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Kumar Bala - Chief Innovation Officer
Kumar Bala – Chief Innovation Officer

What is your role at Watcherr?
As Chief Innovation Officer my responsibility is to drive innovation by helping Watcherr conceive and deliver new — sometimes disruptive — products and services.

What does your role entail?
I am responsible for all the physical devices that are shipped by Watcherr. I oversee the design, developing and manufacturing, as well as the shipment of these units to Belgium, and at that point it becomes an operational task. In short, I am responsible for the engineering and the manufacturing of the devices. All the hardware devices fall under my mandate.

How long have you been working with Watcherr, and how has your role evolved within the company during this start-up phase?
I’ve been with Watcherr for almost a year, having joined the team in June 2021. Initially I came on board as the engineering team needed support in ironing out some of the problems they were encountering, but after the first two months I started to take on more responsibility.

What is the nature of the device, and how is it produced?
Most of the design work happens between Germany and the UK, whilst the manufacturing happens in China. We use both ‘off the shelf’ devices, and custom hardware that has been designed from the ground up, for which we own the IP. We are focused on what can be improved with the existing technology. By keeping the hardware cost low, we are focusing on implementing great new features via firmware & software.

How did your journey into electronics begin, and did it take you in the direction you expected?
I graduated from BITS, Pilani in 2004 and then moved to the UK to continue my research in electronics at Bristol. I moved to Germany to work for a start-up for five years; I was in automotive design consultancy, creating early precursors of what we today refer to as self-driving cars, though when I was working on them they were called advanced driver assistance systems, providing safety and more detailed information about road conditions, or informing the driver if they are speeding.

How did that lead you to the health tech sector?
I have designed and developed a wide array of solutions spanning across various markets such as automotive, industrial and broadcast. I’ve been part of three successful start-ups in the last 15 years, and won several prizes, including the XPrize Moonshot in 2019 & Red Dot Design award in 2022.

What is it about Watcherr that inspires you to keep driving forward?
Everyone is grounded here, we all know what is needed and where we need to go. A good part of our investment is from the healthcare sector, and it is through their extensive knowledge that we are able to develop tech that will have long-reaching, transformative results.

How did you get involved in Watcherr and what is your responsibility?
I was already interested in tech for the health sector, so when Watcherr approached me I was very interested in their proposal which sounded solid, with achievable goals. My responsibility is to provide robust hardware using existing technology, to provide products and services in the sector of elderly care. I am also responsible for research and development of new products using emerging technologies.

Can you elaborate further?
Let me give you an example, extensive work has been carried out in the fields of AR and VR for biodynamics, but most of the work here is primarily studying and targeting the under 50 age groups in sports and fitness markets. Understanding how your body moves, and the subsequent data analysis, can now be used in geriatric care, to vastly improve the way that we are providing health care in this sector today.

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