By Tom Jowitt
Dutch electrical giant Philips' smart street light management system will be used to light up Amsterdam Arena, in order to enhance the vision experience for both spectator and HDTV viewers.
The Amsterdam ArenA is the largest stadium in Holland and will be one of the venues hosting the Euro 2020 championship. That football competition will of course be played in thirteen cities (including London) across twelve different European countries during the summer of 2020.
The decision to install a combination of Philips ArenaVision LED pitch lighting with movable dynamic color spots in the Dutch stadium is said to be a world first, and will be ready at the end of the year.
At the moment, stadiums are lit up by conventional floodlights. Philips Lighting is already responsible for the pitch lighting for more than 65 percent of stadiums used in major international sports events. For example, 70 percent of Barclays English Premier League Clubs are floodlit by Philips Lighting, and 55 percent of the world's main football stadiums contain Philips Lighting technology.
These stadiums use conventional lamps, but the Amsterdam Arena installation is the first time that a LED sports pitch lighting system has met the stringent requirements laid down by international television broadcasters and sports federations.
But what exactly does it offer over traditionally lighting systems? Well, the Philips ArenaVision LED system promises to support high definition and super slow-motion replays. This will apparently avoid the flicker often caused by conventional lamps, and will show up even the tiniest gestures and emotions of the players for both spectators in the stadium and for HDTV viewers at home. The technology doesn't just work for sporting events, but will also be used for concerts and other events at the stadium.
And the fact that the LED system is flexible will allow organizers to illuminate specific parts of the pitch during events or before a football match as part of a light show.
"The combination of our ArenaVision LED pitch lighting system and movable color spots creates a tremendous show effect," explained Frank van der Vloed, General Manager Philips Lighting Benelux. "We are proud of this collaboration and will jointly create a global showcase of enhanced experience, sustainability and flexibility of the overall lighting system that paves the way for a new standard for pitch lighting."
"Philips Lighting has been involved in the development of our stadium lighting from the beginning and from now on we welcome Philips Lighting as an active partner in our innovation center," added Henk Markerink, CEO of Amsterdam Arena. "First, the stadium lighting will be replaced by LEDs and over the next few years, in the run-up to Euro 2020, we will be working on even more innovative lighting projects to create the best experience for our fans with lighting."
LEDs offer a much more flexible, and indeed energy efficient lighting solution compared to previous lighting technology.
This is evidenced when it emerged earlier this year that Vodafone's M2M network would power Philips' smart street light management systems. These street light systems are pitched to local authorities as a way of saving money through more efficient energy use and maintenance.
The way it works it that individual street lamps use a SIM card to connect to Vodafone's network, allowing city authorities to monitor and manage lights using a central platform. This gives them the ability to control lighting depending on what time of day it is. They can also identify faults and send out maintenance crews and check performance.
For example, the Port of Hamburg uses smart lighting to turn on LED lights only when they are needed, improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists and saving money. Philips has already agreed deals with Cisco to use the latter's network technology for its smart lighting platform.