Aura Smart, an ‘AI-based central control system’ for smart space. The company focuses on enabling its users to create a custom experience a top their existing technology investments. Essentially making Aura an intelligent yet simple platform for all smart devices in any given space.
In this exclusive interview, Mr. Abrar Ahmed, Co-founder of Aura Smart highlights the growing need and demand for smart spaces and explains how Aura’s software architecture has made it easier to onboard and integrates different devices and vendors
What is Aura Smart? What are its offerings?
Aura-Smart is an “AI-based central control system.” Aura is designed to connect and control any “smart” gadget from any location. 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.
Explain the concept of home automation
Home automation involves connecting all of your home’s functional elements to a network (the Internet) and putting them to work for you. You can now control, monitor, and track your home from anywhere in the world using your smartphone, computer, or tablet device, from lighting to air conditioning, television to door locks. To support you in getting started with home automation, we have divided the experience into individual concepts.
Home automation is at the heart of a sustainable lifestyle. As humans, we are heavily dependent on the technology around us, and automating it to better align it with our routines and lifestyle can certainly enable a sustainable lifestyle. Controlling lighting systems, temperature, and heavy appliances such as geysers are common examples. Consumers frequently forget to turn off their lights, air conditioners, or geysers, resulting in high energy consumption and bills. Automation provides an immediate solution to such problems by allowing users to not only remotely control these devices, but also to create schedules or time periods during which these devices can operate. As an example, a homeowner could program the geyser to run only from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
What is technology behind Aura Smart?
Aura’s software design makes it simple to add and integrate multiple devices. Traditional vendors no longer 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 calculates 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, creation, and more). The user has complete democracy and freedom with regards to his smart ecosystem.
Is there a growing demand for Smart spaces? Please elaborate.
Smart spaces improve efficiency, safety, and the overall experience of the user. The use of integrated devices is not limited to the home; smart environments can also be used in the workplace, hospitals, schools, and the care of the elderly. Based on new insights, technology can help optimize schedules, organize staffing, and more. IoT enables the timely detection and resolution of pin points by combining physical and digital world data. Smart spaces can also help with energy management, which will lead to more sustainable spaces in the future.
How does Aura Smart use AI and ML to create truly smart experiences?
Aura leverages its proprietary Aura Sense feature that lets users delegate certain decisions to their systems. Overtime, the Aura system adapts and learns user preferences allowing the system to assist the user during certain tasks. Aura creates an overall profile of a user based on various inputs such as time, weather, schedules, content (say audio preferences such as jazz or video preferences such as sports), and other users in the vicinity. This enables the system to recommend actions throughout the day based on various scenarios. As an example, the system could learn about a user’s morning routine and suggest suitable actions such as opening their curtains, setting the mood for their yoga routine, or even switching on their favorite news channel.
What are some of the company’s key offerings?
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
● Security and privacy focused platform that can operate offline
Are there any challenges faced in customer adoption in the Indian market?
The IoT and smart home industries, in particular, have grown by leaps and bounds over the years. However, the market (particularly in India) is still immature due to a lack of consumer understanding of the opportunities and potential value they stand to gain. Given that consumer experiences are at the heart of product success, after-sales service is critical to success. This has resulted in the demise of products marketed as DIY. Although industry solutions have become more affordable, products that deliver on desired experiences remain largely out of reach for the majority of customers in the smart home space.
When it comes to the products on offer, there is a clear disparity and lack of awareness in the market, with several vendors entering the market through white-labeling without truly innovating. While this provides consumers with more options, it also creates a lot of confusion. The industry will undoubtedly continue to mature, but a greater emphasis on consumer experiences rather than just control is required.
Please share a few details around the company’s expansion and growth plans.
Aura’s 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 also 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 partner and distributor network. We’ve currently built a network of partners across the UAE and India.