We continue our look into companies to watch in 2016 today with WiSilica, which offers an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that helps companies connect to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi protocols. Last week, we began the series with a peek at Cotap, Affectiva and Localytics and a look into some hot technology trends.
Year founded: 2013
Founders: Suresh Singamsetty, CEO; Dennis Kwan, president and CTO; and Charles Mallabarapu, executive vice president, engineering.
Founders backgrounds: With experience in wireless communications, consumer products, cloud and security, WiSilica’s founders have specifically designed a smart environment end-to-end IoT platform to enable billions of devices to connect using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Wi-Fi protocols along with mesh technology. This is an open platform that bridges objects, locations and people. WiSilica believes that devices themselves need to “understand the human,” and calls it a smart environment enabled by the Internet of Things.
Singamsetty (pictured at right) previously co-founded Martian Watches, a Bluetooth enabled smartwatch, Jaalaa Inc., a semiconductor company, and Transilica Inc., a Bluetooth IC company acquired by Microtune for $160 million. He has expertise in software, networking, Voice over IP (VoIP), cloud and low power wireless, and 19-plus years of experience in building technology companies. Singamsetty holds a Master's of computer science degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India. He holds 10 patents.
Headquartered in: Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Number of employees: 50 and expanding rapidly in multiple locations across Asia and USA.
Number of customers: 15-plus
Awards/recognition: 2015 Golden Bridge Awards organization as a winner in both the Startup of the Year and Innovations in Technology categories for its leadership and innovation leadership in the IoT market.
When was your latest major platform release, and what did it entail? In August, WiSilica launched a Smart Environment Platform focused on a more intelligent Internet of Things. It is an end-to-end solution for connecting millions of devices that can understand their environment and use predictive intelligence to improve the user experience, reduce cost and improve efficiency. Taking advantage of the existing smartphone ecosystem and WiSilica’s proprietary mesh networking technology, the WiSe platform enables customers to configure smart homes, buildings, lighting, sensors and wearables into intelligent devices that they can manage via mobile apps and in the cloud.
What is one thing you have no one else does in this space? The WiSilica platform works with both legacy devices and new products designed for the IoT, and sets new benchmarks for IoT success in areas including real-time presence and awareness, secure connectivity, data analytics opportunities, cost savings and higher-quality user experiences. The platform makes it easy to bring together infrastructure, sensors, devices and people into a single unified, smart environment based on a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-based mesh-networking platform.
Devices operating with mesh networking technology form a network without any pre-configuration and feature self-healing, where devices identify any breakdown in connectivity and reconfigure automatically. BLE offers easy smartphone support. BLE devices communicate with smartphones, and use them as bridges to access the Internet — the reason wearables are completely dominated by BLE.
What is your total funding from investors to date? Privately funded, and in the process of closing Series A.
What can we expect in terms of innovation in 2016? We will be delivering IoT solutions for energy management, location and asset tracking, for industrial, commercial and healthcare segments. IoT is about connecting everything all of the time, everywhere. IoT will have a massive impact in all areas — from consumers to enterprises. It improves everyday lives around the clock, from gentle wake-ups by wearables, to providing you with a consistent and comfortable environment for best performance by automatically setting the right light, temperature and humidity at home and the office, wherever you may go throughout the day. In essence, IoT will provide an environment where people can really focus on their creativity and passions.
Customer take: Ian W. Cumming, director of LED Bloom, an energy company based in Carson City, Nev., said LED Bloom spent many hours that ended up equaling months weighing the positives and negatives of radio frequency (RF) communication and the various forms and communication protocols it comes in to best complement its new controller and make installation as easy as possible for its clients. Many engineers told LED Bloom, "Why go wireless? It’s not necessary to go to the cloud."
LED Bloom chose Wi-Fi because at that moment it was the quickest and cheapest way to offer cloud based control and remote grow control to its customer base.
"Everything was exciting until we found out that the engineering team that supported the module was of not much use and it became very difficult very quickly for our engineers to implement," Cumming said.
"After speaking with a few friends the name WiSilica came up and how they were offering BLE 4.0 and a cloud-based platform for control. The engagement and collaboration with WiSilica was very easy. We came to terms very quickly after they grew to understand our business model. Their engineering team understands BLE 4.0 very well and our team of engineers have been very satisfied with their prompt replies. Not only did we go to the cloud, but they were able to assist in application development and also with the graphic user interface very cost effectively."