October 10, 2023 | 7 minute

Where There is Light, There is IoT: How IoT and Smart Lighting Integration Propels Digital Transformation of Hospitals

Nurse and patient in a well lit hospital patient room
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The cost of providing essential care to patients is high. Inefficient operations, rising labor costs, increased patient demand, and other external circumstances have inflated the cost of care. Investing in innovative  technologies that make a long-term impact on hospital operations is key for healthcare organizations looking to streamline operations, lower costs, and enable better patient outcomes. In the meantime, technologies continue to converge, offering health systems an affordable way to consolidate use cases, streamline workflows, and deliver better care to patients. IoT enabled Smart Lighting solutions, for example, is becoming an important step hospitals can take on the digital transformation journey to create affordable, sustainable, and high-quality care operation models.

Top Four Drivers of Hospital Lighting + IoT Integration

Until recently, health systems have focused heavily on investing in digital technology to improve clinical outcomes but neglected to implement new technologies to help with the operational side. Digital solutions focused on making daily hospital operations more efficient through better technology can save money and allow healthcare facilities to deliver better care at affordable prices. The four main factors that drive digital transformation are:

  • Cloud Maturity: The Cloud is more secure than ever before. It is now HIPAA and software-compliant, making it a preferred data storage and sharing system for hospitals. Your facility can securely and freely share data between multiple systems, significantly improving workflows and patient care by giving everyone access to the most up-to-date information.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy Technology (BLE): BLE has standardized IoT protocol, giving hospitals more freedom to choose the sensors and devices they require. Bluetooth technology allows you to future-proof your facility, giving you the option to use any newly developed technology or device compatible with Bluetooth.
  • Sustainability: While this used to be nice to have, it’s now critical. The push for greater sustainability is easily seen in the incentives offered by the government to businesses that implement better systems to conserve energy. Connected smart lights help to lower utility bills without the need to invest a significant amount of money to implement the change.
  • Affordability + Scalability: You can convert existing lighting or add new connected smart lights at any time as you expand.

Smart lighting helps to solve inefficiencies and delivers an excellent return on your investment by leveraging your existing infrastructure. The sustainability, scalability, better technology maturity, and future-proof nature of BLE make now the perfect time for smart lighting.

What Is Smart Lighting?

One of the latest advances on the operational side, smart lighting, is a must for smart hospitals and other healthcare buildings. Proper lighting is essential for hospitals, whether in an operating room, patient room, or equipment room. Having the right lighting for critical tasks is crucial as it lessens the likelihood of staff making an error, and puts patients at ease. Since hospitals already need lighting, making the switch to smart lighting is an excellent integration that delivers long-term rewards. IoT-enabled smart lighting that leverages the existing infrastructure will keep initial costs low, making it a great return on your investment.

Some smart lighting uses Bluetooth low-energy devices, called BLE Gateways, that are equipped with sensors and available for staff, patients, and hospital assets. Gateways plugged into the existing lighting infrastructure scan the BLE data from the various sensors and send it all to the Smart Lighting Cloud application via Wi-Fi. All you need for a smart lighting system is BLE location tags, plug-in gateways, and the Cloud with appropriate apps. This combination allows you to control lights remotely and interact with your environment and other smart devices.

The gateways are simple to use and fit right into the existing luminaire fixtures. This makes installation fast, simple, and elegant. Along with BLE capabilities, the gateways are infrared and have unique IDs that make room-level accuracy possible by scanning the location sensors. Plug & play wall extensions are also available to create coverage anywhere smart lights aren’t available.

Use Cases for IoT

Digital transformation improves every aspect of running a hospital, from medical devices to staff safety, and patient experience. IoT can increase reimbursements to raise profit margins, improve staff productivity, and reduce the number of staff turnovers.

Real-time visibility reduces waste in cases of misplacement or overuse of medical devices. It also helps to manage bed capacity to improve patient wait times, indoor navigation of the facility, and overall safety. Staff Smart Badges also increases safety by providing employees with wearable devices to summon help if they feel unsafe.

Advantages of Lighting-Based Location Services

Smart lighting systems provide value beyond illumination. Our preferred model, called Nature Connect, is particularly beneficial because it mimics natural light, bringing its benefits indoors. This includes gradual lighting to imitate the sun rising for wake-up, melanopic support throughout the day, optimal lighting for faster patient recovery, and lighting that promotes a natural sleep pattern. Providing patients with these lighting patterns is great for the circadian rhythm, soothing patients and making them feel more comfortable.


The increasing cost of electricity makes traditional lighting models unsustainable in the long term. Inefficient light bulbs, faulty fixtures, and lights left on for no reason all contribute to rising energy costs that can drain your resources. Hospitals can’t keep up with these increasing prices without passing along the cost to patients through higher fees. Smart lighting provides an opportunity to implement a more effective lighting system that improves your bottom line and allows you to pass the savings along to patients by offering high-quality, yet affordable services.

Smart lighting is also an excellent choice to help reduce your impact on the environment. Nearly half of greenhouse gas emissions come from large buildings. Using lighting systems equipped with embedded sensors to monitor and streamline energy use makes your facility far more energy efficient.


Typical lighting costs account for around 20% of most utility bills. This amounts to a huge amount of money for large facilities like hospitals. The waste of unnecessarily lighting unused spaces adds up quickly. Yet, improper lighting where it’s needed can lead to serious mistakes that negatively affect patient outcomes.

Implementing smart lighting can significantly lower your energy costs. The combination of gateways and sensors sends data to the Cloud to monitor when a room is occupied and when it’s empty and can remain dark. More advanced smart lighting capabilities also allow you to adjust light settings to promote patient comfort and recovery.


Another great benefit of choosing IoT-enabled smart lighting is its scalability. As we stated above, this technology comes with plug-in devices that let you use this digital technology in any room, even those not yet equipped with smart lights. It’s a simple matter to switch over to the installed luminaire gateways the next time your facility undergoes remodeling.

There is no limit to the scope and scale of smart lighting. It’s highly effective for hospitals of all sizes. Plus, you can easily install more gateways as you expand. Each new one you add comes with its unique identification number to interact with the staff, patient, and device BLE tags, increasing your coverage area and making hospital operations more efficient and convenient. Better yet, the applications of your smart lighting system are fully customizable, so you can choose exactly how to collect, analyze, and use the data stored in the Cloud. + Signify: Watch Our On-Demand Webinar

Are you excited to find out more about the practical applications of smart lighting and how it can transform your facility? We have a detailed webinar ready to go so you can get a more in-depth look into the components, use cases, and benefits of smart lighting to determine how best to implement this digital technology to your greatest advantage. Watch our informational webinar on-demand to learn more.

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