Hero Electronix, a part of the Hero Group, has forayed into consumer technology with the launch of artificial intelligence-powered connected smart devices. The company has unveiled a new brand - Qubo - that aims to create technology products that will allow users to stay connected with their home and loved ones, be it family, pets or valuables. To start with, Hero Electronix has launched a smart indoor camera, smart gas sensor, smart smoke sensor, and a smart door and window sensor.
"Today everything is connected. Every product in the next 10 years will be reimagined, from a car to an aeroplane seat. So that's the world and that's the change we're anticipating and what we're jumping into. I don't think there's an Indian company so far who has made a leap. With our cars, phones, watches, everything connected to the internet today, there's not much for our homes. We intend to sort of change the way we interact with our homes," says Nikhil Rajpal, CEO, Hero Electronix.
The Qubo Smart Indoor Camera features a full HD camera, AI features and offers secure, encrypted video streaming and storage. With support for Alexa and high-power speaker, this is the flagship offering from the company priced at Rs 13,490. It has features like person detection. Also, the AI on the camera can identify if a baby is crying. Hero Electronix claims to have spent two years in building the hardware, as well as the artificial intelligence to have person detection as a feature on the camera, unlike other security cameras that only detect motion.
Addressing growing security concerns, Hero Electronix has built its Cloud Platform from the ground up, deployed security protocols and encryption to make sure the data is secure and will be stored on platforms in India. "The video stream is streamed and stored in an encrypted format. Neither we nor nobody apart from the user will have access to the video stream. So basically, safety, security and encryption are at the core of the products that we are building," says Ujjwal Munjal, Founder Director, Hero Electronix.
Along with the indoor camera, the company has launched smart sensors namely Qubo Smart Gas Sensor, Smart Smoke Sensor, and the Smart Door & Window Sensor, all priced at Rs 3,000. These products will be available on Qubo's website as well as across major e-commerce sites and retail stores from September 27.
Although these products can be installed by the users themselves, Hero Electronix will also have a dedicated round-the-clock customer support team to assist users with any issues. The company plans to expand the product portfolio by launching multi-purpose cameras and baby monitors too.
Founded in 2015, Hero Electronix has been an enterprise-oriented business starting with the silicon engineering with Tessolve, product engineering and enterprise solution with Zenatix, and set-top box business with MyBox. And with the launch of consumer technology products, it has ventured into the consumer space as well. Talking about the investment, Munjal says, "In Hero Electronix overall, we've invested close to Rs 350 crores into various businesses over the last couple of years. And going forward in the next year or so we expect another Rs 150 to 200 crores to be invested into our IoT businesses, which is not just this business, but the others as well."
The company has been working on the consumer technology front for 24 months and has a 35-person in-house R&D team. About 20 people have been working as partners, whereas 20-25 people have been working full time for the last 24 months.
Munjal claims that these products are entirely designed, engineered, and going to be manufactured in India itself. He adds, "We are pretty sure there is no other product of this capability or even close to it. Most people got more or less ready-made products from outside and launched them. We've built the whole thing from the ground up - from the physical design to the electronic design to the plastics to the assembly to the AI. We build everything in India. Of course, we work with partners like Amazon and Qualcomm, and some of our components come from China, but the design, engineering, assembly, manufacturing of our flagship is all in India, at a facility near Delhi."
The company aims to reach a million homes in the next three-plus years. Commenting on the slowdown blues, Munjal avers, "This is a completely new category that doesn't exist altogether. We don't expect too much of an impact from the economy. I think when the economy starts to slow down, the more mainstream areas are the ones which start to get impacted first. I don't expect a significant impact. With the festival season coming in, more and more smart products are coming in. I'm not particularly concrned about this."