Noise-monitoring Quietyme tiptoes onto the stage of emerging companies
By Frank Kaminsky
MADISON – When it came down to residents getting into fistfights over noise problems, John Bialk knew it was time for something different.
That something is Quietyme.
Quietyme offers residential buildings, hospitals and hotels the opportunity to monitor noise levels, building temperatures, humidity levels and water-leaks. In short, it allows property managers and hospital workers a chance to give residents a comfortable environment in which to live.
Quietyme CEO Bialk was a former property manager who dealt with noise complaints of residents. He saw the need for a system to handle all the annoying noise complaints of residents, and a self-correcting way to respond to complaints.
“I was tired of people hollering at each other,” Bialk said, “so I thought about what I could do to make them stop.”
He said residents who were severely upset even began slugging it out on property grounds. Older residents who did not want to deal with other residents began to annoy Bialk by contacting him to deal with noisy residents.
His solution was creating a system of wireless sensor devices -- plugged into a standard power outlet -- that can monitor sounds, temperature, humidity and light-level data. This creates an “always on” mesh network that allows for around the clock communication of sensor device data.
In other words, if noise levels get high in a certain area, an alert goes to the landlord and the resident so that he or she can self-correct the behavior without disturbing other residents.
“There are two types of residents: Offenders and picky people,” Bialk said, “Quietyme works to defeat fights between those two groups.”
Quietyme strives to eliminate noise complaints from residents, but it also gives residents temperature and humidity alerts to ensure that proactive managers and landlords will be able to retain tenants.
In hospitals, Quietyme has found that patients who have the ability to sleep without disturbances tend to have shorter hospital stays and a quicker return to normal health levels.
“We found that patients who don’t sleep well, will not heal well,” Bialk said, “so we work with the hospitals to shield patients from noise.”
Quietyme also saves hospital patients valuable money by shortening hospital stays. Longer stays result in higher medical bills. Bialk and his company work with hospitals to analyze data and show the effect of the changes on patients’ health.
The Affordable Care Act requires that all hospital patients be given a survey about their experience during their hospital stay. Medicare and Medicaid use the results of these surveys to determine the reimbursement rates for the hospital’s services and may withhold up to 1.5 percent of their payments for poor performing hospitals. One survey questions asks patients if the area around their room was quiet at night. That questions receives the lowest scores nationally and, for most hospitals, is the greatest patient experience complaint.
Sold as “software-as-a-system,” the Quietyme system helps hospitals reduce patient noise disturbances and increase their reimbursements.
At the recent Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, Quietyme pitched to investors and discussed plans to build on previous investments, which have included $1.5 million from companies such as Gener8tor and Healthbox.
“We are in money-raising mode,” said Bialk of the Neshkoro-based company, which was founded in 2013.
Bialk and Quietyme are dedicated to keeping noise levels to a minimum, but they are looking to make a lot of marketplace noise in the future.
-- Kaminsky is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.