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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ariel Technologies raises $1.7m for WiFi home sensors

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Montreal-based Aerial Technologies has raised US$1.7m to commercialise its AI-based WiFi home sensor technology.

The software uses distortions in the Wi-Fi energy signals in the household to develop Wi-Fi fingerprints that enable the software to detect movement and presence and recognise people and activities. The key is that this uses existing WiFi routers with cloud-based AI software, highlighting the increasing convergence of AI and cloud-service for embedded designs.

The technology was conceived by Michel Allegue based on IP that originated at McGill University, Rutgers University and Steven´s Institute of Technology. As people, pets and inorganic objects move around at home or in the office, they distort and disrupt the Wi-Fi signals in predictable ways. Aerial processes these distortions to add context and meaning to motion allowing the recognition of presence, motion, activity and identity. Aerial software can be embedded in virtually any Wi-Fi network equipment or device and does not require wearables or other sensors to work. 

"We are delighted to be working with such a select group of investors and we believe that their interest validates the immense potential of Aerial's novel approach to motion detection for the Wi-Fi home," said David Grant, CEO of Aerial Technologies. "With their support, we are now well positioned to accelerate the commercialization of our motion interface with some of the most important telecommunication companies in the world."

Early applications include Presence Awareness and Motion Detection, Home Intrusion Detection, Smart air conditioning energy optimisation, healthcare and elderly care monitory services, and intelligent motion awareness. The technology, already in pilot with several large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Multi Service Operators (MSOs), will be deployed into existing equipment offered through these service providers.

The CA$2.25m convertible note financing was led by Fonds Innovexport and successful entrepreneur and investor Jean-François Grenon. Strategic investors include Kibo Ventures, a Spanish-based VC firm which has Grupo Telefónica as one of the main investors in the fund and Wayra, part of Telefónica Open Future_network, and Quebecor Group, a leading Canadian integrated communications company. Angel investors linked to Montreal-based incubator TandemLaunch also joined the round.

The technology was conceived by Michel Allegue, CTO, based on IP that originated at McGill University, Rutgers University and Steven´s Institute of Technology. As people, pets and inorganic objects move in the mess of Wi-Fi signals already in your home or office, they distort and disrupt these Wi-Fi signals in predictable ways. Aerial processes these distortions to add context and meaning to motion allowing the recognition of presence, motion, activity and identity. Aerial software can be embedded in virtually any Wi-Fi network equipment or device and does not require wearables or other sensors to work.


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