Morten Bremild, CEO and Founder of Anyware Solutions tells us about the all-in-One smart room solution.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Morten Bremild: Everyone is in good health, thanks, but we do experience some coronavirus fatigue as most people. Certainly, my children, for whom it’s tough to be isolated from school and friends. Hopefully, our collective mentality will shift soon towards a more sustainable model of living with this ‘new normal’.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Anyware Solutions.
Morten Bremild: I have worked with Smart Home/IoT for 20 years and find it fascinating that it remains untapped in terms of the mass market. There’s no clear leadership, the technology is fragmented, and 4 out of 5 people are still not adopting technology and gadgets in most countries.
In November 2015, I founded Anyware with my co-founder at the time. We wanted to make Smart Home simpler and more accessible for everyone, acknowledging that it should be as easy to get started as fitting a lightbulb and that most people do not engage with technology and buy gadgets – however, they do want peace of mind, safety, and convenience ‘as-a-Service’.
Consequently, we developed our award-winning and now patented Anyware Smart Adaptor™, which is an all-in-one Smart Room solution for the lamp with built-in sensors, WiFi and Bluetooth. It comes with a comprehensive catalog of ‘Smarter Living’ services in the app to adapt the functionality to specific user preferences and the use of the room (for example ensuring a healthy children’s room, monitoring a humid basement, remotely monitoring the vacation home, etc.).
How does Anyware Solutions innovate?
Morten Bremild: We innovate by identifying gaps and observing dysfunctions in the market, especially in the way ‘value’ is delivered to customers (i.e. HOW the product or service is creating value) rather than WHAT is delivered (the product or service itself). We believe that the current industry focus on the ‘WHAT’ (IoT devices and gadgets) is essentially what is holding back the Smart Home/IoT mass-market potential.
There is certainly enough ‘tech’ in the Smart Home/IoT market today, but the way it’s ‘delivered’ to customers and by whom is where we see opportunities. Granted, we do have a very cool piece of tech ourselves in the toolbox, and it enables us to offer Smarter Living-as-a-Service, but the Go-To-Market and Business Model design is the battleground from our perspective.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Morten Bremild: Speaking of Go-To-Market and Business Model design, Anyware enables B2B2C partners such as telcos/ISPs, energy providers, insurers, or real estate owners to offer Smarter Living- or IoT-as-a-Service in value-added service bundles to their customers (homeowners/tenants).
During the coronavirus pandemic, these typically large and older companies have moved even slower in terms of innovation and business development, and it impacts our business finances when projects and rollouts are postponed.
We operate a relatively lean organizational model, though, with a lot of external strategic partners, so we have been able to adapt the operational model relatively quickly and managed the cashflow accordingly.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Morten Bremild: We have had to postpone new hires and spending, but have been fortunate to not have had to let go of anyone. We initially saw the coronavirus pandemic as temporary and, thus, as a way to get ahead of more ‘fearful’ competitors. However, we have learned that you cannot really fight a pandemic wave like this, instead, you need to ‘ride the wave’ in the sense of navigating through the reality and dynamics of the ‘new normal’. Hopefully, you will not be too far from where you want to be when the wave ebbs out.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Morten Bremild: Our customer relationship management has changed in two ways. First, we have shifted to digital instead of personal meetings, which works well if you are managing existing relations. As a startup breaking into new markets, however, it has not made it easier to build personal relationships with new B2B clients. Second, we have shifted more focus to online digital selling in our direct end-customer relationships (homeowners and tenants).
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Morten Bremild: Yes, we got a small government grant/loan when the first coronavirus wave hit in spring 2020, and it helped us pay the existing bills when everything else stopped, including new budgeted revenues.
Your final thoughts?
Morten Bremild: Keep going to hit the ground running! Those who manage to go through this coronavirus phase will come out stronger (not considering companies who benefit directly from the coronavirus such as providers of disinfection products, quick tests, etc.). I would recommend you constantly and mentally keep your eyes on the horizon – the time to come beyond national lockdowns and massive restrictions – and to use the time now wisely by preparing for that time, cleaning up, building content, working on the sales material, etc.