Global Q&A Series: Safera is on a Mission to Save Lives
One of the first questions asked to us by Mikko Reinikainen, Co-Founder and Global Head of Sales and Marketing for Safera, was if we knew what percentage of house fires per year were caused by cooking accidents. The answer, according to research he cited from the National Fire Protection Association, would tell you that roughly half of all house fires are the result of incidents in the kitchen. Cooking mishaps are far and away the leading cause of house fires and house fire injuries, according to NFPA. But that’s a statistic that Reinikainen and the Safera team are trying to change.
After more than a decade of working developing their sensor technology, the Finnish-based Safera team has zeroed in on their intelligent stove guarding solution, Safera Sense. Available as either a pre-installed solution in the extractor hood, or as a simple-to-install aftermarket solution, Safera Sense is an incredibly smart product that can monitor all kinds of data around the cooking area. As the stove runs, Safera’s sensors track surface temperature, air quality (based on actual World Health Organization air quality data), acts as an alarm if it notices irregularities, and more. An upgradable version even includes an automatic shutoff function that would prevent any sort of major incident from occurring in an unmonitored cooking environment. And the connected app stores all kinds of information, including past cooking sessions so the user can recall a successful recipe and seamlessly recreate their meal. Of course, because this is the year 2019 after all, there are voice control capabilities integrated into the product as well.
Speaking with Mikko at the recent 2019 IFA Global Press Conference, he told us of ambitions he has for getting their technology pre-installed in every stove that comes to market. And he even showed how his team’s product is on a similar path to that of the smoke alarm. What Safera is doing is certainly noble and, if successful, has the opportunity to save many lives in the years to come.
Here’s how the rest of our conversation went with Mikko.
What attracted you to the consumer tech world?
Mikko Reinikainen: As we have been around more than 10 years, Safera soon found out that there is hardly any "smart" devices specially designed for smart kitchen(s). The safety alone is dull, so we just "beefed up" our safety product to the Smart ecoSystems like Apple, Google, and Amazon to reach a truly global audience.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
As our customers have been mainly in Scandinavia, to reach the global audience with reasonable amount of money in due time seems to create the biggest challenge. There is also so many "cheap" products that, to prove our technology, takes time.
What do you think is the most important thing that you are working on right now, and why?
Integration into all major ecosystems—i.e. Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings. Many protocols and certifications are needed, and some part is out of our own hands as far as the acceptance of our devices into those ecosystems. Also the lack of global home appliance manufacturers willingness to open up their API—which will be critical to mass adoption of our technology.
How is your industry being disrupted right now, and what are you doing to stay ahead of that disruption?
Competition can come from every direction; Amazon just launched a smart microwave, Apple bought a sleeping gadget, and so on and so on. So, there is no such thing as a "normal player" anymore. It is a totally disruptive world!
Where do you see your industry heading in the next 5-10 years?
The Smart Cooking industry is just picking up referring to answer above the guessing is really difficult!
What advice do you have for retailers to help them better position your products to consumers?
This is a unique, revolutionary smart home device which will create a true value for the end consumer. Safera is not simply a turn on/off your lights kind of product. Also, we think that the price point around/less than 100 dollars will create a natural demand for the product, which can combine safety, air quality, and smart cooking!