Rob Ranck, ViewClix

Wednesday, September 27th
Rob Ranck explains how his idea to provide seniors with a constant visual connection to family and friends, resulted in, Viewclix.

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

910 ESPN Portland presents northwest business a weekly one hour local business wildlife. If you would like your business to be featured on north was business please call 503535035. Million point. Or email NW business said Now here's zeroes for northwest business Luke Anderson. Hey it's Tuesday Anderson thank you for download the northwest this is podcast. Here's my interview with rob ranked the president and founder of view clips are interview originally aired march he. Rob rank president a few clicks thanks for joining northwest business. Thanks for having me here today. So view clicks is a new product that you have designed and launched that is a way to communicate. With seniors. And it's a little bit unique in that it's. Looks like an iPad. Has some of the similar functions but it's designed so that seniors don't need to learn how to use it it's actually operated. Remotely. By an administrator. Her or or user in the family or friend. Well it's it's actually not like an iPad so to speak okay certainly what's inside. But it's more like Aman deterred display right. And come it it does have all that technology so to speak you know CPU all the things in any Smart device inside. So let's say it's it's a display monitor. So the way it works is a kind of it's a picture frame mostly exactly but it also does video chats and it is so. Kind of an outbound communication yet definitely it's it basically we took the concept of a display monitor and we marry it up really. With. The computing and all the audio and visual. Technology and software so to speak that you find in things like. Digital picture frames as well was technology that people use like Skype or face time. But this is all industry standards so. I'm any apple or any android Smartphone or tablet can connect them with a few clicks frame. And they can have video calls and instantly send pictures to the seniors who can be located across the world so a senior gets a few clicks. Now as you know the grandson or you have a friend of of this person I can go win that and just load up new pictures so they might not even know that something new has been added. But they look over to their frame and others in new photo and that is that. Yeah there there there is always a slight chill playing for the senior. The slight chill is populated with pictures from family members. In their two ways really to get a picture you know into the frame most commonly someone will take a picture right off of their Smartphone. And we have an app and you know very easy and free for any family member to download so they download the app. From that apple or they endure replaced or Google play store. And once the app is on the phone they simply there's two buttons on the apple and says make a video call the other assists chair picture. And so they simply click on the share picture select up to four different pictures to sent. In instantly those pictures get uploaded into our view clicks class because it's a service and a product. And from from there the frame gets notified. Within really within minutes. And the frame down most the picture. And a new pictures sound plays to alert the senior that they have something now and if it appears then within the slide show. Well that's wonderful men to become part of the rotation and kind of moving through that absolutely and the other feature course that's important is. For seniors we didn't want to impose any technology out them. We want them to just be able to sit back relax and enjoy. And so of their of their features that. You can randomized the pictures you can with a friend asleep at certain times. But there's one or two family members who were do you administrators we call them the organizers. And their role really is to invite the other family members to to share so we authenticate them in techie. Terms. To a frame and I'm so we and we invite family members as well as there's a little bit of management every now and then on the frame. In of course on the slight chill itself. Because at certain times of the year. You might have different types of pictures that you wanna put into the slide show chair Christmas slide show or spring or summer yet our staff well but we realize that people are busy they don't wanna have we have to deal with premise. Few clicks frame all the time so even that part of the software is made to be very easy sell in organizer could spend. I don't know maybe ten minutes a month defense. In into everything that they need to do to. To make sure that things are up to date and this was an idea insides right. Inspired by your own family and and working with your parents yeah yeah exactly. My parents served were in Florida. And we started off trying to stay in touch by using Skype. And of course Skype requires you to have a Microsoft login which is a good thing you know for the normal user but. You know for seniors to go get another large M. In have to go through all that then there's different buttons you have to push to answer the call and in all that it doesn't have an auto answer feature. And in so we tried to do this over a period of oh may be a couple of years the end my dad had dementia. And as SE he was the one who did the computer my mom really had nothing. You know she had never really learned computers so as my dad was unable to use the notebook the next thing we tried was and I passed. And trying to do faced term and once again you know similar issue. Once we could get a call going. Worked OK. The problem was getting it set up and making it happen to begin. I'm and then from there. Later rod and I got them one of these connected digital by for a picture frames. Basically the same issue. First off. Those products have an assumption that whoever has the picture frame will be loading pictures until last. And really managing it and connecting it and all those things. Well the first from I ran into was where my mom was in her assisted living center they need to have Wi-Fi. So there I was trying to figure out how to take a Wi-Fi connected picture frame. In and connected up in and and things like trying to keep. My fight. Hot spot. From going to sleep for a you know those sorts of things death. So after those two episodes I started to think about the notion that. There could be a lot of people that wanna keep in touch for their parents scattered all over the world. In the end. There's no good tool right now for today's seniors there are products out there that like there's there's a small little tablet. That you you have to train the senior how to use. And he that just didn't seem right. Well Mike you mentioned with your father with the dimension he was able to use a computer in Intel these investors to looses his faculties a little bit and now you've lost that connection and yet almost more important to keep connected. Yep yep exactly exactly for those just joining the program we're talking with a robber rank he's the president of view clicks you can go to view clicks that's. CL I X. Dot com and check other products there there's some videos the kind of show how everything works and tutorials and if you're interested in giving the product procedure that you know we're just learning more about it. Is a great place to start. You mentioned that the facility your mother was in didn't have Wi-Fi. How did you solve that problem with a few clicks monitor. Well with few clicks we have an optional broad parent mobile data connection. So we've partnered up arm to get the few clicks frame connected to the T-Mobile network. So throughout the US if there's no Wi-Fi the base unit comes with Wi-Fi. But if there's no Wi-Fi where the senior us then we can include and it's it twenty dollar month subscription. And that includes all the dated that gets used for all the pictures and it and video calling that chat. And that's something they can be set up fund on either end as soon that you probably take care of that for your parents are still the senior your life. Yeah basically with the mobile data connection of course the unit is completely plug employed there really is known network separate thing. In the end you order that option. You know when you order the view clicks frame which means that when it went right she just plug it in. So the senior does not do anything for proposed power to exactly now. The thing that we do recommend it and it's there's almost always a leader or organizer like a say in the family that that sets us up. And our target market really is. Baby boomer. Mock mostly women drive Fred the purchase decision what we're finding right now. And we recommend that they get the unit themselves first and then go ahead and dispense some time getting familiar with that. And then you know they can take it in install it or have someone who's there you know located with the senior install. The setup relief for the Wi-Fi unit he has is simply to put him you know select the Wi-Fi network include in the passcode the past and that's it. And then from from there are the net the only other step we go ahead and and and show a preview of the video of the camera. So you can just make sure that Graham must go look good and you know we're wherever you know us not to darker that's where I think but there's not even a power switch and have you clicks French. Okay yeah you basically played their. And that's that their administrative ago if it it sounds. Very simple way they operate process is designed to be simple but of course the more simple things are. That means the more complicated they are you asked it to create what were some of the challenges that you found when you tried to. Going from this idea to actually having the product. Yeah well the first challenge really Lewis was finding the hard work part of that right. Because I I knew we needed a good sized display. I'm and we found you know that the current model and we'll have other models but the current model has a fifteen. Point six inch screen. Which arm is a real good spot for a senior homes as well as if if seniors are and I'm assistant were there are nurse nursing. Home situations. So that the first challenge was I knew I needed a monitor. It had to have some intelligence. Rates them some computing power to hit it had to have a camera yet it had to have a good audio system. I'm so just sort of finding those and you know we went through that turns out we lucked out. When you go into lots of retail establishments you'll see these. TV so to speak that are displaying advertisements. Offers that's sort of stuff these are called advertising friends marketing difference. In it turns out there were smaller versions of marketing frames that really arm you know were available for multiple suppliers. That. Really did everything he had the capabilities that we needed we we did on the hard recite have to tune up their audio. Because they weren't made for video conferencing. But. You know that was the challenge some I'm and that is some of them do some of them don't talk I'm right because. If it's just an advertising frame. Normally they've they would need to camera or even an audio sub unless they hidden camera to figure out what the consumers are up to it and I'm afraid that if yep yep yep. And debt and speaking of that of course we have an auto answer feature in inside the viewer clicks friend. We we don't really have a traditional call and answer you know mode. Outbound from the French. Because we don't wanna put it on the senior to have to initiate the calls. So the family member who has the app on their phone of their tablet in the toss use that a no poker PC news use web connectivity. They basically. Connect the call. And the senior if if they. Frame is an auto answer round. The senior just sits back and there's the cock. Is if the frame is an answer road we we do ship a little remote control. With the frame and the senior touches any button on the remote control on the carpets. Steve I'm afraid you find one of these advertising frames of its what you're looking out for you to the camera you juice up the audio little bit you've got the display it's got the computing power. There's a whole network built behind that you mentioned that it do you clicks is not just the frame but it's also the cloud network around that we're even start with that. Well it. The nice thing is as we have done and some projects. In in other companies. And we we knew what we wanted to as far as the web server platform. But what we didn't know was the term they're needed to be real time signaling. In other words you you can't be waiting around for call it you know affect things have to happen in in real time. So we found that there were some brand new standards that just came out. Over the last say three years. And those allow us to have the signaling is as well as all of the video calling. I'm up in our cloud infrastructure that will work across platform. So this is why basically we have one app that runs on both. Apple devices as well us I'm intra devices. There's maybe. 01% co difference between the two apps that's why we say we have one app it looks the same it feels the same. In it works on all the Smartphones all the tablets of almost any. You know screen stars. So it's it it's those kind of underlying technologies. Where. You know we we were able to need everything together to create that clout. Back and for different. He's kind of went out the right time when the technology both on the hardware and the software side we're kind of aligns so yeah out yet in the and the other thing my background hum I moved here or again to work and Intel back in. 1995. Gave myself a little bit and before that I worked at eighteen today. So I had a lot of experience in in with the eighteenth tee and communications and also in telecommunications. But even prior to that in previous jobs I had worked in in graphics and in video calling. And audio technology in my previous start it was a company called gadget lab's and we sold pro audio. So arm where and when we needed to. Who really get the imaging better and to get the audio better we knew you know where we could develop. The secret sauce so to speak for the product. Freddie were just joined the program we're talking with rob rank he is the president of view clicks view clicks it spilled the I EW. CL I X you can get a view clicks dot com and check the product it is a photo frame that is also a video conferencing call device for seniors it's a way to kind of be in touch with them. The unique thing about this product is there's no learning for the seniors they can actually operate the entire device without touching a button there's even an auto answer. Feature on there and you can upload photos and a photo carousel will kind of move through their. In real time such as you know take photos my wife and I have branded twins at home I can match to have great to be to show those. With my grandmother. It instantly. From any. Any device that you have a mobile phone. A tablet to desktop. You mentioned that you have a background with in cell and you've you've kind of working gadgets communication for for a long time. What was jewel were inspiration to kind of get into that it would you just. Kind of caught up in the computers and all the technology is going around herb was is something that you had a goal in mind when you started doing this work. Well I I actually the the straight answer is no. I mean. I started off you know going to school and go on a grad school get in the MBA in accounting and finance. And I worked in that area for a number of years but as I was getting the decree and as I was getting. The MBA. I was also a teaching assistant for programming at the college. And so I always was dabbling so to speak on the side and you know I'd had side businesses and other things where road lot of code and you know that a lot of technology type stuff. So I'm I moved from finance during my career in two development for a few years I actually. Even though I didn't have an engineering degree. They needed back in those days they needed somebody who really understood the architecture of PC. Specifically IBM compatibility and all the Microsoft technology so I worked for a company called NCR field national cash register. In they were taking their banking machines and all the retail. Machines and all that in trying to make the PC compatible. And I just happen to be there at the right time so we developed like like I mentioned graphics. All all kinds of interesting software. To help them. Really get to them to PC revolution this is back in the even in the in the eighties. So I'm from there than it was decent communications but all along the way I was also involved in an awful lot of marketing and sales. As well because I was only in engineering. Formally. For armed like four years and then after that I had my financial background I have engineering backer and I thought you know. I need to you know I need to go south. If it it sounds like your career design G to be an entrepreneur or even before that word was so readily available at you know everybody's body is. I'm gonna go and be an entrepreneur you were kind of built the pay through your career sounds like. Yeah I I know my way around the the balance sheet so to speak your income statement Tim pretty intuitively. After all these years in time. You know like I say I've I've done a lot of you know direct selling as well as. Through distribution channels and other marketing so. I'm done done done a lot of the pieces that led up to this for sure what advice would you have for somebody that has an idea for a product whether it's digital or just something that you know they've got in their brain and they want to. Try to get it to market what. Would you tell that person yet you know though that the first advice that I only slightly give as advice that was given there to me back when I was in my twenties. And gentlemen that I worked with I was a cost accountant at the time looked at me at at one point serve. Rob you're really good but. I wanted to and I wanted to give you some advice don't ever sell yourself short. So you take the idea and and in basically you know the first is to to believe that. Getting from that concept to an actual product though is that is that is a lot of work an extreme amount of discipline. And then they'll have to go through that obviously is well but I. If you can connect your idea with customers early on. I'm in a mold that that product and that combined with the hard work in the discipline. You can you can get there and also don't be afraid to fail because you probably will. Like I did and what were some of the bigger challenges with a few clicks. Well with few clicks the course we Fareed and talked a little bit it was what was their technology available where we could even do this yeah. So that was that you know kind of the first thing yeah and then beyond that. It was just needing everything together there a lot of moving parts. There's in getting the frames built there is all those server software. There is the network itself and then the real time communications. I'm a mobile data connection these mobile networks are moving targets they change all the time so. A connection. We we use little USBs you know modems. Those tactics change all the time does truly mobile network and in the others change all the time so it was kind of wrestling all the moving parts you know. Eight in it in turow product. Now of course the is the second face. I've learned enough in my career to two. They're not try to sell things before it can deliver them. I've made that mistake in my my previous week's we start up we spent a lot of money on ads and that sort of thing then the engineers couldn't get the product on for. Months. So you don't wanna get you know kind of customers excited. Before you can actually you know sell them product. It's tricky because you say you wanna give it to customers so that you can help mold the product for you can't sell yet episode that we balancing act yeah we did we did it it definitely is. Our our solution that is their field trials and so I'm one thing that. I should mention which is very important. Them to all of this is my wife has worked in senior care for 25 years past and it and so it every step of the way as we develop the product. It was it one thing that made it a lot easier was when I would assume hey we can do this. She would say oh no you can't talk and you know this is how it has to be for seniors yeah. And so so that early you know is is an ace up our sleeves so to speak it's just to sum things up if you want to. Work hard you wanna make sure that you aren't constantly community Katie with your customers. And don't listen to life yep. It's like if they don't sell yourself short I think a lot of people put you know. As I described in in my cure all the different things that I've gone. And you know some people look at that and say well this is just a guy who's easily bored. But. You know maybe I AM it's you know didn't. That it Jack of all trades master of none but. You know it's it it's served me well and what always is surprising. It is as you move from place to place. How things that seems so foreigner difficult to understand. Even engineering your computer those kinds of things you can learn those things. There's there's really you know I think people pull more limitations themselves. Then the then there are external limitations to their to their success. We'll rub it's been great talking to you appreciate it take him at times talk with this northwest business. Thanks thanks absolutely that is rob ranking is the president of the U clicks if you're interested in checking out his product he can go to view clicks. Dot com that's the IE EW CL I X. Dot com. Check it out and with Mother's Day just around the corner it is a great thoughts for your grandmother or even you know family members that that have a hard time. With a digital technology that wanna keep in touch. If you like your company to be featured on northwest business called 5035350358. Or email NW business