130 years of Philips innovation, collaboration, and social responsibility

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today celebrated 130 years of innovation, collaboration, and social responsibility.


Amsterdam, the Netherlands – During its rich history since being founded on May 15, 1891, in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, the company has continuously reinvented itself to remain relevant to society. Today, Philips is a leading health technology company with a purpose to improve the lives of 2.5 billion people a year by 2030 through meaningful innovation.

The company’s 130th anniversary is a celebration of the continuous innovation journey that has enabled Philips to positively impact the lives of so many people around the globe.

Frans van Houten

CEO of Royal Philips “The company’s 130th anniversary is a celebration of the continuous innovation journey that has enabled Philips to positively impact the lives of so many people around the globe,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. “It’s also about looking forward – continuing to innovate, collaborate and live up to the highest standards of doing business responsibly and sustainably. We will continue to team up with innovators, experts and society to help create new ground-breaking solutions to today’s healthcare challenges.” 

New sculpture of Gerard Philips

As a tribute to 130 years of innovation and collaboration, Philips will offer an artwork of Gerard Philips, who together with his father Frederik Philips, founded the company. The sculpture will be unveiled in Eindhoven city center at a newly developed public location. Gerard later also founded Philips’ research laboratories in Eindhoven, the strong foundation of Philips’ global innovation strength today, which currently includes five innovation hubs and multiple innovation and manufacturing sites. Philips spends EUR 1.8 billion annually on R&D to fuel the company’s growth and intellectual property, which comprises approx. 59,000 patent rights and 31,000 trademarks. 

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Philips’ entry into health technology took place during the First World War when it applied the skills it had developed for manufacturing lightbulbs to repairing, and subsequently manufacturing, X-ray tubes for diagnostic imaging, rapidly innovating their design to minimize X-ray exposure and improve image quality. Since then, Philips has innovated virtually every major medical imaging modality from ultrasound to MRI and CT systems.  

Philips’ current innovations span the health continuum from healthy living and disease prevention to diagnosis, treatment, and care in the home. By bringing together devices, systems, software, artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics, the company today develops intelligent solutions that help consumers around the world to live healthy lifestyles and enable healthcare providers to deliver on the quadruple aim: enhancing the patient experience, improving health outcomes, lowering the cost of care, and improving the work life of care providers.

Recent examples include:

  • Philips’ AI Workflow Suite – IntelliSpace – a solution for AI-assisted radiology workflows, automatically distributing data to AI applications to increase efficiency/productivity, reduce staff overload, and enhance the patient experience.
  • Philips Image Guided Therapy System – Azurion – accelerating the move from open surgery to minimally-invasive surgery, enabling patients to recover faster and hospital systems to reduce costs.
  • Philips’ eICU telemedicine program and wearable biosensor – enabling patients to be expertly monitored 24/7 inside and outside hospitals.
  • AI-powered personal health innovations, such as Philips Sonicare Power Toothbrush 9900 Series Prestige with SenseIQ and its advanced Shaver 9000 Series with SkinIQ technology, are driving the personalization of consumer health through solutions that adapt to an individual user’s unique behavior and needs.

Collaboration and partnerships

In an ever more complex and interconnected world, meaningful innovation in healthcare also requires co-creation through partnerships and collaborations with leading clinical researchers and care providers. Key examples of leading institutes that Philips collaborates with include:

  • University Medical Center Utrecht (The Netherlands) – advancing precision diagnosis through breakthrough quantitative MRI technology – MR STAT.
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, U.S.) – co-developing Philips Oncology Pathways powered by Dana-Farber to provide clinicians worldwide with access to best-practice and personalized care recommendations for patients, based on the latest scientific advances.
  • Singapore General Hospital (Singapore) – leveraging Philips Pathology Suite – IntelliSite – in the development of AI-based tools
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (US), expanding the VA’s critical tele-critical care program by creating the world’s largest system comprising more than 1,700 sites and serving nearly nine million veterans each year. The program aims to provide veterans with remote access to intensive care expertise, including research into technologies that can better support veterans.  
  • MONET Technologies Inc. (Japan) – Philips, MONET Technologies and Ina City are addressing the rapidly aging population and shortage of medical facilities and healthcare professionals in Japan through a mobile healthcare vehicle concept equipped with connected care technologies.

Philips also enters into long-term strategic partnerships with hospitals and hospital groups that are characterized by new business models and the move from one-time transactions to continuous relationships aimed at offering hospitals a holistic solution that addresses their clinical, operational, and business needs. For example, with:

  • Klinikum Stuttgart Hospital (Stuttgart, Germany) – a 10-year innovation partnership to keep the hospital equipped with the latest state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging, informatics, and connected care solutions.
  • Flevo Hospital (Almere, The Netherlands) – a 10-year strategic partnership agreement to continuously innovate and optimize patient care in the Almere region of the Netherlands.

Social responsibility

Philips’ recognition of its social responsibility goes as far back as 1932, when it started screening its staff, and eventually the whole population of Eindhoven (the Dutch city where the company was founded) for tuberculosis. In the 1990s Philips helped to pioneer the Dutch national breast cancer screening program.

Today, the company’s Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) commitments are enshrined in its new 5-year ESG targets and strategic plans. Philips is already carbon neutral in its operations and is set to further reduce its CO2 emissions in line with 1.5°C global warming and source 75% of its total energy consumption from renewables. The company also aims to increase revenue from circular economy solutions to 25% of sales by 2025.

As part of its target to improve the lives of 2.5 billion people a year by 2030, Philips is committed to improving access to care for 400 million people in underserved communities. In collaboration with key strategic partners and the Philips Foundation, it is enabling care in resource constrained settings, for example, by putting portable ultrasound solutions into the hands of trained midwives at primary care facilities in Kenya, and establishing hospital-based cardiology centers in regional cities across India.

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