Feature stories | Technology & innovation | Real estate

Don’t weather climatic discomfort at home or in office—just change it at will

22 Mar '16
A piece of cake it seems: too hot—conditioning is on, too cold—turn on a heater. What could be easier! But innovators in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, want to add intelligence to the process and are offering the market their own version of a ‘smart microclimate.’ Just like many who now engage in IT innovation, the Siberians bet in ‘weather control’ in a house or office on mobile tech and clouds. Ensuring temperature comfort is one side to the story. Keeping people in a room healthy is another; the system is designed, among other things, to keep the indoor environment clean. Finally, helping owners or users reduce electricity consumption in an area through a smart handling of devices saves costs and is also an advantage to take note.

The ‘smart microclimate’ system called “MagicAir” is a brainchild of Tion, a Novosibirsk-based developer. Another local company, LOGEEKs, has helped package the idea in a fairly sexy industrial design. Both are residents of Academpark, the technopark of Academgorodok, the famous borough in Novosibirsk packed with research centers and think-tanks. Tion is also a resident of Skolkovo, the most widely touted Russian innovation hub just outside Moscow.

The MagicAir is reportedly built on special sensors that enable the new gadget to continuously monitor air in a room. Wireless communications solutions are used to send monitoring results to a cloud server and then to a user’s smartphone. Based on the data, the MagicAir is assumed to be able to control household climatic appliances, such as compact plenum ventilation systems, conditioning, humidifiers, etc.

It is expected that applying advanced automation to indoor climatic control will make it possible to not only create a wholesome and comfy environment but also noticeably reduce energy consumption by, for example, switching ventilation and conditioning off when people leave the room.

A “small box” with global aspirations

At earlier stages of the project development Tion CEO Mikhail Amelkin described the new gadget as a “small smartphone app powered box” in which a sophisticated ‘smart house’ engineering system is neatly packed.

“We’re offering the customer something more than simply a new system to gauge the quality of air—it’s a comprehensive solution to keep the quality at a level desired… Already at the outset we knew we would be working on a world-class product to be in demand far beyond the Russian market,” the CEO said.

Set up back in 2006 by a group of alumni from the Novosibirsk State University, Tion is hardly a newbie in this segment. Over the past years the company has carved out a substantial share in the domestic market for medical equipment, and released a commercially viable plenum ventilation solution for households called “Tion Î2,” a product that is said to have taken less than two years to help the developer become a recognizable brand in Russia and even establish its presence in the EU and Asian markets.

The article was first published on the website of Lobachevsky University’s Technology Commercialization Center in Nizhny Novgorod.
Oleg Kouzbit, managing editor: “I’m glad you join us here and take The Bridge walk for Marchmont’s weekly review of the Russian regions’ innovative present and future. Stay close and you’ll find out more of how Russia is bridging the existing gap between its researchers and businesses.”
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