Alok Ghose, CEO for ASEAN of Signify tells Michael Oh, CEO Coach of Vistage International Malaysia the reason why he is so optimistic about the future of the lighting solutions provider.
On reflection, what do you consider the defining moments in your first 100 days in this position?
Looking back, it is our collective spirit of collaboration and conviction that stands out. In my role, I knew that continued success is possible only when the entire organisation in each country is synchronised towards a convergent sense of purpose and singular vision. This is what I have strived to cultivate right from the start. Progressively, the inclusive belief and teamwork became reinforced and translated itself into a dauntless winning culture.
What do you regard as the crucial factors for you to stay on top of your game?
It is vital that leaders understand how to anticipate undercurrents and weather through them while maintaining composure and focus. We have to keep an open mind, and nurture divergent ideas and business models to propagate revolutionary approaches forward – in line with emerging and sometimes disruptive trends. With our renewed avatar, Signify, we must constantly reinvent ourselves to reach larger audiences, while maintaining the incredible trust reposed over the past 128 years as Philips in lighting, improving and enriching lives around the world. It is an honour to remain the favourite lighting brand of our esteemed customers, partners and resellers. As we now become Signify, our prime responsibility is to strengthen this bond with even more innovative offers through our expanded brand portfolio for multiple segments and lighting applications.
What do you foresee are the game-changing challenges facing your industry?
Due to the rapid digitalisation around us, we are seeing many public institutions, MNCs and SMEs gearing up for the imminent Industry 4.0 revolution. Efficiency, productivity and sustainability are becoming imperatives, which are being addressed with LED lighting technologies. However, the real benefits of a smart, digitally connected world can be much more. Signify is in a unique position to accelerate the future, given its leading position with over 44 million connected light points globally and ground-breaking innovations that can connect light points and smart devices and equipment over the Internet, or even turn light points into high-speed broadband connections. All these provide a foundation for the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution and opens up many new benefits as well as data enabled services. With data becoming the pivot, light can become the new language.
Further, cloud-based platforms to store, process and present relevant data, as well as monitoring and managing the integrated functions, will be increasingly needed. We are pioneering this through the introduction of Interact – Signify’s own cloud-based ecosystem to help integrate connected LED lighting architectures for public and commercial spaces in offices, retail and hospitality, industries to help save energy, operational costs and enhance productivity. Trulifi by Signify, our latest LiFi lighting systems, incorporates secure ultra-fast Internet connection via light waves rather than congested radio spectrum to communicate reliably. For smart home lighting systems, there is the acclaimed Philips Hue (over Zigbee protocol) as well as Signify’s latest acquisition of WiZ Connect (over Wifi), giving consumers even more options in smart home lighting.
As the CEO for ASEAN, what most excites and worries you?
I would say the one thing that excites me most is the connected future, and how we plan to be the catalyst. The endless possibilities that digital lighting and clean energy can bring for the future, and we at Signify intend to revolutionise the game. With the impending IoT disruption, there can be a proliferation of asynchronous technologies and protocols like cellular, RF and Bluetooth that may bring integration and data security challenges. Hence, as always, we need to envision a few years ahead with a robust technology roadmap that makes long-term sense and play a vital role in shaping up the industry in a regulated and competitive manner in line with our promise and philosophy for Brighter Lives and a Better World.
What makes Signify stand out from the competition?
I believe what makes us stand out the most is that we are not just a lighting company, but a lighting solutions provider – ranging from products, systems and value-added services. This is reinforced by the host of industry and brand leadership awards conferred to us in past years. We are constantly innovating and improving ourselves to cater to evolving market dynamics and customer needs. Clearly, connectivity and sustainability are one of the biggest challenges and opportunities as most businesses adapt to the digitalisation of everyday life. On the sustainability front, we were recognised industry leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index second year in a row – thanks to our relentless push on LED, renewable energy and circular lighting adoption, while aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020. Signify also intends to be in the lead and leverage on IoT developments, including AI, big data and smart city infrastructures. With our suite of connected hardware, software plus data-enabled services and a talented team, we are well-positioned to become the backbone for IoT, taking light beyond illumination into a language of innovation.