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Inventor of Netscape Looks at IoT

Inventor of Netscape Looks at IoT
by Daniel Payne on 01-04-2016 at 7:00 am

1995 was the year that a co-worker walked into my cubicle and said, “Hey, you have to see this new web browser and Internet thing.” I promptly installed Mosaic, later renamed Netscape, and began surfing the web with all of those interesting hyperlinks bringing me to new articles. Marc Andreessen was the mastermind behind Mosaic and Netscape, so I give him a lot of credibility to spot new trends in our tech-dominated world.

Looking beyond the common Smart Phone that we enjoy today, Andreessen sees a world of ambient or ubiquitous computing where, “You walk up to a wall, sit at a table and talk to an earpiece or eyeglasses to make a call.” That reminds me quite a bit of the weekly cartoon series, The Jetson’s, where in 1962 they portrayed a future of ubiquitous computing and automation.

Marc is asking questions like, why have a smart phone at all?

A California start-up called Samsarareceived a $25 million investment from Andreessen to help them automate industrial processes using IoT. They offer IoT Gateways, Environmental Monitors, Input Modules and Power Monitors. Industries like pharmaceuticals, transportation, power deliver and water are all using Samsara for sensors and data analytics in the cloud.

Industrial or Vehicle IoT Gateways

Wireless Monitor with temperature probe

Self-powered wireless input module with 2X analog inputs, for 4-20mA current loop sensors

Market research company Gardner is projecting that businesses will be spending some $1.4 trillion on IoT in 2016, growing to $3.0 trillion by 2020. IoT startup companies are raking in investments to the tune of $7.4 billion so far, which was a doubling in just the past five years.

Manual measurements just cost too much money and waste manpower, so the industrial IoT is starting to really automate the processes in our hospitals, pharmaceutical supply chains, and warehouses. By installing inexpensive sensors, then uploading and analyzing the data in the cloud, the Samsara approach is about 1/10th the cost of other industrial approaches. An American yogurt company called Chobani, two big pharma companies and city water districts are all in trials with Samsara products. The water districts want to know how much energy they are using for their water pumps and to understand the usage patterns.

Andreessen looks out over the next 20 years and seeing nearly every physical item having a computer chip or sensor embedded. I’m hoping that this product growth for industrial IoT applications will translate into a very healthy semiconductor market with opportunities for broad growth. It will be quite interesting to see if the hardware or software oriented companies will make more revenue for industrial IoT. Companies like Samsara are owning both the hardware and software, so should be in a good position to control the end product and help users gather and manage all of that analytics coming from embedded devices.

Marc Andreessen, source:Reuters

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