As technologies evolve, it is reasonable to expect an easier and more convenient modern life. Home appliances will remember user preference and automatically make adjustments to create the most comfortable living space. However, at the current stage, device makers may not have the technical know-how to wade into the smart home industry.
Smart home is an application of the Internet of Things (IoT), where a myriad of devices is connected to the Internet. Device data will be processed in the cloud to generate intelligence. Implementation of IoT, however, is difficult. An IoT supply chain involves multiple elements – devices, connectivity, gateways, carriers and the cloud. It takes more than one player to make it work. As such, appliance makers will have a hard time entering the IoT space on their own.
U.S.-based Exosite wants to solve this problem. Established in 2009, the company entered the field of IoT when the term IoT was not even created. Exosite has provided IoT services exclusively all these years. Having worked with more than 200 clients, the company says it can offer secure, reliable, scalable and enterprise-level IoT solutions.
The company recently teamed up with chipmaker ARM to launch an IoT service platform tailor-made for device makers. The platform integrate ARM’s mbed cloud and Exosite’s Murano IoT Platform. Device data is transmitted using the CoAP/DTLS interface first to ARM’s cloud, before sent via a secure HTTPS interface to Exosite’s Murano platform.
While ARM’s mbed aggregates secured device data, Exosite’s Murano entails user and device management , application, data analysis and other value-added services. The device management functionality, for example, allows the administrator to monitor how different devices are performing. Murano also allows enterprise software integration, to enable ERP, CRM, etc.
The solution is scalable, for Exosite has clients that deployed millions of devices. It is also flexible, as clients may add new features, or connect more products as they see fit later on, says Robert Yu, Exosite’s Director of Marketing & Business Development APAC. “We can provide production-ready, cost-effective solutions for ARM’s device makers to shorten the time to market,” Yu said.
Micro-Vertical Engine Solution
IoT is like Internet 2.0, while data mining and performing analytics in the cloud to derive intelligence information is the idea of Internet 3.0 and 4.0, according to Yu. “Through machine learning, we may arrive at something that we did not know before. Artificial intelligence may tell us that leaving air conditioner on actually uses less energy than turning it off, the optimal door position to keep the cool air inside, how to place the lighting and other best interior design practices.”
The very first step is to link different devices and then aggregate their data in the cloud. Exosite wants to help appliance manufacturers do this quickly. The company’s Micro-Vertical Engine offers firmware, Wi-Fi connectivity, cloud solution and user interface (mobile app) to save development effort for manufacturers. This will drastically lower the entry barrier and hasten the time to market for manufacturers, says Exosite.
The company also points out that it can make customized solutions based on client demand. Its target customers include makers of air conditioners, fans, dehumidifiers. Exosite will help these manufacturers connect their devices to the Internet and the Murano platform, where data analysis and intelligent computation can be performed.
Josie Chung, Marketing Manager at Exosite, says the Micro-Vertical Engine is an inclusive solution that is already integrated with Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice assistant, and will integrate with IFTTT later. “Hardware companies usually lack software talent, and our solution essentially saves them much development effort and costs,” she added.
IoT Marketplace Exchange
Exosite’s services include the IoT Marketplace Exchange, which is a curated library of reusable elements that organizations can use to build IoT solutions. The shared elements are contributed by Exosite’s various clients, who may charge a fee when their content on the platform is used by other clients.
With the click of a button, clients can use the solution/content/service element in the platform for their next project or product line, Yu said, adding that the aim is to share resources. Through this, companies can slash development costs by 50 percent, and time-to-market by 30 percent, according to Exosite internal studies.
The marketplace may also be deployed for internal use only. A large corporation may have many business division. While every team develops their own solutions, some of the effort may overlap. Remote control, remote monitoring, alert and emergency callback functions, for example, could be used by more than one team, and in the application of a private Marketplace Exchange, different teams will be able to share their IoT elements in the platform.
“IoT development is moving slowly because of two reasons. The first is lack of standard and diversification has resulted in incompatibility. Repeat development effort is the second reason, and it is why Exosite created the Marketplace Exchange,” Yu said.
Digital Transformation Service
IoT deployment is more than technical know-how. The high-level why is more important, and Exosite recently launched the Digital Transformation Service (DTS) that aims to help companies develop their overarching IoT strategy.
This consulting service has four stages: the first Explore stage asks the question “How will IoT deployment create value for my customers?” through strategy workshops; the second Validate stage conducts feasibility study to find out if the proposed solution will work; the third Accelerate stage helps customers get their new products/services to market quickly; and the last Mosaic stage helps companies model after their successes in even more applications.
“We know IoT, but not our client’s industry. But we understand other industries’ pain of making the digital transformation and IoT adoption, because we have experience working with other clients. By working together in a team to devise strategy, we can help our clients create value,” Yu explained.
The DTS has been adopted mostly by clients in Europe and the U.S., and Exosite wants to push for its adoption in Asia.
Exosite IoT Alliance
It takes more than one company to establish a robust IoT system. Even a big corporation is unable to do it all by itself. This is why Exosite is working with many partners, Yu said. There is little competition in the field of IoT, and the relationship between companies is termed by Yu as “complementary collaboration.” “We rely on each other to make it work,” he said.
As a platform provider, Exosite has pre-established relationships to help its customers create what they want quickly. The company created the Exosite IoT Alliance (EIA) – that include ARM, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Amazon Web Services, to name a few – to let industry players “fighting together,” Yu said.
The alliance has five types of partners: edge silicon, gateway, business system & software, communication and solution providers. “We want to build a community to help our partners’ clients enter the field of IoT more easily. There are too many problems waiting to be overcome,” Yu said.
“If someone has created a finished product, why can’t we just use it right away? We only need to make connection to the finished product,” Yu said. The partnership will either hasten their adoption of our platform, or hasten our customers’ adoption of their products,” he added.
IoT has many moving parts. It is important that all the pieces work together seamlessly. Through the EIA, Exosite has established strong partnerships with leaders in specialties that matter, Yu said.