5 Questions With SHIELD, A Smart Thermometer Made by Designers
Shield is a smart wristband thermometer that is friendly to young kids. The thermometer can be connected to an app that helps parents to track and take care of their kids’ temperature. This project just finished its crowdfunding from Demohour and have received over RMB260,000 from all the backers.
The team of SHIELD is now based in Shenzhen and recently one of its co-founders Steven Liu talked to us about the story behind this lovely product.
TN:I’ve noticed that your team is made of designers. What led you to doing your own product?
Steven: Yes, most of our team members are professional industrial designers with years of experience designing all kinds of products.
After graduating from the design school of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, we spent most of our time in Shenzhen, as people call “the city of shanzhai(copycats)”, working for all sorts of clients.
The news of any emerging popular products like car cam, wearable device or even a smart speaker will grow like a flu across the city. Very soon, similar copycats will pop up and people can’t even tell from the original ones. This trend of chasing after popular products is so against the spirit of designers. We want to create things other than copy things. Most of our clients were in pursuit of instant results and profits. Nobody really cares about the actual user experience or even the safety of the users in some case. This fact makes us very upset.
We know this is not a long-run business strategy, and the users deserve better products. Designers are always close to the users, and we thought we should make some good products for the sake of users.
TN: So you must have put a lot of effort into the user experience?
Steve: The thermometer is our first step to move closer to the users. The idea came from a common situation where parents are often exhausted from taking care of their fevered kids, monitoring kid’s body temperature every few minutes for all night long.
All the design details care for the parents and the babies at the same time. For example, the temperature sensor of SHIELD is designed to put under kid’s armpit, while the main band wraps the armpit. This design has two advantages: 1. the part under the armpit is small enough to keep the baby comfortable so that he won’t resist to wear the band. 2. the bluetooth module is far enough to keep the wireless signal strong and the connection stable so that the parents don’t need to worry about anything.
TN: Any challenges you have met? For example, on manufacturing hardwares?
Steve: This is my first time to do a hardware startup. However, as you know, as designers, we have been very familiar with the manufacturing process. Furthermore, we are based in Shenzhen, where we can get access to manufacturing resources. Actually the most difficult part for us so far is marketing. As a young startup, we don’t really have enough access to expose our product. We spent most of our efforts on the product and we haven’t really started the whole marketing thing yet. I think this is also a big challenge for most hardware startups. We need more channels to get exposed to the public.
TN: Are you looking to sell your product to the foreign market? What’s your future plan?
Steve: Yes, actually we once tried to sell the product to Japanese market last year, but didn’t make it. The Japanese market is too complex for us. For instance, we don’t have the local medical certificate that needed to distribute in the Japanese market. In the near future, we will try to collaborate with foreign agencies to help us explore the foreign market.
TN: How do you feel of working with the crowdfunding platform in china?
Steve: Also a first time for us. I think it is a good way to get your product exposed and get feedbacks from many potential customers. The money that we raised itself is not that important compared to the exposure. It’s vital to small startups like SHIELD to reach the customers. At least, as I see it’s way more effective than all those expensive exhibitions I have attended before.
TN: Smart wristband has been on the market for a while, how do you think you can compete with the famous ones?
Steve: Our aim for now is to establish a good branding in a vertical market, what we call the continuously monitoring thermometer. We believe that it will soon become a necessity for every single household, just like a traditional thermometer. Every family owns a medical thermometer which is somehow dangerous and difficult to use on kids. And with SHIELD, things get easier and securer.
As to the competitors, we have faith in our product in many ways. For example, in terms of the valid connection distance, SHEILD can cover 18 meters, while most of our competitors only 2-3 meters. Moreover, we have the most friendly material that will not make the young babies uncomfortable.
SHIELD will be shipped soon in July and also available on its website.
Charlie Sheng : Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at) technode.com