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Behind every great business changing the world is an entrepreneur who had a driving idea. The right idea can be the difference between a viable company and an unviable one — but where do those ideas come from?
These days, the company I founded offers multiple product lines and serves customers in multiple countries. But before all of that, I was simply another guy trying to come up with ideas for a business. How could I be sure that I landed on the right idea?
But landing on an idea is only the first step. So, after the initial “ah-ha” moment that inspired the idea behind my company, here’s how I was able to turn that idea into reality.
1. Identify the problem
Chances are, there are things in your everyday life that annoy you or just take up too much time! In fact, that’s how my idea came to me.
Back in 2013, I was living in an apartment in Brooklyn, but my job was in Manhattan. While I was at work, I was constantly missing packages — which meant taking time out of my weekend to go stand in line at the post office and pick them up.
I realized that millions of other people around the world had the same problem, and I started thinking about what I could do to address it.
2. Keep up with the latest technology
After some further thought, I was sure that I wasn’t the only one who had this problem. Who hasn’t missed a package because they were out of town or struggled to let a friend in because of a broken intercom?
Around this time, people were just starting to realize the possibilities behind smartphones. With these tiny computers, people could access all the information they needed and were unlocking new ways to communicate with each other.
Surely, missing packages could become a thing of the past. Since everyone always has access to their smartphones, why not invent a way for people to let in delivery couriers and visitors with a mobile app?
Whether somebody was across town — or across the country — they’d be able to use their smartphone and remotely unlock the door. But that wasn’t the end of my idea!
3. Use technology to solve your problem
I realized that connecting your intercom to your smartphone could unlock a whole world of possibilities that made everything related to your front door easier, whether you’re letting in a friend or receiving a package.
With the help of smartphones, a smart access control system can give residents access to features and conveniences that just aren’t possible with traditional intercom systems.
For example, there was already a system that lets you hook a phone into your front door intercom. You’d be able to open the door by pressing “9.” This was a system that worked with landline phones, but I predicted it was possible to make it work on a cell phone, too.
So, by leveraging the full power of the smartphone, we created a way for tenants to see real-time video of their front door whenever somebody requests entry. People were already using their smartphones to watch videos — so why not install a camera to their intercom to view door activities in real-time?
4. Create further efficiencies
Even though real-time video already increases residents’ quality of life, we didn’t stop there. I knew that there was so much more potential in using a smartphone to communicate with an intercom, so my team kept iterating.
Next, we solved another problem: having to take any time out of your day at all to grant access.
Let’s say that you use our app to let in a delivery courier. It’s great that you have your package! But that’s still one more call you had to pick up and an interruption that stopped whatever you were doing.
To counter that, I had another idea: the Delivery Pass.
Instead of manually letting in every delivery driver, you can simply text a Delivery Pass to your driver. Then your driver can use a QR or PIN code at the intercom to gain entry, allowing for secure access — and allowing for your day to go on uninterrupted.
And the Delivery Pass unlocked even more possibilities. We could generate PIN codes, so why not increase our access control offerings and offer more products than just intercoms?
We quickly began to branch out. And now, in addition to intercoms, we also offer keypads, vehicle sticker readers and fob readers — ensuring that we can adapt and work with the needs of every property, no matter how unique.
Having a great idea is key, but it’s only the first step. Transforming that catalyst idea into a product takes intention, work and attention to what will make consumers’ lives easier.