MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.,--U.K.-based accelerator program Springboard announced the launch of what it claims to be the world's first three-month accelerator bootcamp targeting the Internet of Things (IoT).
The program has already garnered partnership support from some big names, including ARM, Unilever, Neul and $35 computing platform Raspberry Pi.
Each partner is expected to play an active role in selecting and mentoring 10 teams of entrepreneurs chosen to be part of the program, guiding them through from idea generation to Series A funding.
Participating teams will receive more $150,000 in free services, seed capital and mentoring from more than 100 industry leaders around the world over the course of the three-month program.
Gary Atkinson, director of embedded marketing at ARM, emphasized the importance of the IoT going forward and the need for smarter, connected devices. "By 2020, everything that can benefit from an Internet connection will have one," Atkinson said, adding that this had the potential to make better use of energy and natural resources, monitor healthcare more effectively and improve people’s lives.
Atkinson added that the IoT represents a “massive opportunity to drive growth” and that the firm was therefore “delighted” to support the accelerator.
Eben Upton, CEO and Founder of Raspberry Pi, said that up until now, the IoT had been “largely the playground of corporates,” but that as the cost of hardware fell dramatically, innovation could be shifted towards smaller teams, “in a similar manner to how web technologies have evolved over the last 10 years.” Related stories:
I'm eager for IoT, except that so far, most IoTish things have been rather grotesquely proprietary and ad-hoc. if I get a d-link camera, it can route AV through a d-link provided web service, and d-link even provides ios and android apps. but it's still mostly locked into d-link's network, with little in the way of API for me to use for anything else. (yes, I know how to access the camera directly on the LAN.) if I get FitBit products, they assume the presence of a corporate cloud service as well. same with wifi-enabled thermostats, etc.
the main point is that I own these devices, so their first level of functionality should be to deliver data and control to me. some kind of cloud access should be an optional add-on. after all, what reason do I have to expect the vendor to continue providing cloud access? perhaps more important than continuity is security: if each IoT device implements its own idiosyncratic cloud-access mechanism, my security exposure increases dramatically. is there any reason not to regard them all as potential trojan horses? or at the very least, incredible privacy leaks.
if the IoT industry wants to do a good job, they'll get a handle on this before it becomes any harder. there are many examples, especially related to the computer industry, of standards that provide the right levels of interface, control and interop, while avoiding the tar pit of licensing. (FRAND is a fraud - it is only unencumbered standards which succeed. mp3 is a good example: Fraunhofer attempted to impose a fairly FRAND licensing scheme, and it was a historic failure - standards want to be free.)
the opportunity is to provide an interface that is secure, local and configurable. the goal of IoT should be first to let owners locally fetch from sensors and control actuators. maybe there will even be a secondary market for devices that add smarts (analytics, sensor-decision-actuator smarts, cloud access extensions) to IoT devices.