When did you join Watcher and what is your role?
I joined the company in the summer of 2021 and I am the Director of Engineering.
Tell us about your background and education
I grew up on a small island in Greece, and I was born a geek. I showed an interest in computers from a very early age and my parents were certainly not very familiar with computers!
At the age of 14 I received my first computer, it was back in the mid-nineties, and whilst most kids wanted to play computer games, I wanted to create them, so I learnt programming. I studied at Patras University, located to the west of Greece, famous for its spring festival and the university. There I studied computer science, I already had my rubber stamp of geekiness! At the time, I can’t say that I could see that this would revolutionise the world, we didn’t know how computer science was going to take off, but we thought we might be able to make some money.
What was your first job after graduating?
I worked as a software engineer in Atmel, designing firmware for WiFi cards.
What direction has your work taken you in?
I had the chance to work with very successful companies in network telecommunications and embedded devices. Throughout the years, I managed to build and develop my skillset around that area and obtain a good understanding of IoT devices.
How did you come to join Watcherr, and how has your role evolved since joining Watcherr?
My good friend Kumar Bala introduced me to the company, as he was already working with them. In a start-up company, there are plenty of opportunities to get familiar with new areas of learning. I get to shape the architecture of the products, learn more about the medical industry and gradually influence strategic decisions in the technology domain.
What’s it like being a software architect in healthcare industry? How does it compare to other industries?
Software architecture describes the way we put software together to form a solution. It focuses mostly on the bigger picture, so some of the architectural decisions may be influenced by healthcare best practices. As an architect, I need to be aware of the customer’s expectations. The same principle applies to all industries.
What technology and languages are being used to build Watcherr? Why did you choose this?
We are using python and react for the backend. These are fairly common languages/frameworks for web applications, which makes it easier to build applications, and there is a big online community that supports both. For the devices, we are constrained to C/C++ and Java/Android, depending on the device. The wearable devices run bespoke firmware, so we have to use the frameworks provided by the manufacturer of the devices.
What is one leading-edge feature of Watcherr? What was the process like building this, along with any challenges?
One of the coolest features we support is motion detection, that allows us to detect patterns such as drinking, walking and sleeping. It’s still at the experimental stage, with great results so far. This technology requires a lot of experimentation with the data that we are collecting, statistical analysis, and understanding of the theory behind neural networks and pattern recognition. The biggest challenge is to leverage the benefits of this technology without sacrificing the power efficiency of our devices. The other challenge is to find ways to improve the motion detection rate.
How do you manage data and security?
We follow very secure protocols when it comes to data integrity and security, allowing few people to have access to the production databases, using encrypted drives and encrypted/secured communication channels from the devices to our servers. We also have firewalled systems that protect the access to our servers, using infrastructure provided by AWS. We are also looking into adopting some of the industry standards for security, so that we can improve the procedures we follow within the company.
What challenges, if any, have you had to face working with a start-up?
The common challenge in start-up companies is the balance between long working hours, demanding schedules, and personal life. The path is not always clear and requires a lot of experimentation and dedication to manage good results. But on the other side, this is what makes the work interesting.
What is it about Watcherr as a company that makes it unique?
The company has a clear target and people know what they want to achieve. Watcherr wants to help people, improve their lifestyle and offer peace of mind via the use of health monitoring and prediction products. I find the combination of these two things truly unique.
How does 2022 look so far?
Challenging! I hope that it’ll bring even more success than 2021.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family, watching films, and indulging in geeky SciFi literature.