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Community Highlights: Meet Alex Capecelatro of Josh.ai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Capecelatro. Them and their team share their story with us below:

In 2015, Alex Capecelatro and Tim Gill co-founded Josh.ai after having challenging experiences remodeling their own homes. At the time, they didn’t know a lot about smart home technology and were pitched expensive, complicated, and often outdated interfaces. It felt like there had to be a better way. Between device clutter on walls distracting from a home’s design aesthetic along with how they foresaw user interfaces evolving with respect to AI and voice control, they knew there was a need. Given Alex’s expertise in user experience design and Tim’s in software engineering having already spent years developing the foundation of Josh.ai for his own personal use, they decided to take it upon themselves to build the smart home of the future that everyone could enjoy. 

With their founding mission in mind, Josh.ai’s number one goal is to eliminate the boundaries between a smart home’s technology and its users. Whether it’s through the convenience of voice control through the company’s microphone products, Josh Micro and Josh Nano, or the intuitive Josh.ai app; a homeowner should be able to live in and operate their environment without headaches. They shouldn’t have to think about or learn the technology embedded behind the walls. Simply tell Josh to dim the lights, put on some music, watch a show, or shut everything down. It should be that easy. 

Clients also depend on Josh.ai for its commitment to data privacy and security. The company understands how much its clients care about sensitive information, and never shares data to external parties for sales purposes. 

Josh.ai’s stance on privacy has become a key feature and differentiator among voice platforms, especially given the mass market assistants act as Trojan horses to gather user data for marketing purposes. Since Josh.ai is a solution purpose-built for home technology professionals, its focus is on providing a rich feature set and advanced capabilities that enable a magical, intuitive, and simple voice experience. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The smart home is a unique frontier due to a variety of factors and stakeholders involved. 

With respect to voice control technology, it is particularly difficult to parse text with proper understanding because we tend to leave out a lot of contexts when we speak. For example, consider the command, “Turn that off.” Was “that” referring to the music you have on, the lights that were recently dimmed, the TV that plays Netflix’s next season hit, or maybe you’re pointing at a particular device you want to shut off. Voice assistants struggle with disambiguating these simple commands. But that’s where we’re focused with Josh.ai. 

Education is a big challenge for smart home adopters because it takes time and research to start transforming their living spaces with the right technology. Each brand appeals to certain audiences so not every smart thermostat for example will have comparable features or work with the same systems. Once a client has decided on their connected devices, it typically requires a professional to properly deploy and integrate them. Also, connected systems can be fragile and break from time to time causing frustration for DIY consumers. That is why Josh.ai is installed by certified professionals to make sure the transition to a smart home is as seamless as possible. If anything fails or breaks, a support network is always ready to help. 

For interior designers and architects, they are often annoyed by technology’s footprint and how it can lessen the beauty of their work. That is why Josh.ai is a design-first company with the goal of building the ultimate in smart home user experiences. Technology should blend into the background and elevate the accessibility of living spaces as opposed to sticking out as clutter or an eyesore. 

Cost presents a barrier to entry as well. While the mass market assistants offer some functionality at lower price points, consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about differences in usability and how larger technology companies are using smart speakers as trojan horses to monetize user data. Ultimately, you get what you pay for when investing in purpose-built solutions that provide convenience, simplicity, and security. 

We’ve been impressed with Josh.ai, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
WHAT IS JOSH?
With Josh.ai, luxury harmoniously blends with technology to offer a simplified, secure, and magical home interface. Easily set the mood with natural voice commands or efficiently personalize your smart home experience using the Josh app. Whichever way is most natural for you to interact with your environment, Josh is here to help. Every aspect of Josh.ai, from the industrial design and intuitive software to its marketing and brand, are designed to deliver a premium look and feel.
 

NATURAL VOICE COMMANDS

Josh.ai’s proprietary natural language processing is purpose-built for home automation. There’s no need to memorize commands to trigger specific actions. Instead, Josh.ai understands the capabilities of devices, what’s currently active, and your home’s layout. This contextual awareness enables conversational commands, such as “bring up the shades,” “dim the sconces,” “listen to smooth jazz in the kitchen, living room, and bedroom,” or even compound commands like “lower the shades halfway, raise the music, set the lights to 25%, and watch Stranger Things.” Every Josh.ai microphone is also room aware, so saying “lights on” or “watch Discovery channel” will only happen locally, reducing the need to memorize room and device names. 

CUSTOM INSTALLATION

Josh.ai is exclusively sold through certified partners who are trained to properly install and support their clients. Josh Nanosystems, powered by Josh Core, are equipped with various features built for professionals including the ability to span VLANs, which provides deployment flexibility for any project no matter the complexity. Every Josh Nano and Josh Core is hardwired and powered over ethernet (POE) for system stability. For additional flexibility, Josh Micro is POE or Wi-Fi capable to enable voice access anywhere a client needs it. Remotely accessible diagnostic and intuitive configuration tools make it easy for installers to support systems as well as for clients to limitlessly personalize their voice experiences. 

DESIGN

While other voice assistants are physically becoming larger and positioning their speakers as focal points in a room, Josh Nano was purpose-built to blend into its surroundings as the industry’s first architectural microphone. Meanwhile, Josh Micro has been carefully crafted to fit the interior design in any room of the modern smart home. Josh Micro and Nano also feature capacitive touch surfaces for custom device configuration per room as well as contextual manual control. 

PRIVACY & DATA SECURITY

Rest assured that the conversations within your home remain private. Josh.ai only listens for its name, “OK Josh,” and once woken up it displays a rainbow animation to communicate that you’re being heard. Josh.ai is the only home-focused assistant that offers tools to manage how much of your data is used to ensure your privacy is secure. You won’t be sold anything or have your data marketed to third parties, Josh.ai’s only concern is creating your best smart home experience. 

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
The support and enthusiasm from over 1,000 Josh.ai certified partners in the field and others in the CEDIA community continually reinforce Josh.ai’s commitment to the custom smart home channel. The industry rallies around each other for support and innovative inspiration. It has been amazing to experience is as Josh.ai has grown and continues being recognized as a pioneer in voice control, AI, and branding. The team is extremely proud of all that it has accomplished, not just as a manufacturer, but to also be recognized as a leader in its industry.” 

Naturally, a huge amount of credit goes to CTO, Tim Gill, for creating the AI behind Josh as well as the entire Josh.ai team. As a close-knit startup, everyone works tirelessly to push the company forward. 

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