One of the most important things to assemble as an entrepreneur is a winning team. That’s exactly what Gene Wang and David Moss of People Power Company did.
Gene met David while working at a telecommunications company – BitFone. Gene served as CEO and David as a lead engineer. BitFone’s software was used in more than 300 million phones, and was adopted by 3 of the top 5 mobile operators and all of the top 6 handset manufacturers. BitFone was acquired by HP for $160 million in 2007.
In 2009, Gene had his “aha” moment when he connected the dots on the potential of the connected world. Gene realized that every light, door, car, switch, meter, home, building, and more should be connected. It was obvious to him that IoT would be 10- to 100-times the market size of mobility. In 2009, Gene and David founded People Power Company and started recruiting stars from the Bitfone team.
People Power Co., The Early Days
People Power Company is Gene Wang’s fifth startup. He is what’s known as a “serial entrepreneur”, a well-deserved title for Wang. Gene’s focus has always been about helping people and the world, while engaging in the pursuit of profits. The motivation for Gene’s most current mission was fueled by a circumstance that hit uncomfortably close to home.
On a day when Gene took his kids to school, he noticed essays posted on the hallway walls. He was disheartened to see how many students were severely concerned about the planet’s future and wellbeing. This was the catalyst for People Power’s first product – GreenX – designed with the goal of using connected device technology to make the household run with greater energy efficiency. The business grew, and People Power now delivers IoT services for some of the world’s largest consumer service providers, including:
- China Mobile, supporting more than 6 million subscribers
- BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric) used in thousands of homes
- PepCo used in over 600 homes
- DelMarva used in over 1,000 homes
The energy business was running great, but Gene felt there was another more impactful opportunity on the horizon. This was triggered after caring for his mother, 83, who’d fallen three times and required increasingly more attention. It was at this point that Gene knew he had to tackle the complex issues related to family care.
Presence Family Care Pack, A Connected Bond for Loved Ones
People Power’s mission is to provide IoT solutions that solve day-to-day challenges for today’s consumers. Answering that call, the Presence Family Care Pack was introduced on October 8th, 2019, to solve some important challenges by providing an all-encompassing solution for the day-to-day tasks of family caregiving. The solution includes:
- A gateway, 2 door sensors, 3 motion detectors, an iOS or Android app, voice support, and cloud services for senior care.
- A Trusted Circle of family and friends can be created. This group is alerted when the system detects a potential danger (falls, wandering, excessive bathroom visits, and more).
- Expanded to support Alexa, Google Home, smart plugs, water leak sensors, and other connected devices.
Gene was happy to provide a solution that covered the bases for remote family care and monitoring. But that wasn’t enough. The technology was only the first step. People Power wanted to connect more than just the devices.
What sets the Presence Family Care Pack apart from other solutions is its capacity to enable essential human motivations. It connects loved ones on an emotional and personal level. For instance, members of the trusted circle of friends and family can be reminded to contact their loved ones to minimize senior loneliness, among other features.
People Power has been changing lives for the better, and their accomplishments were recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They recently received a $4.5 million grant from NIH to help caregivers better care for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Putting that Grant to work
Every day 10,000 people in the United States turn 65. In 15 years there will be 78 million people over the age of 65, compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18. Over 90-percent of these folks want to live at home, and over 70-percent of them are going to need care.
With new funding in hand, People Power continues to build their family care solutions. Inspired by the NIH grant, one of the most prominent features of a forthcoming version will be a caregiver support function that addresses feelings of caregiver loneliness and isolation. In addition, this version will support task management to enable caregivers to more easily delegate heavy workloads to other professionals.
It’s exciting to see such an innovative team working on a product that solves problems that hit so close to home. We’ll have to wait and see what Gene and his team surprise us with next!