'We are the hub of Philips' digital journey'

Unlike in the West, here we work together based on Indian ethos. We understand the problems of other businesses to innovate. We are about 2,300 peopl

'We are the hub of Philips' digital journey'
Amsterdam-based Philips is a household name in India with its consumer lifestyle products and lighting systems touching millions of people across the country.

Philips Innovation Campus (PIC) in Bengaluru, the technology pivot of the parent organisation, is in the forefront of research in cutting-edge areas like the Internet of Things (IoT) and devices connected to the Web.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald’s N V Vijayakumar, Philips Innovation Campus (PIC) Chief Executive Officer Srinivas Prasad reveals his action plan to bring out affordable, high-end solutions in the areas of consumer lifestyle and healthcare with focus on digital innovation, sensors, mobility and data analytics.  
 
What is PIC’s place in the innovation map of Philips?
Philips has 55 research and development centres across the globe and PIC is one of the biggest centres, and among the top three in terms of size. It is unique in being involved in all businesses of Philips like consumer lifestyle, lighting, healthcare, IT, front-end core research and intellectual property, besides services.

Unlike the Western work culture, here we work together based on Indian ethos. We understand the problems of other businesses which actually help my colleagues to innovate and do a lot better. We are close to about 2,300 people and registered a CAGR of 20 per cent in the last 3-4 years and we will continue to grow. We are extending our consumer experience centre at this campus.

Can you elaborate on cutting-edge technologies PIC is currently working on?
We do a lot of software development, end-to-end product development, and solutions that link many products together. We are the hub of Philips' digital innovation journey like making device-connected, futuristic Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, and provide a platform to touch people’s lives. Our mission in life is to touch the lives of three billion people by 2025. When you say touch a life of a person, you can touch him through consumer products, lighting, and healthcare.

Internet penetration has really changed the landscape of product development in every company. How do you view its impact?
It is the silver jubilee of the invention of the World Wide Web. It has really changed the way we live and it is my strong belief that in the coming decade the changes brought by the internet will surpass all that we have seen in the past 25 years. What I will call the new avatar of internet is going to be the IoT where you will be connecting people to the physical world through sensors. They will measure the environment, help agriculture, industry, and healthcare. PIC will focus more on health-related sensors.

What will be the impact of the internet on the healthcare segment?
Sensors will be either external or embedded within the body. Using them, our health information will be sourced and analysed in real time.

The humongous amount of data when analysed in real-time will provide you inputs to make better decisions and lead better lives. The data from other sources will also help us to provide a better environment, better industrial growth, and better healthcare. I believe that last mentioned will have more impact in India.

Can you elaborate on the healthcare solution on which PCI is currently working?
One of the biggest challenges the world is facing is chronic diseases. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) of the lung, cardio vascular diseases, cancer, mental illness and diabetes. To counter COPD, we have developed a solution at our Dreamforce centre in the US. The solution consists of a patch with sensors. It does not just measure heart rate and vital signs, but also measures a lot of things which most other sensors in the market don’t —  breathing pattern, sleep pattern, and others. A patch transmits data real time to a backend cloud-based health suite digital platform.

Two products were launched at Dreamforce — ‘E Care Coordinator’ and ‘E Care Companion’. Here complex algorithms look at the data in real-time and this data analytics support will initiate a trigger to the doctor so that she can look at all parameters and then advise on what to do. The E-Care Companion is a tablet-based application with access to a patient’s data. We have developed a health suite platform out of PIC and this was announced about 4-5 months ago.

It provides very rich APIs and a development kit for developers to get the devices or application on the platform. In 2015, you will see PIC playing a big role in making such things happen.

How do you view innovation in the healthcare segment in India?
In India, our digital innovations can help us address the healthcare access challenges in three scenarios — urban setting, semi urban- tier 2-3 setting, and rural setting. If you want to reduce the cost of people coming to the hospital, we have to take the hospital to the person. Here we have developed a bucket of tele-solutions from Philips, aligned to the health platform.

We have also developed an intensive care unit for remote areas. Here data on patients will be monitored using HD camera which can zoom in on the breathing pattern or some specific area. We have developed an ECG using a tablet.

It provides the highest quality of diagnosis on heart problems. This was launched in the Indian market out of this centre. It’s a first of its kind globally. For maternal healthcare, we have developed a simple application that carries a BP cuff, a needle bottler, a weighing scale, and a thermometer. Data is captured into this application through Bluetooth.

What changes are you expecting in the consumer electronics arena?
Earlier, when you went and bought a mixie, or a pressure cooker, once the sale is made I will lose my connect with you as a consumer. But in the connected world, when you sell a product, it is a start of a new relationship which will help us service customers better. We have developed a fun app out of this centre and this augments our sale of Philips shavers.

The elements in the solution connects over 3G to a backend cloud. It sends images to the backend platform which has a very high image processing algorithm. This will help you plan your shave with guidance from the app. Then we have the connected cooker. Cooking becomes very easy and it is all through an app. Using it you can choose the dish, and get instructions on the steps you need to follow to cook that dish. There are lot more connected devices like coffee maker.

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