Many older tech companies that helped create the PC industry in the 1980s and 1990s have fared poorly more recently as smartphones and tablets redefined computing. Still, these companies might have – what amounts to – a second chance with the internet’s next evolutionary phase, the Internet of Things or IoT. The IoT already brings the web to many formerly unconnected home appliances, business devices, and even cities.
According to Gartner, Internet of Things (IoT) vendors will earn more than $309 billion by 2020. However, most of those earnings will come from services. Gartner also estimates that by 2020, the IoT will consist of 26 billion devices and those devices, Cisco believes will end up dominating the Internet by 2018.
We took a look at ten of the hottest, most interesting, most buzzed-about IoT startups, plus a few established brands to create a top of the best companies we think will make it big in 2015.
Note: These 10 are listed in alphabetical order and not by any ranking.
1. Ayla Networks
Ayla Networks enables manufacturers and service providers to bring connected products to market quickly and securely using the industry’s first Agile IoT Platform. Leading device makers, service providers, and large retailers use Ayla to quickly integrate secure connectivity and data intelligence into products without substantial design modifications or changes to existing business models.
Ayla Networks is using its new $14.5M series B funding to expand its business in China. With funding from Cisco and SAIF Partners of China, this round shows that manufacturers are starting to see how being able to quickly react to information analysed from their connected products could be valuable in new business models and services.
BaseN, founded in 2001, provides new ways to capture, process, visualise and control enormous amounts of data, Big Data, in real-time – which can help businesses in various industries improve what they do, and how they do it. The BaseN Platform is a highly scalable and easily distributed IoT platform, enabling required scalability for hosting millions of things. BaseN was featured in CIO Review magazine list of 50 most promising IoT companies at the end of last year.
Recently acquired by Nest (which, in turn, is owned by Google) the king of wifi video cameras allows you to remotely view your home, family, pets, or business from any wifi-connected device. Before 2012, Dropcam was a software outlet famous for integrating its camera tech into other people’s hardware. However, it knew that in order to grow, the company needed to get into the hardware business as well. So, it hired some of the team behind Cisco’s Flip video cameras to create the Dropcam HD – one of a few IP shooters on the market that offered 720p video at that time. With the power of a deep-pocket giant like Google the future looks bright for Dropcam.
Enlighted provides a smart lighting system for buildings having already customers like LinkedIn or the City of San Jose. Enlighted has created “people-smart sensors” that gather real-time environmental data and analytics at each light fixture within a building, while networking those sensors in a way that delivers even more value to building owners/operators.
Enlighted’s most recent funding, a $20 million Series D round, closed in August 2014 bringing the company’s total funding to $55.6 million.
The Swedish multinational provider of communications technology and services, as world leader in its field, needs little introduction. Some 40 per cent of global mobile traffic run through Ericsson networks subscribed with over 2 billion users, and the company have been smart enough to recognise IoT as the future for its products and consumers for some time now. It has included “Networked Society” as one its core directives to align with IoT thinking; all in order to benefit its subscribers. Ericsson aims to connect 50 billion devices by 2020 and they even host their own annual, invite-only IoT Conference in Sweden. The latest rumours in the industry set Ericsson as one of the major players in 2015.
Jasper is the pioneer and global leader in cloud-based platforms for the Internet of Things (IoT). Jasper offers a dedicated IoT platform, a turnkey solution that empowers enterprises and mobile operators of all sizes to deploy and grow successful connected service businesses.
The Jasper Platform gives companies real-time visibility along with capabilities critical to the success of every IoT business—including mobile service management, real-time engagement, support diagnostics, billing and business automation. The Jasper Platform is deeply integrated into the networks of mobile operators across six continents and can be easily configured to meet the specialised needs of any business, in any industry.
Jasper’s latest round of funding raised $50 million at a $1 billion valuation, making it one of the highest valued Internet of Things companies today.
Neura‘s goal is to become the “glue connecting the Internet of things” by developing an open platform that bridges objects, locations, people and the Web. Neura believes that devices and device ecosystems need to “understand the human.” Smart devices will need to learn when to suggest and respond to prompts, as well as figuring out how to allow the user to opt into certain actions, rather than having prompts and triggers set in stone (well, code). Neura says that it can also help smart devices understand how contextual elements, such as jet-lag and weather, impact human factors, such as blood glucose. In April 2014, Neura secured $2 million in funding, to bring AI to the internet of things.
Nordic specialises in ultra-low-power wireless and connectivity devices for the 2.4 GHz ISM band, with ultra-low power performance and cost being the main focus areas. Their end-user apps include intelligent sports equipment, wireless voice and audio systems and consumer electronics. Known for their quality and performance in developer circles, it is particularly recommended for its Bluetooth applications. Late last year, Apple was promoting iBeacon, a Bluetooth based communications technology, and Nordic is sure to benefit when that and similar IoT technologies mature.
PubNub provides a global real-time network that “solves the problems of large-scale IoT connectivity in the wild, enabling IoT providers to focus on their core businesses.”
PubNub has built and deployed a global real-time network running in 14 data centres globally. Customers connect their devices to PubNub with a single line of code, then send and receive data with 0.25-second guaranteed delivery latency. PubNub also solves the issue of device status by providing real-time updates about every device (online/offline, etc.) across millions of devices. PubNub says that it connects over 100 million devices monthly while processing an average of 50,000 transactions per second – peaking at over 3 million transactions per second – through its global network.
A Series B of $11 million was closed in the summer of 2013, led by Scale Ventures and including follow-on investments from the Series A investors.
French startup Sigfox Series B funding brought its total to $32.1 million raised since its founding in 2009. Its unique low-energy network which operates in license-free frequency bands already has a strongfoothold in Spain, France, Russia, and the UK and Sigfox is trying to roll out to a total of 60 countries within the next five years. Neul and proponents of the Weightless specification are the company’s closest competitors in the space. In February 2015 Sigfox managed to secure $115m in founding from GDF SUEZ and Telefonica.