With IoT related M&A deals surpassing $20B in 2015 and startup funding reaching the $1B mark, the Internet of Things reached new records of financial activity and convinced yet the biggest critic that it has become a tech sector on its own.
The 10 most relevant news in IoT 2015
These are the announcements, deals, and stories that shaped the IoT 2015 year.
1. Biggest overall announcement: Google
At the Google developer conference in May, the Mountain View based company presented the Weave and Brillo initiatives to create both a common language and a common operating system for the Internet of Things.
2. Largest investment: IBM
IBM stunned the world in March with the announcement of a whopping $3B budget for a new Internet of Things business unit. Since then IBM has opened a new IoT Watson headquarters in Munich, announced several important partnerships and acquired a number of smaller companies.
3. Largest startup funding: Jawbone
In April, the wearable company Jawbone, known for its stylish wristband UP, received $300M in funding from Blackrock. This funding round marks the largest of all IoT 2015 startup funding rounds.
4. Most stunning startup funding: Sigfox
In February, French startup Sigfox, raised $115M and emerged as the frontrunner to build the next generation telecommunication network specifically for the Internet of Things (known as LPWAN). The company has since deployed their network in several European countries including France, Spain, and the UK and is building up networks in several US cities including San Francisco.
5. Wall street’s favorite: Fitbit
In June, wearables company Fitbit made its debut at the New York stock exchange. On the second day, shares of the company climbed 20%. Since then the share price has come back down to approximately the levels of the IPO.
6. Largest M&A deal: NXP
In March, Dutch chipmaker NXP, announced that it would take over its US rival Freescale in a deal worth $12B. The acquisition was finally closed in December and strengthens NXP’s position as #1 chipmaker for the connected car space.
7. Second largest M&A deal: Qualcomm
In a similar move as the NXP and Freescale takeover, chipmaker Qualcomm acquired CSR in August to boost its Bluetooth chip offering in segments such as wearables and smart home.
8. Biggest IoT value proof: GE
How much money can one make in IoT 2015? According to GE’s announcement in October, the company is already making $6B with industrial IoT products. An impressive growth of more than 300% compared to the previous year.
9. Most important public sector initiative: US Government
In September, the Obama administration announced the Smart Cities Initiative, which includes $160M in federal grants to create IoT applications that can help collect data and information in order to deliver better services to citizens.
10. Most convincing strategic move: Amazon
In March, Amazon acquired IoT platform startup 2lemetry and bought domains such as www.amazoniotplatform.com . The 2lemetry acquisition marks a shift in Amazon’s strategy to become serious about IoT. Together with the IaaS platform Amazon AWS and the language-processing product Amazon Echo, Amazon seems to have serious IoT ambitions and is in a great position.
Other notable IoT 2015 insights
IoT becoming a top priority for big corporates
Two fantastic HBR articles published in 2015, highlight how IoT may change the world (you can download them here via PTC). The topic is now on top of many CIO and CEO agendas. 2015 marks the year in which IoT investments neared the 50% hurdle for surveyed companies (link). Whether in manufacturing, retail, or in our cities: All sectors invested heavily in IoT 2015.
Explosion of IoT titles
In 2015, we saw an explosion of new Internet of Things related job titles: VP IoT, Chief IoT architect, IoT value creator, IoT technical sales engineer to name just some. This trend shows that IoT 2015 saw a number of companies creating new IoT departments. Expect this trend to continue in 2016.
Emergence of new market spaces
IoT 2015 saw new market segments emerging (like IoT platforms or LPWAN). By the looks of it, these market segments are still rather immature and just starting to grow up. Very few companies can claim more than $10m of revenue in these areas. In 2016, we can expect the emergence of other areas like IoT security or IoT analytics which are still rather undefined at the moment.