Qiara, the new connected alarm that wants to shake up the giants of the sector

Qiara wants to replicate Freebox’s success in connected home and home security. The Home Labs brand, founded by former Iliad Deputy CEO Alexis Bidino, is launching its product on January 26: a connected alarm that wants to shake up the market by offering prices lower than historic players’ solutions and hardware. more privacy-protective than Google or Amazon.

Alexis Bidino founded Home Labs in 2020 with the goal of becoming the European champion in home device connectivity. The launch of the Qiara brand is the culmination of two years of research and development.

The destruction of the oligopoly and the creation of an alternative to GAFAM “made in France”.

The founder spent three years at Iliad, between 2017 and 2020, during which he notably led the launch of Freebox Delta, the first integrated home automation feature. A few months after the launch of this box, the operator began selling a “security package” for the connected home. Alexis Bidino noted that the home security market was oligopolistic (Verisure, Homiris, etc.), just like the phone market before Free.

High prices and lack of transparency (by valuation), imposed commitment periods… Home Labs was created to dust off a sector that has certainly seen GAFAM’s offerings but to which the startup is pitted against solutions made in France. Products are made in Laval, except for the camera lens, which is made in Taiwan.

“The market is owned by two or three players who set crazy prices, commitments from 12 to 48 months and get a margin of 70%,” says Alexis Bidinot. To develop its offering, the startup was inspired by Iliad, Alan “for customer experience” and Simplisafe, an American company positioned in the same segment that has attracted millions of users. The team consists of former engineers and developers who participated in Freebox Delta, and employees of Virtuo and Rocket Internet.

Optional offer

Qiara has a non-binding offer that sells after the first year for 19.99 euros per month without remote monitoring and 29.99 euros with a price to which must be added 99 euros for the starter package. The system consists of a connected camera equipped with a physical shutter and sensors (temperature, air quality, humidity), a door or window sensor, a keypad and a siren that can be installed without the intervention of a professional. The application is used to manage the system (deactivation, alerts, settings, live video, etc.). The hardware and software technologies were developed in-house. Customer service is also carried out within the company.

Particular attention was paid to the design of the hardware, always modeled on the success of Free. A running design agency is what designed the Cowboy Connected Electric Bike. “We wanted something beautiful, simple and notable for its absence,” comments the founder.

Particular attention is paid to privacy

For safety reasons, the camera shutter closes and the microphone automatically turns off when the customer is at home. The data is encrypted and only the camera is connected to the network via a proprietary VPN. Videos are stored locally on the camera’s SD card, while what is stored in the cloud is hosted in Europe on Scaleway. “Privacy is a key element for us. We have done everything to reduce the risk of hacking,” Alexis Bidino.

In the future, Qiara intends to expand its offering. The startup is working, for example, on prototypes for monitoring water leaks, as well as on an electricity consumption detector. Products related to home security in a broad sense, which could ideally be associated with the offer of home insurance, as Hippo does in the United States, and Luko tried to do in France.

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