December 10, 2014
What inspires innovation? Some entrepreneurs have an “aha” moment that leads them to their newest venture, while others wait years for the right ingredients to come together and bring their innovative designs to life. I talked to three entrepreneurs from disparate fields – clean energy, robotics and wearables – to learn what drives them to innovate, how the government can foster innovation and why they’re excited about the future of tech.
Founder and CEO, CarePredict
What inspired you to create Tempo?
I was trying to solve the very personal problem of trying to care for my 86-year-old dad and 76-year-old mom. They live about 10 miles away, and I visit them every week. Every time I saw them, I was discovering new health problems. For instance, my dad was shuffling instead of walking. I thought it was a cultural thing that they didn’t want to bother me, but it turned out that the changes were so gradual that my mom didn’t even notice. Whereas I am seeing them every seven days and get to see the glaring difference between visits, my mom, living with my dad, couldn’t. That’s when it really struck me that we need a continuous observation platform that tracks these incremental changes to notify people before the issue becomes a visit to the emergency room.
What inspired you to create Veeyah?
I was at a solar tradeshow, and a speaker asked the auditorium of a few thousand people, “How many of you have solar?” Only a few dozen hands went up – and these were the industry insiders and true believers! My jaw dropped.
Veeyah has a platform called CloudSolar that delivers solar to our applications, Plug.Solar and Stay.Solar. Plug.Solar is for plug-in devices and Stay.Solar allows you to power your hotel room with solar during your stay. The idea is to create an open platform that any developer can use.
What do you see as the future of renewable energy?
We’re involved with Veeyah on the demand-side. The supply-side has been going crazy. We see a new market where people are demanding renewable energy rather than waiting for utility companies to supply it.
What can the government can do to encourage innovation?
The government should enable and empower private initiatives as much as it can. Innovation inherently is messy and happens around the fringes, but it’s the exact kind of thing the government needs to be open to. When the government tries to structure things too strongly, it backfires in terms of innovation.
What do you see as the future of robotics?
We’re seeing a robotics revolution. Just like smartphones are used for everyday functions, soon there will be robots everywhere that will commonly be used as computers. We’re seeing well-established companies starting to venture towards robotics, and also smaller companies coming out with robotics products. This is because, finally, the technology has caught up with the imagination of robotics and the affordability of consumer products. We’re starting to see robots for use in homes because personal robotics has become a lot more affordable.
Editors Note: Contributing writer Bronwyn Flores joins us from CEA, who has been a sponsor and supporter of Tech Cocktail.
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