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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.


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Bose Frames AR Audio Sunglasses Launched in India, Priced at Rs. 21,900

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Over a year after originally showcasing its audio AR sunglasses, Bose is bringing them to the Indian market. The company on Thursday announced that the sunglasses, which are simply known as Bose Frames, will go on sale beginning next week in the country alongside Bose Frames Lens Collection. The Bose Frames combine three functionalities into one device – premium sunglasses, wireless headphones, and audio AR features. The Bose Frames are the company’s first product to be based on the company’s AR platform.

The Bose Frames carry a price tag of Rs. 21,900 and will be offered in two universal styles – the larger Alto and the smaller Rondo. The Bose Frames Lens Collection of non-polarised and polarised lenses will retail at Rs. 1,990 and Rs. 2,990, respectively. The sales open June 20 via select resellers and Bose stores in the country.

The Bose Frames are essentially a pair of sunglasses that pack a tiny Bose audio system in the temples. This audio system effectively turns them into a wireless pair of headphones. The Bose Frames also include a microphone and multi-function button on the right temple for power and pairing, Siri and Google Assistant, calls and commands, or to pause and skip songs.

 

“With a proprietary open-ear design, they [Bose Frames] take micro-acoustics, voice control, and personal audio to an entirely new level, so users can stream music and information, take and make calls, and access virtual assistants from — while keeping playlists, entertainment, and conversations private,” Bose said in a statement.

Like many wearable devices, the Bose Frames act as a companion device to your smartphone and need the same for processing the information and connecting to the Web.

As we mentioned earlier, the Bose Frames will be released in two designs – Alto and Rondo. Alto is square and angled, whereas Rondo is round and smaller. Both can block up to 99 percent of UVA/UVB rays and weigh just 45 grams. The lenses can be easily popped out and replaced.

Apart from the audio capabilities, the Frames are also compatible with Bose’s AR platform. The Bose Frames don’t include any visual AR capabilities, but they can provide audio AR input to enhance your experience.

“[Bose Frames] knows where you are and what you’re facing using a 9-axis head motion sensor and the GPS from your iOS or Android device — and automatically adds a layer of audio through Bose AR apps, connecting that place and time to endless possibilities for travel, learning, entertainment, gaming, and more,” Bose explained.

Bose AR apps can be downloaded using Bose Connect app and are only available for iOS right now. Android apps are being developed, according to the company’s website.

The company claims that onboard battery can last up to 3.5 hours for playback and up to 12 hours on standby. It can be fully recharged in less than two hours.

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Novel device can quickly detect strokes

The Kashmir Monitor

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Scientists have developed a device that can monitor blood flow and help quickly diagnose and treat strokes.

A stroke, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, occurs due to poor blood flow to the brain — a condition known as cerebral ischemia.

Its diagnosis must be done within the first few hours for treatment to be effective, researchers said.

 

The hybrid device, developed by researchers at the China Academy of Engineering Physics and Army Medical University in China, relies on a combination of to light measuring techniques which could diagnose cerebral ischemia non-invasively and faster than the techniques used currently.

“We can measure blood volume, blood oxygenation and blood flow using suitable near-infrared techniques,” said Liguo Zhu, from China Academy of Engineering Physics.

Zhu said that “near-infrared light penetrates one to three centimetres and allows researchers to probe under the skin.”

The working of the instrument relies on the combination of the near-infrared diffuse optical spectroscopy, which analyses the light scattered from the tissues to calculate the amount of oxygen and blood within an area, and the diffuse correlation spectroscopy, which analyses fluctuation in the tissue-scattered lights to measure blood flow.

“Both techniques share the same detectors, which decreases the number of detectors compared to other instruments,” said Zhu.

“The team’s device can record a comprehensive profile of a body part’s hemodynamics, or blood circulation. Devices should measure as many ‘hemodynamic parameters’ as necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis, as ‘the hemodynamics of stroke is complex’,” said Hua Feng, from Army Medical University.

Another advantage of the device is that it is cheap and compact, which would make more accessible to the people, and hence, help treatment, diagnosis and chances of stroke, researchers said.

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Parineeti ‘still learning’ to play badminton

The Kashmir Monitor

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Actress Parineeti Chopra has not started shooting for ‘Saina’ yet and says she is still learning how to play badminton.

Parineeti on Thursday said that the shooting for the biopic will commence in October.

“Hi everyone, we have not started the shoot of ‘Saina’ yet. I am still learning how to play Badminton! We will start in October once I get better at it! Four months to go,” she tweeted.

 

Parineeti had replaced actress Shraddha Kapoor in the Saina Nehwal biopic, which is being directed by Amole Gupte.

She will next be seen in ‘Jabariya Jodi’ along with actor Sidharth Malhotra. The film is scheduled for release on August 2. Directed by Prashant Singh, ‘Jabariya Jodi’ is based on ‘Pakadwa Vivah’ (forced marriage), which was once rampant in Bihar.

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