September 15, 2020, Beijing. The KNOW Brand and Product Launch Conference was held today, where its CEO and founder TANG Mu and his team unveiled an 18-product smart home solution and shared their experience of founding the new company over the past year.
As the ex-Xiaomi Head of UI, TANG Mu has 19 years’ experience in the industry and designed nearly 1,000 pieces of software and hardware. He has become deeply in tune with user experience. He left Xiaomi in September 2019 and assumed the mantle of an entrepreneur and joined the smart home industry, creating a new team, company – and a new brand named KNOW. The startup team is focusing on the Al+loT field, researching and developing a full suite of cutting-edge, high-end smart products and services for the home.
At the press conference, TANG Mu explained his founding vision in detail, interpretating KNOW’s smart products and the company’s future structure and plans. The name of KNOW in Chinese comes from the idiom “like a shadow that follows one”, with its company slogan “know you better”, which means they are the expert in improving user experience, reflecting its products’ sense of invisible service and uninterrupted companionship. The English name KNOW is the abbreviation of the brand’s proposition of “Knowledge”, “Natural”, “Open” and “Wisdom”. KNOW’s full line of products and their design concepts fully reflect these four concepts.
“Relying on the ultimate user experience” means uncompromising on service
After years in user experience design and product experience at leading manufacturers, TANG Mu realized that, in the smart home field, everything revolves around the user experience. Smart products are useless if users find them bothersome to choose, understand or install. He believes that users have a proven need for smart devices in the home and that whole-home smart solutions will bring users a better quality of living.
Therefore, KNOW believes that only the ultimate user experience will bring the ultimate value to the business. KNOW has taken “relying on the ultimate user experience” as its core value, closing the gap between smart hardware and home design for the first time, aiming to popularize “smart living” through products that integrate technology, aesthetics, and hassle-free installation and maintenance. When a user selects KNOW products, specialists from KNOW make a thorough in-home evaluation and take measurements, then deliver the right KNOW products to their doorstep. Within two hours, a new smart home comes online.
Do what’s never been done before to find opportunity
As a startup, KNOW didn’t put all its eggs into one basket: instead, it created two divisions – AIoT and Robotics – to promote different products simultaneously – inSight and inBot.
The AIoT business unit focuses on hardware and connectivity with intelligent control. “inSight” is an intelligent speaker + versatile gateway, allowing users to control not only via voice, physical interface, and app: inSight can also connect with other hardware via 6 mainstream AIoT connection solutions including Bluetooth, ZigBee, NFC, WiFi, cable, and RS485 serial port. In total, inSight can connect tp to more than 1,000 smart device brands and over 100 million smart devices. In addition to KNOW products, inSight can also connect to the platforms and branded products of Xiaomi, JD, Suning and Midea. By shattering barriers between brands, KNOW is redefining the way devices interact throughout the home.
KNOW’s coffee robot and smart kitchen products show everyone the deep learning capabilities of KNOW in the AI field. The KNOW Coffee Robot is currently the only robot that can make latte art. To accomplish this feat, the KNOW team recorded champion baristas’ movements and converted them into 3D coordinates that a robotic arm can understand and replicate, learning how to create latte art in just 6 hours. The smart kitchen robotic arm displayed at the company launch was able to learn how to fry the perfect steak from a Michelin three-star chef. Now, the robotic arm can complete the entire process of grilling, cooking broccoli, and plating dishes with black pepper sauce, bringing a virtual Michelin chef right into users’ kitchens.
KNOW believes that robotic arm products will follow the path of robot vacuums and become commonplace in homes. KNOW is confidently pressing forward by improving its devices’ capabilities and bringing down the cost. KNOW’s coffee robot has already been piloted at several offices; the kitchen robot arm will soon be deployed in a villa.
Edison – a chief butler, not an assistant
At the press conference, KNOW revealed its smart housekeeper “Edison” who has a professional, warm and restrained attitude. Users may summon him by calling “Edison” in Chinese or English.
Edison has been positioned not as an assistant but as a chief butler for the home. In terms of the user experience, Edison’s philosophy is to “speak less and do more”: he is active behind the scenes with the various sensors placed throughout the home.
The inCare series of products released today cover 6 types of sensors, including: door and curtain sensors, water sensors, natural gas alarms, smoke alarms, and smart door monitors. With this array of “nerves”, the KNOW system can perceive changes in the environment and anticipate user needs. With KNOW’s “proactive AI”, Edison is able to anticipate the needs of users through autonomous learning, proactively helping users operate their smart home system for a more comfortable environment.
In smart scenarios, more than 80% of voice commands are related to lighting
KNOW believes that lighting scenarios are especially worthy of intelligentization. In the smart speaker era (in which the speaker is the primary interface device), 80% of user instructions are for lighting control, with common phrases like “turn on the light”, “turn off the light”, and “dark”. As a result, many of the products in the first KNOW brand AIO Box are related to lighting, including curtain motors for opening and closing curtains – the most significant factor affecting natural light in a space.
The 18 products debuted at the launch event included 6 inLight smart switches, smart curtains, smart LED lighting drivers and strip lighting, HD spotlights and warm color striplights. The inLight intelligent dimming driver combines with smart scene dimming to allow families to feel like they’re always in a five-star hotel.
The smallest closed value loop to bring users a smart home
At the press conference, KNOW launched the public beta of its AIO Box. The AIO Box contains 11 products, using the smallest kit possible to help users complete the intelligentization of their entire home. Using the AIO Box, the user can intuitively feel the quality of KNOW: the AG glass panel used by KNOW was created using CNC, ultrasound, hardened steel, electroplating, and film, as well as more than 20 polishing steps, revealing a surface as delicate and smooth as a baby’s skin. The night indicator light is gentle on the eyes and ensures that nighttime prompts do not affect sleep.
KNOW believes that the most important elements of its smart home solution are quality, cost and delivery. Already, the KNOW team has years of experience and proven strengths in product creation, as the AIO box demonstrates. The AIO Box price is debuting at just RMB 6,999 and will launch online at JD.com and offline at Suning. Users can follow KNOW’s official public account to learn more about how to purchase.
Starting a business from customer orders and scenarios
In the early stages of its creation, part of KNOW’s angel investment came from the real estate sector, and important early orders were placed by real estate developers. These projects provided a wealth of opportunity for experimentation and scenarios, allowing KNOW to quickly close the gap between R&D and market launch.
KNOW smart products are already being implemented at a number of real estate projects. TANG Mu believes he is a pragmatic entrepreneur: only with a customer order and a scenario can he can truly “design for the scenario rather than design from experience”, creating the best outcome for users.
Despite still being a startup, KNOW has already worked with Xiaomi as the lead unit to assist the China Communications Industry Association and the China Electronics Standardization Institute to formulate the “Home Equipment Control Intelligent Classification Standard”, leveraging its expertise in smart homes to create clear phases for the healthy development of smart homes in China.
At the press conference, leaders and representatives from KNOW’s strategic partners including Qualcomm, MediaTek, Foxconn, Speed, BYD, Universal Robots, JD.com, Suning, Haohaozhu, KE Holdings and other companies expressed their optimism and expectations for the new brand.