Imagine you’re coming home from work. It’s raining buckets, and the sun’s already set. You’re approaching your house and the gate opens automatically when it senses you coming. The lights switch on as you walk in, and heating that was kept low when you were out now makes your home warm and cozy. This is not science fiction any more – this is the reality offered by BleBox, a Polish company specializing in IoT (Internet of Things).
“Most startups are born in garages, ours – in the attic of my house,” said Patryk Arlamowski from BleBox. “All founders have been previously working for companies who had unlimited funds for R&D. We were used to working with the best equipment available – now, we weren’t even able to rent it.” The team gathered most of their equipment by either buying it from failing startups or building it themselves. “We created a thermal test chamber from an old oven, and a vibrating table from a massage table. Even though we don’t use them anymore, I have kept them all.”
The idea behind BleBox was born at the beginning of Arlamowski’s career. As a student of Wrocław University of Technology he developed his first smart house system that was quickly sold for commercialization. Even though not successful on the market, this project was an incentive for further interest in the field of IoT. After returning from studies in Barcelona, he teamed up with Kamila Rudnicka and Marcin Purzycki. They have worked together before BleBox, creating a smart house system DARIN. Rudnicka and Arlamowski also cooperated while building a brain controlled wheelchair that was elected the Polish Innovation of the Year 2014.
BleBox offers thirteen different products, and further ten are at the prototype stage. These products, from LED light regulators to parking sensors and gate controllers, are targeted to both individual users and real estate developers. The devices are so easy to install and use that they don’t require a user manual. Developers can install them at a low cost to make their estates more appealing. Additionally, BleBox cooperates with other companies such as gate producers and helps them turn their regular products into smart ones.
Unlike other IoT solutions, the BleBox devices do not require installation of a central unit that connects them with a smartphone or with the Internet. This, together with extreme simplicity of installation and use and unusually long warranty of five years, creates an added value for the products.
Arlamowski said that “we are building a community. We want fans, not customers.” All prototypes are consulted with the community on specialist forums. This kind of cooperation already resulted in multiple plugins created by the users that allow to integrate BleBox’s devices with other systems such as Apple Home Kit or Fibaro.
BleBox reached a breakeven point less than a year after they received their Prometeia Ventures funding. Even though the company does not require any other external funds to operate, their plans of expansion to global markets might need additional seed rounds. They already act on these ambitious plans – currently BleBox operates in 20 countries all over the world, including China.