Two local entrepreneurs, including the co-founder of the company that created the fingerprint sensor technology used by Apple iPhones, have joined forces on a new startup that aims to make the convenience of the Internet of Things available to the disabled and the elderly.
Raleigh-based K4Connect is headed by CEO F. Scott Moody, who co-founded Florida-based AuthenTec and led it for more than a decade before it was acquired by Apple for $356 million in 2012. After that sale, Moody, an N.C. State University graduate, moved back to the Triangle.
The concept behind K4Connect, Moody said in an interview, came from co-founder and serial entrepreneur Jonathan Gould, who is the company’s chief technology officer. Gould previously started an audio-visual and home automation company and a business, Concierge Solutions, that developed software for clients.
Formed in late 2013, today K4Connect has six full-time and three part-time employees and is being bankrolled by Moody. At the outset, the company focused on developing a software platform that could seamlessly connect numerous devices, regardless of their manufacturer, and control them through a single application.
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“There are a lot of challenges,” Moody said. “You have a lot of different (Internet-connected) devices coming out by a lot of different manufacturers, all to different kinds of standards, even using different wireless protocols. And it’s changing rapidly.”
The technology K4Connect has developed “is very modular and very open” and can adapt to the onslaught of continual change. “It’s very, very easy to interface (with) a new product. It’s very easy to update the software platform,” Moody said.
The company hit upon what its first product should be a few months ago after Moody met someone with multiple sclerosis. The founders quickly “realized this technology could make a significant difference in his life and millions of others,” Moody said.
So their first product, K4Life, is will be what Moody calls “a complete home, wellness and life management system” designed for the disabled and the elderly.
Scheduled to be released in the second quarter of 2015, K4Life will consist of a wireless control box that will connect and manage numerous devices – from thermostats and lights to coffee makers, medicine dispensers and blood pressure monitors. It will work with the new breed of Internet-connected devices as well as devices that are retrofitted for connectivity or are plugged into connected wall outlets, according to Moody.
“It’s already in beta,” he said. “It’s in people’s homes, being tested.”
The price tag is still in yet-to-be-determined status. But, Moody said, “we’re going to make it as affordable as possible for everybody.”