Intelligent streetlight firm targets €23m opportunity

6 Apr 2006

An Irish firm rolling out intelligent streetlights around the world that use electricity to communicate is targeting a €23m marketing opportunity to roll out information and advertising screens across some 17,000 street posts in New York, a major investment conference heard yesterday.

Founded in 1982 Mayo-based SELC, which also operates an office in Cambridge in the UK, employs 68 people. The company is growing at an average rate of 20pc a year and is on track to record sales revenues of €10m this year

SELC operates in the niche market of controllers for road and street lights, which optimise the switching on and off of street lights and the intensity of lighting based on current conditions. The company’s street lights that have been rolled out in Norway, for example, dim during snowfalls to account for the reflection of light from snow. In other situations the lights could dim when there’s no traffic on a street, saving municipalities money on the cost of electricity. The Oslo system is regarded as the most intelligent lighting system on earth, says the company’s CEO Sean Noone.

Noone was speaking at yesterday’s Goodbody Corporate Finance technology investment conference in Dublin. SELC’s customers include Siemens, Hughes Corporation USA, ABB, AMEC, ESB Ireland and original equipment manufacturers of street lighting equipment. The company sells into Ireland, the UK, France, Norway, Austria, Germany, Spain, Malaysia, the Caribbean and the US.

Noone said the company is enjoying major market opportunities underscored by a new EU Directive for Intelligent Street Lighting and a directive to phase out magnetic ballasts and capacitors for powering street lights. Across Europe authorities are spending €597m each year to replace streetlights.

Noone told the Goodbody conference that he is in discussions with advertising and media companies about an opportunity he terms Street Pole Media, whereby screens attached to street posts would be used to market to pedestrians on the pavement. “Each screen has the potential to earn €500,000 to €600,000 per annum. In New York, there are some 17,000 street poles. This represents a €23m opportunity over five years for SELC and municipalities.”

In recent months SELC, which supplies lighting services to all the borough councils in London, secured a deal to provide intelligent lighting systems to Milton Keynes. The company already provides intelligent lighting systems municipal authorities in Oslo, Paris, Vienna, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dublin and Phoenix, Arizona.

By John Kennedy