From the moment most of Europe shut down and introduced social-distancing measures because of the, Norwegian startup No Isolation saw a steep increase in demand for its Komp product, particularly from Norway and the UK.
Komp, No Isolation's second product, is aimed at the elderly who are confined to their homes or nursing homes and who seldom see their family and friends.
Launched in December 2017, Komp is a monitor with just one big on/off switch. Settings are managed from a companion app, which one of the family members controls.
The app is distributed to family and friends, who can use it to make video calls or to send photos to the Komp, which displays the photos in a picture carousel, in a kind of a one-way Snapchat service.
No Isolation tells ZDNet that in March and April alone, the company shipped 2,200 units. This is in stark contrast with all-year shipments in 2019, which amounted to about 650 units.
The latest figures translate into a yearly shipment figure of 13,200 units, over 20 times more than the 2019 total.
Use of the product has also increased. In a week in February, each Komp received an average of 11.5 photos and 1.9 video calls. In April, each unit received 17.4 photos and 8.5 video calls on average.
"During the pandemic many have realized that they've got to get their oldest family members online. They may have tried smartphones or tablets without success, and now feel the pain of not being able to communicate digitally," No Isolation's co-founder and CEO Karen Dolva tells ZDNet.
"Komp solves this problem for even the most analog family members, as it demands no digital skills. We think it's good that people understand how important it is to talk and take care of each other."
No Isolation was founded in 2015 with the goal of providing technology products for people who are isolated or lonely.
Its first product was the telepresence robot AV1, built for school children with long-term illnesses that prevent them from participating in the classroom.
By Christmas 2019, No Isolation had shipped about 1,000 units of each of the products, giving the company a healthy growth since startup.
In 2016, the company's first full year in operation, it had a revenue of NOK1.8m (about €164,000 or $180,000). After 2018, No Isolation reported a revenue of NOK26, about €2.4m or $2.61m.
Dolva says the results for 2019 didn't show the same growth rate as previous years, because the company spent time consolidating product designs and production. But then came 2020, and the coronavirus crisis hit.