13 Jan Show Me the Money: IoT Style Part 1

CentraLite

So, as I walk the show floor at CES, one of the constant things I am considering is where is the money in IoT? I think we can all agree there is money in analytics and big data on the consumer as well as the industrial side.  But where will the cash come from in the hardware side, especially in the human IoT?  Do we think devices like wearables are a sustainable, stand-alone moneymaking business? Lots of questions yet to be answered, but I did stumble upon an unexpected human-side moneymaker at CES.

Meet CentraLite.   I bet there are few of you who have heard of this small Mobile, Alabama based company.  I was surprised to learn their pedigree goes back to the old Quality Micro Systems (or QMS) that built printers and merged with Minolta’s printer division back in 2000.  CentraLite was founded in 1997 by Jim Busby (the QMS founder), is now run by Jimmy Busby (Jim’s son), and is a manufacturer of control and energy management products.  CentraLite sells some products under its own name, but it is primarily what we PC industry folks would call a “white box design house”.  CentraLite designs and develops products (and does some small amount of manufacturing) that have other people’s logos.

Doesn’t sound too glamorous does it? Didn’t to me either, but I guess I will have to change my mind as to what glamorous is, especially when you hear numbers like over 600% growth over the last 3 years – with no stopping in site.  You see, CentraLite designs home automation sensors and systems for key players in today’s IoT Smart Home — Lowe’s Iris, Comcast Xfinity, Time Warner IntelligentHome, and SmartThings (recently bought by Samsung).  As Jim Busby and Sean Bryant, the VP of Sales & Marketing, told me, sales is not an issue at CentraLite right now.  It’s all about the execution.   Real IoT applications are making real money, today.