Gizwits Aims to Become the New Tech Giant with China's Large-scale IoT Adoption
With the largest number of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections in the world, China now stands at the forefront of the development of Internet of Things (IoT), witnessing the transformation of traditional businesses like manufacturing, transportation and energy as well as the rise of new tech giants.
"IoT will be the game changer for the traditional businesses." Jack Huang, founder and CEO of Gizwits, an IoT platform from China, spoke during the Consumer Internet Panel in Rutberg FM 2017, where the founders of popular digital services including Gizwits, Windows photo edit app PicsArt, open data platform Factual and iPad games system Osmo have gathered to discuss the ever-changing consumer market.
As the only entrepreneur on the panel with extensive experience in China, Huang pointed out that China's traditional retailers are facing serious challenges and how IoT is a critical tool for them as they strive to compete with e-commerce platforms.
"For example, one of our clients is a major shopping mall management company in China, with hundreds of properties under management. They are eager to transform the shopping experience by tracking what customers are doing in the physical store, providing better recommendations and streamlining the entire shopping experience." Huang talked about how Gizwits is helping traditional retailing industry in China to compete with e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and JD.com.
Moreover, the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry still relies heavily on the physical stores, and IoT solutions can help optimize their operation and provide better insights. Huang brought up further examples: "We help multinational FMCG companies operating in China, such as Nestle, Ferrero and Danone, to collect and analyze the data from physical stores, letting them gain better understanding of consumer behaviors, resulting in substantial increase in offline sales and operational efficiency."
Huang believes that IoT (Internet of Things) has the ability to "penetrate into the physical layer on earth", vastly expanding the scope of the Internet as we know it, making doing business offline more data driven and more optimized.
Meeting the needs and demands of such powerful Chinese traditional businesses and multinational companies only accounts for a part of Gizwits' success in the Chinese market. It gained its first fame and market share by focusing on consumers and product in the early days. The Gizwits platform provides comprehensive development tools and online services for IoT developers, making it easy for them to build IoT products and applications.
Underpinned by the Chinese government commitment and the substantial capital support, the development of IoT in China has been booming in the last few years. In 2016, the total revenue of the Chinese IoT industry surpassed a trillion dollars. The number of developers and corporate clients on the Gizwits platform has surged accordingly, accounting for staggering figures as more than 50,000 IoT developers and 6,000 corporate clients.
Jack Huang was a serial entrepreneur in the U.S. before he started Gizwits. He was a member of the founding team that created Mimeo, the first and largest US-based B2B cloud-printing company, in 1999, and started a semantic search startup Zoomino in 2006.
While building and growing startups the United States, Huang kept a close eye on the Chinese market. In 2008, he sensed the significance of the growing IoT market in China and founded Gizwits, aiming to create a competitive service platform for companies operating in China looking to integrate IoT technologies. As of July 2017, Gizwits is the largest third-party IoT service provider in China. Its client list now includes famous names as the China State Grid, the Daimler Group, A.O.Smith, 3M, Honeywell, Bosch Siemens, Midea, and Haier.
With the rise of Tencent, Alibaba and other internet giants, China is shedding its copycat reputation and leading global innovations in a number of areas, especially mobile Internet. Chinese companies are increasingly demonstrating their global leadership potential in the high-tech industry.
In 2016, Gizwits published its 4.0 version, in doing so becoming the first IoT platform that employs Fog Computing (aka edge computing) in China. It also launched its own IoT Machine Learning framework "Giga ML", which allows IoT developers to run machine learning models both on the IoT devices and in the cloud. Mr. Huang shared Gizwits' unique approach to combine the power of IoT and Machine Learning: "Machine learning for the most part has been run either on the device or in the cloud. With Giga ML, we employed an Adaptive Federated Machine Learning (AFML) approach, which uses the cloud to automatically deploy, re-train and redeploy the most effective Machine Learning models on millions of devices."
The company raised multi-million dollar Series A funding from Matrix Partners in 2014 and 30 million Series B from Matrix Partners and Juren Capital in 2015.