With the Internet of Things (IoT) set to grow to a massive global market by 2020, a crop of innovative start-ups could potentially define how the process into the mainstream takes shape. Although digital heavyweights have set their sights on this in-trend industry, it is the small start-ups that are delivering fundamental solutions to the market today. Here are four IoT start-ups that will likely require the services of sell boutiques in the near future.
The $3.6 billion purchase of Nest Labs by Google has suddenly thrown the torchlight on smart-home start-ups and SNUPI is one with solid expertise in the sector. Its flagship product Wally utilises the walls and wiring of a home to create a network of sensors that can be utilised for anything from detecting water leaks, changes in temperature, humidity and a variety of other variables that could ultimately save costly work for homeowners. The Seattle-based firm has already attracted institutional financing of $7.3 million at the start of the year in a round led by the Washington Foundation.
2. Ayla Networks
As IoT begins to unleash a variety of connected devices on consumer markets, with goods ranging from web-enabled fridges, boilers, cookers to vacuum cleaners, a network capable of hosting and interconnecting all these systems is paramount. Ayla Networks offers a solution via a cloud platform that connects directly to device manufacturers through an embedded Wi-Fi chip. The company has already bagged a major client in the shape of Chinese Internet major Sina and developing relationships with manufacturing brands will be key to its widespread success. This segment of the market is already competitive, with the likes of SmartThings and ThingWorx aiming for market share.
While Kolibree’s core product may appear like a fad, or a case of IoT gone crazy, it offers a highly likely vision of the future. The company’s product, a smart toothbrush, gathers data about users’ brushing habits and relays the information to smartphones in the form of charts and graphs. The ultimate aim is to ensure consumers are brushing correctly and long enough, with gaming content implemented to attract children to more frequent brushing. A smart toothbrush offers the potential for all previously fairly mundane daily consumer tools to become digitalised and open up new markets and potential for added-value. The true value of the start-up is the creativity and potential behind the team to deliver similar ideas to other products, as there is limited opportunity at present in asking consumers to make a semi-major purchasing decision on a toothbrush.
4. The Orange Chef
The kitchen is always going to be one of the more lucrative smart areas for IoT products, as food and diet continue to become vital components of consumer lifestyles. The Orange Chef has tapped into the health-conscious nature of modern smartphone users by delivering the Prep Pad, a smart scale that offers nutritional information on food products by weighing them and relaying the info to mobile devices. The San Francisco-based start-up finished 2013 with a $1.2 million funding round, which notably saw Google Ventures participate.
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