Anyone who is a bit of a Philips Hue fan will have stumbled upon the name George Yianni before. The Head of Technology is considered the inventor of Philips Hue and looks back on the beginnings of the smart lighting system in a blog post. There are some interesting insights, which of course I don’t want to withhold from you on my blog.
“The first moment when we thought ‘wow, this could be big’, was when Apple agreed to sell Hue lights bulbs in their stores. At that point, we knew this was something really different,” George Yianni recalls.
In fact, the Philips Hue product came about by chance, he explains. “I was working in the pre-development department, designing remote controls for Philips LivingColors lamps.” That’s when the iPhone just came out, and it made things a lot easier for George Yianni and his team.
This is how Philips Hue discovered the world
Instead of designing and building physical prototypes with new concepts for remote controls, the user interface was simply tried out on the touch screen of an iPhone. This way, minor adjustments could be made without having to build new hardware each time. “And that was actually the trigger. We found we had created a better way to control lights,” George Yianni recalls.
The Hue inventor describes what happened next as follows: “I made a rough prototype of the first app-controlled lighting system. And it really was rough – we had computers in suitcases with loose circuit boards hanging around! We showed our prototype to the leadership at a company innovation day, and on that basis, we created our internal venture..”
You can read about what happened after that and how the first prototypes of the Hue system were tested by hundreds of users around the world on the Signify company blog. It’s definitely an exciting read.