First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Emilio Vargas: COVID is scary, stressful, and disruptive to everyone’s lifestyle. We’ve been quarantined and having to do work remotely via videoconference, so teamwork has been challenging. I’ve had some friends and family deeply affected by COVID. Fortunately, my immediate family is all safe. Thank you for asking.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Intellecy
Emilio Vargas: I’ve had a varied career, having worked for some big industry leaders like UPS, Marriott, and Delta Airlines. The foundation of my experience for what we’ve developed at Intellecy came while working at SKF. While there, I learned a lot about predictive analysis and sensor technology. Working at SKF also enabled me to develop a close working relationship with SKF’s Chief Technologist, Johannes Boerhout, my co-founder.
A few years ago, I had experienced a couple of water emergencies in my home and was extremely frustrated by the lack of solutions in the marketplace. I shared my idea with my former colleagues from SKF. I proposed having an externally mounted sensor that could detect water flow and detect leaks. All didn’t believe in my idea except one, my co-founder.
How does Intellecy innovate?
Emilio Vargas: Talking and listening to our customers is a key part of how we innovate. We don’t dismiss any suggestion, and when we don’t understand, we really probe to fully understand what our customers are asking of us.
We also have a culture of creativity, whereby we present problems instead of desired solutions to our development team. This allows them to attack the problem in many different ways and with a creative spirit.
Tell us what Intellecy does?
Emilio Vargas: Intellecy is a maker of a smart home product called BluView. This smart water system helps users bring their water bill under control, manage their savings, and protect against damaging water leaks. Our system’s primary benefit is to save water, but with the leak detection and automated valve, we protect from extensive damage. We are proud to announce that we were recently honored with the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Certification.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Emilio Vargas: The pandemic really derailed our plans for 2020. We had numerous events planned to showcase our product. Of course, all of these were canceled, so we needed to pivot to an alternative method to generate interest for our product. We decided to accelerate the industrial version of our product, which helps property managers and building owners know how much water they’re using at the point of use and the added protection against leaks. This solution became extremely important for building owners because they were forced to limit staff on-site for maintenance.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Intellecy in the future?
Emilio Vargas: Stress and anxiety come in different forms for different people. During the pandemic, I’ve had some personal setbacks with personal relationships, and the need to shift our plans on flying really put a lot of stress on the team and myself. The personal stress was dealt with some new techniques that I’ve been working on. One, in particular, is mindfulness. The professional stress really brought our team closer together. Everyone went above and beyond and has been super positive.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Emilio Vargas: We have several low-tech competitors and a couple of comparable competitors. They do a good job of helping with the water leak problem. Our competitive advantage is our superior water management system. We have budgeting, tracking, and alert features that focus on saving, so users can fully manage their water use. Additionally, our systems are versatile and can be used in a single-family home or a multi-floor building. Our solution is intended to be easy and cost-effective to install and operate. So that’s how we plan to stay in the game.
Your final thoughts
Emilio Vargas: I just want to share a personal note to everyone throughout the world that has been affected by the pandemic. Look out for each other and watch your mental health. I know that we will all pull through. When this is over, focus more on getting closer together with your loved ones and those you’ve lost touch.