Wristwatches that monitor physical activity and sleep patterns; doorbells that double as home security devices --- when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), these examples spring readily to mind. But this remarkable and growing sector of the economy extends far beyond familiar consumer products, comprising a wide array of innovative use cases across multiple industries.
At Edison Partners, we believe in the value of smart devices, the data insights they provide, and the unique solution the IoT can enable. Recently, we exited our investment in All Traffic Solutions (ATS), a smart city connected device and software platform company. ATS is not our first IoT investment (we first invested in 2016), and it certainly won’t be our last. We see massive potential for companies developing creative solutions in this space.
Smart city solutions for traffic safety and management
ATS falls into the “smart city” category of the IoT. Traffic safety and management, a core component of the business, remained a source of growth through 2020 despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. ATS makes best-in-class networked digital traffic signs. These include signs that display a vehicle’s speed, as well as deliver other messages or directions to drivers. The signs feed data to an underlying platform which can be leveraged to manage traffic patterns and inform safety programs.
As COVID-19 swept through communities across the country, traffic accidents in many areas increased despite the drop in commuter travel. Counterintuitively, reduced volume on the roads often led to more accidents because drivers were more inclined to speed. Throughout the pandemic, law enforcement agencies and municipalities relied on ATS products and data to deliver safety messages and direct people to COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites. ATS also uses smart devices to manage volume and traffic flow in and out of parking facilities and to enable premium parking services.
Led by CEO Andy Souders, ATS continued to enhance its product line and resiliently faced the uncertainty of the pandemic. All of this success led to a recent deal with TrafficLogix, a global leader in traffic calming and ITS (intelligent transportation systems) solutions.
Three trends to watch in the IoT space
Our team is keeping a close eye on a number of compelling opportunities in the IoT space. We are particularly enthusiastic about three current trends:
Creating efficiencies, transparency, and traceability in the supply chain
Passive and active remote monitoring for aging in place and healthcare, and
Providing data feeds to unlock insights for product maintenance, service, and warranty subscriptions.
Creating transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain
Smart devices are increasingly being used to monitor the movement and condition of materials through supply chains. This is especially useful for cold chain shipments that require storage below certain temperatures, such as perishable food or the COVID-19 vaccines currently being distributed throughout the U.S. IoT devices can also help shippers track the location of delayed or stolen goods. Further up the supply chain, manufacturers use data feeds to optimize capacity and throughput.
Last year we invested in this space via Overhaul, a supply chain integrity solutions company that allows shippers to connect disparate sources of data and glean critical insights to ensure cargo arrives at its destination safely, undamaged, and on time.
Remote patient monitoring and aging in place
The IoT also plays a crucial role in any setting where medical professionals and care providers monitor patients remotely--whether the patient is down the hall in a hospital bed or at home. Devices that measure oxygen levels, blood sugar, weight, and other indicators feed data to clinicians, helping them manage recovery or chronic conditions and triggering alarms when issues arise. Further, monitoring devices in the home can promote independent living and enable people to stay in their homes longer before transitioning to a more active care setting.
Our portfolio company in this space, Health Recovery Solutions (or HRS), is a leading provider of telehealth and remote patient monitoring solutions focused on changing patient behavior to reduce readmissions and improve clinical outcomes. These telemedicine solutions allow health systems and home care agencies to reduce hospital readmission rates by up to 80% while improving patient and caregiver satisfaction. HRS is now leading the remote patient monitoring market and recently announced the close of a $70M Series C, which Edison Partners participated in alongside LLR Partners.
The “check engine light” for the home
While our automobiles have sensors and data feeds that alert the driver to potential problems, the primary equipment in our homes (HVAC, Fridge, Washer / Dryer, Oven, etc.) do a mediocre job detecting and alerting us to maintenance needs, performance, and problems.
Throughout the last decade, sensors have become considerably more economical. Meanwhile, connectivity has become more intuitive and easier. This evolution has enabled IoT platforms to better aggregate data and provide actionable insights for not only consumers but also for the manufacturers, servicers, and insurers of all these goods and the homes in which they reside.
At Edison Partners, we continue to develop foresight into the IoT environment, and we look forward to future investments in this dynamic space. Finally, we extend our best wishes to the team at ATS as they embark on their next chapter.
Daniel Herscovici is a recognized leader in Smart Home, IoT, and digital transformation. Prior to joining Edison Partners, he founded and served as CEO of Xfinity Home, Comcast’s Home Security, Smart Home, and IoT business unit. He maintains four patents in mobile device mechanical design and accelerated methods for improving the in-home Wi-Fi experience.