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Q+A – Koen Bossuyt, XL-Technologies

The general manager of a new LED sales and solutions company is hopeful of greater protocol convergence

Announced to the trade press towards the end of 2009, XL-Technologies is a newly created sales and solutions company focused on LED video and lighting. The new operation – which is independent but is said to have “grown out of the XL Video Group’s expertise” – is not tied to any particular brands, and has the ability to offer customised solutions when required.
Heading up XL-Technologies at its base in Ostend, Belgium, is general manager Koen Bossuyt. A familiar face to many through his long association with Barco, Bossuyt recently spent several years working in the healthcare industry, but is evidently delighted to be back in the world of professional AV. “This is so much more fun!” he tells IE during an interview that touches on every aspect of his career to date.

How did you come to be working in professional AV?
I started my career in the distribution of electronic components. One of my biggest customers was Barco, and their products and markets interested me a lot, so I went to work for them in 1998. During the first few years I had the opportunity to work with all the technologies in one particular area – LCD, CRT and DLP projection, retro-projection cubes for data centres and control rooms, simulators and boardroom solutions. When Barco adopted LED technology, I was attracted to this and started focusing on LED. 

So what did you do after leaving Barco in 2006 and before joining XL-Technologies in 2009?

I felt like a change from the whole corporate thing, so I went to work for a private family business in the healthcare industry. But after a couple of years I remembered how much fun AV was, so I decided to get back into the industry. I had remained friendly with XL, so when it became clear that there was increasing interest from the market for a company to do LED sales and fixed install – as opposed to XL, which is purely a rental company – we had discussions about me taking on this new role.

What are the primary objectives of XL-Technologies?
To build on the LED expertise of the XL Video Group and focus on fixed install projects. In terms of the rental industry, we distribute the Pixled brand and sell secondhand material. We sometimes have large quantities of a product once a major tour finishes, and we want to improve the sales of these products and be proactive with regard to the rental industry. For example, XL Video bought 550,000 Barco FLX pixels for U2’s 360o Tour, and some of these will be able to be sold once the tour is over.
With regard to fixed install, we sell all possible brands – new or secondhand – and have the full range of Pixled products. We want to focus on projects where we can add value; this could be in the form of existing relations, the complexity of the installation or specific product design.

A brief progress report on LED lighting: has the technology now achieved mass adoption or is there still some way to go?
Looking at developments with regard to product and cost, we believe that the moment of mass adoption has already started. Of course, some people still need to be convinced about the possible benefits of LED, but it’s clear that the general trend is very much in favour of this technology. In terms of the further evolution of LED, we expect that costs will continue to go down while brightness and quality will go up.

Any other predictions you care to share?
Yes – I think that we will see the continued convergence of lighting and video, although we expect lighting to remain the dominant control platform. In conjunction with this, the control protocols will be upgraded significantly. I also hope that we will see some convergence of protocols.

So you think that there will be more generic protocols, then?

I do. In our view, the era of proprietary protocols is basically over and, in time, everything will become open standard. But it may take quite some time – five years or so, perhaps – before everyone moves in that direction. I do expect it to happen, though, because it really offers benefits for everybody.

Finally, what does the future hold for you? Do you have any unrealised career ambitions?
My clear future ambition is to grow XL-Technologies to be a reference player in lighting and video sales and installations. We are a young company but we have a great deal of experience, so I am very excited about the future. There is so much to do that I don’t need to think about other ambitions!

Koen Bossuyt was talking to David Davies.