Cisco invests in Internet of Things platform provider Kii
Cisco Investments is making an undisclosed investment in Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider Kii, which will use the funds to create solutions and expand distribution, including with carriers. Separately, Arrayent, which provides its platform to well-known brands like Whirlpool and Maytag, completed a $15 million Series C funding round as ORIX Ventures joined previous investors that include Intel Capital, DCM Ventures, Opus Capital and Comerica Bank.
Kii is working with carriers worldwide, including DoCoMo in Japan, although it is not naming any U.S. carriers, according to Chief Product Officer Phani Pandrangi. The company, which is headquartered in Japan and has offices in San Mateo, Calif., worked with Brightstar – now a Softbank company that was founded by Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure – to create Space, an open IoT ecosystem supporting the development and distribution of IoT products into the retail and mobile carrier channels.
Given Cisco's focus on the Internet of Everything, it's a great affirmation for Kii, which employs about 75 people. "It's basically like an endorsement of what we've been up to and shows Cisco's commitment in us," Pandrangi said. "Having Cisco on our side provides us an opportunity to kind of do bigger things and go even more global."
Besides DoCoMo, Kii's customers include Toshiba and Kyocera. "We are the platform powering that [Space] ecosystem because it's not just distribution. Because we are distributing into carriers, there is also integration required," he added. "Your device or IoT solution has to play nice with whatever the carrier has, in terms of say, their back-end systems," billing and so forth.
For its part, Cisco says its investment in Kii will help support the development of a platform that offers the ease of use, features and scalability needed to rapidly bring IoE solutions to market.
Meanwhile, Redwood City, Calif.-based Arrayent will be using its newly completed Series C funding round to build on its momentum and bring Arrayent Connect to more brands and products in 2016. At CES 2016, Arrayent showcased the first connected P&G Febreze product. The new connected version of Febreze leverages Arrayent Connect's integration with the Works with Nest framework to provide users scheduling capabilities, personalized scent control and path lighting. In addition, the connected Febreze product automatically detects room temperature and humidity and can sync scent release with air flow (HVAC) for more even coverage.