Signify adds controls for many stores from one location

Feb. 21, 2020
The upgrade to Interact allows retailers like Britain's Marks & Spencer to change scenes and adjust settings across the country from a central point.

Automation is replacing human labor, for better and worse. So in its effort to morph into an information technology industry, why shouldn't lighting tap into that trend? That's what Signify is doing with new centralized retail controls that can change light scenes at many stores from one location.

The “multisite management” upgrade to the company's Interact Retail connected lighting product and service also centrally monitors lighting's energy consumption while looking out for maintenance issues such as luminaire outages.

Signify developed the feature with iconic British retailers Marks & Spencer, but declined to reveal the extent to which M&S is using it.

“The new features make it possible to create a network of connected stores,” Signify said in announcing the capability at this week's EuroShop trade exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany. “This helps the retailer to create and manage uniform light schedules for its stores from a single dashboard, to reduce its operational costs, ensure compliance, and to easily plan maintenance.”

While it might seem that a store in a chain might want to manage its own scenes on location, where a manager can observe conditions and requirements first hand, Signify noted that there are advantages to the remote lighting-control scheme.

“Current lighting control solutions require on-site visits to modify a store’s scenes and schedules, making chain-wide adaptations expensive and time consuming,” said Simon den Uijl, segment manager for food and large retail at Signify. “Interact Retail multisite management is the first lighting control system that provides the necessary flexibility required by retailers today.”

A Signify spokesperson further explained to LEDs Magazine that site visits by trained staff can be a big burden, in particular for large retail chains.

Interact Retail multisite management takes away the need to go on-premise,” the spokesperson said. “The larger retail chains typically have a test store where they define an update of the light settings, and they have standardized store formats where they would replicate those light settings. With Interact Retail multisite management, you can deploy this to any number of stores in a few clicks.”

There is no limit to the number of stores supported, the spokesperson said.

The system should also help save lighting-related energy consumption, as it monitors and controls all lighting in and around a store, including ambient lighting in front of house and back, refrigeration lighting, parking lots, and facades. It does not control other systems such as HVAC, although Signify can provide integration, the spokesperson said.

The system makes use of Signify sensors that can be mounted on Signify's Maxos fusion track the same track that houses the lighting to support daylight harvesting, occupancy adjustments, and other actions. The centralized network can be programmed to modify lighting use at moments when energy prices surge.

While Signify's Interact Retail already provided some of the advantages of the new multisite version, the new upgrade adds the efficiency off all-in-one management.

Signify said existing users can upgrade to the multisite feature by by replacing the existing store gateway with one that can make a secure connection to the Interact Retail multisite cloud. The company is offering an upgrade service to make the change.

Interact Retail is one segment of Signify's Internet of Things (IoT) connected lighting line, which also includes Industry, Hospitality, Office, City, and others. With Interact, Signify aims not only to improve lighting operations, but also to gather and analyze data about premises.

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