Tell us about your company. Its vision and mission.
Our company designs and deploys AIoT solutions for smart spaces in the realm of smart home, smart apartment, smart hotel and smart city. Our flagship is actually smart hotel solution. But the same deep tech in smart technology can be scaled from smart hotel to smart home, smart apartment easily. Thereafter, followed by the surroundings, evolving the smart home ecosystem that can be built on top of the layer to be further scaled to smart city.
The added value worth mentioning is our domain expansion in eldercare proof smart home which has a very high social value in helping to improve the living condition and challenges encountered by our growing aged population. As a serial technopreneur, I build my first business vertical, 360 Smart Home, as a spin-off from the original company 360 Degree Digital whose core business is in designing technological solutions for SMEs digital transformation roadmap in relation to innovative capabilities, user experience, services and products.
The motivation to start a smart home business derives from my ageing parent who was struggling to cope with her daily living and meeting her medical care needs. As her next-of-kin as well as caregivers, her deteriorated conditions came to my realisation there are probably lots of silver-haired generation experience similar situation as her, and the growing aged population find it difficult to articulate their needs, their pain and their worries, not physically and psychologically sound to make simple judgement and decisions in their daily lives, or with bizarre behaviours that could possibly harm the safety of these old folks themselves that they are unaware of.
My aged parent had a long-haul history of dementia and has passed on during COVID19 lockdown in the year 2020 when I first started My Smart Home Company.
When I first started to build a smart home business as a spin-off, my main aim was to evolve around delivering smart solutions that adapt perfectly to the needs of household members by learning their lifestyles and taking care of their everyday comfort and sense of security. The seniors’ living habits and lifestyle caught my attention and my utmost interest to focus on developing smart home solutions for them as they are the most vulnerable victims of home hazards and safety issues.
What were the constraints you faced at the time of inception?
Every tech startup has its own unique technologies that it’s going to be leveraging. Depending upon the industry, there tends to be some specific tech that needs to be understood so the product is built in a way that customers can actually use the final product.
The right technopreneur or so-called leader for a startup must understand the industry-specific technologies that the product will have to work with and help make critical choices on the front end of the product development.
How to control the journey of being a technopreneur or tech leader when one meets with enormous challenges in forming a team? In the technopreneur space, not invention, but innovation is the key to achieving success. It simply means finding solutions to problems utilising the tools that already exist.
As many tech entrepreneurs know, there is a lot of pressure to move quickly and beat the competition to a solution.
If a product or service doesn't yet exist, there is a steep price to pay to blaze new trails, and oftentimes, the second mover can capitalize where the first can’t. This is a realisation I gathered after many rounds of trial and errors creating designed solutions from scratch. The formation of 360 Smart Home is the first fruit of realisation that I can leverage from the existing wealth of tech talents by playing the role of the second mover instead, experimenting and capitalizing while the first approach does not have the luxury to do so.
When talent acquisition is a never-ending challenge from a tech entrepreneur’s perspective point of view, making partnership decisions by partnering with another company in a related field may seem like a great way to grow and resolve hiring issues. But the stakes are much higher too with an external increased amount of work in people management to coordinate tasks. There are always two-side to a coin to manage. And as a tech entrepreneur, it is a learning curve to strike a balance in how you manoeuver and manage a business to keep it afloat.
What services do you provide to the customers?
Our company’s main operation is still designing and developing customised IoT solutions powered by AI for smart spaces in areas of smart home, smart apartment, smart hotel and smart city. Although we do have a smart home devices eCommerce platform that sells all sorts of smart electrical appliances that cater to some customers who want to D-I-Y themselves to save costs. However, there are also pros and cons for not hiring experts to build up a fully functional smart home ecosystem. Our smart hotel solutions are matured applications that have already fully dominated the China industry market. Our full-stacked development solutions are powered by our 500++ in-house developers with a niche specialization in our very own smart automation technology Research and Development. As mentioned
earlier, the same deep tech in our smart technology can be scaled from smart hotel to smart home, smart apartment easily.
In terms of market segmentation, our segmentation is our Smart Pension Home Solution on top of our usual Smart Home, Smart Apartment Offerings; Smart Hotel is our commercialized segmentation in Hospitality and Tourism sector; Electric Vehicle and Smart City Lighting are our Urban Mobility, Public Transport Smart Traffic Control segmentation of building a smart city infrastructure. All these implementations must work in an interconnected ecosystem holistically at large to make an impact.
Any broken links that fall in between the gaps will result in the ecosystem network being ineffective, and operating in silos.Currently, the franchise membership is categorized as follows: Standard Package for Interior Design firms; Premium Package for Renovation Companies; Landlord Package for Landlords and Property Management; Corporate Package for Property Land Developers.
How does AI work in home automation and what are its advantages?
Smart home automation allows you to tap into high-tech functionality and luxury that wasn’t possible in the past. As technology development continues to expand, so will the possibilities for consumer home automation to make life easier and more enjoyable. The availability of smart electronic devices is on the rise which can be controlled by apps through smartphones and tablets. To be exact, smart
home technology means connecting into a common network that can be independently and remotely controlled together with any suite of devices, appliances or systems.
The Beginning of AI in Home Automation Let me take you through a scenario to do this better. Consider you are on your way back home from the office and within a certain distance from your home the system detects your arrival. In response, change your air conditioning from energy-saving mode to your preferred temperature, unlock your door, and as you enter the home it’ll turn on the lights, pull up the curtains, play your preferred music and start brewing your coffee.
That’s the future of home automation. A centralized system that can take care of almost all your daily chores with simple instructions, a very intelligent AI system being powered to help in managing everything, especially matters related to technology through voice command. Speaking of voice commands, yes it’s a big deal because when it comes to convenience there is nothing like a voice-controlled home automation system.
Energy-saving is not only crucial for our pockets but also for our planet. Off late, energy efficiency is a hot topic due to the increase in climate changes and energy challenges globally.
The application of artificial intelligence and deep learning in security systems is destined for disruption. Through a facial recognition algorithm, an AI-powered system builds a catalogue of known individuals through your social media connections and home visits, which helps it to understand between family members, guests, and visitors. These self-monitored security systems coupled with motion detectors, sensors, and security cameras will easily assess a potential break-in and even call for emergency services. This eliminates the need for human monitoring.
AI-driven home automation system certainly offers peace of mind to homeowners as it takes care of convenience, home security, and energy efficiency. Though to achieve widespread acceptance, the system has to pass obstacles like the initial investment cost of such an intelligent system that comes with multiple devices.
You might think of smart home automation as a nifty way to keep up with the latest technology, or an opportunity for homeowners to show off, but there are some indisputably amazing practical advantages to home automation: Managing all of your home devices from one place. The convenience factor here is enormous.
Being able to keep all of the technology in your home connected through one interface is a massive step forward for technology and home management. Theoretically, all you’ll have to do is learn how to use one app on your smartphone and tablet, and you’ll be able to tap into countless functions and devices throughout your home.
Flexibility for new devices and appliances.
Smart home systems tend to be wonderfully flexible when it comes to the accommodation of new devices and appliances and other technology. No matter how state-of-the-art your appliances seem today, there will be newer, more impressive models developed as time goes on.
Maximizing home security.
When you incorporate security and surveillance features in your smart home network, your home security can skyrocket in the aspects of convenience, wireless home security, energy management and savings. Remote control of home functions.
Don’t underestimate the power of being able to control your home’s functions from a distance. On an exceptionally hot day, you can order your house to become cooler in just enough time before you get home from work.
Increased energy efficiency
Depending on how you use your smart-home technology, it’s possible to make your space more energy-efficient. Lights and motorized shades can be programmed to switch to an evening mode as the sun sets or lights can turn on and off automatically when you enter or leave the room, so you never have to worry about wasting energy.
Improved appliance functionality.
Smart homes can also help you run your appliances better. Ultimately, connecting your appliances and other systems with automation technology will improve your appliance effectiveness and overall make your home life much easier and enjoyable!
Home management insights.
There’s also something to be said for your ability to tap into insights on how your home operates.From these insights, you may be able to analyse your daily habits and behaviours and make adjustments to live the lifestyle you desire. Will it be safe if appliances know the daily routine?
Probably, you have tried out some of these common smart electrical appliances in your home as partial experimentation that are powered by Artificial Intelligence,
Machine Learning mechanics – Robot Vacuum & Robot Mop; Driverless Mini Car for Grocery Deliverables; Refrigerator that reminds of replenishment of household groceries and refrigerated food. You will realise the benefits you reap are greater than the risk, either you use these smart electrical appliances as a decentralised model on separate device app on their own or use these smart devices through a centralised controlled system driven by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, as users you will surely go through the user experience yourself, and being able to weigh the pros and cons as consequences.
Despite continuous advancements in hardware, software and networking standards, it is certain that new vulnerabilities will be discovered and exploited in future. Nevertheless, one should not simply condemn these technological developments, which would be overly binary and ignorant. Instead, one should become aware of the risks, develop mitigation strategies in case of a successful attack, diligently select quality devices, and pay attention to software and hardware maintenance, patch management and additional protection.
What factors, in order of importance, are most influential when considering buying/using smart technology?
The Compatibility of the various brands of smart electrical appliances to fit into the operational centralised system for controlling devices to function seamlessly within the ecosystem. Only buy smart bulbs, locks, cameras and other accessories or appliances that are compatible with the base system you’ve chosen for your smart home.
A smart home product needs great support from third-party services’ home kit. The more products that the devices you buy can pair or communicate with, the more you can do with your smart home. Cross-compatibility will let you build routines, automation or simple commands that make controlling your home easier and faster.
Language capability of the AI-powered voice assistant
The language capability of the AI-powered voice assistant deployed to control the central command of all household smart electrical appliances – whether the AI, ML capability is matured enough to receive voice commands to perform necessary routine tasks or impromptu tasks that are not the normal routine.
Cost of building a fully integrated smart home
Smart home gadgets are generally more expensive than their dumb counterparts – and rightly so. The cost savings will depend on what technology you're upgrading from. And even the products that do use less energy than their dumb alternatives
will likely take several years to make up for the difference in the initial cost.
What are the main challenges do you face with the recent trends in the industry?
Managing Cash Flow
Cash flow shortage is one of the most common challenge for new business in managing resources. Using the least resources to kickstart a resource-constraint new business can be very challenging especially when pandemic is still lingering around the world. Minimising all operational costs to stay afloat during pandemic is all what a business hope to achieve. Being alive is a miracle. Business continuity exists only when an entrepreneur already knows how to apply the strategy to minimise all operational costs that threaten business survival.
Tech Talent Shortage Recruiting tech workers presents a unique set of challenges. Most employees are not ready to upgrade their skills to manage future jobs associated with automation technologies like Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other advanced tools. Hence, finding tech employees and building a team would be a nightmare for businesses. There is always a scarcity for tech profiles, but today the gap is much more than ever. Even before the coronavirus hit the world, most of the skill-based institutions and companies were supposed to train their workforce on some in-demand skills to fill the talent gaps. But, it hasn’t
happened at a full scale. It is evident that the coronavirus outbreak exploded digital transformation on a large scale. And this raised the need for tech resources to handle various modern operations. Even in many cases, skill gaps have become crucial for companies to stay on top of the ongoing market and customer demands. Supply and demand are not able to reach a consensus point.
What is your strategy to reach new industries and new customers?
Amidst the global COVID pandemic situation, it becomes extremely challenging to move our businesses locally and abroad. Since 360 Smart Home was incepted at the beginning of the year 2020 last year when COVID19 was at its peak till today, the pressure to operate our business was never a plain sailing journey. We are still continuously strategizing and finding ways to work around situations. Currently, our strategies for outreach are as follows:
Partnering with complementary businesses: We are intending to team up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but aren’t directly competitive, and strategize to target each other’s customers to drive new business to each other.Promote our expertise on the digital platform: Generate interest—and new customers—by publicizing our expertise in our industry. Participating in industry panel discussions or online webinars, speaking at industry events or grouping our
target customers in the focus group, or holding educational sessions or workshops to engage potential new customers with your subject expertise.
Working with the local government statutory board: Also willing to partnership with the Singapore Housing Statutory Board and related agencies. With more than 1 million flats spread across 24 towns and 3 estates, the Singapore brand of public housing is uniquely different. The flats spell home for over 80% of Singapore's resident population, of which, about 90% own their home.
Which of your projects are you proud of and why?
Eldercare Proof Smart Home Solution
1. The Problem 360 Smart Home is solving: In Singapore, the number of seniors living alone has increased. Many of these seniors who live alone have little contact with anyone and are at risk of social isolation and depression. A National University of Singapore study in 2004 found that seniors living alone were twice as likely as their peers to develop depressive symptoms. Loss, loneliness and the killing pain of elderly depression are real.
2. The Solution 360 Smart Home is providing: With the introduction of smart home technology integration into these homes of the elderly population, the benefits could reap unexpectedly with rising demand, as ageing is a common and urgent task to address in many developed countries, while the government is earnestly finding solutions to alleviate eldercare challenges.
3. The Reason why 360 Smart Home is doing this: Smart home technology promises tremendous benefits for elderly people living alone. A smart home could notify the resident when it's time to take medicine, alert the hospital if the resident falls and track how much the resident is eating. If an elderly person is a little forgetful, the smart home could perform tasks such as shutting off the water before a tub overflow or turning off the oven if the cook had wandered away.
Tell us about your future ventures
1. To innovate products and solutions that appeal to our market target audience, we definitely have to evolve and change in order to adapt to our customers’ behavioural needs. By understanding the user experience changed behavioural patterns and the latest market development and trending, understudying customer’s wants and needs – the ultimate intent of what the customer wants to achieve by using that product; what kind of problems the customer is facing when using that product; customers’ feedback; usability testing and product iteration.
2. As for customization of solutions, it all starts with data segmentation after analysing accordingly to persona types who are using your service through automation or digitalization behind the scene powered by machine learning or deep learning to achieve the desired customisation of personalised experience solution we want to provide the users of our smart spaces in the home, apartment, community, hotel, and city in the form of new innovative inventions.
Details of the company:
Year of Founding: 2020
Funding Information: Pre-seed
Founding Member: Jennifer Lauretta
Office Locations: 190 Clemenceau Ave, #06-01, Singapore 239924
Company Strength: 10