EXPERT OPINION: A Conversation with Scott Hassan

August 4, 2014

In this "Expert Opinion" interview, Scott Hassan, CEO, Suitable Technologies, discusses senior care technology, integration, robotics, and more.........

Scott Hassan Read the transcript

Scott Hassan created Suitable Technologies with the goal of redefining presence, by giving people the power to choose when and where to be present, regardless of geographic location. Prior to Suitable, Scott founded Willow Garage, combining his belief in open source technology and his passion for bringing robotics into everyday life.
Scott has been a driving force behind some of the most influential Internet companies and projects. He was the founder of eGroups (now Yahoo! Groups) and was the key software architect and developer of Google, Alexa Internet and the Stanford Digital Library. Scott invests in start-ups that aim to make fundamental quality of life improvements for citizens around the world.

 

Contact Information:

Scott Hassan
CEO
Suitable Technologies
 

Read the interview transcript:

Steve Monroe
Hey, Scott, can you come up here. Scott just gave a remote presentation at the Aging2.0 Conference in San Francisco in May. His company has a technology platform that allows you to be at a meeting, a conference, in your father’s living room, in a retirement community, practically anywhere where wireless Internet service is available.  Let’s see if he can explain how it works.

Scott Hassan
It’s pretty complicated to use. You use your arrow keys to move it around.  Back, forward, left, right. A lot of gamers know how—they’re awesome at it. The only difference between this and a game is that there’s no gun. All you can do is talk to people. Turns out, that’s like 90 percent of what you want to do anyways. You just want to talk to people and say hi and greet ‘em and things like that.

And so that’s sort of what we do. We build these, manufacture these in the United States, in Palo Alto, California and we started about 4 years ago now.

Steve Monroe
How many do you build a year?

Scott Hassan
We don’t build enough. We’re expanding the whole manufacturing process and so we’ve been running out of Beams because our sales guys have been selling too many of them.  So we have to work on making more of them, but we’re constantly improving this product and it’s a pretty amazing technology for people to use to travel around the world and to interact with loved ones and to be present anywhere. You can have conferences this way. You can be the guy who flew 36 hours to be here…

Well, you have to have good Internet to make this thing work. The Internet—mark my words, it’s going to be a big thing.

So, instead of flying 36 hours, he could have just clicked and been here.

Steve Monroe
Well, that’s the funny thing, because we’re thinking about opening up a satellite office for our business and I’d love to have one of these in the home office and go from office to office and chitchat with people, as opposed to calling them up on the phone. In your sales team, are you marketing to like big retirement communities to get a couple of these things in there?

Scott Hassan
We haven’t done that yet. We would like to, but we just haven’t done it yet. We’ve been mostly going after the big Fortune 500 companies. But if you have an “in” somewhere we’re all for it.

Steve Monroe
No, I have “ins” in a lot of places. They’re going to rebel against the price, and I’m sure if you sell more and build more, pricing will come down, but…

Scott Hassan
Yeah, it’s all a volume thing.

Steve Monroe
Well, I think it’s a great tool.

Scott Hassan
It can also be a great differentiator for a retirement home in the first place. I mean, there’s a lot of, in retirement homes, they pretty much are very similar. You make one that has all these beams in it and you’re like, well, if you use this retirement home, all your loved ones can be met.

Steve Monroe
You can go have dinner with your mother or father in the dining room with all their friends.

Scott Hassan
Yeah.

Steve Monroe
Yeah, no, I think you got a huge market there, because it’s so easy to use.

Scott Hassan
You can do something really simple like, one thing that I’ve done with my father is sometimes I Beam in and just watch TV with him.

Steve Monroe
Right.

Scott Hassan
And he really likes that because it’s like we’re sharing an experience. It’s kind of funny to do that, but it turns out that’s what he likes to do and sometimes my daughter beams in and plays games with him. Like, he likes doing board games and things like that and so she’ll beam in and play a game with him.

Steve Monroe
And you can watch the same TV program and then you then you can turn to him at the commercials, start chatting with him and then turn back to watch the show.

Scott Hassan
Well, actually, what you do is you just watch it over the Beam.

Steve Monroe
No, I know, you’re watching it, but then you face him to talk to him during the commercial.

Scott Hassan
Yeah, say, hey, yeah, we’re watching, beam room, watching the same program at the same time and you’re like, hey, come on, can you fast-forward till we see the commercials? Which my father seems to like to watch commercials, I just, I don’t understand it, but.

Steve Monroe
Entertainment.

Scott Hassan
Yeah, so.

Steve Monroe
Well, listen, Scott, it’s been wonderful. You’re the CEO of Suitable Technologies in Palo Alto, California, right?

Scott Hassan
Yeah, yeah. And I got to get going, I got to go to the reception. There’s a wine and cheese reception, I hear, so I’ll get some of that.

Steve Monroe
Well, I’ll follow you out of here in a minute, I got a few more people to talk to.

Scott Hassan
Okay, good, see you.

Steve Monroe
We’ll see you around.

Scott Hassan
Great talking with you.

Steve Monroe
All right, bye-bye.

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