Happy New Year! For me, there is no better place to ring in the new year than in Boston, amongst family, old friends and close business associates. Despite the record cold weather (14 F / -10 C on New Years Eve), Boston is a city that warms the heart for all those who call it home, and it is never forgotten as home base for those who have ventured out. All you need to do is go to an Angels/Red Sox game in Anaheim and see how many Boston fans are there (a recognizable percentage of the constituency) and you have your answer. Because, let’s face it, Bostonians are killing it wherever they land, something that many of my friends in Hollywood and San Francisco can attest to. We have been blessed with one of the best sports towns in America (Go Bruins, Go Celtics, Go PATS!), a rich history dating back to the very founding of our great nation, the largest concentration of colleges and universities in the world, and a strength of spirit that cannot be compromised, as evidenced from the way we rallied together in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Boston is resilient. Boston is strong.
We call Boston the Hub because we Bostonians do see our great city as the Center of the Universe, and although I’m sure that many other cities claim the same, Boston has the street cred to prove it in business, in education, in sports and in life. The same holds true for the M2M and IoT Business, and so this is why I believe that Boston is the IoT Hub:
The Big Deals: If you look at 3 of the largest deals in the M2M / IoT Space in the past few years you will see that all roads lead back to Boston. This started with the Fleetmatics Billion dollar IPO in October 2012. Then PTC’s acquisition of Thingworx in December 2013 was quickly followed by their add-on acquisition of Foxboro’s Axeda. Those deals together totaled over $280 Million. And most recently, Boston-based Abry Partners just committed over a whopping $400 Million to the combinations of Kore Telematics and Raco Wireless, and promises not to stop there.
The Big Boys: Medical giant Philips Healthcare and Energy Controls behemoth Schneider Electric are both in Andover, MA and are doing big things in M2M, as is PTC. Waste Management distributes Big Belly Solar’s trash compactors. ZipCar is now part of Avis Budget Group. Some of these companies don’t immediately call out M2M/IoT but look under the hood or in the bin and you’ll find that they are all connected technologies.
The Emerging Market Leaders: Wyless is the undisputed fastest growing player in the IoT Managed Services space and is rocking it on 3 continents, from Lawrence MA no less! LogMeIn.com is making big investments in IoT through their Xively subsidiary in downtown Boston. Cambridge-based SimpliSafe is growing like a weed in the wireless home security market with their innovative DIY alarm system. And Vitality, also in Cambridge, is one of the most successful and innovative early IoT consumer medical products on the market with their Glowcaps, providing adherence for pharmaceuticals.
The Stealth Players: There are some great emerging companies that are promising to be tomorrow’s disruptors, Sinewave Technologies (a IoT cloud platform company) in Holliston, Building 36 (home energy hub) in Needham, enGauge (fire and building monitoring and compliance) in Rockland and Senet (long range low powered radio technology) in Hudson, NH.
The Thought Leaders: Inex Advisors (led by the dynamic Chris Rezendes) in New Bedford and the International M2M Council in Needham are at the forefront of thought leadership in the IoT space, fostering discussion, awareness and cooperation across the market.
And these are just a few of the “things” happening in and around the region. In fact there are so many more companies that are involved in IoT in the Boston area that I couldn’t list them all, and there are literally hundreds of people showing up at the local IoT hangouts, many university students from Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, BU and BC.
There’s an excellent blog post (here) by Matt Frates at Ascent Partners as to why the Northeast leads in Enterprise IT and you can see from the above that Matt is spot on. The Hub is abuzz and it’s never been a more exciting time to be here.
So as far as predictions go, here’s what I see for 2015: The Big Deals will escalate and the Big Players will continue to evolve, the Emerging Leaders will acquire or be acquired, the Stealth Players will emerge as disruptors, the Thought Leaders will show us the light, new companies, ideas, connections and disruptors will emerge from the IoT Hangouts, and Boston will be at the center of it all. And if Boston is lucky enough to win the bid for the Summer of ’24 Olympics, then watch out…. it will be a huge boon to the local IoT industry.
Which brings me back to the New England Patriots and our incredible win over the Baltimore Ravens this past Saturday on our righteous Championship path. The Ravens threw everything they had at New England, who overcame 2 14 point deficits and made playoff history. Our great team was tested and showed unprecedented resiliency and great resolve in pulling through the stunning win. Unsung heroes like Danny Amendola pulled off 3 phenomenal plays that were pivotal in winning the game, and little known Defensive Back Duron Harmon sealed the deal with his end zone interception of Joe Flacco. Whether we make it to the Super Bowl or not, and I for one hope we do, you can’t watch a game like that and not shake your head and say: Boston rocks!
That’s the Hub for you… I’m Shipping out to Boston!
Big Belly Solar – Connected Trash Compactors
Vitality Glowcaps – Connected Pill Bottles
enGauge Connected Fire Extinguishers
SimpliSafe Connected Home Alarm System
Building 36 – Connected Home
Historic Downtown Boston
Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots
The New England Patriots meet the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday January 18th in Foxboro MA in the AFC playoffs and I’ll be watching!
Until next time…