Icontrol has launched a new effort to help foster development of the Internet of Things (IoT) sector, including a partnership with crowdfunding site Indiegogo to lend credence to IoT startups.
Icontrol Networks Inc. , a maker of software for home security and automation, has launched its OpenHome Labs program to help accelerate the success of IoT app and device developers. Through the program, Icontrol will provide technology development, branding guidance, certification on Icontrol's development platform and connections to the company's long list of customers in home automation -- which includes several telecom and cable providers.
"Startups don't have a lot of money or a clear path to success and distribution," says Greg Roberts, VP of marketing for Icontrol. "OpenHome Labs knocks down those barriers."
In addition to the incubator program, Icontrol has partnered with Indiegogo to provide support to connected devices seeking funding on the crowdfunding site. The partnership is designed to give those companies more credibility to potential funders by virtue of Icontrol's support and stamp of approval.
"Indiegogo always has the next big things, so we dreamed up an idea for collaboration -- a way that we could leverage the 22 million devices that connect to our system," says Jason Domangue, VP of ecosystem development at Icontrol. "How can we leverage that distribution to help startup companies accelerate their funding and their go to market?"
That's done through technology support in the labs -- lending Icontrol's expertise to development of more effective APIs and user interfaces and better RF connectivity schemes, for example -- but also through connectivity to Icontrol's platform and customer base.
"One thing we recommend to people is to demonstrate as much as you can how you're a legit company," says Kate Drane, design, tech and hardware lead at Indiegogo. "Having the Icontrol seal of approval goes a long way toward building consumer confidence. It establishes very quickly that a company is legit, and it builds confidence in funders."
Three startups participating in the Icontrol OpenHome Labs program are already launching their Indiegogo campaigns as part of the new partnership: Bttn, which has created a physical button that can be programmed to trigger any number of actions or chains of actions; Reemo, which makes a wrist-worn control device geared toward the eldercare sector; and Zen, a connected thermostat.
The collaboration with Indiegogo is a boon for Icontrol because it has the potential to quickly expand the community of application and device makers building their solutions on the company's software platform, as well as the potential for deployment of those devices by Icontrol's existing and future customer base. "We're doing everything we can to get our service providers to leverage the devices," Domangue says.
Icontrol won't limit the number of companies accepted into the OpenHome Labs program, but will select applicants based on factors like technical feasibility, market differentiation, hardware design and experience of the management team.
"We're looking for ways for people to interact with our software differently," Domangue says. "We're trying to be very fluid to accommodate this sector of the market and let innovation thrive."
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading