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OceanLED reveals plans for never-seen-before innovation

When OceanLED returned to their offices after the Christmas break, they did so with a new Managing Director at the helm and for this leading name in underwater lights, the new year also meant a change of focus – one that puts innovation, sustainability and customer service in the spotlight.

Here, SuperYacht Times finds out from the firm's Managing Director Daniele Todaro his future plans and takes a look at what's in the pipeline for their expanding product range.Daniele Todaro, Managing Director, OceanLEDWhat’s on the agenda for OceanLED this year?

I can confirm that we will shortly be releasing a new lighting product, which will deliver a highly innovative solution for underwater lighting in a way never seen before. Other exciting products will follow and, along with these, we have something else in the pipeline that’s totally revolutionary - it will raise the bar for underwater lighting to a whole new level!

Covid-19 had an undeniably large impact on business considerations and decisions throughout 2020, and that fact remains as we move into 2021. Over the past year, however, we have kept our foot on the accelerator and instead of battening down the hatches to weather this storm, we made a conscious decision to forge ahead and find a way to navigate through. This meant continued investment in new products and projects that will allow OceanLED to emerge from the pandemic in an even stronger position. 

It is our intention to continue developing revolutionary products that are truly innovative, with a newfound focus on sustainability to ensure our customers can benefit from best-in-class products whilst proudly helping to keep our natural environment as healthy as possible.White Rabbit multihull yacht with underwater lightsOceanLED is best known for their angled optics – what is it that sets them apart?

This is a very interesting question, which leads to a very simple answer; they are unique. We were the first to adopt LED technology in underwater lighting and have wanted to continue that leadership and be the first to develop advanced optics specifically designed to work underwater.  

‘Off the shelf’ optics are not sufficiently specialised enough to provide the best underwater lighting effect, as these optics are usually designed to operate in the open air. As such, they perform differently and won’t produce the desired result – in some cases, the optical effect visible above water is completely lost when submerged, leaving the customer with nothing more than an uncontrollable beam of light.

Developed and engineered in-house, our optics are purposefully designed to operate underwater and the latest reflector technology, used in our E7 and E8 lights, allows the light to be angled to counteract the shape of the hull.  This means the lighting effect is consistent around the yacht regardless of the hull shape, creating an incredible in-water display without the need for mechanical means of angling the light, which are far less efficient and effective.48m Bilgin yacht Lilium at nightHow is OceanLED working to stay one step ahead of our industry’s needs for innovation and sustainability?

We have recently had the honour to partner with some fantastic and environmentally progressive projects, such as REV Ocean – the world’s largest research and expedition ship vessel, and a collaboration with the BBC that will see our lights support their scientific activities for a documentary. 

Moving forwards, we commit to reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible through our day-to-day operations and in the function of our lighting products. Our optics are designed to deliver a greater lighting effect for less power than comparable products and work with optimum efficiency. This in turn helps our clients to limit their own environmental impact.  

At OceanLED we do not only want to be seen as innovators but as being a company that cares about the environment, and this is one of the reasons why we decided to invest so heavily in optical design in the first place.

We are truly passionate about underwater lighting technology and innovation, and for this reason we are always looking to develop products that can provide the best customer experience, which is delivered through a unique balance of high performing products, premium quality and a client-centric attitude. 

But we can’t now sit on our laurels, we operate in a very competitive market and we want to make sure OceanLED is always two steps ahead – developing highly engineered products that deliver that ‘wow’ factor.REV Ocean yacht arriving at VardPhoto: Espen Gjelsten / FuglefjelletFaced with the difficulties posed by the global pandemic, how did OceanLED go about securing their supply chain and maintaining customer services?

Our planning began with the onset of Brexit, prompting us to diversify our supply chain, source UK-based suppliers, establish a stock of items that may be a challenge to acquire and in turn support our suppliers in developing their own processes to ensure excellent quality is maintained.  Thanks to our robust production, strengthened supply chain and our transatlantic customer service offering, we can proudly claim to having kept orders on schedule, with no pandemic related delays.  Our sales team have been infallible in their support, project management and dedication to the company.Heesen yacht Home in marina with underwater lightsDaniele, you have been part of the OceanLED team since 2015. What have been the biggest challenges for the business during the pandemic?

Yes, I joined OceanLED in 2015 as a Research and Development Manager and went on to become Director of Engineering before my new role as Managing Director.

With the first UK lockdown in March 2020, we put in place some very strict safety measures whilst maintaining a great level of agility.  This has allowed us to continue all our activities and keep our people safe. The interdepartmental synergy we have at OceanLED really is invaluable.

But honestly, successfully steering through this pandemic has nothing to do with my experience, or indeed Charles Stuart’s (the previous MD), it has been down to how our people have performed and continue to do so, with an invaluable level of care for each other and incredible commitment to OceanLED. This, alongside a great level of teamwork, allowed us to navigate the last 12 months considerably better than expected. 

Regardless of how robust your business continuity and disaster recovery planning is, you can never know in advance how you’ll fare in a real-world crisis, and it’s been an eye-opening scenario where we have learned just how committed and capable the team at OceanLED is.

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