Always forgetting to call Grandma on her birthday, or just to check in real quick to see how her colonoscopy went? Coming soon is a brand new item created just for personal communication between family members. Ily is a connected device made for your home which includes smartphone apps and was developed by New York startup Insensi, CEO and founder Ilan Abehassera came up with the idea because “When I was working in California for Jive (jobs at Jive), I was traveling a lot,… and I realized that it was hard to stay in touch with my kids. And then I thought about their grandparents as well.” Ily is taking Family Mobile Phones to the Next Level.
This gave Ilan all the incentive he needed to design a device that everyone could use safely, with little friction, and to communicate with your long-distance family members. The Ily will run you $200 and should be placed in a kitchen or living room, make note, it isn’t a tablet so you shouldn’t be dragging it around with you. It’s an all in one communication box that is practical for all family members, from kids to grandparents. The interface has an 8‑inch touchscreen, a camera, a microphone, a speaker, proximity sensors as well as temperature and quality of air sensors. There is also a separate handset for voice calls.
The digital display shows you all your connected family members and once you tap on someone’s picture it will activate your ability to make a call, a video call, send a video message, text message or drawing. If the other party also has an Ily, then it will be a seamless transaction. Now if someone in the family doesn’t have one, the company is releasing an iPhone and Android (jobs at Android) apps so that you can keep up with your family from your smartphone. Here are so cool aspect to the Ily infrastructure, unlike FaceTime, it works on both Android and iOS, unlike Skype you don’t need to sign in to become reachable.
Ily is running on something Android calls Family OS, which is a stripped down version, mostly keeping all of the communication features, and photo sharing components. No web browsing and video games, but you can upload photos from the phone up to your Ily. There will be a few extra apps like Spotify for music, but the idea is not to congest the device with unnecessary software. You can also replace your landline phone with Ily as there is a special landline port. “Replacing the landline phone is the best way to convince grandparents,” Abehassera said.
To top it all off, the device keeps a feed history of all that has happened on the Ily. You can see if your kid sent a drawing to her grandmother for example, and get your brother’s latest photos. “Unlike social networks, you don’t need to have 50 people on Ily to make it useful,” Abehassera said. “Our initial target is family with young children. Then you can add uncles, aunts, cousins…”. The company is taking pre-orders, all mobile apps will be free and you don’t need a device to use them. If you order them now, you should get yours by fall of this year.
The company raised $2.4 million and managed to attract a team of talented engineers. “Our software team is bigger than our hardware team now,” Abehassera said. Hey developers, did you read that? Maybe you want to think about tossing a resume in the direction of Insensi, do you see any potential there, we do?