The lights that keep you safe


    November 13, 2020


    From our urban infrastructures to the devices in our pockets, lighting can help us live safer lives


    At Signify, sustainability is core to everything we do. Our business and consumer customers expect to work with companies that make a positive contribution. Operating sustainably is not at odds with our growth. In fact, it supports our growth, guiding our direction and is a source of competitive advantage.

    With this in mind, we have identified five strategic areas where we will grow our business while furthering our contribution to brighter lives and a better world. These five growth areas are defined based on the major trends facing society, and on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We’ve already written about Climate ActionCircularity, Availability and Health & Wellbeing. In this feature, we explore the topic of Safety and Security.

    The global pandemic has changed the way we think about and interact with our urban spaces. Our streets may look emptier than usual, but the trend towards increasingly dense urban living is centuries old. By 2050, 70% of us will make our homes in cities.

    Goal 11 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to making these spaces sustainable as they grow.
    Our cities also suffer something of a perception problem. Did you know that in the USA, it’s actually safer to live in a city than in a rural area? Of course, there are many variables at play, but some factors include better coverage from emergency services, our perception of social surveillance, and how (and how much) we choose to drive.
    Safety & Security image 1

    A change in perception

    That perception of safety extends to the way we interpret light. Studies differ in their conclusions about the effects of light on street crime, but it’s true that well-lit streets make us feel safer and signal that a neighborhood offers a high degree of visibility – and is well cared for.

    Well-lit streets make us feel safer and signal that a neighborhood offers a high degree of visibility and is well cared for."

    And street lighting helps pedestrians move safely through areas that are shared with cars, bicycles, and public transport. A 2009 Cochrane review concluded that improved street lighting can prevent road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities. Drivers can see better and are more able to perceive hazards, including in areas like tunnels, reducing night-time traffic accidents.

    Urban lighting becomes even more powerful when it’s connected. Through systems like Signify’s Interact City platform, municipalities can control lights together, in groups, or individually from a central dashboard. Faults and outages can immediately be detected, reducing downtime.

    And it’s easy to make quick adjustments; for example, increasing light levels to help first responders at the scene of an accident, or dimming lights in unused and empty areas.

    Urban lighting becomes even more powerful when it’s connected"

    With a base of connected lighting controlled by Interact City, municipalities can add in extra features over time, like noise or incident detection sensors mounted on the same poles. These discreet sensors continually monitor the surrounding conditions and can alert emergency services when there’s an unexpected change to traffic, sounds, or crowd noise.
    Safety & Security image 2

    Multiplying the benefits


    The electricity saving from LED and connected systems makes a large infrastructure project of this sort very viable, and reducing consumption has a positive environmental impact, too. The immediate cost benefit, paired with innovative financing projects, has enabled us to bring connected lighting projects to 58 countries to date.

    Of course, we also want to feel safe in our homes. We’re developing our consumer connected lightings brands, Philips Hue and WiZ. Timer activations on home lighting can help your house look lived-in, or lights can be paired with smart sensors, flooding your outdoor spaces with light when someone approaches. 

    There’s another safety and security area where light can play a surprising role: data transfer. It’s now possible to connect devices to the internet through light waves, or LiFi. Trulifi by Signify provides a rock-solid internet connection and is great for applications where security is paramount.
    The endpoints are encrypted and the signal can be contained within walls, so only people in reach of the light source can access the network. 

    It’s also extremely fast and reliable, and immune to radio signal interference. With more devices connecting to the Internet of Things, innovation that relieves this pressure on our radio networks is going to play an increasing role.

    From the small nightlight in our child’s bedroom to connected systems that guide our emergency services, light can help us feel safe in the places where we spend our time.

    Through continual commitment to innovation and a strategy that keeps our path sustainable, we bring light to the areas that will benefit us most.

    About the author:

    Nicola Kimm

    Nicola Kimm

    Head of Sustainability 

    For further information, please contact:

    Signify Global Integrated Communications
    Neil Pattie
    Tel: + 31 6 15 08 48 17

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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