How can Kevin prevent burglaries?
Interview with our CEO, Julian Stylianou
How was the idea for Kevin created??
We learned early through a survey that burglary is an issue that concerns people. The idea of Mitipi was actually created by talks with victims of burglary, with experts and through their own research. The biggest problem for the victims is that burglars invade the privacy of the victims by force. Burglars want to come quickly and easily to valuables such as jewelry and cash. They want to avoid confrontation with the inhabitants. So we came up with the idea of the virtual roommate who protects the home as long as you are not there yourself.
What did the development of Kevin go?
Developing your own device has never been our goal. However, the more intensively we have dealt with the matter, we have found that there are no suitable devices in the market for this application. For example, there are many light bulb concepts. The problem is simple when the occupants leave the apartment and press the light switch, the current is gone and no simulations can be realized. In addition, each device manufacturer again offers its own software interfaces. Some don't even want third-party applications to write. But the most important thing is that there is still no basis in the market. Few have already installed networked lights and speakers. That's why we found that it needs a separate device for our specific application. This has to do with the simple applicability. We want technology to be no obstacle to anyone. Our promise is that our device can be installed within 5 minutes.
How does Kevin work?
In principle, we develop a lamp with an integrated speakerWe will use power-saving LED lights and through the way we design the device, it will be possible to project shadows as well. This is how we can simulate movement. If someone is looking from outside, it will look as if someone is moving in the room. The speaker is important because burglars will also listen to sounds to know whether someone is at home. During the day, acoustics will be more important because the lights won’t be seen that well. If a burglar gets closer to the flat, he will suddenly hear discussions, cooking sounds, or other activities. This is especially important if the burglar plans to enter through the main door. The device is connected via your own WIFI to the internet. This is how regular updates and new functionalities can be made available.
We feel relatively safe in Switzerland. How high is my risk of a burglary and why is it wise to get active beforehand?
Based on the Every household has the yearly risk to be affected by a burglary of 0.6%. During your whole life, there is a probability of 50% to be affected once. Already with one burglary, your quality of life can be reduced substantially. A burglary can be a stressful situation with psychological consequences. Every year, 47,000 people are affected in Switzerland.
Where are the limits of Kevin?
Kevin is an effective prevention agent, but will not be able to hold a professional. It's more about increasing the threshold for a burglar. Why break into an apartment where the burglar is not sure if someone is really home? It is much easier to choose an apartment where no one is safe at home. MITIPI also has no sensors to detect if someone is in the apartment. This is a disadvantage, but in terms of the privacy that we want to protect, also an advantage.
Cameras are very popular because people feel like having more control. Is there a version of the device planned that includes a camera?
That's right. There are already many camera systems on the market. The problem is that they only work reactively and the burglar is already in the apartment. Then it's too late.
Currently, I would assess the situation so that we may be working with third-party manufacturers. Our goal, anyway, is for Kevin to be able to communicate with third-party devices, so that additional devices can also be integrated into the system.
What will mitipi look like in five years?
We have already discussed a lot. It is important for us to create a successful market entry for the first time. There are many possibilities that we could exploit in the future. One possibility would be to offer not only preventive but also reactive measures. We know, for example, that often neighbours of the police give decisive clues. This would lead to the development of network mechanisms for the protection of quarters. Another option would be to develop our virtual roommates as virtual wizards. In order to be able to enjoy the time at home, different conditions must be fulfilled. The home must feel safe. The home needs to be maintained and kept clean. Administrative tasks must be completed. Only then do you have the freedom to do what you really want.
As our virtual roommate can learn, we have countless possibilities for further development. But there are no concrete plans yet. We don't want to get bogged down. We'll do it step by step.