IoT Infrastructure That Stands Against Chaos by Aaron Allsbrook
August 23, 2022
Google Cloud shocked the industry last week when it announced the retirement of its IoT Core service. Why did it make such a major change? They didn’t say why, but we know the Google Cloud is the only cloud still growing at over 40%, and we know they are only interested in workloads that scale and are profitable from the cloud perspective. What do we know about IoT? Well, with a supply chain in gridlock, and with a myriad of industrial protocols, we know it’s hard and it takes time. ClearBlade has been doing this long before any cloud provider and we have seen the IoT industry flounder.
With the retirement, Google goes directly against what the tech analysts have been saying for the last several years. Gartner, Forrester, and all the other rankers and raters of the IoT marketplace have put the big three clouds as the go-to providers for IoT without any real technical due diligence or validation, — the competition was over before it started. Now the first (and probably not the last) cloud has recognized that perhaps it is in a more valuable position in the ecosystem with just their cloud offerings and letting the technical wizards who know how to build for both cloud and edge collaborate with the business domain experts who know their industries solve IoT by delivering robust solutions. While this is great news, and I applaud Google Cloud for taking this smart business move, it leaves several businesses in a tough position of having to evaluate what services and software to use for their IoT Solutions.
This process means that many companies will evaluate four options:
- Go it alone and build from the ground up
- Choose another cloud and build from a stack of services
- Build with a Service Integrator’s pieces and parts from open source
- Find a software partner that is IoT Focused
Building from the ground up is an interesting option and as a software developer, I certainly lean that way. While the challenge of building IoT is exciting it takes a lot of skills across cloud, device, firmware, hardware, and integration domains. It takes a lot of time to build security, network transmission, scalable backends, and cost-efficient data storage. There are many things you must learn the hard way as you don’t often know all the requirements your company may put on you. Just like when ClearBlade must decide to use software that supports our development, HR, and sales, it is important to understand what skills are important for your business to have success. Selecting a pure ground-up option is a long-term approach that involves making many commitments to a large development team, building, compiling, integrating, securing, testing, scaling, and configuring a solution that runs 24/7.
The big clouds today have had a massive advantage when it comes to getting their tools in the hands of developers. AWS, Azure, and GCP have all captured the C-level executives with an enterprise agreement to make all the cloud services available across an organization. While there are differences in these clouds, they are all working desperately for parity. Reading a review of which cloud to select is like reading reviews of BBQ joints in Austin… unless there is something incredibly specific you are looking for, you’ll be fine. Where the big clouds have all failed us is clear. AWS is grotesquely confusing when it comes to which of its services to use and how they calculate their pricing. When it comes down to it, AWS is very likely to become your competitor as well as your partner — congratulations to all the iRobot vacuum companies out there. Microsoft Azure, a better-known enterprise partner, offers example use case after use case that when examined offers no viable ROI. When questioning these customers, you find that their solution, and current costs, are buried into other purchases and given away as freebies to their customers. Will there be solutions that yield ROI running on Azure? Maybe, but when talking to people in the industry it seems like people are taking advantage of free “IoT science experiments” and not building something sustainable.
An Integration Partner?
Service Integrators love big projects that can be made to sound complicated. Using the Netflix architecture, they create behemoth-sized containers that fall over like buildings in Tokyo when faced with Godzilla. Months to years go into building something that represents version 1. While version 1.0’s user interface might look nice, it isn’t really ready to scale, it isn’t really fast enough, and it already has hundreds of thousands of lines of code that need to be maintained. The ability to understand the ROI after releasing and supporting such a monstrous creation isn’t viable or even possible. The failure rate of IoT Projects is high (over 70%) not because the solutions don’t work at a technical level, but because they take too long to build and are a mess of support costs that do not scale. It’s just too expensive to build them and keep them going.
A Reliable Industry Hardened IoT Provider
Finding a software partner that is IoT-focused was a tricky proposition three years ago. The term IoT Platform was overused, and the market was crowded with a large number of entries. Trying to evaluate any one provider was time consuming and complicated. Rather than looking at what those platforms could do by exploring and testing their capabilities, the analysts and SI’s often just turned to what they knew (usually the biggest name). Three years later, we are seeing a massive number of companies leave the space, lose focus, or basically fail to deliver. While some companies like GE Predix have retracted into internal offerings or spin outs, others have pivoted to easier, more flashy opportunities like C3.iot (they became C3.ai). Others have walked away entirely like Samsung Artic or Xively who was purchased by Google and then shut down. A lot has happened over the last few years.
During that time, ClearBlade has thrived in a small group of true IoT software companies that focus on providing software that delivers real ROI and lead with innovative IoT technology. ClearBlade brought its Enterprise IoT software to market, before any cloud, and its MQTT broker was ready before the OASIS standard and before AWS IoT ever existed. ClearBlade was first to market with an Edge platform, going head-to-head against the clouds and winning. ClearBlade is the first to market with the ONXX.ai inferencing engine embedded in its IoT and Edge products. Now we are a leader in the no-code IoT application space with our Intelligent Assets software that delivers broad, business-focused use cases in under a day.
Today ClearBlade offers a direct one-click migration from GCP IoT Core into the ClearBlade IoT Core platform. The same IoT offering used by all our enterprise and fortune 500 customers is available for current GCP customers, they can simply migrate with a single click. The migration allows for all customer server-side elements from authentication, certificates, and mappings into Google PubSub, to seamlessly migrate. It allows for devices to connect, and data to flow in the same exact way. For those on GCP IoT Core, it is the fastest, least effort, and most straightforward migration available. In a world where hype cycles create messy ecosystems, at ClearBlade you will be working with a true partner, backed by a team of experienced engineers that have been focused on IoT way before it was cool. Also, ClearBlade will stay focused on it going forward, our track record proves that. You will have a partner that has spent over a decade building software that is future-proofed and knows how to give you the same flexibility to expand and grow your solution to achieve real ROI.