Interview: Xively’s Chad Jones on driving the IoT

Xively’s cloud platform helps to simplify the development and management of IoT-connected products.

The platform removes the need to build infrastructure to support connected devices so businesses can focus on the product innovation itself while considerably cutting the cost and time involved in bringing a connected product to market.

TelecomsTech (TT) spoke to Xively’s VP of Product Strategy, Chad Jones (CJ), about the future of the Internet of Things and what we can expect from the company to drive its uptake…

TT: Commercially, how long do you think it will take the IoT to gain widespread appeal?

CJ: It’s now easier than ever to connect an object to the internet, so we are beginning to see a shift in how businesses approach the IoT from a ‘what and why’ mentality to ‘when and how’.

Globally, more businesses are starting to experiment with the IoT.

As more businesses take the first tentative steps towards developing internet-connected products; we are getting closer to realising Gartner’s predictions that the global IoT market could be worth anywhere between $1.2 trillion and $14.4 trillion by 2022.

TT: Will your collaboration with ARM drive this uptake?

CJ: Our work together is about making the IoT a practical reality for absolutely anyone wanting to build internet-connected devices and associated cloud-based applications; from small entrepreneurs to established OEMs.

We have teamed up to launch a Jumpstart Kit for the IoT which combines ARM mbed, a platform for rapidly building connected devices using ARM-based microcontrollers, with Xively’s cloud platform.

With ARM mbed for product development, combined with Xively Cloud Services, developers and businesses can get to work on building connected devices straightaway.

TT: What has developer interest been like? Less/more so than expected at this stage?

CJ: We are seeing lots of interest from developers and organisations looking not only to utilise the Xively platform, but seeking advice on how best to connect their devices. We offer tutorials specifically designed for developers and the developer centre on our website offers step by step advice on a whole host of topics from prototyping through to deployment and device management.

TT: You are working with some interesting companies; what are some of the most innovative IoT applications you’ve seen so far?

CJ: One of the most interesting use cases for our platform so far is Elektron Checkit, an IoT-enabled solution for monitoring food storage and preparation remotely.  It’s launching in 2014 and we’re expecting it to transform how restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and other catering businesses manage food safety.

Another, slightly more unusual example of the IoT is the Connected Chair that we built for BBC Newsnight. By hooking the presenter’s chair up to the internet, we were able to make it tweet each time she stood up or sat down throughout the show, demonstrating, in really simple terms, the huge possibilities unleashed by the IoT.

TT: The “Internet of School Things” sounds an interesting project; can you tell me a little about its purpose?

CJ: The project was launched in eight pilot schools across the UK in 2013 to define how the IoT  can enhance learning in science and other subjects, such as technology and geography. Students and teachers are able to use IoT technology in ways that help make learning fun and link directly to the curriculum.  In turn, this helps to incentivise UK businesses to collaborate with the education space around a technology market that analysts expect to be in the trillions of dollars, while setting the conditions to better prepare children with unique skills to work within the digital economy.

TT: What makes Xively the best cloud platform for the IoT?

CJ: Xively is the first public cloud platform that is actually purpose-built for developing and managing commercial products and solutions on the IoT, making it more suited to developers and businesses wanting to build connected devices.

As well as the platform, Xively also offers consulting services, so that businesses can gain the support and expertise needed to take a connected product to market.

You can check out Xively and their platform here.

What do you think about the future of the Internet of Things? Have you tried Xively’s platform?

To learn more about the Internet of Things visit IoT Tech Expo Europe in London’s Olympia, 2-3 December, 2015. 

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