The Internet of Things (IoT) has enjoyed a lot of attention from analysts and researchers who expect the number of IoT connections to surpass the human population this year. It’s no surprise there are quite a few startups in IoT. But how many of these products will actually be used? And does IoT simplify life or only add more gadgets in an already gadget-frenzied world?
An open-source analysis of IoT user behavior conducted by Harvard Business Review collected from 1,000 IoT technology platforms and 279,000 early adopters found that the most heavily used IoT programs made home life easier. The top 3 most preferred systems extended security, quantified the self, such as measuring body mass index (BMI) or sleeping patterns), and optimized machines to automate functions such as turning off lights when someone leaves the house.
A few months back, Santa Clara hosted the IoT World conference, which is known as the largest IoT conference in the world with 400 speakers, 250 sponsors and exhibitors, and an attendance of over 11,000 people. I attended this conference and found the following startups in IoT to be on the mark for both innovation and also answering demand for consumer needs:
Hot Startups in IoT:
In 2015, there were about 3,700 sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) in the United States with 1,600 confirmed from SIDS. These deaths occur in infants less than 1-year-old and have no immediate obvious cause, creating stress for parents of newborn babies. Owlet has created a smart sock to track a baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep. The gadget features a sensor within the sock that connects to a smartphone to log and track the data collected. The technology is called “pulse oximetry” that works like the red light used in hospitals placed on the index finger to measure heart rate and oxygen. If the baby’s oxygen levels or heart rate exceeds the acceptable range, the monitor sounds the alarm. Owlet is still in the process of FDA approval and cannot yet claim to prevent SIDS, however, some parents already claim to be sleeping better.
Swarm Intelligence was introduced in 1989 by Jing Wang as a collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems and was employed for artificial intelligence, especially in regards to cellular robotic systems. The inspiration for “intelligent” global behavior comes from nature, such as ant colonies, bird flocks, animal herding and bacterial growth. The company, Swarm Technology, takes this concept and applies it to distributed processing, heterogeneous processing, machine learning and multi-agent artificial intelligence. Alfonso Inguez, the electrical engineer who developed the idea, explains the CPU broadcasts ‘this is what I need’ and the other computers or hardware that are interconnected and part of the internet of things lends to the fulfillment of what is being broadcast. Iniquz explains the key concept is “that the co-processors are not sitting idle waiting to be told what to do; they’re actively looking for work.”
The smart home market continues to be plagued by high device prices, limited value and hard to install devices as pointed out in my article in VentureBeat. Centralization may be necessary for the connected home to work, but where should we limit this? If the benefits we’re looking for are interoperability and efficiency, then the connected home should limit centralization to only this, allowing the rest of the appliances and electronics to be decentralized. GridConnect helps facilitate this balance with the Connect Sense Smart Outlet. Released in 2015, the company announced the addition of power monitoring to the Smart Outlet and ConnectSense app in late 2016. With the ConnectSense app, users can integrate scenes and rules for the Smart Outlet and other home automation devices regardless of manufacturer. The power monitoring also helps to give insight into the power consumption of the devices plugged into the Smart Outlet. The ConnectSense app also gives the ability to create rules based on power usage.
Smart trackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and Mynt is not only reasonably priced but offers a full set of features such as accurate position tracking, playing music, taking a picture, recording video and sharing location, to name a few. By attaching Mynt to your valuables, your smartphone will alert you if you leave your keys or wallet behind, or if your pet is lost. Mynt is also a bi-directional tracker that has a built-in buzzer if you leave your phone. You can also locate your car by saving your parking location or take a selfie with Mynt by using it as a remote control for your cell phone camera. Although not the only Bluetooth tracker on the market, Mynt is extremely thin and reasonably priced at $19.99.
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