Signify: Lighting the way to home transformation

About Signify

Signify (Euronext: LIGHT), the world leader in lighting products, systems, and services, delivers innovations that unlock business value, providing rich user experiences that help improve lives. Serving professional and consumer markets, the company leads the industry in leveraging the Internet of Things to transform homes, buildings, and urban spaces. With 2018 sales of €6.4 billion, Signify has approximately 28,000 employees in over 70 countries.

Industries: Other
Location: The Netherlands

Signify built the back end for its Philips Hue smart lighting solution on Google Cloud Platform, helping it scale to support the ultimate success of the business while keeping its engineers focused on innovation.

Google Cloud Platform results

  • Runs a platform at 10 times the scale of other similar projects with one-tenth the workforce
  • Routes 200 million transactions per day through a Google-powered back end
  • Integrates Philips Hue with other smart home devices and platforms, including Nest

Processing 25 million remote lighting commands per day

Signify wanted to transform the way people use lighting in their homes. The company aimed to connect light bulbs to the internet, tie them to usage data, and make them interactive in order to offer benefits beyond basic lighting—for creating amazing experiences, home security, or to support well-being, like providing the right light for daily activities.

"With Signify and Philips Hue, we don't just sell light bulbs—we sell a way for lighting to change your home and life. We chose Google Cloud Platform to power Philips Hue's back end because it scales instantly, freeing engineers to work on product development rather than managing infrastructure."

George Yianni, Head of Technology, Home Systems, Signify

To do that, Signify launched Philips Hue connected lighting, designed so people could control their lighting from smartphone apps. But Signify needed a cloud platform that would let the apps securely access, monitor, and interact with the new lighting system. The company decided to build the back end using Google Cloud.

"With Signify and Philips Hue, we don't just sell light bulbs—we sell a way for lighting to change your home and life," says George Yianni, Head of Technology, Home Systems at Signify. "We chose Google Cloud Platform to power Philips Hue's backend because it scales instantly, freeing engineers to work on product development rather than managing infrastructure."

Revolutionizing home lighting

Signify built the Philips Hue back end with the help of design and engineering services from Q42. Using Google Cloud, Philips Hue was able to get services up and running quickly, with minimal up-front costs and the confidence that the platform would scale to support the ultimate success of the business.

Today, Signify uses a full suite of Google Cloud products, including App Engine, Cloud SQL, Cloud Storage, Datastore, Google Kubernetes Engine, and Compute Engine to power the back end. Google Cloud enables the out-of-home connections between the Philips Hue bridge, which acts as the hub that enables communication between the lights and a user's mobile phone app or web app, and any third-party apps or devices connected into the system.

Google Kubernetes Engine—powered by open source Kubernetes system—and Google Compute Engine handle 200 million transactions every day, including 25 million remote lighting commands. Philips Hue also uses the Apigee API management platform to help manage Google Kubernetes Engine and Kubernetes APIs.

"Google Kubernetes Engine provides the infrastructure that allows our lighting bridge to connect to any number of apps and devices," says George. "It delivers a high-performing, flexible infrastructure that lets us independently scale components for maximum efficiency."

"With the help of Google Cloud Platform, we are changing the fundamental business model of selling lighting to consumers."

George Yianni, Head of Technology, Home Systems, Signify

New options for home automation

Instead of redecorating, people can change their homes' look multiple times per day by changing its lighting with a tap of a button, by motion or voice control. And if people often feel tired in the morning, they can put their lights on a routine which replicates the sunrise and encourages them to wake up more naturally.

To extend Philips Hue's capabilities even further, it works with home automation devices and platforms, including the Nest line of smart home devices. When a Nest security camera detects someone approaching a home, Philips Hue can trigger a light to turn on in a room, making it look as if someone inside has heard a noise, deterring potential intruders. Google Cloud enables all the connections in the cloud.

"With the help of Google Cloud Platform, we are changing the fundamental business model of selling lighting to consumers," says George. "We're providing an entirely new set of value-based services that transform the home, rather than just replacing bulbs that burn out."

Scaling fast while cutting costs

Google Cloud has dramatically cut the costs and resources required to handle the Philips Hue back end and scales on demand. From the beginning, Yianni says that Signify runs the platform with 10 times the scale of other similar projects, but with only one-tenth of the workforce—on average requiring half of one person's time versus the five full-time resources other similar projects require.

"Google Cloud has a rich set of services that lets us be creative in designing new capabilities for Hue," adds George. "When something comes up that we want to do, there is always a Google Cloud service that allows us to build it."

About Signify

Signify (Euronext: LIGHT), the world leader in lighting products, systems, and services, delivers innovations that unlock business value, providing rich user experiences that help improve lives. Serving professional and consumer markets, the company leads the industry in leveraging the Internet of Things to transform homes, buildings, and urban spaces. With 2018 sales of €6.4 billion, Signify has approximately 28,000 employees in over 70 countries.

Industries: Other
Location: The Netherlands