Xively : A service dedicated to the Internet of Things

xively‘Internet of Things’ is a term that was coined 10 years ago, but its usage and importance has increased in the last couple of years with a rising number of people and corporations talking about it. It is a fairly simple concept which talks about ordinary things like refrigerators, cars and even buildings being connected to the Internet. All such things collectively will interact on a common platform (Internet) and will generate massive amounts of data.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability smart devices to automatically transfer data over a network without human interference. This is a future that is already in development.

International Data Corporation (IDC) analyzed the worldwide opportunity for the flourishing IoT market, and predicted that it will generate up to USD 8.9 Tn by the year 2020. According to a Research by IMS, by 2020 there will be more than 22 Bn web connected devices, which will generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data each day. That is a mind-boggling amount of data. In order to make sense out of this data and give IoT a platform to realise its full potential, corporations such as IBM, Cisco, Microsoft are working on systems to do so. One such organisation dealing with IoT is Xively.

Xively

Internet of Things, as mentioned above, is a thing of the future which is very much real. Its development is being retarded by the fact that for building devices which utilize the IoT, businesses also need the complex costly infrastructure to connect, scale and manage them. This is where the service provider Xively comes into play.

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Xively is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) for the Internet of Things that provides a combination of services, tools and libraries that are purpose-built for developing, deploying and managing connected products on the Internet of Things. Launched in 2008 as Pachube, Xively is totally dedicated to making the IoT a near-term reality.

The company offers a platform to individuals and corporations to experiment, innovate and commercialize the massive data that IoT generate and is going to create.

For instance, the IoT market, growing at a CAGR of 7.8%, generated USD 4.8 Tn in 2012. And as predicted by IMS, in the near future this is going to be a major element in the world’s economy. Once corporations deploy the required infrastructure, they could tap monetary profits for themselves by utilising the information IoT is generating.

Internet of Things is about objects interacting among themselves. And to do so, they need to have a common language to communicate with. One can develop interfaces of the kind we use in our current devices, converting human language to binary and vice versa.

Xively is deploying a similar solution by giving developers with an API to install in the concerned devices, which gives those devices a common platform, in order to create a network of interconnected apps and systems. It provides tools for developers for visual, real-time development and debugging of connected products and solutions. It offers its own developers and integrators for corporations and non-developers.

For businesses who want to create and manage their own network of connected things, the company offers consultancy services to simplify the connection to Xively Cloud Services. The service is paid, and the data shared over Xively network will be securely owned by the business or the individuals themselves.

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The company’s goal is to enable anything and everything on the Internet of Things. It has already built some working IoT products with its users, developers and partners. The most simple product is the Good Night Lamp,  it consists of groups of connected lamps which can be controlled by a master lamp from anywhere around the world. It’ll in turn help connecting people having a lamp from a group in a subtle way. However the other products are more complex and have more utility like water monitoring systems, air quality control systems, monitoring growth of plants etc.

Hence besides helping business corporations Xively is connecting everyday things to build communities around devices & data collection.

Internet of things- The bigger picture

However prominent IoT maybe, its complete relevance has still not been realised by the Governments around the world. It’s facing a lot of resistance in its development due to lack of standards, global scalability, and a nascent ecosystem for application development. And even the people are not fully aware of the potential of their internet enabled devices.

There are many websites and people who actively do talk about this particular segment of technology, but apparently the reach is still not what it could be. Google Trends Analytics shows the search frequency of the term ‘Internet of Things’ on an almost steady rise from August 2012, but its interest is dominant in just a few countries namely USA, India, China, UK, Australia, Netherlands and Philippines.

In an ironic way, this could be used by businesses to create new market opportunities. IoT market is already huge and the consumers still want smarter phones, smarter appliances and smarter buildings. The companies would want to be enabled to fulfil these growing demands. Working with IoT and the data it generates could be a solution for this.

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So the question arises if there is potential for companies such as Xively in developing countries like in India. Where a service provider providing solutions for the creation and management of large interconnected networks could prove to be a boon for the corporations catering to a large population of consumers. Or is having complex infrastructure and sophisticated technology asking too much from such a developing nation.

Author’s view

Undoubtedly IoT is going to revolutionise the face of technology.  But every coin has two sides, and this one does too. One needs to think where do we stop.

In an event conducted by Gigaom, DropCam’s CEO Greg Duffy asked the audience “Imagine a world where all your devices are connected,” He replied to the question himself by saying that it is a stupid idea, because average consumer doesn’t want everything to be connected” He is probably right because it would make no sense to connect one’s car with a shower. The idea of Internet of Things, should rather be Internet of useful Things. After that how we use the technology is up to us.

What are your views on Internet of Things? Do mention in the comments below.

To contact the author, write to sugandh.dhawan@wirefootindia.com

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