When you rush to leave home in the mornings and see an umbrella, you suddenly become curious about the weather forecast. But, it is often inconvenient to take your cellphone out of your pocket and check the weather forecast. Connecting that experience, a South Korean startup “Opus One” has developed a smart umbrella, which tells if it’s going to rain using Internet of Things (IoT) technology, for the first time in the world, drawing wide attention from foreign partner companies and foreign media.
By downloading the Jonas smartphone app and connecting the smart umbrella to the smartphone with Bluetooth, users enable a display of daily weather conditions on an LED lamp at the end of the handle, allowing them decide whether to take the umbrella with them that day. Red light on the device indicates rain on that particular day, while a green one indicates clear skies. The item also helps prevent loss of either smartphone or umbrella, each of which gives off an alarm or vibration when they are more than 10 meters apart. Even without checking for warnings, users can receive assistance finding lost umbrellas by using an app to see its last location. Also, the smart umbrella notifies its users by vibrating if the smartphone connected to the app receives calls or text messages while they are using it.
If they’re searching for their smartphone in the vicinity, they can shake the umbrella for about 30 seconds to set off an alarm in the phone that will let them find it. The device runs on four AAA batteries that have the capacity to last for one to two years under normal use. Boasting a fiberglass aluminum frame, it is very light in weight and resistant to snap and bending.
Kim Gi-yeong, a former Samsung Electronics engineer who had 13 years of working experience in the hardware development, software development and product planning sectors, joined KDLAB, a smaller mobile accessory provider which was founded by his Samsung colleague, after he resigned from Samsung. He achieved accumulative sales of 15 billion won (US$13.04 million) in two and half years. Then, Kim established a startup “Opus One” in 2015. Opus One developed the Jonas smart umbrella as its first product. The smart umbrella was launched in Japan in August last year and is still on sale. It has also become the talk of the town among various media like local TV stations and NHK.
In addition, there was a really positive response at the 2017 Promotionmassan in Stockholm, Sweden, on Jan. 17-19, when Sweden’s Dalarnas Paraplyfabrik AB, which is Northern Europe’s biggest manufacturer and distributor of umbrellas with 90 years of history, displayed the Jonas smart umbrella on behalf of Opus One at the event. Accordingly, Dalarnas Paraplyfabrik suggested signing an exclusive contract for Northern Europe to Opus One.
The U.S. electronics distribution company MTROIz International also requested discussions on U.S. sales in early Feb. after displaying and seeing the popularity of the Jonas at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Opus One (http://www.theopusone.com/us/index.html)is now besieged by import offers coming in from various countries, such as Taiwan, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and China, and numerous press and media, including PC Magazine and Cnet, are scrambling to introduce Opus One’s Jonas smart umbrella. With the Samsung Mobile Accessory Partnership Program, Opus One has opened up its market by selling through Samsung’s subsidiaries across the world and is preparing for its global launch in earnest. Opus One was selected to join a startup incubating program operated by the Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation (GCCEI) through evaluations from Jan. this year and is now working together with the center in the overseas promotion and marketing sectors.
Michael Camitz, chief mentor and former Deloitte senior advisor at the Uppsala Innovation Centre (UIC), a global leading startup incubator, said, “It was very impressive when I first learned about Opus One at the UIC Center in Dec. last year, along with the GCCEI, Gyeonggi Small & Medium Business Center and KOTRA. As Opus One’s Jonas smart umbrella can be very popular not only North Europe but also all over Europe, I will provide full support to help the product be imported to Europe in the near future.”