Welcome To The Future: Services Over Products

Twan van den Broek

Your favorite songs? Just one click away on Spotify. Movie night? Watch the latest films on demand. There are even subscription services for washing machines, coffee makers, and other household appliances. Consumers are embracing the notion of anything-as-a-service. As are businesses. With the infinite possibilities of the Internet of Things and cloud computing, organizations are exploring new business models in which products make way for services. The as-a-service model opens new doors for companies to disrupt their traditional approach and stay ahead of the game. 

Enhancing people’s lives with smart lighting 

In its recent city-as-a-service report, Dutch bank ABN AMRO describes how 31% of Dutch people over 18 expect our society to gravitate towards an economy where people prefer services over products. This is a development Signify wholeheartedly embraces. The world leader in connected LED solutions, software, and services is continuously looking for innovative ways to improve its lighting solutions and enhance people’s lives. One way is offering light-as-a-service.

Make better decisions with real-time insight

With its Interact IoT platform, Signify already gives its users real-time insight on their lighting consumption, which drives better-informed decisions and operational efficiency. Combining Interact with light-as-a-service makes it possible for Signify to let go of the traditional business model in which customers buy and pay for lighting upfront. Instead, the organization wants to move towards a model where people and other companies receive a variable bill based on the amount of light they use. Signify took this concept to the drawing board to create a prototype platform that translates usage into costs.

Intelligent lighting on the high-tech campus

The use case was inspired by the smartest square kilometer of The Netherlands: the High Tech Campus (HTC) in Eindhoven. Signify is located there and provides the lighting for the buildings on the campus. With facility managers on the HTC as a vantage point, the team of the Mobile Innovation Lab and Signify provided a light-as-a-service solution that makes their job easier. The light-as-a-service contract in itself is simple: the facility manager pays a fee for installation and pays monthly for a service contract and usage. A dynamic subscription: on productive days, the costs will be higher, but on slow days, during summer break for example or when a production area is temporarily out of use, the manager will pay considerably less.

A more effective use of a building with data

With Interact, the facility manager can easily monitor the usage of light per building, floor, and room. The prototype platform is connected to Interact and makes it possible to convert use into costs. And, as icing on the cake: it also delivers a prediction of expected costs. Now, having an overview of costs is a big advantage in itself. But the platform also provides a basis on which the facility manager can advise his colleagues on how to use the building most effectively. It saves money, but it also helps in sustainability goals. On Fridays, for example, where traditionally more people are free or work from home, the manager can suggest others use one floor instead of spreading out.

Bridging the gap between IT and business

Marcel Diepens, IT business partner professional at Signify, underlines the benefits the prototype has to offer. “What I wanted most out of this project was a solution that matches the vision of Signify. Light-as-a-service is cost saving and, with this subscription, people only pay for usage. The advantages work two ways: we help our customers make smarter decisions in their daily profession and … we unlocked a new business model,” he says. For him, the use case also helped bridge the gap between business and IT, a common challenge for most companies. He states: “When designing these kind of solutions, both parties often work separately and only meet later in the process. Signify wants to be a digitally enabled company. This case proves that – with the right mindset – business and IT can deliver a solution in just five days. Together.”

Creating new business values with light-as-a-service

The solution also shows how organizations can create value with new business models and innovative technologies. “With light-as-a-service, we meet our customers wishes proactively and create real business impact. We want to facilitate our clients as much as possible,” explains Raf Brouwers, managed services manager at Signify. “With this platform solution and dynamic pricing, we can tend to our customers’ ever-changing needs.”

Learn more about Signify’s light-as-a-service in this video.


Twan van den Broek

About Twan van den Broek

Twan van den Broek is Customer Innovation Architect at SAP. Twan combines a broad experience in SAP development, Integration and Process Management with agile methodologies (Scrum) and Design Thinking to deliver SAP solutions that add value to your business and make end-users happy. As a crew member of SAP’s Mobile Innovation Lab, he delivers customer innovations with Rapid Prototyping within one week.