Co-Founder & CEO
It felt like middle of the night when the phone rang. It was a retired scientist who lived with his wife in a peaceful suburb of Mumbai. There was a sense of urgency in his voice which triggered a gut wrenching feeling in me. My mind ran a deduction of events/ scenarios about what could possibly have gone wrong. All this even before the first sentence was uttered. He, a champion user, would often visit his daughters who lived in the same city and track the electricity consumption of his home remotely. And as a practice, we would meet our users once a month and have shared our personal phone numbers with the first few hundred users. These were days when we didn’t have a ticketing system.
He explains that he invited his grand-daughter to stay with them. The grand-daughter would need AC in the night. Poor grand-parents tolerated the chill for the night but later chose of turn the AC off when it became unbearable. After turning off the AC, he checked his ‘Ohm Assistant’, which by now was a compulsive habit, and realised the AC was still on! He tried turning the AC on & off multiple times but there was very little change that he observed. His point was – the Ohm Assistant doesn’t work and is giving wrong data.
App not working is a much simpler problem to resolve compared to what my mind is capable of thinking while receiving an emergency call from a customer in the middle of the night. I gathered his customer ID and was able to validate that the device was live and all the processes were stable. Next step was to address the customer problem and validate whether or not it was a product level issue. This meant a greater access to the data which was only possible in the presence of the CIO (Master of Data). And it didn’t feel right to escalate the issue at 4:12 AM in the morning. Understanding my hesitation, he video-called from his wife’s phone. Indeed, the app indicated that something like an AC could be on right then. And then he also pointed towards the AC and in-fact took me to different rooms to show other ACs were also off! While doing so, he also turned on the lights and fan of the drawing room and the app responded to the change.
In my head, it wasn’t a product level issue any more. However, I still couldn’t figure out what could lead to this abnormality. I asked him to turn on the geysers and apparently the power consumption shot-up and he quickly turned them off even before the lag of the WhatsApp video allowed me to observe the change. At this point, the customer took pity at my state and he probably observed my state for the first time and realised that he woke me up in the middle of the night. He suggested we should connect in 4 hours’ time. Meanwhile, we both came to a consensus that let’s turn the AC off from its dedicated switch on the switch-board.
At 4:35, I received a smiley with a message saying, “the consumption came down! But I am confused”! It was anyways impossible for me to go back to bed so I asked him if he wants to resolve the issue right then. To this he responded by calling back in few seconds. This time, however, I could hear people in his house cursing him and his new toy, ‘Ohm Assistant’. An otherwise gentle lady grumbled and voice faded very quickly. She must have left the room. The old man laughed and he makes a video call and shows me that the moment he turns on the switch of the AC (although the AC is turned off from its remote), the power consumption surges up. A quick search on the internet showed me that it could be because of multiple issues with most probable problem being ACs’ outdoor unit may not be turning off because of a ‘Stuck contactor’. Over time the contacts can become pitted and worn and the AC’s outdoor unit could keep running even if you have turned off the AC from its remote. On the spot explanation was satisfactory enough for him. He went on to become a champion user and ambassador for Ohm Assistant.
Like him, many users wanted SustLabs to help them diagnose an appliance level issue. So, we partnered with multiple leading Appliance manufacturers and AMC service providers in India. While we are good at detecting the sick appliance, our partners are champions of servicing them. This also allows our users to not fall for the standard scam of typical technicians: “Sir, your AC needs a gas refill”. With this, Ohm Assistant is becoming a must to have product in Mumbaikars’ lives.