Canadian startup aims to connect everything with style

December 09, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Founded only a few weeks ago, Canadian startup Ubiqweus Inc. is launching a Kickstarter campaign for a set of super easy to deploy Wi-Fi-enabled one-inch cubic sensors, packaged attractively and made to last.

Of course there are many motes, beacons and sensor nodes on offer out there, so what's the novelty in adding yet another pack of motion, light, temperature and humidity sensors to the market place? We asked Ubiqweus' co-founders Sean Stephens and James Daigle.

"Let me tell you how it all started", said Stephens. "Sitting in an office, there were people complaining about how cold their side of the office was, whilst others were saying they were too warm on the other side, and there was never any consensus reached nor any easy way to monitor the actual temperature across the building. We could have painstakingly logged the temperature the old way, with pen and paper and a thermometer, but we wanted something more immediate and easy to share".

"When we looked around for a solution, we found that the least expensive solutions were little boards like the Raspberry Pi, but you had to hack it in order to make it work your way, there were no easy consumer product able to do this. Any readily integrated industrial solution would cost over US$500 to have a hub and a few sensors and still, it took the most of a day to set up and make it work" Stephens told EE Times Europe.

"We were looking for a very simple sensor that anyone could use without requiring skills or a computer degree. So we decided to simplify it to the maximum and make one sensor per device, with each device connected independently", said Stephens, adding that instead of enticing consumers to buy new connected devices, with hubs and satellites, they could now directly connect whatever existing items in their household, cheaply.

Once commercialized, the co-founders expect the qBiq sensors to retail for about CA$59, just over US$40. The Kickstarter campaign promises even more competitive pricing at CA$40 for early birds.

"Just scan the QRcode on the cube, and you get to the device's website address, with a user interface that displays data the way you want" he said, other graphics on the cube unambiguously indicate its functionality.

One of the reasons to use Wi-Fi is so that the sensors connect directly to the local Wi-Fi network, so users can monitor things without having to be in the room or without requiring a dedicated hub like it is usually the case for Bluetooth-enabled solutions, we were told.