The ‘smart home’ or ‘connected home’ has contributed to the growth of the Internet of Things. The numerous applications are coming and it can be operated by using IoT. Making your home “smart” transforms a bunch of wires and walls into a personal refuge. Until recently the prospect of a truly smart home was merely fiction, but in the last few years the number of “smart devices” has grown steadily and adoption is becoming widely accepted. It is now time for a truly smart home. Aura Smart is making this dream true, as it connect and control any “smart” gadget from any location to serve a variety of applications such as security, facility management, and entertainment. During an interaction with Nitisha from BISinfotech, Abrar Ahmed, Co-founder, Aura Smart elaborated the value of smart machines and its upcoming growth.
Kindly explain Aura Smart and its special offerings.
Aura-Smart is an “AI-based central control system” for homes and other spaces. It was born with a vision to eliminate interoperability issues while allowing customers to leverage AI to build custom experiences. Aura is designed to connect and control any “smart” gadget from any location to serve a variety of applications such as security, facility management, and entertainment. The platform’s goal is to make the consumer’s life easier and more productive. Aura’s key importance lies in its intelligence layer, which sits on top of a customer’s existing investments. It does not compete with current market leaders, but rather complements them by adding a layer that allows users to do much more, such as build bespoke applications, perform space analytics, and so on. Aura aspires to be the operating system that enables people to connect their gadgets with ease so that they are always prepared and informed.
Aura is compatible with over 3500 devices, including many well-known brands, making it easier for users as Aura will communicate effectively with all of their devices, resulting in a seamless and pleasant automation experience. Customers have the option of using touch, speech, or a standard Android/iOS application. Aura is compatible with a wide range of home systems and devices, including hardware from manufacturers like Panasonic, Philips, Bosch, Samsung, LG, and others.
How Aura Smart uses AI in its products and what makes it different from other companies?
For the longest time, smart homes have simply been about just control. It has always been up to the user to decide the action of a smart home. Aura is flipping this model by enabling the system to adapt to a user based on their moods and activities before deciding what needs to be done. This radical approach eliminates the need for a user to decide, and instead shifts the onus onto the system itself.
Aura’s software design makes it simple to add and integrate multiple devices. Traditional vendors do not have an onboarding architecture, which necessitates multiple integrations for each project. This is where Aura is at the top of the game. Aura can permanently onboard vendors and devices because of the platform’s safe, cloud-native, modular, and scalable design. Aura Smart links to a variety of devices (of any sort, brand, or technology) and decides what needs to be done depending on a variety of inputs, such as the time of day, weather, location, content (music, movie), and the users themselves. The key point here is that the devices involved don’t have to necessarily work on just one technology (say wifi, bluetooth, and more), or belong to any one brand (say control4, fibaro, and more). The user has complete democracy and freedom with regards to his smart ecosystem.
Some key USPs of Aura Smart are –
- Intelligent real estate which caters to the needs (mental and physical) of users without the need for user intervention
- Easy-to-Use (Interact using Touch, Voice or Mobile Application)
- Vendor-agnostic (any vendor support) and does not lock in consumers
- Current solutions are wi-fi/internet-dependent and unreliable, while Aura utilizes a combination of alternate technologies
- Allows users to remotely monitor and control their real-estate
- Scalable platform allows users to start small and upgrade eventually
Aura Smart daily life use-cases –
- Curtains open up during the day to let in natural light, while staying closed at night for privacy
- Prayer room lights up at appropriate times during the day
- Trigger security alarms when unusual activity is detected during unusual hours (say between 1am and 6am)
How technology is revolutionising the modern home.
Technology and the Internet of Things are transforming the way we live. In terms of IoT adoption, India has experienced significant growth (42 percent YoY), particularly for home, workplace, as well as hybrid (work from home) use-cases. We’re seeing an exponential increase in the number of gadgets having an interface (app, internet, and so on). Using digital and cloud-based solutions not only increases security and overall access, but it can also provide effective care for people who need it by providing real-time updates.
Kindly explain the growing need and demand for smart spaces.
What makes smart spaces unique? Because they improve efficiency, increase safety, and improve the user’s over all experience. The use of integrated devices is not restricted to households; smart environments may also be used in work spaces, hospitals, schools, and for the care of the aged. Technology can help optimize schedules, organize staffing, and more based on new insights. IoT enables the combination of physical and digital world data to detect and address pain points in a timely manner. Smart spaces also aid in the effective management of energy, creating sustainable spaces for the future.
How Aura’s software architecture has made it easier to onboard and integrate different devices and vendors
Aura’s integrations are not just API-based integrations, our architecture utilizes alternate technologies and open standards as well to onboard vendors. Though integrations have traditionally been associated with APIs, the depth of integration is usually limited. Our modular architecture also enables us to be very adaptable when it comes to developing use-cases for various target groups, decreasing our time-to-market. One of the reasons so few companies are able to create similar platforms is due to the sheer number of vendors and customizations required which makes it quite unrealistic and immense. What differentiates us and puts us ahead of them is our architecture that allows us to onboard and integrate them quite efficiently.
What are future plans and how is your company going to attract more clients from all over the world?
Our objective is for intelligent and proactive spaces that respond to the requirements of customers rather than relying on them to make every decision. Aura envisions a future in which environments adapt and react to the requirements of the user, rather than the way people now begin activities. We are currently focusing on the GCC and India. In addition, there are plans in place to make initial inroads in SEA. Aura plans on expanding to SEA and Europe next year after having established a foothold in regions with existing footprint. Our product is currently available through our extensive partner and distributor network we’ve built across our active territories.
Challenges and scopes in the industry and India as a market?
Through the years, the IoT and smart home industry especially has grown by leaps and bounds. However, the market (especially India) still lacks maturity due to the lack of consumer understanding of the possibilities and potential value they stand to gain. Given that consumer experiences are at the heart of product success, success largely depends on after-sales service. This has led to the demise of products that portrayed themselves as DIY. Solutions in the industry have certainly become more economical, but products which deliver on desired experiences are still largely out of reach for most customers in the smart home space. There’s a clear discrepancy and lack of awareness within the market when it comes to the products being offered, with several vendors entering the market via the white-labeling route without really innovating. Though this does create choice for consumers, this does create a lot of confusion too. The industry will certainly continue to mature, but an added focus on consumer experiences rather than just control, is necessary.
Any expectations from the government? Explain.
The government needs to increase support for hardware and electronics based startups by creating a conducive environment starting with the establishment of a semiconductor fabrication facility. The government needs to encourage the growth of proptech by allowing aligned industries such as real estate to flourish. The government has certainly done its part by extending end-to-end support for startups from various angles including opportunities and mentorship and should continue doing so. The electronics industry is largely dependent on manufacturers from abroad such as China and Vietnam. This is mainly due to the all round ecosystem available in those countries. Hence, local access to such an ecosystem would certainly drive up innovation, subsequent adoption, and exponential growth of the industry.