Saturday, May 17, 2014

Philips Radio, Strijp-S, Eindhoven and other stories

I must confess a growing fascination in how radio is changing. As a media strategist, I have always learned a lot by looking at what happened in the past. You quickly discover that a lot of technology you think as "new" is infact decades old. It is just that it was too expensive to mass produce. The technology of storage and processing power were not far enough along.

This year is 100 years of Philips Research. I've been watching the way they tell the story of their inventions.

When Philips started manufacturing incandescent lamps in 1891, there was already a separate industrial research laboratory outside the factory; a concept virtually unknown elsewhere. In 1914, they opened a dedicated physics laboratory (the 'Nat. Lab.') in Eindhoven. Under the leadership of Dr Gilles Holst, the Philips Research organization became a major center of technical competence and innovation. Philips needed patents in order to protect manufacturing processes and designs. A portfolio of patents was also a useful bargaining chip when negotiating with manufacturers. Philips really understood vacuum technologies. Which meant that when radio
Did the history of PCJ and PHOHI for a BBC documentary several years ago. I think you'll find that the first royal broadcast by Wilhemina was on June 1st 1927. I find references to it in the New York Times in 1929. I see the same photo marked as 1931 in your video (1'42") Philips was much earlier in inventing international sound broadcasting, doing the first experiments in 1924.  think many cities in the Northern part of the Netherlands need to look at how the industrial city of Eindhoven is rising from the ashes. The city was devastated in the 80's and 90's when the Philips company started closing consumer electronics factories and moving production East - first to Poland and then to China. In the end the company left altogether, building its headquarters near Amstel Station in Amsterdam. When the major employer leaves town things get very tough indeed. The irony is that Philips now makes most of its money from healthcare, exactly the industry that they didn't outsource to the East.

But now Eindhoven is clearly rising from the ashes, driving a new era instead of watching opportunities pass by. They realise that the Internet of Things is becoming the serious way forward. And that will need engineers, scientists, designers and storytellers to build wonderful, useful things.

Let Silicon Valley try to build a better Facebook. While Silicon Polder builds a better world.

architects now inhabit the old Philips Radio factory

A Factory reborn....

Crystal set in a shop window - not often you see that. And not that much to listen to on AM.

Downtown Eindhoven

Chances are high that Eindhoven will make it

Bit cold for a bbq....get 20 euro back when you trade in your old one.

Eindhoven has universities, entrepreneurs, financial institutions, and drive.

Dec 6th 1942 - RAF Bomber Command flies Operation OYSTER, a special raid carried out by all of the operational day-bomber squadrons in No. 2 Group. Their targets are the Philips radio and valve (electron tube) factories in the town of Eindhoven. Ninety three aircraft take part in the raid, 47 (PV-1) Venturas Mk. Is of RAF No. 21, RAAF No. 464 and RNZAF No. 487 Squadrons, 36 (A-20) Boston IIIs of Nos. 88, 107, and 226 Squadrons and ten Mosquito Mk. IVs of No.105 and No.139 Squadrons; 83 aircraft actually bomb.One of the Mosquitos is a photographic aircraft.

Eindhoven is well beyond the range of any available fighter escort thus the raid is flown at low level and in clear weather conditions. Bombing is accurate and severe damage is caused to two factories in the complex, which is situated in the middle of the town. Because the raid is deliberately carried out on a Sunday, there are few casualties in the factory but several bombs fall in nearby streets and 148 Dutch civilians and seven German soldiers are killed. Full production at the factory is not reached again until six months after the raid.
The bomber casualties are heavy: nine Venturas, four Bostons and a Mosquito are lost over the Netherlands or the sea. This is a loss rate of 15 percent for the whole force; the Venturas, the aircraft with the poorest performance, suffer 19 per cent casualties. Three more aircraft crashed or force-land in England and most of the other aircraft are damaged, 23 by bird strikes!

At one time, the world's largest radio factory was in Eindhoven, a city in the South-East part of the Netherlands. I've had the good fortune to explore it over the last couple of months. I'm fascinated by the old Philips radio factories which are gradually being turned into something completely different. I note that as you ride the lifts to the new apartments at the top of the building, the history of building has been painted on the walls going up.

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