11 UK internet of things startups to watch out for in 2016

Charlotte Jee
Charlotte Jee

Charlotte Jee

Charlotte is Techworld editor. She joined as senior reporter in April 2014 having previously worked as assistant editor at Government Computing.

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If there’s one thing you can guarantee this year, it’s that hype about the internet of things can only continue.

Despite widespread mislabelling of non-IoT products as ‘internet of things’ (see here), the idea of connecting internet-enabled devices so they can relay information back to us, to cloud-based applications and to each other (device to device), has enormous potential.

A growing number of startups are hoping to harness this emerging tech. From soil sensors for farmers to home heating, remote energy monitoring, clever car alarms to interactive museum exhibits or proximity advertising, there seems to be a near-endless supply of potential uses for the internet of things.

Here are some of the most exciting UK companies operating in this space.

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© Evrythng

Evrythng

Since launch in 2011 Evrythng has gone from a two-person operation to a multi-million pound firm working in three countries. The company has set up an ‘IoT smart products Platform-as-a-Service that connects consumer products to the web and manages real-time data’ – products being anything from cars to clothes, beer bottles or homes.

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© mobility women

nCube

nCube says it is the 'brain at the heart of your home'. It links together all your smart devices in one place, allowing you to control all of your home devices from one smartphone app. It is compatible with all devices and works offline, so you can remotely check any of your smart appliances from wherever you are.

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© US Navy/Wikimedia

Product Health

Product Health, set up in 2013, provides telemetry and alerts for batteries and solar home systems, allowing firms to find out how customers our using their battery, pre-empt when it needs upgrades or replacing, and so on.

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© KisanHub

KisanHub

Using satellite technology and in-field sensors, KisanHub collects vast amounts of data farmers can use to boost efficiency and make better decisions. Combined, these sensors provide precise information on rainfall, irrigation, crop growth, wind speed, cloud cover and so on, all of which is displayed on dashboards.

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1248's CEO Pilgrim Beart © 1248

DevicePilot (previously 1248)

DevicePilot (previously known as 1248) is a consultancy startup launched in 2013 which focuses on IoT device management and scaling IoT projects up – all the way from small pilots to full deployment of millions of connected products. The team behind DevicePilot have played a significant role in developing open standards such as HyperCat for interoperability between IoT hubs.

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© iStock

OpenTRV

OpenTRV hopes to save energy by not heating rooms you are not in. Instead of using one thermostat for the whole house, it is designed to be simple to (retro-)fit to existing UK housing stock with radiator central heating. They are currently planning a trial run of devices.

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© Flickr/Yang and Yun's Album

Neul

While technically no longer a startup since it was acquired by Huawei for £17 million in 2014, Neul still merits inclusion as a pioneer in the IoT space, thanks to its cutting-edge work investigating ‘narrow band cellular IoT’ at its R&D centre in Cambridge.

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© iStock/wastesoul

Seamless.li

Cambridge startup seamless.li claims to offer ‘the car alarm reinvented’. Users can log into an app to see where their car is. The app receives continual updates via a device plugged into the car. If something ‘eventful’ happens, say a burglary or fire, the company promise to let you know immediately.

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OpenSensors founder and CEO Yodit Stanton © Vimeo/Open Data Institute

OpenSensors

OpenSensors.io aims to provide a central, open platform for publishing and subscribing to real-time data streams generated by the internet of things. The firm promises to make it easier for people to connect, deploy and remotely manage large deployments of sensors and internet-connected devices, plus subscribe to and reuse publicly available real-time data.

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© iStock/LDProd

Blue Sense Networks

Blue Sense Networks makes iBeacon hardware and proximity applications. Their beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy and, combined with a smartphone, can be used to provide what they call 'proximity engagement solutions'. This includes personalised discounts and advertising in shops, interactive apps in museums tailored to the exhibit you are looking at, home automation products and 'smart signage'.

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© YouTube/Wyzowl

Chirp.io

Chirp.io says it allows you to 'sing information from one phone to another' and offers a way to share links using sound. Rather than pairing devices, as with bluetooth, for it to work you need to press a big yellow 'Chirp' button, and anyone running the app will 'hear' the data.

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Concirrus CEO Andrew Yeoman © Concirrus/LinkedIn

Concirrus

Concirrus is firmly aimed at the B2B market: its cloud platform allows customers to gather and analyse IoT data with a view to improving their business processes. It was set up in 2012 by Andrew Yeoman (pictured) and Craig Hollingworth who were previously in the telematics and communications industries. Concirrus received a £3 million cash injection last year from Imperial Innovations, which now holds a 28.6 percent stake in the company.

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