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    Light Your World Blog

    The Social Impact App: Measuring the social and economic impact of illuminating city landmarks

    March 28, 2019
    Santiago Baurista

    Signify’s Social Impact Analytics app is designed to help cities and owners of sites to collect accurate feedback on the social and media impact of public lighting projects. Information from the app will help authorities to facilitate better engagement with citizens, improve strategies to boost tourism and enhance value for the local economy.


    The new Social Impact app is the result of a collaboration between Signify and enterprise software specialist SAP SE (NYSE: SAP). The app merges image analytics developed by Signify, which identifies architectural lighting photos of landmark installations on social platforms such as Instagram, with SAP’s Cloud Platform which collates data on what is being posted on social media and news sites, about a given piece of architecture. The result is an invaluable set of metrics formed by public opinion, measuring sentiment about architectural lighting for a specific building or monument. 

    Lightifair 2018 trade show

    The app illustrates how technology can help to quantify the return on investment for architectural lighting. For example, data from the app will help city authorities to identify the most popular lighting displays and refine lighting strategies to best meet the needs of their local community. This is becoming increasingly important as individuals interact with their environment in new and innovative ways; for example, the lighting of a bridge might be sponsored by a charity which allows donors to vote for their preferred lighting design. Also, in a world where cities strive to find new and innovative ways to be smarter, the social impact analytics app may be used to create new business opportunities for the local economy. 


    A study1 conducted by Signify about the impact of  public lighting revealed that landmarks that have been dynamically lit serve much more than a functional purpose. Cities and public and private organizations are using the installations to beautify or brand cities to boost tourism, promote health and wellbeing, and revitalize areas in decline by turning buildings, bridges and monuments into art.

    “When used in a dynamic creative way, light can turn even the plainest structure into a work of art. The new app will contextualize social media posts proving the value of dynamically lit architecture, not just from a social and cultural perspective, but also their potential impact on the local economy. The analysis engine analyses all the data that comes in. It can visualize it, report it and provide alerts to cities. Furthermore, it will identify only the posts that you're interested in, for example: ignoring a traffic jam on a bridge, but capturing sentiment about the lighting,” said Jacques Letzelter, Global Business Leader Public Segment at Signify.

    Signify booth

    Media and social media especially reflect the impact lighting installations have on civic pride and the local community. One example of this is The Bay Lights, a light sculpture on the San Francisco Bay Bridge, which has shown to have enormous positive impact on the local community.


    Figures for The Bay Lights2

    • 50 million people saw the original installation

    • 100,000+ YouTube views

    • 650m+ media and social media mentions

    • $18 million boost for the local economy


    “The revitalization of the I-35W Bridge lighting system in Minnesota is another great example of how light shows created by the new LED lighting system confirm the bridge as an icon in the city skyline and a source of pride for the entire region.

    Lightfair 2018 Chicago
    Minnesota is one of the very few areas in the United States where visitors can experience the Northern Lights. ‘The Bold North’ lighting display feature animated, multicolored LED lights that mimic the appearance of the natural wonder of the Aurora Borealis.  


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    Post tags

    architectural lighting, architecture, Bay bridge, Bay Lights, bridge lighting, buildings, city landmarks, dynamic lighting, economic impact, economy, facade lighting, i-35W Bridge, led lighting system, led lights, public lighting, SAP, smart cities, smart city, social impact app, ROI

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