Light keeps getting smarter, innovation supported by Invantive

Light is much more than flicking a switch - it’s a billion dollar industry. Working smartly with lighting, that will be the motto in the future.

This was said by Henk de Hartog of Maiken Systems in Borculo and Kesteren. The important word in this matter is effectiveness. A lot of money can be made as well. “Millions of euros are wasted in the darkness. If the Dutch government had paid attention in 2011, effective lighting could have saved 250 million euros every year, instead of working with the traditional lighting.” Invantive supports Maiken Systems with Invantive Vision to effectively deal with project management. The amount of errors made is limited to just a few percent.

Lights off

Nobody leaves the lights on at home when nobody is home. They do leave a light on to give burglars the idea that somebody is home. Leaving lights on when it is not necessary, is a waste. It could save a lot of money to use lighting smartly. “It’s a market that has great growth potential. Companies are battling for the billions of euros that the market entails”, says Henk de Hartog. Maiken Systems is busy creating solutions for what we have started considering normal: light for 24 hours a day. It is almost impossible to understand the impact a simple lamp has on the life of modern people.

700 billion euros

Maiken Systems takes care of the lighting on about half of the Dutch highways and streets. A large number of councils also use the innovative solutions of the company. ”Especially with this financial crisis, people start to think of lighting and that offers many chances”, says Henk de Hartog. He expects the investments and savings to globally increase to as much as 700 billion euros in 2020. "If we can get our hands on one percent of this amount as company, I am satisfied. De Hartog notices a lot of new competition from companies such as Samsung, Google and Microsoft, though. "If such companies start to show interest in a market, it is bound to influence the market potential. Especially in the coming few years a lot of money will be invested in innovative lighting solutions.”

Flicking the switch

A few decades ago all you had to do was flick a switch. If it got dark, you turned the lighting on. When the sun came up, you turned the lights off. The lighting on the streets used to be on all night, even if nobody was out and about. This is going to change - the lights on highways are often off nowadays, for example. “In the future, only the junctions on highways will be lit,” predicts De Hartog. That’s not certain either, because on the highway the A28 a test has started to also turn off the lighting in the center divider. We now need to flick the switch figuratively. Thinking of lighting will get an entirely new dimension.

Incomprehension on the highway

In times of scarcity, people become more inventive and creative. In this current global crisis, this leads to great measures as well. The lights have been turned off on the majority of the Dutch highways during the night and during the Summer months, the lights completely stay off. This saves about 70 percent on electricity, management and maintenance. This saves 91 euros per post per year. De Hartog: “Another 130,000 light posts will be turned off. “If the government of 2011 had imposed effective lighting, they could have saved 250 million euros easily.”

Lighting and safety

The discussions on lighting and safety have yet to be completed. Supporters and opponents of lighting on highways keep on arguing - social security is also talked about a lot. Everybody agrees on one thing: lighting should be taken care of in a smart way. More light is not the right solution as nobody keeps lights turned on when it’s not needed.

Lighting plan

“That’s why we’re working on finding out where people are at what time. We want to create a lighting plan based on that information. That can be done based on mobile telephone signals, but also via navigation systems. If we know where people are, we can turn the lights on. It is too easy to just turn lights on and off as somebody passes. Eyes need to adjust to light and darkness. More and more councils are using less street lighting. What should be done with social security though? When somebody cycles through a dark park, it is already possible to have the lights switch on three lights ahead and then turn off after he cyclist has passed. Somebody with bad intentions can see the cyclist coming from far ahead. That cannot be the consequence."

Lighting innovation

Maiken focuses on developing and delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for electronic controls, including public lighting. The company wants to help reducing energy use and CO2 emissions with its products. There are a lot of developments in a short period of time. Maiken is busy creating ‘new light’ in collaboration with TNO and the University of Technology of Delft. They’re focusing on interactive, energy efficient and especially sustainable lighting. Reuse is becoming more popular than using fossil fuels with the same service life. In 1991 Maiken started with a simple on/off device - now they’re working on complex lighting systems.

Control on projects

Maiken has been working with Invantive since 2010. De Hartog says: “Invantive makes sure our project administration is effective and simple. In the past we used to keep track of everything in Excel sheets. There was no consistency in connections between the worksheets. Often the data were entered by different people and not always correctly processed by the administration department. After implementing Invantive Vision, the error percentage has been limited to just a few percent. Only human mistakes can create errors. When people don’t fill in hours for a project, you can’t clear them either."


Invantive’s software cannot be compared to other solutions for managing projects, hours and services. Apart from standard projects, Invantive Vision also enables us to manage complex projects and research projects. A good example for a project is, for example, the realization of the austerity measure for Rijkswaterstaat. Especially in the case of complex and special projects it is important to keep an overview of the costs. You can’t use just your experience with such complex projects. Invantive Vision has been a great help to us.”