A new cloud platform that aims to serve as the foundation for developers of Internet of Things (IoT) applications launched this week.
MODE, which was founded by former Google and Yahoo engineers, "serves as a virtual back end team for IoT companies" and handles critical functions, including device connectivity, user and device management, and access control.
The company's REST API enables connected devices and mobile clients to communicate with each other in real time and addresses environment issues like firewalls. The cloud API is also used for device registration and has been designed to deal with shared device access scenarios.
MODE says its platform is highly extensible. For instance, developers can integrate MODE with their application servers, allowing them to build smart and highly automated systems. To bolster developer efficiency and help them manage their projects, MODE also provides a developer console, which includes an API console, user and device management interfaces, and usage analytics dashboard.
According to Gaku Ueda, MODE's co-founder and CEO, the company's ultimate goal is to help companies developing IoT applications avoid having to reinvent the wheel so that they can focus on higher-value tasks like hardware manufacturing and developing great user experiences. "Startups have always been the heart of innovation, and we look forward to helping startup IoT developers in their quest to create the technology of the future," he stated.
MODE allows developers to prototype for free on its platform and says it has a "flexible pricing structure" for projects that go into production.
Platforms the Source of Focus on the IoT
Many companies are pursuing the IoT opportunity, which may be one of the biggest since the advent of the Internet. This year alone, Gartner forecasts that companies will invest $69 billion in the IoT.
MODE joins companies like Octoblu, Canonical and Apigee in trying to capitalize on this by building the platforms and ecosystems on which the devices and applications that make the IoT meaningful will be based. Owning the platforms that power the IoT is sure to be a lucrative proposition, but the complexity of the IoT and the vast number of use cases probably means that this isn't a winner-take-all market, and fundamental issues like protocols are still a subject of great debate and discussion in the IoT community.
That creates a huge challenge for platform providers: cutting through the clutter and convincing developers of IoT devices and applications that their platforms are the right ones. But the good news for companies like MODE is that the complexity inherent in the IoT market will almost certainly drive many of the players building IoT products to use third-party platforms instead of trying to build their own back-end infrastructures.