GUARDMAN – Making Caring Smart Homes for Seniors

We are hopeful that the Indian market will be ready in the near future to welcome GUARDMAN products and the brand will be in a position to serve the society effectively. Adam Chow, CEO, GUARDMAN

Hong Kong based GUARDMAN offers innovative solutions that have the potential to change the way senior citizens deal with common cognitive health issues like Alzheimer’s and lead a ‘secured’ life. On the sidelines of the recently concluded HKTDC Hong Kong International Medical and Healthcare Fair, the company’s CEO Adam Chow talks to Subhajit Roy and explains about his smart homecare solutions and expansion strategy for Indian market.

Could you let us know about your brand philosophy?

GUARDMAN products and solutions are based on the concept of “Aging in place as the core, institutional care as back-up”. With the integration of technology and care, GUARDMAN pre-empts and minimises a risk situation by offering a solution for every eventuality. Our cutting-edge technology inspires independent and dignified living amongst every senior in the society. The brand’s global outreach touches upon precious lives, transcending geographical boundaries, transforming simple homes into caring smart homes.

What are the solutions you have for elderly people?

GUARDMAN’s “Value Kits” and “Systems” deal with common ailments confronting the seniors – vision, hearing, incontinence, memory (Dementia/Alzheimer’s) etc. – by offering innovative yet simple “Do It Yourself” (DIY) Home Care Alerting Solutions for caregivers or family members.

GUARDMAN Wandering Prevention Kit, for example, effectively alerts a caregiver with sound, light, vibration and remote notifications through e-Alert Care app in the event of a senior suffering from Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease – accidentally leaving a protected zone, thus minimising a high-risk situation. Similarly, the GUARDMAN Bathroom Pull Alarm Kit alerts a caregiver during an emergency situation, like a fall in the bathroom. The alarm can be triggered by the senior (end-user) simply by pulling the pull station cord using a solitary finger. As simple as that. Another kit called the Fall Management and Monitoring Kit helps avert accidents due to a fall off the bed or a chair. Our Hearing/Visually Impaired Assistive Kit assists to keep the communication going by alerting the end-user during an incoming phone call ring or a when a visitor rings the doorbell.

Besides, GUARDMAN offers a number of discrete/stand-alone daily assistive living devices for seniors like talking clock, vibrating clock, and liquid level detector, fostering a positive perspective towards life.

How user-friendly your products are?

GUARDMAN products are based on DIY concept hence designed to be extremely user-friendly. The sensors, transmitters and receivers are very easy to configure with each other making them ideal alerting devices within a home environment. For example, a senior can simply use a solitary finger to pull the cord of the pull station alarm and alert the caregiver about an emergency situation. Likewise, Fall Management Monitoring Kit or a Wandering Prevention system alerts a caregiver about the movements of a senior within a protected zone through portable, stationary or IoT enabled receivers.

What is the kind of platform you are using – Wi-Fi or Bluetooth?

GUARDMAN devices are based on RF technology. We use SUB-1G RF with wireless transmission range up to 300m/1,000 ft. (direct line of sight). We envisioned GUARDMAN to provide cost-effective, long range solutions, free from interference (from other devices in the proximity). This is imperative when we are dealing in home care security products and solutions.

What’s your sales and marketing strategy for these products?

GUARDMAN offers DIY Home Care alerting products. Beside we have a number of Daily Assistive Living Aids in our portfolio. Our business model is currently B2B, whereby we operate through dedicated distribution and dealer channels. However, in the future we envisage a multi-dimensional approach in building up GUARDMAN’s global outreach, i.e. both B2B and B2C. Our approach towards B2C will be through online stores, concept stores and independent retail channels, etc. At the same time, GUARDMAN being a responsible brand, invariably fortifies the sales channels and end-users alike with a committed after-sales service. We select our business partners with utmost care and diligence. On the other hand, GUARDMAN has thrust upon itself the task of consistently inculcating in end-users and caregivers, the rationale behind transforming a simple home into a smart home.

Do you export as well?

Yes, GUARDMAN has been consistently exporting the products to Russia and CIS countries. Besides, we are focussed in expanding the export market to Asia-Pacific, South-East Asia, Middle -East, etc.

When can we expect your products in Indian market?

India features strongly amongst our future export destinations. We are currently in communication with a few potential distributors and we hope to finalise on the blue-prints soon. At the same time, we are persistent in our efforts in collating as much market intelligence as possible to be able to roll out the most effective strategy for distribution and after-sales in a country as huge as India. Equally important for us is to spread the awareness amongst the prospective seniors and caregivers regarding the concept of Home Care and Security and building up a secured ecosystem encouraging smarter and independent living. Additionally, India is a very price-sensitive market hence right from the outset, our mantra has been offering “Premium Products at an Affordable Price”. We are hopeful that the Indian market will be ready in the near future to welcome GUARDMAN products and the brand will be in a position to serve the society effectively.

Are you in the process of making investment in India?

We are keeping all options open not just for India but across the entire Indian sub-continent region. Today, India is poised to be one of the fastest growing economies on the global stage, with steady growth in propensity to consume amongst its middle class, significant increase in education and awareness, healthcare, etc. With the advent of IoT, we expect a smartphone-like revolution in the healthcare and equipment sector as well.

What sort of IoT integration you have implemented in your product range?

GUARDMAN has developed its own range of IoT-enabled products and solutions. Under this segment GUARDMAN offers e-Alert Care – an app based remote monitoring and alerting platform. The app generates Cloud based remote alerts and push notifications on end-user’s mobile devices, from GUARDMAN configured monitoring devices. Multiple number of hubs can be connected and monitored through a single e-Alert Care account. Each account is possible to be shared amongst multiple caregivers. Unlimited number of sensors, transmitters and receivers are possible to be connected under each hub, enabling monitoring of various zones marked under every hub. A cost-effective monitoring solution, allowing unlimited expansion of the system, ideal for home care centres and facilities, etc.

Indian market is huge. Will you be able to provide the after-sales services?

After-sales is one of the fundamental aspects about branding and distribution. However, as with most brands, GUARDMAN arranges after-sales service in every territory through its local partners, i.e. distributors and dealers, based on local laws, and end-user expectations.

Do you have sufficient capacity in terms of manpower as well as production to meet the demand when you get into markets like India?

GUARDMAN has its own R&D and manufacturing facilities in P.R.C. We are confident that with our experienced personnel and resources in place, we are capable enough to cope up with the challenges of the Indian market or any other market that we decide to serve.

Do you have any technical collaboration with Indian agencies?

Well, not at this moment as it seems a bit farfetched now. As I mentioned, we are still in the process of collating the market info. Hence not fully aware as to what sort of opportunities the market could open up for us. We are keeping all options open though.