Reducing maternal mortality, responding to haze and flood situations with LED lighting, and appliances that promote healthy eating are just some of the innovations revealed at the Philips Innovation Experience 2015 in Singapore last month.
Themed around “Advancing Healthcare, Empowering Healthy Living, and Smarter Connected Cities”, the inaugural event showcased products and solutions that promote a sustainable future and that can improve people’s lives.
“As our world becomes increasingly connected, our focus has shifted from building products to designing total solutions.
“At this innovation event, you will see how Philips solutions improve people’s lives by helping them live a healthier life, increasing the efficiencies of healthcare systems, and using advanced lighting solutions to create safer and more sustainable cities,” said Fabian Wong, chief executive officer, Philips Asean and Pacific, in his welcome speech.
With the global population projected to grow to 9 billion by 2050, increasing demand for food, water and energy is inevitable. Philips’ global mission is to improve the lives of 3 billion people by 2025.
“With a growing population and a rising middle class come issues related to an ageing population such as increasing chronic diseases and higher healthcare costs. Cities will also need a safe, healthy environment,” said Wong.
“What we see today is the coming together of the consumer and professional healthcare spaces. People want to manage their own health better and live a healthier lifestyle. We also want to empower healthcare professionals to work more effectively and deliver better diagnosis and treatment,” he said.
To enable this revolution, Wong added, healthcare has to be developed as an integrated service across the entire continuum of health, from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment, and homecare.
“The portfolio of our health systems and personal health business already spans this continuum,” said Wong, adding that since Philips was first formed 124 years ago, it has produced over 100,000 patents.
In September 2014, the Dutch company announced that it would be re-aligned to two focus companies: HealthTech (which combines the former Healthcare and Consumer Lifestyle divisions) and Lighting Solutions.
Over the past five decades, life expectancy has gone up significantly with healthcare costs rising in tandem. There is concern that existing healthcare systems will not be able to meet the increasing need for affordable healthcare, and one proposal is developing more private-public partnerships.
“I believe Philips HealthTech, in the way we address the continuum of care, is going to be a key partner with health ministries, education ministries, and other public and private entities to develop the healthcare industry going forward,” said Diederik Zeven, vice president and general manager, Philips Healthcare Asean and Pacific, during an interview at the event.
“In the future, say 30 or 40 years from now, homecare and allowing people to manage and monitor their health from home are critical. Driving the awareness that prevention goes a long way towards helping people stay out of the emergency room is also important,” said Zeven.
At the event, Philips showed how its cloud-based solutions can connect the patient from the hospital to their home. It also demonstrated how personalised digital solutions can help people living with disabilities or chronic diseases manage their condition from the comfort of their own home.
> These include the PulseRelief, an app-enabled TENS (Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve Stimulation) device that helps chronic pain sufferers manage their pain without drugs.
> Another tool is the BlueControl, wearable, drug-free therapy that controls mild to moderate psoriasis vulgaris (a skin disease) with blue LED light, helping to reduce redness and scaling, and the thickness and extent of psoriasis vulgaris plaques across the body.
> The company’s eCareCompanion and eCarecoordinator are its first two clinical applications developed for the cloud-based Philips Digital Health Platform to help caregivers monitor and engage with patients with multiple chronic conditions in the patients’ homes.
> In the area of prostate cancer, Philips is currently developing a prototype GPS-like support tool that could help guide surgeons during focal brachytherapy delivery, a targeted delivery of radioactive implants to kill the cancer.
To help prostate cancer patients take an active role in making treatment choices is ProstAid, a prototype, web-based app designed to provide a personalised list of the most suitable treatment options and supporting information.
> A pilot project that started over a year ago in Indonesia to help reduce maternal mortality, especially in rural areas, is the Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring (MoM) solution.
The telehealth platform enables remote monitoring and screening of pregnant women to prevent fatal complications. It uses mobile application software to collect data from pregnant mothers or midwives to record parameters such as blood pressure, weight, and fetal movement.
The information then goes into the app and is transmitted to an obstetrics and gynaecology clinic where a doctor assesses whether the mother can deliver at home or needs to come into the clinic to give birth.
Within the first three months of its introduction, the pilot project identified 60 out of 500 expectant mothers as being high-risk pregnancies.
Philips collaborates with the Indonesian Reproduction Science Institute under the Bundamedik hospital group and the Health Ministry for this pilot project.
This year, MoM won the Indonesia Telehealth Company of the Year Award from market research company Frost & Sullivan.
Promoting healthy living
Leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating healthy, is becoming a key concern among more people today.
“With increasing affluence in Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley, global trends related to nutritious and homemade food really resonate well with people,” said Selina Thurer, vice president and general manager, Personal Health, Philips Asean and Pacific.
One of the company’s innovative products in this area is its Digital Airfryer, featuring the Rapid Air Technology that allows the user to fry, bake, roast, and grill food by using little or no oil.
“Most Malaysians love fried food, but families feel guilty eating it, so the Airfryer allows people to still eat fried food at home but in a healthier way,” said Thurer.
To promote low-fat cooking for better heart health, Philips Malaysia joined with the National Heart Institute (IJN) this year to hold a community education initiative called Fatcheck for a Healthy Heart programme.
A series of cooking competitions was held where participants came up with low fat dishes using the Philips Airfryer. Finalists’ recipes were published in the Fatcheck cookbook Heart-y Meals: Smart Guide To Guilt-Free Cooking. The book was launched on Sept 22, in conjunction with World Heart Day.
With the recent haze conditions in Malaysia and Singapore, air purifiers certainly experienced a surge in demand.
One of the latest purifiers from Philips is the Air Purifier 3000 series, designed with the new Aerasense technology. Its advanced sensor can accurately measure PM2.5 particles (only detectable with an electron microscope) and monitors indoor air quality in real time.
If you are a noodle lover, the Philips Avance Collection Noodle Maker helps you make your own healthy noodles in 10 minutes and you can add in your own nutritious ingredients like spinach and carrot juice.
A brighter future
In the lighting arena, Philips is playing a key role in promoting the use of LED lights – or LED-ification – and smart connectivity.
“People want to upgrade to LED because the return-on-investment is becoming extremely attractive – cost points have come down, and there is huge energy-saving potential,” said Patricia Yim, market leader, Lighting Asean Pacific.
Energy-efficient, LED lights are 80% cheaper than conventional lighting. Beyond that, LED is wavelength-driven, and being able to vary wavelengths means the ability to produce data, opening the door to a world of possibilities.
“Think of a new world where lightpoints are like pixels on a screen and every lightpoint can produce data,” said Yim.
Last year, Philips launched the world’s first complete Power-over-Ethernet connected office lighting system that allows workers personal control of their office lighting via smartphones, and more efficient management of a building facility.
In terms of indoor application, Philips is piloting a connected lighting system that uses LED in-store lighting to communicate location-based information to shoppers via a smartphone app. The lighting works with the app to send special offers and information to the shopper relevant to their location in the store. With this system, a shopper will also be able to accurately locate an item in a supermarket aisle.
When it comes to healthcare, lights also play a role in patients’ recovery process.
Healwell is a system being implemented in health environments in Indonesia and the Philippines using Philips LED lighting.
“Lighting has a direct impact on mood, emotion and well-being. What we do is imitate the natural rhythm (in terms of intensity and colour temperature) of lighting in indoor spaces by varying the wavelengths of the LED lights.
“Research has proven that by following this rhythm, patients can regulate stress levels, improve sleeping patterns and recover faster,” said Yim.
Connectivity is the way forward in the future of modern cities.
CityTouch is a software platform for outdoor lighting that offers simple web applications to manage street lights and analyse lighting data. The system maps out all the street lamps in a city, and information like which street lamps are not working and their energy usage is sent to a cloud-based server.
The individual lights can also be turned on and off, or dimmed or brightened, at different times and situations like haze or accidents.
“In a haze situation, if the street lamp system is not connected, it’s almost impossible to switch on the thousands of street lamps manually in the city. And imagine having to turn them all off after a few hours, if the haze eases,” said Yim.
Currently, CityTouch is in place in certain parts of Indonesia while the city of Los Angeles is in the process of implementing it.
In Malaysia’s Klang Valley, over 2011 and 2012, Philips designed and installed – and continues to maintain – an energy-efficient LED lighting solution for the Federal Highway, the Middle Ring Road II, and the Subang Highway link to the old airport. More recently, over 2014 and this year, the NKVE Highway began featuring the Philips LED street lighting system.
“With connected lightpoints, we can also track the water level and monitor flooding in an area.
“The possibilities are endless. That’s the power of connectivity,” said Yim.