Despite a ton of talk about the value of connecting devices— from furnaces to shower heads to thermostats—it’s still difficult for most companies to do that. That’s the problem Xively Product Launcher aims to solve.
Xively, the “Internet of things” unit of LogMeIn
, assembled some 300 templates of different devices and the data they tend to generate. The goal is to help manufacturers automate the process of connecting their devices to each other and the Internet. Or, in other words, make those devices productive members of the Internet of things. Boston-based LogMeIn bought Xively five years ago.
“A lot of companies are still on the sidelines, they’re not sure how to get started,” Ryan Lester, director of IoT strategy for Xively, told Fortune.
“Up till now these companies would have to hire developers, get them on some platform from a big tech provider, write custom code, and buy hardware and sensors,” he said.
There are significant up-front costs, though they can start off with Product Launcher for free. Once they go operational with Xively’s software, charges will apply. Xively competes with such offerings as PTC’s
ThingWorx and Ayla Networks.
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There are a lot of steps there that Product Launcher can automate A template for a connected boiler, for example, would say this is the data to be generated: temperature, water pressure, humidity, etc.
“We help you create the data model with templates that the manufacturer can use as is or customize, then create an app for the end user, in this case the owner of the boiler, and set rules so that when the temperature or pressure hits this level, an action is initiated—an alert, or some automated fix,” Lester said.
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Companies can use the templates for free. Once they want to go operational with Xively’s software, charges would apply. The alternative up until now, Lester said, was to hire developers, put them on a software platform, have them write custom code, and buy sensors, etc.
The overall promise of the Internet of things, which is composed of billions of connected devices worldwide, is that companies or people can keep an eye on their homes or equipment remotely and be aware of things going wrong in advance of an actual meltdown. That feedback loop means companies—those that build those boilers, or factory equipment, or mining gear—can do preventative maintenance based on the data they receive.
One Xively customer, Freight Farms, is using its software to monitor portable gardens that use shipping containers geared up with sensors to grow vegetables almost anywhere The sensors monitor air quality, fertilizer, light and other factors, all wiht the goal of maximizing output, according to The Boston Globe.
Note: This story was updated with mention of the Freight Farms application.