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CrowdGlow: lighting venues using mobile phones

Start-up CrowdGlow has announced technology that can control the displays of all the mobile phones within a venue to create an interactive lighting experience.

Do you remember the Opening Ceremony at the London 2012 Olympics? One very memorable feature was the ‘pixels’ – paddles at each seat with embedded LEDs, which together formed a giant canvas for lighting and video that brought the audience into the show.

Now, a new company called CrowdGlow is looking to provide a similar experience using audience members’ mobile phones. Using an iPad, the lighting designer can control “an unlimited number of phones”, communicating with them via Bluetooth – rather than relying on 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi – and a custom app for the specific concert or event (iOS and Android are supported).

At the start of the set, all the phones in the venue light up with solid colours: using an iPad the lighting designer can control the colour displayed, the speed at which it changes, and can also trigger LED flash sequences. Images can also be displayed on screens at any time – useful for showing branding, sponsor messages or announcing the next act on the programme.

 Watch the CrowdGlow video here:

CrowdGlow is described as being the world’s first real-world implementation of dynamic Bluetooth beacons. A single beacon has a range of up to 300m, and multiple beacons can be controlled in parallel for larger spaces.

CrowdGlow founder Joe Finnigan commented: “This is a world’s first. This form of live control of masses of phones has never been done before for events. This is just the start, we’ve got lots of exciting developments to come and we can’t wait to see how show designers all over the world use it to enhance their shows.”