A term proposed by Kevin Ashton in 1999, the Internet of Things (or IoT) describes a network of devices marked by advanced connectivity that goes beyond traditional machine-to-machine (M2M) connections.
Devices in an Internet of Things world are connected to systems and services, covering a variety of applications and protocols. As we’ve already begun to see in the last decade, the Internet of Things is poised to have a significant impact on the way we live our lives.
Below is a list of our favorite IoT companies:
With 25 years of control networking expertise and a network of more than 100 million products that use its technology, Echelon is a big name in the electrical engineering and Internet of Things landscape. Just recently, Echelon turned heads when it launched its IzoT Platform, an IP-enabled family of chips, stacks, interfaces, and management software that enables the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
Quirky, where you can shop for products invented by real people like Garthen, has unleashed a slew of simple, connected products for consumers. Quirky encourages people to submit their ideas. The Quirky community provides feedback, votes on ideas, and ultimately helps to drive which products are created.
Quirky recently partnered with GE, who invested $30 million and share Quirky’s vision for smarter, community-driven inventions.
A behemoth of a company, Cisco boasts a suite of embedded and outdoor network devices to help connect the unconnected. CEO John Chambers has publicly stated that the company is “all-in” when it comes to the Internet of Things. Over the next five years, Cisco plans to invest billions of dollars into IoT R&D, including the funding of startups.
Belkin doesn’t just make wireless networking devices.
An early player in the IoT space, Belkin created WeMo, a family of simple and customizable products that allow users to control their home electronics from anywhere.
From an Internet-connected slow cooker to warming a room when you walk into it, Belkin’s WeMo applications are worth keeping an eye on.
Deemed the darling of the Internet of Things, Nest was recently acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in cash.
At the moment, Nest has two separate products — the Nest Thermostat, a smart and modern thermostat, and the Nest Protect, a connected smoke detector. With product traction and a huge cash infusion, we’re excited to see what they build next.
Headquartered in Switzerland, AGT International brings the Internet of Things to cities. With $1 billion in annual revenue, AGT International is a pioneer in using integrated devices to make cities smarter and safer.
Their Urban Shield Platform product includes traffic management, environmental monitoring and law enforcement applications, among others.
Jawbone’s supercharged wearable wristband doesn’t just motivate the number of steps you take in a given day. It motivates your lifestyle. Using Bluethooth Smart technology, Jawbone tracks physical activity, provides feedback and wirelessly syncs with your phone, tablet or computer.
The UP24, Jawbone’s latest wearable wrist band, can connect with other apps on your phone. You know, just in case you need to brew coffee or lock your door from your wrist.
Another big player in the connected home space, SmartThings’ platform of IoT devices lets users customize their connected smart homes.
An open-software platform, SmartThings was first launched on Kickstarter and enables users to connect a kit of devices like motion sensors and moisture detectors to their smart phones.
SmartThings recently opened an online store and supports a community of 5,000 developers.
A global leader in embedded processing solutions, Freescale Semiconductor is an Internet of Things enabler. With a suite of microprocessors, sensors, microcontrollers and integrated circuits, Freescale develops embedded processing solutions in the automotive, consumer and industrial markets.
Freescale technologies are being used in everything from blood glucose monitors and home refrigerators to auto brake stability and pre-paid parking meters.
With an IPO in 2009, LogMeIn helps professionals operate their devices remotely. Recently, LogMeIn partnered with ARM – the U.K.-based chipmaker which powers 95% of the world’s smartphones – and is picking up customers in the health care and automotive industries.
LogMeIn shows us that Internet of Things devices aren’t just consumer-based. Xively, a division of LogMeIn, serves as a public cloud, built specifically for IoT applications.
Internationally renowned digital agency R/GA gained momentum in the IoT space with its work for the Nike+ FuelBand. Last year, R/GA partnered with Techstars to create a Connected Devices Accelerator program. Eager participants receive $120,000 and mentorship to help them build their IoT business.
Rockwell Automation helps plants slash energy consumption and save money. Their solutions bring the Internet of Things to factories and other industrial environments, helping plant floors become more efficient.
Rockwell Automation offers thousands of industrial automation products.
With a suite of innovate appliance products, Bosch also maintains a huge software devision devoted specifically to IoT-related software development. Primarily focused on energy management, mobility and manufacturing, Bosch is a large, dynamic company to keep an eye on.
The 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year, Philips is one of the world’s largest and most diversified technology companies. Philips has primary divisions focused in healthcare, consumer lifestyle and lighting. It’s this last division that excites us.
With 50 years of LED research under its belt, Philips’s newest delight is the Hue lighting system. It’s programmable by smartphone and helps consumers save on energy bills. By next year, Philips projects the Hue lighting system to fuel nearly $2 billion in LED sales for the company.
Based in Denmark, Grundfos is the world’s largest pump manufacturer. A “trendsetter” in water technology, Grundfos is a leader in advanced water processing and pump solutions.
Withings boasts a line of wellness-oriented consumer products. Investors just pumped $30 million into the company, whose flagship smart scale put it on the map as an Internet of Things company worth following.
Their latest (and most advanced) product, the Aura, is sensitively designed alarm clock that records your sleep environment — noise pollution, room temperature and light level — and provides scientifically-validated light and sound programs to optimize sleep.
Zebra Technologies has a wide portfolio of IoT-related products like RFID printing and encoding, location information and sensor technologies.
Based in Vernon Hills, Illinois, Zebra’s products are being used in more than 100 countries around the world. They manufacturer a thermal bar code lab
Have you heard of Quark?
It’s Intel’s smallest superpowered chip. Better yet, it will connect smartphones and wearables to other electronic devices using only a tenth of the power. It was built to target new markets, particularly the wearables IoT market.
Cat lovers, rejoice.
Originally a Kickstarter project, Kittyo surged past its original funding goal of $30,000 to raise over $270,000.
Their hardware product connects to your phone, enabling you to better connect with your cat when you’re not home. Watch, speak to, play with and record your cat when you’re away. You can even dispense treats!
Launched in September 2013, Soil IQ offers an IoT smart probe for your garden. At the moment, they’re Beta testing with community gardens and farms in the San Francisco area.
Soil IQ’s mission is to help people grow food more sustainably. Their probe monitors and wirelessly streams soil nutrient content, pH, temperature, moisture and light data, publishing to the cloud.
It goes one step further, using proprietary analytics to generate custom recommendations to help growers optimize fertilization, watering, seed selection and to reduce waste.
Beta users are seeing an average savings of $50 per acre per year.
Founded in 2011, Ninja Blocks seeks to help users reimagine the connected home. With thousands of products shipped and a loyal fan base, Ninja Blocks is yet another pivotal company in the IoT movement.
San Francisco-based Fitbit is a dominant player in the wearables / quantified self space.
Experts agree that 10,000 steps a day can go a long way to improving our health and lives. Fitbit is a simple connected IoT device that helps users track steps, distance, calories, stairs and sleep patterns. It’s lightweight, easy-to-use and accurate.
Variable brings cutting-edge sensors with smartphones, using their NODE wireless sensor platform. They help match paint colors at home, find thermal leaks and optimize medical diagnostics.
Variable’s founder, George Yu, worked with NASA and DHS to create the world’s first iPhone gas sensor.
Any companies you would add to this list?