Comcast Labs Eyes IoT Boom

Boomtown, a startup accelerator based in Boulder, Colo., has teamed up with Comcast Labs to build what is being billed as one of the world’s first Internet of Things (IoT) labs.

The lab will serve entrepreneurs, Boomtown startups and other companies and corporations that are developing IoT-facing products and services.  

Comcast Labs, the advanced technology arm of Comcast, is partnering with Boomtown in anticipation of an emerging market that will bring connectivity to a wide range of devices, including everything from locks, thermostats, and wearable computers.

“The IoT Lab will build relationships with other labs locally and around the world to leverage expertise and resources,” said Toby Krout, Boomtown founder and managing director. “We believe this facility can be an important addition to Boulder’s already thriving development culture.”

 “Comcast Labs, like many other companies, sees the tremendous potential of the IoT, and we’re very pleased to partner with BOOMTOWN to underwrite the development and launch of the lab,” added Joshua Seiden, executive director of Comcast Labs.

The cable industry, already a top provider of broadband connectivity and one that has also developed a range of home security and automation services, is expected to have a primary seat at the IoT table.

But one big challenge ahead is establishing open platforms amid the emergence of groups that are developing their own standards, including the AllSeen Alliance, the Open Interconnect Consortium and Thread Group. CableLabs, for one, is trying to get out ahead of this through work underway that aims to fill those gaps and establish a bridge between these multiple IoT standards and protocols.

According to Boomtown’s FAQ, it invests $20,000 per team under its 12-week accelerator program, with the goal to give participants the ability to work on startups without worrying about paying for general living expenses. In return, Boomtown gets 6% ownership in each company.

Startups in Boomtown's current portfolio include KickFurther, a crowdfunding initiative, College Press Club, a developer of a system that makes it easy to buy ads in college newspapers, and Derive Insight, a firm that helps IoT and sensor companies generate “meaningful Insight” in to data collected from connected devices.