To help New Yorkers stay cool this summer, Quirky has partnered with Uber to deliver its smart air conditioner to customers' doors—yes, even to your sixth-floor walkup.
Designed by Quirky member Garthen Leslie, the app-controlled Aros air conditioning unit is the result of a partnership between the social design startup and General Electric to produce and bring community-inspired smart products to market. Leslie, who used to work at the Department of Energy, said the idea for Aros came when he noticed many residents in Washington, D.C. left their air conditioners on all day so they could return to a cooled home after work.
"I thought, 'Wouldn't it be neat if I could have a window air conditioner controlled by my smartphone?'" Leslie tells Fast Company. "I had exhausted my ideas for a smart air conditioner, and I didn't where to go from there—to get from the idea stage to viable product." He submitted his idea to Quirky toward the end of last summer, and the startup produced a functional prototype by January.
Banking on Aros's success, Quirky has been pouring marketing dollars into the new product. Two weeks ago, the company began running TV commercials (its first ever) and plastered up billboards to promote Leslie's invention. As part of that push, it's partnered with Uber to sell and deliver Aros on demand to Manhattan residents on the weekends of May 31, June 7, and June 14. (Uber's senior vice president of business, Emil Michael, was recently named one of Fast Company's Most Creative People for brokering imaginative deals, including on-demand kittens, Christmas trees, and mariachi bands.)
Customers can order a unit via Uber's app for $300 (the same cost as retail), but Quirky will be making the deliveries—in a branded ice cream truck, no less. Fast Company staffers are hoping this campaign will be more successful than the on-demand ice cream from Uber they never received two summers ago.
This surely won't be the last time the taxi-industry-changing company delivers wonder to your doorstep in the name of marketing.
"In the future," Uber's Michael told Fast Company earlier this year, "you will see Uber do more consistent things that solve problems around surprise and delight on the delivery of things beyond people."