Feature, IoT/Smart Lighting

Virtual reality edges closer to mainstream in lighting

Virtual reality offers many benefits to the lighting sector but has been slow in development. Signify, formerly Philips, has become the first major manufacturer to develop mainstream VR apps.

THE USE of virtual reality for lighting design and specification took a step closer to the mainstream today with the unveiling of a suite of apps from Signify, formerly Philips.

The Dutch lighting giant unveiled two programmes, one for clothes stores and one for exterior lighting schemes, which allow customers and specifiers to enter a virtual world and assess how specific lighting can impact their retail or urban environments.

The Philips Fashion Lighting VR is available in both iOS or Android versions. Users simply place their smartphone in a VR headset and run the app. Accurate 3D renderings enable them to then immerse themselves in a virtual fashion store and see first-hand how lighting can make shop windows more dynamic to attract a shopper’s attention and draw footfall into the store.

The app lets them visualise the lighting in the space and its effect on the merchandise. Crucially, say developers, it illustrates the importance of lighting in fitting rooms to positively influence the buying decision.

 ‘The reaction from retail customers is very positive,’ Ronald Gelten, retail fashion lighting manager at Signify told Lux. ‘They tell me that it’s amazing to see the store change when we alter the lighting – you really feel like you’re there. It makes my job that bit easier as virtual reality is a hugely powerful addition to our sales toolkit’.

The company has also developed the Philips Urban VR experience to take city lighting managers, street lighting engineers and lighting designers on a journey along a virtual street, allowing them to visualise different effects from Philips street light luminaires as they walk down the road.

The interactive experience allows them to make more informed decisions when selecting the lighting. The virtual city centre includes a park and residential area.

‘Lighting is a visual medium. This innovative app lets potential customers step into a virtual world where they can see how lighting and different designs – such as patterns cast by the different luminaires – will look to citizens.

‘Designers, managers and smart city planners can see for themselves and feel assured about their choices,’ said Chris Damkat, VR specialist at Signify.

‘Today’s virtual reality technology is more affordable and accessible than ever before. It engages the senses, making it the perfect visualisation tool.’


  • See virtual reality lighting design in action at LuxLive 2019 taking place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2019 at London ExCeL. Entry is free – see more details and register to stay in the loop HERE.