Iota Labs Unveils Dot, the Future of Smartphone Notifications


Iota Labs, a group of five Berkeley engineers, is launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to finish developing Dot, the Physical Push Notification. Utilizing Bluetooth 4.0, Dot provides ultra-precise location data to your smartphone so that it can send you contextual notifications based on where you are and what you’re doing. At a price of $20, Dot ensures that you receive relevant information exactly when and where you need it most. All you have to do is download the app (iOS and Android) and place a Dot somewhere important.

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In today’s busy, interconnected world, smartphones collect an enormous amount of data as people go about their day. Often times, it’s difficult to break through the noise to find relevant, important information. Iota Labs aims to streamline people’s lives by putting their information in the right place at the right time.

Dot’s core technology has three main components: a Bluetooth 4.0 proximity sensor, an Internet of Things-enabled LED, and a community-based, open-source app store. When you walk in range of a Dot, the proximity sensor tells your smartphone to display context-specific notifications. In addition, the IoT LED light allows your smartphone to convey relevant information at a glance. Dot’s free app store creates a collaborative space for users and developers to craft and share solutions for a variety of use cases.

What can Dot do?

From its inception, Iota Labs’ founders designed Dot to have endless use cases. Their goal, according to co-founder Kunal Chaudhary, “is to allow each user to customize the product to their own lives.” These use cases work like apps; you pick one and assign it to a Dot. When you walk into range, that app will run. The following are a couple, illustrative examples:

Digital Post-it Notes: Post a message on a Dot for another person. They’ll receive that message on their phone when they walk into range. It’s like sticking a note on the fridge: you only see it when you need to.

Contextual App Launching: Dot enables your smartphone to open up apps you frequently use in specific areas. Imagine getting into your car and instantly being routed home as your favorite Spotify playlist blasts through the speakers. Dot uses context to streamline your life.

Location Notifications: Dot can enable your smartphone to send you updates when you walk into a new area. Use this as a personal secretary when you walk into work in the morning or as a chore reminder when you enter your garage.

Smart Home Control: With precise location tracking you can control all your smart home devices by walking into a room. Lights can turn on or off, the coffee machine can start, and the thermostat can adjust to your preferences. Dot is a flexible, inexpensive alternative to smart home controllers.

LED: Dot’s LED can change its color based on your preferences. It can track reminders, medications, weather, stocks, food spoilage, energy conservation, etc.

When you buy a Dot, you’re not just buying a piece of hardware, you’re buying into a community that increases in utility and value with time. A key feature of Dot is that, the more you use it, the more it understands your patterns and behaviors. It can provide helpful information based on your everyday habits. In many ways, Dot is your personal virtual secretary.

Open and Developer Friendly

Dot is designed to be accessible for all smartphone users, but also has a rich developer ecosystem. Dot has an open-source JavaScript API that makes developing apps quick and simple.

Company Background

Founded in August 2015, Iota Labs quickly gained traction within the Berkeley startup community. It’s been backed by multiple accelerators, most notably Citris Foundry, a UC Berkeley applied technology incubator. The team has studied Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. Kunal states that “the idea for Dot came around when two of us experimented with Augmented Reality and realized that our smartphones lack context.” The team is full of avid science fiction fans that are passionate about any technology that moves them towards the future

What is Context?

Context is the next big innovation in computing. Computers exist in cold metal boxes, bound by digital walls. They understand almost nothing about the real world. And how can they? Our smartphones have very little idea what we’re doing throughout the day, whether we’re relaxing on our bed, doing chores, or hanging out with friends. What would happen if our smartphones became aware? They would interact with us based on our circumstances. They would begin to understand our lives and customize themselves to our needs. Context makes our smartphones exponentially smarter.

Product Specs:

– $20 per Dot

– Replaceable Battery

– Battery Life 6 months – 1 Year

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