Some folks are scratching their heads over Google’s intent to spend $50M to purchase Xively from LogMeIn. I’m not one of those folks because Xively quickly gives Google a few things that it’s lacking in this market.
It was just a few podcast episodes ago where Stacey and I were wondering, “What and where is Google’s IoT product strategy?” At the time, we didn’t see a cohesive message or product toolbox from Google like you can find for Microsoft, Amazon or IBM. To be fair, Google does have its Cloud IoT Core, which has similar capabilities to Xively, which provides an end-to-end IoT solution including device management, application support, service integration and data analytics.
Sure, Google’s Cloud products can be mashed together for all of that as well. And Google is excellent in the areas of software integrations and analytics. Device management and deployment though? There just isn’t enough history here for Google to justify saying yes. Keep in mind that the Google Cloud IoT Core was announced in May 2017 at Google I/O, so it’s not even a year old yet. Maybe that’s why when I tried to find some customer stories and case studies for it, I came up empty.
Compare that to Xively, which is ancient by IoT standards: The company launched as Pachube in 2007 and in 2011, its platform was used to connect geiger counters across Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused by an earthquake. That same year LogMeIn purchased the company for $15M, rebranded it as Xively and began to expand the customer base.
In fact, on Xively’s site you’ll see customer case studies that I would have hoped to have found on Google’s Cloud IoT site: Customers such as Lutron, ShadeCraft Robotics, and Heatworks, to name a few. Lutron’s story is particularly interesting since after deciding to build connectivity in its products, it took just four months “from concept to field-ready product.”
Along with the customer base, Google is getting the experience gained from Xively as it worked with those customers. That’s because 45 Xively employees will become Googlers in the deal.
That’s equally as important as the platforms and services Xively has created over the last decade because while Google knows its own products better than anyone, it doesn’t always have the end-user customer experience to understand how its products are used. Yes, Google is great about asking for feedback, using visitor onboarding forms and other resources as tools. But working with industrial and commercial IoT product makers requires a more personal touch: Xively has a Professional Services group providing insight from the beginning to the end of an IoT project.
Obviously, there’s no guarantees that a Xively purchase will give Google the IoT boost it needs to better compete against Microsoft, Amazon and IBM.
But if you nose around Xively’s site like I did and then compare it to Google’s own IoT product sites, you’ll see that this is a big step in the right direction. Not only is there a cohesive messaging strategy but there are platforms, services, products and experienced people to help Google deliver on its IoT dreams.