One of the biggest challenges of urban living is having your umbrella on you when it’s needed most. Then once you figure out the “having it” part, there are no guarantees that you’ll ever master the “remembering it” part. Fortunately, there’s now a smart umbrella that uses Bluetooth, crowdsourcing and a companion app to alert you of incoming weather conditions and remind you when you’ve left it behind.
The Oombrella is like an umbrella on steroids. It is constructed with Kevlar ribs and injected plastic which can withstand heavy rain, storms, hail, and snow. Although durability is an essential quality, the Oombrella really shines with its sensors, network connectivity and notifications.
The umbrella itself has built in sensors that monitor temperature, pressure, humidity, and light levels. These all play an essential part of the built-in weather alert features – the company calls each unit a “personal portable weather station” – which send notifications to the owner before it’s going to rain, and also feeds a general community with real-time weather updates.
In addition to weather sensors, the umbrella features a buzzer and light to provide notifications for incoming calls or other notifications that can be configured with the accompanying app. The most valuable notification, however? Yup, the notification message sent when it has been left behind somewhere, up to about 100ft away.
The mobile app also offers users the ability to:
- Access all the stats of their last trip
- Browse their overall history (number of days used, times used, weather history, etc.)
- View other Oombrella users nearby
- See the last location where their Oombrella was used
There is even a screw thread on the very peak of the umbrella allowing users to mount a camera, GoPro, golf handle, or virtually anything else that tightens in with a few spins.
The classic version of the Oombrella is 95cm (3.1 feet) long with a curved handle. There is also a “fit-in-my-bag” version that is 25cm (0.82 feet) with a straight handle. The unit is available in shiny / multi-color, white, and black editions.
The Oombrella weather crowdsourcing technology is built on Wezzoo (the parent company), a social and real-time weather service that enables anyone to share their local weather and photos wherever they are with just two clicks. In addition to sharing the details on Wezzoo, users can also post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in one click.
In addition to taking manual posts and descriptions, Wezzoo also enhances their forecasts by adding data from mobile sensors (temperature, humidity, pressure, light, etc.). The service currently sports members in 189 countries, is available in five languages, and supports Android and iOS devices.
The Oombrella is planned to ship in October 2016 with an estimated retail price of €79 for either the bag or classic sizes. The aftermarket capsule (where all the magic happens in the bottom of the handle) is priced at €29. To date the Oombrella has raised €62,516 through an Indiegogo campaign and €60,420 through a Kickstarter campaign (both beat their respective goals); that goes on top of the $650K in seed funding parent company, Wezzoo raised in late 2014. We can’t help but find ourselves in a classic Chicken Or The Egg dilemma, because this umbrella is certainly making it rain.
Charles Costa is a marketing specialist helping technology companies grow, one word at a time. You can learn more at CharlesCosta.net