Philips Minneapolis Showcase: Focusing on Experience

Today I attended a swank Philips showcase at the Graves 601 Hotel in downtown Minneapolis that I thought was a purely consumer electronics venue. My friend, Graeme Thickins, ensured I was invited and I knew that my partner, Michelle Lamb (site, blog) would also be interested in a consumer and home product event.

Having been at dozens of consumer electronics shows (CES) over the years and spent part of my career at other technology vendors such as Pioneer Electronics, Panasonic and Apple, I’m usually a bit jaded about seeing yet another TV set or iPod peripheral. What made this experience different is that I’m always intrigued, interested and fascinated by what Philips ships and the innovation they sometimes don’t…and today was no exception.

I was interested to see the Philips Ambient technology which I though, incorrectly, was focused solely on some interesting backlighting (which changes as the picture changes OR can be a statically set color) for HDTV sets. What I was surprised to learn was that Philips is focusing Ambient on lots of different areas, including medical where MRI sessions and other procedures often cause mental and emotional discomfort in patients and scares the beejeesus out of kids (peek at the second video on this page).

Ahh…it was starting to sink in as we stood and talked to the PR and Philips folks: This company is focused on experience. Though they state here that they’ve been at this ambient experience stuff and articulated their vision in 2003 (remember that vision is THE most important step and it’s pretty clear) it sure seems as though they’re certainly aligning all their products with experience.

They’ve even written a book on the subject of focusing on experience entitled The New Everyday: Views on Ambient Intelligence but the links on Philips sites are broken and Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others have only used copies (for over $100) on their site. The original publisher, 010Publishers, says it’s out of print since 2003. However, you can read the entire thing for free here at Google Books and — even though I just skimmed it — a lot of the concepts are strong.

It discusses a whole range of technology, Web and Internet-centric stuff you’ve read about often, but starting on page 292 is the fun stuff: A virtual, physical bedtime experience; a sensorial experience for travelers; a spatial environment for your senses and devices like iPronto. It will give you some interesting perspectives on this electronics giant and how they’re approaching the business.

Out of all that we saw today in lighting, audio, HDTV’s and more, I coveted the 50″ 1080p television but am going to absolutely buy the Philips VoIP841 Skype phone using DECT technology. It’s under $200, doesn’t need a computer, and I’ve used other DECT phones and they’re crystal clear, quiet and have a great range.

Lastly, it’s amazed me for a long time that this behemoth electronics company has such a low profile here in the United States. Their products are first class, they’re on par with the best in the world, and yet I find people I know often overlooking the brand. I’m puzzled by this and can only guess it’s because Philips is probably the most conservative, stoic brand I know of in technology.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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