As reported first by TechCrunch, the Denver-based company plans to use the money to design an improved voice control system, including its own hardware that will debut at CEDIA 2017 in San Diego. The company, which also has offices in Los Angeles, is headed by Alex Capecelatro, CEO, and Tim Gill, CTO. Gill is the previous founder of Quark.
Josh.ai was founded in March 2015. The system is not only stand-alone smart home automation system, but it also interfaces with brands as Crestron, Lutron, Meridian (Media Core audio streamer) and Sonos. Users can speak through mobile devices via the Josh.ai app or through mic-enabled services such as Amazon Echo.
Unlike other voice control systems on the market that require a “wake word,” Josh.ai employs natural language processing (NLP) for complex commands to enable users to say such things as “Play the song Ride, open the shades, dim the kitchen lights, and close the garage.” The Josh.ai app for mobile devices allows clients to tap and swipe commands, in addition to using voice control.
“Josh.ai is not just an add-on voice component like Amazon Alexa, it is a full control system that goes toe-to-toe with all the other whole-house control systems on the market,” emphatically says Nader Dajani, head of business development at the company.
Earlier this year, the company unveiled a new pricing structure for its control system, which has a $10,000 price tag. Dealers can buy the system outright under the Ruby plan, or they can pay 25 percent down with a monthly software licensing fee for a five-year, full-service upgraded warranty plan. (Dealer pricing is in the five-figures.)
The plug-and-play control system requires no wiring and no IP addresses, according to Dajani. “There are no specific technical network requirements other than you don’t want to run it over a cheap router.” That is not a problem since mostly high-end integrators are installing Josh.ai and replacing the home network.
According to Dajani, the voice control portion of Josh.ai has several advantages over Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Siri, including:
- It does not require a “wake” word like “Alexa” or “Hey Google.”
- It can string together multiple complex commands. A homeowner can ask Josh to “turn on the lights and dim them to 50 percent, lower the shades and my play my surf rock radio station” all in one command.
- It is designed for large, high-end homes. Josh.ai was not designed as a single-room solution. According to Dajani, it was one of the first to market with dynamic voice control, which is probably why the product was mistakenly pigeonholed as purely a voice control system.