The Internet of Things (IoT) is pervading every aspect of society; from the financial space to the medtech arena, the hyper-connected nature of IoT has helped organisations in these sectors to deliver faster, seamless services to consumers, tackling everyday problems through new and efficient means.
Singapore-based IoT-focussed accelerator AIRmaker
, a joint venture between sustainable urban solutions provider Ascendas-Singbridge
, Shenzhen-based technology enterprise Runyang Group and Singapore government-backed tech innovation agency SGInnovate
(formerly Infocomm Investments), clearly wants to leverage IoT to better the lives of ordinary folks, based on the startups it unveiled at its inaugural demo day, yesterday.
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Sure, the size of its first cohort may be rather small – only five – compared to other accelerators, but these teams went through a comprehensive 12-week programme that saw them traverse both Singapore and the Chinese innovation capital of Shenzhen to fine-tune their hardware solutions as well as secure partnerships and other potential deals.
In the end, the result of the programme was five matured startups – hailing from across the region – ready to tackle the commercial space and solve large scale critical problems. Without further adieu, here are the five startups:
Here's a sobering statistic: every two minutes, a woman dies from pregnancy complications or during childbirth, many of these deaths occur in developing countries where there is inadequate maternal care.
Singapore- and India-based startup JioVio healthcare has developed two separate IoT maternal care kits – one for the urban environment, and the other for rural areas.
The urban kit has a wearable kit that monitors physical activity and other data points that measure pregnancy status. The data is collected in an app and is uploaded to cloud-based system that stores digital patient records. Hospitals will then be able to monitor the patients profile based on this data.
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For rural areas where connectivity is low, JioVio has rolled out a full antenatal diagnostics kit that measures heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation of blood, etcetera. The team that collects all the data will then physically carry it back to their offices (where there is better connection) to upload them to a server . Qualified doctors or gynaecologists will then extract the data to be examined.
JioVio has already onboarded two hospitals as clients.
OCEO – IoT water purifier
Safe drinking water is hard to come in some urban areas of India; existing water purifiers are either ineffective or expensive to install and upkeep, and bottled water is also expensive, not to mention, environmentally unfriendly.
Singapore- and India-based startup OCEO has devised a novel way of tackling this problem – selling water purification as a service. Its smart water purifier requires no upfront buying cost, no maintenance fee, no installation fee, rental fee or deposit fee.
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Instead, it monetises through a "pay per litre" model. Each litre of water costs INR 1 or about US$0.02. The consumer makes payment via a mobile app. OCEO aims to offset the cost of the smart water purifiers by establishing partnerships with property developers.
The smart water purifier dispenses two types of water – one for cooking, the other for drinking. Through its LED screen and mobile app, consumers will be able to track the quality and quantity of the water.
To date, OCEO has received 10,000 pre-orders from Bangalore.
SGLab – IoT solution for areas with low connectivity
Building a wireless network to monitor different aspects of an operation in large scale work areas such as plantations or mines can be difficult due to poor connectivity in this area – it's really difficult to build a stable wireless network for plantations that can easily span one-fifth the size of Singapore
Singapore-based startup SGLab, however, has managed to address this pain point by developing a long range, low power, private and secured wireless IoT solution that collates a critical data such as humidity, temperature, and fertilisation progress, from a network of sensors.
Doing so allows managers to get a bird's eye view of what's going on and monitor operations on a centralised platform, track personnel, gather specific data on each plant/tree growth and also prevent theft or accidents from happening.
SGLab's solutions can be adapted and deployed outside of the agriculture sector. Its solution has already been rolled out for several underground and security operations.
OWiN–enabling car commerce
The future of the automobile industry will inevitably be tied to IoT. Car manufacturers or dealers will monitor the status and health of cars by tapping into data collected by embedded IoT sensors. Many car brands such as Honda also want to integrate an e-payment feature
into their cars so that drivers can pay for fuel or parking in their cars automatically, and on one platform.
But the thing is, the era of car connectivity is still some years away, Singapore- and Korea-based startup OWiN wants to roll out e-payment car features right now through its OWiN Beacon.
Essentially, it is an IoT device that plugs into the car cigarette lighter. Once switched on, it assigns a unique digital identity to the car and the driver syncs their payment information to the device.
The OWiN Beacon, however, is only one part of the whole car commerce ecosystem that OWiN plans to roll out.
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Here's how it will eventually work:
The driver installs the OWiN Beacon, then uses OWiN's PICK, its own marketplace app for fuel, food and sundry, to place an order. The selling outlets featured on the app need to have the OWiN Ark receptor device in order to process the order.
Once the order has been paid up, the driver has to drive to the outlet to receive the service or goods. Once the driver has arrived, the outlet's OWiN Ark will identify the car's unique ID and complete the transaction.
OWiN is already in talks test the product in Singapore and China.
Aerspace – preventing in-patient falls
In-patient falls is one of the most under-addressed but critical problems in hospice care. Each year, more than 1 million patients in hospitals in the US injure themselves when they fall, and 60 per cent of them do so while exiting from their beds. This increases operational costs and length of stay.
Using a wearable, Singapore-based startup Aerspace hopes to reduce incidents of this problem. The wearable, which is worn on the leg, sends out alerts to nurses once the patient starts to move out of the bed.
While there is no lack of wearables in the market that can track movement, Aerspace believes its solution is unique because attaching the wearable to leg provides more accurate data. Additionally, placing it on the wrist is inconvenient for patients who have to use drips. Aerspace also believes patients with dementia might yank it off so putting it on the leg would be more secure.
Currently, Aerspace has applied to test trial its wearable in major hospitals in Singapore.