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Internet of Things

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08 | INTERNET OF THINGS 28 / 06 / 2015 | RACONTEUR raconteur.net Unicorn hunting among the startups The internet of things presents a prime opportunity for newcomers to make their billion-pound fortunes T he word of the moment is "uni- corns". They are startups that achieve a billion-pound valuation. Unicorns number 40 in Europe, with 17 in the UK, including Shazam, Wonga and Just Eat. Hype around the internet of things (IoT) means investors are looking for the poten - tial unicorns in the sector. But where should they be hunting? We know unicorns hide in unlikely spots. US startup Nest focused on central heating. Users can alter heat settings using their mobile. Google bestowed the unicorn horn in a $3.2-billion cash acquisition in 2014. Taxi firm Uber is arguably an IoT startup. The app turns a smartphone into a GPS track - er for taxis, a key part of the appeal. Fundrais- ing valuations place it at $40 billion. So it can be done. Who are the outstanding candidates? In the consumer sector, Bluesmart is lug - gage bristling with IoT features. There's a GPS tracker, built-in scale, a digital lock managed from a smartphone and a battery reserve for charging mobile phones – sur - prisingly handy for long journeys. Blues- mart's luggage set retails for £245 and has picked up awards such as "Most life-chang- ing product 2014" from BuzzFeed. Netatmo is a face-recognition camera for the home. The device looks like a webcam mounted on a cylinder and it can be placed anywhere to scan passers-by for familiar faces. When it spots someone friendly it sends a message to your smartphone. Ideal for parents of latch-key kids who come home to empty houses. Mybitat takes the concept a little further for the elderly. Sensors monitor the condi - tion of senior citizens who live alone and supply updates to the family or to the emer- gency services in extremis. The market is huge as more than 10,000 baby boomers retire every day in America alone. Samsung has stepped in to develop a range of products with the company. Heavy industry ought to be a rich environ - ment for IoT startups. The energy sector in particular is providing fertile ground. Oil and gas wells are labour intensive to moni- tor. PumpWELL Technologies supplies sen- sors to send remote health checks to an engi- neer's mobile phone. Chief executive Nav Dhunay says: "One of the main challenges in IoT adoption by oil and gas producers has been distrust of change, and a costly barrier to entry. We are building sensors that are substantially less expensive than anything else in the market and are able to place those sensors strategi - cally across a pumping well. "If remote sensors could do nothing more than simply confirm a well is pumping and fluid is flowing, then that would be a disrup - tion within the industry, as there would be no need for highly paid operators to physi- cally visit the site which often can cost be- tween $500 and $1,000 per well per visit. "The fact that these sensors and control mechanisms can also analyse patterns in pumping data for every individual well and literally adjust the pump in real time to operate in the most efficient way is a game-changer." City design is boom area in IoT. Canary Wharf Group and innovation consultancy Entiq are running the Cognicity Challenge Perhaps the key to success will be the way IoT devices interact with each other. Re - alVNC builds remote-control systems used in more than two billion devices. RealVNC's vice president of mobile Tom Blackie says he's on the look-out for devices talking to each other. "Think of your GPS location from your vehicle being used to trigger your smart- home Google Nest thermostat or switching on the lights as you pull into the drive. All these will be done automatically by 'intel - ligent agents' running in the background, learning your habits and doing useful things for you," he says. The more devices that enter the IoT realm, the more these sorts of mash-ups will proliferate. $1 billion. Jasper's service is used by more than a 1,000 companies in over 20 indus - tries. Topcon Precision Agriculture, which creates automatic steering for tractors, uses the Jasper platform for its suite of services. Jasper means there is no need for Topcon to create dashboards and reporting systems from scratch. There are well-fund - ed platforms made by IFTTT, EVRYTHNG, Concirrus and pretty much all the major names in tech, from HP and Oracle to EMC and Huawei. Google, naturally, has its own plat - form for IoT called Brillo. Based on Android, it will include voice commands. But we won't find out the full details until the autumn. These may make life harder for startups to compete. to promote smart city IoT startups. Mem- bers include Heat Genius, which takes the Nest thermostat idea, but refines the heat management for each room in the house. Boldmind uses IoT to provide analytics for retailers of traffic flow and crowd move - ments in built-up areas. BuzzStreets is develop- ing traffic incident re- porting systems to help commuters. Voyage Control is helping to optimise deliveries by routing trucks intel - ligently. The platforms needed to make IoT work will be a lucrative arena. Jasper Technolo- gies, a software company which provides a simple way for all sorts of products to be turned into IoT devices, raised $50 mil- lion last year giving it a value of more than STARTUPS CHARLES ORTON-JONES Share this article on social media via raconteur.net TEN BREAKTHROUGHS IN IoT Managing traffic The Highways Agency measures traffic flow on Britain's roads by tapping into drivers' phone GPS. Millions of vehicles provide reports to create a traffic overview accurate to within seconds. If traffic stalls, the agency instantly knows there's a problem. Snow clearance vehicles are sent to problem spots identified this way. The service, supplied by Inrix, is used by delivery firms to send packages via the quickest route, saving money and time. Relying on traffic updates on the radio now seems positively prehistoric. Fixing lifts ThyssenKrupp Elevators runs 1.1 million lifts worldwide, including 73 in New York's One World Trade Center building alone. The big issue is reliability. ThyssenKrupp need to fix the lifts when they cover a certain distance. So it worked with Microsoft and CGI to create an IoT monitoring system for each lift shaft. Technicians now use real-time data to determine repair needs, ex- amine diagnostics and move elevators, using an app. In case of malfunction, an error message is transmitted automatically, cutting repair time. Catching burglars Oxfordshire-based Manything has an app which turns any Apple device into a live streaming home-security camera. Use an old iPhone or iPad to watch for burglars. The app includes motion detection, which will send an alert message to your personal phone. You can then watch the video and see what is happening. A woman in Arizona has already nailed a thief using Manything by supplying footage to the police. Caring for your dog Dog owners can go a little bonkers over their four-legged darlings. Device maker Whistle is hoping to tap into the market with a GPS monitor and an activity monitor. The latter is a lightweight device which attaches to the dog's collar and works like a Fitbit device, measuring activity, location and sleeping patterns. Compare trends to other dogs. Know whether you are overstretching the poor mutt. Laugh – but dog accessories are a multi-billion-dollar industry. Pimping your ride A report by McKinsey says a "dramatic increase in vehicle connectivity" will boost the market for connectivity components from €30 billion to €170 billion by 2020. The study reveals 13 per cent of consumers would refuse to buy a car without internet connectivity and half of consumers demand the internet when making a purchase. From diagnostics to entertainment, even theft-tracking, IoT is now becoming a mainstream automotive feature. Protecting your cranium YouTube is full of stunning videos of extreme sportspeople landing triple somersaults on their BMXs. Trouble is less talented folk are keen to try too. The Shockbox device measures just what damage they're doing to their grey matter when they face-plant. The sensor attaches to a helmet and gauges G-force. Concussions can be identified. Shockbox is being targeted at American football and ice hockey players, who routinely take big impacts to the head. Feeding the world IoT is the secret to helping farmers increase production by 70 per cent to 2050, when the world population will be near 10 billion. That's according to a report by Beecham Research. IoT will be used for crop-yield management, livestock-monitoring and tracking activity across farms. IoT devices are already in animals, tracking health – hence the "internet of pigs" moniker. Cutting industrial consumption Aggregate Industries has upgraded its bitumen tanks at 40 asphalt plants across the UK with IoT devices made by Open Energi. The tanks now adjust their electricity consumption in response to fluctuations on the grid. The company reports: "The project is expected to reduce UK CO 2 emissions by almost 50,000 tonnes over the next five years, equivalent to 390,000 individual journeys from London to Paris by plane. Embracing this innovative technology has also helped Aggregate Industries to identify significant energy savings in the region of 350,000kWh per year." Stopping babies crying Blue Maestro's Pacif-i baby dummy monitors temperature, reporting back to an app. Ill babies' health can be tracked, with medicine times entered. The dummy includes a buzzer which will sound on request, should the device got lost down the back of the sofa. A little more mainstream is the Bleep Bleeps range of baby cameras and screaming monitors. The Mimo baby kimono tracks sleep, body position and temperature. Winning gold at Rio 2016 Wearable tech is helping everyone from couch potatoes looking to crack their first 6k, to Olympic contenders preparing for the Rio Games next year. Jo Pavey, European 10,000m champion, uses SMS BioSport heart-rate ear- phones combined with the Runkeeper app. The wireless earphones mean the user can forgo the usual chest strap, and the app compiles speed and route data via GPS, then reports back to a web-accessible analytics interface. Hype around the internet of things means investors are looking for the potential unicorns in the sector Source: GP Bullhound London's "Silicon Roundabout" in an area of the capital where technology is booming Skype Spotify Rocket Internet Zalando Ulmart Yandex King Digital ASOS PokerStars Markit Group Rightmove Rovio Entertainment JustEat Supercell Vkontakte Vente Privee Ve Interactive Powa Criteo Delivery Hero YOOX Avito.ru Adyen Skrill Fleetmatics Group Qiwi Fanduel Klarna Conduit Wonga Zoopla AO World Mojang Skyscanner Farfetch BlaBlaCar Home24 Transferwise Shazam Funding Circle EUROPEAN UNICORNS: COMPANY VALUATION ($ BN) UK unicorn 1 3 5 7 2 4 6 8

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