Bootstrapped Wozart’s Aura Switch is a retrofit wireless home automation device, which fits behind any switch board and enables complete control of your home from your smart devices.
At a glance:
Founded in: 2016
Founders: Manoj Malineni, Abhilash Dasyreddy, Nikhil Mandalika and Prashanth Rao
Based out of: Hyderabad
Sector: IoT, home automation
When Manoj Malineni wanted to automate his new villa in Pune, he was shocked at the exorbitant price quoted, around Rs 30 lakh, and a rewiring process that would last four-to-six weeks.
A computer science engineer from BITS Pilani Goa, Manoj felt the same job could be more cost effective, quick and yet powerful. It was then he decided to rope in his friends and batchmates - Abhilash Dasyreddy, Nikhil Mandalika and Prashanth Rao - to start an Internet of Things (IoT) startup - Wozart.
Started in 2016, the aim of the startup is to build sustainable and environment-friendly products in the IoT sector that simplify and improve the quality of human life.
Being a product manufacturing company, the most significant challenge was to survive in the market during the R&D, design, licensing and manufacturing phases. The design and fabrication take place in Hyderabad.
The team has a manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China, at an Apple licensed manufacturing unit.
“We accomplished this by creating a team of youngsters and freshers who have niche specialisations that fit the requirements of the company,” says Nikhil. The first product the team built is the home automation product - Aura Switch - an Apple HomeKit, Google and Amazon Alexa licensed product.
Aura Switch is a retrofit wireless home automation device, which fits behind any switchboard and enables control of lights and appliances. These can be controlled from your smart devices such as phones, tablets, watches, and smart speakers.
Once connected, your house can be controlled, through voice recognition, scheduling, and geo-location.
“You can set a Geo-fence around your house and set triggers to be executed when you enter and leave the respective fence. For example, you can set a 500 m radius around your house, and instruct all appliances to be turned off as soon as you leave that radius.
"Similarly, you can set a radius of 2 km in the summer and set the AC and coffee maker to be switched on upon entering the radius so that your house welcomes you in the perfect way,” says Nikhil.
Nikhil explains that Aura Switch can also work through any operating system or smart home device. Siri, Alexa, Google Home or old school manual switches - Aura responds to all. You can also integrate it with other HomeKit compatible devices and create a holistic solution as desired.
“Our products stand out because they blend in with the home automation ecosystems at an operating system level to offer a seamless experience. Appliances can be triggered from a range of products supporting the operating system - for example, iPhone, Watch, Apple TV can all control the home electronics even though you have configured the settings on your iPhone,” says Nikhil.
The biggest benefit - as the operating system improves, the user experience also improves. Similarly, any new range will also be able to interact with the lights and appliances.
“Many of our early adopters have installed our product before HomePod was released by Apple, and were able to control their lights an appliances by simply plugging it in,” says Nikhil.
However, data is one of the most important aspects of any IoT device. Though most companies in this sector monitor their every activity, few follow any data security and privacy. Nikhil says that the team has set up a complete encryption process that makes it nearly impossible for anyone, including them, to track or monitor usage of their products.
Gartner Inc forecasts that 8.4 billion connected devices were in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. The total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion in 2017.
Regionally, Greater China, North America, and Western Europe are driving the use of connected things and the three regions together will represent 67 percent of the overall Internet of Things (IoT) installed base in 2017.
Other IoT players in the space include Hyderabad-based Smartron, which builds products from smartphones and tablets, and is also building its own cloud services - TronX - for its IoT practice. Cattleya Technosys is another IoT player in the telecom space.
The team is working to establish channel partners across all the major cities in India. The channel partners will be doing the on-ground sales, installation and service. The team is looking at channel partners who can integrate other HomeKit compatible products and propose a solution to the client.
Apart from channel partners the team is also focusing on institutional sales through builders and real estate developers.
The team claims to have won contracts with leading builders across the country, which is expected to be completed by end of 2019. They charge Rs 20,000 for each unit, automating a three-bedroom house would cost Rs 80,000. The prices are exclusive of taxes.
The first batch of products have been out for two months now and the team claims to have made a deals worth Rs 70 lakh. Nikhil says they are expecting a revenue of Rs 1.2 crore.
“We want to continue as a manufacturing firm that builds and designs smart products for homes, industries, and cities. Our aspiration is to make each individual realise and live to their fullest potential by focussing on important things while we take care of the mundane ones. Our short term goal is to create maximum awareness about our product and penetrate into Tier I and Tier II cities in India. Aura Switch is our first product to enter the market, and we are expecting to launch two new products by Q1 2019,” concludes Nikhil.