Light for light’s sake: Swedish tunnel, Scottish town, tap LEDs but not IoT

Sept. 22, 2021
Signify, Thorn remind us that sometimes it still is mainly about illumination.
While that might seem like an oddly stated truism, the point is that lighting announcements these days can often focus attention on all things Internet. Lighting companies have for some time now been trying to morph into information technology enterprises that outfit luminaires and the lighting infrastructure with sensors, communications chips, and Internet connections that gather, communicate, and analyze data, with “lighting” in its traditional sense of helping people to see at night almost an afterthought.

But that does not seem to be the case at Signify’s 18-km (11.2-mile) tunnel lighting job in Stockholm or at Thorn’s new street lighting scheme in Irvine, Scotland.

Signify is working with installer Bravida to illuminate what will become a 21-km expressway bypass designed to relieve traffic congestion in Stockholm. Signify is illuminating the 3-km non-tunnel portion as well as the tunnels.

The motorway, called the E4 Bypass Stockholm, will run north/south to the west of the city and is scheduled for completion by 2030.

“We are very proud to have won this contract with Bravida to deliver the lighting for Bypass Stockholm,” said Signify Sweden sales manager Hans Gyllner. “Having the right lighting in a tunnel is crucial for the safety and the experience you get when driving many kilometers underground.”

Signify is providing its Philips TubePoint Gen 2 tunnel luminaires for inside the tunnels, and its Philips Luma Gen 2 streetlights. It did not reveal how many or the price. But it lauded TubePoint for LED efficiency and other attributes.

“TubePoint is a versatile, cost-effective luminaire that meets the most stringent tunnel lighting requirements,” the company said in a press release. “Installing TubePoint luminaires significantly reduces the number of luminaires required in comparison with a conventional solution installation. Being LED, the long lifetime reduces maintenance requirements and its high lumen per watt ratio at system level reduces operational costs, and improves the overall total cost of ownership at the same time.”

Signify is also providing its Philips TotalTunnel control system to help adjust conditions as needed and to monitor maintenance needs.

But notably absent was any reference to non-lighting IoT functions. For instance, it might be reasonable to assume that the tunnels will have air quality monitors — just the sort of thing that lighting companies are trying to embed in their systems. But Signify made no mention of any such feature; it could be that a more dyed-in-the wool IT or sensor company might be providing that. LEDs Magazine has inquired as to whether any Signify IoT is involved in the Stockholm job. We will provide any updates.

Likewise, when Britain’s Thorn Lighting announced it had relit the town center in Irvine on Scotland’s southwest coast as part of a broader £2.8 million (US$3.8M) regeneration scheme, it heralded the LED illumination for facilitating “safer access” for pedestrians, reducing operating costs, and slashing CO2 emissions — valid benefits that come straight out of the pre-IoT playbook.

Thorn, a division of Austria’s Zumtobel Group, also noted that it designed the lighting layout to blend with an overall architectural theme honoring Irvine’s heritage and connection to the sea. To that end, it paid particular attention to lux levels and to mounting its Dyana LED luminaires in some places on walls and in others on columns, which it said helped to improve color rendering, highlight new paving, and “give a more modern feel.”

But if Thorn embedded any IoT gear to help monitor data like noise, traffic, pedestrian density, parking, air quality, or the like, it made no mention of it.

Sometimes, lighting is all about lighting.

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Editor’s note: Thorn Lighting reports costs/financials in British Pounds; all conversions to US dollar amounts are at the current exchange rate at time of publication.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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