Top 10 Tech Companies Set Up To Disrupt Internet of Things in 2016
As the wearable technology, new gadgets, and Internet of Things landscape continue to evolve in complexity, it is becoming clearer each day that the future life on earth is about to get a whole lot fascinating and device-reliant.
The year 2015, in particular, has seen the emergence of a new clique of startups funded by the public through crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, an indication that the public is ready to invest in companies that promise to deliver quality and performance. Older more established companies cannot be overlooked though as they have also allocated millions of dollars in R&D of new wearable devices, gadgets, applications, and Internet of Things systems set to shake the market in 2016.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the next phase of a communication revolution that is interconnecting people, businesses, and homes through everyday appliances and gadgets.
This post focuses on the top 10 companies that are working on products that will cater to the demands of the shifting market and are set to revolutionise the lives of the people using those products. Note that the companies in this list are not listed in any particular order.
1. Nest (Smart Home, IoT & Connected Living)
When Google teased its smart home projects Weave and Brillo during the Google I/O conference in 2015, it was clear that the company is diving head first into the smart home and connected living industry. Google-owned Nest has revealed Nest Weave, a new smart home standard, a kind of protocol for Internet of Things devices and gadgets that acts as the foundation for devices to connect and communicate with each other, even without a Wi-Fi network.
The development and the sales of IoT-capable appliances and devices are expected to skyrocket in 2016, and with a laid-down protocol system such as Nest Weave, designers and manufacturers will have an easy time building devices that integrate into the existing connection and communication systems. Nest Weave is a one-of-a-kind protocol that allows devices to overcome the battery power and device size limitations and even ditch web access requirement for devices to be connected.
Nest Weave is a reliable, compact, and secure system that will work great for all kinds of products—both smart and dumb—such as light bulbs, thermostats, door locks, and even routers, with power and Wi-Fi or without. Nest says that Nest Weave, set to launch in early 2016, allows developers and manufacturers to incorporate pre-developed communication systems into their devices.
Essential Reading: The “Works With Nest” 15 Best Compatible Devices
The champion of Internet of Things Sigfox is a French startup whose Series B funding brought the total funding the company has raised since it was founded in 2009 to $32.1 million. The company is the first and only one in the world providing global cellular connectivity for the IoT. It is fully dedicated to low-throughput communications and uses a unique low-energy network operating in license-free frequency bands.
The company’s mobile connectivity network has already been rolled out in many countries including France, Spain, United Kingdom, and Russia.
Sigfox looks to roll out its network in 60 countries over the next 5 years. The company’s closest competitors in providing IoT connectivity are Neul and companies advocating for Weightless specification. Sigfox’s connectivity system features antennae and a base station infrastructure completely independent of existing telecommunication networks.
3. Microsoft (Augmented Reality & VR Show)
In early 2015, Microsoft wowed many when it showed off its ambitious virtual reality headset and augmented reality device that displays virtual digital images over the world around you using mixed reality technology. Unlike the many VR devices such as Samsung’s Gear and the popular Oculus Rift, the HoloLens is a stand-alone system that connects and communicates with other Windows devices wirelessly and is set to revolutionise how we use computers and play games on consoles.
Coupled with the fact that Microsoft is one of the biggest names in the Tech industry, the HoloLens’s mixed reality nature where it blends virtual images with reality is what may push many who still view VR with skepticism to try one. The device uses spatial recognition and intelligent programming to place virtual digital images on real surfaces, and spatial sounds to make the experience even more realistic.
The HoloLens will be shipping to software developers in the first quarter of 2016, and the games and other applications should be available in mid-2016 as Microsoft gets set to release the Hololens to the public. More interestingly, Microsoft and Facebook are partnering to support the development of Facebook’s subsidiary’s Oculus VR headset that is expected to ship with the next Microsoft Xbox controller in 2016.
Microsoft stands out as the company to watch in 2016 not only because it is developing its unique mixed reality device and supporting its rival’s Oculus, but also because it is positioning itself to revolutionise how people interact with computers and nature.
4. Nordic Semi
Nordic Semiconductor, often referred to as Nordic Semi, is a fabless semiconductor company founded in Trondheim, Norway in 1983. The technology company focuses on producing ultra-low power high-performance wireless systems on chip (SoCs) as well as connectivity devices operating in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. The main focus areas of the company are to produce devices that provide high performance with low power consumption for wireless mobile phones and accessories, consumer electronics, and intelligent equipment.
Nordic Semi’s chips are found in quite a number of electronic devices and gadgets we use today including computer mice and keyboards, wireless gamepads, wireless medical equipment, sports equipment, remote control devices, security devices, and wireless voice and video application systems among others.
Nordic is known for its high quality and superior performance chips that are now embedded in a large number of devices.
5. MyMDband (Healthcare & Digital Apps)
The healthcare and wearable digital devices have really picked up in 2015, and more new surprises and technologies are expected to launch in 2016. Among the little-known companies that show promise to revolutionise the smart wearable and healthcare industry in 2016 is MyMDband, an Israeli-based technology company that has developed a medical emergency bracelet that may prove to be a must-have wearable for everyone in the near future.
MyMDband is a connected digital bracelet that provides medical information about the wearer. The device uses GPS and location information to adapt to provide the information in the local language when the wearer is in a medical emergency such as an accident.
This device enables the caregiver to scan a laser-engraved QR code on the band’s buckle to get health information about the wearer such as prior medical conditions, allergies, current medications, last medical tests, and vaccinations. It also automatically alerts emergency contacts and updates them on the wearer’s location and situation.
Essential Reading: 10 Smart Medical Devices That Are Changing HealthCare
Founded in 2001 in Helsinki, Finland, BaseN is a tech company that focuses on providing innovative ways for internet users to record, process, visualise, and manage the large amounts of data in real time. This international technology company was among the leading companies in the development of software as a service (SaaS) suite in the information technology market and among the earliest to provide a public and private infrastructure data management platform.
Simply put, BaseN aims to help industries, small to medium sized businesses and individuals do what they do better by providing a collaborative and simplified platform. BaseN is a highly scalable, easily distributed, and very dynamic IoT platform that provides the required scalability to host millions of products and services.
Initially, BaseN developed its platform for telecom networks and later expanded to include clean tech space to make real-time data available to millions of users, households, organisations, and business in a cost-efficient manner. Last year, BaseN was featured in the CIO Review’s top 50 most promising IoT companies for its effort to provide better opportunities to optimise and monitor environmental probes and optimise energy consumption.
7. MasterCard (Mobile Payments &Retail Services)
A global leader in the card and digital payments, MasterCard recently introduced a new program that brings simple and fast payment to the fashion, automotive, technology, and wearable devices. The program promises to give consumers the freedom to shop conveniently using any device that they have on them with the highest levels of security—from watches and VR glasses to cars and smart clothing.
Set to launch in early 2016, MasterCard’s integrated payment solutions already have the support of many partners across multiple verticles to embed their system to fit every lifestyle need. Some of the names already on board with the program are General Motors, Ringly, Nymi, TrackR, and Adam Selman among others. As Internet of Things gets hyper-connected, MasterCard is setting itself up as the company to watch as far as shopping goes, and soon, you can order pizza and pay with your toaster when you discover you are out of bread.
MasterCard is advancing its Digital Enablement Express program (Express) to transform how consumers interact and transact. According to the company, starting from 2016, every wearable device, accessory, or IoT connected gadget can be payment enabled.
8. School of Electrical Engineering at KAIST (Smart Textiles)
This is not a company as per se, but a development team that will completely revolutionise the smart fabric development stage in 2016. Have you ever though how cool it would be if your shirt was made of the same material that a HD TV screen is made?
Up to this point, most lit smart fabrics relied on tiny LED bulbs sewn into the fabric. A research team from the School of Electrical Engineering at KAIST have found a workaround that makes the fabric a light emitting diode rather than a piece of fabric with light emitting diodes attached to it. With this new development, smart fabric developers will no longer need to add a hard and non-flexible elements on their clothing that significantly limited their application and comfort of the fabric.
According to the research findings published in the July issue of Advanced Electronic Materials, Professor Kyung-Cheol Choi, and his research team have overcome the limitations of traditional wearable displays that do not conform to the characteristics of the fabric to make fiber-like LED that share the characteristics of displays and fabrics. This technology is developed through dip-coating, a process of immersing and extracting 3D rods in a solution with organic materials that form the thread of the fabric.
Researchers agree that this technology will accelerate the development and commercialisation of fibre-based wearable displays not only because it offers low-cost mass production but also because they are light and conform to the fundamental elements of the fabric.
Swedish-based multinational tech company Ericsson is one of the oldest companies on this list, its roots dating back to 1876 when Lars Magnus Ericsson founded it. The company is a multinational provider of a wide range of communication and technology products and services and is considered one of the most dominant technology companies in the world. About 40% of global mobile traffic goes through Ericsson’s networks, which boasts of over 2 billion subscribed users.
Being one of the most adaptive companies in the world, Ericsson has plunged into the world of IoT as a future for its products, just as it did with the emergence of mobile connectivity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. To align with the development of IoT, the company has adopted “Networked Society” as one its core missions and commitment to developing products that will benefit all its subscribers. Ericsson is working on a project to interconnect over 50 billion devices by the year 2020, and as a way to achieve this, they often host an annual invite-only IoT conference in its headquarters in Stockholm.
Jasper is a global pioneer and leader in cloud-based Internet of Things platforms. The Jasper Platform is a dedicated industry-leading Saas (Software as a service) platform that enables new startups, small and medium-sized businesses and large companies to swiftly and cost-efficiently launch, manage, distribute, and monetise their IoT products and services on a global scale. This is a turnkey solution that essentially powers innovators of all sizes—from mobile operators to enterprises—to deploy and successfully grow connected business and consumer services.
The Jasper Platform works by providing its users with real-time data access as well as the tools needed to succeed in the deployment and utilisation of IoT systems. These tools include real-time access and engagement, mobile service management, billing and business automation, and support diagnostics among others. The service deeply integrates into mobile operator networks across all continents and can be effortlessly configured to meet the specific needs of business in any industry. At the moment, over 2,000 companies in more than 20 vertical markets use Jasper to advance their Internet of Things services.
Companies and product designers are investing time and resources to come up with unique designs, aesthetics, applications, and performance of products that are clearly built for accuracy, style, affordability, and more importantly, improve the quality of life. These are the top 10 developments we expect will shake up the wearable gadget and IoT technology world in the year 2016.