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Lava Co-Founder Brings Smart Fan to India Under Ottomate Brand

The Kashmir Monitor

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Jumping on the smart home bandwagon, Lava International co-founder Vishal Sehgal has launched Ottomate International, a new smart home solution brand. The new entity, which is touted to have spent 16 months in R&D and researched over 750 homes in India, has brought a smart fan as its maiden product. Dubbed as Ottomate Smart Fan, the new offering is enabled with Bluetooth mesh and is built to work with a dedicated app. It is also powered by a Qualcomm chipset and designed specifically by Bengaluru-based Foley Designs. Ottomate is also set to expand its presence in the smart home segment by launching smart lights and smart geysers later this year. The company will bring smart security and smart home appliances sometime next year.

Unlike a conventional fan that comes with five speed levels, the smart fan by Ottomate lets users adjust the speed as per their convenience, and not as per any specific speed levels. The fan uses the company’s My Air technology to offer step-less air flow mechanism. The Ottomate Smart app, which is initially available for download on Android devices, also comes with a slider that offers an easy way to adjust the speed of the fan.

Ottomate claims that while companies including Panasonic have attempted to offer a similar experience in the past, they used a relay instead of a technology similar to Ottomate’s My Air. The proprietary technology also enables different modes, including the Otto mode that automatically adjusts the airflow after detecting the climate conditions in a particular room. This mode essentially uses the built-in sensors of the smart fan to adjust its speed to ambient room temperature and humidity. It also works with algorithms that are touted to be based on internal research conducted in about 10 cities in the country.

 

Alongside the Otto mode, the Ottomate Smart app comes with the Breeze mode that changes the fan speed cyclically to create a natural breeze effect. There is also the Turbo mode to surge the fan speed 10 percent higher than the top speed. The app also has a Master Switch that works with Qualcomm’s CSRmesh over Bluetooth v5.0 connectivity to let you control all the Ottomate devices in your home with a one-touch operation.

Instead of opting for a common Wi-Fi interface, Ottomate has used Bluetooth mesh that is capable of enabling connectivity between 200 devices at once. Sehgal tells Gadgets 360 that the team ended up with Bluetooth mesh after evaluating options such as Wi-Fi, Infrared (IR), and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT).

“When we started researching, we realised that actually, Bluetooth is the best suited for this scenario,” he says. “There was one problem with Bluetooth connectivity, which was the limited connectivity. But that issue has been resolved with mesh.”

Having said that, Ottomate is in plans to bring a Wi-Fi bridge device that will enable the smart fan to operate using a Wi-Fi network.

Ottomate is also set to personalise the experience by re-evaluating the available settings over-the-air (OTA). Further, the company is in talks with Google to bring Google Assistant integration.

“Google is a strong partner for Lava, and we are very regularly in touch with them, and the Google partnership would have become very strategic for Ottomate,” Sehgal tells Gadgets 360.

The Ottomate Smart app also has guest functionality to let users even allow their guests to use the smart fan directly from their smartphones. The guests would just need to enter their phone number to connect their handsets with the Bluetooth mesh.

In addition to enabling commands through the Ottomate Smart app, the first-generation smart fan is capable of working with a remote controller that will be sold separately. The controller will come with the same Bluetooth mesh technology that is powering the fan — alongside the traditional IR blaster. The smart fan is notably powered by a Qualcomm CSR1020, paired with dual boot memory and an ARM M4 Core CPU clocked at 23MHz. Also, it is touted to have an air delivery of 245 CMM.

Ottomate also has a smart ready fan that doesn’t come with the smart features out-of-the-box but provides customers with the option to have a similar fan design along with the ability to add the smart functionality. The company claims that customers will be able to turn the smart ready fan into a smart fan in just 30 minutes.

However, they need to spend more than Rs. 1,000 for the conversion.

There are also plans to bring voice-enabled smart fans in the next three months. Furthermore, Sehgal reveals that Ottomate is set to bring Google Assistant-powered smart fans in the coming future. This will notably be different from the Google Assistant integration planned for the first-generation smart fan model since the company would offer onboard voice assistant with cloud access.

The Ottomate Smart Fan will be available in India for purchase with a price tag of Rs. 3,999, while the smart ready model will come at Rs. 2,999. The prices notably include installation charges. Also, the remote controller for the smart fan will be available separately at Rs. 149.

Online availability of the Ottomate Smart Fan is set for March 20 through the Ottomate.com website, though it will go on sale through major e-commerce sites starting April 2. The fan will also be available through over 1,000 offline stores in 250 cities.

Synergy between Lava and Ottomate

Apart from Sehgal, various employees from smartphone vendor Lava have been a part of Ottomate that has R&D centres in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The executive, however, tells Gadgets 360 that there isn’t any direct relation between Lava and Ottomate. “They’re two separate companies,” he asserts. “The synergy as in that founders are common on the board. But apart from the Lava founders, there are founders of Luminous and also founders of Yash.”

When asked why Ottomate picked a smart fan to begin its journey, Sehgal underlines that the move is entirely to tap the market potential.

“India happens to have 60 million fans [sales] in a year,” he says. “Even if the air conditioners are installed, we don’t keep them on all the time — unlike in the US. This is a phenomenon common across all Indians — even billionaires in the country have the same nature. We, thus, largely rely on fans, whether ceiling fans or table fans.”

“Majorly in each and every house in India, there are lights and fans. Therefore, if we need to become a household name in India as a company, there’s nothing better than a fan and light because there is no other product that has this level of penetration,” he continues.

Ottomate doesn’t project any particular share in the market of ceiling fans that is majorly dominated by brands such as Crompton Greaves, Orient, Havells, Usha, Bajaj, and Khaitan among others. Nevertheless, Sehgal tells Gadgets 360 that his brand will be a “volume player” in the market. “We are intending to do big volumes,” he states. “We have a million installed capacity.”

The first-generation Ottomate Smart Fan comes as a “100 percent ‘Made in India’ product, and Sehgal reveals that including its PCBA, the entire model is being manufactured locally in the country. Ottomate is also claiming to offer its after-sales service in over 250 cities across the country, including various small towns.


The Kashmir Monitor is the fastest growing newspaper as well as digitial platform covering news from all angles.

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iPad Air, iPad Mini 2019 Models With Apple Pencil Support Launched Starting at Rs. 34,900

The Kashmir Monitor

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Apple is bringing back the iPad Air to further expand the iPad line-up. The Cupertino, California-based company on Monday unveiled the new 10.5-inch iPad Air as well as an upgraded iPad mini model that will succeed the company’s existing iPad mini 4. The company has ditched the numbers from the branding and is simply calling the new models as the new iPad Air and the new iPad mini respectively. According to the Cupertino-based company, the new iPad models packs the A12 Bionic chip, an advanced Retina display, and support for Apple Pencil. The iPad (2018) and both iPad Pro models will continue to be available, however the iPad mini 4 seems to have been axed.


iPad Air (2019) and iPad mini (2019) price in India
iPad Air (2019) price starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi only model, whereas the Wi-Fi + Cellular model will retail starting $629. The iPad mini starts at $399 for the Wi-Fi only model and the Wi-Fi + Cellular model will be sold starting at $529. In India, the Wi-Fi only iPad Air has been priced starting at Rs. 44,900 and the Wi-Fi + Cellular version of iPad Air will retail at Rs. 55,900.

The iPad mini pricing starts at Rs. 34,900 for the Wi-Fi only model and at Rs. 45,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. Both iPad Air and iPad mini will be offered in silver, space grey, and gold colours in 64GB and 256GB storage configurations.

 


Apple says the new iPad Air and iPad mini models are now available for orders in 27 countries via Apple.com and Apple Store app. Some of the major markets that are getting the upgraded iPad models are US, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Italy, and Japan. The new iPad models will be reaching to India “soon”, though the company yet to reveal a specific release date.


iPad Air (2019) and iPad mini (2019) specifications


In terms of the specifications, the iPad Air (2019) packs a 10.5-inch LED-backlit Retina display with 1668×2224 pixels resolution. It is powered by A12 Bionic chip, which is also present in the company’s iPhone XS ? 98,199 and iPhone XS Max ? 108,424 smartphones. For imaging, the company has included an 8-megapixel f/2.4 rear camera on the tablet with five-elements lens, but there is no flash. There is a 7-megapixel front shooter as well on the device with Retina flash support.


On the connectivity front, the iPad Air packs Wi-Fi 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0, and optional LTE support. Face ID is not present, but the company has include Touch ID support.


On the other hand, new iPad mini includes a 7.9-inch LED-backlit Retina display with 1536×2048 pixels resolution. Rest of the specifications of the device seem to identical to the iPad Air.


Apple claims that iPad Air (2019) delivers a 70 percent boost in the performance and twice in graphics capabilities when compared to the iPad (2018).


Apple iPad mini (2019) is powered by A12 Bionic SoC


The company says the Apple Pencil (First Generation, which is compatible with the original iPad Pro models and the iPad 2018) will be sold separately for $99 (Rs. 8,500 in India). The Smart Keyboard for the iPad Air will be offered at $159 (Rs. 13,900 in India). Additionally, Apple will also sell Polyurethane Smart Covers for both iPad Air and iPad mini, which will retail at $39 (Rs. 3500 in India) for iPad mini and at $49 (Rs. 3700 in India) for iPad Air in charcoal grey, white, pink sand and a new papaya, with additional Leather Smart Covers available for iPad Air in black, saddle brown, midnight blue, and red at $69.

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Pune-based firm developing software to operate world’s largest ground telescope in Hawaii

The Kashmir Monitor

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A Pune-based IT firm is developing software for the world’s largest ground-based telescope, the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT), which is likely to come up on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.


The telescope is being constructed jointly by India, US, China, Japan and Canada and is likely to become operational in the mid-2020s. India is building the telescope’s complex optical structure, called the Segment Support Assembly (SSA), which will comprise 492 hexagonal mirror segments, collectively forming the primary mirror.


An eight-member team at the IT firm, ThoughtWorks, is designing three different software — Common Software Services (CSS), Data Management Services(DMS) and Executive Software (ES) — to deal with the control systems to manoeuvre the telescope and manage the big data that will be generated once it becomes operational.

 


Santosh Mahale, one of the co-heads of ThoughtWorks’ Engineering for Research (E4R) initiative, told The Indian Express, “While the telescope is set for commissioning in a few years, the challenge is in developing software that will remain relevant in the future, too. We are focusing on designing software that will have automatic documentation and coding systems.”


The Big Island of Hawaii is shaken by a powerful tremor, a day after the eruption of the Kilauea volcano.


According to Gunjan Shukla, co-head for the E4R initiative, the IT industry in India is ready to take on such mega projects.


“Indian companies have grown and matured. Companies here are at par with their global counterparts in designing and innovating top-class software and hardware,” said Shukla, who has been in the industry for two-and-a-half decades.


The team is also working on a project in the field of radioastronomy.
Recently, they signed up to develop software meant for data analysis of MeerKAT, a radio telescope that will come up in South Africa. This telescope will be a precursor version of the world’s largest proposed radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), which is coming up in South Africa and Australia.


Mahale, however, dismissed the idea that ThoughtWorks was more keen on astronomy-related projects, saying it was “purely coincidental”.


While the company is expected to hand over all its software for TMT by 2021, the team has nearly completed developing CSS, the design for DMS is ready and work on ES will commence this year.

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?I Am Proud Of Sara Ali Khan says Sharmila Tago

The Kashmir Monitor

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Actress Sharmila Tagore graced the Hello Hall Of Fame Awards 2019 here in Mumbai. During her media interaction the veteran actress praised her granddaughter Sara Ali Khan for polite, humble and savvy. Sharmila Tagore was honoured with a lifetime achievement award. The veteran actress is wearing a simple floral mint green sari and a pink satin blouse paired with diamond jewellery that compliments the entire look perfectly. Talking about her kids and grandkids taking her legacy forward, Sharmila said, “I am very happy and thank god for it, and it makes a really very happy.


I am so impressed with Sara Ali Khan and all her interviews, more than her films; of course, she is a wonderful actress, but her interviews show how humble, polite and savvy, she is and I am very proud of her” Sharmila Tagore was one the most leading and sought after actress in her time, she was noted for her ground-breaking roles and stellar performance.


When asked about having a biopic made after her life, she said, “When the time comes, I am sure people will make a film on me, they are hardcore business people and they know what sells and what doesn’t, so the person with money matters a lot, so when they think that our story is important and the audience would like it, then they will make it”When asked about Sara Ali Khan playing her on-screen, Sharmila added,

 


“She very much looks like her mother and wonderful actress like her mother, so yes, why not” Further adding Sharmila said anyone from industry can play her role, she said, “I have no idea, today we have such brilliant actors, it is a wonderful time for the film industry, and we have beautiful female and male actors, so I think anybody can do the role”

Sharmila Tagore’s granddaughter Sara Ali Khan is the daughter of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh. She made her debut with Kedarnath and later worked in Simmba, both the films did well at the box-office.

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