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Smart helmets let you listen to music, navigate and attend calls riding a motorcycle

It has always been a hassle to communicate via phone or enjoy music during a two-wheeler ride. Putting an end to untangling earphones or adjusting smartphones inside the helmets, Revsmart’s smart communication device helps you navigate, communicate and listen to music without blocking your ears.

, ET Online|
Updated: Dec 13, 2019, 12.17 PM IST
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RevSmart
Revsmart is looking forward to offer its solutions to the thriving food delivery and ride-sharing business in the country.
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Music and travel go together like Sundays and brunch and a road trip or a long drive without music is undoubtedly a dull affair. Or so thought Sunder Jagannathan and his friends when they decided to blow off some steam by taking a motorcycle trip to a mountain top in South India a couple of years ago. They wanted music and communication along their journey and thus wore earphones. However, the supposedly-fun trip took a devastating turn when one of them met with an accident.

While Sunder’s friend survived with minor injuries, the incident came with an interesting revelation for him. “Most two wheeler riders do not have a safe way to use communication, navigation or music while riding, so they use headphones, or put their smartphones inside helmet, which is extremely dangerous,” the 28-year-old technology enthusiast told ET.

The revelation shaped the idea to create a communication system that allows navigation and communication without any hassle or danger. While Sunder, who had previously worked with various tech startups, created the prototype, he was struggling with the manufacturing and design. This is where his father, Valadi K Jagannathan’s, 30 years of industrial designing experience came in handy and together they formed Revsmart in 2016.

The now Hong Kong-headquartered firm is dedicated to solve the problems associated with riding two-wheelers using innovation, technology and design. Headsup, its flagship product, is a communication device that can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth and provides communication, navigation and music without blocking your ears.

The father-son duo has further enhanced the product, adding an AI-enabled voice assistant support making it a smart helmet that takes voice commands from riders such as navigation requests or making a call, similar to this generation’s beloved Alexa.

Enabling ‘smooth’ rides
“There are more than 500 million two wheelers in Asia who do not have proper solutions for rider comfort, communication, connectivity etc. Also, India is the world’s largest two wheeler market, yet there are very few Indian made solutions that cater to such rider problems,” Sunder said.

While cars have numerous solutions to these problems, two-wheelers, which form the majority of the everyday commute means in the country, do not have any effective solution. Headsup was precisely created to address these rider woes.

As a smart communication wearable, Headsup uses a unique piezo ceramic excitation technology to transmit sound through the helmet’s shell. Piezo ceramics are smart materials which convert mechanical stress (such as pressure, movement, or vibration) into an electric signal and vice versa. They are often used as sensors. Hence, the technology allows access to communication, navigation and music providing audio safely without blocking your ears.

“The design of Headsup is a universal design, which does not require the user to carry any cables and can be used for other purposes too,” Sunder added.

Headsup’s other unique selling point is that it is not limited to helmets of two wheelers, but can be used for helmets worn by bicycle riders, construction workers, and adventure sports. It can withstand all kinds of weather and can be powered using a rechargeable lithium ion battery lasting up to 8 hours.

The smart device has an inbuilt microphone allowing riders to communicate in groups. The microphone can also invoke the AI-enabled voice assistant support in the device while riding.

bike_remote

Apart from Headsup, Revsmart has developed a smart remote that can be fitted on the handlebar of the vehicle and offers easy controls of a smartphone including all media controls and invoking the voice assistant support.

In addition to this, it comes with a smartphone app which provides a communication, tracking and navigation platform for riders in groups.

The firm provides smart helmet solutions as a B2B licensing to motorcycle companies, delivery fleet operators and helmet manufacturers. Revsmart also recently kicked off its B2C model where it sells the products through distributors and retailers.

However, Revsmart is not the first in the business when it comes to building smart headgear. There are international brands like SENA and SCHUBERTH which have been building communication system for riders for quite some time. When asked what makes his innovation different, the entrepreneur said, “The existing products in the market are not only expensive, but also very complicated to use. Further, they do not provide an open ear audio.”

Tapping into the other two-wheeler business
Revsmart began the pilot production of Headsup in December 2018 and is set to officially commercialize the product this year. In some appealing figures, the firm has already bagged more than 3,800 pre orders and is working with six leading B2B companies and more than 24 rider groups. Mainly present in Hong Kong and India, the firm is targeting a global market and has signed up with distributors in many parts of Asia and Europe.

Another set of numbers indicate a brighter future for the tech startup. While the firm has so far clocked a sum of $150,000, it aims to earn a whopping $3 million by next fiscal, as per Sunder’s calculations with respect to the pre-registered orders.

In the meantime, Revsmart has raised funds from various organizations, including the Indian government and tech giant Intel. It has also been backed by Brinc Accelerator and Australian Venture Capitalist Artesian Capital.

While Headsup is currently priced at $99, Sunderathan said they will be bringing the cost further down to suit the needs of the Indian market. Revsmart is also in talks with insurance companies to use Headsup data to reduce the cost of insurance.

Apart from the general two-wheeler population in the country, Revsmart is looking forward to offer its solutions to the thriving food delivery and ride-sharing business in the country. Sunder believes that the market potential is huge, as India is taking its plunge into last-mile two wheeler connectivity with companies like Bounce and two wheeler based delivery companies like Zomato, Swiggy etc.

Explaining the agenda, he said, “The market has a lot of different segments from premium riders to delivery riders, having multiple problem statements. We believe that the opportunity is untapped and opens up a wide market for us as we also offer unique solutions to track and monitor helmets and provide communication solutions for riders of these companies.”
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