Venture money to bring LoRa sensors to SST Wireless

Venture money to bring LoRa sensors to SST Wireless

Venture capital firm Momenta Ventures has made an investment in SST Wireless, which makes wireless sensors that are placed in extremely demanding environments.

SST’s three primary sensor lines are tire-pressure monitoring systems, high-temperature sensors and vibration sensors, and can form the foundation of heavy-industry Internet of Things environments.

The tire-pressure sensors can be found on common trucks and buses but also on mining trucks as big as two-story homes. Sensors reading high temperatures of up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit are placed in forestry roles as well as in factories where equipment is subject to overheating. SST’s vibration sensors help machine operators make real-time maintenance decisions. They can be found monitoring motors, pumps, compressors and drive shafts.

SST executives say they will develop a new line of industrial sensors that incorporate LoRa for communication. LoRa stands for long range, and refers to a spread-spectrum modulation technique that came out of chirp spread-spectrum technology.

The technique is potentially very useful for industrial businesses. LoRa sensors use comparatively little electricity and are able to communicate over wide-area networks.

Data collected from the LoRa sensors can be aggregated by SST service offerings to help customers analyze industrial systems and predict maintenance needs.

Strategic Edge: Looking for ecosystem insights

Venture funds generally look the other way when it comes to funding hardware companies. Compared to software opportunities, hardware is costly to create and slow to mature. Just as important, the profit margin for hardware (especially in areas such as industrial sensors) is much smaller than pure-play software companies, making investment returns smaller.

Momenta’s strategy is to grow the returns by investments in earlier rounds than other VC firms might make, with a focus on seed to growth stage investments. The other piece of the strategy: focusing on digital industry, where it has 24 companies currently in its portfolio.

Of particular interest to observers of the edge computing market, Momenta has created a second investment fund focused on the industrial edge ecosystem. Among the predictions for 2020: Industrial firms will significantly up their investment in edge technologies as concerns about cost, complexity, and security clear up. Wireless sensors are seen as a key enabling technology for companies looking to improve insights into their business processes.

All companies need to have competitive intelligence that tracks developments among direct and indirect vendors in their market. Those in the edge ecosystem-particularly those targeting the IIoT market, can also get insights into market trends by looking at what focused investors like Momenta are interested in.

Jim Davis, Principal Analyst, Edge Research Group

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