Beacon to roll out voice-controlled lighting

Beacon to roll out voice-controlled lighting

Beacon Lighting (ASX: BLX) chief executive officer Glen Robinson expects to "generate some excitement" in the near future with a roll-out of automated products including voice-activated globes across the retailer's 109 Australian stores.

"That's a reasonably big shift and we feel comfortable now that the technology is ready to be sold at retail level," Robinson said today in a teleconference after the group announced a record EBITDA result of $33.2 million for FY18, representing growth of 20 per cent.

"We've been talking about home automation for a long time at Beacon Lighting. We've tried it over the last 10 years and now the category is ready to go.

"You'll see quite a large roll-out through Beacon Lighting stores over the coming months, and that should generate some excitement and additional sales to what we had last year."

The new technology won't come cheap though, with average pricing set to be in the $50-60 range.

"Compared to a normal globe or an LED globe this is obviously a substantial uplift. The problem will be that they are quite expensive globes and you're not going to replace your entire home with these globes. It's probably something where you might put five of them across your house."

Robinson highlighted that among the smart lighting will be Google and Amazon products. Amazon's Australian website already sells the company's exclusive range, while Beacon has also expanded its sales and product ranges through "online platforms in the US, Europe and other international markets".

"Online continues to be a very important growth opportunity for the group. During the 2018 year online sales grew by 41.7 per cent and made up 4.7 per cent of retail sales," Robinson said.

"We also know that 40 per cent of our customers research us online before visiting in-store."

With claims to have the "most progressive range of lighting anywhere in the world", Beacon designed and developed a whopping 529 new items in FY18 and expects to launch a similar amount this financial year with a 20 per cent renewal target for the current range.

In addition, Beacon International also has a business of selling the group's intellectual property rights into the China and US markets, which according to Robinson "has proved to be a good sales generator for the group".

The group's business Light Source Solutions Roadway has also been busy seeking deals with major city councils to replace old-technology street lights with more modern and efficient LED lighting. One such tender was won in Darwin in FY18 with gradual installation expected throughout the current financial year.

"The group will continue to investigate new business acquisitions within our category both from within Australia and in international markets," the executive added.

Shares in Beacon Lighting are down 2.79 per cent to $1.57 per share at 12.42pm AEST.

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