LAS VEGAS — Fresh with $75 million Series D funding from Cisco, Bosch, and other investors, Internet of Things (IoT) startup Actility is on a hiring kick to grow its team. The French-based firm says it plans to double the size of the company this year so it can support deals it has with Comcast, Orange, SoftBank, NTT, and other operators around the globe.
In particular, the company is looking to expand in the U.S. where it currently has just six employees. That’s not a lot of manpower considering the company is working on a high profile low-power wide area (LoRa) IoT project with Comcast. In an interview with SDxCentral at Cisco Live 2017, Gabor Pop, solutions marketing manager at Actility, said the cable company is using Actility’s platform to manage its IoT devices. “They have a huge ambition to be in IoT,” Pop said, noting that Actility believes other cable operators will follow Comcast’s lead, resulting in a huge opportunity for the firm.
Comcast announced last October it was testing a LoRa IoT network using the LoRaWAN protocol in Philadelphia and San Francisco. The company has since said it will expand into Chicago this year, according to the EE Times.
Actility’s ThingPark IoT platform manages the communications between sensors, base stations, and applications. It also has an operations support system (OSS) that activates devices and gateways, and provides data management, storage, and analytics. The company is primarily working with IoT networks that use unlicensed spectrum like LoRaWAN, however, it does support licensed spectrum IoT technologies such as narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M.
Interestingly, Cisco Jasper provides a similar function as ThingPark but the company works with 3GPP-standardized cellular networks that use licensed spectrum. Pop said he believes there will be several low-power technologies that will coexist and that’s why Cisco is investing in Actility. “All the major IoT technologies will coexist,” he said. “If I was Cisco I would invest in everything.”
Actility also used its recent influx of funding to acquire Abeeway, a geolocation firm that makes GPS trackers. Pop said Actility plans to incorporate Abeeway’s patented location software with the ThingPark platform. Instead of processing the location data on the device, however, Actility will send that data to the server. This will prolong the battery life of the device, Pop said. “We are diving deeper into the power consumption,” Pop said. “We want to put everything in the cloud so the device consumers as little as possible.”