USERS AND specifiers of lighting equipment will have to get used to a new word today: Signify, the new name for Philips Lighting.
Although it will still use the Philips brand for its products for the coming years, the company now wants to be known by its new title. The board approved the branding, meaning the new name and look will be rolled out across all its offices and material worldwide.
It’s also the legal name; the company's articles of association have been amended, changing its name from Philips Lighting N.V. to Signify N.V.
‘The choice of our new company name originates from the way light becomes an intelligent language, which connects and conveys meaning,’ said Eric Rondolat, CEO of Signify.
Founded as Philips in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, the firm has been the industry leader for 127 years. In 2016, it was ‘spun off’ from Philips, becoming a separate company, listed on Amsterdam's Euronext Stock Exchange.
‘Ten years from now, I will talk about light as a language,” CEO Eric Rondolat said earlier this year while discussing the upcoming name change and embracing the tech zeitgeist.
So far, the shift has not been easy. Among other reasons, the lighting industry is to some extent competing against the information technology and communications industry — while also trying to partner with those companies. And lighting companies are working hard at changing their business model from selling hardware — lights — to selling services including data collection and analysis. They have little choice in making such a transition, because the same LEDs that make it feasible to offer digital services have also necessitated the move away from a hardware-based model given that LEDs last a long time and undermine the century-old replacement bulb business.
Philips Lighting recently reported a 16.5% drop in adjusted first-quarter earnings and 67% plunge in net income on an 11.2% sales decline, stated in the company’s last quarterly financial report as Philips Lighting. The next quarterly will come from Signify.
Other large lighting companies have also shown this year that the IoT road is rocky, as Osram cut its 2018 sales and earnings forecasts and Zumtobel in January slashed its fiscal-year 2018 profits forecast by as much as 70%.
GE is exiting the lighting business altogether, after itself going through a name change more than two years ago, renaming much of its lighting business as Current, powered by GE.
Still, the company about to be called Signify continues to take strides into the IoT. Just last week, for instance, it rolled out an app that lets managers control building and bridge façade lighting from smartphones. In recent months, it has tuned light recipes for growing roses, unfurled an IoT and data platform called Interact, stepped up its commitment to Li-Fi — the technology that transmits the Internet through LED light waves — and more.
- First published in LEDs Magazine. Mark Halper is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist.
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