We talked to Thomas GAUTHIER, CEO and Founder of NodOn about their own brand home automation products and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Thomas GAUTHIER: Well, we are all in good health, so that’s the most important.
2020 will remain forever a special year, where we had to adapt all our ways of living, working, interacting with people, etc.
Of course, we cross finger to quickly move forward and get back to a more normal life.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded NodOn.
Thomas GAUTHIER: I started my career in Altyor as an intern for electronic device industrialization in China. For 5 years, I’ve worked in various positions within the group, dealing with technical and business matters.
In 2013, I co-founded NodOn with Altyor. Since then, I am the CEO of the company.
How does NodOn innovate?
Thomas GAUTHIER: Innovation is in our DNA. We follow the latest news on radio protocols we master (EnOcean, Zigbee, Bluetooth, Thread…). Our R&D team actively contributes to the future of the smart home and smart building market. We are an active member of the EnOcean Alliance and the Zigbee Alliance.
To innovate, it is in some way bet on a market, a product, a service, or a technology. That is what our team does daily: we observe, we try and adapt, and we go for it. We are constantly moving. We take our customers and the market into account when we propose to them new products and services that meet their desires.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Thomas GAUTHIER: Well, as of now, we are lucky as the Covid did not stop our business and all our team is safe. Some of our customers have slowed down their projects due to the pandemic, but we have new customers and new projects to come. Moreover, we have a great launch coming soon: a new brand dedicated to smart buildings professionals – NodOn PRO – and new products using Zigbee.
We continue to innovate, and we have launched a battery-free wireless floor switch to turn the lights ON/OFF with the foot. This product was designed to be installed in offices, commercial buildings and more, to avoid people touching the switches (and so disinfection). So, we can tell that we still follow our product roadmap and that our market has not been suffering much from the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Thomas GAUTHIER: Hopefully not. We managed to keep 100% of our team on board during the whole pandemic, with, of course, adapted work conditions (Home office, remote working, etc.).
The lesson learned is that whatever the situation is, if you trust your team and take advantage of the collective intelligence and digital tools, you will go through it.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are helping you navigate the crisis?
Thomas GAUTHIER: Both internally and externally, digitalization is the key. We are now familiar with Office 365, and we have adapted our way of working using Visio conferences, calls, and messages via Teams.
In terms of management, the main difficulty is to keep the team aligned and detect if anyone is not feeling well about this situation and the period is not easy. To do so, we regularly organize team meetings, and at NodOn, there is a real team spirit, so the communication is never cut. Our team knows how to adapt and is flexible, but nature, through the different projects we manage. Our organization has known how to adapt itself to this situation, and we are very lucky!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Thomas GAUTHIER: We have several competitors in the relay switches world, using different radio protocols. What is funny in this universe is that some of our competitors are also our partners and some of our customers as we design OEM products.
Our strength is really our team ambition and passion, we always want more, so we make concrete plans to reach our goals. Become a key player in the EnOcean world? We have done it, and now we will conquer the Zigbee market. We know that we must continue to innovate, try and adapt our strategy. That is what makes us strong, which is why we are here now, thanks to our resilience.
Your final thoughts?
Thomas GAUTHIER: We cross fingers for this pandemic to end soon, to be again able to meet our leads, customers, and partners. For now, we bet on digital to maintain and develop those relationships, but we are looking forward to meeting them in person.
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