LX Group: Creating Next Generation IoT-Powered Products for the Connected World

LX is an innovative IoT electronics design and development company specializing in the creation of next-generation IoT products for a better world. In a disrupt or be disrupted the world, anticipating the future is the best way to own it. The company transforms ideas into action at scale and expands what’s possible in IoT. LX’s full-stack platform, IoT Cores, accelerates the development of new bespoke IoT devices from custom IoT hardware design through to the cloud backend.

LX offers a range of tracking & sensing solutions (CATM1, NB-IoT, LoRaWAN, Bluetooth and WiFi) to help enterprises focus on generating value, not implementation. The company’s award-winning full stack development team constantly designs, prototypes and tests better solutions to existing and emerging business challenges.

The company also undertakes the design of custom embedded systems and wireless technologies. LX offers clients a professional turnkey experience, with services designed to take a new product idea from concept through to production. They focus on fully understanding all aspects of the clients’ requirements (both technical and business) and works on a tailored solution to ensure these requirements are met on time and within budget.

LX’s high calibre engineering team has over 150 years of combined product development experience, undertaken 500+ IoT products & projects and has won national and international awards. The company has experience across a wide range of technologies and industries, and works with clients both in Australia and abroad.

 

The Inception Story

Founded in 2006, LX was formed on the basis of two core beliefs. The first was that ultra-low power wireless sensing networks were the future and that everything would “go wireless” over the next few decades. At this stage, ultra-low power wireless sensing lived largely in the research domain of mesh networks, motes, and smart dust.

The second core belief was that the operation of every organization, the mechanics behind every process and the performance of every human is ultimately a complex combination of control systems, and, that every control system can be optimized with more granular & real-time feedback. Every day trillions of dollars rattle around the global economy and billions of people run around doing things, and this can all be optimized in a way that has never been possible before.

Essentially, the company saw IoT, the vision and what was possible before it had a name. LX was passionate about both the magic of wireless sensing and seemingly unlimited potential to help the world do things better. This drive to help the world do things better was not just to drive a P&L harder, but also to reduce emissions, to help the world to produce food more efficiently, and to enhance the overall human experience of life.

 

Visionary Leader with a Strong Background

The LX Founder, Simon Blyth, is an Electrical Engineer by background. He started LX in 2006 from his garage with only $750, growing the company organically to the business it is today. He and his wife, Kelly Blyth won the international IET thesis competition in 2005 with their pioneering work in the development of an ultra-low power wireless (IoT) full-stack sensor platform. They became thought leaders and evangelizers of IoT, passionately leading people to open their eyes to the optimization benefits existing across various industry verticals.

After years of developing bespoke IoT products and solutions, Simon went on to lead the development of IoT Cores, a highly versatile full-stack IoT platform to accelerate and de-risk the development of IoT products (devices through to dashboards & API). The launch of IoT Cores was transformational for LX and enabled the company to rapidly launch a cutting-edge range of IoT products. IoT Cores and other initiatives have resulted in the company revenue doubling year-on-year making LX one of the fastest growing companies in Australia.

 

Top Notch IoT Solutions

The LX IoT Cores enable the rapid development of quality bespoke full-stack IoT devices and solutions – the company makes the IoT hardware challenge easy. It’s easiest perhaps to explain by drawing an analogy to the smartphone. Out of the box, a smartphone will add value (make a phone call, send a message), but more than this it’s a platform for building value-added services, a range of apps. LX’s IoT Cores and products enable developers to focus on building value-adding applications, without having to worry about “building the iPhone, just to sell their app”.

Simon feels an important difference between the first and second generations of the computing waves (the computer and smartphone) and the third (the things) is that there are a lot of different physical “things”. Laptops and smartphones have similar requirements and so are able to be supported by a few large vendors with a small range of physical products. The IoT, however, requires an enormous range of physically different physical sensing devices to be developed driving a huge number of custom, bespoke device requirements.

“Hardware is hard, but, it’s absolutely critical to get right. Many organizations don’t do IoT hardware well resulting in poor data, high total cost of ownership, bad customer experiences and company killing product recalls. The IoT is ultimately a physical real-estate grab, there’s no need for two bin sensors on a bin (there is only one winner for that real-estate). And, while the value is often not in the hardware, it’s the key barrier to entry to winning that real estate,” he added.

 

Disruption Inter-Linked With ‘Intelligence of Things’

Many years ago, the focus was on The Internet of Things – providing an API for the physical world. Now when one talks about IoT he refers to the “The Intelligence of Things” and he doesn’t think about just IoT devices but think in terms of intelligent device ecosystems. For example, a simple dog tracking collar moves from being a one-off hardware device to being a player in an ecosystem of devices that might include; a smart bowl, ball and feeding system with analytics that plug into AI health analytics services, automatic food delivery, dog walking marketplaces and even social networks for dogs & dog owners. From one device a myriad of business service and value can be created.

Simon sees cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and automation as just another part of the stack.  It’s all linked, it’s all part of the same solution space. And, to facilitate this, LX has started to include support for ultra-low power on-board neural nets to support basic edge AI applications as well as hardware acceleration for blockchain interactions.

 

Strong Foundation Driving Innovation

The LX IoT Cores and IoT product series evolved from extensive bespoke design experience and IP modules from developing over 500 IoT projects and products over 13 years. IoT Cores are to IoT product development as WordPress is to website development.  However, to build WordPress a strong foundation in website development and the many different permutations of requirements is critical. The LX product series of trackers and sensing devices are focussed on the low total cost of ownership, high-quality long-life performance, plug n’ play installation & commissioning and easy to use RESTful API to enable the development of custom software solutions. Built on the shoulder of giants, the LX IoT Cores are powered by technology from leading IoT players such as uBlox, ST, Nordic, Bosch, and Microsoft Azure.

 

Amplifying the Achievement Bars

Over the years, LX has been fortunate to win awards for various aspects of the business; engineering & product development, business operations & systems, customer service and business performance. These awards include the BRW Fast 100, Deloitte Technology Fast 500, Engineering Excellence Awards, CIO 20 Hottest IoT Solution Providers, Smart Company’s Smart50, Good Design Awards, Anthill Smart 100, Cool Company Awards and the Electronics Future Awards.

Earlier this year in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress, the company announced its CATM1/Nb-IoT blockchain tracker with sense capability to enable developers to build smart contract solutions. LX is also launching an office in Europe in July based in Leon, France. Simon quotes the assertion of Andrew Despi, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Emerging Technologies – “They’re the only game in town when it comes to the Internet of Things.”

 

Proving Superiority Over Challenges

Many of LX’s challenges can be drawn back the combination of bootstrapping a rapidly growing business in a true technology boom with seemingly unlimited potential. The company can’t help but see the IoT opportunities everywhere, so whilst maintaining focus in a resource-limited organization is critical, it’s also incredibly hard, as LX sees all the opportunity it is consciously leaving on the table every day. The company has also been limited in some of the deals it can take on due cashflow, there have been times when it has won and then lost high volume deals purely because the company cannot support the required payment terms and fund the manufacturing outlays.

 

Unfolding the Future

Simon said it’s just the start! This entire space (and our organization) is just starting to get going. It feels like everyone is in the 1980s of the computer age. Some people get it, some don’t. There’s exciting stuff going on, but people are not getting close to scratching the surface just yet. The industry has seen years and years of organizations running proof of concepts in IoT, but now, big deployments are starting. The rate of technology change is truly exponential and this is just the start of giving industry’s physical environment a central nervous system. LX is laying the foundations now, but the exciting revelations are yet to come. The company is particularly excited about the combination of IoT, AI, and Blockchain enabling the machine to machine economy. And, while LX is cautious about undesirable outcomes, it is really excited about the positive impact this will have to enable the company as a global village to “do things better”.

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