CES 2024: Interview with Arthur Habicht, CTO of safe-living

CTO Arthur Habicht is driving innovation through technology at safe-living. In the following interview, he shares his expectations about safe-living’s participation at CES, his view on the Swiss tech space and his overall vision for the company’s further development.

What does it mean for you personally to participate at the CES 2024?

I am proud to represent a Swiss deep tech startup on the international stage. CES, being the largest exhibition for consumer electronics globally, is the ideal space for that. It shows that we have come a long way technologically and organizationally. As such, it is certainly a personal milestone.

What are your expectations for CES?

I expect to meet and learn from other participants at CES. Especially concerning technological advancements and cutting-edge innovation in the field of consumer electronics. Furthermore, I expect to establish effective partnerships around the world that can help us grow in the future and broaden our international outlook.

In an international comparison, how do you view the Swiss tech space?

Switzerland has a long tradition of engineering excellence and innovation. With respect to talent, there is no reason Swiss tech startups should not succeed in their global ambitions. However, the Swiss tend to exhibit a mentality of perfectionism and consequent self-deprecation. This fosters reliability but sometimes runs counter to the confidence necessary to prevail in a competitive and uncertain international environment. This and the comparatively small size of the market may limit the required scale to succeed in a sector that is prone to the establishment of natural monopolies. Swift expansion beyond the safe haven of Switzerland is therefore a prerequisite for success in the tech space and the mindset should be accordingly. Nevertheless, Switzerland is an ideal test bed for startups due to its political stability, legal transparency, and high standard of living. This helps retain its homegrown workforce and attract talent from abroad, which acts as a generator for new businesses.

How do you drive technical innovation forward?

By nurturing the right people and aligning them towards meaningful goals that have a significant impact on society. Technical innovation is not the domain of solitary geniuses. It is a collaborative effort which requires leadership that can focus efforts and motivate to overcome obstacles and uncertainty. Essentially, it is a series of calculated leaps of faith. This can be taxing on everyone involved and is only possible if people are convinced about the vision and believe in the team they are working with.

What is your technical vision for safe-living?

My vision is to build technical solutions that provide safety and peace of mind without compromising someone’s privacy or preferred way of life. Like so, we want to empower seniors to live an independent life, while providing assurance to their loved ones that they are well. Technically this means that we must leverage cutting-edge technology (such as modern AI) to build systems that show situational awareness and seamlessly integrate into our customers‘ lives. This is not only a technical necessity, but also a moral one. We believe that seniors should not be characterized as „frail“ and „in constant need of help“, but as independent personalities with a sense of purpose who are valuable members of society.
Many safety-focused systems for seniors, however, do not respect that. They are stigmatizing at best and dehumanizing at worst. Consequently, technologies utilizing sensors such as cameras and microphones that spy into someone’s private life are an absolute no-go. The same goes for many wearable technologies (such as alarm wristbands) that simply „brand“ someone as being old and frail. We know there is a better way and with our innovative safe-living solution, we have struck the right balance between safety and privacy, while safeguarding our customers‘ independence and dignity.