This rebrand was over a year in the making. Can you explain why?
Well, in terms of our new name, we’ve been moving toward this point for a while, using Philips PDS (Professional Display Solutions) and then PPDS progressively over the last couple of years. This change isn’t just about a shorter name and a fresh new look, though. It’s a mark in the ground for us – moving our strategy to bring a more agile approach to our business. And building successful strategies takes time.
As you say, we started over a year ago and it’s fair to say that responding to the challenges of the pandemic has slowed our official roll out down. But it’s also given us the opportunity to test our new ways of working, really quickly developing new solutions, like our PeopleCount – bringing our Android displays together with complementary hardware and software to deliver safer social distancing displays to support our customers – and support initiatives, such as InSync, including Unlocked and Total Care for Hospitality. These have made a real difference for our customers already and we’re looking forward to our agile, open and forward thinking approach bringing more benefits for the industry.
Please explain how your “total solutions” ethos will work
This area really pushes forward the work we’ve already done, building on the open technology that is already a key feature of our displays via our Android SoC. We want to continue to break the silos between hardware and software provision by encouraging full and easy integration with innovative third party companies. This allows our customers to be truly creative with the solutions they add to our displays and we make it our business to support them with our global trusted network of partners should they need them, while also enabling them with easy free rein development opportunities.
Reach is also key here and, with our global network and product portfolio, we can facilitate solutions for our customers to win opportunities on a worldwide level.
What does your new tagline “powering evolution” mean?
For us, evolution is a constant feast and every organisation must ensure that they keep pace with the world around them. That ties in with our strategy for open platform technologies – making our hardware (the display) just the beginning. With total solutions and a full display range for the B2B sector, enabling audience engagement for our customers, we can help power their evolution.
Equally, we recognise the need for evolution within our sector, to support the industry as a whole through these more challenging times, and also to be more globally aware.
What steps are you taking to “lead from the front” with regards to the environment?
I think we can all agree that sustainability and environmental consciousness has never been higher on the agenda. Many are talking about it, yet our industry needs to be more active in its efforts. Our thinking in this is aligned carefully with Philips, recognised as the number two top brand in green technology by the Wall Street Journal.
You’ll have already seen we are making a difference with product enhancements such as our ‘extended lifetime’ promise, with Android updates delivering the latest functionality and benefits for existing MediaSuite TVs. This effectively helps to reduce WEEE while also reducing carbon footprint by lowering the timespans between display replacement activity. Our packaging has also evolved to be more sustainable. And we continue to work to lower our impact on the environment, factoring this important topic into all of our product development.
You talk of continuing to work with your existing partners for hardware and software. How do you intend to grow this partner base?
Our network of partners is growing all the time and you’ll see, even in the near future, news of more partnerships and alliances for us. We have a team dedicated to our partnerships – both building and developing them – and we are always open to new ideas and opportunities that will make a real difference for our customers. And, as with everything, quality is critical, so our network is carefully curated to ensure our customers benefit from best practice solutions that they can rely on.
Finally, you say you’re moving away from selling products to providing solutions. What percentage of your business do you see as being solutions-led by the end of year one? Do you envisage a time when PPDS will provide solutions that don’t include Philips products?
It’s absolutely not our plan to stop selling displays, and we are definitely NOT going to bypass the channel. What we are going to do is to provide solutions to our SIs to help them to serve their end customers in a more efficient way.
Practically, this means that we’ll work together with our partners to certify their software APKs on our displays. This will work similarly with hardware components like, for example, the Bosch intelligent camera that forms part of the Making PeopleCount solution we brought to market mid-2020.
In essence, we will be strengthening our eco-system in order to better fulfil the needs of our end customers.