Start-up signs deal with Japanese giants for IoT tech

IQP, with sales headquarters in Tokyo, is riding to major trends in Israeli tech

The iSmart 2015 Internet of Things event in Jerusalem, February 24, 2015 (Courtesy)
The iSmart 2015 Internet of Things event in Jerusalem, February 24, 2015 (Courtesy)

IQP, an Israeli start-up that lets users create apps without any programming knowledge, has teamed up with three Japanese giants — Fujitsu, NEC Engineering and KDDI — to develop applications for the Internet of Things.

The IQP graphical user interface-based platform will allow developers to build apps for a plethora of Internet-connected devices, from refrigerators to washing machines to cars. The apps are built using drag-and-drop actions, and can be easily added to devices to record and upload information about use and customer needs.

According to a Gartner report on the growth of the Internet of Things, by 2020 there will be 26 billion objects connected to the Internet, excluding PCs, tablets and smartphones. Due to the typically large investment of both time and money involved in developing and commercializing IoT applications, American and international companies still find it difficult to develop profitable business models around IoT.

IQP hopes to solve that problem, enabling developers to easily and quickly build apps that will make use of the Internet connectivity of the billions of objects coming online, said CEO Guy Kaplinsky.

The start-up is unusual in that it’s one of the few Israeli companies with its sales headquarters in Tokyo — unlike the vast majority of start-ups, which are based in the US. Its R&D center is in Tel Aviv.

As such, IQP is riding two major trends — the emergence of IoT as a major Israeli ecosystem; and the increase in business between Israel and Japan in recent years.

“The Japanese finally realized that there is a Silicon Wadi in the Middle East that rivals California’s Silicon Valley, and they don’t want to get left behind,” said Vered Farber, director of the Asian Institute, an Israeli organization that has long been seeking to convince both Japanese and Israeli companies that there was much to be gained from working together.

“It took them a while to realize it, but they have finally begun to understand that Israel may have what it takes to keep their economy dynamic and growing,” continued Farber.

At the recent iSmart show in Jerusalem, dozens of Israeli companies in the wearables and IoT business got together to show off their technology. “The world of IoT touches upon almost every aspect of technology and it’s important that we bring the entrepreneurship and innovation in these fascinating areas center stage,” said Yifat Oron, CEO of LeumiTech and one of the sponsors of iSmart. “We see these technology leaders, in fields such as IoT, as full partners and continue to strive to strengthen the Israeli hi-tech industry and give it the crucial tools it needs to compete in the global marketplace.”

IQP is now in the process of raising its first external funding round and is expanding its activity in the US in search of new customers and partners. The company has already established a presence in New York City, and plans are underway to set up a branch in Silicon Valley this year, reported Kaplinsky.

“Our platform is capable of changing the way IoT will operate in the fields of automotive, cellular, energy, healthcare, smart home, smart city and education. Each one of these fields is an enormous market in itself, which indicates the huge business potential of our platform,” the CEO added.

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