Ahnaf Jan Chowdhury, works at a corporate house, and leads a hectic life. He resides in the capital's Bashundhara R/A along with his wife and a pet named "Billy".
One day, both he and his wife were occupied with work, and someone needed to drop Billy off to their house from foster care.
One of his friends stepped in and picked Billy up from the foster house. Unfortunately, he did not have the keys to the house. But Ahnaf had an instant solution for this.
"All I had to do was create an OTP password for my door lock through my smartphone and give it to my friend. He got inside my apartment by unlocking the main door using the OTP, kept Billy in his room, and left. I monitored the whole thing on my phone through the security cameras."
Stata IT Limited launched its smart home appliances brand named "Stata" back in 2018 to enable its customers to have far more agency over their time and energy usage.
Stata is the brainchild of Syed Tasdiq, a young entrepreneur who completed his undergraduate degree this year in Computer Science and Engineering from IUB (Independent University of Bangladesh).
"It was 2017 when one of my cousins returned from the USA and got me a smart switch as a gift. I remember being obsessed with it and eventually started planning how to make them available to my fellow countrymen," he said.
After a year of research and development, in 2018, Tasdiq officially started Stata with its signature product, "Smart Switch", which allows users to turn any electronic device switch remotely accessible through an app. Initially, he used to import white label products from China.
"I had a hard time with customer requisition. My father was my first customer, that too after some days of convincing," he reminisced.
In the beginning, Tasqid used to offer a seven-day free trial to attract customers. This marketing gimmick got him his first real customer.
"I was so nervous and overwhelmed when I got my first customer, who agreed to a trial. I remember I rushed to his place to install the switches as my technical team had messed up," Tasdiq added.
To date, Stata has sold more than 15,000 units of smart switches. The brand now has around 220 smart home appliances, including smart locks, curtains, lights, fans, etc. All these products are compatible with Google Home and Alexa, and can be operated through an app called Stata Lifestyle.
In Tasdiq's words, this app is one of a kind, in that it brings the entire world of smart home appliances onto one platform.
"To enjoy this app, you do not even have to buy products from us. You can have different devices from different brands. For instance, a smart door lock from Samsung, lights from Philips, maybe even a security camera from Xiaomi, and operate all of those through our app," he described.
From 2020, Stata started importing chips and specific parts instead of ready-made devices, which has proven to be far more cost-effective.
"By 2020, we had formed a strong technical team. So we made the devices ourselves by assembling the parts. This strategy cut down the price of the products in half."
Stata has already established its own factory in Faridpur. By the end of this year, the brand is planning to manufacture their products from scratch. The company's goal is to make white-label devices and sell them to other brands, both locally and internationally.
Currently, Stata is the only smart home appliance brand in the country, holding a monopoly since its inception. But the journey has not been as smooth as one may presume.
Being the first one to the market, Stata has to work on the customer activation part single-handedly. Tasdiq believes that with market penetration of other brands, they can capture an even bigger market through healthy competition.
As of now, Stata does not have any external investors. The company is operating through personal funding.
Stata has its own office and showroom at the capital's Progati Shoroni.
Besides selling its own products, Stata also works on existing devices to make them smart and cross-compatible. The brand is striving to create an ecosystem at home that doesn't require replacing previous devices.
Stata has collaborated with 30 dealers around the country. The company has even partnered with real estate companies like Rancon, Index, and many more, to provide them with smart appliance solutions for entire apartments.
Regarding affordability, Tasdiq claims that the price of each product has been kept within a reasonable range.
"Smart Switch is our best selling product to date, which we sell at around Tk2,200. If you compare it to the conventional toggle switches available in the market, our switch might appear a little expensive. But if you compare it with other international brands that are selling the same thing, you will know that we are offering our products at the best price," said Tasdiq.
But is Bangladesh's market ready to adapt to these luxury products?
"The concept of luxury is a subject of perception, and I do not perceive my products as luxury items. These devices save your time and energy, and make your life easier. For example, we have smart gas detectors in our product line. This device checks the presence of LPG gas emissions in your house, and alerts you immediately. To me, this device is as important as having a gas cylinder for cooking," said Taqdiq.
Stata Smart Boiler Geyser Switch
You can set a timer for the switch, whether you are at home or not. Encased in a crystal glass panel, it has a stylish countenance. It is waterproof and has touch control, which ensures a longer life-cycle than mechanical switches.
Stata Bolt Pro
You never have to wonder whether you locked your door anymore. Secure all your doors and windows with the tap on your phone. Smart Door Locks are the digital security guards that you did not know you needed. It has a robust build with Aluminium and Zinc alloys and allows you to gate-keep your home from any place on the planet. It has a built-in camera that monitors the exterior and can be recorded on an SD card.
You can unlock it in 6 different ways.
ii) RFID Card
iv) STATA Smart App
v) Generate Guest OTP
vi) Traditional Key
Colour: Black and Rose Gold
Stata Universal Remote
This remote is compatible with Alexa, Google Home and can easily control air conditioners, TVs, and fans. You can control the devices by simply learning the functions of the remote and control your heaters, ceiling fans, LEDs, and more. For example, you can control your air conditioner with voice commands through your smart home device. It is compatible with both Android and IOS.
Stata Smart Gas Sensor (With valve)
Get instant notifications and real time monitoring of detected gas concentrations along with prompt voice alarms. Made by SMT process, it has strong stability and is easy to install. When natural gases are detected and exceed the preset concentration, the detector will send out sound and light alarm signals immediately. The alarm is suitable for indoor use and should be installed at places where natural gas leakage may occur.
Stata smart fan dimmer
This device helps you to schedule and set a timer so you don't have to fiddle with temperature knobs in the middle of the night. It has a crystal glass panel and has no fading. It looks elegant, stylish and works better than mechanical switches. It has an integrated panel design and anti-creeping.
Colour: Jet Black, Glacier White and Ivory Gold