Agile Internet of Things platform aims to provide easy-to-use software tools and support services for manufacturers to smartize their existing electronics products, or the newly emerging and fast-growing generation of smart devices.
Makers can develop mobile apps with Agile development platform or manage data with its Cloud services. Agile supports a variety of communication standards and OSes, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Linux, Android and iOS. Its services were first unveiled to the public in June 2013.
Agile partners with third parties to help make the process of building hardware easier. Partners include chip and system suppliers, Broadcom, Murata Americas, NXP, STMicroelectronics, and United Scientific Industrial Co., and hardware design services from manufacturers of solutions for residential fire and safety monitoring, thermostats and broader HVAC control, water treatment and management, door locks, and home control.
Agile’s parent company Ayla Networks, headquartered in California, the US, just announced USD14.5 million financing in Series B from Cisco, the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group), Linear Venture; SAIF Partners (a Chinese venture capital firm), and SJF Ventures. Existing investors Crosslink Capital and Voyager Capital also participated in the new round, according to the company. The total funding the company has raised adds up to USD20 million.
Part of the new funding will be used for expansion to China, the company says. A Chinese-language site has been launched where the company is hiring local engineers and marketing staff. The company has reached partnerships with some local players and adapted its platform to suit the Chinese market, according to Ben Ng, general partner at the China-based SAIF.
The smart device movement is in full swing in China, and makers around the world are flocking in in search of electronics components, manufacturers, or solution providers like Agile.
Chinese are well aware of those demands.
- HWTrek is a Taiwan-based solution provider who takes advantage of its long-term experience in OEM and connections in manufacturing centers in mainland China.
- In those manufacturing centers there are several manufacturer-turned companies that are offering services similar to HWTrek.
- Broadlink is a well established solution provider that is supplying conventional home appliance manufacturers with WiFi chips and Internet companies like Xiaomi with smart home solutions.
- JD.com, the leading online retailer in China, has established a dedicated site selling all kinds of smart gadgets and an acceleration program with offerings from funding to solutions.
- Baidu, the dominant search service in China, has launched a Baidu Inside program, offering smart gadgets Cloud services and the like hoping to have as many as possible use its Cloud platform and data analysis services.
- Yeelink has a model that is closest to Ayla’s. It helps makers build smart products, from hardware design to mobile app development, from the concept stage to initial products.
Ayla announced partnership with Sina, an online news portal and Internet service provider in China who would use its Cloud platform for smart hardware, in June 2013. But Sina isn’t a major player in China’s smart hardware market at all. So far Sina only launched a home weather monitoring device which isn’t well received in China market.
We’ll see who else Ayla will disclose they are working with. Nikunj Jinsi, Global Head, IFC Venture Capital, said Ayla’s platform complements many companies they work with in China and other emerging markets. “Ayla anticipates that its success in China will be replicated in other emerging markets”, the company says.