50 Most Admired Companies of The Year 2018
The Silicon Review
“We focus on the growing market of Smart Homes, Smart Businesses and Smart Connected Cars (ADAS), as well as Smart Hotels & Resorts, Smart Retail Outlets and Smart Assisted Care & Senior Living.”
Smart homes technology and connected home devices are synonymous with convenience, but the impact of a connected home also means safety, security, and cost-effectiveness. Yet for the consumer to feel the full gamut of benefits requires platforms, devices, and applications to come together in one ecosystem.
SmartBeings, Inc. is an AI-driven startup focusing on Smart Homes, Enterprises and Connected Cars. The company is the creator of WooHoo™, an award-winning Home AI Assistant and a Smart Home Hub. SmartBeings brings the power and convenience of voice AI technologies to homes and enterprises through its VaaS (Voice-as-a-Service). It designs AI-driven IoT products and platforms to solve real-world problems utilizing AI, deep learning, voice-based technologies (incl. NLP & acoustics), facial recognition, security & data encryption and cloud connectivity.
The company was incorporated in 2015 and is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.
Rajesh Shanmugam, SmartBeings, Inc. Co-founder/CTO, and Joseph Santos, SmartBeings, Inc., Founding Member/ Chief Digital Officer, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years, Mr. Rajesh?
SmartBeings envisioned a much smarter way of living which is simple and affordable. WooHoo™ features Motion Detection, Face Recognition, NLP based Voice commands, Video/Audio Conferencing; creating the market’s ‘most featured’ offering, and we have priced it to penetrate the market. That alone sweeps the market’s top spot and additionally WooHoo™ has a built-in IoT Device Hub which allows household devices to connect, and be controlled from, the WooHoo™ device, coordinating the flow on through to our cloud-based WooHoo’s IoT Platform and device-independent mobile app.
SmartBeings is an innovative company whose products and ideas have the ability to change lives and impact millions. From Smart Homes, to Healthcare for senior people to child care, to live stream and provide educations to remote areas of the world or to provide help to disabled people by using Voice enabled technologies.
It helps in bringing families closer together through video calls or even entertains people by playing their favorite music from Spotify or Pandora (using WooHoo’s excellent JBL speakers developed in co-innovation by Harman). It can have a similar impact even on the enterprise side.
Tell us about your products and services offered, Mr. Rajesh?
We have our own SaaS-based platform that functions well with the other connected devices and integrates with other enterprise solutions like SAP, Salesforce etc. Think of us as an enterprise and consumer IoT platform provider that has strong AI and advanced machine learning capabilities. The device is Android-based, so it supports many applications and is all about integrating with the platform. People have already become familiar with voice assistants at home, and they are the same people who wonder how to implement the technology in businesses. So, this was the primary requirement that kept coming to us from different enterprises and businesses, and this led to us working on Voice-as-a-Service (VaaS) solution. Imagine a CEO, who wants to know about the quarterly revenue of the company and he sends e-mails to his assistant followed by the sales head who will then run a report that will take a significant amount of time. On the contrary, when using WooHoo, the device can easily access information from the cloud or SAP or Salesforce, whichever is the backend application and provide the answer.
What makes SmartBeings stand out in a crowd of competitors, Mr. Joseph?
SmartBeings has proven to become a promising partner for innovative enterprises that seek to become market leaders by developing customized Digital and Voice AI Assistants for their internal use and customers.
“SmartBeings is an innovative company with an approach takes “Voice Assistant” technology to the next level, beyond the consumer to virtually every aspect of business, from hospitality to senior living. Voice assisted solutions are not just about smart-homes or connected cities in the future, it’s about a true AI solution that truly knows you across all aspects of your daily life.”
A reputed chain of hotels requires a device with a screen that can recognize the guests on their arrival and greet them. SmartBeings has enabled this functionality while also allowing the device to be used to operate the switches, set up alarms, reminders, and display top attractions in the city. In the banking sector, a similar situation exists with the end-consumers who wait in line with the same questions regarding loans and its various requirements. SmartBeings has capabilities to build FAQs, which the bank can customize with their product-specific answers and delight customers with voice-first banking experience. Besides, this is in addition to customizing the name, and adding features like Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR). This tailor-made approach for solutions has brought the company to a far-stretching field of opportunities, with success being the by-product every time.
If you have to list four factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why, Mr. Joseph?
Competitive vision for a solution in a newly growing market; it’s best to be ahead of the curve where the opportunity continues to grow and have a strong vision for the future.
Team selection; it’s important for the team to have the same vision and passion as the leadership. Be agile were the ‘big players’ can’t; most larger companies that are established in the market can’t turn the ship quick enough to take advantage of new trends and opportunities.
Stay ahead of the curve as long as possible; larger competitive companies have vast resources that can catch up, it’s critical to always be a generation ahead.
Where do you see your company a couple of years from now, Mr. Joseph?
In a couple of years, SmartBeings will be in the center of emerging technologies that are not yet even imagined; just as Amazon Alexa was originally designed as an “e-book reader” is now the fastest growing and most successful product in the Smart-Home market.
SmartBeings Leadership: A Brief Background
Rajesh Shanmugam, Co-founder and CTO: Rajesh heads Technology and Product for multiple product initiatives at SmartBeings. Rajesh enjoys the process of transforming innovative ideas into products that work at scale. He comes with over 15 years of experience building scalable enterprise software products deployed at TOP Fortune companies around the world.
In the past, as co-founder and head of technology at an information management software startup, Rajesh built the engineering organization from ground zero, architected the entire product stack and lead the product delivery effort including implementation, QA, project and release management. He has also played the role of IT Architect at Emerging Technologies division at Juniper Networks where he was responsible for re-architecting and moving critical pieces of Juniper IT infrastructure to the cloud for exponentially better performance at fraction of the cost.
Prior, Rajesh was Principal Consultant at Oracle where among other things he implemented large-scale enterprise integration solution for the City University of New York. He started his career as Software Engineer at an enterprise messaging software startup where he was part of the core engineering team that built a high-performance, broker for large enterprises, designed and implemented integration solutions for several Fortune 15 companies.
Mr. Shanmugam has a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering from BITS Pilani.
Joseph Santos, Founding Member/CDO: Joseph (Joe) Santos joined SmartBeings in 2016. He has more than three decades of experience in the tech industry in Silicon Valley, most recently at SAP as Global Director for Strategic Technology Partners and the Cloud at SAP Labs. In this role, he designed and implemented the go to market aspects of SAP’s HANA Platform and Big Data Initiatives for SAP’s Global eco-system, involving product line management, the development of marketing strategies and stakeholder management. While at SAP, Joe also founded the Coalition 4 Innovation, an IT alliance comprising HP, Red Hat, Intel and SAP Sybase to co-innovate alternatives to the proprietary data center model.
Launching over 30 mobile and enterprise solutions, Joe’s experience spans all aspects of the stack, including Processor Technologies, Infrastructure, Operating System, and Database Platforms.
Mr. Santos holds patents in acoustic design and Guinness World Records for the World’s Largest Database and has degrees from California State University in Broadcast Communications and Music.
“We are combining device intelligence, cloud connectivity and feature-rich applications to solve real-world problems for intelligent security, facility awareness and virtual collaboration.” – Mr. Joseph