[CEO Interview] Oloid CEO Mohit, shares his views on 'Back to Work'

31-Jul-2020 Lynn Fosse Interview

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Silicon Valley AI company enables employees get “back to work” with its Covid-19 contagion safety solutions for the workplace

An interview with Mr. Mohit Garg, CEO Oloid Inc.

Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor CEOCFO Magazine
 
CEOCFO: Mr. Garg, prominent on the Oloid AI site is, “Enabling the New Normal.”  How are you doing that?  What is your focus today?
 
Mr. Garg: I would respond to that in two ways. One is that pre- COVID, we were still challenging the normal by providing new contactless and frictionless access technology. However, post- COVID, the new normal has taken a new meaning, a more profound meaning on providing contagion safety at the workplace, not just a frictionless experience.
 
Oloid is enabling safety at the workplace in three areas. One is automating the process of administering a COVID-19 symptoms questionnaire based on the CDC guidelines. This allows the workplace to have self-attestation of health symptoms by employees and visitors and reduces the risk of contagion. The second area is automated skin temperature scanning as employees or even visitors walk into the workplace. With Oloid’s thermal scanning solution, you no longer require a human to hold a thermometer to the forehead of the people as they come in. Our AI technology integrates with high sensitivity thermal cameras so that you can reliably and automatically detect instances when someone with potentially elevated skin temperature is entering your facility. With our solution in place, the company can then focus its limited resources on triaging these people as opposed to attending to every single individual. This is not in lieu of a full medical exam, but it does help the organizations automate and ultimately use their resources in COVID-19 pandemic times.
 
Lastly, Oloid is making the experience for an employee to enter a turnstile unlock a door or to walk into a time and attendance system completely free of contact with communal surfaces. It does not require the touch of a key or a button or a badge reader or a finger print reader. We use contactless biometrics, wherein the identity can be securely established using facial authentication.

 

CEOCFO: Are most companies looking for a better way? Are there particular industries that are looking to automate or is it somewhat across the board? What is the market today?

Mr. Garg: It is across the board. However, the value and the ROI will be higher for larger employers with a large number of on-site workforce. To illustrate the point, if you have a restaurant with ten employees, you might have to spend fifteen minutes of your day helping these employees getting examined, administer a vocal questionnaire and it might not be a reason to implement biometric technology or automated processes. However, if you are a factory or a warehouse or a healthcare facility, where you do not want the line to hold up your employees or visitors as they approach your facility, you are going to want to automate this. The first response for employers is instinctively going to be where there is still a human involved and I think that is where the industry is today. You could even have some form of thermal cameras which still requires human monitoring. Our value proposition is that while this manual or semi-automated process may be the first line of defense as businesses reopen, ultimately you are going to plan for several months of continued oversight and monitoring. You do not want human error or documentation error; you want a reliable audit trail. We believe that over a period of time, every sizable facility or organization will eventually look to completely automate processes in technology. We are providing free trials or very inexpensive pilots to enable businesses so that organizations can experience the benefit of automation and move away from current manual processes.

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about your recent partnership with Guardhat?

Mr. Garg: If you look at the whole range of solutions required for pandemic or contagion safety at the workplace, it is very hard for one technology provider to be good at everything. At Oloid, our team has very deep expertise in computer vision, which is analysis of video and images using AI. For certain applications, such as contact tracing and for social distancing, you cannot put video scanners all throughout your office. It is simpler for employees to either carry a mobile device or an IoT device to alert if an employee is in violation of social distancing separation; or if you have to go back and determine who all were in the vicinity of if this employee was later found to suffer from COVID-19.

We partnered with Guardhat to bring these two sides of the solution together, so that our customer can have the best product for both of these categories. That includes Oloid providing all the entry procedures, from symptom questionnaire to thermal scanning to contactless access and clocking based on our AI technology. Guardhat is providing the IoT layer for social distancing and for contact tracing. We believe that with this combined solution, our customer can benefit from a comprehensive best of breed framework for COVID-19 preparedness and readiness.

CEOCFO: What technology might a company need to have in place to use your various services or does each one stand by itself?

Mr. Garg: The solutions from Oloid integrate into the existing technology infrastructure of an employer. An example would be a time and attendance listing. Oloid’s contactless time clock integrates with the leading providers of time and attendance systems and we are able to push the time the stamp into a Kronos or ADP or some other time and attendance back-end systems. We are not requiring our customers to change their back-end infrastructure. The same goes with doors and turnstiles. We integrate into the existing back end access control systems. For temperature, we are able to take the questionnaire from the QR code and the temperature and push it into, for example, the company’s email server. Most of the investment for the company is going to be acquiring a tablet, a phone or an iPad, because our applications work as a downloadable app from the App Store, so that is the primary investment. Other than that, the tablet connects to Wi-Fi and starts delivering these services, with a fairly easy implementation.

CEOCFO: With almost limitless market potential, how are you reaching out, to whom are you reaching out and how have you decided where to focus your efforts?

Mr. Garg: We have aligned our outreach to the industries with essential workers, because these businesses were required to continue to operate, even when certain industries could afford to have their employees either work from home or discontinue service otherwise. We started with manufacturing, focused on high value manufacturing and essential manufacturing, like ventilators and safety products. We have added food manufacturing and supply chains to that. As you can imagine, that is an industry that was deeply affected by this crisis and we want to be of service to enable to the supply for America. We continue to expand into healthcare services, pharma, medical devices and construction industries.

“We believe it is a combination of our technology superiority and our focus on privacy that has won the trust of the American employers and the workers.” Mohit Garg

 

We continue to reach out to them directly, over email and calling their direct lines. Additionally, we are starting to see a lot of interest and inquiries on our website, especially after our announcement through recent press releases that showcase the success, we have had with Fortune 500 manufacturing companies and construction customers. Now we are having a decent amount of volume coming through inbound to our website, in addition to our outreach program.

CEOCFO: What have you learned from past experience that has been helpful in moving Oloid forward?

Mr. Garg: One area where Oloid has made a lot of investment early on was the easy implementation and deployment process. While traditional hardware centric solutions would require our customers to purchase specific custom hardware, which again would run into supply chain and inventory issues in these troubled times, our ability to work with off the shelf hardware has made it very easy for customers to get started and try out our product.

CEOCFO: How far will your recent funding go?

Mr. Garg: Our focus continues to be on strengthening our product portfolio. We want to support a wider range of of backend and a wider range of devices that could host our application. We are also broadening the breadth of applications to provide secure and contactless authentication across the day in the life of the deskless worker. We plan to augment our product with additional factors of authentication such as voice detection and Bluetooth credentials.

The other area where we are not starting to build our team and the headcount is around the go-to-market. We continue to add very talented individuals to our team on customer success implementations services and on the business development side. We have a runway to take us through the next couple of years without the risk from economic uncertainty.

CEOCFO: Are you primarily in the US?

Mr. Garg: We are a North America focused solution with a unique intent to focus on this market in the foreseeable future.

CEOCFO:. How does Oloid stand out from the competition?

Mr. Garg: Oloid continues to lead with product innovations in the areas of ease of deployment, higher accuracy and the wide breadth of integrations with back end systems. In addition to these product innovations, we have also built the whole architecture around a privacy centric design. We find a large number of competing products have been built with little regard to data privacy. Our privacy architecture, which takes the customers biometric data and transforms that into a de-identified format, which means once our encryption is applied no external agencies, or state agencies can take the employee’s biometric data and run their own scanners. We take away the association to that individual, wherein it can only be used by our software for identification.

We are also leading the campaign around ethical use of facial recognition at work. We are not waiting for legislation to come about. We want to proactively provide a consent-based framework which adheres to best practices and privacy. We believe that overall our privacy centric design is going to be a huge advantage compared to potentially cheaper commodity solutions. We believe it is a combination of our technology superiority and our focus on privacy that has won the trust of the American employers and the workers.

 

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