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Thursday, December 01, 2016

MAID: Stylish Aid To Jazz Up Cooking

If you have waited for someone to come up with a ‘connected microwave oven’, that would flash or show you recipes, just when you wanted inspiration to cook up something scrumptious, rather than having to read it from a book or off a website, then MAID (Make All Incredible Dishes), a smart, multi-functional oven, has been designed for people just like you.
MAID has been made by SectorQube, which is an Internet of Things (IoT) startup set up in October 2011 by six friends, that now employs 14 people. Nibu Alias is the CEO of the company. To raise funding, they ran a Kickstarter campaign for introducing MAID across the globe. SectorQube Inc, a US entity, was setup for the same reason. The campaign raised $123,920 in 35 days and they got 200 pre-orders. The goal had been to raise $50,000, which was done in an amazing six days!
So here are some of MAID’s wow features as shared by SectorQube:
1. It has touch interface rather than the usual buttons
2. A recipe database, connected via Wi-Fi that provides an unlimited number of recipes to the MAID interface
3. MAID can be controlled via touch, gesture and voice, and it is the only oven to have these features
4. MAID has a personalisation engine that can learn a user’s cooking habits and calorie needs, and can suggest recipes based on them

What really inspired the team to come up with such a ‘with it’ appliance, was their own lives. SectorQube, Co-Founder & CBDO, Sabarish Prakash told Networked India, “We were bachelors living in an apartment and we did not know how to cook. We depended on restaurants for food and in Kerala, where anyone can declare a hartal (strike) at any moment, it was not sustainable. We wanted something that could cook on its own – that was the idea. From there, we moulded an idea into something practical. That was how MAID was born.”
He added, “We had a soft launch in 2012. We were surprised by the coverage that it got. We got more than 1,000 pre-orders, but we were in no place to complete them. We did not have enough capital for manufacturing. So we had to drop all those pre-orders.”
We went ahead with licensing the technology to home appliance companies, but no one was ready to bring such a big change to the market. We wanted to market the product more in the western markets and also establish its market validity. That is when we decided to go for the Kickstarter campaign.”
Their moment of glory has come because MAID has got international acceptance now, as the same global home appliances companies who did not want to license the technology from them initially, are now contacting them.

Prakash says, “Even though we struggled initially, and at times thought that the product was maybe not good enough, we continued improving and going forward. And it got us on the path of success.”
The company has also implemented better and easier human-to-machine communication. What’s more, SectorQube has major industry leaders like Godrej and IFB on their client list, with more of them lining up.

Written for Ericsson.

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