Alexa

October Special Edition 2021

‘We produce one of the most precise and reliable drowning prevention systems worldwide’: Heinz Ruchti, President of Deep Blue AG

thesiliconreview-heinz-ruchti-owner-deep-blue-ag-21.jpg

“We produce all our systems in Switzerland, and we are proud to carry the label—Swiss Made.”

Swimming is fun; it can bring so much joy to everyone irrespective of age, especially children who are easily drawn to water, and they love to take every opportunity to make a splash. But like many other activities, swimming is connected with a certain risk too. It becomes a task to parents as they know that it requires 100 percent of their attention to supervising their children and loved ones in and around the water. But unfortunately, too many accidents occur while swimming or playing in the water. Not only children but also experienced swimmers in pools, lakes, and other waterways can be victims of such accidents. Far too often, they can prove to be fatal or cause severe neurological damage to surviving victims.

To end such unpleasant things and raise an alert before anything serious happens, Deep Blue AG has come up with cutting-edge drowning prevention products and solutions so that having fun doesn't turn into tragedy anymore. By utilizing its development teams' experience within the underwater technology industry, the company is creating new, increasingly intelligent systems to protect people when in the water.

Deep Blue AG was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Hallwil, Switzerland.

To highlight and further understand what Deep Blue AG stands for and seeks to explore in this segment, I sat down with Heinz Ruchti, who serves as the company's President.

Interview Highlights

Q. Tell us what inspired the creation of Deep Blue AG.

I started my professional career with scuba diving. Together with a partner, I founded my first company in the scuba diving industry. During this time, we developed and produced precision mechanical instruments for scuba divers. This was when the microelectronic parts became available; using this technology, we developed the world's first mass-produced diving computer. After selling the diving company, I founded Deep Blue AG. Our team developed and produced an anchor monitoring system for yachts during the first few years.

After discovering how many people drown in the world every year, we decided to use our specific knowledge of underwater technology to develop a surveillance system to prevent people from drowning to save lives.

Q. How do your innovations protect people when in the water?

All our systems are based on measuring the water depth. People in the water can wear our electronic wristband, which is similar to the size of a watch. The bracelet measures the depth and the time, detecting if the person stays too long underwater. An alarm is triggered if a person is below the preset depth for a longer duration. Depth and time can be manually set depending on the individual's swimming ability.

Q. Why are your products so important in the current times? Could you give us some context?

In children up to 14 years old, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death. As people who swim or play in the water have become cautious about water safety, we have realized that it has become imperative to create reliable solutions that will help in monitoring it more seriously. Drowning is silent and invisible! Thus, we have developed high-tech electronic devices that take this into account and warn early if there is a risk of drowning. Besides, awareness of safety, in general, has grown in recent times.

Q. How does your intelligent system protect people when in the water? What is the mechanism behind it?

In contrast to human monitoring, electronic supervision never pauses, never gets tired, and is never distracted. Our high-tech systems are the latest technology against drowning. Our systems measure depth and time underwater. This type of surveillance comes closest to the physiology of drowning. Excessively long underwater means the risk of drowning!

Q. Could you tell us about the difference between your offerings when it comes to your Personal Systems and Commercial Systems?

As the world market leader of pressure-based alarm systems, Deep Blue AG produces various drowning alarm systems, all under the brand name "BlueFox" (http://www.bluefox-swiss.com/), for commercial pools, hotels, and therapy pools, residential pools, and water parks. Sensors are placed underwater at the pool wall and are waiting to receive an underwater ultra-sonic alarm from the swimmer's bracelet.

For Personal Alarm System, for private individuals for protection at the beaches, lakes, ponds, and all kinds of swimming waters we have completed a new development:

BlueFox ST1, our new device for people's protection in the water, does not require any installations. The entire anti drowning system is worn on the wrist.

From a technological point of view, the BlueFox ST1 is a masterpiece of Swiss engineering. It is a symbiosis of mechanical and electronic engineering from Switzerland. For us, making an entire alarm system possible with a combination of micromechanics and microelectronics packed in a watch-sized device was very challenging. We used high-precision mechanical parts similar to that of Swiss watches, controlled by the smallest available microprocessors and electronic parts and powered by high-performance rechargeable batteries, to build BlueFox ST1.

BlueFox ST1 is patented (US 10,692,348 B2) and in full production, and ready to protect people in the water all over the world!

The BlueFox ST1 alarm system supports parents, lifeguards, and people in the vicinity in ensuring that they are completely supervised. These individual BlueFox Systems have a tremendous and significant impact on efforts to reduce preventable drowning.

image

Q. Who are your clients? Could you provide us with one or two case studies describing the quality challenges your clients were facing and how did your solutions help them overcome those challenges?

Our clients are not limited to operating commercial or private swimming pools alone, but also therapy pools (rehabilitation services), hotel pools, YMCA, etc.

To be a pool owner or maintaining a pool is a risk, be it public or private pools. Thereby those who own a pool or maintain it will try to ensure safety they hire as many lifeguards as possible.

Client Testimonials

The problem: Hiring lifeguards is money consuming while the operating budget is also high and, of course, a tedious process. Besides, finding well-qualified lifeguards is again a task. In addition, it is human nature that fatigue, noise, and distraction reduce the quality of monitoring.

Deep Blue AG to the rescue: We produce one of the most reliable drowning prevention systems worldwide. Precise and reliable: They will protect you, your loved ones, or your customers. BlueFox systems are an excellent addition to lifeguards, as our system monitors seamlessly without pauses or distractions. Lifeguards at many resorts, swimming pools, and private beaches around the world are assisted daily by our safety systems. Forward-thinking pool owners have realized this and help their lifeguards to do their job well with electronic help. Many parents know very well that children can never be 100 percent monitored. BlueFox does not release you from the duty of supervision, but it helps to have an "electronic guardian angel" with you. Saving lives intelligently!

The Problem: One of our customers for commercial pools was looking for a safety product against drowning and wanted to have a complete package that included an access control system, cashless payment, locker management, etc.

Solution: With our BlueFox system, everything is possible. We first find out our customer's needs and preferences, and based on that; we offer an individual solution. Our goal is always to exceed customers' expectations.

Q. How do you make your products affordable? Is affordability an important factor for you?

The necessary care is taken to create a product that everyone can afford, even during its initial development phase. Then the question arises: how much is a saved life worth? Anyone who has lost a child or a friend would be willing to pay millions to turn back time. That is why you must responsibly undertake something beforehand in order not to drown, to save a life.

Q. What strategies are in place to encourage innovation in your company?

Innovation in technology is the basis of our success. Producing innovative products is our aim. That is why the focus in our company is always to develop new products. We always invest in building new technologies. Our production machines are the most modern available. This guarantees that our production quality is at the topmost level. Every single device that leaves our factory will undergo an intensive test program.

Q. Where do you stand as a company in the current market landscape? And what are you doing to stay ahead of the curve?

With our innovative systems, we are in the leading position worldwide. With steady growth, we will also keep our technology at the highest level and thus secure our lead. The fact is that we produce all our systems in Switzerland and we are proud to carry the label—Swiss Made. Our strength is that we have started setting our own standards and do the unexpected, the new, and the different.

Q. Will Deep Blue AG be expanding, bringing on any new products or services that we should be aware of?

The BlueFox ST1 is Deep Blue's newest product. With several other drowning warning systems, today, we offer a technology that will protect thousands of children and adults from drowning in the future. New products need considerable planning and organization, but we are continuously working on new ideas and do analyze customers' wishes regarding more and better safety. Our next huge step is to introduce our BlueFox Systems to the North American market. From now on, we are looking for suitable distribution partners or investors.

A Relentlessly Reliable Entrepreneur

Heinz Ruchti (heinz.ruchti@deepblue.ch) is the owner and President of Deep Blue AG. Prior to founding Deep Blue AG, he worked as a professional scuba diving engineer. He co-developed the world's first serial-produced diving computer.

Mr. Ruchti was the co-owner, President, and CEO of a world brand diving instruments manufacturing company that produces thousands of scuba diving instruments for professional, military, and sport divers worldwide. He is a former Licensed Helicopter Pilot. He was an independent representative in Switzerland, Austria, and Croatia of Bell Helicopter Textron USA for 20 years.

He holds several patents in his name: Automobile: Tire Pressure Measuring System, Helicopter: Warning system for commercial pilots, Ship, and Yachting: Anchor Monitoring System, Pool Safety: Anti-Drowning Systems, and Swimmer Safety: Personal Drowning Alarm. Mr. Ruchti goes by the saying quoted by George Bernhard Shaw "Some people see things as they are, and say why. I dream things that never were and ask why not."

“Our patented BlueFox ST1 is a masterpiece of Swiss engineering. It is an electronic guardian angel, saving lives intelligently.”