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Dynamic lighting for retail environments


VTT has developed a dynamic lighting system for retail environments using networked depth sensors for real-time people tracking. Shop owners and consumers benefit from an improved and more individual shopping experience. The technology was evaluated in a real-life pilot at the Anttila department store in Oulu, Finland. 

Commercial lighting solutions for the retail market are based on static lighting schemes, where dynamic dimming based on simple presence sensors can be achieved for energy saving. Otherwise, lighting is kept static throughout the season, using mostly neutral white light for both general lighting and spotlights. As a result, shop space can look monotonic, and for customers it is not easy to locate oneself or find specific departments that are not close to main corridors and escalators.

VTT has developed a sensor-based dynamic lighting control solution. This enables creating dynamic personalized lighting schemes, improving shopping experience inside a retail store.

The system creates a rewarding and interesting shopping experience, by adjusting lighting dynamically depending on where people move inside the store. The sales items and landmarks in the store can be highlighted for improved orientation. The sections of the store outside of main corridors can be made more rewarding and inviting. As the consumers see the collections more clearly, they feel more comfortable; spend more time in the shop, and this has a positive effect on sales.

The dynamic lighting control system is based on networked depth sensors attached to the ceiling of the retail store. The sensors track the positions and movements of customers with 10 cm accuracy. The tracking is done anonymously without taking camera images, so customer privacy is not threatened. Processed information from the sensor network is fed into a smart lighting control system. The control messages to the actual luminaires are sent via standard DALI and DMX control interfaces.

The dynamic lighting control concept was tested at the Anttila department store in Oulu, Finland in late 2013. The pilot system was designed as a cooperation between VTT and the Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu. The poll at the shop revealed that consumers found dynamic lighting more attractive than the ordinary static one. “This has been an interesting experiment, and we have learned that dynamic lighting control has a potential far beyond the traditional energy-saving aspects”, says Sami Lindholm, Property Manager, Kesko Corporation.

The luminaires used in the pilot project were provided by the Fagerhult lighting company. “We see this technology opening new horizons for the future of retail lighting. Dynamic lighting gives our customers a new way to differentiate their retail space and enables better shopping”, says Lauri Pimenoff, Key Account Manager, Fagerhult.