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Summary:

Some of the best and most innovative thinkers on the internet of things are in Europe, whether they are product designers in London or building sensors in Germany.

goodnight lamp

While plenty of technology and innovation is coming out of Silicon Valley, Europe has heavily embraced the concepts of the internet of things for a lot longer than those in mainstream Bay Area circles, and several interesting companies are getting their start there. Plus, the high cost of labour makes automation enabled by sensors and connectivity a wise investment for many small manufacturers in many European countries.

That’s one reason we’re focusing on the internet of things at our Structure:Europe conference next month in London. We’ve got Michael Simon, the chairman and CEO of LogMeIn coming to discuss Xively, a platform for offering connected hardware and services. Since its launch in mid-May, Xively is seeing about 70 developers a day signing up to test its cloud with about 50 percent of those coming from the U.S. and 40 percent coming from Europe, says Les Yetton of Xively.

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in the light industrial space in the UK, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, Yetton said. ” We’re thinking because high cost of labor, energy, fuel and infrastructure it seems like it’s more expensive to do business there, and so they are looking for things that help them optimize their business and gain more efficiencies.

One potential Xively customer is a U.K. company that sells software and hardware monitoring systems to restaurants. The company is looking to the internet of things to help it transition from selling hardware to selling an integrated service that would boost its potential value by fivefold at least. It could go from selling products that track waste or kitchen conditions, to selling services that analyze those conditions and offer higher-value solutions or warnings.

And while Xively is just one new platform effort, European internet of things startups include connected thermostat Tado, Berg Cloud, Libelium (whose CEO will be speaking at Structure Europe), ThingSquare, the Goodnight Lamp (whose founder Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino will moderate an internet of things panel at Structure Europe) and too many to count. Thankfully, Deschamps-Sonsino has created a map that offers a more comprehensive list of European connected device companies over on her blog.

In short, Europe has been thinking about connected devices and the services one can build from them for a bit longer. And thanks to companies like Bosch, which makes sensors; ARM, which hopes to provide the brains in many of these connected devices; and Ericsson, which has been thinking about connectivity in billions of devices for years now, it has a good ecosystem of companies leading the way in the area.

What it doesn’t have is capital, something I’m sure we’ll address at Structure Europe on Sept. 17 and 18 in London. Register to make sure you’re there.

  1. An interesting IoT startup in Europe is also Enevo, who is creating a sensor network and route planning service for waste collection.

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