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Building trust: How digital data can be used to improve lives



Blake cahill

It’s the word on everybody’s lips. It doesn’t matter which country I’m visiting, or whether I’m sitting in a room with marketers, product developers or IT professionals.


Everybody is talking about digital data. More specifically: ‘big data’.

Although digital data holds infinite possibilities, it is also a concern for many people. We are all bound together by increasingly intricate connections, and statistics about our lives are being amassed with every passing second. A business can choose to utilize this incredibly valuable data in two ways. First, as a commodity to be monetized. Or – as is the case at Philips – as a way to inspire innovation.


That’s why we focus on what we call Trust Capital. The relationship we’ve built with our customers means that they’re willing to exchange their data because they know we will treat it in a responsible and transparent manner. We don’t value or collect data for the sake of data – it’s what we do with it that counts. And how we use it to improve lives around the globe.


Data, for example, told us what families in different European cities like to eat for Sunday lunch. We then took that data and incorporated it into our new connected HomeCooker which, linked to some smart apps, provides specific ingredient reminders, recipes and advice to customers before they even know they need it.

Digital Improve lives

But it goes much further than that.


What do a street in Sao Paulo, a traffic accident black spot and a city municipality have to do with digital data?


Well, one residential street corner in Sao Paulo became known as one of the most dangerous places in the city because the angle of the road and the density of the surrounding buildings made it shadowy, dark and dangerous to drive in. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case thanks to a unique alliance between Philips, the Brazilian government and safety experts.


We were able to analyze the speed of cars, when and where pedestrians crossed the road, and at what time of day or night drivers and walkers were most at risk. We assessed the type of lighting required, the angle at which it should be directed, and created a system that allowed local government to adapt the brightness in that specific area on an hourly basis. This protects both residents and the environment, as the system allows more control of electricity consumption.


In such cases, data is what brings us even closer to the demands of customers or the needs of governments.


Data might be one of the most exciting and discussed by-products of digital innovation, and it’s also one of the most valuable. As long as we remember that data is not an end in itself – it is just the beginning.

Blake Cahill

Blake Cahill

Global Head of Digital and Social Marketing

A senior executive with more than 20 years of business development experience, Blake is helping to lead Philips' international rebranding and expansion into new technologies and markets. With a strong background in executing highly complex and results-oriented strategies, Blake has led a series of marketing, creative, client management, product innovation and thought leadership projects for both Fortune 500 organisations and digital start-ups.


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