built.io Is Building an Enterprise MBaas Platform for IoT

With a leadership team that has worked with enterprise customers in the past, raw engineering’s new built.io believes that it is well-positioned to take on the burgeoning enterprise MBaaS market. COO Matthew Baier and CTO and Founder Nishant Patel told ProgrammableWeb why interest in the built.io API was so high amongst attendees at the recent DeveloperWeek conference.

“One of our differentiators is that we have been working with enterprise for the past 7 years, and through that experience and relationships, we are able to offer more of a Platform solution for enterprise, than just an MBaaS”, Matthew Baier, COO at raw engineering and built.io told ProgrammableWeb.

Solving enterprise pain points

built.io is focused on the enterprise market, promising that it has built its whole product “from the ground up” with the enterprise customer in mind. As ProgrammableWeb has discussed previously, one of the difficulties for enterprises trying to develop new products or enable mobile use to aid employee productivity and workflow is that enterprises are challenged by monolithic systems and organizational-wide processes that slow down time-to-market. As a result, cumbersome solutions like JSONx are created to workaround legacy systems, solutions that would not be necessary if using cloud-based services or an MBaaS.

These challenges have become enough of a pain point that enterprises are concerned about the market advantage they are losing to nimble startups and innovators who are faster at creating the next wave of products and service solutions. It is one of the key reasons why leaders like AnyPresence’s Rich Mendis believes 2014 may be the year of the enterprise MBaaS.

“We are seeing the maturing of the MBaas market,” Baier said. “Enterprises are finding that it doesn’t make sense to rebuild and manage the Stack over time. Even conservative industries like health and finance are becoming more comfortable with the cloud.”

Patel says enterprises are becoming more comfortable with MBaaS and cloud-based solutions, as “[security is] part of every single conversation we have. As soon as you start thinking about having an app and data, you start thinking about which users have access to the data. So security is a really big value proposition for our platform. We have a really fine grain access to set roles, and not just at the object level, but at the field level; like this sales agent only has access to this specific customer data.”

Time-to-market is most crucial as enterprises seek to enable their staff to carry out their work on mobile devices. “Mobile is where enterprises are spending. We have had really big uptake since November,” said Baier who notes that current customers include Tibco, RMS and Dyce.

“We give enterprises the ability to spin up quick apps. For example, if you want to complement a conference with a conference app, or you need to arm sales staff with a sales aid on the iPad. Business units are finding they can fund it from their own budget,” Patel said.

Core to the built.io platform’s features is a REST API that enables access to the full range of MBaaS features via API. “The API lets you put data in and out, all the functionalities of the platform are exposed via API. They are available through SDKs,” said Patel. “But in addition to that, we operate almost like a Container platform as a service: you can deploy full Node.js app code there. There is a lot of code we offer out of the box, and we give you unrestricted full container as a service. You don't have to be limited to 5 languages, you can build what you like.”

Prepping for the IoT future

At DeveloperWeek recently, one of the key interest areas in using MBaaS has been amongst enterprises starting to think out loud about what Internet-of-Things (IoT) apps may look like.

“Infrastructure is getting in place. They are thinking about the use case first and aren’t aware of the stack behind it that needs to support that, and that’s where we come in,” said Baier. “With IoT adoption in the enterprise, we want to look at it early so we have all of those features, so we can support those use cases.

“Wearables, manufacturing and health are opening up connections. We are really interested in seeing how they are being taken up. IoT is a blurring of the mobile world, phablets, other devices. We are asking: what are the things a platform needs to have? Where do you keep your data? What do you do with it? We are beginning to see some really interesting use cases with drones, smart buildings and automation systems,” Baier said.

By Mark Boyd. Mark is a freelance writer focusing on how we use technology to connect and interact. He writes regularly about API business models, open data, smart cities, Quantified Self and e-commerce. He can be contacted via email, on Twitter, or on Google+.

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