If you recently became a parent, you know what sleepless nights are. Raybaby, a wireless baby monitor that tracks respiration, movements and sleep patterns, is the latest gadget that can ensure that parents and baby, both have relaxed nights. The Tech Panda spoke to Ranjana Nair, the CEO and co-founder of RIoT Solutions, who says that they have much more in store in the field of tracking hardware.
When asked about the inspiration behind the product, Nair says that it actually started when they came across the case of a 16-year old girl who had epilepsy. Although in need of constant attention from a worried mother, the teenager wasn’t happy with the privacy intrusion that ensued. Neither was she ready to wear a device that was contact-based nor did she want any video-based equipment in her room that would monitor her movements.
“That’s when we figured that there’s absolutely nothing that tracks a person’s breathing without putting something on the person’s body,” Nair recalls.
The team realized that both sides are equally important, the mother wanting to check on the daughter, and the daughter not wanting to have a privacy intrusion. Hence, they wanted to make a product that tracked breathing without invading privacy and without actually putting something on a person’s body which is not comfortable while sleeping.
“We used the knowledge we had on sensors and AI and Raybaby happened. So, for us the inspiration is definitely non-contact breathing and reducing the number of wires,” Nair says.
Raybaby is a baby monitor that tracks respiration, movements and sleep patterns using a technology that works on the principle of ultra-sound, with a 98% dependability rate. Parents are alerted through smartphones or laptops when the baby experiences variations in respiratory/breathing rate, indicating fever or other conditions.
The palm-sized device also has an integrated infrared video camera that enables live video streaming even in darkness, built in speakers, and audio monitoring that uses a highly-sensitive microphone. In addition, parents can play music or talk to their little ones through the device.
“We are basically collecting the data through AI,” Nair explains.
Nair says the struggle to reach a place where Raybaby is now on the shelves of retail stores like Target, Walmart, has taken years. Nair recalls that she and her co-founders, Aardra Kannan Ambili and Sanchi Poovayya, received financial as well as emotional support from their families. Also, MNCs like Oracle gave them a place to start work. In addition, HAX, the first hardware accelerator in the world, gave them the infrastructure and encouragement to develop their idea and prototype.
“HAX just gave us $100,000 and said, ‘We think your idea is great, now work on it’, and that put us on the world map,” says Nair.
They also got support from Johnson & Johnson. The initial Raybaby products went out with a tagline supported by Johnson & Johnson, which gave them a huge boost.
As a woman startup, Nair says, though she had as much support as she required, they had to up their game to get noticed.
“We had to be the best to get any sort of attention. We couldn’t have been average, especially as women in hardware, who were putting a consumer product in the US market. I think people only take you seriously when you are the best,” Nair says.
RIoT Solutions have dared to get into marketing of a product in the US, which companies rarely opt for. However, their hard work paid off when Raybaby sold around 1,100 units on the kick-starter platform last year. They were able to sell 600 units within 24 hours. The Raybaby video went viral and it got 2.5 million views. That and widespread coverage by the media helped their PR.
“We didn’t even do any marketing. We just continued selling on our website,” Nair recalls.
Currently, Raybaby is getting into Amazon and Buy Buy Baby. RIoT Solutions is targeting June to launch in retail space, both online and offline. A top distributor in Japan has approached them for distribution in Japan.
“Right now we are at a place where we are looking at selling at least 10,000 units per month, starting June,” she beams.
For the future, RIoT Solutions is coming up with a similar product in senior care, called Raycare. They have filed the patent for it and plan to launch it in the next three or four months, once Raybaby is in the market. The product will be able to predict things like a heart attack an hour before it actually happens. Right now it’s not a diagnostic tool but Nair says they want to become one in the future.
“We understand that with age, a lot of things happen after a certain age. A lot of accidents happen between the bed and the bathroom. Being able to predict just by looking at a person, any events that can happen in an hour. That’s where we are heading to,” she says.
Raybaby is not a medical device but a consumer product, sold in places like Target, Walmart, and Amazon. However, the product gives the power of tracking an important vital into the hands of people. A parent can track a baby’s breathing, a son or daughter can track their parents’ breathing.
Nair, who is a computer engineer from MKU university and Anna university in Tamil Nadu, has worked for Microsoft, Accenture, and i-Vista. She also founded 21st Century Odyssey (XXICO), a company that worked in sensors. A self-confessed Netflix buff, she loves that her job entails traveling to various places to demonstrate the product, because she is able to fulfill her passion for traveling.
Nair says she can imagine the difficulties that women entrepreneurs in tier two and tier three cities face coming from backgrounds that lack encouragement. She states that Riot Solutions is a women startup, but they are an equal opportunity company. They have a core hardware team, half of which comprise women.
Raybaby has also been winning several awards. They won the People’s Choice Award at the Chloe Women’s Startup Fund Award. Raybaby has the patent on non-contact breathing trackers.
“So anyone who breathes is our customer,” says Nair.