The Internet of Things (IoT) industry is widely expected to become a multi-trillion dollar industry within the next decade, so it's no surprise that many of the world's top aspiring entrepreneurs are looking to make their mark in the world of IoT, and that corporates are keeping an eye out for promising partners that can help them take ad advantage of IoT innovations.
Here are five innovative startups poised to see huge growth in 2017 and beyond.
The connected smart home device market in the U.S. is already worth $50 billion — and some estimates suggest that it will reach $121 billion by 2022. IOTAS is a connected-home company that's taking on Amazon and Google by targeting a very specific segment of home dwellers: renters. It's a smart move, since at least 68 percent of millennials are currently renting. IOTAS works with real estate developers to outfit apartments with smart devices to make operating lights, thermostats and other connected devices a breeze. It's a win-win-win: landlords get a new amenity to tout (plus a 10 percent share of revenues from their renters' IOTAS services), renters get the convenience of a ready-to-go smart home, and IOTAS gets a built-in customer base. With a CES Innovation Award in 2017 and a full product roll-out expected later this year, look for this Portland-based IoT startup to make major waves in the months and years ahead.
U.K.-based startup EVRYTHNG is focused on powering connected products for some of the world's biggest brands, including GE and Coca-Cola. their cloud-based smart products platform helps devices talk to each other and a central hub. As the company puts it, “We're called EVRYTHNG because we believe that every physical thing around us is coming to life digitally in some shape or form."
As more products communicate with their environments — either as part of the supply-chain management process or as part of our everyday lives by anticipating and fulfilling consumer needs automatically – EVRYTHNG is well positioned to become a huge player in the IoT world.
BluFlux is another startup specializing in a very specific area of the IoT universe: antennas. The Colorado-based consortium of engineers is helping design, develop, test and measure the radio-frequency (RF) electronics necessary to power IoT communications. Why is this important? Many IoT products utilize RF technology to communicate with other devices because RF transceivers cost much less (both initially and in terms of energy consumption used) than their WiFi counterparts. RF is also better suited for machine-to-machine and IoT device-to-device communication due to its higher transmission range and superior indoor performance. In short, BluFlux's engineers help reduce both the time and cost associated with taking IoT products to market by offering RF solutions to device creators. In the same way that marketing people needed website developers 20 years ago and app developers 5 to 10 years ago, marketers will increasingly depend on experts in the field of RF electronics as IoT products continue to proliferate.
Many Americans were introduced to the U.K.-based startup Pavegen for the first time in November 2016, when its smart sidewalk tiles were installed in Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle. The company's tiles are positioned above a network of magnets, and when commuters step on the tiles, energy is created. Pavegen redirects the energy into powering the street lights above. It also captures contextual data, such as how many commuters are present at different times of day, which might one day be used to help improve city planning. While it's still early, kinetic energy isn't the only kind this startup is capturing — hopes are high on every continent that Pavegen might one day be able to smartly and cleanly power (and report back on) cities across the globe. Other promising applications of the technology include soccer fields whose players power the stadium lights, and marathoners who generate energy as they run.
San Francisco-based CrowdOptic is using IoT technology to change the live-streaming game in a big way. Their patented technology interconnects multiple video feeds, triangulated with sensor and biometric data, in real time. Think wearables meets augmented reality, with the intelligence of IoT to power instant decision-making from across the globe. CrowdOptic's technology is already letting elite coaches train athletes remotely (with the benefit of real-time biometric data plus video), helping first responders react better in emergency situations (e.g., wearables can be embedded into firefighters' uniforms to stream real-time video from multiple locations to a centralized command post) and letting medical students learn from operating rooms across the globe. In the future, CrowdOptic's technology has promising defense applications (think the ability to locate and neutralize a target remotely) plus many more interesting civilian applications.
With billions of dollars on the line, expect many more promising companies to debut before the end of the year.