In 2012, a few of my undergrad friends and I were watching our kids playing with some Furby toys. As students of robotics and computer engineering, we immediately made the leap to connected things and got involved in a bunch of hobby projects. Our experiments with Arduino and Raspberry Pi based platforms and software opened up the world of the IoT to us almost overnight.
Today, it is extremely easy to repurpose the technology advances in the fields of sensors, processors, connectivity, and software to create products in the IoT space. But, if history is a fair guide, good products don’t equal to either market presence, dominance, or relevance. This is where a company such as Libelium really shines, in my opinion.
I first discovered Libelium while researching products for a large city infrastructure project. I was immediately drawn to the Libelium platform. In their implementation, I saw parallels of my own style of building systems; modular, loosely coupled, clearly thought-out architecturally, open to alternate ways of connectivity, and ready out of the box for cloud computing. But three things really wow me regarding the company. First, they have a real product/platform in the market. Second is the breadth of their horizontal platform with flexibility for use across multiple industry verticals. Their technology is not just suited for theoretical industries, but has been demonstrated to work out in the real world for an array of applications. And third, and most important, even though the company was founded a decade ago, they have taken the IoT market by the horns and managed to thrive in this fast-changing landscape where larger companies could have quickly forced them out.
Having a vision and building a company out of it is extremely difficult. And it tends to be even harder in every country that doesn’t happen to be the United States. I have been there before and seen it first-hand. It takes vision, smarts, effort, a bit of luck, but a lot of perseverance and tenacity to build a company. It takes a lot more to actually become relevant and grow from under the shadow of large corporations compelled to dominate the landscape. In just under 10 years, Libelium has achieved all of that. Where other companies are repurposing technology and using a combination of brand name or marketing hype to claim credibility of the IoT, Libelium offers a contrast with their organic growth based on real use-cases in a wide variety of industry verticals. This is why I vote for Libelium as the standout startup of the year in the field of IoT.