You are now visiting our Global professional lighting website, visit your local website by going to the USA website

More brands from

    Analyzing the social impact
    of light installations

    Sentiment and impact analysis

    Subscribe to the newsletter

    Which public lighting projects do citizens love best?

    Marlyn Zelkowitz
    SAP Future Cities + IoT, Global Director
    Jonathan Weinert
    Lighting IoT, Philips Lighting
    November 13th 2017

    It’s no secret that public lighting installations can have a meaningful effect on cities that reaches far beyond the purpose of simply providing light. They can also have a positive impact on economic development, neighborhood revitalization, tourism, and community pride.


    Just how much impact? A study commissioned by Philips Lighting in 2016 put some numbers around the economic and social influence of four of its dynamic lighting installations in the US. The Bay Lights, which turned the entire side of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge into an enormous white-light video screen, contributed nearly US$18 million to San Francisco County in its first years of operation. That figure includes payroll for more than 80 jobs created by the project, contributions to the San Francisco gross regional product of over US$10 million, and state and local taxes totaling almost US$600,000. Restaurants and bars with a view of the bridge reported business increases of as much as 30% since the lights went up.


    While such economic figures offer compelling proof points, city leaders also care about citizen sentiment. To that end, the organizations responsible for the installations examined in the study turned to social media and other forms of outreach to create excitement around the projects and highlight their benefits to the community. To promote River Lights in the Rock, a project that lit three bridges over the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, with thousands of color-changing LED lights, the city’s visitors bureau used a range of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Google Images.


    Social outreach delivered results: the project garnered two of the top five posts for the year, with a reach of over 90,000. But this number tells an incomplete story. City leaders need to find ways to more precisely evaluate the social impact of illuminating city landmarks to understand how it affects citizen sentiment in detail.


    With this need in mind, Philips Lighting and SAP SE partnered to create the social impact analytics app. The app merges image analytics developed by Philips Lighting with the SAP Cloud Platform. The image analytics identifies photos of landmark architectural lighting installations on social platforms such as Instagram, while the SAP platform collates data on social media and news coverage of a given piece of architecture.


    The app makes good on the power of analytics and data mining by producing a set of metrics that accurately measures public sentiment about specific architectural lighting projects. Contextualizing social media posts via the app promises to give city leaders a way of quantifying the cultural and economic impact of dynamically lit architecture.

    By providing insights that help city leaders better understand citizen sentiment, the partnership creates a platform for smart city innovation. Data from the app can help city authorities identify the most popular lighting displays and refine lighting strategies to best meet the needs of the local community.


    For more information on SAP solutions for cities, please visit

    Learn more


    Find out more about
    the impact analysis app.



    Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive information on smart city trends.

    Contact us


    Do you have a question about any smart city topic? Please get in touch.

    More about how to define future cities

    • Social impact app

      Social impact app

      The social impact app allows users to see the impact of lighting firsthand through detailed reports and data visualization on an intuitive dashboard. The app facilitates better citizen engagement by aggregating sentiment and showing the city's digital footprint and reach

    • The power of digital technology

      The power of digital technology

      Philips Lighting and the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed citizens and business executives to assess the progress of cities adopting smart technologies.

    • Harnessing the IoT as a smart city ecosystem

      Harnessing the IoT as a smart city ecosystem

      SAP SE and Philips Lighting are teaming up and delivering on their vision for smarter cities by...