Bengaluru-based startup Inoho aims at bringing smart homes to the common man – Tech2
We’ve had enough discussions on why Internet of Things is here to stay and 2016 is all about connected devices. After all, who wouldn’t like walking into a cool apartment after a long day, typically after a long travel during humid summers, with the ability to switch on the AC when you are 3-5 minutes away. Or control your home lights and fans right from your office desk.
Biggies like Google, Samsung and others have shown keen interest in connected devices space but not much falls in the affordable segment, but some startups are now emerging to ensure that connected homes isn’t beyond your reach. And that’s exactly what Bengaluru-based Inoho, a home automation startup is up to. Founded by IIT Guwahati classmates Deepankar Garg and Deep Singh in 2014, the startup has offered services to over 1000 customers (residential) since it launched the product mid of last year. The bootstrapped startup is also in talks for funding.
Inoho’s smart home setup includes a home controller, a central hub for the entire house that sits next to your Wi-Fi router and a switch board module that goes behind your electric switchboard. The home controller connects to the Wi-Fi router and the wireless communication takes place using the Zigbee protocol. Co-founder Deepanka Garg says it takes roughly 30 minutes to install and you can easily control lights, fans, motorised curtains and even your geyser using the Inoho app. The company has built Android and iOS apps, and there’s a web application too. Interestingly, you can control your home in Bangalore or Delhi, even when you are miles away in London.
The starter kit is available via Amazon and Inoho has also teamed up with Housejoy to make installation easier if you are looking for an electrician online. However, you can choose to get your own electrician too. In case of any product related issue, the company has a functional customer support number.
The switchboard module, we saw, could connect up to five devices. The starter kit is priced at Rs 12,000, and you will have to pay Rs 5500 for every additional board. “If you look at a 3BHK, it may typically require 10 boards. That costs overall Rs 60,000, which means end to end covered in 60,000. However you can always choose to do just one switch board, Garg explains.
Unlike Schneider, Siemens and others, the company claims to offer similar technologies for almost one-third to one-fifth the price. The company is currently working with architects and interior decorators, along with property developers looking to explore technology to build smarter apartments. Inoho is in talks with up to 30 builders, co-founder Deepankar Garg tells us. Reaching out to builders is probably a great way to reach out to more consumers wherein they will be offered a smart home or get it as a add-on option.
Smart homes is still at a nascent stage and we don’t see it going mainstream for some time now. However, Garg believes that for a product to go mainstream, there should be the need, awareness and affordability. There is always the need, and if something is offered at affordable price point, why wouldn’t anyone opt for it, he said. “Smart homes are not a dream, but what a normal person can afford,” he claims.
The company claims to be the first trying to take smart homes mainstream. Garg says that the biggest problem is awareness. The initial receptiveness wherein people aren’t ready to try it. However, once the technology is installed the feedback has been good.
In 2016, the company has plans to go beyond lights, fans and so on. The company is working at surveillance camera. You can either use the company’s surveillance camera or the Inoho team will integrate the software into your existing IP camera. The company is also exploring a lot of motion sensors, and what would set it apart from others is the ability to personalise the actions via the central system.
Garg explains, “When it comes to motion sensors, usually you can walk in and lights go on and walk out and lights go off. Motion sensors are wired to particular light or fan. However, we will tie it to the central system, allowing you to change its association from one light to another. For instance, when someone walks into garden at night, then you may want the bedroom lights to go on and alert you.”
Besides, the startup is also planning on offering services such as cloud with analytics for surveillance. It aims to offer an entire suite of smart home or smart hotel. The company is also in talks with some hotels. After all, who wouldn’t want to flick a finger and switch on the washroom lights before stepping out of the bed.