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[Special Interview] OORT: The Smart Home Wizard
By Veronica Chen/Cindy Lin 2015-01-16
Radek Tadajewski, CEO of OORT, started his own business at the age of 17 by selling electronic components and computer hardware. Now he is known as the wizard of the smart home. Through Bluetooth technology, he is transforming ordinary objects into something smart and connected.
Q: Could you tell us about OORT and why you chose Bluetooth?
A: OORT has a smart hub, which is the first Bluetooth Smart hub on the market. It’s Bluetooth Smart/Wi-Fi based, which means that the hub can monitor and control every Bluetooth Smart-enabled device in its vicinity, creating a really open and flexible ecosystem. We also have smart light bulbs, smart sockets and beacon trackers that can be controlled by our smart hub. We’re currently working on a device that has yet to be launched that can sense temperature, air pressure, and most importantly, air quality. It can detect more than 6,000 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.
Another benefit to Bluetooth is its affordability, compared to chipsets like Z-Wave and ZigBee, which are more expensive. Because Bluetooth is included in millions of devices around the world, the ecosystem is in place.
In the past, Bluetooth provided only a single purpose for the headset, and you couldn’t use it with many devices. Now, we can use Bluetooth, our system and our hub, with dozens of different types of devices. In fact, our hub can control 80 devices at the same time. Not only that, it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, and USB ports, and you can use a 4G dongle to access the Internet through SIM cards.
Q: What is your business model?
A: OORT is creating everything from modules to embedded software, hubs to cloud software, and more. In the short run, we’re going to focus on software and hardware. In the long run, we’re going to focus on software, a cloud platform and mobile apps. We decided to create our own hubs because previously no such hardware existed on the market. We don’t want to focus on adding new products of our own, but rely on third parties. If we see something interesting in the market, like Nest or Dropcam, we will integrate it.
Our business has two pillars, B2C and B2B2C, where we cooperate with telcos, cable TVs, digital TV providers and energy companies. We’re focused mostly on utility providers, energy companies, telcos and set-top box producers. At the moment, we’re actually working with one of the biggest set-top box producers in Europe to transform existing set-top boxes into smart hubs. In the long run, we believe that consumers will have access to hubs for free from cable TV providers, for example.
If our partners want to use our system, but not our interface, we would give them open APIs for integration, so we’re very focused on a B2B strategy. There’s a third pillar of our business, which is very interesting. I call it “transforming dumb products into smart ones”. We cooperate with manufacturers from Asia, the U.S. and Europe to transform existing products into smart ones by implementing our small Bluetooth controller. In the world of connected homes, you don’t necessarily need to invent something new.
Q: How did the company perform in terms of sales revenues in the past 2 years?
A: OORT was created in 2014. We’ve been growing quickly, and we see a tremendous opportunity. In the past, there were bubbles, like the dotcom bubble, because there was no larger value behind it. But here I see real value because I see that having connected devices means getting new features and new products. The market is growing rapidly and, in the long run, I think the smart home is going to change many different things and make our lives much easier.