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Bild: Smartberger

Installing the touch button in the entrance area of your home. © ImageType NewMedia

SmartHome: "You can't google something you don't know"

Smart digital technologies have been moving into our homes and offices for some time now: Electronic measuring of heating usage, our phones and apps turning our house lights on when we arrive at home. Johannes Damberger is somebody who has taken on the topic of smart homes. In 2017 he started his business for smart homes, smart buildings and system integrations, and specialises in finding the right solution for each individual situation. His customers can shift the technical aspects of their buildings over to the intelligent system which can be controlled in a centralised and intuitive way with a switch, an app and even completely automatically.

Johannes, the concept of smart homes isn't a new one. What makes your service stand out?

Smart home systems are used to control the most essential functions of a home, connect them to an app and efficiently create a synergy effect: Every morning, the house can gently wake its residents with a soft light, as well as a favourite song or by opening the blinds. The alarm system is then deactivated, while the bathroom is already pre heated to a comfortable temperature. My company's approach is to combine these familiar smart home features with further digital applications. For example, by adding an effective energy management system that can coordinate the energy sources in the house (e.g. solar or photovoltaic systems), with the storage and the consumers. Then there are also domains like multimedia and networks.

"Electricity has always fascinated me, but I was drawn in a different direction."

How did you first get started in the smart home sector?

Electricity has always fascinated me, but I was drawn in a different direction. I decided to focus on a modern field, the installation and programming of smart home systems. I also strive to incorporate this topic into my private life. Most of all I saw it offer me new possibilities in terms of mobility. I live near the city centre of Munich, so I use a combination of car sharing, public transport and most commonly, my eBike (with a trailer for my tools). It's great exercise and its relaxing to know the fixed costs are low.

What steps did you take to start your business?

I started out with an apprenticeship as an electronics technician, specialising in information and telecommunications. I followed that up with completing a masterclass in 2008. I spent a full year preparing to start my own business, and I became self-employed in August 2017. It just had to happen, at the time I was starting to feel too claustrophobic at my training company. My ideas were no longer satisfied with just being thought about, they wanted to be realised and put into practice. To deal with all this for the first time was very exciting. Writing up my first invoice, launching my website and acquiring customers.

How did you prepare for the launch of your company?

The masterclass gave me a solid base of knowledge that helped me in terms of managing my company. I also got help from the Handwerkskammer (Chamber of Crafts), where they offer advise and guidance from professionals in every field. After all, you can't google something you don't know. For instance, the city's funding for the eBike, a comprehensive explanation of tax payments in the 2nd god damned year and even an honest, pragmatic assessment of my business plan were all valuable pieces of information that really helped me get ahead. Looking back, it was just as important to deal with those things as it was to keep exploring new technologies, and in order to ensure that my company is prepared for everything to come, I'll also continue to educate myself. The next investments are all lined up and so, it's time to head to the bank. Self-employment is still as exciting as ever.

www.smartberger.de

These institutions and funding opportunities have particularly helped Johannes:

  • The HWK (Chamber of Crafts) in Munich provided support and advice on the foundation of a company and legal issues.