We caught up with Robert V LaPenta, the chairman, CEO and president of Revolution Lighting Technologies, to discuss the trends and challenges of urban energy efficiency.

Mediaplanet: What are the three most important factors of creating smarter cities?

Robert LaPenta: Lighting is a foundational element to address economic, human and environmental considerations, which are key components to building smarter cities. Compelling savings, and ease of installation, are a first step to building sophisticated energy efficiency programs that also positively impact human health and well-being, while preserving our environment.

MP: What are some of the benefits of creating a smarter infrastructure in urban communities?

RL: By 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live within urban environments. This increased density requires a smart approach to urban planning, and infrastructural development. Cities will be required to respond to a variety of needs for its citizens and businesses in order to advance key issues including air and water quality standards, resiliency, grid reliability, growing energy demand, education, transportation and recreation, which will allow them to remain at the forefront of global competitiveness in the 21st century.

"Compelling savings, and ease of installation, are a first step to building sophisticated energy efficiency programs that also positively impact human health and well-being."

MP: Why do you think so many people are unaware of the benefits of smart technology?

RL: We are within an age of information and access to immediate data and technology advancements are growing exponentially. Slower adoption of smart technology is primarily behavioral, driven by consumer confidence as opposed to awareness. The LED market is prime example. Consumer awareness of LED solutions has existed for years, however we are only now witnessing a tipping point, and the rapid expansion of our sales pipeline within the education, industrial, medical, financial and commercial office space reflects this.  

MP: What do you see in store for the future of smart cities?

RL: Within our business, we’ve seen the demand for LED solutions grow significantly within the last year and we feel this trend will only continue. Integration and controls will be paramount to the advancement of technology and central to the future design of smart cities. It is clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) will be the next evolution as technology and internet merge together to allow our lives to become even more productive, efficient, profitable and enjoyable.