Thomas Serval, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Baracoda Group tells us about designing daily health objects.
Tell us about yourself, your career, how you founded Baracoda.
Thomas Serval: I started as a researcher in Internet Economics at École Normale Supérieure. I rapidly felt the need to build innovative solutions for users… In 2000 Baracoda was born, and with it came the first Bluetooth barcode scanner and the first Bluetooth GPS.
At Baracoda, we design daily health objects. We create the Daily Healthtech. We are entrepreneurs and technology experts with a passion for health and a commitment to improving health globally. The bathroom is our playground, and we create smart and enduring practices in it.
How does Baracoda innovate?
Thomas Serval: Baracoda sees health as a line to be drawn, objects are dots, and their use is the line that connects the dots. So we began by improving oral hygiene practices with Kolibree, our very first success, which gave us a very good understanding of human behavior in the bathroom and the issues that exist there. In fact, we have identified biases between human perception and reality.
We carry out a large number of R&D activities, investing 30% of our turnover each year, and have a thorough innovation process based on 3 pillars: BLabs, BTech, and BSolutions.
In the Labs, we incubate and accelerate ideas, which result in new products and new health indexes. Leveraging our IoT & AI platform (BTech), Labs have access to Baracoda’s technological, algorithmic, and software expertise. BSolutions brings our technology and expertise together to serve the specific needs of our corporate customers.
You have been rewarded at CES; how did you experience the CES21 edition?
Thomas Serval: CES is a key event for Baracoda for our partners, and we are very happy to be part of it. This show punctuates the beginning of our year and our activities. CES21, while virtual, represents a great opportunity to meet all stakeholders. This year’s edition and context confirmed trends that Baracoda had foreseen, such as the importance of health prevention at home. With the health crisis, home deliveries, home care, and home health are exploding. Baracoda is fully committed to meet this need.
CES has been rewarding our innovations for the last 5 years, the latest being Themis, the connected mirror of our company CareOS, the most advanced wellness companion. These multiple awards are the best recognition for Baracoda, proof of the consistency and reliability of our innovations.
If CES 21 has restricted the ability to meet people, it has been a positive experience for us and has provided many opportunities. We look forward to attending CES 2022 in person!
How is the pandemic affecting Baracoda, and how are you dealing with it?
Thomas Serval: The pandemic acted as a catalyst for the trends Baracoda foresaw. It has accelerated the breach of certain dikes; Home Health is the new norm. This is just what we are witnessing at Baracoda with the digitalization of preventive health practices. This process is part of our commitment to enhancing daily practices and uses in the bathroom. All these small adjustments in daily practices can have an impressive impact on health and well-being.
We have been clarifying our vision and have developed a methodology that helps us share our innovation process internally and externally with business partners. We have recently revamped our organization and visual identity to better support our vision, centering on Daily Healthtech.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Thomas Serval: While some projects like CareOS mirror rollouts in retail were delayed, we concentrated resources on Daily Healthtech. We took the time to formalize just what our vision has always been, allowing us to simplify things, align our talent, and create a compelling purpose for the next few years.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to get through this crisis?
Thomas Serval: Baracoda is a team of 220 passionate, creative and versatile people (60% of whom are engineers) spread all over the world. Before the crisis, 40% of our team was already working remotely. Some tools were already in place.
We have set up employee satisfaction surveys, where everyone can express their ideas, desires, and needs. Many new initiatives and projects were implemented, such as skills development programs or incentives, like the Baracoda Awards.
We have hired more than 100 people in 2020, and our headquarters has become a hub of exchange, creativity, and collaborative work.
How is Baracoda positioned in the market?
Thomas Serval: Baracoda is the leader in Daily Healthtech. We are creating a new way of using technology to improve everyday health. Our ambition and innovative spirit have opened doors to key partnerships with some of the world’s leading companies. We also ensure guarantees to consumers and partners through data privacy protection.
Thomas Serval: What was our vision has become our mission. We are very optimistic about the future of Daily Healthtech. We are a B2B2C company with a commitment to improving Health globally by empowering users through everyday objects to enhance practices over time. Baracoda will be at the forefront of all innovations for preventive health at home.
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