Smart lamps, lampposts could provide broadband services in the future - Signify

Friday 9 November 2018 | 13:42 CET | News

Signify, formerly Philips Lighting, has undergone a huge transition over its 127 years of existence, and especially over the last ten years. Connected lighting -street lamps, Hue for smart homes- is an important component of this, just like smart streetlights, according to Thomas Leenders, manager of Government Affairs at Signify. Light has become a service and an increasingly important component for IoT.

Signify is a superpower with billions of dollars in revenues and 30,000 employees working on lamps and luminaires, and systems and services. LED introduced changes in 2008. The first 'connected' solution came in 2012, a lamppost that could be read via a remote Sim card.

"While it was incredibly new, now more luminaires have such a Sim card. Municipalities that have to send someone to see if a lamppost is working, that is still not a thing of the past in this digital world. There is still much to gain there. More towards the consumer level, we have Philips Hue, which can be operated remotely to switch lighting on or off, but there are many other possibilities," Leenders said.

Signify to become IoT company

Leenders spoke about three transitions for Signify. The first is to start anew with a new name. The second transition is to become a technology and IoT company. The third is moving towards a sustainable, circular economy.

"As far as the latter is concerned: The demand for lighting is only increasing, while raw material scarcity is increasing. What we want is to bring light to areas where there was none and to do that by bringing with smart systems to ensure that consumption becomes much more efficient. If you consider that half the budget of an account often goes to lighting, then you can save a lot in energy and costs,” Leenders said.

Lamps as part of a smart city

But lampposts can mean a lot more with Sim cards. Signify uses its Interact IoT platform to control lighting for smart cities, offices or smart homes. "Barcelona is an example of a smart city that already uses smart lighting. A streetlight delivers LTE and provides smart lighting, depending on the location, time, expected amount of people," Leenders continued.

Further possibilities offer collaborations with, among others, SAP, based on recorded sounds via sensors. If a scream of fear is recorded somewhere, then lighting can go directly to 100 percent, to increase safety.

"An open platform has been created for Hue, which other developers can use develop apps for. We see that more people want to run everything from a smartphone instead of using switches. These are not only young or tech minded people but also seniors, for example. These could, among other things, adjust lighting in such a way that it is randomly on when they are not at home, giving a sense of security. We also partner with technology companies, for voice control: Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Nest," Leenders said.

Broadband via Lifi

Smart offices are also part of the transformation that Signify is working on. LED lights are supplied with UTP cables. For example, an employee can set the light via his smartphone, while a building manager can see if a desk has been used and so know if a cleaner should go there. Lifi, the transfer of data via light, is also possible through the connection of lamps to an UTP cable. In a store, a connected luminaire can determine where someone is walking by using their smartphone; the shop can then send promos to the phone when the person stops in front of a shelf they often visit,” Leenders said.

"This also underlines the fact that we as a company but also as a tech sector, are transforming enormously. This is what we will continue to be involved in over the coming years, partly thanks to the innovative strength of the Eindhoven region. These are all areas where we can partner with operators and business telecom or ICT companies. The possibilities are becoming broader," Leenders concluded.

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Categories: Mobile & Wireless / Mobile & Wireless
Companies: Amazon / Apple / Google / Philips / SAP / Vodafone
Countries: Netherlands / World
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