About this project
We love our smartphones and tech devices, but they've left some very important members of our families behind: our young kids and their grandparents.
That's why we created Ily: a streamlined device that lets everyone in your family stay in touch.
Ily is always on, connected and ready to go. So, instead of scheduling a video chat with the grandparents, just tap the icon and give them a try. It’ll ring on their smartphone or tablet even if they don’t have an Ily phone yet. (Or if they’re out having fun.)
Parental supervision NOT required. Ily was designed from the start to be safe for kids to use on their own: there’s no internet browser and no strangers - just the people you add to your family list.
There’s a lot of tech that’s been designed without older folks in mind — not Ily. Setting up Ily is a simple set of intuitive questions. After that calling family is only a tap away, in an interface that’s been designed with accessibility in mind, and even includes options for the visually impaired.
You don’t need two Ily Phones to make a call - family members can make and receive calls via the Ily app on iOS and Android devices. When your kids make a call from Ily, it’ll ring on your phone at work, or even on the landline at the grandparents’ house (requires a landline or VOIP service.)
While we’ve designed Ily without unnecessary distractions, we’ve taught it a trick or two – including a very cool integration with Amazon’s “Ask Alexa” tool. This means Ily can help your kids with questions like “what’s three times four?” Or, “how do you spell hippopotamus?
Ily sits in the home, surrounded by your family’s daily life. When you want to say hello, your kids are just a tap away, with no logistics or arrangements. With a direct link between the app on your smartphone to the Ily phone that your kids can control, checking in has never been easier.
There’s more than one way for kids to express themselves! Ily has a simple drawing feature that lets them send their works of art. Some drawings go on the fridge; these go right to your smartphone, so you can carry them around with you all day.
Smartphones are great, but they don’t let you text with your young kids. Ily’s messaging feature lets them send you text messages, and keeps a running thread with your photos and drawings, too. Great for those times when you can’t take a call, but still want to be in touch.
Ever wanted a way to share photos privately without explaining how to join a new “social network?” It’s included as soon as you’re added to the family list. Ily Life keeps a running feed for everyone in the group to see and react to.
Because the Ily ecosystem is device-agnostic, you can take your loved ones with you wherever you go: the Ily app allows you to connect from any device, anywhere.
See your family at the office. Or in the hotel. Or halfway across the world.
You don't need two Ily Phones for calls - either the Ily Phone or Ily App gives you access to the messaging platform made for families.
The Ily App will be available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as soon as the first units are shipped.
Replace your landline - Ily is a true replacement for your home phone - not only does it work as an old-school landline, it also works as a Bluetooth handset for your smartphone. Next time your phone rings, you’ll know exactly where to pick it up.
Smart handset and screensaver - The Ily handset features a smart back panel in a variety of colors. Snap one on and the background screen on your Ily phone automatically changes to match. Plus, the screen has a proximity sensor. When you walk by, it lights up to share useful information, like local weather, and even the interior temperature and humidity.
Great for private calls - If you don’t want everyone in on the call, just pick up Ily’s handset for a quick transition to privacy. With a Bluetooth connection, you’ll easily stay in range while you move around, and the handset provides fantastic audio and voice quality while you chat.
Stand it up or lay it flat - We designed Ily to be a stationary device: always on and always connected. A choice of two orientations make it a functional (and beautiful) addition to any room.
Design early - Our strategy-led approach and process of rapid product development means Ily has been brought from initial idea to pre-production prototype in under a year -- all thanks to a tightly integrating design and engineering using extensive prototyping and testing.
Guided by experts -- in addition to our great team, we've consulted with people even more knowledgeable than ourselves, like Map Project Office and Dragon Innovation, to make sure that we have every aspect covered.
Great manufacturing partners - we've traveled to China several times over the past two years, first to find our manufacturer, and then to optimize our designs for manufacturability.
We've also made several rounds of pre-production units over the past nine months to help us refine the user experience.
The Ily team includes members who have brought some amazing products to life at companies like Jive, Withings, Aldebaran Robotics, Valeo, MakerBot, Parrot, Square, Microsoft, Blackberry / RIM, Schlumberger (and a few more.)
We've built a team that would let us do all of our hardware and software engineering in-house, because that’s the only way we can be totally sure that Ily delivers the experience we know it can.
History - We've been working on Ily full time for almost two years now, here in New York. Last year, we went to China to find our manufacturing partners for molds and PCBs. And we've manufactured multiple pre-production units over the past nine months to help us refine our hardware.
Where we are now -We've successfully completed EVT (engineering validation testing) and DVT (design validation testing) which involved not only designing, but manufacturing, assembling, and testing all of the components to make sure they meet both our functional and aesthetic requirements.
Next steps - We're now prepping for PVT (or production validation testing) which is the last step before mass production; during this phase we'll be doing the final work to ensure great manufacturability and intensive testing both in-house and with real users.
Here's what will be happening in the next few months:
- June -- Kick off PVT
- July -- Device production begins
- August -- Ship devices to Kickstarter backers
We are launching Ily on Kickstarter for one reason: Kickstarter backers have the vision to see how technology can changes their lives -- how Ily will bring their families closer together.
The money we raise here will allow us to go into production. But more than that, we are here to build a community. Getting time with family isn't easy today, if it ever was -- but if the cousins and grandparents know they have a dedicated window to you and your kids, we know you'll connect more.
Want to try Ily?
We'll be running demo sessions in our offices on a weekly basis throughout this campaign - watch our updates for details!
Want to write about Ily?
If you're as excited as we are about what Ily will mean for the way families connect and communicate, here are a few resources that might help you share the excitement:
- email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- visit ily.co/press
Share the love!
Twitter is great too! ;-)
Risks and challenges
Bringing a new product to life always has risks - we know because we've done it before. And we've already spent a lot of time, effort and money getting Ily to this point.
The biggest step that we've taken to reduce the risk was to build an amazing team, which will allow us to solve our biggest challenges in-house.
We've also done our homework when it comes to finding a manufacturer to put it all together - we've already been to China to choose a partner, and we've designed Ily from the start to be easily manufacturable (in addition to working really well.)
Most importantly, we’ve already given out the first Ily Phones to real families, and we’ve started to get great feedback from them on how Ily fits into their lives.
We have everything we need to make Ily a reality - except your support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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