NEW YORK—At first glance, you wouldn’t think the hallway or corridor leading to the guestroom could have an impact on the guest experience. It’s the lighting that can make all the difference between leaving guests fumbling for their room key in the dark or setting the mood for their stay.
These days, hotels are smarter than ever—digital keys, mobile check-in and now, smart lighting. Hoteliers are finding ways to shed new light onto dark spaces through LumiFi, a smart lighting firm dedicated to fostering emotional responses with technology.
Beatrice Witzgall, lighting designer and founder of LumiFi identified a big pain point while working with traditional lighting control systems over the past 15 years. “Not only are they expensive and complicated to set up, but also the user experience is poor and reliant on expert programmers to change any settings,” said Witzgall.
“While working for one of the world’s renowned lighting design boutique firms, I realized the impact and importance of lighting on any space. It not only affects the way we feel in a space and interact with it, but current research supports that it also impacts our biology and health. To create truly dynamic and responsive lighting we need a tool to be able to control and set up lighting. LumiFi connects people to lighting.”
In 2009, a super yacht client hired Witzgall to design a better interface. With the emergence of internet of things and connected lighting in 2012, she saw a big opportunity and the business was launched in 2014.
“Our focus is the software and user experience combined with lighting expertise. We work with third-party lighting equipment manufacturers and integrate them into our lighting control platform.
Witzgall and her international collective of lighting designers, architects, IT architecture specialists, programmers, and graphic and UX/UI designers are working with a range of clients on various pilots. According to Witzgall, the company is working with “big brands where politics are involved.”
Another client is boutique hotel The Quin on West 57th St. in Manhattan. The team first looked at color and improved lighting controls for their suites, but then ended up installing dynamic and color-changing lighting on an astrological 24/7 schedule in their corridor.
“Everyone is very curious about the technology and realizes its value. It’s clear that mobile and wireless technologies have inherent advantages,” she said. “Many of our clients and pilot demo’s prefer to remain confidential at this point until they conclude their evaluation or decide to move forward with a full project deployment.”
LumiFi is decidedly different from what’s available in the space as they are not just a home consumer app. It provides a networked control system for managing digital lighting based on a wide variety of technologies.
“Our solution allows commercial properties to deploy lighting installations that are highly customizable, controllable, sophisticated yet affordable,” she said.
The company also differentiates itself by focusing on how lighting can affect the feeling and atmosphere of a space. It’s not just about illumination.
“We offer lighting moods such as Energize, Lounge or Romance or lighting for specific functions: Focus, Rest, Relax or Party. All of our light scenes can be customized and named according to the hotel’s preference,” she said.
Taking it a step further, LumiFi also adds to the convenience inside the hotel room.
“A recent study I read said a hotel guest takes around seven minutes to get familiar with the lighting, shades and TV in their room,” she said. “Imagine if all of this was controlled from a guest’s personal smartphone? It not only saves time and reduces frustration, but it also adds to the familiarity to just grab your phone to use as your light switch instead of searching for a hidden or unknown bedside lamp switch.”