Verizon has acquired Internet of Things (IoT) startup Sensity Systems (“Sensity”), a company that provides smart LED lights for streets, airports, malls, and more. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Founded out of Sunnyvale, California in 2010, Sensity wants to capitalize on a global shift toward LED lighting in cities. The Climate Group has called on every “city and utility” around the world to switch to LED by 2025, with some conurbations already well on their way. Indeed, New York City (NYC) began rolling out energy-efficient LEDs on its streets back in 2015.
Sensity has said that the billions of LEDs that are expected to permeate cities in the near future will enable it to create a “high-speed, sensor-based, multiservice IoT platform.” Lighting owners can embed networking technology within their systems, meaning they can introduce a range of sensors for detecting moisture, ambient light, seismic activity, radiation, wind, temperature, air quality, and even parking availability. All of this is backed by a high-bandwidth wireless network that supports both point-to-point and mesh networks. Sensity says it already has 42 smart city installations around the world.
“Rapid urbanization is putting a huge strain on city services globally, coupled with inefficiencies caused by an aging infrastructure that currently supports critical functions, such as fire and emergency services, public transportation, lighting, sewer and sanitation systems,” said Sensity chairman and CEO Hugh Martin, in a press release. “Sensity realized early on that IoT could be the key to breaking out of this dilemma.”
Today’s acquisition news comes as Verizon continues to beat the IoT drum. Last year it launched ThingSpace, a web-based IoT platform for developers, and it also now publishes an annual IoT “State of the Market” report. Last month, it shelled out more than $2 billion to acquire Fleetmatics, a web-based GPS tracking system that enables fleet operators to track a vehicle’s fuel usage, location, speed, mileage, and more.
In the wider technology realm, we’ve seen a notable increase in gimmicky connected products, including Fridges, doorbells, beds, and ovens, lending credence to the notion that the Internet of Things is almost ready for prime time. But having the largest wireless provider in the U.S. invest heavily in the infrastructure needed to connect the fabric of entire cities is the clearest sign yet that IoT is more than a fad.
“Sensity is a leading provider of IoT solutions for smart communities with a strong ecosystem of partners, and this transaction will accelerate the deployment of large-scale implementations that will drive the digital transformation of cities, universities, and venues,” added Mike Lanman, senior vice president for enterprise products and IoT at Verizon.
Sensity had raised more than $70 million in funding before now, and the Verizon acquisition is expected to close some time in the next few months.