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October 3, 2014

Revealed: Top 10 Internet of Things startups in the UK

Which companies are unlocking the value in the IoT?

By Amy-Jo Crowley


Founded: 2010

Headquarters: Cambridge

Why they’re on the list: The company, whose name means "cloud" in Scottish Gaelic, is known for developing technology based on the ‘Weightless’ standard, which uses spectrum based on white spaces, or the spaces in between TV channels VHF and UHF.
In January 2014, it launched NeulNet, which is said to achieve better coverage, cheaper costs and battery life when compared to existing cellular technologies, such as GPRS, 3G and LTE.

BT also agreed to use its Internet of Things (IoT) network across Milton Keynes earlier this year.

Jim Tully, VP distinguished analyst for IoT at Gartner, told CBR back in May: "Because the lower frequency of this technology is inherently better at penetrating all of those walls and this weightless protocol, it means you only need a very small battery because it’s already able to penetrate the building. And that battery will last a long time."

Now with Huawei recently buying it for $15m, Weightless should get an opportunity to become a prominent platform in the UK IoT space in the near future.

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Neul will continue to operate under its own brand and will retain its existing staff.


Founded: 2011

Headquarters: London

Why they’re on the list: Evrythng, based in London and Zurich, is one of the best funded start-ups out there. Back in April, the company raised $7.5m in funding from Atomico, Cisco and other investors.

The firm’s plan is ambitious: giving every single object in the world a unique web-addressable URL to build a social network for IoT. Its technology uses barcodes, QR codes, RFUD chips and other identifiers to connect objects to a database.

For example, a company could connect a vending machine by directing data derived from RFID tags on individual sweets inside it to the Evrythng cloud. Once in the cloud, the vending machine company could analyse that data to find out when the food is about to go off or run out.

The software also includes APIs that would allow items, such as a whisky bottles or biscuits, to have personalised promotions.


Founded: 2005

Headquarters: Surrey

Why they’re on the list: The software company, whose clients include KPMG, BP and Lloyds Banking Group, offers a cloud based platform that uses a combination of its own open IoT middleware software and 3rd party hardware and applications.

The company, which has offices in the US and India, was awarded funding by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) for its Eyehub project, which is aiming to create an IoT ecosystem on the University of Surrey’s campus and Guilford.

Flexeye is also leading Hypercat, which is a specification that aims to help apps and machines communicate in a bid to spur on the IoT.

Flexeye’s CEO and founder Justin Anderson told CBR the standard is collaborating with the Open Interconnect Consortium to further solve the interoperability problem.

"We recognise that Intel and Samsung are creating and have other problems that need to be solved. But at this moment, the focus is not completely clear what exactly they’re trying to address and where they’ve got to," he said.

NWave Technologies

Founded: 2010

Headquarters: London

Why they’re on the list: The startup offers a low-power, wide-area wireless communication platform for the IoT, which can found in smart meters, fire alarms and home security devices. Unlike GSM, CDMA or ZigBee technologies, the technology is based on a proprietary protocol that supports battery life over 10 years.

The firm is now trying to spread the IoT into areas poorly served by traditional cellular or short range technologies, and opening up new horizons in everything from smart agriculture and connected homes, to oil field monitoring and fleet management.


Founded: 2011

Headquarters: London

Why they’re on the list: The startup, founded by designer Tom Evans, is developing a range of connected devices to give parents information about the health and sleeping patterns of their child.

In February, the company launched a Kikckstarter campaign to fund a motion alarm clock, called Sammy Screamer, which can stick to any items in your house. When it detects a motion, a notification is sent to your smartphone and the device itself lets out a scream.

The other devices are designed to sync via BlueTooth with a free smartphone app and include: Tony Tempa, a digital ear thermometer, called Tony Tempa; Cecil G the child-tracking GPS bracelet; Ultra Stan, the ultrasound pregnancy scanner; ovulation tester Olivia P Sticks and male fertility tester Master Bates.

So far, Tony Tempa and Sally Screamer are the first prototypes to be commercialised. According to Wired, the company will launch a new crowdfunding platform in November.

Little Riot

Founded: 2010

Headquarters: Newcastle

Why they’re on the list: This startup is a little different and was set up by Joanna Montgomery, a graduate of Digital Interaction Design, in Edinburgh.

The company is developing a device called Pillow Talk, which connects couples in long distance relationships via their heartbeats.

The lovers wear wristbands that sync up with their iOS or Android smartphones. By using headphones or a separate pillow speaker, they can lie in bed and hear heartbeat of your loved one in real-time.

Montgomery told CBR: "Pillow Talk is in the final prototyping stages and we’re hoping to launch on a crowd funding site before the end of the year. We are also looking for an angel who can use their experience to help accelerate the business.

"We’re really excited that the world is finally starting to embrace connected devices."


Founded: 2005

Headquarters: Liverpool

Why they’re on the list: MCQN advises companies about the IoT, writes IoT software, such as the Xively Arduino library, and builds IoT devices.

Founded by entrepreneur Adrian McEwen, devices include radios, lamps and even a bubble machine called ‘Bubblino’, which blows bubbles whenever it is mentioned on Twitter.

Customers include, BBC R&D, Motorola, American Express and Open Labs.


Founded: 2013

Headquarters: Glasgow

Why they’re on the list: The mobile applications developer focuses on developing wireless connectivity solutions, particularly energy efficient ones, for the IoT.

In March 2014, it introduced Lupo, an item finder that uses Bluetooth to track the location of valuable devices.

The device includes an accompanying app that can be used to set alerts that let users know when a tagged item is lost. Users can also receive audio alarms or messages when the object is left behind or moved by another person.

The firm, founded by Raj Sark, smashed its funding goal of £20,000 on Kickstarter, where it received pre-orders at 40% over and above its goal during a month long campaign.

Sark told CBR: "Connect-In is now delighted to reach the latest stage in our journey as we are excited to be shipping Lupo devices to our backers around the globe – hundreds of sensors shipping everyday."

The sensor system also doubles up as a remote for your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to control smart devices in your home with one app.

Love Hz

Founded: 2013

Headquarters: Oxford

Why they’re on the list: The IoT consultancy firm is currently developing a citizen-led sensor network project to warn of flooding in Oxford.

The Oxford Flood Network, which started in January 2014, aims to detect river and groundwater levels using whitespace wireless and low-cost sensor technology.

In a blog post, founder and telecoms consultant Ben Ward said: We’re in the process of developing suitable sensors for outdoor and indoor use. The devices…include a battery-powered ultrasonic rangefinder suitable for sticking under bridges but what needs to be done is to ruggedise the hardware and find suitable locations to host sensors.

"We’re exploring extension of the network further into the field by creating a hybrid of ISM-band and whitespace with Ciseco uRF radio transceivers and Raspberry Pi gateways."

The firm is also part of Ofcom’s pilot of TV Whitespace, which is among the first of its kind in Europe.

Blue Sense Networks

Founded: 2013

Headquarters: Reading

Why they’re on the list: The firm makes iBeacon compatible devices, proximity and hyper local apps and services.

Its flagship Bluetooth LE beacon device, BlueBar, is compatible with iOS devices and supports up to two years of battery life.

It also has a configurable range from several inches to more than 200 feet, according to the firm.
Blue Sense Networks, co-founded by entrepreneur Vladimir Petrov, also provides a free SDK and access to an advanced cloud-based beacon management platform.





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