There has been a lot of talk recently about the Internet of Things. Some analysts estimate there will be 9 billion connected devices, from parking meters to thermostats by 2018. By then, that will be roughly the number of smartphones, TVs, wearables and personal computers combined. There has been a lot less talk about how all those devices are going to be connected and almost no talk about the devices that don’t stay put like drones, or sensors in cars will remain connected as they move around.
Our newest portfolio company, Veniam, has been working on that problem for a long time. Their goal is to become the networking fabric for the Internet of Moving Things.
Veniam’s technology can be deployed in controlled spaces with many moving machines such as ports, airports, construction sites, and mines where it provides reliable and secure real-time data communication, creating new efficiencies in areas where cellular technology often does not work. But the real promise can be seen in Porto, Portugal where the companies technology was developed. There, Veniam has built the largest network of vehicles in the world, including the entire public bus fleet, garbage trucks, and taxis.
By connecting all of those vehicles, they were able to create a mesh network that turned every public bus into a WiFi hot spot. Today, after just a few months 72% of the riders in Porto with smartphones connect to the Internet on their commutes. To make this possible, Veniam created the necessary connection management, multi-hop mesh routing, session management, cloud-based control and security.
Veniam will initially offer its technology to private companies and public institutions that own and operate large fleets of vehicles in urban environments. We believe, however, the company’s mesh networking technology will ultimately do much more than create efficiencies for fleet owners. We expect Veniam to become a resilient, flexible, and cost effective alternative to cellular networks for connecting people and things on the go. We are excited to be along for the ride.