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    IoT for everyone

     

    June 15, 2020

     

    Creating a great connected lighting product starts with the customer

     

    The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around for two decades, but it’s only recently that these technologies have become truly embedded in our day-to-day lives. The rise of innovative consumer products like the Philips Hue ecosystem has set the stage for a lighting solution that bridges the gap between the complex, industrial connected lighting systems used by large companies, and the accessible consumer devices we have in our homes.

    Signify’s Interact Pro is an IoT solution for small and medium enterprises”

    A 2019 report by leading market analyst company IDC offers some insights on Signify’s Interact Pro solution and its potential to close this gap for SME customers. Signify invited IDC’s Marta Muñoz Méndez-Villamil to join Segment manager Office & Industry systems Bart Vinck in a webinar to discuss IoT opportunities for the smaller business.
     

    “Signify’s Interact Pro is an IoT solution for small and medium enterprises,” explains Marta.
     

    “Many SMEs face business challenges that can be resolved with IoT solutions, but often these organizations have had the perception that IoT is an expensive and complex technology they cannot afford.”

    Removing the roadblocks


    SME customers considering smart lighting solutions have traditionally faced obstacles such as spiraling costs, complexity, and disruption to business. Understanding these pain points has been critical to creating a solution that’s adapted to their needs.

     

    As Signify’s Bart Vinck explains, solving customer issues was the project’s guiding principle from the very beginning, five years ago.

     

    “Our journey was triggered by our installer community, and the electrical wholesalers that serve them. Installers spoke to their SME clients, who wondered why nothing existed in the market that was tailored to the specific needs of the smaller business.”

    We didn’t ask for feedback on the solution. Instead, we asked what pain points do you have, and what opportunities can you see from improving your lighting setup?"

    In the three years prior to launch, the team spoke to hundreds of installers, small businesses and other stakeholders to better understand customers’ needs and how they could best be overcome.
     

    “We sat down with business owners: with daycares, small factories, travel agents. We didn’t ask for feedback on the solution. Instead, we asked, what are your struggles with lighting? What pain points do you have, and what opportunities can you see from improving your lighting setup?
     

    “We came away with quite a clear view that SMEs really struggle to create a good working environment. They struggle first with the implementation, then the maintenance after the installer leaves.”

    The installer community

    The installer community


    Creating synergies with the installer community has played a vital role in Interact Pro’s success.

     

    “We then went through the same process a second time, and this time, we spoke with installers. Here, we spoke not just about lighting. but also about an industry under pressure. For our installer community, it’s hard to find trainees and apprentices, repeat business is limited by the arrival of more durable and energy-efficient products, and at the same time, their SME clients demand more: they wanted fully installed and working solutions within one or two weeks.

    We wanted to support our installer community, to offer added value services with faster installation times and a better margin"

    “We also found that, with these legacy systems, the complexity involved for installers was off the chart. Installers who wanted to enter the sector had to attend costly training sessions to receive information that dated quickly. And even if they managed to find these qualified people, the disruption to their small business clients was extremely challenging. Installers needed to access ceilings, dig holes in walls, repair plaster, and add bulky cabinets that would house smart lighting controls. This, for SMEs, is not acceptable. We knew there was a better way,
     

    “And we wanted to support our installer community, too, to be able to offer more added value services with faster installation times and a better margin.”

    IDC’s Marta Muñoz Méndez-Villamil agrees on the importance of a close relationship with the installer community.
     

    “Signify has invested in training the installers themselves, to ensure that they are fully equipped when bringing the solution to the user. They’ve created an online platform to provide modular training to the installers on a regular basis, and it is available worldwide.”
     

    "Together with its partner network of electrical distributors, Signify extensively supports installers, who realize and service local SME projects. Providing this level of local support to customers is often a challenge for those wanting to offer IoT solutions to the SME sector. This is actually a great example of how listening to customer needs and adapting the solution to the market requirements can drive value across the entire chain.”
     

    Read more about Interact Pro, or watch the Smart lighting for smart SMEs webinar here.

    About the author:

    Annie MacFarlane

    Annie MacFarlane

    About Signify

     

    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals and consumers and lighting for the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact connected lighting systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. With 2019 sales of EUR 6.2 billion, we have approximately 36,000 employees and are present in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been named Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for three years in a row. News from Signify is located at the Newsroom, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors can be found on the Investor Relations page.

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