JOE Meets Paul Griffin the Irish entrepreneur behind the ZBand
Recently, JOE met up with the Irish creator behind the world's first silent alarm wristband called the ZBand.
It takes balls of steel to try and start up you’re your own company in the midst of a recession, but that didn’t stop the Mayo man Paul Griffin from following his dream of creating the world’s first silent alarm wristband.
We decided to meet up with Paul in his house to take a gander at his new invention, which is set to change the way you wake up for the better. So what exactly is the ZBand?
The ZBand is a simple idea, but an extremely affective one at that. Basically, it’s a lightweight wristband that you wear to bed, which gently vibrates in the morning to wake you up. Simples. It would be like wearing a sports watch to bed, but with the added advantage that there’s nothing hard or pointy that might poke you awake in the middle of the night.
What are the benefits?
When Paul first designed the ZBand the idea was to market the device towards couples who might work late shifts or for people who have to get up early and who don’t want to wake up young kids. In fairness, there’s nothing worse than a scorn wife who’s been rudely awoken by the sound of your alarm buzzing at 3am or a tired child that won't go back to sleep.
However, the ZBand has been taking pre-orders from across the world (Ireland, UK, USA, Australia, Argentina… just to name a few) and with that there has been some really good feedback. We all know the Americans love throwing their two cents into things, and luckily for Paul some of the feedback he received had some pretty good suggestions.
One of which was to market the ZBand towards people who might be hard of hearing or as a way to gently remind yourself of something during the day. For example, lets say you have to take several tablets a day and you don’t want people hearing your ‘medication alarm’ go off every hour, the ZBand would simply vibrate when it’s time to take your pill and no one’s the wiser.
The ZBand will be available in while and black
It’s also a great little device for college kids or backpackers who might be staying in a dorm with a group of other people.
How does it work?
It’s simple actually. You start off by downloading the free ZBand Android app (an Apple app is in the pipeline) to your smart phone or tablet. You then pair the ZBand with your newly downloaded app via Bluetooth. Then, from within the app, you can decide the strength of the vibration, you can set up several different alarms and you can also set the amount of time you want the alarm to snooze for. Once you’ve set your alarms with the Android app you simply turn off your phone and let the ZBand gently wake you up on it's own. The video below will be able to explain it a bit better.
We have to admit, it’s a fairly clever idea. You don’t need your phone or the app with you at all times and the ZBand lasts for 10 days off of a 30-minute charge. Now, some products try to make some extra money out of you by selling overly complicated looking chargers, but the ZBand can be easily charged with a mini-USB cable – the same one you charge your Android smart phone with.
So who’s the main man behind it?
Paul Griffin, the man behind the wristband, originally hails from County Mayo and he came up with the idea for the ZBand back in 2009 when he wondered if there was an alternative to being rudely awoken by an ear blistering alarm clock.
“I was lying in bed one morning listening to the alarm going off, and I though to myself ‘there has to be something better than this…’”
Initially, Paul had hoped the ZBand would be up and running within a year but the humble Mayo man admitted that he didn’t quite know what was in store for him. Even though the country was getting to grips with the effects of the recession, Paul followed through with his ZBand idea, which will be officially on sale this December (just in time for Christmas…). The ZBand’s will retail for €39.99, but if you pre-order the ZBand online before they go on sale in December you’ll get €10 off the RRP.
It’s great to see Irish entrepreneurs taking the risks and coming up with original ideas, even when the odds are stacked against them. Especially for lads like Paul, a real down to earth bloke who you could easily have a pint with down in the pub. While the big multinational corporations vacuum money from our wallets with the same products just in different packaging, it’s blokes like Paul who are getting out there and doing it themselves who will keep this country a float.