Who is Kai Tötterman and what does his team offer?

If you’re thinking about making Casambi Ready products, you absolutely need to know about Kai’s team. They offer expert guidance and support completely free of charge, ensuring your product not only works seamlessly but also hits the market swiftly and successfully. With their help, you can turn your ideas into reality without the stress and uncertainty of going it alone. 

Casambi’s Bluetooth® Low Energy technology seamlessly integrates into fixtures and devices, empowering manufacturers to create customized Casambi Ready products. In just a decade, Casambi has become a global leader with over 300 partners and sales of over 5 million devices worldwide. Now boasting over 1,000 products, the Casambi ecosystem covers a wide range of devices, ensuring everything necessary for a Casambi-powered solution. Our dedicated Casambi Ecosystem team provides services, expertise, and tips for optimal development outcomes. They do everything needed to enable OEMs to swiftly bring unique products to market while enjoying full support and freedom to innovate.  

Kai Tötterman, Director of Ecosystem, leads this department. Having experienced firsthand the challenges of venturing into what was once uncharted territory, he completely empathizes with partners embarking on their first Casambi projects. 

First… back to the very beginning. 

As one of the co-founders, Kai joined Casambi in 2013, becoming the third employee. He oversaw various tasks, primarily related to hardware design, documentation, certification acquisition, and production initiation. As the company grew, he delegated some responsibilities but remained heavily involved in hardware-related matters for the first six years.  

“Initially, none of us had experience in lighting. Our focus was on our mesh technology and its potential value in the lighting field.”  

And, so, the process of developing Casambi’s portfolio began with the recognition of the need for lighting control solutions. Initially, the trio focused on understanding common lighting control methods and determining suitable device characteristics. The CBU-ASD, their first product, was developed based on this understanding and remains in production today with minor updates. The aim was to create compact, versatile products despite limited resources, resulting in the integration of multiple functionalities like DALI and 0-10 into one device. Innovative for its time. This decision proved pivotal for the success of the product throughout Casambi’s history. 

“I wanted to make kind of like a Swiss army knife, so it has many functionalities. Getting DALI and 0-10 into one device was a really new revolutionary thing to do. This approach allowed us to offer comprehensive lighting control capabilities within a single, compact product”. 

However, Casambi’s vision was never exclusive to producing its own hardware range; it aimed to become an open platform, enabling industry partners to develop their own unique products utilizing Casambi’s technology. 

“We aimed to build an ecosystem from the start, focusing on key products like the CBM-001 module integrated into partner products. As we expanded, my focus shifted to supporting ecosystem partners’ Casambi integration projects”.  

The Casambi Ecosystem team was born.   

“Having learned from our own in-house projects, we established a process to assist ecosystem partners in developing their own Casambi Ready products. Radio technology, especially in the lighting industry, posed challenges due to its novelty. Our role involved guiding partners through the complexities of radio device design and ensuring the creation of quality products.” 

Recognizing the challenges of designing radio devices, particularly in an industry historically focused on simple electrical systems, Kai’s team aimed to support partners in adapting to the new demands of smart lighting technology. The transition from traditional lighting to LEDs, followed by the emergence of smart control solutions like DALI and then Casambi, introduced a new layer of complexity. Many product designers struggled to understand the intricacies of radio physics and its impact on product design. Here, Casambi’s Ecosystem team steps in to educate and guide partners through these challenges, ensuring the successful integration of wireless capabilities without compromising product quality or functionality. 

This support has been essential for partners to develop reliable and effective products, avoiding limitations in range and functionality caused by insufficient understanding of radio technology. Kai’s approach prioritizes collaboration and education to promote the adoption of our technology without alienating or overwhelming partners: 

“Our collaborative journey with partners starts right from the inception stage, looking into the details of their product design concepts, whether they involve luminaires, LED drivers, sensors, or switches. Our focus spans the breadth of product possibilities, carefully considering nuanced cost factors, particularly regarding the integration of radio components and Casambi licensing fees”.  

“These considerations are especially pertinent for high-end lighting solutions that are often characterized by sturdy metal constructions. Even before mechanical designs materialize, we look at antenna design, suggesting optimal placements and configurations to enhance radio performance. Our expertise encompasses thorough evaluations of electronics designs, meticulously scrutinizing schematics and PCB layouts.” 

This iterative journey then leads to comprehensive testing procedures. Protocol implementation and rigorous range testing are conducted according to Kai’s precise guidelines. When his desired benchmarks are attained by the partner, he invites them to send prototypes to our facilities in Finland for further assessment. 

“Once in our laboratories in Espoo, we conduct meticulous measurements and analyses, generating detailed reports that encapsulate the nitty gritties of radio performance, calculated ranges, and a myriad of engineering metrics. This exhaustive testing regimen serves as a pivotal prerequisite for product promotion on our website, underscoring our commitment to excellence and ensuring that every product endorsed by Casambi meets the highest standards of quality and reliability.” 

Tap into the all-seeing Ecosystem Team’s broad knowledge. 

Because Kai’s department maintains a deep understanding of a wide range of ecosystem products, harnessing their vast knowledge is golden.  Within the Casambi Services organization, where the Ecosystem team operates, they embrace a holistic approach, leveraging insights from various verticals, and combining them to offer comprehensive support to partners. For example, Kai’s team often serves as an important point of contact for Casambi’s Specification Success Team, helping with inquiries from lighting designers and actively engaging with partners to identify market gaps.  

“Our goal is to be as omnipresent as possible, ideally foreseeing needs before they’re voiced. If a specifier requests products not yet in our catalog, drawing on our vast knowledge and network, we want to find similar products that can be customized to fulfill these specific market demands. So, beyond product provision, we want to ideally facilitate a symbiotic relationship between market needs and partner capabilities in the Casambi ecosystem. That’s the ultimate goal.” 

Collaboration is key, especially when it comes to regulation. 

While the Casambi Ecosystem team’s primary focus lies in hardware development, they do actively engage in opening up new markets by collaborating with importing partners and providing necessary support for local certifications. This collaborative effort involves Casambi’s Engineering team, which assists partners with providing samples and initial product information to aid the certification process. 

“When it comes to regulatory compliance and certification processes, our role is to offer assistance and support, though it’s often not required due to the expertise of our partner companies. Typically, these companies are well-versed in the regulatory landscapes of their respective markets and have established processes and resources for obtaining certifications. 

Adding radio components to products may necessitate additional certifications, depending on the market and country regulations. However, many partners utilize our pre-certified Casambi modules, simplifying the certification process. In some cases, such as in the USA, simply ensuring the Casambi module is correctly integrated covers the necessary requirements.” 

The most important question. 

How long does it take to bring a product to market with the Casambi Ecosystem team’s help? The timeline for launching new Casambi Ready products, according to Kai, can vary significantly, depending on the complexity of the development work involved by both his team and our partners. While pinpointing an average timeframe proves challenging, his primary aim is to streamline the process wherever feasible.  

“Our involvement, particularly during the design phase, often accelerates development by identifying potential issues early on and minimizing the need for extensive prototyping. Typically, we strive to provide feedback on design aspects within a week. Maintaining continuous communication throughout a project enables smoother and faster product development journeys”. 

All this is free of charge.  

Kai has one message for any interested parties: Use their expertise. It’s free and available every step of the way. In hardware development and manufacturing, discovering design bugs post-launch can be catastrophic. Therefore, it’s always prudent to exhaust all avenues of review and testing beforehand. Early involvement and collaboration are key principles at Casambi, as we believe in the power of partnerships and are committed to supporting our partners every step of the way. 

“We’re really proud to offer our service free of charge, with extremely low barriers to entry. Utilizing this service is not only wise but also highly advisable, regardless of your level of expertise in radio RF engineering. Having a second pair of eyes can uncover potential issues and ensure that your products function flawlessly in the field. There are simply no downsides to this approach.” 

Casambi is all about partnerships, and our global presence ensures comprehensive support for manufacturers worldwide. If you’re interested in developing a Casambi Ready product, get in touch!