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You may have seen the recent commercial on television where a woman leaves her house and forgets to close the garage door.  After driving a few miles away, she gets an alert on her phone that her garage door is open and simply taps her smartphone screen to close it.  While you may have heard of the company that makes the garage door, Chamberlain, you probably haven’t heard of Arrayent, the company behind the technology that makes the garage door a “smart” garage door.

Arrayent is using a cloud-based platform to allow manufacturers to connect their products to the Internet.  While it’s not the only company utilizing the cloud to build connectivity in devices, it is arguably the most established, boasting big-named customers such as Whirlpool, Chamberlain, and Mattel.

Whirlpool

CEO Shane Dyer said that through the Arrayent cloud, companies can embed connectivity and set up a service around the device without adding a significant cost and complexity to the product, such as Whirlpool’s 6th Sense Smart Appliances.  At the same time, companies can control and access the data coming from the device.  Dyer said that in the past, adding connectivity to everyday devices had made them more complex, ultimately turning everyday devices into tiny computer systems throughout the house that consumers had to relearn.  As a result, Dyer argues, the “smart home” model continued to fail.  But through cloud technology, Dyer believes the smart home model is within reach.

“If we go about this problem and try to solve it by turning everything into a big computer, it’s just not going to work for the end consumer–they expect things to be things and not computers,” Dyer said.  “Where Arrayent is really different is that we really try to keep the stuff that’s in your house very simple–basically moving all the complexity that makes these devices work, and move, and communicate, and putting it up in a cloud.”

Building connectivity within devices or the “Internet of Things” has stalled in the past because engineers tried to make each device its own computer, storing vast of amounts of information inside the device.  As a result, smart devices were costly and complex.  Arrayent’s cloud platform pushes the information out of the device and into the cloud, making the product simpler and less expensive.  The end result is that devices could actually end up communicating with each other, bridging the development for a smart home.

“If I turn your refrigerator into a computer system, is it going to be acceptable to you that over the 15 year lifetime of the fridge you have to go in to your router and unplug it and reboot it to get it to work correctly? No,” Dyer said, “We can use the same techniques to make software in these connected devices that makes them work and correspondently put a model of that refrigerator up in the cloud- that not only makes it more secure but also gives ability for these devices to start talking to each other in the cloud to connect to other services.”

So far, the technology has caught on and helped the company nab $11.9 million from DCM Ventures, Opus Capital and Intel Capital, bringing its total funding to $13.4 million.  With the new funding, the company is planning to expand in Europe.  Here’s to hoping a smart home will not only tell me when my water filter needs to be changed, but also my child’s diaper.


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