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Patricia Müller

Bitahoy and its pivot: Marius talks about their change of course

If you look up Bitahoy online, you'll find a few articles about the startup that wants to make smart homes safer by means of a digital watchdog. The young company is now at the beginning of a strategic shift away from hardware and toward smart internet connections.

Last year, the developers tested the system extensively. In the process, Bitahoy generated useful tips about functions and the user interface. Knowledge that is still helpful now. However, sharply rising product prices and hardware delivery problems triggered a rethink. "Our Rasberry Pi 4 mini-computer, which initially cost around 80 euros, was sold for up to 200 euros at times last year," explains CEO and co-founder Marius Bleif. The startup idea is now more scalable without hardware, he says.

Technically, the team has put a lot of work into the new, high-performance platform to generate interest among the new target group. Because in terms of customers, the change in strategy also means moving away from B2C and toward B2B. Bitahoy is still sticking to its big goal of monitoring smart devices, only now the team is turning its service to internet providers. They can make Bitahoy's network analysis available to their customers to specifically detect attacks on devices in real time. Marius: “We're moving the boundary of the home network.” It's now on the cloud instead of on the router. And this in turn, he says, opens up new opportunities to analyze network traffic in terms of cybersecurity. If there's an attack, the provider can put a stop to it until they can eliminate the vulnerability." For Internet Service Providers, this service is a relevant feature, Marius explains. Until now, providers have not been able to clearly track unwanted access to the home network. The startup's idea makes it possible to determine whether an attacker is targeting the webcam, the vacuum cleaner robot or the smart socket. Another advantage is that complicated software updates on routers are no longer necessary.

In addition to the pilot customer search, Bitahoy's technology will soon be used in a medium-sized office building in Saarbrücken to demonstrate stability and speed. In doing so, the startup team is learning a lot about its deployment process. And it continues to fine-tune the final product design, which "can be adapted up to almost 100 percent to the customer’s preferences", Marius says. "Right now, we spend a lot of our time working on understanding the market and aligning our idea with the customers’ interest."