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A.I.-Enhanced Sensors Start-Up Gains $10.5M in Early Funds

Smart home graphic

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay.

6 July 2023. A company developing area sensors for smart homes that combine WiFi technology with machine learning algorithms is raising $10.5 million in venture funds. nami — the company name is a Japanese word for “wave” and spelled in all lower-case letters — is a two year-old enterprise based in Singapore that says its systems are used to help older people with high-risk health conditions, offer home security, and provide energy savings.

The nami technology called Artificial Intelligence of Things, or AIoT, adapts WiFi networks to detect occupancy. motion, and emergency situations, such as people falling. Plus, nami uses acoustic sensing to detect emergencies, along with sensors to detect air quality, smoke, fire, carbon monoxide, and flood waters. Sensing devices are stored in smart wall-socket plugs and sensing pods in the home, governed by miniaturized control systems on individual chips. The company also supports an ecosystem with an application program interface or API enabling third-party services that interact with and support the basic nami installation.

In addition, says nami, the raw sensor data are enhanced with machine learning algorithms generated in individual homes to add nuance and personalization to metadata at each installation. But, the company also points out these data are encrypted and kept anonymous whenever possible. Moreover, says nami, its WiFi sensors do not need line-of-site observation, and operate without cameras, passive infrared, or radar sensing devices.

Aging-in-place technology for older residents

Since its founding in 2021, nami has established a collaboration with Origin Wireless Inc. in Greenbelt, Maryland, a provider of WiFi sensing, spun-off from University of Maryland. The company is also collaborating with Okinawa Electric Power Company and the Okiden C-Plus-C Corp., a joint venture in Japan to provide aging-in-place technology for older residents in Okinawa. In addition, nami offers its systems as a service to smart-home software providers, and markets directly to consumers with mobile apps compatible with Amazon and Google smart home platforms.

Jean-Eudes Leroy, co-founder and CEO of nami, says in a company statement released through Cision, the “nami app brings peace of mind to families with security, safety, and wellness use cases while ensuring the utmost privacy. Additionally, our partners’ applications and dashboards utilize data from our API to enhance automation, complement their security solution and improve health outcomes in different types of environments.”

nami is raising $10.5 million in its first venture finance round from an investor group that includes Verizon Ventures, Amavi Capital, INSPiRE and Aconterra. The company says it previously raised $4.1 million in seed funds. “This funding round,” adds Leroy, “empowers nami to achieve our mission of building an ecosystem of AI sensors that cater to IoT players, internet service providers, insurance companies, and others across multiple verticals.”

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