Internet of Things (IoT) and smart homes are amongst the hottest buzzwords in China. As the fledgling industry matures, a string of IOT startups have emerged and are vying to be the next big IoT platform.
Hangzhou-based startup LifeSmart, one of the major Chinese players of this arena, is an IoT company specializing in providing smart home hardware and software for home automation, home security and energy saving.
Since its first product launch in April 2014, LiftSmart has developed a wide array of home automation devices, which generally fall into three categories:
1) Home security: cameras, motion sensors, open/close sensors, etc.
2) Smart illumination: magic light strips, LED light bulbs, three-way in-wall light switches, etc.
3) Smart home decoration solutions for real estate companies: environment multi-sensors, smart outlets, etc.
TechNode recently got the chance to check out some of their products. The company’s smart gadgets center around LifeSmart Station, a wireless hub which connects LifeSmart products as well a user’s other electronic devices. Local hub support ensures normal operation of all connected devices even without internet connection.
After few easy steps to link up the devices, users can then control them via an accompanying app. Like similar products, LifeSmart offers functions from watching real-time videos of your home on smart phone, adjusting room illumination via mobile app, monitoring your home’s environmental data, and more.
What differentiates LifeSmart from its peers is the smart home automation models of its hardware. Based on IFTTT (if this then that) logic, LifeSmart allows users to define the hardware’s interrelations according to their needs and preferences. For example, if the sensors attached to a door detect a movement, it can trigger camera snapshots and push them to the app, so users can know whether it is a family member or a thief. Or the movement can be connected to the LightBulb, which will light automatically when users come home.
LifeSmart is also taking an open approach, aiming to build a unified platform which ties all sensors together and simplifies a smart home. It has teamed with several third-party partners like Philips Hue and iKair to integrate their devices in the platform.
The company has just taken the wraps off a wireless HD camera with 360º rotation at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas. It is powered by an in-set battery and can be placed anywhere. Unlike other LifeSmart gadgets, which have to work in conjunction with the central hub, the new camera can operate independently and serve as a hub for other LifeSmart devices. The product also has interactive features, supporting two-way audio, video messaging and storage.
The camera was designed by Branch, an industrial design and branding agency based in Silicon Valley. LifeSmart is planning to mass-produce the new camera by the second quarter of this year. As the company grows, they are planning on increasing their smart-home product line with gas sensors, curtain sensors, and more.
After receiving positive feedback in the domestic market during 2014, the company is planning to expand to the North American and European markets. “Our products will be designed in US, manufactured in China, and offered to a global audience”, said CMO and co-founder Meng Tao.
In addition to the global plan, LifeSmart is also seeking more growth points from business clients such as real estate developers and telecom carriers.
The company was co-founded by a group of tech veterans who have rich experience from large corporations like Huawei, Ericsson, and Alibaba. It has more than 20 staff and received a pre-A round of funding last year.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)