Last week I attended the Sierra Wireless Innovation Summit. The event was once again a sell-out, and packed with attendees.

I met a lot of people working in the "first mile", or asset side of the cloud, and there was a lot of clever hardware and software to be seen, ranging from an initiative called Legato which puts Linux on a chip, to very specific automotive solutions such as Neusoft, who were showing dead reckoning solutions of the likes found in premium brands' satnavs.

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The internet of things is developing so fast that it's hard to see how things will be in the next few months, let alone in the coming years.

Here's my view of how things are going to pan out in the near term. 


mangOH Sierra Wireless with Legato.pngThere was an exciting announcement in the form of a project called mangOH. The name suggests a fruit (slightly larger than a raspberry...perhaps?), with "OH" for open hardware.

This is a new, open-specification design for a remote gateway device, smaller than the palm of my hand. In essence, you would attach such a device to an asset. In the mangOH box is a Sierra Wireless WP series chip, a Linux OS, and a ton of GSM, wireless and wired connectivity. It's like a Raspberry Pi on steroids.

This is a great device, and sure to become a workhorse in the IoT hardware market, for prototyping and for production. The open hardware model is attractive, and rather than SW going into mass hardware production, the open design means that regular hardware vendors can get involved with their own variants.

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Sierra Wireless' AirVantage platform has gone from strength to strength.  It has a considerable share of the market for IoT enterprise platforms.

It's clear that there are many IoT implementations that use their supplier's own portal. The provider builds rather than buys. But portals are getting more sophisticated; they're just not about gather data from assets, but are facilitating two-way communication (you can re-program your remote asset); they are expected to handle alarm situations and much more.

Because of this, it seems that the cost of every provider developing their own portal is going to rise, let alone the cost of maintaining something proprietary.

So the AirVantage platform is quite compelling: it's powerful, easy to start, can scale from a single device to millions, and well supported. Being cloud-based it is easy for it to grow with the businesses it supports, and its cost is very low to get started with.

I'm not sure whether there will ever be a ubiquitous portal platform for the internet of things, but AirVantage looks like it's in the right place for the moment.


I presented our own Assetwolf platform at the show, our first official presentation at a conference. 

Assetwolf is a platform that makes it easy to get a customer portal up and running, in which those customers can get access to their assets through a secure, multi-lingual, mobile-friendly portal.

As well as showing a demo of the base systems's nice features, I showed the portal that Tribal Systems has recently been delivering for Veolia Water Technologies, for the UK and France operations. That's a really powerful portal, showing how it's possible to integrate IoT with ERP systems and other incoming data. It deserves a full write-up by itself so I'll tell you more about that in my next blog.

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