Connecting a business process or even a building isn’t as easy as adding a few connected sensors and pointing them to a cloud platform. In the early days of the internet of things, companies are still struggling with custom drivers to connect things, IT architectures that don’t work for billions of dumb, connected devices and a workforce that doesn’t want to become the next class of sys admins.
There are a number of groups trying to solve this, from giant companies like Avnet or AT&T that are trying to bring expertise together on behalf of their clients, to open source efforts like EdgeX Foundry or the Open Connectivity Foundation. And to help all of those organizations, there’s Iotium.
Iotium, which has raised $8.4 million in Series A funding, has built software that will run on anyone’s gateway to provide the middleware and security industrial and enterprise IoT deployments need. The software links the device to Iotium’s software running in the cloud.
That cloud-based software can also link back to the customer’s own cloud or on-premise operations. The links between the edge device and the cloud let Iotium’s Orchestrator software handle tasks like provisioning, authentication and setting business policies for the devices at the edge.
Once inside the corporate network on the gateway of the customer’s choosing, the Orchestrator software lets other edge nodes talk to it and keeps them from interacting with the internet at large. This is a similar idea to CloudFlare’s new IoT offering, but unlike CloudFlare’s offering, which requires the device manufacturer to install the security, Iotium’s security can be added by the device owner later.
The Orchestrator software takes advantage of secure elements on the chip itself and certifies devices before they hop on the network managed by the Orchestrator software. This helps reduce the threat of bad actors joining a network, while the invisibility to the internet at large renders the threat of your devices joining a botnet moot.
I like this approach, and it appears that others do as well. Jason Shepherd, Dell’s head of IoT and strategy and partnerships, is excited about Iotium and GE Ventures has invested in the company.
Iotium’s software can help companies deploy industrial IoT networks securely without a lot of expertise required from the customer’s IT department. If customers can be convinced of the security, these are the sorts of things that will enable the industrial internet to scale.