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July - 2013 - issue > View Point
Data will Drive the Future of Consumer Electronics
Vijay Solanki
Senior Director - Digital Innovation-Philips
Monday, July 1, 2013
Koninklijke Philips N.V. (NYSE-PHG) is a Dutch multinational engineering and electronics conglomerate headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands with a market cap of $25.5 billion.

Philips is all about innovation, digital innovation. The foremost priority is to analyze which product can be digitalized and made simpler. The strategy employed is to keep a close tab on consumer trends and market pain points.

The role of Philips is to put brains into products. By placing brains into products, we bring the product closer to the consumers’ heart. For instance, in a baby monitor for a mother of a new born baby, we add a few sensors, cameras and a microphone. By adding an extra feature of being able to integrate the same into a Smartphone; it is possible to create a different experience that can allow other family members such as grandparents to take care of the child. The biggest concern around young babies is being alerted around an issue. So suddenly what was just a baby monitor starts to become much more than that, the role requires absolute thinking that allows us to completely transform the products.

The Move from Hardware to Software

Revolving around the challenges faced, Philips faces the challenges that big organizations which is digital go through on a daily basis. These changes are disrupting the entire industry. Traditionally the business focus of our organization has been around hardware. Now there is a strong attraction towards software and services. Equally we are moving from hardware to software and from products to services. Philips is gearing up to operate in this new world. We are looking at changing our business models to accommodate movement towards software and services.

In the context of trends, the basic mobile trends are definitely making waves around the world; more specifically, growth in connectivity. As mobiles grow smarter and smarter, the company has learnt that the world is moving into a space where we connect with different people. One other megatrend is the notion of everybody is a photographer and a filmmaker. Close to hundred hours of video and 200,000+ images are shared every minute on the Internet. All of the countries are accelerating China is accelerating at an expeditious pace and has grown bigger than the U.S. for mobile trends.

Hackathons- the New Fun Way to Speed up Innovation

To drive innovation, many companies are now resorting to the event type known as hackathons, or codefest. Hackathons are a great way to engage the employees and get the best out of their programming abilities. A hackathon is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. After consumer insights, the programmers take a proposition to build a prototype that can be the most best suited for the target audience. While a normal program building routine takes close to 3 to 4 months, a hackathon can lead to very fast and successful decisions within a week. A prototype can be envisioned on day one and can be tested on the fifth day.

Consumers want Smartphones to be an All-In-One Device

In the purview of long term goals, connected products are increasingly being developed by Philips. There are a lot of new devices in the offering for the future in Philips. The consumer expects the Smartphone to play a bigger role in their day to day activities.

To accommodate these changing trends, organizations need to get smarter and smarter. Over time old devices will take up new roles, even the baby monitor can even become a sleep coach. The baby monitor could help by analyzing the historical data of the sleep patterns of the baby and then guide the parents on what would be the most ideal way to put the baby to sleep. Using historical data will become a very important roadmap for consumer technologies in the nearby future. (As told to Vignesh.A)

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