By: Wouter Janssen
2020 was a year that we won’t forget very quickly. The outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic created a huge impact on everyone’s life, work, social environment and personal situation. With all the consequences that followed. And still, with vaccination programmes in full swing, and the continuous search for solutions, things aren’t quite back to normal yet. But in the middle of all that, positive things were also happening. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, UV-C light has become more relevant, and has taken off again by fighting the virus.
Afke Bokma, Global marketing program lead UV-C at Signify explains: “Today the efficacy of UV-C as a powerful form of disinfection for air, surfaces, objects and water, is well known. For the last 35 years, Signify has been gaining expertise and knowledge in developing UV-C lighting solutions, mostly for water purification and pools.
“In 2020, the disinfection capabilities of UV-C light were even more highlighted, when the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University, tested the efficacy of Signify UV-C light sources against SAR-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. Once test results showed that UV-C lighting solutions reduced the virus to below detectable levels as in as little as 9 seconds, UV-C immediately became of high interest to many application areas. We were overwhelmed with questions learning more about UV-C and its possibilities. With our conventional UV-C technology and products at core of our business, we were able to develop new UV-C solutions, meeting the new demand of disinfection.”
“UV-C has been given impactful significance by COVID-19”
The real turning point was in February and March last year. The entire Signify UV-C programme kicked off and the COVID-19 pandemic saw interest in UV-C lighting skyrocket. Signify alone has launched numerous new families of UV-C products in the past year – from air disinfection luminaires and chambers to wheelable trollies and battens for surface disinfection, even a desk-lamp for home use. As their marketing and communication partner, Bovil worked closely with Signify – both strategically and creatively – on bringing UV-C to the market and launching these new UV-C products. And it looks like this was just the start.
Afke: “With the roll-out of vaccines, we now see that European countries are going to focus more on the recovery phase. This doesn’t mean that UV-C and its development now stops, on the contrary. At Signify, we’re convinced that UV-C lighting can play an important part in a post-pandemic world and feature in European recovery plans.”
“UV-C light covers the entire cycle – from cure to prevention.”
What the pandemic has done is to give fresh impetus to the trend of health and wellbeing in the workplace, which was gaining ground long-before the pandemic. If people are to have the confidence to return to offices, then greater attention must be paid to keeping them safe. But also, when looking at the rest of society, people want to go out on the streets again. Travelling to work and around the world, but also visiting public places such as festivals, restaurants and museums. And of course, shopping at their favourite retail stores. In order to realise a safe environment for people to do all that, UV-C can play a key part – especially in high traffic areas. “With that being said, you can state that UV-C covers the entire cycle – from cure to prevention.”
The idea of UV-C playing a key role in prevention is already being piloted as we speak. “In Germany, a large supermarket chain integrated over 30 UV-C air disinfection lighting solutions and in Slovakia we are working with a national drugstore on applying UV-C light. Next to this, sports stadiums such as the PSV football stadium, Leipzig Red Bull Arena and Harlequin Football Club applied UV-C light to bring an additional layer of protection to their players. And of course, multiple Signify offices in Europe are equipped with UV-C disinfection lighting.”
Working on UV-C developments as a prevention goes even further than integrating it into buildings. “At Signify, as part of the green deal, and with the insights from the industries we’re also looking at creating environments with light for health and well-being. UV-C technology most likely plays a role in protecting employees in buildings. Looking at an institute like The International Wellbeing Standard, progress is being made on new Health and Safety ratings, which will feature UV-C technology. This also links to the sustainable element of it, making UV-C even more future-proof in meeting SDG 3: good health and well-being.”
More future developments
“Signify already offers UV-C solutions for the market and consumers. And it doesn’t stop there. Product development will continue, as UV-C will remain relevant and become even more important. The demand for certain disinfection solutions will probably become more specific, so our UV-C solutions will become more specific as well. And also, other technologies will be combined and or integrated with UV-C. People must be able to trust the surfaces they touch and the air that they breathe – pandemic or no pandemic. This is where UV-C lighting makes a real difference with its extraordinary power to disinfect. It’s a technology for the new normal.”
“UV-C remains relevant. In fact, it becomes even more important, even after COVID-19”
Afke Bokma and the entire Signify UV-C team worked together with Bovil with great pleasure. “The team at Bovil really helped us with positioning the UV-C proposition both strategically and creatively in the market last year. The development of the different types of digital messaging, product launches, strategic roll-out plans along the customer decision journey; it was all there. All within a professional, pragmatic and constructive way of working. And – like with all things that are under time pressures – we had to act fast. The Bovil team responded quickly and was very flexible. We really appreciated that.”
“Bovil really helped us position the UV-C proposition in the market – both strategically and creatively.”
Bovil is also really proud of what was developed last year together with Signify, so it was a great success and convenience for both parties. Signify and Bovil have already teamed up again to take the first next steps, preparing for the follow-up of rolling out the UV-C programme.