Actility bags new funding for IoT enteprise expansion – FierceElectronics

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Actility, an IoT connectivity firm based in France and former Fierce Wireless Fierce 15 start-up, recently announced a €16 million (around $17.3 million USD) funding round that arrives as the company is expanding its low-power wide area networks (LPWANs) for IoT from industrial settings to the broader enterprise market.

The company’s investors include French investment bank BPI, BNP Paribas, Swisscom, Bosch, and Cisco Systems. 

Leveraging Long Range WAN (LoRaWAN technology as its scheme of choice for LPWAN deployments, Actility is using a (finally) maturing IoT market as an occasion to broaden its market targets.

Olivier Hersent, founder and CEO of Actility, told Fierce Electronics that both industrial and enterprise IoT markets have gone through their own particular growing pains associated with getting a new technology properly established. That period probably lasted longer than many IoT proponents had hoped, and Actility may be among them, having been founded back in 2010.

“For the most part, the slower-than-expected adoption of IoT relates to the time constant associated with industrial technologies, particularly in the utility space,” Hersent said. “For water metering, for example, you are looking at two years for the development of new meters, another couple years to get into RFP responses, and then another couple years to get deployed after winning tenders.”

He added, “IoT is growing very fast in the enterprise sector – we see 80% year-over-year growth – and overall, the enterprise adoption cycle is faster than for utilities. Here, the problem was ecosystem development. It took many years to develop the diversity of sensors required by enterprises, with the additional compliance requirements… Now the ecosystem issue for enterprise is solved, hence the rapid acceleration.”

Regarding those compliance requirements for various industries, Hersent gave an example of the challenge and hw the new funding will help. He said the European oil and gas sector requires ATEX/IECEX certification, which in itself easily takes a couple of years for a device vendor to get. “Some of our funding will help us accelerate further the scope of our own sensing technologies focused on tracking (via Actility subsidiary Abeeway),” Hersent said. “For example, we are adding a full line of ATEX/IECEX trackers for the oil & gas and chemical industries in 2024.”

As the IoT market has been maturing, Actility has seen opportunities to drive consolidation among vendors. Abeeway was an acquisition back in 2017, and more recently, Actility acquired Acklio, a provider of static context header compression technology for LPWANs, this past July. Hersent said the company remains interested in being a consolidator, but will not necessarily use the new funding for that purpose.

“We have some slack to consider a small cash component in potential consolidation, but we are mostly looking for consolidation operations that self-fund through synergies and complementary territories, channels or technologies,” he said.

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