Piceasoft helps extend lifecycle for mobile devices
Changing or reselling a smartphone can sometimes feel like an obstacle course of data transfers and cleanups. But tools to make the process easier already exist.
There are billions of smartphones on the global market and most of their life-cycles could be elongated with correct device and data management. This is the view of Jyri Roselius, CEO and co-founder of Piceasoft. With a long career in the telecoms industry, he has seen how time and money are wasted on unnecessary device maintenance, complex data transfers and not recycling phones due to security scares.
These are precisely the challenges Piceasoft tackles. It has created a software package for the smooth management of a mobile device’s entire lifecycle.
“When you buy a new phone, we can transfer the content from your old device to the new one. When it seems to need maintenance, our software can diagnose whether it is necessary and do some basic repairs,” Roselius explains. “Finally, in a buyback or recycling situation, our software securely erases the device memory so it can never be returned.”
Piceasoft has an impressive customer list to back its claims. Major mobile operators and retail chains, including Vodafone, Telefonica, Telenor and Elkjøp/Gigantti, use the company’s software in their stores to make changing or recycling a mobile device as painless for their customers as possible.
Like many startups in Finland, the roots of Piceasoft can be traced back to Nokia. Roselius and Piceasoft co-founders Joni Lagerbom, Risto Kivipuro and Jani Väänänen used to develop the telecom giant’s device management software ‘PC Suite’. When Nokia started to dismantle its mobile operations in 2012, the team didn’t want to see this software, which was used by 100 million daily users, go to waste.
“We left Nokia as a spin-off and started our own company. Nokia supported us with starter money and by licensing the software to use for a reasonable price,” Roselius recalls. “Our first thought was how to make it easier for people to switch from one operating system to another.”
From this sprouted Piceasoft’s first product, PiceaSwitch, for transferring content between devices and operating systems. It was launched in February 2013, only six months after the company was founded.
Since then Piceasoft has grown to a team of 35 people and expanded its software package with two new tools: PiceaDiagnostics, which analyses a mobile device’s condition and maintenance needs and PiceaEraser, which securely (and certifiably) cleans up all data from it.
Although competitors exist in all these areas, Piceasoft’s claim to fame is to be the only company to offer all three services.
“Customers like it when they can buy everything they need from the same place,” Roselius says. “Also, we are the only company whose products can be used anywhere: on an industrial scale, in retail stores and even at home.”
Today Piceasoft has customers in 60 countries, with the most substantial footholds in the Nordics and Germany. The company has also started its US expansion with support from the Young Innovative Company funding programme organised by the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes*. Its ambition is nothing short of being the market leader.
But Piceasoft is also driven by greener values. Roselius believes its software has the potential to encourage more consumers to resell or recycle their old phones.
“At the moment, when people stop using a phone, they often put it in a drawer somewhere as they aren’t comfortable with giving it away,” he explains. “With our software people can confidently give away their devices as they know they have certifiably been erased clean.”
It is already a growing trend globally. Roselius estimates the value of the used mobile phone market is over 17 billion dollars and counting, which means millions of devices are in need of diagnostics and eraser services.
But what about in 20 to 30 years from now, when smartphones might not even exist, will these tools still be relevant? Roselius is confident their demand will only grow.
“That is so far in the future, I haven’t really thought about it,” he says with a laugh. “But there will always be some kind of communication devices for which our tools are needed. For example, cars will be full of data. There will be more data to erase and transfer in 20 years’ time because data will be everywhere.”
*Part of Business Finland since 2018