IoT Companies Have to do More Than Just Show Up

By Adam Lotia

James and I sat in the Vin.li office last Monday, learning about their success and were struck by their model to grow further into the market. We weren’t surprised by the strategy they chose, but were surprised that we didn’t think of it sooner. Vin.li is a telematics device that a driver connects to their On Board Diagnostic Port (OBD) and can download data to their mobile device. The Vin.li device is unique in that it provides many different features like Bluetooth control, Wi-Fi and GPS data among other sensors. Right now devices that are on the market have one or two of the radios not all three, nor do they have the other sensors like the accelerometer in the device.

Vin.li has a campaign on the crowd-funding site IndieGoGo right now, and has blown past their goal of $75,000. The goal wasn’t to raise the money to produce the product, but rather it was to use it as a form of guerrilla advertising and to start seeding the market with the devices. If you look at the site at any given moment in time, there are tons of devices being put into place for the IoT space. Some are consumer devices that are pushing a whole new segment in the market. The Pebble watch for example, pushed adoption of wearables to center stage. Pebble still holds the record for most money to be raised on the site Kickstarter and holds the number 3 spot for their second-generation product launch.

It’s not enough just to show up to the conferences any more or to be published in a magazine. As a new technology, especially in the Internet of Things space where the product is a bit more tangible than an application on a device, adoption is what investors and customers like to see. Pebble may have been one of the bigger launches, and it will be interesting to see how Vin.li will play out in the market, but these two are not the last nor the only ones we will be watching.