Light Reading

Startup Octoblu Wants to be An IoT Connector

Jason Meyers

All the standards and protocol development activity in the Internet of Things (IoT) realm has prompted one startup to position itself as a sort of middleman of the moment.

As the industry works through standards issues, and as existing devices are equipped for an IoT world, Octoblu has emerged from stealth mode to address what one of the company's founders views as a prime opportunity -- to be an overarching connector of people, devices, applications, and the cloud.

"All the various constituents need to be able to communicate with each other in a meaningful way, and there is no apparent single standard," says Geir Ramleth, co-founder and CEO of Octoblu. "What if you could build a system that's the honest broker for all that -- a service that will connect to any protocol or API or device, and become the gateway and the service broker and the data broker between these various points?"

For all the intel on the IoT, check out Light Reading's dedicated IoT content channel.

As for exactly how that will work, Ramleth described a software (or software-as-a-service) platform that would provide a set of connections to a "vast array of devices," provide visual representation of how they all connect together, provide programming that facilitates that connectivity, and provide analytics on a dashboard to monitor it all. Customers could be large industrial enterprises applying IoT connectivity in their operations, or potentially even network operators facilitating IoT connectivity for those enterprise customers.

"The service can be deployed in the public cloud or on a private cloud," Ramleth says. "We can operate a multi-tenant service in the cloud, or we can deliver the code and it can be operated by someone else."

Octoblu is emerging in the midst of a wide array of industry group formations in the IoT space. The company is a member of the AllSeen Alliance Inc. , but Ramleth maintains a position of neutrality when it comes to standards and protocols. (See AllSeen Attracts More IoT Hopefuls and Thread Group Spins New IoT Networking Protocol.)

"What IoT means is really 'integration of things' -- how we integrate everything we have today, and everything that's coming in the future," Ramleth says. "We'll adapt to anything that's out there. I think we'll have various standards come up, and we'll connect to every standard. We cannot as a business sit and wait until that single standard is out there."

Both Ramleth and co-founder and CTO Chris Matthieu were executives at Bechtel Telecommunications before creating Octoblu. The company is not selling its service yet, but claims it has beta customers it is not ready to announce. Octoblu has angel funding and will probably pursue other funding, and make service available, in the fall, he says.

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
7/26/2014 | 12:52:00 PM
Re: Internet of Tentacles
I like the idea, and all indications are that Octoblu will be ready to release something soon.

These connector solutions will be important for the IoT industry because of possible fragmentation that could occur in the space. 

User Rank: Light Sabre
7/25/2014 | 5:00:32 PM
Re: Internet of Tenacles
Jason,  it sounds like a smart business plan - if they can clarify their position and markets, as Liz references.

It sounds like they truly understand where the value lies - in the capability of the user to gain value.  This will be interesting to watch.
Liz Greenberg
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/25/2014 | 1:55:25 PM
Re: Internet of Tentacles
Jason, I just visited their website.  It is very interesting.  They are in serious need of "marketing" power, so many _Blu names (eg. Octoblu, CodeBlu, MicroBlu, Gateblu) with minimal distinction of what each does or how they interact.  It could just be that I am clueless enough to not understand.

Either way, I am sure that is in the works for them and wish them well.
User Rank: Blogger
7/25/2014 | 11:47:37 AM
Re: Internet of Tentacles
Thanks Liz. Yes I noticed they don't have a website yet. I did find this site for Meshblu, which is the name of the underlying technology they've developed.
Liz Greenberg
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/24/2014 | 8:02:51 PM
Re: Internet of Tentacles
Great article Jason and yes, our devices may soon eat us!  It is a brilliant idea by Octoblu and it will be very interesting to see the product offering(s).  They really are just breaking out...even their website is not developed, at least not for public viewing.
User Rank: Blogger
7/24/2014 | 4:11:28 PM
Internet of Tentacles
According to the company, the name Octoblu is reference to the many arms of the octopus, representing multiple connections -- and specifically to the blue-ringed octopus, for its strength.

Incidentally, the blue-ringed octopus is dangerous to humans if provoked, not unlike the machines that are taking over our world. So watch yourselves out there.  
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