These young companies are making the hardware and software enabling tomorrow's connected devices and systems.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is clearly one of the fastest-growing areas in the technology industry. According to the latest forecast from IDC, IoT spending will likely grow from $698.6 billion last year to nearly $1.3 trillion in 2019, for a compound annual growth rate of 17%.
In its State of the Market: The Internet of Things 2015 report, Verizon estimated that only about 10% of enterprises have adopted IoT extensively so far. But it predicts that by 2025, enterprises that do adopt IoT extensively will be at least 10% more profitable than their competitors.
Literally hundreds of startups are competing to offer the products and services that will help define and shape this young market. In this slideshow, we focus on nine that offer the hardware and software that will enable manufacturers and enterprises to create connected devices. Several of these companies are building out wireless networks using a variety of technologies that are vying to become the standard for the Internet of Things. Others offer tools and kits for creating IoT devices, software for developing IoT applications, and even wireless charging capabilities. All are noteworthy for their innovative offerings that could gain widespread popularity in coming years.
One of the most well-funded IoT startups, SIGFOX has raised $151.3 million in funding since its founding in 2009. It claims to be "the first and only company providing global cellular connectivity for the Internet of Things, fully dedicated to low-throughput communications." Its goal is to reduce the barriers to entry for IoT solutions by transmitting small amounts of data very efficiently, which helps extend the battery life of connected devices. The company is deploying a global cellular network that already covers more than 400,000 square miles.
Based in France, SIGFOX also has offices in Silicon Valley and Spain.
Also very well funded, GainSpan has received more than $113.39 million from investors. It offers "wireless IoT solutions for the connected world," including all-in-one modules for helping other companies create new connected devices. It is best known for its ultra-low-power WiFi chips and modules. It also offers application development kits (ADKs) for video, music, audio, smartplugs, sensors, provisioning and firmware upgrades. Its customers have used its tools and hardware to create new products for smart homes, smart cities, health and fitness monitoring, audio/video applications, and a variety of other types of device control and monitoring.
Founded in 2011, Davra Networks is led by a team that already created and sold one successful startup. Its flagship product is called RuBAN, which the company describes as an IoT application enablement platform. The goal of the product is to make it easy to develop and run IoT applications on premise or in the cloud. It includes four key capabilities: IoT Asset Lifecycle Management, the IoT Gateway Fog Controller, IoT Business Intelligence, and the IoT Transformations & Integrations programming module.
Davra's customers include Vodafone, Element Six and BT. It has raised $3.6 million in two funding rounds.
Beep Networks is placing its bet on LoRa, a long-range, low-power wireless networking standard that could help connect the Internet of Things. The company offers small sensors that connect to the cloud and can run on the same battery for 10 years. They report on location, temperature, moisture, pressure, altitude and motion, and they can integrate with other types of sensors. The company says that these sensors can be used for a wide variety of applications, like bike LoJack, agricultural monitoring, security, asset tracking, cold chain monitoring, smart metering, gas leak detection, parking, and pet tracking.
Founded in 2012, the company has raised $4 million in seed funding. Most of its founders are former Google employees.
One of the key challenges facing the development of the Internet of Things is how to provide long-term power for connected devices. Several startups have proposed solutions for this problem such as solar cells, extreme energy efficiency and long-lasting batteries. But Humavox has a unique solution -- wireless charging.
The company offers a platform called Eterna which uses radio waves in a resonant cavity to charge devices without plugging them in. The platform includes a miniature receiver which can be embedded in even extremely tiny devices. Humavox's vision is "making the charging experience as seamless for users as WiFi for wireless connectivity -- it's just there for us to use."
The company emerged from stealth mode in 2013 and is based in Israel.
Formerly known as On-Ramp Wireless, Ingenu promotes Random Phase Multiple Access, or RPMA, technology for connecting IoT devices to each other. It claims that one RPMA tower can provide wireless coverage for up to 300 square miles in real world conditions and up to 2,000 square miles in free space. It offers solutions for precision agriculture, usage-based insurance, the smart grid, connected cars, fleet management, asset tracking, digital oilfields and smart cities. Uniquely, it guarantees that its customers' devices will work on its Machine Network for at least 20 years.
It has raised $118.53 million in funding and is headquartered in San Diego.
PubNub describes itself as "the global data stream network for IoT, mobile and Web applications." In essence, it offers an API that allows companies to connect and manage networks of IoT devices. Its IoT solutions include tools for home automation, tracking and dispatch, connected cars, wearables and remotely controlled devices. For developers, it offers more than 70 different software development kits (SDKs) that enable them to integrate a wide variety of devices with PubNub.
Founded in 2010 and headquartered in San Francisco, the company has raised $40.1 million in funding, including $25 million in a round ending in September of last year.
This startup provides a WiFi-based platform that makes it easy to connect all kinds of devices to the Internet. The platform includes a hardware module, an operating system and related software and development tools. It markets its platform to manufacturers and other businesses, promising to help them reduce the time it takes to bring new IoT products to market.
Founded in 2011, Electric Imp has raised $23 million in funding from Foxconn Technology Group, PTI Ventures, Rampart Capital and Redpoint Ventures. It has offices in Los Altos, and Cambridge, UK.
One of the youngest companies on this list, Samsara was founded in 2015 by veteran executives from Meraki, a networking vendor that was acquired by Cisco. Samsara has $25 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz.
The company offers "a complete sensor solution that deploys in minutes." The product includes hardware sensors and IoT gateways, scalable cloud-hosted infrastructure, analytics, live search, real-time alerting, visualizations, mobile apps and Open APIs for integrating Samsara data into applications. The company also offers solutions for fleet management, asset management, remote industrial monitoring, refrigeration monitoring, energy efficiency monitoring and cold chain monitoring.