By Reggie Nxumalo, GM, Philips Lighting Southern Africa
In recent times, technological development and disruptive innovation has shifted into top gear, resulting in the creation of solutions such as self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and 3D printed human organs. However, despite all of these innovations, most people still lack access to fundamental services such as lighting or electricity.
Over the course of the last year, following Philips’ listing on the Amsterdam stock exchange as a standalone company, the company has delivered many innovations that unlock the extraordinary potential of light to bring about Brighter Lives and a Better World.
Philips manages one of the world’s largest and strongest IP portfolios and has established various Research & Innovation Hubs around the world that deliver region-specific innovations to address key challenges facing local communities, where the relevant Hub is located.
Lighting the way to change by helping to eliminate light poverty
For more than a billion people around the world, electric light can seem like an unobtainable luxury. Without reliable access to it, entire communities across Africa as well as places like India are plunged into darkness at sunset. Unable to work or study after dark, their inhabitants are deprived of opportunities to build a better future.
Moreover, many people often resort to using candles, kerosene lamps or fires to counter the darkness, with all of these measures having disastrous consequences in terms of fires or respiratory problems down the line.
Philips has designed a range of solar lanterns as well as home lighting systems that enable off-grid communities to access safe, renewable lighting after dark. With this technology, social and business life no longer has to stop when the sun goes down, while light becomes a catalyst for recreation, productivity and economic growth. These solutions are vital within Africa, where there are more than 500 million people that live without electricity, according to the World Bank, and are a lot more affordable than costly kerosene refills.
Enabling a Smart way of using fewer City resources
As cities grow, the challenges they pose—environmental, economic, and social—grow with them. But cities are hubs of diversity and innovation: they can also become the source of solutions.
Smart Cities use recent advances in communications and digital technologies, data sharing and analysis, and intelligent design to make cities more liveable, resilient, economically sound, and sustainable.
However, smart cities do not always have to equate to employing the latest and greatest technology or trends like IoT or big data analytics to affect change. For instance, conventional street lighting can account for as much as 40% of a city’s total energy budget. By switching to LED street lights alone cities can reduce the energy consumed by street lights by 30% or more.
Switching on to new thinking around lighting
To achieve your sustainability, efficiency, and user experience goals, companies require professional, world-class luminaires and powerful, flexible controls, which have all been integrated into a single system.
For this to happen, each luminaire is uniquely identified and seamlessly integrated into the IT network in a building or city, and is able to share information about their status and operations. This allows each sensor-boasting luminaire to become a point of intelligence that can share information on occupancy, activity patterns, and changes in temperature or humidity, as well as daylight levels.
By integrating wireless communications into the lighting system, organisations can deliver location-based services and in-context information via mobile apps to people in illuminated spaces. In addition, connected lighting provides businesses with greater customer insight, a superior customer experience, creates personalised workspaces by adding a layer of intelligence to the environment, which responds and adapts to people’s preferences and needs.
Furthermore, companies can employ Philips’ sophisticated lighting management software to enable operators of spaces to monitor and manage the lighting system in real time by for instance, visualising and analysing historical information about luminaire performance. Moreover, connected lighting systems can integrate with other systems in a building or city, creating new synergies and efficiencies, and making lighting an integral part of the new digital ecology.
Light at the end of the non-productivity tunnel
Lighting in offices and industrial spaces has a profound effect on the well-being, productivity, and worker vitality. Effectively lit and attractive environments enhance your image, help you recruit and retain high-value employees, and increase the total value of your facility.
Philips connected lighting systems can precisely manage the lighting in a facility with a combination of control strategies, allowing organisations to deliver the optimum light levels for performing tasks safely and effectively.
By integrating luminaires with sophisticated controls and comprehensive management systems, companies can streamline business activities, while saving energy and ensuring employee satisfaction.
Ultimately, while the challenges and complexity of countries, regions and cities can seem daunting, organisations such as Philips are creating the innovations that can make substantive, transformative changes to the cultural and economic paradigms.