by Roy Murdock | 05/23/2019
VDC attended IoT World 2019 in Santa Clara, a four-day event attended by a diverse mix of startups and established embedded players in the IoT ecosystem. The event hosted 12,000 participants with keynote speakers including Bask Iyer (CIO of VMWare/Dell), Michael Sherwood (Director of Innovation for City of Las Vegas), and Greg Kahn (CEO of the IoT Consortium). The Eclipse Foundation also put on an extensive IoT Day Workshop in coordination with IoT World organizers.
We met with many players in the IoT market, with a few notable highlights below:
Sigfox: The global communications provider for the IoT is successfully targeting the “unhyped and boring” IoT devices and use cases where cellular connectivity is too expensive and data-intensive, and local area networks are too power-intensive and geo-constrained. Sigfox has secured numerous new customers in the consumer electronics and white goods verticals, along with track and trace and logistics monitoring customers. The smart home continues to be a focus, where Sigfox can obviate the need for an end user to (often unsuccessfully or insecurely) set up Bluetooth connections after setting up an IoT device. Pricing is extremely attractive and the company is pushing forward into the realm of providing analytics on top of the data they collect and manage for users.
Canonical: The company’s overall focus on Snaps (universal Linux packages) and creating one centralized “app store for Linux” is paying dividends for enterprise customers, but has also allowed the IoT team to rearchitect its primary IoT offering, Ubuntu Core, into a modular architecture of five Snaps that can be configured according to customer requirements. Canonical views its opportunity as a provider of Linux for the IoT in four primary segments: automotive, industrial, robotics, and datacenter. The company is winning gateway sockets in automotive and working intensively with Robot OS (ROS) which is gaining substantial momentum in the Chinese industrial OS market.
Losant: The Cincinnati-based, enterprise IoT cloud platform provider has grown to 40 employees and services over 50 enterprise customers, with strong revenue growth suggesting that there is still strong demand for an independent, agile, multi-cloud IoT platform solution in the market. The Losant team has been focused on adding “300,000 foot view” dashboards and services for large enterprises and OEMs to get a full view into their many disparate operations. Edge analytics on IoT gateways should be the next point of focus for the company as OEMs’ hybrid IoT cloud connectivity strategies mature and they turn back towards edge optimization. We would not be surprised to see Losant acquired in the next 1-2 years as one of the only remaining successful, pure play IoT platform providers left on the market.
Quuppa: Quuppa is a 50-person company based in Helsinki that provides a smart location and tracking system, using an Angle of Arrival (AoA) method to perform accurate and cost-effective tracking of Bluetooth Low Energy tags and devices. When we last spoke, Quuppa was still going through numerous PoCs and trials, but has since successfully demonstrated its value within the sports analytics/tracking and hospitality services markets and has moved into full production systems. The company continues to grow organically off this success, and is working full time to educate the market on the need (and benefits) to upgrading legacy stadium, campus, and building infrastructure – there are some very interesting business models involving hockey pucks and police stations that accompany the new data Quuppa’s tracking system provides. We expect the company to bring on a strategic investor that can grow it to the next level by 2020.
Kudelski Group + u-blox: The Kudelski Group, a leading provider of digital security solutions, and u‑blox, a global leader in positioning and wireless communication technologies for the automotive, industrial and consumer markets, exhibited a new collaborative secure cellular communications module. Kudelski brings its expertise in the cable TV and ski pass scanning/access technology to u-blox’s longstanding wireless semiconductor and modules business. The companies are starting with a hardware root of trust to secure IoT communications modules in the factory, reducing the complexity of setting up security for OEMs and enterprise customers.
Renesas: Renesas showed off its Synergy Platform of Arm-based MCUs bundled with robust software to increase speed to market. The platform includes Express Logic’s (now Microsoft’s) proven ThreadX runtime, tools, and middleware, allowing customers to get a safety-certifiable MCU hardware and software stack off-the-shelf. Renesas is staying ahead of the trend towards end-to-end solutions, and picked a great software partner (Microsoft agrees) to get embedded and IoT engineers up and running as pre-certified platforms become increasingly important for winning OEM mindshare.
As is apparent from the diverse range of highlighted technologies and companies attending and exhibiting IoT World, most of the relevant companies in the IoT and embedded space were in attendance. We met with many more companies than we could include here, and are happy to further discuss our post-show thoughts over phone/email.
VDC will definitely be returning to this focused and highly-relevant show in future years, and enjoying some more of the beautiful Silicon Valley sunshine.
View the 2019 IoT & Embedded Technology Research Outline to learn more.