Could you imagine opening an app on your iPhone to check on your home, turn off a light, or even play with your pet? At first it may not seem realistic, but the opportunity to do so is not far off.
AprioriControl is a company that specializes in robotics control via the Internet. Their unique product, the iPetCompanion, is already being used as an interactive tool by the Oregon and Idaho Humane Societies. They make it possible for you to interact with the cats that are up for adoption. That might seem simple at first, but imagine this tool in your own home. You could look in any room that has the camera installed, and possibly interact with your own pets by simply logging in using your computer or phone. The possibilities are endless!
I recently spoke with Adam LaBarbera about his business, the inspiration for it, and his unique product.
Tell us a little about AprioriControl.
AprioriControl is an internet robotics control company. In so many words we basically allow people to move things from anywhere in the world, over the internet, with the ability to see it take place in real-time. Imagine the ability to turn on your home electronics or throw a ball for your dog from your iPhone or computer.
What inspired it?
We wanted to take the virtual world of gaming online and make it exist physically. Whether that was driving an RC car or playing a first person shooter game, we had a myriad of ideas as we started to see the potential of controlling things through the Internet.
Tell us a little about some of the projects you are working on.
Currently we are working towards an installation at a zoo that will allow people online to feed a lion with our robotics. Similarly, at the same zoo, we look to install a small submarine that will allow people to swim with penguins in their habitat aquarium. Those are just a few ideas in that market with many more in the works.
How exactly does the iPetCompanion work?
This is a potentially complex answer so I will do my best to keep it simple. In a nut shell, we have taken some very creative software and IT architectures, allowing people to gain a peer-to-peer connection. What is important in this realm is the illusion of real-time, and in this case, the reality of real-time. When a person pushes a button and then looks to see something move on their screen, several seconds of latency can be noticed. What we have done is pushed the website to the edge of the Internet in order to display the video feed on your computer screen so no latency is perceived.
I can see from the Idaho Humane Society’s iPetCompanion page just how much fun your technology can be. Besides as an adoption tool, how else do you think your service could be used to benefit a company or organization?
The opportunities are endless even beyond what a business could utilize as a marketing tool. The question that we ask ourselves is what would you control if you could? The ideas range from the very functional, such as turning water irrigation valves on and off for a farming company; to the very entertaining, such as launching water balloons at a water park; to the very emotional, such as rocking your new born baby to sleep while on a business trip.
What separates you from the competition.
Since the influx of broadband internet connectivity reaching nearly every computer in the US in one way or another, we really have not seen anyone else who does this. We have seen some hobbyist attempts to drive a robotic devices around or turn the lights on in their house. What sets us apart from even them are two things: First, we are very detail oriented. Our technology can be controlled with any computer (Mac or PC) and can be controlled with any browser (save Google’s Chrome). Furthermore we have mitigated latency down to a few milliseconds. Second, we are very creative with our applications. When we talk about how we can utilize the technology in deferent vertical markets we work into great depth about all of the value propositions of that idea as well as physical functionality, in order to never reduce the technology’s performance as a whole.
Are there any goals that you hope to accomplish in the next year or so?
Profitability would be the number goal but we want to grow at a rate that is sustainable for our company as well as continue to perfect the technology.
What are some lessons your business has taught you?
I would say that great ideas are not made in a day, nor created by any one person. It takes a team of the right people with the right mind set to properly create a start-up. We have gone from a few crazy ideas on a white board in a garage to a full on developmental strategy for both the business and technology.
Do you have any advice you’d like to offer fellow entrepreneurs that are just getting started?
Information is great but tenacity is key to get in front of the right people.