Light up the world Measuring the characteristics of light in a particular environment is of considerable interest to many, from architects and lighting designers to researchers.

Light affects the way we live our lives. From its fundamental effects on our circadian rhythms and emotional well-being, through the more regulated health and safety aspects of how our offices and homes are lit, to the ambience in retail outlets and art galleries, light subtly influences our actions and moods.

Wave Illumination, an offshoot of spectroscopy specialists Ocean Optics, recently launched WaveGo, a compact and very portable high-accuracy spectral measurement device that captures not only the lux (intensity) of light but also parameters such as colour temperature, colour rendering and perceived colour information. “WaveGo is a tool to help the user understand the lighting in their environment,” explains Jon Adams of Wave Illumination. “It makes understanding lighting conditions, beyond power measurements, simple and intuitive.”

Wave Illumination Snapshot

“Wave Illumination came to us with an early version of the app they wanted, which at that point only worked with an Android device,” remembers Matt Standage, OCC’s Head of UX Design. “Their early prototype proved the idea was possible and they had also done quite a lot of market research. They were keen to get going quickly and had a well-defined view of what they were aiming to achieve.”

Matt and the OCC team used the Discovery process to define and explore what was wanted. A one-day workshop with key stakeholders in the company, including their product manager and technical marketing representatives, adopted a ‘jobs-to-be-done’ framework. This provides a means to consider the problem from a basic level and in a structured way. “It was important to think about the goal, going back to basics and exploring all the alternatives, before proposing the technical solution – it helped us to fill in the details by unpacking their existing ideas,” says Matt.

Exploring the ways in which various users might want to use the app highlighted possible needs. Would, say, an architect monitoring light in a building want to automatically record his or her exact position, or log readings over the course of a day? And what about internal users – what will people in the company be doing to support the app and add features to it in the next few years?

Following these investigations and a precise specification of requirements, OCC collaborated with Ocean Optics and Oxford Product Design to write the software needed, contributing particularly to the user interface and new measurement and calculation code. OCC’s previous experience also smoothed the way to getting the app into the app store.

The end result is a mobile WaveGo app which is both Android and IOS compatible. It measures key light parameters and provides the ability to view results in real time as well as exporting data to the new WaveCloud platform. And because all the computing is in the phone, the measuring device itself is compact and very portable. Notably, graphs are exactly the same on the app and in the cloud.