From Tom – “The next generation cellular network (5G) promises to radically increase the ecosystem we call the “Internet of Things”. In this new-world order, every device is connected to the Internet, available to be monitored by an app on your phone and to proactively alert you to problems. The WSJ reports on a fascinating business (new to me) but that seems to have been around for a while: windows. A number of companies are manufacturing “smart glass” – it adjusts its tint based on the sun, eliminating the needs for blinds, has an IP address so it can be remotely monitored/controlled, and can alert security or police if it’s been broken. Other than some cost issues relative to traditional glass windows, it’s a fantastic idea that is a testament to how IoT can transform the mundane into the interesting!” Read the WSJ article below.
By Tess Riski
Like many startups in and around Silicon Valley, View Inc. believes its mission is to disrupt a stale product—in this case, glass.
The company produces and installs “smart windows,” which adjust automatically to sunlight and glare. Each blue-tinted window pane has its own IP address and can be controlled from a smartphone app. In the case of a break-in when a window pane is shattered, its “SmartProtect” technology can alert the building’s security system and even call the police.
With hundreds of office towers, hospitals, schools, retail and residential buildings as customers, View aims to upend the traditional window industry, which has remained largely unchanged since the 1950s and the invention of double-paned windows.
“I think it’s ripe for change,” said Chief Executive Rao Mulpuri. “Our phones are the most advanced things we deal with in our day-to-day lives, our cars are somewhere in between, and buildings are the dumbest.”
Founded 12 years ago, the Milpitas, Calif.-based company said it has completed 450 projects nationwide, both new builds and retrofits.
It has raised $1.8 billion in venture capital, including a $1.1 billion investment from SoftBank Group Corp. ’s Vision Fund in November.
A few other smart-glass companies have emerged in the U.S., though View is by far the largest. Mr. Mulpuri says its biggest competitor is the traditional glass-and-blinds industry.
SageGlass, which is owned by SAGE Electrochromics Inc., has raised $38.1 million in venture capital. The business, operating out of Faribault, Minn., boasts a large international presence with projects in countries like Switzerland, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
Hayward, Calif.-based Kinestral Technologies Inc., which manufactures Halio smart glass, has raised $229 million and completed projects across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
View produces glass in Olive Branch, Miss. The product costs buildings owners five times as much as traditional glass, and the installation and operating system costs about 50% more. But the material increases the amount of usable space, holds down energy costs and eliminates the need for blinds altogether, Mr. Mulpuri said.
This month, View unveiled plans for its first commercial-building remodeling in New York City. The TIAA building in Midtown will undergo a $200 million renovation, including replacing every window with View Dynamic Glass beginning at the end of July.
The windows will be installed from inside the building, forgoing the need for any scaffolding. The renovation, which includes doubling the height of the lobby and adding a grand staircase, is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
“People will say, ‘Wow, I want to be here,’” said Adriana De Alcantara, the managing director of portfolio management for Nuveen Real Estate. “Anything that is new, we’re trying to see if we can do it.”
One of the 1959 building’s tenants is Nuveen, the real estate subsidiary of financial services provider TIAA and a minority investor in View. The new windows will enable the company to “densify” its office: industry-speak for fitting more employees into less space.
Because the windows reduce glare and heat from the sun, more employees can be seated in what is currently unused space. TIAA will be able to lease out the top two-thirds of its building and boost the building’s revenue, Mr. Mulpuri said. “They’re putting the same amount of people in a third of the space,” he said.
View says it is developing more technology with artificial intelligence, projecting video onto the glass and crafting windows of different colors in addition to the standard blue tint.
One thing that’s not a top concern for Mr. Mulpuri: hacking. “The good news is the window’s not that interesting to hack.”
Read the full article HERE.