Connectivity and Platforms Panel
This session explores the many options that one has to cost-effectively deploy and manage their devices in the field, and the innovative connectivity technologies that will be coming to market in the next couple of years. Five representatives from wireless/ IoT technology companies discussed how their businesses are using connectivity and platforms similar and separate to each other.
Since connectivity and platforms are two key parts of IoT functionality, each company finds a different meaning or and use for them. The differences extend further for each client within the companies. Every component of IoT requires connectivity to successfully provide end-to-end solutions, but this connectivity is useless without a platform to access it on. For example, T-Mobile works to make sure ORBCOMM has backend access to their business to ensure ORBCOMM can provide the best solutions by having a complete understanding of their customers. Bill Molesworth of ORBCOMM said the relationship between connectivity and platforms depends on the use case, how they work with their customers, and how they take capabilities and make them available to new partners.
Phani Pandrangi of Kii said the term platform is used and it requires characterization. Whether you are creating a smart home solution or a smart city solution or anything in between, there are certain things you have to do beyond solution logic and experience. You have to figure out how to actually connect a device to the backend and manage that backend work, as well as apps that users and stakeholders interface with. Companies must enable a solution to occur. Kii offers both a horizontal solution enablement platform and vertical solution framework. When enabling tech people to work with them towards a solution, Pandrangi said it is essential to provide functionality and enable them through API’s.
Gregor Bleimann of Telit said connectivity is a transport layer that exists between a device, an app, and the backend. The platform is the piece that allows you to develop your application and then take information, data, and analysis to build on top of connectivity, helping the business run as efficiently as possible. With Telit’s horizontal platform, the goal is for clients to access the platform through one or two clicks to begin developing, striving for easy device connection.
Craig Harper of Sysorex said their business tries to remain mostly agnostic. They deploy sensors for indoor positioning at security agencies, retail, and hospitals and provide a platform for the sensors to communicate on. Sysorex also aggregates the information for their clients and provides the pieces for companies to build with. On the analytic side, Sysorex provides all of the information to their clients with recommendations, but clients can do what they want with the information. For example, Sysorex was working to build housing for worker camps with sensors that allowed them to control HVAC systems, lowering monthly expenses. In hospitals, the sensors can track through floors, pinpointing locations within a building.
Robert Scales of T-Mobile said the connection between a network and a platform is vital. Obstacles can arise when companies are starting off and do not have a platform to access a network. They must become experts and enable others to work on platforms.
James Brehm — Founder and Technology Evangelist at James Brehm & Associates
Bill Molesworth — VP, Wireless Services at ORBCOMM
Craig Harper — CTO at Sysorex
Phani Pandrangi — Chief Product Officer at Kii
Robert Scales — IoT Business Development at T-Mobile