Zigbee Alliance Interviews Head of Technology of Philips Hue (Long)
My. Name is Daniel Mineta I'm one, of the cofounders of MMB networks in Toronto Canada and also. The marketing, work for chair of his abilities, hi, my name's Georgie, money I'm. One, of the founders, of Philips, few lights consisted of, technology, systems. So. Thanks for taking the time to, talk to us we want to talk to you a little bit about, Philips. Choice of ZigBee and how that's impacted, Hugh. And the success of the programme and also how. Philips. And the U team sees the, connected home so one of the first questions I wanted, to ask is why, did. You set out to make a connected, product in the first place, yeah so the reason, we really set, out to, make lighting. Connects it is. Born out of frustration, that. People take lightly for granted, we. Do amazing, things with, lighting in different, industries. Different parts, of the world but normal. Consumers, is, always. Been a bit difficult to appreciate, what they mean for you and really experience, it and that's, really what wants to do by taking, the humble like Albany connecting it's good to know and, you spoke about the difference that you're making can you talk about some of the ways that you've seen that you've made a difference in people's lives or things that people done with it that really made, you feel like you were changing. Lives changing the world yeah so I think there is huge, wealth stories, for consumers, there are the the, widely used use cases I think we, are making, people's, homes more beautiful, work the world and. We're always really happy to see the ways people are actually using it to decorate make, their homes more personal, but. There are also some fantastic stories. That come, from the community people using it in surprising, ways and my favourites, use cases as how the hearing. Impaired community is, using it to give themselves personalised. Ringtones, for the first time so they can tell it was calling me is. There. A use, that you've heard of there was one, that was just totally unexpected, I think. The the wackiest use case that, is one I always like, to talk up is an. App called, exoplanets. For hue and unless, you experience, what lights and conditions would be like on any known. Planets, in the universe, very. Cool okay to, try the surface of the Sun one. How. Do you use human. Hope so. I have, an 18 month old daughter and. So it's been quite, a journey of, sleep deprivation in the last 18. Months and one, of the things I've appreciated, the most about Hugh over. The last months is, really how I can have different. Light settings at different, times of the day which. Interact. With my physiology. So. We. Are woken, up by, blue light it triggers hormone, production our brain so the worst thing you could do both. For, yourself and, for your, daughter and it's, just turned on normal light blue spectrum and wakes people up so, what I have in my herb is actually the lights when I get up in the night they automatically. Go to a, deal. Reddish, stumble light setting, which. Interferes, less with my sleep and more importantly, doesn't wake my daughter up more than she already is, that's. A fantastic use case pretty much anything that you can do to make parents lives a little bit easier is, probably a very, desirable, use can indeed indeed from the concept, of the.
Hue Program and the beginning or the desire, to make connected light how. Did you, how. Did you go about doing that how did you do that within noise so. We. Had the opportunity to really create. Here, as part of an internal, startup come so we had quite a lot of freedom, to really innovate. Outside, the normal confines of what we do inside Philips, and. What. We actually did, is we actually ran a lot of tracks, that would often be sequential, in parallel, so we're actually thinking, about in researching. The core use cases and value proposition, in parallel. With building first prototypes, of the system in parallel, with talking. To retailers, where, we could potentially sell it and also, thinking about what the next steps would be so. That label just have very close. Interaction. And we, didn't know we were going to make the product able to do colors, are not just tunable, white until. We heard some of the first responses, from interviews, of consumers, say actually that would be really exciting. And. Would give me a lot of stories, to talk about and. So it was really something that, hand-in-hand. Thinking. What, we could build in, parallel. With what we should don't, yeah. There seems to be a lot of storytelling. When it comes to the ways, that people are using you and the way that people using lighting no I mean is it's absolutely crucial to tell the story I think what a lot of companies, do as well as they focus on the technology, and. In the end making a product connected. Doesn't. Add any value to anyone you have to tell the story about what that means towards, people and so a lot of our energy in a lot of the way we talk to what consumers, is really, just telling them okay this, is how lighting can enrich your lives I mean there are very tangible. And easy-to-understand. So. You've talked about a couple of ways that I, guess your approach to product development, and marketing has changed have you found that creating. A connected product has required, significant, changes to how. You develop a product how you market it how you support the product with consumers, so, it's been quite an, iterative.
Process, To get, where we are today there. Are definitely, some things which are different, to what we were used to and with philips Lighting we have a lot more access to information, about what's going on that. Enables us to do a better job of, customer, care a better job of Road nothing because we can see what use cases are working or not in in real time. Gives. Us insights, into our supply chains where we can optimize that better but all of this is kind of grown, out of opportunity. From, the start being, started we were able to do things a bit differently so we are kind of digital native within a big company which. Also helped us a lot with kind of embedding, how we do ongoing, software about. Is. Never, being finished as being, the first version, which we keep making better than the field for existing consumers, how we think about openness, of our system to enable other people to interact with it and these, kind of things we could have natively. But that. Learning, has really blend into other functions, iteratively, over time, yeah. It really seems to. Make a connected, product as to engage, in a long-term relationship with, consumers. I think, you. Know consumers, are in the traditional. Product world if the product, has three features on the box at. The store it has three features on the box home the, moment you connect something to the internet or a smartphone, the, expectation, is that three, features will turn into five features which will turn into ten features and, that this will continue. To operate for the entire lifespan and it is definitely the way we see it we, really see that products, we've already sold. They, are just opportunities to have more conversations, with consumers, so. We really see that people. That are buying into here are not buying into a product they're buying into a journey, of discovery with, us where they will learn new. Use cases new, ways of using which ultimately leading to buying more products, over, time and, so we really try and keep this ongoing relationship, to, dialogue with our consumers okay. So. It seems like you've really taken the approach of putting, the consumer first and thinking about how they're using it and, you, know I very much agree with your philosophy of not just choosing particular technologies. For technology's, sake but. You did have to choose technologies, along the way so what. Was the connection from the consumer, stories, that, led, you to use, igby as the communication, standard new product so that there are a few reasons that really led us to monster distinct which is a minute for say a choice that we took and very, deliberately. So. The key thing that we found out is one of the big barriers, to adoption as long as it's never been easy. So. We definitely needed a technology which people, actually need didn't. Need to think about didn't turn noses too much so, there are a few facets in sigelei which we really liked for that one. There's a lot, of different, ways where you could arrange easy setup you. Can have this discovery, for. New product into a hub but you can also directly link, a remote. Towards, a light with touch linking which gave us a lot of flexibility, offering easy setup. But. The other thing is we didn't want our consumers to have to think about networking. They should never actually have to think oh I need a repeater in this place to be able to extend the signal up to my attic and. The nature of the messy networking, is a B and how well that performs, to self-organize. To, give yourself a really, good, reliable coverage, all over the home and, was really a winning, thing next. To that you. Know this was a big, bet for us too to take it on a journey so, we wanted to choose the technology, where. We had, our options, open and we also had the opportunity to. Influence. And drive the standard over time so, the openness, of ZigBee the fact that there are multiple silicon. Vendors working on it the fact that we, can participate in the standardization. And involve it over time was really important to us as well so. That makes a lot of sense and you, know certainly there are multiple. Technologies, that you can choose from in the space for creating a connected device but, one of the advantages of ZigBee is that organization. Is that openness, is. The.
Ability To become a member and contribute, to the standard, and development, you, know how have you found being, a zippe, member and what kind of value does that brought to Philips so. I think first and foremost being, a zippe member has really enabled us to use a. Fantastic. Technology, that has been refined. And improved over. The years of, inside, our products which lets us offer reliable. Products, which, remain. Relevant. Interoperable. And five years after they've launched. We've. Also found, it, to be very open, towards, you know new ideas and challenges, that were very active inside using the Alliance working. Closely with them to extend. The concept of certifications, so we can enable third. Parties to build luminaires, basical modules, we. Collaborated. With them very closely on the launch of sig p320 to broaden. And improve the interoperability with. Other products, so. It's been very a good, experience, to kind of grow the standard, along with the needs of the product while. Actually, keeping this maturity. Of interoperability, that we love physically. And. You've been talked about. Continuing. To mature the technology, so zb3 don't know is now available, and Philips is committed to updating that. If you platform, to three know what. Triggered, that decision, for you so. I think that the key thing physically, free us air and who said why we were lobbying, for it inside the company is, we. Want ZB to be. These standards, use the smart home automation, because, that makes consumer, choice simpler, if, we want smart. Products to be a standard, thing everyone in size hasn't sent the home people, are not going to spend the time thinking, what works with what and. Zb3 does everything is a great step forward in terms of unifying, all the, different flavors that signaling behind a single common interoperable, manner which, it makes that choice much easier, and simpler for everyone else, to jump on board because. That was really the motivation to do it it was to make. The future one, where consumer, choice is simpler, so. You've talked a lot about consumer. Choice and interoperability. You, know how is it be affecting, your, decisions. Or your strategy, around working with other, companies. And other technologies, and product vendors in the space yeah. So I mean doesn't for most it gives us a lot of choice. And freedom to work, with the best, players in the industry starts. From the people. Who provide the silligans, and, software, steps where. We can actually work. And find the best solution. Across all of these spaces having. The single vendor does not breed good, quality you need that competition to keep everyone sharp and always innovating.
And So we've been able to work with a lot of great players in the space to continue to set the bar higher. And higher and, it. Also has. Given. Us the opportunity, to actually have our products. Interoperate. With products, from other companies, and. So we recently announced that we would be bundling, some of our hue bulbs together with the new and as an echo plus which. For us is a fantastic. Way to make a very, easy first, experience. With smart home which. Can then lead to the richer experiences, that we offer with a philips hue bridge of you extend, that later so. It's really given us a lot of new business opportunities, but, also, men. The technology, keeps getting better because competition. Breeds innovation, so. You mentioned an interesting, part of the, the. Advantages, of use technology. Which is not just the ability, to work with other finished. Products out there but the access to a global supply, chain was. That a major consideration, in your choice of technology, and have, you been able to leverage, that. Global. Ecosystem. Of vendors and support for zippy. So. Here. Is a product that we sell very, broadly with, a salt now in 32, different countries, and - constantly. Expanding. So having, a technology, that we can roll out anywhere. In the world where. Is certified. To be used that is really, useful it makes our ability to roll. Out the new countries much much easier and more simple, in. Terms of the same local players that we can integrate with I think. That's have a less strong impact so far the. Major players are active in smart home with fairly centralized. In Western. Europe and North America at, the moment, but, I think as things continue to progress this, will always give us more opportunities. Also. When we're working with bringing. Other people into our, ecosystem, it's, much easier sell to persuade people to use. Our lighting. Modules, which has it be compatible if, we can tell the story that it works with Philips you but you're not completely locked in this will also work with other relevant, players in, your local markets generally.
That's Always true, because. People are a larger, addressable market, even though they want to work with some particular, players at first sure, and it's not necessary that they don't want to work, with us that's the main reason that it hedges their bets I think. There's, a lot of focus there seems to be in the market about obviously. Using the smartphone as a centerpiece for the home and having technologies, that are in the smartphone also, be in devices, do, you find it to be with disadvantage, that there isn't let's. Say a ZigBee chip in a smartphone. So. I think there are certain use case where that would of course be useful. And that, before we see the coin use cases, we. Really benefit, from having a central, place, inside, the home which is running, our control and object that is making, sure all the products interact. Perfectly, with each other which, would be very challenging to do with this direct, interaction. The. Fact that we are able to from, a small phone, configure. How. A sensor, interacts with the light is, very powerful because of rich interface but the actual interaction, between, those products you, don't need to have that involvement, in this more it's not necessarily, relevant so, I don't see it as a blocking. Issue for anything I think and, here is a testament, form and, how we can actually build fantastic, products for charging me better by having more intelligence, inside, so. Letting is a pretty competitive space, what. Makes the hue different, and, how. Is it going to continue to maintain an edge in the market so. I think a few things that we think we do really well is. We have a single-minded. Focus on, the. Use. Cases the way people are interacting, with the user and, framing. Those so, they really make sense and understandable. I think. Nobody else is taking. It from a user, interaction, sector so strongly, as. Us next. To that and we have focused. And successfully, built a very broad, and rich ecosystem. Of products. And integrations, we have over 70, different form. Factors, of Lights in our portfolio, now together. With the relevant, controlled, accessories, with. Over. 700 applications, that can interact with those to drive different use cases and. This is really leading, in small well. I think that's what's, important and that focus on the story is important, you see a lot of connected devices that, are sort of connected. For the sake of being connected and, relieved they don't do much more than the manual, version used to be they've just sort of moved the control point and that's somewhat. Useful in and of itself but you, really want to enable things that you simply. Could not do before, what, connected device and I think and, to build up maps if you have a thing or you're competing with with lighting competing. With a wall switch that's actually pretty easy you. Have to work quite hard to, reach people Sigmund is as easy as that so I'll, smudge it out convenience. Piece always but it's more about enriching. The use case of doing more with lighting right. And. I think you know you raise a really interesting point and I you know tend to talk about this a lot myself but there this, is really the first time where. We've taken. Technology. That, we tend to have a lot of patience. And tolerance for, when things don't quite work right and putting, it into devices, that we don't even think of as technology, anymore that are just so dead, simple like a light switch and a light bulb and so. You know how do you make sure that your, products. Maintain. That level of reliability because, at the end of the day I need to be able to turn my lights on and off while, also offering this added, value, in these news stories no, indeed you mean so it's a constant focus of us for how we can make getting. These rigid lighting experiences, as easy, as possible and in the benchmark, for simplicity, is the light switch so. Everything, we do is about making. Richly, dicing, experiences. As easy. To experience, as possible and I, think the key, things that we do on that is we really. Focus, on giving. People the choice in what a natural, way to interact for them whether, it's a motion sensor a physical, switch an app or a voice platform, we give them that choice what's easy and. We also help, them within. Reach, explanatory. Content, and not have to discover. And find the use cases that make sense for them so. Do you feel that your choice of ZigBee was the the, right one for human for the vision continues. To be and. So I think the success we've had shows that it was the right decision I, think we were to make the same decision again, today. Where. There's been a lot of changes we would still choose it'd be you, know even six. Seven years after we made that initial choice, there, still is no, other truly.
Open, Mesh. Networking, standard, that offers interoperability. Which airway is still at unique value proposition as, they be and. I don't see anyone coming close to that in the midterm so. That raises the question for, me as you. Know when you're starting off developing, a connected product and you're a product manager are. There particular criteria. That you're looking at when it comes to technology. Beyond. Just the that if it can perform and the way that you're expecting, it to so, I think this is a key change, you have to make them thinking about connected, products because you. To make these choices for, the product today you. Need to think where this product is going to go in. The future so it's actually very big back to make these choices when it's very hard to change them later if you're successful. So. You have to have a little bit of let's, say future gazing to think how is this going to evolve but also you need to realize that that. Futures to some extent under your control and, that's a great thing because well you can contribute towards, that future and make it fit your, vision you can also shape the technology if, you're allowed to contribute towards it. And. You talked about, making. That big bet I think one of the interesting, things about this industry, is that we're. Putting, technology, products, out there in, an industry, that's used to 18. Months replacement, cycles we're buying new phones and, new tablets, and new laptops, you know fairly frequently, but. You know what is the lifetime expectation. Of a fellow to bulb yeah. This is a very good question so you redesign, our products, from. A hardware, perspective to. Last for, 15,000. Hours the typical usage would be up to 15 years we, don't give guarantees, on that but that's what they are designing, for, now. That. Shows you know how long we have to actually work on the ability, for and. It's very hard to give any hard, promises. On that it's, very hard to predict what the world's going to be like five years from now in such a fast-moving, industry, so. What we really aim for in terms of software. Interoperability. Making. Sure the points keep working with each other over time, is. A. Least a duration of 5. Years the forest will keep working with each other which. Of course we have the ambition to to go to the full hardware. Lifetime of the product and. You believe that working. With open standards makes, it much more likely that you'll be able to continue to support those products, for their entire lifetime so. I mean if we achieve our goals of making these stands as successful, then definitely that is the case and, by, contributing also, that we can be the voice for the. Millions, of products which are already rolled out in the field so as you keep those relevant, and connected, so, yes. Having, standards, which you have control over. Gives. You that safety. Net so. It really seems like volts is achieving its vision it's been five years since, the release of you has it been more, interesting, than you expected.
More More successful, than you expected, so. We of course we had huge aspirations, when we started five, years ago but it's great to take the five year anniversary as a moment to reflect back on everything, we've achieved, and. All, of the ways in which we are changing people using lighting so it couldn't be happier with the successor, part that's. Great well congratulations. Thank. You for doing this interview and we're very happy to have you as members, and leaders in the ZigBee Alliance whose.