This man wants to disrupt your download: Paul Judge is set to revolutionize home Wi-Fi.
The consumer router market has thrived, thanks mainly to the trend of "Internet of Things" (IOT), and home users connecting more devices to their networks. The consumer router market increased 5% in 2014, surpassing 166.1 million unit shipments, and it is predicted to reach 219 million shipments in 2020, generating $13.5 billion.
Luma, launched in June 2016, is among the new crop of routers employing cutting-edge technology to combat the issue of wireless dead zones--using several smaller routers around a home to create a "mesh network," which provides whole-home Wi-Fi coverage.
The startup was founded by Paul Judge, Ph.D., and Mike Van Bruinisse, networking experts who've worked together for almost two decades. Judge is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and scholar, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Morehouse College, and received his Master of Science and doctorate in network security from Georgia Tech.
Judge was involved in research at some of the most prestigious cybersecurity companies, including CipherTrust and Barracuda Networks. Additionally, he's won numerous awards and holds 30 computer security technology patents (some are patent-pending).
After launching his own investment firm, Judge Ventures, and funding several startups, he cofounded his own, LookLive--a shopping app for men--which reached more than $120,000 monthly gross merchandise volume in 2016.
Luma is a new type of startup for Judge because it's hardware-based. It's riskier venture because there are established wireless router companies that have been around for decades. TP-Link, Asus, and Netgear have the largest share of this market.
Still, Silicon Valley is showing confidence in Luma. After an undisclosed seed round of funding to get the product to market, Amazon invested $12.5 million in Series A funding through its Alexa Fund.
The Luma Difference
To create an automated home, "It needs to be connected," says Judge. "Wi-Fi is actually a foundation. Wi-Fi allows a connected toothbrush to get on the internet, or the connected luggage, or whatever you're into."
Reliable Wi-Fi is the key to getting consumers to buy connected devices.
"People buy, say, a connected sprinkler system, or a connected hot water heater, or doorbell, and that's for the ends of your home--but you don't have Wi-Fi coverage there. The problem is you don't have adequate Wi-Fi coverage to build the base of a connected home," explains Judge.
"One router can't cover your house because Wi-Fi waves are like sound waves; they have a problem getting through walls, and drapes, and doors," he says. "You wouldn't buy one speaker and try and turn it up very loudly to cover your house in sound. What you do is get a couple of little speakers, and put them around your home. When we built Luma, we used that approach."
Luma has more than 1,000 reviews on Amazon, with 61% giving the product five stars. Many reviewers praise the easy setup and the software that lets you know when someone's accessing your network, among other features.
If there is one person with the credentials to disrupt the consumer networking space, it's Judge. He is also not unaware that there are few, if any, black people at the helm of a router company.
"There's certainly a disconnect between this world of creating technology companies and what the rest of America looks like. So, it's a problem that needs to be addressed," Judge says. "At the same time, I don't think of myself as 'a black Wi-Fi guy.' We put out a great product that the world loves."
BE HEARD BY SAMARA LYNN
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RELATED ARTICLE: Road testing the Huawei fit.
FITNESS TRACKER WATCHES ARE ALL THE RAGE, and there are a lot of them on the market. The Apple Watch Series 2 is north of $300, while the Samsung Gear Fit 2 will run you about $150. Chinese tech manufacturer Huawei throws its hat into the digital fitness ring with the new Huawei Fit--a $129.99, no-frills, yet functional fitness tracker.
The Huawei Fit is a lightweight watch with an aluminum face and a Polyurethane band, which can be swapped out for other bands. The watch pairs via Bluetooth with the Huawei Wear app available for both iPhone and Android.
Setup and Test Run
The Huawei Fit is easy to set up. It ships with a Quick Start Guide that includes a QR Code to begin the syncing process with the app.
The watch interface opens to a quick-start screen. You dive right into monitoring a workout: running, treadmill, walking, or cycling.
Huawei Fit will automatically identify walking or running status and record data, including goals such as distance, calories, fat burning, and aerobic endurance. You can set the goal most important to you.
At the end of a workout, the watch displays statistics, such as distance, duration, average pace, calories, heart rate range, exercise result score, new records, V02 max, and recovery time. This data flows into the app for tracking purposes.
One quirk I found annoying: If you accidentally launch a quick-start running session, for example, the watch begins a three-second countdown. Then, you have to stop the session by pressing a "stop" icon on the screen. Next, the message tells you your activity wasn't recorded, because it was less than a minute. It's a relatively tedious process if you select a workout session that you want to end right away.
The fitness tracker also offers sleep monitoring. It tracks sleeping and waking times, and tells you if you slept deeply or lightly.
If your goal is to run a marathon, Huawei Fit has a runner's training feature. It can design running plans for 5 km, 10 km, half marathons, or full marathons.
Functional, but Basic
Huawei Fit works, but it's not a terribly exciting device in either style or functionality. But as a low-cost fitness companion, it suffices.--S.L.
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2017|
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