor telemetry and data analytics. Proprietary systems are dead. If only developers and engineers would accelerate the inevitable open systems environment and help create a more competitive and future-proof landscape!
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