This Pakistani IoT Startup Lets You Control Any Electric Appliance from Your Phone

Smart homes, while increasingly prevalent in developed countries like the United States, Britain or other European states, are still just a far-flung dream in developing countries like Pakistan.

The main reason for this digital divide is the level of costs associated with upgrading current homes to make them comply with smart standards.

To combat this, a number of entrepreneurs have developed intelligent yet incredibly cheap solutions that can convert your current home to a fully-connected smart home.

Meet “Smart Devices”

“Smart Devices” has been founded by Abdul Ghaffar, an entrepreneur and the current CEO and Director of the startup.

Incubated at Plan9 and PlanX, it was one of the first startups in Pakistan to jump on the Internet of Things bandwagon. It also won the very first IoT award in Smart Home Category at Telenor’s IoT expo last year for its relatively inexpensive IoT devices.

Smart Devices’ products let you control any electrical appliance remotely from anywhere around the globe, be it a fan, a light, air conditioner, water motors, etc. Basically, any device can be converted into a Wi-Fi connected smart device with the help of a smart switchboard.

Currently, they offer two devices; a Smart Hub and a Smart Switch Board:

Smart Hub

The smart hub is the central communication unit. It is responsible for establishing a connection between the app on your smartphone to the smart switchboard using your home Wi-Fi. There is no limitation on the number of devices that can connect to a Smart Hub so you would need just one central unit.

smarthub

It costs 9,900 Pakistani rupees.

Smart Switch Board

A smart switch board is a Wi-Fi based piece of hardware that can switch any electrical appliance on or off. Just install it in place of a normal switchboard and switch it to “ON” and it will automatically connect to the Smart Hub. You can also manually switch devices on/off as you would on a normal switchboard.

smart-switchboard

They are currently offering two models; a 4,900 rupee version with 2 switches and a 6,900 rupee version with 5 switches.

How Does it Work?

All you need to do is buy the Smart Hub and connect it via LAN to your home Wi-Fi. Now, install the Smart Switch in place of a normal switchboard. That’s it for the installation part.

Once connected, you can switch your devices ON/OFF and see their status from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Have a poor internet connection? You can also access your Smart Devices offline as long as you are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. This is particularly important considering the state of most internet connections in Pakistan.

smart-devices-1

 

The startup lets you control your electrical appliances in four ways,

smart-devices-1 smart-devices

I tried out the Android app as well as the Web Dashboard and was happy to see that both worked as promised. The design is simple and easy to navigate. You can organize your switches into rooms and label them. It is not as feature rich as I would have wanted but it gets the job done. They do plan to add new features like setting alerts or scheduling times soon though.

Smart Devices Local Recognition

Smart Devices has won several accolades, including being selected by PTA for National Mobile App Awards. Just yesterday, it was nominated for the World Summit Award 2016, held in collaboration with the United Nations. They termed it as “the best and most innovative solution in Smart Settlements & Urbanization from Pakistan”. Smart Devices has also been selected by Facebook for FbStart, a global program to help mobile startups build and grow their apps.

The CEO, Abdul Ghaffar, said that they are finally pulling out of Beta and are going to make a big push in the Pakistani IoT market with an aggressive marketing campaign.

He also shared their sales figures with ProPakistani, disclosing over 1 million Pakistani rupees in sales. That amount, although relatively small, is promising for a startup still in its nascent stages.

The future of technology is in the Internet of Things. We have barely scratched the surface up till now. While the smart switch board system from Smart Devices is a mere baby step, it does give us a brief glimpse of what smart homes in the future could be like.


    • Smart Hub create an AP (Access Point) so Smart Switch Boards can connect it wireless. For internet access to hub, you need to connect it to LAN.

      You may ask us for USB WiFi dongle for an additional cost. Hope this clear all doubts :)

      • Try using small wireless modules [like esp8266 ] within smart switch & configured it to use existing wifi modem or access point. no need to add extra Hub.

        • In current version yes but in future version no. If you don’t get Smart Hub then you will not able to switch your devices in offline mode. You need a good internet connection without hub. Also, your data will be hosted to our cloud instead of your smart hub at your home :)

          • Just saw this post after one year of post-date. I appreciate your work brother. However just to give you a suggestion. This all thing can be done with an ESP-8266 and a 220V AC relay and cost for this setup could reduce to as low as 1000 PKR (believe me).
            Nice work though, you got a lot of attention.

  • Xiaomi smart socket cost Rs. 1100 from AE. One can buy 9 different sockets at a price of this one. Also, that does not need a LAN connection rather it is wifi enabled device.

    • Is the hub essential for the functioning of the switch board or is it possible to set it up and link it to the existing DSL/Wireless connection at the home?

      where are your products manufactured since the prices seem steep compared to xiaomi offerings on Alibaba.

      do you offer warranty with your products?

      where can your products be purchased?

      • We’re working on a new model that will work without Hub but in that case you will not able to use it without internet (offline mode) as it will directly connect to our servers.

        Currently, we’re manufacturing in Pakistan but we going to China for bulk manufacturing real soon.

        Yes, we offer 6 months warranty. You may pre-order at our website smartdevices DOT io :)

        • thank you, one last question, your website mentions your smart home switch board is capable of running tube lights & fans, as it is essentially an extension, would it not only be compatible with ‘plugable’ appliances? such as lamps and the like which require plugging the device in? how is it compatible with tube lights?

        • Why not search a local vendor for bulk production, it will give some boost to locales, there are many electronics companies like Umber Capictors, orient ets

    • Nice step…Pakistan will be huge market for IOT in coming 5 years and we will soon see Chinesse influx also….however by customizing products for our markets …you can achieve more….Is there any way to contact you besides on this forum

  • Nice……….Using Raspberry Pi
    but too much cost only for Unit v/s available @ hallroad.org whistle sensors/wifi modules are extra….:-(

    • No need to use Raspberry Pi or any other board, new wirelss modules comes with micro-controller. Try Esp8266-12 or NodeMCU for getting started

      • 100% agreed……..my Sir. Anjum Rafiq Gill sb already did it for monitoring his water tank filling & water pump controlling.
        Thanks

  • O people! let’s acknowledge and appreciate what the lad has achieved by now. He will definitely keep improving and expanding his catalog. It feels really bad to see that instead of bucking up, people start criticising right away. That’s an indicator of pessimistic and depressive mindset.

    • Agreed to Mr. Farooq. this is the main Problem with all PAKISTANI Community rather Backing Up to anyone’s achievement starts criticism . anyways very Well Done my Pakistani Brother Mr. Abdul Ghuffar . MAY GOD BLESS you with more and success and opened up your path to server for this nation and create jobs for our PAKISTANI Talents

  • A.O.A.!
    Congratulation Sir on great Achievement of Smart hub launch and contract with Orient ?
    you are great inspiration for me.
    I am also working on IOT hoping to learn much from you.

    Best Regards:-
    Umer Shafie Bhatti.


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