The technological industry has realized that, just like the Internet revolution was brewing since the early 1990s, the Internet of Things o IoT is presently gaining momentum, a paradigm that aims at the connection of all things and devices in a scenario where they are all smart, they send and receive information and carry out actions.
Big Data, Cloud Computing, sensors, wearable technologies are some of the technologies that make up this new huge jump of the technological market with amazing figures. According to IDC, the amount of devices or things that can be presently connected to the Internet stands nearly 200 billion, 7 percent (some 14 billion) of which are already connected. By 2020, forecasts point out that the number of online devices will go up to 32 billion –10 percent of world data.
Over the next decade, the economic potential of the Internet of Things in Latin America will run to a billion dollars, according to Cisco, with direct impact on companies, employees and professionals, as well as cities and their population that play a leading role in the so-called “smart cities.”
Although the IoT market is still very small in the region, some startups area already using these technologies to create innovative products:
Founded in 2011 by Mexicans Antonio, Daniel and Linda Machina (the brand refers to their surname) the company revolutionized Mexico as it was one of the pioneers in the niche of wearable technologies and it found contact points between fashion and technology.
Supported by Wayra Mexico, the first products were T-shirts with modifications depending on the temperature of the day; however, MIDI jackets are the company’s flagship product, since their sensors allow users share information with all kinds of devices. For instance: they can send music to a speaker or create music through kinesics (body movement). The next step, they say, is to create videogames. The company is based in San Francisco, with offices in Barcelona, New York, Tokyo and Mexico.
Remark: In an effort to fund MIDI “hacker jackets” they developed a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter and raised USD 77K.
The technique created by Chilean Camilo Anabalon is wonderful, as it gives mothers of premature babies the possibility to be in permanent contact with their newborn when they are in incubators.
The mattress on which the baby rests turns out to be the core of the system. A wireless connection picks up, in real time, signals from the mother, just like heartbeats, breathing and voices, and that data is sent to the mattress so it simulates those elements and the baby feels like mum is close.
The circuit is completed by a sort of “turtle”, with the basic shape of the baby, which is put on the mother’s chest. The sensors on this device record her movements, heartbeats, breathing and voice, and that information is sent to the mattress.
Remark: The signals can be recorded, so the mother can keep on sending these signals even when they are not near the incubator.
For an agricultural country like Argentina, controlling the crops stored in bag silos is a must.
Thanks to the startup incubated by Wayra Argentina and founded, among other people, by Elvio Toccalino, there is a solution that puts on the table different variables in terms of preservation and storage of grains, thus avoiding considerable loss as a result of an inadequate monitoring of the process.
On one side, the technology features a spear that is put inside of the silo bags and the other side is a web platform where the data is stored. The spear is made up of several sensors and other components that send the measured parameters to the platform. The information is transmitted by means of the cell network and it can be visualized on desktop PCs or mobile devices. The technology allows users monitor the levels of humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide, movements, cracks, etc., so the decision-making process is easier when it comes to protecting the crop.
Remark: This technology is also a solution to another problem. Over the past years, Argentina has suffered a growing number of attacks and vandalism on silo bags, which has brought about the loss of crops.
Just like in the rest of developing countries, Brazil faces blackouts throughout its huge geography. The size of the country raises the complexity of the matter and many properties and stores are economically damaged.
Startup Sensorbox, created in 2012 by Jan Jensen, Robert Mota and Carlos Sarcinelli was backed up by StartUp Brazil and it found a solution to reduce the economic losses caused by blackouts.
The startup developed a technology based on the cloud that monitors, predicts and reports problems with power sources. So it provides useful information in advance for hospitals, stores, Internet suppliers and data center, among many others, to avoid losses.
Remark: The company also offers solar technology that helps foretell such natural catastrophes as earthquakes and tsunamis.