//This interview originally appeared in TechBullion //
Veego is a smart solution aimed at resolving smart home malfunctions autonomously. Veego’s AI detects behavior anomalies and malfunctions, analyzes the root cause, and autonomously resolves the problems. The CEO Amir Kotler will be sharing more details with us in this interview.
Please tell us your name and about yourself?
I am Amir Kotler, serial high-tech entrepreneur. As a founder and now CEO of Veego, I focus on building solid management teams from the ground up for leading technology vendors. Over the last decade, I have managed several startups—Promisec, Schoss, Secdo, and now Veego. Prior to my civilian career, I spent 11 years as a senior officer in an elite military technology unit of the Israel Defense Forces. An experienced CEO and President of startups and enterprises with multiple assets and diverse holdings, I have concentrated on the general management of these businesses, turning technology startups into multi-million-dollar companies in 2-5 years. For newly minted investors, I have raised millions of dollars of private funding, leveraging years of expertise in all aspects of investor relations.
What is Veego?
Veego is an Israel-based startup bringing artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies to perfect the customer experience in the smart home while driving down support costs for Internet Service Providers. The company’s breakthrough software product autonomously discovers connected home devices and the services they consume, like browsing, streaming and gaming. It continuously monitors the behavior of all these devices and services, detecting, analyzing and resolving malfunctions and abnormal behaviors even before users encounter them. Across the entire connected-home ecosystem, Veego applies AI and other technologies to autonomously solve complex problems related to the smart and connected home
Why We Founded Veego
The number of IoT devices in the world already surpasses the number of mobile phones. By 2030, more than 100 billion IoT smart devices, perhaps half of these in our homes, will support us in every aspect of our lives. In fact, the smart home industry is the only place you can find where people with no technical background or IT support can simply buy and install any device they like without direction. It’s like the Wild West. Who will support all this multi-billion-dollar activity? If only 1% of these devices suffer some sort of malfunction in a year, that would add up to one billion annual failures! These failures happen for so many reasons and service providers are mostly blind to them. Endowing service providers with visibility into the smart home—to be able to see the devices and services—is a big part of the story. Creating a gigantic library of what works with what, and the myriad types of problems that interoperating connected devices can encounter is another. Coupling all this with the artificial intelligence necessary to detect problems on the fly, analyze and then fix them is at the center of Veego’s mission. The smart home industry absolutely needs our technology to grow successfully.
What are the unique features and services that Veego is bringing to the IOT market?
Veego gives eyes to ISPs. Our small but very powerful Veego Agent sits in the home router watching the operation of devices and services. Through it, ISPs can know what is happening in real time in each connected home. Upon detecting a problem, the Agent applies AI to determine the cause of the problem, where it is located and what to do about it. The Agent is supported by our Veego Cloud Malfunction Library of device behaviors, already extending into the zettabytes. This Library is continuously expanding as our agents encounter countless more situations. Whenever a specific Agent encounters a new device or situation, the Veego Cloud empowers it with the knowledge stored in the Library accumulated from millions of other Agents. A Veego Agent can diagnose problems within the connected home and even beyond the confines of the home.
Let’s say that you are watching Netflix and the Netflix server is running slow. The Veego Agent notices a streaming problem and can figure out the root cause. ISPs don’t have to break their heads diagnosing problems—we already did that for them. From the router, the Veego Agent can also discern device-resident problems. That gives ISPs a huge advantage in understanding and resolving problems across the gamut of new devices and services.
With Veego, numerous support calls are deflected and, when Customer Service has to get involved, the support calls are shortened because of the information-enrichment that Veego automatically supplies to call center and other systems. First Call Resolution is drastically improved while support-call time is slashed. This makes for happier home customers and significantly lower expenses for ISPs.
What is the technology behind the Veego platform and what happens at Veego Labs?
Deployed on the in-home router and delivering service from the cloud, Veego is always on the lookout for connected-home devices and their myriad problems. Carefully monitoring smart devices and their communications and interactions with each other as well as all the services they consume—browsing, streaming, gaming, etc.—Veego perpetually watches for anomalous behavior whose root cause is often difficult to pinpoint. Here are some widespread examples: the introduction of a new device in the home suddenly causes other devices to stop working; intermittent network congestion causes lag in a game, multiple networks operating in the home cause device-control conflicts; faulty sensors cause embedded software to react improperly and so many other situations and conditions.
Veego has created a Global Malfunction Library in the cloud which provides a first-of-its-kind, dynamic, learning database of malfunction “fingerprints”. To build this, the company’s router-resident Agent monitors the behavior of millions of connected-home devices, as well as environmental and other conditions. Then machine learning, statistical analysis and other advanced technologies are employed to identify anomalies that indicate malfunctions. Our innovative analysis engine analyzes these conditions and locates them anywhere along from the service delivery chain—all the way from the device to the cloud server—the source as well as the root cause of the problem. All this information is added to the Global Malfunction Library which has already become the most comprehensive such library on the planet.
The Global Malfunction Library feeds complex cases to Veego Labs, our unit dedicated to discovering methods and solutions while inventing next-generation technologies to improve the digital lifestyle of billions of people at home.
What is the market size of the Smart Home Technology market and how will Veego take a good share of this market?
The smart-home technology market is expected to reach $113 billion by 2024 with a CAGR of 8.8% from 2019 to 2024. That is extremely strong growth.
Veego’s goal is to be in millions of home routers all over the world, providing visibility and detecting problems in real time.
Veego proposes the end to IoT malfunctions in smart homes. Could you tell us more about the problems facing smart homes and how Veego is the solution?
The smart home market is in a dire state of affairs. People buy millions of devices and apps from thousands of producers without knowing what works with what, how to configure and what problems to expect. In fact, no less than 34% of home users report problems with configuration and set up. Device disparities and operational inter-dependencies make detection and root-cause analysis of smart home device malfunctions inefficient, cumbersome and inaccurate. By the time malfunctions become apparent to home users, their consequences have already caused considerable frustration, making it too late to address them effectively. This challenge will further multiply as billions of smart devices, along with a broad range of incompatible protocols, proliferate.
Veego’s unique capability to see what’s going on in real time, to apply Artificial Intelligence along with our vast Malfunction Library and other technologies, and to detect, analyze and resolve problems as they occur—even before users encounter them—gets right to the heart of this vital support issue.
Tell us more about the Veego ISP Solution and how it works?
Veego software, the Agent, is embedded in the Internet router in each home to continuously monitor devices and consumed services, detect behavior anomalies, pinpoint the location of any behavior anomaly anywhere, and provide quick remedies.
Veego automatically informs the ISP whether the problem is located within the home and tied to a specific device or somewhere along the network infrastructure. Is the problem with a device, the service or an interoperability issue? Veego will know the precise reason and provide a solution. If the problem does belong to the ISP (usually associated with the WiFi or router itself), Veego will make an instant determination and update the ISP.
Veego not only cuts supports expenses for ISPs but endows them with new upsell and cross-sell opportunities. For example, when a customer installs a new device, Veego alerts the ISP who can recommend complementary devices. If the newly installed device is going to become a bandwidth hog, Veego alerts the ISP pre-emptively that the time is ripe for selling a bandwidth upgrade package before the customer starts to complain. If Veego notices a recurring coverage problem in part of the home, it will issue an alert telling the ISP that this home is a great candidate for an extender.
Who owns the problem?
The Internet Service Provider (ISP) owns the problem. When users encounter difficulties with their connected devices at home, they immediately turn to their ISP for support. The ISP gets saddled with the responsibility even if the problem turns out to belong somewhere else. While ISPs will always try to help their customers, their hands are tied since, without Veego, they don’t even know what devices are installed in any particular home, let alone what they are doing, how they are performing and what problems they are encountering. So, the problem of support is very difficult and requires technology to help solve it. Veego gives eyes to ISPs enabling them to see and know what to do about problems, making for happy customers.
What is Veego’s approach to Smart hubs?
The Veego story with smart hubs is similar to what we described earlier with regard to routers. A Veego Agent can be placed unobtrusively in the smart hub where it watches the behavior of all connected devices and services across the entire service-delivery chain. Even without residing in the smart hub, the Veego Agent in the router sees the smart hub and its connections and can treat it like another device.
Tell us more about Veego’s solution for ISPs?
In addition to what we described earlier, the Veego Cloud and its big data are available to our ISP customers. Integrating with their backend systems, Veego can, in real time, enrich their support databases so that they can act preemptively to situations before they even get a support call. When they do receive a call, the information about this particular connected home has already updated the ISP support system so that the time-consuming “try this—did it work?” back and forth with the customer is eliminated.
The big data in the Veego Cloud is also useful for numerous other purposes like demographics and alerts. For example, regarding demographics, ISPs can ask: “Who is using a Samsung 4K TV in this location?” or “How many people have connected Device A with Device B using the Z-Wave protocol?” Alerts can help ISPs communicate important information with their customers. For example, FortNite is going to be holding a tournament on Tuesday starting at 8PM. ISPs can alert their relevant customers.
Could you tell us about your team, board members, advisors and customer support?
After several months of bootstrapping and working out the company’s strategic plan, I formally founded Veego in December 2018 along with co-founders Denis Sirov and Reffael Caspi who are, respectively, the Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer. We earned strategic investments from Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), the venture arm of the Bosch Group, State of Mind Ventures (SOMV) and North First Ventures (N1V) to get us going financially. Since then, Amdocs has also joined our investor group. Board members include Ayelet Edrey, Investment Principal for Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), Pinhas Buchris, General Partner for State of Mind Ventures (SOMV), and Ronen Smooha, Founder and Managing Partner of North First Ventures (N1V).
How Safe is Veego, would you like to talk about your legal and security measures?
Veego provides a highly secure platform, designed for ISP use. Veego ensures that communications between the customer smart home and the ISP remain secure and in compliance with national and regional regulations. We do not store nor transfer Personally Identifiable Information. All information is anonymized and only metadata is transferred from the home to the cloud. Veego is compliant with GDPR and other PII regulations.
Do you have more information for our readers?
The smart home ecosystem is in total disarray. On their journey to a more sophisticated digital lifestyle, smart-home customers are choosing from millions of products from thousands of vendors and expect everything to work smoothly. However, the smart home’s complexity is growing and so are the problems. The answer lies in automation with artificial intelligence at the core.