Shining a Light on the Future

With more than 100 years of experience, and over 130,000 patents, Philips is one of the most innovative tech companies on the planet. DEKRA solutions casts a glance into the world of tomorrow.

Philips develops state of the art diagnostic imaging devices in cooperation with medical experts. (Picture: DEKRA)

It is rare for Philips’ eight research and development laboratories in Asia, Europe and North America to open their doors to the outside world. Now and again, a DEKRA engineer may be permitted inside, thanks to the healthy and trusting relationship that the testing and certifying body has enjoyed with Philips for many years – a relationship founded on their common goal – safety.

Philips reacts to future challenges in a manner otherwise only seen in tech giants such as Apple and Google. Many of its sites are referred to as campuses, and the Work Place Innovation Concept has helped create a fascinating, inspiring atmosphere. Breakout areas allow employees from departments that would otherwise have nothing to do with one another to meet and exchange ideas, whilst focus rooms provide the perfect conditions for individuals to retreat and concentrate on complex work. State of the art lighting technology – one of Philips’ core competencies – intelligently synchronizes itself with the daylight outside, as well as the individual requirements within each room.

Philips Lighting sees massive potential in the networking and intelligent control of lighting installations for better safety, energy efficiency and comfort – be they in the home, on the road, or at work. One example is the “Smartroad” in Hamburg’s Hafencity district, which features intelligent LED street lighting. The already very efficient street lamps are dimmed to 80% in regular commercial traffic, as vehicles light their paths themselves. Should the street lamps recognize a cyclist, they switch back to full power in order to guide the cyclist safely to their destination. Other road users are made aware of the situation from far away, thanks to the spotlight effect of the brighter lighting.

In the future, smart cities will use intelligent management software to adapt LED lighting to traffic flow, weather conditions and the time of day. Maintenance situations will be recognized and located by the system independently. Furthermore, networked street lights will function as WiFi hotspots and charging stations for electric vehicles. Doubts surrounding the effectiveness of LED technology have long been put to rest; Philips even recently fitted the first football stadia with LED floodlights. Researchers were able to achieve the required light intensity without any flickering – important for the high-frequency recording of slow-motion cameras.

Usage of LEDs in buildings allows lighting to adapt both the color and intensity of the light to the time of day, aiding human biorhythm. This ensures wellbeing at home and supports concentration at work. It can also be adapted to cater for the specific needs of plants. This simplifies city farming on small plots spread across several levels, whilst eliminating the need for pesticides. It could also be used in keeping plants healthy on long journeys in space.

The Philips researchers also discovered that blue LEDs can be used to alleviate back pain. Medical technology has long been tradition at Royal Philips. “We want to be the biggest health company on the planet,” states Company Spokesperson Sebastian Lindemann. Research Scientist Dr. Karsten Sommer adds: “We monitor the entire spectrum of health – from healthy living, through prevention, diagnosis and therapy, and on to rehabilitation.”

Available in the USA: The Philips Aging Well Program –a screen based rehabilitation tool for home use. (Picture: DEKRA)

This is another area for intelligent networking: The elderly can maintain their fitness using products from the Aging Well Program, whilst keeping track of their health using an app in combination with diagnosis tools such as watches, scales, thermometers and blood pressure gauges. Whether this valuable information should be shared with the doctor is a matter for the individual to decide.

Sommer, a 30 year old physicist, works predominantly with diagnostic imaging devices for use in clinics. “We work in teams, regularly meeting with other groups and presenting each other our current issues. That often inspires new ideas.” He finds the working atmosphere at Philips’ campus in Hamburg even more inquisitive and creative than that which he encountered at university.

Looking around Philips’ German headquarters in Hamburg feels like looking into the future, and not just that of the workplace.

Take a look at the new DEKRA Solutions magazine.

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