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5 Smart Startups Harnessing the Power of the Internet of Things

By Sarah Pike, Last Modified
May 06, 2016
> Technology

By 2020, 80 million devices could make up the Internet of Things (IoT). That means this vast network of Internet-connected devices may even out number the human population.

Entrepreneurs with ideas that leverage IoT technology to make people’s lives easier, better, or more fun can cash in on this network.

Here are five smart startups shaking up the traditional business model for success in a connected world.

Related Article: Internet of Things: Security, Compliance, Risks and Opportunities

1. 214 Technologies

Opportunity isn’t knocking on 214 Technologies’ door, it’s ringing. This startup’s smart doorbell, Chui, uses facial recognition in place of a key, Radio Frequency chip, or passcode, to disarm a security system and unlock a door. Like other smart doorbells, such as Ring, Chui offers two-way audio, live video capture, and push notifications to an Android or iOS device.

Chui can also work with Internet-connected smart locks to open doors for a preset list of visitors. The startup was successfully crowdfunded, receiving almost three times the company’s goal amount, by Crowdtilt. Just like many successful IoT startups, 214 Technologies builds upon an existing idea and makes it even more high-tech and convenient.

2. Scanalytics

Scanalytics, a business-to-business startup, leases a powerful data collection tool to retail outlets, and sells the data through a subscription-based service.

The company’s SoleSensor pads measure foot traffic in stores, providing managers with hard data about areas that receive the greatest traffic and more. The company couples sophisticated technology with data analysis to create a recurring revenue stream, a smart business model for IoT startups.

3. Ihiji

Ihiji, another B2B IoT company, also emphasizes recurring monthly revenue. The company’s Invision monitoring software helps networking and systems integration firms remotely monitor and manage their clients’ IT and audio visual systems through the cloud.

Ihiji Invision monitoring software can help reduce truck rolls for IT and AV professionals. This can save these firms time and money while helping them provide faster, more reliable customer service to their clients. It also helps them garner recurring monthly revenue through service fees. 

The second stage startup recently received private funding and also relied on the Austin Technology Incubator Landing Pad program to reach the next level of growth. Incubators, exemplifying the community-minded spirit so common in this connected age, often provide promising IoT startups with assistance in finding affordable talent, office space and equipment.

Related Article:Internet of Things & You: Finding Investors to Fund Your IoT Startup

4. AdhereTech

Startup Adheretech is one of many IoT companies in the field of healthcare. The company stands out for the way it recognized a discrete problem and solved it in a simple and practical way.

AdhereTech’s medicine bottles are equipped with sensors that detect when a dose of medicine, in pill or liquid form, has been removed. If a patient skips a dose, the company’s cloud-based software sends a phone call or text message to the patient reminding them to take it. The bottle also lights up and chimes as a reminder.


Second-stage startup IFTTT has developed an app that helps smart devices communicate seamlessly with each other, creating an “Internet of Everything” experience through any Internet-capable mobile device. One of the challenges, to date, with IoT technology is that each of these smart devices requires a different app to program and control it.

IFTTT puts all the smart devices in a home on a single platform, so users can remotely tell the kitchen lights to turn on and the side door to unlock automatically when the garage door opens, for instance. A series of commands like that is called a “recipe.” A user forum on the company website provides a multitude of case studies so users can share recipe ideas with each other.

Related Article:Fashion Forward: Top 10 Retail Trends for 2016

Success in the IoT Era

These IoT startups focus on using Internet-connected technology to solve problems, generate recurring revenue, and enhance the functionality of smart products already on the market. But “connectivity” is not just part of their technology it’s at the core of their business philosophies.

Successful IoT startups often rely on incubator programs, crowdfunding, and crowdsourcing to bring their products to market or achieve the next stage of growth. Being a successful IoT startup entails a business model that views the entire world as an interconnected network designed for problem-solving.

Sarah Pike
Sarah Pike
See Sarah Pike's Profile
Sarah is an adjunct professor and freelancer. When she’s not teaching or writing, she’s probably planning her next travel adventure or reading personal finance blogs. She's also a big fan of incorporating the Internet of Things into everyday life.
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