Can smart homes change the world, in the same way, smartphones have transformed communication? This Bengaluru-based startup attempts to bring technology to every part of the home, bringing comfort and convenience to everyday living.
Smartphones have brought about a delta four improvement in the way we communicate with each other, keep up with the news, hail transportation services(powered by GPS), among other things. We seem to be entering into the age of smart homes.
Focusing on the latter, there seem to be two broad use cases for smart homes – convenience and healthcare. The younger millennials generally travel more than their predecessors and rely on their smartphones for almost every task. Many yearn for a well-connected home, different ways to control their homes remotely and also get a bird’s eye view to ensure everything is in place.
On the other hand, those who are old and frail, generally find it difficult to meet their everyday personal and social needs at home. Many developed and developing countries are either relying or looking to rely on technology to assist in day-to-day living and automate common tasks like opening doors or switching on and off lights.
With their smart-home product, Cosine Labs aims to bring technology into every part of the home, from the living room, kitchen to bedrooms. Here is their story:
The birth of an idea
Founded in 2016 by Siddharth Banerjee, Sriram Padmanabhan and Krithika Radhakrishnan, CosineLabs is a Bengaluru-based home automation startup that has created an ecosystem for smart living.
In every room, Cosine Labs places sensors with the ability to detect six parameters including temperature, presence, motion, humidity, UV and ambient light. Then by either automation or different interaction mechanisms, users can complete their tasks with more ease.
The startup comprises an eight-member team, including the four co-founders. Siddharth was earlier the CTO of Wowlabz, a startup technology accelerator in Bengaluru. Over the course of his career, he went on to develop expertise in real time data analytics and experience in multiple domains such as US HealthCare, IoT, Indian ecommerce and Social networking platforms.
Having worked across multiple domains including supply chain management, higher education across diverse geographies, Sriram is a seasoned software architect with a good grasp of technology trends, product engineering, product management, and financial management.
Krithika, on the other hand, has extensive experience in operations, marketing and project management, a significant portion of which were spent at Goldman Sachs.
The idea for Cosine Labs came from Siddharth’s personal experience and the realisation that there existed a big gap in the market for such a product. His elderly parents who lived in a three-storey building in Kolkata found it difficult to ensure that doors and windows were locked, usual chores were taken care of and the house was managed well. Siddharth’s father depends on a cane to walk, so that acted as an additional barrier.
Siddharth and Sriram had been friends and colleagues for close to eight years at an American MNC. So after discussing the pain point with them, the trio decided to venture into the smart home space and look to solve the problem from a technology and user experience perspective. Krithika joined the team soon after.
Talking about their approach, Siddharth remarked,
We have tailored the product to be fully customised to the Indian market with an end-to-end comprehensive offering. Integrated with our solution are the property management portal, energy efficiency, and green living offerings….. our solution lowers maintenance and energy costs by 40 percent.
Home is where the technology is
After watching the demo online, I visited Cosine Lab’s office in Koramangala, Bengaluru to experience their smart home ecosystem firsthand.
The team gave me an overview of the how the voice assistant codenamed Aime (pronounced Amy), but short for Artificial intelligence and me, could respond to voice commands through the mobile app or smart devices placed around the home.
I was ushered into a dummy bedroom where the motion sensor could detect my presence and switch on the lights and air-conditioning to pre-selected settings.
Another aspect integrated into Cosine Labs’s smart home is security. When a guest rings the doorbell users can see who is at the door through the security camera and then unlock the door remotely through the app itself.
In the same way, a house can be put on lockdown, at night or when people leave the home. If an intruder tries to enter the house, a loud alarm starts playing automatically and Cosine Labs can also put protocols in place to alert the concerned authorities, like the police in this case.
Siddharth and Krithika also noted that Aime actually learns based on how members of the home interact with it and look to improve the experience, based on their historical patterns.
Apart from voice and app based controls, Cosine Labs is also working on gesture and panel based control systems to add more touch points for non-tech savvy users. The team showcased a small portable panel that could be pre-programmed to do multiple tasks by tapping one of the four buttons.
Under the hood – middleware and developer platform
In an endeavour to build the Aime platform to be a reliable, open and extendable platform, Cosine Labs chose to base its controller on the Prosyst IoT middleware from Bosch Software Innovations, the software, and systems house of the Bosch group.
Since the Prosyst system supports a wide array of protocols and has support for integration, extensions, and remote management, Cosine Labs believes it goes with their long-term vision of building a highly scalable and personalised connected home platform and solution.
The technical partnership entitles Cosine Labs to build region-specific solutions and extensions over the base platform.
While the current focus market is India, Siddharth said: “We will do dipstick tests in other markets to see if there are opportunities for expansion. We will be cautious and move only if it makes financial sense.”
Cosine Labs was also recently accepted into the Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program (SEAP). This partnership allows Cosine Labs access to their tools and resources and exposure to their current sales channels as smart home partners.
While Cosine Labs relies on some manufacturing partners in Hong Kong, the brain of their main controller is entirely manufactured in India.
Cosine Labs mainly works on the B2B front and works with building manufacturers to integrate their smart systems into new homes. Siddharth informed us that they have a six to eight-month sales cycle and generally work on bulk deals whose numbers could range in a few thousands.
Cosine Labs can also implement their solutions in already existing buildings, after getting an overview of the architecture of the room. According to Siddharth most rooms generally require just one sensor to be installed, but this need can vary for very large rooms. Cosine Labs also offers pre and after-sales support through their service professionals who take care of installation and connecting Aime to a home’s WiFi and other installed devices. The same professionals also provide after sales support, as needed.
Sector overview and future plans
According to a report by Zion Market Research, the global smart home market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5 percent between 2017 and 2022. The market revenue of $24.10 billion in 2016 is expected to grow up to $53.45 billion by 2022.
The major growth drivers for the smart home market include growing awareness among consumers about energy consumption, an ageing population, rising disposable incomes in developing countries, and government initiatives. In addition, rising demand for home healthcare is also seen as a factor fuelling the growth of the smart home market.
CB Insights recently shared a report, where they listed over 60 private companies in smart home technologies and mapped them according to 13 main categories in which they operate.
Cosine Labs is currently operating in the general smart home solutions space at this stage with a focus on smart locks and the energy and utilities space.
Talking about their future plans, Siddharth said that they aim to raise close to a million dollars in funding to boost their sales and marketing efforts. As an open platform, Cosine Labs, notes that developers can build solutions on top of it. He said,
From smart water bottles to health monitors, there are many more devices and apps that are being built by the community.
Website- Cosine Labs