Interview of the month: Isabelle Grillaud

Isabelle Grillaud, R&D Innovation manager at Construction Privée, presents the concept of electricity and control using PoE (Power over Ethernet). The concept recently won the innovation competition.

l'interview shared innovation

What is the concept of PoE and what impact can this innovation have on everyday uses?

Traditionally, a building’s electric terminals (LED lighting, blinds, ventilation, etc.) receive power through two cables, each with its own function: an Ethernet cable for data transmission and a power cord. Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows you to combine these two functions into a single Ethernet cable. This makes each electric terminal smart, ready to be connected to multiple applications to optimise usage of parts of a building.

With this system, office building users can, for example, give many commands from their desks or their smartphones, including adjusting the lighting or temperature, looking for a meeting room, etc. All these features can optimise convenience and work performance for users.

How was this innovation first developed ?

The concept has been in the works for a long time. For Construction Privée, it started in 2013 with a test on a portion of the offices at the old Les Ulis site using a system developed by an outside company¹ just for powering and controlling LED lighting with PoE. The test showed the system to be very satisfactory for users, but the system cost 10% more than traditional systems, so we couldn’t deploy it for our customers. This created a challenge for us: extend this technology to other electric terminals in the ceiling without additional cost over traditional solutions to make deployment viable. Didier Audoin, manager for the electricity group at Construction Privée, and I took on the adventure of finding a solution with help from a start-up called Energie IP.

Successes quickly came one after another. In March 2016, Energie IP presented the developed concept at the first Matching UP, winning over the competition’s panel of judges. Following that, a proof of concept (POC)² was completed in October 2016 by the in-house architecture firm at Rénovation Privée, located at 59 Avenue d’Iéna in Paris. Feedback from employees who participated in the test was unanimously very positive. The concept has now just won the innovation prize, an achievement crowning more than three and a half years of work!

What’s up next ?

Our goal for 2017 is to start deploying our innovation by implementing it in a first project. We are starting talks with research departments and with
customers, particularly Linkcity, about this while finalising our partnership with Energie IP.
The team is also searching for new applications to be added to the system. A meeting is already planned for the end of January 2017 with the start-up Jooxter, a finalist in the second Matching UP offering a technology for optimising usage of work spaces. Some of the possible added solutions include real-time management of meeting rooms and better support for visitors to a building.
Matching UP has been a real springboard for our team, connecting us with an ecosystem of potential start-up partners and rewarding our co-development of the concept with Energie IP!

¹Redwood application from CommScope, a US-based multinational company in the telecommunications sector
²Proof of Concept: experiment in a real-life context with an idea or method in order to demonstrate its feasibility