The IoT (Internet of Things) is a network which allows devices to connect to one another and send or receive data over the internet. IoT devices can transmit data among themselves or send it on to a software application, where it can be stored or used for decision making purposes.
For example, in a smart home you might find an IoT solution comprised of multiple connected sensors that monitor temperature and movement. These could be set to automatically turn the heating off if no one is home, or they could allow you to turn the heating on remotely using your phone.
In a city, ‘smart bins’ could send a signal when they needed to be emptied, or sensors in traffic signals could monitor use to help optimise the flow of traffic.
How does Stream Technologies fit into the IoT?
Stream is the world’s most technically advanced enabler of M2M (machine to machine)/IoT connectivity.
“Stream’s core products and services can be split into two parts,” says Nigel Chadwick, CEO of Stream.
“One is the connectivity part, which enables data to be transferred from sensors and devices, out there in the environment, on to an endpoint. Most often, the endpoint is an application that makes decisions on the data, or acts as a storage facility for the data until it can be manipulated and used.
"Typically, the connectivity services we provide are across cellular networks. However, we also offer satellite connectivity for customers who are transmitting business critical data from remote locations, and LoRaWAN™ connectivity for customers who need long-range, low-power connectivity for a large number of IoT devices.
“We act very much like a mobile network operator but with a much more robust and efficient technical infrastructure. Our technical infrastructure enhances the resilience, security and reliability of transferring data from point A to point B, and perhaps to point C.
“The second part of the company revolves around our software services. This comprises a platform as a software service that manages connectivity across cellular, satellite and low-power wide-area networks. These are all different wireless communication protocols that can be used to transfer data from sensors and devices on to endpoints within the IoT.
“The platform as a service that we offer is very valuable to a number of organisations, enterprise clients, cities, smart city management companies, government organisations and mobile network operators that want to manage connectivity across multiple wireless protocols within the IoT.”
Ambitious plans for growth
Although Stream has been in business for 16 years, the IoT has only recently started to come to life – and the company has big plans to take advantage of this growing industry.
“Analysts are predicting that the IoT industry will grow enormously in the forthcoming years. There are estimates that by 2020, there will be somewhere between 20 and 40 billion connected devices on the globe, excluding mobile phones. To give a sense of scale, that’s between six and eight times the number of mobile phones on the planet today. So, with regards to sensors and devices, it’s an enormous market and enormous growth curve,” says Nigel.
“The future growth of Stream splits into two potential areas. One area is focussed on the global eSIM, which is a SIM in an embedded chip format. eSIMs will effectively allow a single SIM to work anywhere in the world. Stream’s eSIM solution enables a single SIM to cover multiple network operators and provide on-demand connectivity across the globe.
“The other area of growth centres around LoRaWAN™, which is a low-power wide-area network technology. LoRaWAN™ devices transmit data using radio waves, which can then be forwarded on to an endpoint quickly, efficiently and securely using backhaul links including cellular, satellite or internet connectivity. Due to our existing partnerships with a wide range of network providers, Stream are in an ideal position to provide extremely reliable connectivity to LoRaWAN™ customers.
“It’s clear that eSIMs and LoRaWAN™ are emerging technologies that are set to become pretty hot property around the world. Stream are evolving our product and service sets in these areas on a global basis to exceed anything that any other company can provide.”
Stream has offices in Glasgow, London and Dallas, with their main operations based here in Scotland. Their Glasgow office is where the company was set up and where they have their R&D team, as well as their technical and customer support teams.
For a fraction of the cost of what you would pay in London or Silicon Valley, we’ve built a team of diverse expertise, skills and experience that combine to compete with, and also partner with, some of the best companies in the world.
Nigel Chadwick, CEO of Stream
Stream chose Scotland because it was a good location in terms of office space and the relative cost of staff.
“It’s also a great location in terms of being able to get flights, not just out of the UK, but also to London on a very regular basis. You’ve got a number of airports you can fly from or, in fact, get the train," says Nigel.
“The availability of high quality staff, particularly on the technical and R&D side, and on the support side as well, is good. We’re very connected to the talent pool here. We work with a number of HR agencies, and we have also fostered very close relationships with local universities and participate in the Knowledge Transfer Network programme.
“For a fraction of the cost of what you would pay in London or Silicon Valley, we’ve built a team of diverse expertise, skills and experience that combine to compete with, and also partner with, some of the best companies in the world.”
Being based in Glasgow means that Stream staff enjoy all the benefits of living in a city, but with the advantages of having the countryside right on their doorstep.
“In half an hour you can be in the countryside, visiting places like Loch Lomond or the Trossachs, so you can be out doing outdoor pursuits, like cycling or hillwalking,” says Nigel.
"The mix of social scene, the bars and the restaurants, and the interconnectedness of Glasgow with other countries around the world, makes it a fantastic place to build a business.”
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