Cubical Labs: Connecting In-Home Smart Devices Through Home Automation

We are: Cubical Labs

Incubated at: The Technology Incubation Centre at IIT Guwahati.

Cubical Labs offers complete home automation solutions which provide complete control of the devices in one’s home through smartphones.

Genesis: Cubical Labs was an idea that began when we, the founders were in IIT Guwahati. However, coming out fresh from college it is particularly hard to realize this in the real world. The Indian Institute of technology and the incubation centre has been very supportive of our ideas, there was a great deal of mentoring and support which helped us to reach where we are right now.

The Cubical Aura (Inside the product)

We’ve grown mostly supported by our own revenue. Our journey is always ongoing, and even though we still have a long way to go, every time we pause and think of how we managed to reach 20+ cities, with 40 Dealers/Distributers pan-India, supported by a team size of almost 100 people, it feels amazing.

Founders: The co founders are Dhruv Ratra, Swati Vyas and Rahul Bhatnagar. All of us are alumni of Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. Dhruv and Swati have completed their engineering in Electronics and Communication and Rahul is a Computer Science Engineer. With backgrounds like this, working on an Internet of Things based project came naturally to us.

L-R: Dhruv Ratra, Swati Vyas and Rahul Bhatnagar

Our Product: Cubical currently offers a solution for complete home automation which gives a complete control of the devices of one’s home in their hands through their smartphones. It provides a control (switch and dimming) of basic electronic devices like fan, lights, AC, motor, and also IR devices like TV and music system. Moreover it provides features to schedule devices, set moods (though lights, curtain motors, music etc.) and even monitor the energy usage of a device or the complete home.

Cubical Products include switch modules (hex, tri, mono etc.) which go behind the switchboard in your home, without any rewiring. These modules interact with Cubical Master which is the brain of the system and it interacts with your smartphone through a router or the internet.

Customer response: We have more than 1000 cubical devices working right now, and our customers are really satisfied by the service we are offering. The 24 hour assistance and the 1 year warranty we are offering is really appreciated by the users who have given us a great review about the product and the service.

Challenge: Internet of Things (IoT) is a very new concept, still in it’s infancy. People are still getting their head around the area of “things” interacting with each other. The major challenge IoT startups face is that since we need to a have a manufacturing unit there are many external variables like vendors and supply chain networks which make it a higher barrier of entry for new players. It can be overcome by proper planning, both operational and financial. Cubical has kept its planning for the future ready with contingencies for the external variables so that any setback can be taken care of.

Scope of home automation in India: Home automation is a growing industry in India. With every device in our homes getting smarter there is a need for our homes to be intelligent. And Cubical Laboratories provides just that. Ideas of complete control and scheduling are dropping jaws and there is a considerable interest in people for it.

Home developers play a very important role in developing this industry as home automation increases the market value of the house considerably and creates a trend among the home buyers.

Advantages of being part of an accelerator/incubator: To say that it was pivotal moment for Cubical would be an understatement. The Technology Incubation Centre at IIT-G actually helped the three of us take an idea from our hostel room and turn it into a real company. Being able to access an office space and labs at IIT-G helped us make our initial hires, and create our initial products.

We would have never gotten off the ground without our mentors and it’s been great so far. Being in a complex space which was at the crossroads of software and hardware, we faced multiple problems that most startups don’t come across, like product prototyping, injection molding, packaging, lifespan testing of our products etc. Most of these issues, didn’t have a readymade solution in India, you basically couldn’t just ‘Stack Overflow’ for answers.

Additionally, trying out different vendors was a risk, as all of them came with fixed non recurring costs and additional liabilities. We were very lucky to have our mentors who could provide us with relevant advice and contacts in these domains. Prof. A K Das, Director IIIT Manipur and Mr Jayant Bhatnagar, Director C-DoT were in particular very helpful in getting us to hit the ground running.

Vision: In the next few years, Cubical sees itself as being present in majority of Indian homes, owing to the ease of use of the products, the commendable easy installation, after sales services and the fact that the products are 2-3 times more economically viable than those currently present in the market. No, there is no plan to expand to other fields of IoT as we are looking to focus our attention to creating a larger customer base in the home automation industry.

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