We recently got to chat with Xively’s Paul Caponneti, Director of Engineering, and Adam Lewis, Alliance Manager for IoT. Under the LogMeIn umbrella of companies, Xively is an award-winning enterprise IoT platform helping companies navigate the IoT landscape and intelligently build connected products and services. Check out how they make the magic happen and meaningfully expand the IoT ecosystem one customer at a time.
Gentlemen, tell us the heart of Xively’s business offering. What’s going on up there in Boston?
Xively’s IoT platform is best-of-breed in terms of security, scalability, performance — the key components that any company will absolutely need to have a successful connected product. We partner with other leading companies like Silicon Labs to build a complete end-to-end IoT solution for our customers trying to figure out how to really enter the IoT space.
A lot of these companies have the vision for an IoT product. They know where they want to get, but the road is often murky and undefined. Our job is to take them through all of the considerations, whether business or technical, in order to ultimately deliver a successful product to their end customer.
We make it easy for companies to very quickly, cost-effectively, and with minimal risk stand up and manage a connected business at scale. Our purpose is to make the journey as painless as possible.
What’s the biggest challenge for relative newcomers to the IoT in your minds?
We think there’s a lot of noise out there about the IoT, and that it can be really confusing and discouraging to customers taking their first steps. Also, some vendors take a myopic and narrow-minded approach in terms of what the IoT actually “is” — that the IoT is only about singular things like data or machine learning, etc. We think the IoT is actually the sum of many things and we want to help customers understand that type of broad thinking and potential for innovation as well.
A lot of organizations we help don’t necessarily have a deep technical background so parts of the IoT can seem like alchemy to them. But we make it very easy for them to instead focus their energies on creating products that their customers want, finding new and exciting ways to connect with end-users, and creating features and functionality that really add value to people’s lives. They allow us handle the IoT infrastructure for them.
I heard you saying performance, scalability, and security together is your golden triad ultimately. What’s Xively’s philosophy on security?
Because we’re part of a larger company that’s built on the platform of secure, remote connectivity, we get a lot of clients coming to us because of that very reason. They just have the assumption that a LogMeIn product is and will always be secure, and they’re correct. We have a robust security-focused team, and their work is never-ending. We’ve actually turned away work because we thought that a client was asking us to cut corners in our security processes. Those would-be clients then unfortunately did indeed get hacked.
Tell us what Silicon Labs’ products you’re using as you help craft solutions for your customers and why you picked it/them?
Sure. The Thunderboard React is a great prototyping tool which we used for our wearables projects and any other solutions requiring a BLE personal area network. It’s a tremendous tool — it’s got some sensors on it, some buttons, some LEDs; it makes for a nice pairing and comes with an Android/iOS app that helps us bootstrap a sales demo.
Silicon Labs is also a leader in the 802.15.4 market. We have used Silicon Labs’ ZigBee hardware for our customers looking for low power wireless solutions. In fact, Xively can easily run on the Silicon Labs ZigBee gateways, making it easier for customers to get their hardware developed fast.
Xively is a member of Thread Group, which we think represents the future of consumer IoT.
Excellent. Now for the Bonus Question: Where do you gentlemen see the IoT going in the next 5–8 years given your experience helping so many companies in so many different fields?
At LogMeIn and Xively we believe that possibilities increase with connectivity. We work tirelessly to simplify the way that people connect with each other and the world around them — the IoT is no exception.
As technology barriers decrease, and the expectation for seamless customer experiences increases, we see the IoT becoming more mainstream. It will be less about gadgetry and more about overarching, truly useful applications. The IoT provides companies an opportunity to get closer to their customers and truly deliver what their customers seek, both implicitly and explicitly. Additionally, the IoT will allow companies to create new revenue channels, streamline business processes, and design innovative products and services that will transform our everyday lives.
From a more technical perspective, the IoT is going to be about true interoperability among devices and moving toward ubiquitous and robust interfaces that manufacturers can put their trust and development time into. Right now, for example, people have 1,000 IoT devices, and as such have 1,000 apps to run all of them; it’s confusing and cumbersome. As the IoT continues to mature, standards and protocols will emerge both on the hardware and software side, ultimately ensuring a truly Jetsons-like future for us all.