The Silicon Review
Most working professionals in developed countries spend many hours a day staring at computer screens. It could be at work, on a flight, while driving a car or at an ATM kiosk. One of the things that most people constantly have to deal with is people looking over their shoulders or glancing sideways at their screens. This form of invasion of privacy, “shoulder surfing” or “visual hacking” as it is called, often results in others knowing passwords, credit card details and other confidential information. While there are several corporations that provide cybersecurity against external cyber threats, there is no major security against people peering into your screens.
One company based out of Germany has developed a solution to ensure people’s screen time against potential spying from bystanders, colleagues and so on. This company is called siOPTICA. It aims to address that rudimentary part of data security which is out of reach of all cybersecurity algorithms. siOPTICA offers a Switchable Privacy Solution that can be integrated into any display.
How It All Began
The inspiration behind siOPTICA came about whilst the founders were working together in a company that provided security solutions. After a chance meeting with a client who highlighted the demand for visual security, the three founders set out to build a solution to address this requirement. They were enthralled by how much people actually lost due to the lack of visual privacy. This is how siOPTICA was conceived.
This young company’s first product was a switchable privacy filter for ATMs and POS devices (Point of Sale devices). It had certain limitations when it came to viewing the screen in privacy mode. It did not go well with the market requirements and ended up not being successful. Undeterred by the initial setback, the founders of siOPTICA were now more determined than ever to make their next offering even better. Since then they have developed two switchable privacy technologies called sioSHIELD and sioSAFE. Both these products are targeted for the Automotive, ATM, POS and Mobile devices markets. ATM, POS and Mobile devices draw the greatest number of users each day and visual privacy is a major concern that most users are unaware of. Needless to say, individual device privacy is a major issue when one is among a crowd or traveling on public transportation. siOPTICA switchable privacy solutions ensures total privacy for everyone’s electronic devices wherever they maybe.
The Journey So Far
The initial challenges have strengthened the company’s resolve to explore new areas like automotive infotainment privacy. The automotive infotainment privacy solution has enabled siOPTICA in developing its technology further to meet the strict development guidelines in the automotive industry forbidding distractive contents to be visible for the driver. The founders of siOPTICA credit the invaluable feedback from their customers, their team members and also the support by their current and past investors who helped in making siOPTICA grow to its current state.
The road thus far has not been without the usual hurdles that all start-ups would face. We had to run from pillar to post in order to convince people of the potential of our products and solutions. It was a fairly nascent market which made it all the more difficult to find a steady stream of customers who would avail such services. Additionally, the nature of the product is such that most customers are completely unaware of its benefits, as well as the risks, without it.
siOPTICA credits the following five factors as their biggest assets:
One of the main reasons for the company’s success was inspired by the highly customizable solutions that are suitable for large-scale delivery. It has brought benefits and value to many clients across different markets. Furthermore, a deep understanding of markets and customer requirements has allowed the firm to flourish and adapt to changing industrial scenarios.
siOPTICA has 13 employees working and a few more on the way. The company follows a flat structure that starts with the CEO and branches out to four sub-divisions, namely, Finance and Administration, Engineering, Research & Development, and Business Development. Being a small company, each day brings new challenges and the dedicated team at siOPTICA works hard to achieve its targets. siOPTICA represents more than 200 man-years of experience with a team whose members have been involved as inventors and co-inventors in more than three hundred patent applications together in the past.
Additionally, having a flexible product and solution has helped to fuel the rapid ascent of the company, allowing it to attract as well as retain numerous customers. The founders envision a scenario in which their company’s logo is ubiquitous in displays, screens, and applications that require privacy.
Meet the Founders of siOPTICA
Dr. Markus Klippstein, CEO: Dr. Klippstein has had a glorious career that spans more than 15 years and involves experience in management, sales, and R&D. He has filed over 200 patent applications and was instrumental in 2 major trade sales.
Ravi Srivastava, Executive Director: Srivastava brings more than 20 years of management experience to the table. He has served in various roles that include business development, sales, marketing and consultancy in Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Ambrose Peter Nari, CTO: Nari has worked for over 15 years in a wide array of fields that include technology, development, and sales across sectors which include optics.