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New York Internet of Things fair showcases innovation

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IOT fairIoT Central, the parent company of NYC IoT Meetup, hosted an Internet of Things Fair in New York City on Dec. 8, melding the worlds of connected hardware and software.

New startups, hardware design and manufacturing companies and tech conglomerates such as Microsoft and Flextronics demoed their devices and networked with members of the New York tech scene.

“Our mission is to inspire, engage and connect entrepreneurs worldwide, starting in New York,” said Mitch Golner, a venture partner at DreamIT Ventures who organized the event and has been hosting Internet of Things meetups for the past eight months. “We focus on the intersection of hardware and software, because that’s where the value is.”

Tereza Nemessanyi, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Microsoft, delivered a brief keynote with York Rhodes, vice president and creative director at 72 Pixels, but the main attraction was the exhibitors, some of which were opening to the public for the first time. Wot.io, which partnered with Intelligent Product Solutions and Kinoma, soft launched its data service exchange platform for connected devices featuring the ARM Mbed software ecosystem. Wot.io’s hard launch will be at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, where it will pitch to potential customers.

“Tonight we’re really looking to make connections,” June Severino Feldman, a spokesperson at Intelligent Product Solutions, said.

Octopart, which offers a database of hardware parts, was also looking for face time in New York with a growing number of hardware companies.

“You’ll see plenty of hardware startups buying parts and developing here in New York,” said Sam Wurzel, Octopart’s co-founder and CEO.

Noteworthy exhibitors

On the hardware side, Vishal Kumar, director of solutions engineering at Bug Labs, displayed Dweet, a real-time sensor system that connects with smart devices to measure details such as temperature and device orientation. The product had a sleek back-end dashboard.

Consumer startups exhibiting their products included Kinsa, which offers a smart thermometer that syncs with an app in real time, and MonDevices, the company behind a connected baby monitor, Monbaby that allows new parents to track their child’s every move through a mobile app. Another exhibitor was Bluesmart, which made the first smart carry-on that helps users track lost luggage and find out whether it has been opened.

“We’re here to raise awareness about our product, because that’s the hardest part,” said Hans Ma, lead engineer at Mondevices, which makes Monbaby.

Bluesmart’s co-founder Diego Saez Gil explained the need for his product, which recently raised more than $1.3 million on Indiegogo and has sold more than 5,100 units.

“Some airlines don’t even know where your luggage is when it gets lost,” he said of his second startup, the idea for which he came up with when he was CEO of his first startup, WeHostels. “I was traveling all the time and had all sorts of problems with my luggage.”

Indiegogo, which had a booth next to Bluesmart, displayed some of its most successful crowd-funded products, including Canary, a smart home security device; SkyBell, a video-operated doorbell system; and TrackR, a device tracker that attaches to anything to ensure it doesn’t get lost and transmits a signal to a smartphone.

These kinds of devices impressed Sanket Amberkar, senior director of new ventures and energy at Flextronics, who said he talked to these startups about possible future relationships. The fair was the first foray into New York City’s Internet of Things space for Flextronics, a California-based sponsor of the event. But the event is just the beginning of establishing a broader presence in the city, Amberkar said.

“We’ll probably expand our Internet of Things presence now because of the design and engineering here,” he said.

While it seemed many were pleased to network with like-minded individuals, attendees, including Amberkar, generally kept their cards close to their vest about which companies they’d like to work with in the future.

Darryl Wong, an invention ambassador at Quirky, a community for aspiring inventors who have ideas for products but don’t have the manufacturing or design know-how, said no one had pitched him a product outright.

“They’re usually not going to say their idea right away, but I can tell by the glimmer in their eyes that they have an idea brewing,” he said with a coy smile.


Megan Anderle

Megan Anderle

Megan Anderle is a journalist based in northern New Jersey who writes about technology, business, and sustainability. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Forbes, and The Record.

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