Interview with Steve Schroeder
Steve Schroeder is the founder of Smart Community Technologies
. He has a 14-year-old autistic son who has yet to speak and a 30-year-old daughter who has neurofibromatosis, (tumors throughout her body). She is legally deaf, blind, and been through many surgeries, yet recently graduated from California State University Northridge, and is dedicated to helping others. Many families are affected by similar situations, and he thinks it’s time we start to rethink technology and use it in ways that benefit everyone.
Hey, Steve! You founded Smart Community Technologies in 2017. Why did you start the company, and what is your role there?
Good morning, my name is Steve Schroeder with Smart Community Technologies. I founded the company in 2017 for a couple of reasons: One, I'm a special needs Dad. I have a severely autistic son who has never spoken and requires full-time care. He and I are on our own. There was very little support that you can bring in when a caregiver can't work or is being driven crazy, being constantly jerked back and forth. I wanted to start a company that would help all of the aspects of the community, not only people, customers who have a normal life but also small business owners and also special needs and non-profits. I have an expertise in customer loyalty, we weave mobile technologies together in ways where everybody wins, where donations increase, where people can get support, where special needs groups can go and learn about how to take care of their kids better, or have a better relationship in their marriage. We started the company because we had innovative ideas and we really wanted to help people out.
How has your company created useful and accessible technologies that benefit everyone? Is there one you are particularly excited about?
Our company creates useful and accessible technologies that benefit everyone, that are unique. One that I really like is, the geo-social scavenger hunt. Before Pokemon Go launched in 2015, and before the game had become familiar, I had worked on designing a game using augmented reality and geo-fencing to track people's dwell time and behaviour and have them go on scavenger hunts, not to capture augmented reality creatures or spend a lot of money on the games today, where there's no real value. This was to help raise money for kids. I had founded another company called Fundraising as a Service Technologies for kids FASB for kids. This allowed non-profits through a license, to track when people went places and when they put receipts on Twitter. When they checked in, we drove them on these scavenger hunts that actually generated automatic donations to their chosen non-profit. We gave a tremendous amount of value to the people. We combined customer loyalty into these geo-social scavenger hunts, which we're still producing right now. We're really excited about changing the face of fundraising, so that people don't have to walk up and down intersections or sit out in the cold with buckets. They can automatically generate donations by their visits, dwell times, social posts and receive not only rewards for themselves, but also to the non-profit that's near and dear to their heart.
How are you utilizing blockchain technology? Would you recommend it to other businesses?
One of the areas that we're excited about using blockchain technology is with data packets. When you go into our app and you register, everything is protected by blockchain technology. We generate a data block that the consumer owns and then anybody inside of our ecosystem, any business, the consumer can actually control that data and get paid to release the data. Today, we see apps such as Facebook and Google and we see CEOs brought in front of Congress because your data is has been stolen and it's available. We've utilised that for years, where you can put a geo-fence and capture people's data. Everything they do is being monetised outside of them. We want to return that power back to the consumer and let them be in control of their data. Let them get monetised for it. Create a data packet get it all encrypted, get it on the block, so it can't be stolen, manipulated, used or hacked. We work a lot with identity theft companies, which is rampant because every single one of these companies gets hacked. We want to put consumers back in control of their data and then also allow donations. If they give this data to a bigger corporation, that's to donate to their nonprofit. We tie all of these things together, not only with customer loyalty, but with fundraising and we make it that everybody wins and that the consumer is protected.
Do you have any projects outside of your work? How else do you spend your time?
I have projects outside of work that I'm working on, and that's to take care of special needs kids and families. What we want to do with Smart Community Technologies is create a membership which is very similar to Amazon Prime. When we get the businesses in, we have it all lined up in our current app build and we're going to take half of that membership fee that people join. We think it would appeal to hundreds of millions of people, because we know how to add value to that app and make people's lives convenient, protect their data and do all kinds of neat things that you don't see utilised today in customer loyalty which is very far behind. We know how to create something really interesting, cool, fun and exciting and benefits everybody. We'll take these membership fees and donate to that local community. I want to build respite care centres with no strings attached and not all of the hassle in applying for it, for whoever needs help because it's so hard to find. There's nothing for me as a sole caregiver of my child. Right now he's in school, but every holiday, every vacation, every weekend and he gets home at two o'clock in the afternoon. There's really no support for caregivers. If there is, it's expensive or you have to go through a lot of filing processes. We're working hard to change this whole area of fundraising so it's easy, convenient and automated and can welcome more people in. Special needs parents are growing and they need a lot of support. We would love to be able to help them and everybody with our success.
What's next for you, and what's next for Smart Community Technologies?
What's next for me and what's next for Smart Community Technologies is, we're going to continue working on being constantly innovative. We have been blessed with an innovative mind. Our team has innovative minds, where we're constantly innovating to help others and and not only help others, but make it a win for everybody. In other words, you don't have to change your behaviour, you don't have to spend any new money. We listen to what consumers want and we help businesses and companies do that whilst supporting the community, the consumer, and themselves all at the same time. We create these win win things. What's next for us is to transform, with our new app build, the way money is raised for kids and for parents in need. I'm now on my own. It's the toughest thing ever. It's so easy to fall into depression. It's really tough for special needs parents. It's hard enough staying married as it is, let alone when you have a special needs child. There's a lot of support that parents need. It's extremely difficult. That's near and dear to our hearts. We look forward to taking on new projects. I work with Brown's Bridge Church right here in Cumming, Georgia. When you can hand people money, or help them out with support, it just breaks your heart, that's what we want to do.