Philips Expanding Healthcare Portfolio

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EINDHOVEN (NETHERLANDS): Philips’ Bangalore innovation centre will play an increasingly important role, Bert van Meurs, senior vice president in Philips Healthcare, said here.

“A lot of our solutions will come out of India,” he said, and added that collaborating with startups in the healthcare space was an integral part of the innovation strategy. “We may even acquire startups if we think the strategy is right,” he said.

The Dutch company, which announced last month that it was splitting into two separate legal entities — one that will look at healthcare and consumer lifestyle solutions and the other that will focus on lighting — has its second biggest R&D operations in Bangalore.

The centre, with over 2,000 people, has been an integral part of the company’s innovations for over a decade and in more recent years has also focused on creating solutions for India and similar markets, most notably in healthcare. In healthcare, the objective now is to be present across the spectrum. Company CEO Frans van Houten said home and professional care of patients was becoming one continuum. “Governments are looking beyond hospitals,” he said, given that hospital care had become too expensive.

He said in this context, the healthcare and consumer lifestyle businesses could together create a stronger platform for innovations in the space.

Van Meurs noted that Philips’ electric toothbrushes, air fryers (which obviate the need for oil in cooking), and air purifiers were good examples of the opportunities in integrating healthcare and consumer lifestyle.

“We can look at integrating health apps into cookers and fryers, we can have products that measure your activity and %integrate that and other data about you into relevant solutions,” he said.

Van Houten said that even though lighting would be a separate business, many aspects of the lighting business were relevant to the healthcare and consumer lifestyle businesses and so the research divisions of the two entities would work collaboratively.

He noted that a new pain relieving solution and a treatment for psoriasis developed by Philips both used blue LED light, and that the company was working on apps that would alert deaf people to an incoming call or a door bell by, say, flashing a brighter light on the IP-driven home lighting.

(The correspondent was in Eindhoven, Netherlands, at the invitation of Philips)

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