Plant Screen is a sensor that monitors your beloved plants and helps you keep them alive. The sensor is connected to the Plant Screen app, where you can constantly check the environmental conditions for the growth of your plants. In this interview, you can learn exciting insights about the project from co-founder Roman Siegenthaler.
Can you briefly introduce yourself to the readers?
Anton and I are IT students. The idea developed as part of a project work during our studies. We built a prototype for our studies that measures important values of plants and sounds an alarm if they are lacking something. We want to validate the idea as part of Kickbox to see if there is a need on the market.
What is the current status of Plant Screen?
At the beginning of the Kickbox process, we did a market and competitor analysis. In the process, we came across the start-up Fyta, which has been working on a very similar solution for four years. We contacted the start-up to evaluate possibilities for collaboration.
In order to bring Fyta's product into the Swisscom shop, we are in close contact with the product range team and purchasing. The potential with such a product must be evident so that it is worth taking these steps. In the case of the Fyta sensor, we lack the experience to make a solid assessment. This is currently the sticking point. So far, we have not found a way with the various stakeholders to do a trial sale without going through the elaborate intake process.
This is Fyta…
The small team from Berlin has been around since 2018. Their goal, to make everyone's dream of living in the green come true. Fyta has developed a sensor that measures soil moisture, fertiliser content, light intensity and air temperature. These values are used to determine how the plants are doing and what they are lacking. Thanks to the Hub, users are always informed if the plants are not doing well.
How was Swisscom able to support you?
With Kickbox, Swisscom gave us a platform to work out our idea. Thanks to Kickbox, we exist as a team at all. A big thank you to Swisscom coach Roman Hungerbühler, he supported us intensively.
What are the highlights of your journey with Kickbox?
- We are united by our curiosity. We were allowed to try out the technical possibilities of different offices. We were impressed by the whiteboards, on which we have endless space for our mind maps.
- We were able to involve young media technicians for logos and presentations. Thanks to Maurice Wolf and the Hive team for their support!
- Thanks to Kickbox we were able to work together as an interdisciplinary team on our vision. We all learned a lot and are grateful for it.
What are your biggest learnings from this time?
Swisscom is huge and it takes a lot of patience to find the right stakeholders. You have to constantly reorient yourself, and it's important not to get discouraged.
What are the future steps of Plant Screen?
The goal is to bring the Fyta sensor into the Swisscom range. In doing so, we will have further discussions with stakeholders to find common solutions. We are open to new advice and helpful contacts.
What tips can you give to the readers?
- Use the Kickbox programme to realise your idea.
- Never give up! Kickboxing is an adventure that is never planned.
- Be aware that time is limited. Set deadlines and act accordingly.
Swisscom employees who have an idea can easily start and grow it with Kickbox. The physical box contains
- a starting credit of CHF 1,000
- 20% of the working time for 2 months
- a manual explaining the idea validation process and providing valuable tips
In a multi-stage process and accompanied by a coach, the idea is pushed forward, pitched in front of juries and, in the best case, approved for the next stage.