Perth’s Quantify Technology is developing technology to create intelligent buildings, with the same technology aiming to provide a foundation to enable the creation of secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Although Quantify is in the business of power points and light switches, founder and managing director Mark Lapins said there is more to his company than just that.
“IoT is big and confusing and we’re trying to simplify it down,” Lapins told ZDNet.
“I see a massive challenge when you’ve got hundreds of vendors taking their own implantations out into the world and today’s drive in the market is to rush your product to market as quick as possible and so security always takes a second place.”
With analyst firm Gartner predicting that by the end of 2016, around 6.4 billion “things” — devices from toasters and kettles to cars and hospital equipment — will be connected to the internet, Lapins believes the challenge of creating a standard in IoT development is getting more unachievable every day.
It was found by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner in September that 71 percent of IoT devices and services used by Australians failed to adequately explain how personal information was collected, used, and disclosed, often leaving customers in the dark when it comes to the privacy risks involved.
Lapins concedes it may just be the nature of the IoT game.
“I don’t think there is a fix to it, I think what we’re doing is great for a platform for those that adopt it, but the technology is a runaway train,” he said.
“You’re always going to have people throwing out widgets as quick as they can, and going, ‘Ah we’ll get to security later’, and it’s not so much the IoT is broken, rather it is just so simple to build technology that fits into the IoT definition.”
To Lapins, the best thing about his platform is that it has both “limitless” applications and “limitless” scalability, with major network players through to guys with great ideas in their sheds able to leverage the technology.
“It’s the keys to kingdom,” he said. “You can plug that into any washing machine, any fridge, anything, and you’ve now implemented our security model and secure communications.
“This is what grows us into fields we’re not even playing in now.”
Lapins touted energy management as a massive industry, and said Quantify can policy manage power the same way you can an IP network.
“So what we can do is go into a building and lay a ubiquitous IP fabric everywhere,” he explained.
An example of an application that Quantify could be used for, Lapins explained, would be in a casino gaming floor to monitor the flow of people traffic to maximise the exposure of tables.
“Those that have got that solution need to have a box and that box needs to have a power supply, as well as the sensor. In our case — well every table’s got a powerpoint — we just integrate their sensor into this and replace the power outlet,” he said. “No one can turn it off, no one can take it away, it’s all built in.”
Lapins and his IoT “game changer” has the backing of some pretty large technology heavyweights. Cisco Systems Australia founder Aidan Montague is currently Quantify’s chair and former Microsoft Australia chief Gary Jackson is on the company’s share register.
Quantify will find itself listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) early next year, after it finalises the reverse takeover (RTO) of WHL Energy.
The IoT firm will find itself in the company of more than 100 technology companies that have debuted on the exchange in the past two years, mainly appearing via RTO, but it isn’t necessarily the company Lapin wants Quantify associated with.
“A lot of them [RTOs] have been a real disaster,” he said. “The problem is they’re not ready.”
Lapins explained that often startups perform a backdoor listing to access funds as soon as possible, as they haven’t been able to get the money they needed beforehand.
“In Australia, for a tech startup, there is no support,” he said. “VC money is not as easy to get as everyone says unless you’re willing to give your company away.”
“Some of the other IoT startups out there have made massive promises before they’ve actually got a tangible product in their hand — they’ve done it all to get the funding to go and do it — but the shareholders don’t understand that.
“That is why I think some tech reverse takeovers are a bit on the nose.”