When Kevin Ashton, Co-founder of MIT’s Auto-ID Lab, coined the word Internet Of Things (IoT) in 1999, the internet itself was still an alien concept in many parts of the world, and Google was only celebrating its first birth anniversary. It took nearly a decade for this cutting-edge technology to go mainstream and eventually reach our living room.
Now, IoT has become a necessary evil in our lives: a technology that we cannot live without, which makes us more lazy, more obese and more confined.
When Manish Buttan started his company, Artificial Machines, in 2008 in Pune in India, the IoT wave had not even reached the Indian shores. He realised that it was too early to start automation and home security devices in a country like India back then, and so he decided to try his luck in the US, where he reached out to some clients.
And his bet paid off. He bagged some good projects from several global clients for home automation and security solutions.
And it was just the beginning of Artificial Machines’s dream run.
“When we developed home automation and security solutions on mobility and Internet-connected devices back in 2008, the first iPhone was just launched in the market,” says Buttan. “Four to five years later, we started working on our own IoT platform called HAZE.”
HAZE stands for Heuristically Advanced Zonal Ecosystem.
IoT is growing ubiquitous
HAZE, which hit the market one-and-half years ago, is an end-to-end IoT platform comprising software and hardware designs for printed circuit boards, embedded code, iOS and Android apps, as well as server-side analytics. Using the platform, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) can quickly make its products smarter and connect these to the internet.
As IoT is getting ubiquitous, every household electronic device has become smart. Now managing electronic devices such as the air conditioner, washing machines and heater can be done remotely and even on the move, regardless of your location. “If you have a Haze AC, you have hundreds of features, such as a power calculator to keep track of your filters and the entire life of the product, weather-based control, as well as geo-fencing to automatically start your AC when you are in the vicinity,” Buttan explained.
In addition to white goods (consumer electronics), other devices such as food processors, lights controls, and the like can also be automated using HAZE.
Currently, HAZE is licensed by Godrej & Boyce, Eureka Forbes and Videocon. There are several other companies that are planning to license the platform in the near future, Buttan says. “We are developing HAZE water purifiers, air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, TV sets, and other devices for these companies.”
AI is the future
According to Buttan, while most other IT products are either a chip, module or a server, HAZE has the hardware, embedded Os, Mobile (iOS and Android) app, server analytics, CRM, ERP integration and manufacturing support tools integrated into the solution.
“We are also working on a powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine, which will learn product usage by customers and improve product behaviour automatically. It will also learn language and face recognition to personalise product usage by different customers.”
The future of eclectic devices is in the hands of IoT, says Buttan. IoT is a natural upgrade path to all electronics, and eventually everything will be connected to the internet, directly or indirectly.
“AI is the future. Machine Learning has made huge advances in the past one year alone. It is inevitable that electronics will run themselves smartly using AI in the near future.”
HAZE is one of the finalists picked for Qualcomm’s QDIC programme. This partnership will allow the company to port the platform to the chipmaker’s Snapdragon processors. This will in turn allow HAZE to build TVs, smart refrigerators and other high-end devices with rich Android interfaces on the devices.
“We were shortlisted by Qualcomm as among the top 10 electronics companies in India, and the only hardware design company in the QDIC Challenge. They have been very supportive in helping us build the advanced hardware required in phones, smart TVs and tablets.”
The company has made its way to the list of the most sought-after IoT companies for OEMs without taking a penny in external investment.
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