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Electric Imp finds route to Japanese IoT developers through SoftBank

Steve Rogerson
April 6, 2017
SoftBank is to sell Electric Imp’s IoT QuickStart line of products through +Style, a Japanese platform that supports IoT product development and prototyping.
From late April, developers can order California-based Electric Imp’s prototype and development kits to accelerate IoT product development. With Electric Imp’s Imp004m breakout board, which implements the Imp004m Telec-certified 2.4GHz wifi module, and the ImpExplorer kits, companies could facilitate IoT product development using the firm’s secure IoT connectivity platform.
The platform includes a wide array of services, tools and technologies designed to decrease the costs and time to develop, prototype and test IoT products. The combination of integrated hardware, ImpOS, ImpCloud, ImpSecure and BlinkUp provides device management, secure provisioning, firmware and software over-the-air updates, and pre-built integrations. Moreover, with ImpSecure, which enforces end-to-end security on and between embedded systems and the cloud, companies can focus on commercialisation efforts without worrying about security. 
The two Electric Imp products +Style will sell are the Imp004m Breakout Board and the ImpExplorer Kit.
The breakout board is a development board purpose-built for IoT and includes a 2.4GHz wifi module with ARM Cortex-M4 processor. When using the boards, proofs of concept for applications such as smart building, energy management, asset monitoring and management, predictive maintenance, and automated replenishment, could be delivered at a fraction of the cost and time.
The kits help software developers learn about or train others on connecting to the IoT. Like the breakout boards, each kit leverages the connectivity platform but does not require a breadboard or other additional components. The kits are powered either by three AA batteries or USB and include four sensors – temperature, humidity, air pressure and accelerometer – as well as Grove connectors for solderless expansion. 
SoftBank provides mobile communications, fixed-line communications and internet connection services to users in Japan. Leveraging synergies with other companies in the group, SoftBank aims to transform lifestyles through ICT and expand into other business areas including IoT, robotics and energy.
The +Style platform connects companies producing IoT items with consumers interested in these products. A fusion of planning, crowdfunding and shopping, it gives companies control over operations, from project planning to sales, while at the same time ensuring that they can respond to consumer needs.
Electric Imp says it helps more than 100 manufacturers and enterprises transform the world through the power of connectivity. Over a million IoT devices have been built on its secure platform as a service, with devices deployed in 105 countries. Founded in 2011, the company is located in Los Altos, California, and Cambridge, England.
Dutch company Gemalto has been selected by SoftBank as a partner for on-demand connectivity services enabling consumer and industrial M2M and IoT connectivity and deployment of value added applications and services. Under the collaboration, Gemalto will supply its remote SIM provisioning platform, allowing SoftBank to manage initial connectivity and subscriptions remotely throughout the device's lifecycle. This will give the mobile network operator an edge in connecting expanding digital devices, such as connected cars, wearables, traffic monitoring systems and smart meters.