Telecommunications and technology firms spent over $US31 billion on Internet of Thing-related investments and acquisitions between 2011 and 2015, as specialist start-ups continue to attract the attention of large multinational vendors.
Using data from Ovum’s IoT Investments Tracker, Ovum tracked 76 deals across eight sectors, including IT services, wearables and connected car.
According to research, Intel led the charge with its $US16.7 billion acquisition of chipset maker, Altera, while Verizon, Google and Qualcomm each made at least one acquisition over US$1 billion during the reporting period.
“While telcos are growing more interested in IoT, the data show that vendors like Intel and Qualcomm, and tech giants like Google, are still putting the most money into the sector,” Ovum Senior Analyst Francesco Radicati said.
“Thanks to their corporate venture funds and their proximity to key innovation ecosystems, these firms have the expertise to identify up-and-coming IoT startups, as well as the funds needed to invest and acquire such companies.
“However, telcos are becoming more active themselves, by setting up their own venture funds and startup accelerators and by making acquisitions to support their existing strategies.
“Notable examples are Verizon’s 2012 purchase of Hughes Telematics and Vodafone’s 2015 acquisition of connected car service provider Cobra.”
During 2011 to 2015, the number of acquisitions grew from four deals to 19, with the number of investments peaking in 2013, as companies such as Fitbit attracted more interest from the tech and telco sectors.
The biggest single investment in 2015, a $US115 million Series D round for ultra-narrowband network provider Sigfox, was made by a group including venture funds from Telefonica, NTT Docomo and SK Telecom.