UK startup Senaptic aims to steal M2M thunder

Several prominent tech entrepreneurs have come together to form a new M2M company that aims to steal the initiative from network operators entering the M2M market.

Calling itself Senaptic (Cambridge), the UK-based organization has developed its own wireless technology, known as ultra narrow band, which uses spectrum in the ISM band and is incorporated in Apella, a suite of M2M packages that Senaptic is offering to specific vertical markets, including utility companies and municipal authorities deploying so-called smart-city infrastructure.

Several prominent tech entrepreneurs have come together to form a new M2M company that aims to steal the initiative from network operators entering the M2M market.

Calling itself Senaptic (Cambridge), the UK-based organization has developed its own wireless technology, known as ultra narrow band, which uses spectrum in the ISM band and is incorporated in Apella, a suite of M2M packages that Senaptic is offering to specific vertical markets, including utility companies and municipal authorities deploying so-called smart-city infrastructure.

Senaptic’s offering, in turn, is based on technology that has been patented by Plextek (Great Chesterford, UK), a technology consultancy whose co-founder and chief executive – Tim Jackson – has been appointed Senaptic’s chief technology officer.

Jon Lewis, the former chief information officer of Plextek, has also joined Senaptic as operations director.

Indeed, Senaptic appears to have been set up to further develop the technology and business model originally developed by Plextek.

Plextek claims to have shipped more than six million M2M devices to more than 30 countries, but Senaptic says it will bring “scale and global reach” to the model.

The new company is led by Will Franks, the co-founder of small-cells vendor Ubiquisys (Swindon, UK), which was acquired by Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA) last year for $310 million.

“It’s clear that the Internet of Things is more than just game-changing,” said Franks. “It is world-changing. The big question is how it can be rapidly developed and monetized. By removing the dependency on traditional networks, we believe that Senaptic has the answer.”

Senaptic already claims to have served customers working on smart-city deployments, vehicle tracking and recovery and remote control and monitoring of streetlights in Russia and China.

Although it will face tough competition from cellular operators in these areas, it believes its ultra narrow band system is far better suited to M2M applications because its signals travel further and can penetrate hard-to-reach places (such as sensors buried underground).

Similar claims have been made by the UK’s Neul, which is also looking to challenge cellular operators through the use of so-called white space – gaps between licensed spectrum bands that have become available with the transition from analog to digital broadcasting.

“A vast market exists for IoT solutions across sectors as diverse as smart energy, healthcare, asset tracking and much more,” said Jackson. “Senaptic’s focus is as much on understanding the opportunity as on applying technology that has already proven itself in the market. We are now looking forward to expansion throughout 2014 and well beyond.”