Welcome to the world of home automation in India.
Part of “The Internet of Things,” also known as IoT, home automation has not gone mainstream in India owing to the prohibitive costs involved. Nonetheless, it is an emerging market.
Enter Pranjal Kacholia, a third-year student of chemical engineering at IIT-Delhi, and his startup Eden Smart Homes, which has recently developed an indigenous and low-cost smart home system.
For Pranjal, the inspiration for this came during a visit back home to Kota, Rajasthan.
“Around two years ago, during my summer holidays, I approached a home automation distributor. They quoted an amount of Rs 8 Lakh for a 3 BHK home. Since people in India don’t know much about such systems, these distributors are quoting random amounts to them. Only a niche segment of society has absorbed this technology,” he says, in a conversation with The Better India.
After several frustrating meetings with vendors who charged him anything between Rs 6-8 Lakh for a home automation system, he realised that this was an excellent business opportunity.
“I came back to IIT-Delhi, did some research, formed a team of core engineers who had previously tried to crack this field. Finally, around eight months back, we developed the product, which is superior to the technology already available in the market and cost-effective as well,” he adds.
Pranjal founded Eden Smart Homes in June 2017.
It’s imperative to understand where Eden Smart Homes stands compared to the other major players in the home automation market. Existing players can only automate a home by either sourcing the technology from a foreign partner or installing additional switchboards after modifying the existing wiring system in a home. These solutions entail additional costs in terms of either the licensing fee or modifying the wiring system. Buying these systems often entail a cost ranging from Rs 2-4 lakh.
So, what does the Eden Smart Home product entail?
After installing small hardware modules behind switchboards, you can control all electrical appliances in your home with a smartphone app. What’s particularly unique about this smart home solution is that you don’t even have to change the current wiring system in your home. “Any electrician can install it reading our simple instruction manual,” says Pranjal.
“You don’t need to change your switchboard or appliances or existing wiring system. By eliminating the need for a central hub, Eden also ensures that failure of one module does not affect the entire smart home’s functioning,” says Pranjal, in a conversation with The Better India.
The entire installation process takes about 15 minutes with the hardware modules connected to the Wi-Fi system in your home. So, if you forget to switch off your fans, don’t worry. You can switch it off remotely from the app on your phone. Notifications for whether your electrical appliances are switched off or not will appear on the app in real time.
“Other features offered by Eden’s solution include monitoring power consumption, the ability to view real-time status of appliances, scheduling on and off times for appliances, creating custom scenarios, one-button control of the entire smart home etc.,” according to this Newsbytes report. You can control your appliances with Google Home or Alexa as well.
More interesting, the system developed by Eden Smart Homes can adjust to high voltage fluctuations—a common feature of electricity supply in India.
“Components we use and the circuits we design are according to Indian conditions. Let’s say, there is a high spike in the voltage. What the module will do is freeze (stop working automatically) to protect itself. All you need to do is turn off the main MCB (Miniature Circuit Breaker) and then turn it on. The module will start working again,” says Pranjal.
Coming down to the costs, Pranjal says that for a 3BHK apartment, the smart home system will cost Rs 90,000, unlike the several Lakh he was being quoted earlier.
Eden Smart Homes has received support form the Central government. It was recently selected under its ‘Startup India’ program, which took care of all legal costs involved in filing a patent. The firm has got a provisional patent filed on their design in India. Eden is tying up with players in the real estate sector and in the process of setting up distributors across India.
Considering the amount of electricity, we waste, this cost-effective system is just the solution you may need.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)