Octoblu, an Internet of Things (IoT) cross-protocol network/platform, is now openly available to developers wanting to connect “everything to everything.”
Since its initial announcement in July and its subsequent acquisition by enterprise IT company Citrix, the IoT-API-enabled platform Octoblu has been softly launched on the Web, now inviting developers to register for access to the beta trial (access to the trial is virtually instantaneous, with login granted within minutes of requesting an invitation).
Developers can also access the open source Meshblu cross-protocol instant messaging platform that powers Octoblu. Meshblu is a mesh network that facilitates CoAP and MQTT messaging and can be deployed as a private, public or hybrid cloud.
For example, drag-and-drop API connectors are available to communicate with Tesla cars and automate processes such as getting internal car status like current temperature and the position of the driver, unlocking car doors and charging the vehicle. New API connectors are being added regularly, most recently APIs from Slack and Google Places.
The interface provides dashboard analytics that show the metrics of any individual node activity, while sensor and device data can also be routed through Octoblu’s use of Elasticsearch and Splunk APIs so that event data can be analyzed for future machine learning.
In late January, Octoblu founder Chris Matthieu quietly announced Octoblu’s availability in a blog post on Citrix’s website.
Matthieu points to three key growth channels for Octoblu:
- As an IoT platform for home, office and industrial automation in its own right
- As a means to help integrate existing Citrix products like Podio and GoToMeeting to enable an enterprise-wide workflow
- To extend the services provided by Citrix’s other networking and mobile products (like XenMobile and CloudBridge) to take advantage of Octoblu’s capabilities
As an example of the cross-enterprise functionality that Octoblu hopes to offer, Citrix is experimenting with using Octoblu with iBeacons to identify when staff are present in a meeting room. This will automatically start a GoToMeeting session for remote workers.
While Octoblu is being proposed as an “optional resource” available to competitors in the Citrix App Challenge, it will be interesting to analyze overall usage; the beta availability of Octoblu is only being "soft launched," a term used in PR circles to note when a new product is made available on the Web without the big splash of a major announcement and press release. A handful of blog posts detailing examples of how to use Octoblu, all of which point to hobby, home automation-type projects, have been published since late January. Meanwhile, the Octoblu website is more focused on industrial use cases.
The Octoblu website points to two active international use cases:
- U.K. startup Server Density uses Octoblu to offer a server-based home landscaping automation product that monitors environmental sensors such as light, temperature and water availability and is able to automate watering and lighting for individual plants.
- Italian window manufacturer Energlass uses the Octoblu platform to connect sensors that measure internal and external temperature. The platform uses this data to automatically calculate thermal performance of the commercial windows. That information is integrated with local energy supplier APIs to identify cost savings being generated; it then provides data from all its commercial windows at all locations to customers in a single dashboard that also identifies risks such as hairline fractures.
Octoblu hopes to see the greatest potential uses cases emerging in smart city design. Octoblu believes that it can be used as a citywide platform that automates public parking functions, manages city lights, better monitors publicly owned buildings and optimizes their energy consumption, more efficiently collects and disposes of waste removal, and increases citizen participation in local decision-making.
Interested developers can review getting started documentation and sign up for beta access.