SmartCharge, the brainchild of entrepreneur and engineer Shaliendra Suman, founder and CEO of TVL International, is moving into the next phase of its marketing lifespan.
The product is a battery-powered LED light bulb which came into being well ahead of the smart home wave. Suman told Dealerscope that he invented it to address an annoying and common problem that had no good solution – just as his earlier invention, a gas grille propane tank level gauge, came about to address a similarly vexing pain point.
SmartCharge first gained traction via a 2014 Kickstarter campaign as a way to provide light by using a wall switch to turn the light on and off even when there is a power failure; a built-in battery provides up to four hours of backup light, and the bulb will work on all world voltages from 110V to 240V. It can also be set in battery-charge mode and the battery can be recharged in that way without the bulb being lit.
SmartCharge is sold online by Suman on his website and also, via a 2017 partnership deal, through retail channels via lighting company Feit Electric. The product has multiple patents, and Suman said he wants retailers to be aware of the knockoffs and forewarned against products by others that are “copycatting us. We want to educate retailers to do the right thing.”
That said, Suman is taking his technology into other, vertical markets where its practicality is obvious. “We looked at different verticals where power outages could cause significant problems,” he explained. They include electric utility, hospitality – smaller hotels and motels that may not have backup generators, home security, restaurants and other small businesses. For commercial projects, larger panels with larger batteries are the approach, he said.
He also said that next-generation products are currently on his developmental docket. One such product, now in prototype, which could be ready by year’s end, entails equipping a pair of SmartCharge light bulbs with smoke sensors and voice alert capability. The idea is to deploy the smoke-sensor-equipped bulb in the kitchen and the voice-alert-equipped bulb in the bedroom – no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth required, and using wireline communication from Point A to B. “It would be a very simple product,” Suman said – providing the smart home market with another solution, and another problem solved.