Big Intelligence in a Small Device

Notion is a small, extremely smart, multi-function sensor that you can place anywhere in your home

Wouldn’t be great to know what’s happening in your home even when you’re not there? Notion is here to help.

You deserve home intelligence

The founders, Brett Jurgens (CEO) and Ryan Margoles (CTO), started hanging out at the age of four in Longmont, CO. Both went on to graduate from the University of Colorado, Boulder; Brett with a BS in Finance and a minor in Real Estate, and Ryan with degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Business Operations Management. Their parents probably didn’t know that they would someday start a business together, but they recall Brett and Ryan playing with financial models and PCB boards.

"Having a great idea is important, but execution is everything. If you think you have a great idea, bounce it off others as a means to determine if your idea really has legs."

The idea for Notion began after Ryan’s smoke/carbon monoxide alarm was triggered while he was home. No one (including Apollo, Ryan’s golden retriever) was harmed, but it made Ryan realize that the alarm would only help him if he was home to hear it. After some ideation and prototyping, the idea was born to create a single device capable of sending alerts when something happens inside of your home, from fire alarms to water leaks, from break-ins to broken refrigerators and much more.

The first prototype(s)

The guys have put eight different sensing capabilities into one device to make buying, installing and using Notion as easy as possible. For the past year, the team has been working hard interviewing customers, prototyping, testing, building, rebuilding and manufacturing Notion to do just that.

Brett and Ryan created the first prototype with off-the-shelf parts wired together. It was big, clunky and not very smart, but it proved that the concept was possible. The second and third versions were when Notion really started to take shape. These versions were much more complex, making the sensor more sophisticate and capable of detecting a wide range of scenarios. This is also when the design of the enclosure started taking shape.

“Getting a company off the ground takes a lot of focus, so most days are spent working on the product or meeting potential investors”

The fourth and current version added even more technology and capabilities—Notion currently holds 19 provisional patents around its sensor technology. “In addition, we’ve built out a powerful backend with logic and machine learning to ensure that Notion only sends alerts when it makes sense (e.g. you don’t want an alert when you open your own door)”, the founders say.

“As we complete the final touches to our hardware and our iOS and Android apps in preparation for our July 2015 launch, two things are always at the front of our minds: delivery a great user experience at every step of the way and making sure Notion is helpful, trustworthy, and never invasive”.

The technology

Each small Notion sensor contains seven advanced sensors, including an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, temperature sensor, piezoelectric transducer, proximity sensor, and water leak probe. Notion's hub is the central point of communication for your sensors. It connects to your Wi-Fi and has cellular and battery backup in case your power or internet goes down.

However, one of the biggest challenges facing Notion is explaining all the uses and abilities of the sensor without overwhelming or confusing potential customers. “Most smart home products are expensive and do one thing. We’ve created a very approachable product that can do many things and even be repurposed if a customer decides they’d like to place the sensor somewhere else”, the guys conclude. 

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15 Nov, 2014 Francescoo
Quoting Steve:
Francescoo, Nest is a thermostat. Notion is a sensor that can tell you things like doors opening, windows breaking, water leaking, alarms sounding and more.

14 Nov, 2014 Steve
Francescoo, Nest is a thermostat. Notion is a sensor that can tell you things like doors opening, windows breaking, water leaking, alarms sounding and more.
11 Nov, 2014 Francescoo
Will anyone explain what's the difference with Nest the Google bought months ago?
10 Nov, 2014 Mauricio
Another very inspiring story, but can you guys post more often. I hope one piece every 10 days in not the best you can do?