This project's funding goal was not reached on January 17, 2014.
About this project
Savi™; Portable and affordable computing made simple for Seniors
I discovered that as my parents got older, the world of computers was just not for them. PC’s and laptops are complex devices with cabling, software applications to be downloaded or licensed, software upgrades, disk maintenance,…they are just not easy to use for anyone let alone seniors. I knew I could do all that for my parents, but I quickly realized it was not a one time event, but something that required an ongoing series of phone calls and visits. Frankly, when I visit my parents I really wanted to spend time with them, and not be tethered to a computer doing technical support.The newest tablets looked better, but I really was looking for something more usable with large icons, easier to use, and more intuitive and frankly they just don’t need most of what is on the screen from out-of-the-box tablets.
So I set out to solve this problem. Make an easy to use tablet, not a full blown PC, and make it easier to see for the people with aging sight difficulties, and constrain it to do just the basic things that seniors need to stay connected and have a continued great active lifestyle. What I wanted to create is something intuitive, simple to use, and easy to see yet have all the basic functionality of a PC.
The name of our company is SEI-TEK™, Inc.™ and it stands for simple, easy, intuitive technology. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, SEI-TEK™, Inc.™ unites exceptionally talented team members and strategic partners, all with proven design, development and marketing expertise, as well a passion for innovation.
Committed to designing technology products that address the overlooked, unique needs of seniors and technology wary individuals, SEI-TEK™ hopes to enhance the quality of life and communication for all people as they age. There are over 40 million people over the age of 65 in the United States and the number is growing by 10,000 per day.
So what makes the Savi™ tablet different?
There are three key features of the Savi™ tablet when combined make it the easiest tablet computer to use. First, we identified the apps that most people would use on a day to day basis such as email, internet, pictures, music, videos, books, video conferencing, calendar, and others and created new simplified versions of these apps while still retaining a majority of the functionality.
Second, we standardized on the layout of each app so as your mom and dad goes from one app to another the look and feel of the apps are all the same. Our goal is to have no more than 4 or 5 things to choose from on any particular screen. It makes the experience much simpler, a lot less confusing, and a lot more fun.
And third, we made everything easier to see. We increased the size of the icons. we used larger senior friendly fonts, we used contrasting colors to make it easier on the eyes, and we created a help button which will provide little reminders if your mom or dad just can't remember what to do next.
Our vision is not only to create the Savi™ tablet but to create a community of users that will benefit from relevant content as well as product and services. We will partner with content providers to bring mom and dad information and entertainment they are interested in. For future development we are going to make our API open to outside developers by providing an SDK kit to make creating apps for the Savi™ tablet as easy as possible and we will partner with APP Carousel to create our own app store. Since the Savi™ tablet is Android based you will be able to download your favorite Google Play Apps.
We are currently in discussions with device manufactures to enable the Savi™ tablet to monitor biometrics such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing as well as such things as home security. That's the future of tablet computing and the Savi™ tablet will deliver a simple to use platform to make it a reality.
The Savi™ tablet will utilize state of the art off the shelf tablet computer hardware and technology to keep costs down assure high-quality reliability. Using off the shelf hardware will also make the Savi™ tablet affordable with an end user price of $349, well below that of the ipad. Hardware specifications will include:
- Android Operating System 4.1 or higher
- Quad core processor
- 10 inch capacitive screen
- 1200 X 800 High Resolution Screen
- Internal 16GB storage, 1GB Ram
- Card slot Micro SD with up to 32GB
- Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- USB port
- Camera front .3MP, rear 2MP
- Internal GPS
- Internal speaker
How we started.
Once I decided to pursue the idea of a tablet for seniors I began to conduct some preliminary research on why the level of tablet computer purchases for seniors was well below that of other age groups. I read news articles, white papers, studies, reports and anything I could get my hands on that would provide any information on the subject. I also talked to some of the leading experts in the field of seniors and technology. After several months of researching it became evident there were several attributes that kept recurring in my research. The tablet needed to be easy to use, easy to see, easy to navigate, and intuitive. I laid out a preliminary design of my idea. It was a lot of cut and pasting on my computer to create a visual image of what I was thinking. I needed to to be able to communicate my idea to app designers and developers. The original design layout is provided below.
Once I had created the visual rendering I met with several app designers and developers to discuss creating my own application programming interface (API) and apps. In the process of talking to app designers I met with Mobisoft Infotech, a company located in Houston, Texas. From our initial meeting I knew these guys were exactly what I needed to help me on this project. Mobisoft had the technical knowledge, the resources, and the enthusiasm to make this a successful project. We jointly put together a plan to create a working prototype to demonstrate the functionality of the API and apps.
The first step in the plan was to get the design team to fully understand the wants, needs, and requirements of seniors. The team spent thousands of man hours researching these requirements. Below is a sample of some of the articles used in the research.
In addition to the research we also conducted our own survey. We went to The Villages retirement community in Central Florida (there are over 100,000+ seniors over the age of 65 that live there) and surveyed seniors who were 65+ years of age that had some exposure to using a computer. We also utilized Survey Monkey to increase the size of the sample and to get a more geographic diverse group of respondents. Below are some of the questions we asked in our survey.
We also talked with some of the leading experts in the area of seniors and technology. Through this process we learned a lot about what was needed in the design of a senior tablet computer.
The next step in the process was for the design team take what we had learned and create wireframes for the various apps we were going to create while the development team was focused on creating the application programming interface. Below are some of the wireframes that were created during this process.
The development process was an interative process which included inputs from the design team, myself and seniors that volunteered to help with the design. Below are some of my notes that were used during the design process.
Once the prototype was completed we conducted a focus group to test our assumptions and see what type of reaction we would get. We hired a professional market research firm, Falk Research Associates Inc., to conduct the focus group. The focus group was conducted with one on one interviews with each participant spending about 45 minutes to an hour using the tablet. Each participant was asked to perform several tasks such as entering an email, locating pictures, locating songs, adding appointments to the calendar, etc. The results were very positive and are summarized by Falk Research Associates below.
Where we are today.
Here is what we have accomplished so far:
- We have partnered with the one of the top 3 app and system developers in the United States, Mobisoft Infotech, to develop the Savi™ apps and the API.
- We spent thousands of man hours of researching seniors likes and dislikes, physical changes as our bodies mature such as vision, dexterity, and cognitive abilities, and strengths and weakness as we mature. And we have worked with some of the leading authorities on seniors and technology.
- We've built a functional prototype with the most commonly used apps
- We hired a professional research firm to conduct a face to face focus group of seniors to determine if we met our objectives: affordable, easy to use, easy to see, and intuitive. We also wanted to learn if the look and feel were correct, and if the applications we chose were the right ones or are there other things we needed to consider. Each participant spent about 45 minutes to an hour evaluating the Savi™ tablet. The focus group participants were asked to perform tasks such as sending emails, finding appointments on the calendar, finding pictures in albums, taking pictures with the internal camera, finding a song to play, and others. The focus group was a huge success, and all participants rated the Savi™ tablet a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest. I think I could have sold a Savi™ tablet to every one of them that day!
- As a result of the focus group we did learn of some refinements we needed to make, and some additional applications that they wanted.
- We are working with device manufacturers to enable the Savi™ tablet to monitor biometrics such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration as well as things like home security.
- We are in discussions with several tablet manufacturers to supply state of the art hardware with "quality" being the most important factor in the determining the best partner for SEI-Tek.
- We understand that the key to success of the tablet is not only the tablet itself but the customer support that comes with it. That's why we have selected Caleris Inc. as our partner to provide customer support including incoming call support, help desk support, and first line technical support. Caleris located in Des Moines, Iowa has over 17 years experience, has state of the art technology, and have well trained customer service representatives that are well trained, based in the US, have a clear dialect, and have outstanding customer service skills.
What we need do to next.
Our next step is to finish up the apps and API and integrate the software into a tablet. We have assembled a team of motivated professionals to get the job done. Our chief technical architect is Hemant Shinde. Hemant has served as Mobisofts Vice President of Android Development and will be overseeing a team of designers and developers to complete the apps and finalize the API. Hemant's career has focused on software engineering, Android user interface customization, and application development. Hemant will be relocating to Charlotte NC to work side by side with the team.
Warren Neuburger will be heading up the operations side of the business and will be responsible for software testing, debugging software, integration of software into tablet hardware, conducting beta testing, and insuring tablet is ready for a soft product launch. Warren recently completed the successful launch of a technology product and business and has many years of experience with growing startup companies.
Stan Ciepcielinski, the founder of SEI-Tek will be responsible for selecting a quality tablet manufacturer and working with design experts to finalize the applications and user interfaces. The tablet manufacturer will most likely be located in China since most of the world's tablets are manufactured in and around Shenzhen, China. Stan's background includes extensive work in China and includes establishing a Chinese wholly owned foreign subsidiary, creating a joint manufacturing company in China, starting up offices in Bejing and Guangzhou, and establishing financial activities with Chinese banks. Stan is currently in discussions with several Chinese tablet manufacturers. Stan is also in discussions with design companies to assist with final user interfaces and will be working with them and the development team to complete the applications.
Our Manufacturing and Distribution Plan.
Once we complete the beta testing and complete a soft launch we will manufacture and distribute the Savi Tablet as summarized by the chart below. Our tablet manufacturer will build the hardware, download the software to the tablet, test the tablet, and package the tablet using packing material we will provide. Using off the shelf hardware will allow us to concentrate on developing software and not get involved in the constantly changing hardware technology. In order to ensure quality standards are met we will employ our own quality inspectors which will be located in the tablet manufacturing facility. Once tablets have passed inspection and are packed they will be shipped to the Amazon.com fulfillment center in the United States. Amazon.com will provide all fulfillment activities for the company (at least initially) and be the distribution channel for sales on our website, other online retailers, and brick and mortar retail outlets.
Why we need your help.
We have funded everything thus far, but now that we are in the final stretch, we need more money to:
1) Complete the application portfolio we now have affirmed we need
2) Buy initial tablet inventory, and get them preloaded with our software
3) Launch the product and get the initial systems in users hands to continue to validate and refine our concept.
Our focus group confirmed that there is a market for this product and that we are hitting the right price points and we are on the right track of making things simple for this targeted market. Our visits to senior communities have also confirmed that seniors are ready to buy, or recommend that there family buy this device as gift. We need an additional investment on top of our personal initial investments to make this a reality. Won’t you help us in this worthwhile effort, and make the increasing number of seniors feel good about themselves by using high tech technology, and be connected to their friends and families?
Stan founded SEI-TEK™ Inc. in 2012 to design, develop, market, and distribute a tablet computer that is simple, easy-to-use, and intuitive for seniors and other technically wary individuals. The company has developed a prototype tablet and is currently seeking funding to complete tablet development. Stan has held various executive positions during his career including Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Board of Directors member at Glenayre Technologies Inc., a leading supplier of wireless telecommunications equipment and publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Prior to founding SEI-TEK™, Inc.™, Stan served as Chief Financial Officer of Adhesion Technologies Inc., a start-up software development company providing financial software for banks and financial institutions. Here, he assisted the company in raising $30 million in venture capital funding. Stan also founded the start-up GolfTech Guys in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina which provided golf courses with handheld golf GPS devices for rental to their customers. Stan has held several financial management positions during his career including Director of Finance for Square D Company, Corporate Controller for Alcatel North America, and Director Financial Planning and Analysis. for Amstar Technical Products Inc. Stan attended Florida State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in marketing/management and his Master of Business Administration with concentration in finance.
Mr. Neuburger, as a respected, inspiring and passionate leader, has an extensive career in transforming business to improved revenue positions and reduced debt. He has served in roles including CEO, COO, President and other senior leadership roles of both private and public international business in several industries and markets predominately with software, hardware, network and mobile technologies. He is an innovator, not just in the technical sense of the word, but also in the innovative implementation of targeted sales and marketing programs utilizing social marketing techniques. With strong global business experience, he has developed sales channels and distribution programs that have helped in the growth of many businesses. Warren received a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology; a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering both from Syracuse University
Board of Advisors
Laurie Orlov is the Founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, a market research firm that provides thought leadership, analysis, and guidance about technologies and related services that enable boomers and seniors to remain longer in their home of choice.
In her previous career, Laurie spent more than 30 years in the technology industry, including 24 years in IT and 9 years as a leading industry analyst at Forrester Research. While there, she was often the first in the industry to identify technology trends and management strategies which have survived the test of time. She has spoken regularly and delivered keynote speeches at forums, industry consortia, conferences, and symposia, most recently on the business of technology for boomers and seniors. She has been featured on Caring.com, MatureMarkets, SilverPlanet, Mobile Health News, and her blog entries are widely syndicated. She advises large organizations as well as non-profits and entrepreneurs about trends and opportunities in the age-related technology market. Her segmentation of this emerging technology market and trends commentary has been presented in the Journal of Geriatric Care Management and ASA's Aging Today Online. Her perspectives have been quoted in Business Week, Forbes, Kiplinger, the Toronto Star, and the New York Times. She has been profiled in the New York Times and the Huffington Post. She has a graduate certification in Geriatric Care Management from the University of Florida and a BA in Music from the University of Rochester. Laurie has consulted to AARP and is a participating expert on the Think Tank for The Philips Center for Health and Well-Being. Clients have included AARP, Microsoft, Novartis, J&J, United Heathcare, Yahoo! and Philips
Gary B. Smith founded Color ID, LLC in 1999 and remains president and owner of the company. A supplier of identification, security products and security systems, Color ID reaches select markets including more than 700 universities and colleges, over 100 US Federal government and military bases, and over 400 national healthcare facilities. Prior to founding Color ID, Gary was president and chief executive officer of Glenayre Technologies, Inc., a manufacturer of wireless telecommunications equipment. He also served on the board of directors for Glenayre which was publicly-traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, and he held several positions at the company including chief technology officer, executive vice president and general manager.
Gary served on the board of directors of New York Stock Exchange Company Allen Telecom, a telecommunications manufacturing company with sales of over $400 million. In 1999, he additionally founded and directed WorkWireless, LLC where he designed and sold software that operated and networked over 3,000 wireless stores across the US. The company was sold to IQmetrix in June 2008. Gary is a founder and director of OmniStream, a technology company that offers two way streaming video products for specialty markets, and H2 Workforce, LLC which offers hiring solutions based on behavioral assessments, background checksandskill tests, plus online productivity tools. He continues to serve on several advisory and not-for-profit boards, including Guard RFID Systems, which designs and manufactures active identification tracking tags and systems for Greater Vancouver area. Gary studied Electrical Engineering at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.
A graduate of Western Michigan University, Ken’s experience includes a diverse mix of roles including senior corporate executive, entrepreneur, investor, and consultant in a variety of industries that typically involved newly emerging technology. Ken has held various corporate executive positions including chief executive officer of Logimetrics; president of Voice and Data Technologies Group; executive vice-president of Glenayre Technologies Inc.; and general manager of Vehicle Identification Systems of Science Applications International Corporation.
Ken has launched and managed product introductions in a variety of technologies and markets including: wireless communications, satellite and microwave services, supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA), intelligent sensors, electronic toll collection systems, enhanced voice messaging, network management, and automated material handling systems. He was a founding investor of a leading genomic services company that provides services for clinical trials and research.
Shailendra Sinhasane (Shail) founded Mobisoft Infotech in December of 2008 and has grown the organization to more than 170 associates. Mobisoft focuses on cloud solutions, mobile strategy, cross-platform development and content publishing. Mobisoft works on all major platforms with special emphasis on iOS and Android app development and have built more than 250 mobility projects. Mobisoft has achieved several awards including winner of the best app at the Consumer Electronic Show, Las Vegas 2012. Mobisoft has been ranked as the 3rd best Android developer in the US in 2012 and 2013. Shail has held various positions including Programmer Analyst at Syntel, Software Engineer at Sigma Systems, and Mobile Solutions Architect at the University of Houston. Shail is a graduate of the University of Houston with an MS in computer science.
A 17-year veteran of the commercial real estate sector, Steven Borysewich is Vice President of Investment Property Sales for GE Capital where he has worked since 2007. During his career, he completed nearly $1 billion in national real estate investment sales. In his capacity with GE Capital, he is responsible for investment property sales of single tenant, net-leased restaurant properties directly to principal investors and real estate brokers.
Prior to joining GE, Steve worked, as vice president for a privately held investment group specializing in the acquisitions, management and disposition of net lease commercial properties within the retail, office and restaurant sector. Before that, he served in various operational and management capacities for Chart House and Cork N’ Cleaver, casual dining restaurant chains with locations throughout the United States. Steve is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM); a Florida-licensed real estate agent, as well as a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Business at Florida State University with a major in Marketing.
Risks and challenges
As with any project there are risks inherent in getting the product to market and the Savi™ tablet is no exception. Here is a list of risks we see need to minimize as we move forward:
*The hardware platform will be an off-the-shelf design that must meet our quality standards, including documentation, supply chain requirements, price targets, and that will be able to meet international country specific regulatory requirements (including certifications like ROHS, and recycling of consumer electronics) as we grow and launch both domestically and internationally. We are evaluating and working with suppliers today, and feel that we have a good handle on this as we have been using some products for almost 9 months now as we have been developing the app software environment. We expect that parts obsolescence will happen and we have taken that into consideration in our planning process.
*The software development is contracted out to a leader in app and systems development. We have partnered with our supplier rather than just have a contractor relationship to insure our supplier is also aligned with our success. We have taken this approach with many of our suppliers.
*Financing is always a concern. We have invested much in this product over the last year to get it to this point, and feel that the funding from Kickstarter will allow us to complete the initial software app environment we started 12 months ago. If we failed to get the investment we need from Kickstarter, we will continue to pursue other sources of funding. This product will reach the market one way or the other! Our suppliers are getting paid today, including partnering with us, but no one on the team is getting paid for the time and effort that has gotten us thus far. We intend to spend money received on the product development elements, not salaries for team members.
*We are working to finalize our fulfillment process, and expect to be shipping Savi™ tablets through a large well known fulfillment supplier.
*We are also finalizing our customer support services, to provide support to users over the life of the product.
*We have a good relationship with our suppliers, established over months of working together. Problems and obstacles will arise over time, but we believe our extensive industry experience will be an invaluable resource in overcoming those obstacles. We expect to continually improve and enhance the Savi experience and view this project as a long term effort and not just a one time product.
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- (45 days)