"I would say that complacency creates a lot of the hazards when we become very used to the environments that we work in."
What are your key goals for Sofvie?
Sofvie came together as a brand with the word ‘Sofia’, the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge, and ‘vie’ meaning ‘life’ in French. It is a software that flows information through to help save lives. I lost my grandfather to the mining industry with cancer, back when there were no masks and PPE. And in 1985, my uncle was crushed due to an old sorting method in mine storage. Safety today is much more at the forefront, but at the same time, many things are still in filing cabinets. With Sofvie we are trying to have everything in real time and available digitally to shorten the distance of time between analyzing things and preventing reoccurrences.
Which are the biggest hazards that the mining sector faces today that you feel have not been properly addressed yet?
I would say that complacency creates a lot of the hazards when we become very used to the environments that we work in. The mining workplace can be a very safe one, but when we start to let things slide when they should be picked up or put away, next thing you know there is a trip and a fall. I have encountered incidences where equipment started failing or behaving differently because there were too many things in the path to operate in the way it was intended to. Sofvie creates a more sustainable way by having a digital record of everything. As soon as we start creating that accountability, workplaces and equipment are cleaner. It creates a major lasting effect on the amount of hazards that get flagged in a day, because things are being addressed proactively the way they should.
What sets Sofvie apart as a solution for the mining sector?
We have built our system from the ground up, from the workforce that is doing the work every day, to give them the wins that they need to have every single day. So it is less of a big brother kind of environment because it makes people actually want to contribute the data to keep the work moving forward. Shifting away from blame culture is a game changer in the industry; we focus on making the workers successful. We are creating new custom and tailored data technologies that will be introduced in 2022 with wearable sensors to move away from blanket assumptions and allow each worker to operate according to their own body. This is applicable in terms of need for rest or best work environments for each person, for example, and it allows them to have that conversation with supervisors.
Your current revenue model is subscription based. How will this evolve in future?
We are very much in startup mode with just a little over 1,000 users in our system. Now we are starting to grow exponentially every month and gain more coverage in Canada, the US, South Africa and Mexico, among others. We are also transcending industries, because hazard recognition and risk management is a universal language. So we have seen farms, chemical manufacturing and even a daycare network in the US reach out.
How can Sofvie’s positive reinforcement and inclusive technology shift the sector moving forward?
Sofvie is a very inclusive technology where the biggest gains become how people are relaying information from shift to shift, where people are positively acknowledging each other for work well done, whether they are working together or from a different shift. The system ties it together that way. In this way you can have everybody, from the worker all the way to the CEO, able to see a copy of the pre-operational checks, the lineups, all the positive recognition that is happening in the field. And certainly, positive recognition from a supervisor to a worker is great, but it is almost expected if you are in the right leader. But when you see workers acknowledging workers, workers acknowledging supervisors or above, you really get to see what the heartbeat of the organization looks like, and what the culture is in the field. It becomes about having each other's backs.