2016 Internet Of Things 50: 20 Coolest IoT Hardware Vendors
The Internet of Things is this year's hottest market, and many vendors are striving to stay at the forefront with cutting-edge products. The components at the back end of IoT offerings -- including low-power sensors, embedded gateways, modems, routers and semiconductors -- are critical to IoT operability and interoperability.
The opportunity is high in the hardware market for vendors. While larger companies such as Cisco Systems, Dell Technol­ogies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel are making deep investments in IoT products, new startups such as Samsara and others are doubling down on the space as well.
Following are 20 companies with the coolest IoT back-end hardware.
Top Executive: Simon Segars, CEO
Cambridge, U.K.-based ARM has bet big on the Internet of Things, in addition to the mobile market, as the company devises chips that consume less power so they can be used in smaller gadgets and devices.
ARM, which was acquired by Japanese telecommunications vendor Softbank in a $32 billion transaction in September, has invested millions of dollars in IoT-related chip designs and acquisitions in the past year alone, including Sunrise Micro Devices and Wicentric.
ARM's Cortex-R and Cortex-M designs present opportuni­ties in the smart automotive industry in particular, and its TrustZone technology is essential for IoT device security.
Top Executive: Walid Moneimne, Founding Partner, CEO
Atlanta-based Aspenta specializes in remote car tracking Internet of Things technology through its Vectu lineup, a series of consumer and enterprise location devices to track people and belongings. The company also touts its customizable IoT platform, myAspenta, as well as remote gateways, data and machine-to-machine SIM cards.
Aspenta is actively searching for solution providers to implement its connected devices and machine-to-machine technologies. The company also is recruiting already-established service providers and systems integrators to join its world­wide channel program.
Top Executive: Chet Pipkin, Founder, CEO
Belkin has hit the Internet of Things market hard by creating a strong portfolio of home automation and small-business building blocks.
The Los Angeles-based company's flagship IoT product is WeMo, a Wi-Fi-based home automation network and connected devices lineup. Belkin's WeMo products include switches all the way up to home automation products such as a slow cooker and smart humidifier.
Belkin also has bolstered its smart security lineup, NetCam, which provides a surveillance camera for homes.
Most recently, Belkin introduced Works With Nest support for its WeMo switches, meaning that the products work with Google's smart thermostat.
Top Executive: Chuck Robbins, CEO
Cisco's combined expertise in network connectivity, data analytics and fog computing applications -- and focus on the channel -- make it a market leader in the Internet of Things.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company in August revealed a restructuring effort that aims to pivot the company toward IoT. Cisco's IoT System is made up of six pillars of technology that channel partners can access: network connectivity, IOx and fog applications, security, data analytics, automation tools and application enablement.
Over the past year, Cisco has made continued investments in IoT.
In March the company completed its acquisition of IoT ser­vice platform provider Jasper Technologies for $1.4 billion. And in June, Cisco unveiled a partnership with IBM to combine its edge analytics capabilities with Watson to better understand data at the network edge.
Top Executive: George Mulhern, Chairman, CEO
With its expertise in 3G and 4G network offerings, wireless networking company Cradlepoint is in prime position to excel as the Internet of Things market matures.
The Boise, Idaho-based company specializes in 4G LTE routers that are used in various applications across the ma­chine-to-machine, IoT and transportation spaces -- from vending machines to ambulances.
The company's network management and Enterprise Cloud Manager platform enable quick deployment of IoT offerings with zero-touch configuration, real-time monitoring, analyt­ics and device management. Cradlepoint also touts its COR IBR1100 router series as its popular product for mission-critical IoT connectivity in challenging environments.
More recently, Cradlepoint took the wraps off its Router Soft­ware Development Kit, enabling partners to customize IoT to meet specific business needs and applications.
Top Executive: Hassane El-Khoury, President, CEO
Since acquiring Broadcom's wireless Internet of Things busi­ness in July for $550 million, Cypress Semiconductor has strengthened its position as a leader in key embedded markets.
Cypress Semiconductor, which makes programmable SoC products that provide memory, computing and graphics processing for low-power devices, is set to tap into the high-growth consumer IoT market, including wearable electronics and home automation offerings, as well as the automotive and industrial verticals.
As part of Broadcom's IoT business, San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor now gets the company's Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth and ZigBee IoT product lines, as well as its WICED brand and developer ecosystem.
Top Executive: Paul Glynn, CEO
Davra Networks has tightened its focus on the Internet of Things through its flagship cloud-based platform, RuBAN. RuBAN, which takes the data generated from IoT objects and presents it in a way that is easy for customers to consume and visualize, makes it easy for solution providers to rap­idly deploy IoT applications using a single platform.
Dublin, Ireland-based Davra Networks' Internet of Things portfolio also provides a gateway fog controller, IoT asset life-cycle management and IoT-specific business intelligence.
Davra Networks specializes in IoT applications across the spec­trum, including smart connected fleets, smart surveillance, connected mass transit and mining.
Top Executive: Michael Dell, CEO
Since launching its Internet of Things unit last year, Dell has introduced an array of tools, including analytics and data se­curity technology. But the Round Rock, Texas-based company is perhaps best known for its IoT infrastructure.
Dell touts its Edge Gateway series as cost-effective gateways that support analytics at the edge, and its Embedded Box PC series as rugged, fanless purpose-built form factors for indus­trial IoT uses such as fleet management and digital signage.
Dell has been busy on the partner front, rolling out in August a "matchmaking" system that aims to double the number of partners in its IoT Partner Program by helping customers partner with the right solution providers for their specific needs.
Digital Six Laboratories
Top Executive: Steve Montgomery, Founder, CEO
Oklahoma City, Okla.-based Digital Six Laboratories bills its flagship Whisker.IO cloud-based platform as the end-to-end offering for customers who want to "bring their business to the Internet of Things."
This platform consists of "off-the-shelf" plug-and-play hard­ware such as gateways, sensor blocks and a Whisker.io en­gine -- a tiny, surface-mount wireless module enabling OEMs to integrate existing products into the company's platform.
Whisker.io includes a cloud side as well, with storage and analytics capabilities, and a system for alerting users when configurable conditions are met. Digital Six Laboratories sells products directly to customers and through partners -- including integrators, developers and value-added resellers.
Top Executive: Larry Wall, CEO
Eurotech's cloud-based Everyware platform aims to simplify device and data management by connecting distributed devic­es over secure cloud services. Everyware enables customers with deployed devices to connect, configure and manage those devices throughout their life cycle.
The Columbia, Md.-based company also specializes in Internet of Things offerings and gateways geared toward the transportation and retail verticals. In the transportation space, for instance, Eurotech deploys passenger counters, which keep tabs on passengers who are entering and depart­ing public transportation vehicles.
Most recently, Eurotech launched IoT development kits, based on its ReliaGate gateways, which provide a complete design environment for engineers to simplify their develop­ment process and time to market.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Top Executive: Meg Whitman, President, CEO
HPE's Internet of Things strategy revolves around integrated, IoT-optimized offerings such as servers, storage and cloud products to enable the back end of projects.
Partners also have access to HPE's IoT architecture to de­liver a standardized end-to-end platform and energy manage­ment apps, enabling new services for end users.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based HPE is leading the charge in indus­try-standard Intel systems through industrial operational technology partnerships with companies such as National In­struments, GE Digital and PTC.
Most recently, HPE unveiled Intel Xeon-based converged IoT systems designed for the edge of the network. These sys­tems, Edgeline EL1000 and Edgeline EL4000, are being touted as the industry's first converged systems for IoT.
Top Executive: Brian Krzanich, CEO
In 2016, Intel quickened its charge into the Internet of Things, with CEO Brian Krzanich in April outlining a new company strategy focus on cloud and IoT.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has been moving away from its roots in PC semiconductors to prioritize end-to-end connected offerings such as intelligent gateways and embedded chips.
At the Intel Developer Forum, the company also took the wraps off Joule, a module built for IoT applications by pack­ing a high-performance system-on-module into a low-power package.
Intel partners, for their part, can take advantage of the chip company's Intel Inside IoT platform, which includes a refer­ence architecture and family of products -- such as IoT gate­ways and Intel IoT Developer Kit.
Top Executive: Brad Walters, Founder, CEO
Monnit's strategy taps into the Internet of Things by targeting low-cost remote monitoring offerings, helping customers mon­itor commercial refrigeration, facilities, industrial settings, and heating and air conditioning.
The Salt Lake City-based company offers up to 40 "off-the-shelf" wireless sensor types and gateways that connect with on­line or local monitoring software, enabling customers to keep track of sensor data and receive real-time alerts, as well as keep automated control based on sensor readings. It also recently released a cellular gateway based on a 3G wireless engine, al­lowing sensors to operate on a variety of cellular networks.
Monnit partners can sell Monnit-branded products or brand the offerings as their own.
Panasonic Corp. Of North America
Top Executive: Joseph Taylor, Chairman, CEO
Secaucus, N.J.-based Panasonic last year launched a cloud services toolkit containing modular components to support the development of Internet of Things offerings.
Its toolkit includes modules that encompass gateways and cloud components, and supports deployments on providers running enterprise-class cloud software including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM SoftLayer.
The company also targets industrial automation products and wearables. With industrial automation, the company provides factory automation devices, as well as sensors specifically for automotive or industrial applications.
Top Executive: Steven Mollenkopf, CEO
Although Qualcomm faces tight competition in the Internet of Things segment from the standpoint of semiconductors, the San Diego-based company touts a number of offerings and services surrounding wearables, smart cities and smart homes. With its existing expertise in LTE modems for the smartphone market, Qualcomm is well-positioned to keep up with the growth of cellular in IoT, as well as the proliferation of radio bands in 4G and 5G.
Qualcomm's low-power Snapdragon processors are built to power the consumer devices behind IoT -- including every­thing from washers to refrigerators. Qualcomm partners also have access to the company's M1 modems Cat 1 LTE technol­ogy at its core.
At press time, the company said it plans to acquire NXP Semiconductors for $47 billion -- the biggest deal yet in the chip industry -- as it seeks to rev up its sales channels around IoT.
Top Executive: Sanjit Biswas, Founder, CEO
Sanjit Biswas, who in 2012 sold Meraki to Cisco for $1.2 bil­lion, is leading his newest startup, along with partner John Bicket, as CEO of Internet of Things-focused Samsara.
The company's vision is to allow customers to deploy sen­sors by the thousands to gather more data and better insight for their businesses. The San Francisco-based company last December released an nternet-connected sensor offering for industrial customers with wireless gateways that transmit sensor data to software in the cloud. Samsara's new plug-and-play offering is built on "readily available" cellular net­works and cloud-hosted infrastructure that's geared around simplicity and scalability.
The company now is looking to on-board new partners.
Top Executive: Gregory Lee, President, CEO
In 2016, Samsung moved the Internet of Things to the center of its strategy, revealing in June that it will dish out $1.2 billion over the next four years for IoT-related research and startups.
The tightened focus comes a year after Samsung launched its Artik chip platform, which are building blocks with built-in connectivity and an open software environment for wearables and other connected devices. Artik includes three hardware modules that bundle CPUs, GPUs, memory and storage with wireless network, sensors and video decoding features.
Ridgefield Park, N.J.-based Samsung has said future investments will target IoT applications with social benefits, such as digital health, smart machines and autonomous vehicles.
Top Executive: Jason Cohenour, President, CEO
Sierra Wireless' portfolio, which includes routers and gate­ways, makes up the back end of Internet of Things applications. The Richmond, Canada-based company touts these products as delivering a "future-proof" device-to-cloud architecture, targeted at OEMs and systems integrators, for building connected products. In addition, Sierra Wireless makes embedded modules, such as its industrial-grade offerings for standardizing connectivity across products and markets, including the HL and WP series, as well as automotive-grade solutions, such as the AR series for connecting vehicles.
Sierra Wireless' M2M Solution Exchange and Partner Pro­gram helps its partners tap into networking and IoT offerings.
Top Executive: Rich Templeton, CEO
Texas Instruments is yet another semiconductor manufacturing company placing bets on the Internet of Things by building out its IoT-focused building block portfolio.
The Dallas-based company offers low-power microcontroller, low-energy, scalable Sitara processors, and power management integrated circuits aimed at IoT. Texas Instruments' microcontroller series has a scalable platform to sup­port consumer, industrial and health-care IoT applications.
Texas Instruments also works with vendors including IBM on cloud-enabled offerings.
Top Executive: Anders Gustafsson, CEO
Zebra Technologies specializes in the building blocks behind today's Internet of Things technology, particularly in the automatic identification and data capture market -- including sensors, bar codes, RFID and wireless networks.
Zebra has been delving deeper into IoT, particularly in 2014 through its purchase of Motorola Solutions' enterprise business for $3.45 billion to build up its RFID hardware portfolio.
The Lincolnshire, Ill.-based company's IoT platform, dubbed Zatar, provides a standards-based approach to connectivity and control of devices, along with open APIs to cre­ate apps, on-board devices and enable collaboration.