By Jason Meyers
Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading
Internet of Things service provider Aeris Communications is attempting to make the process of introducing new IoT applications less complex and less expensive with the launch of an online marketplace aimed at both IoT app developers and enterprises.
The intention of the marketplace, dubbed Neo, is to simplify and speed up the process of ordering and fulfilling IoT solutions — including securing connectivity on the Aeris Communications Inc. network — and turning up commercial services. The platform is inspired by successful online retail operations such as Amazon and Zappos, says Raj Kanaya, chief marketing officer for Aeris.
“It’s about speeding the process of getting a program up and running and making that scalable,” he says. Part of Aeris’s goal is to make the IoT market more appealing to a broader range of business sectors by making every step of the process — pricing, buying devices, activating services and supporting them — simpler.
“In order to enable this world of 50 billion end devices, there needs to be a different way of selling, onboarding and deploying these kinds of solutions,” he says. “Today the model is heavy, slow and complex.”
Aeris is in a relatively unique position because it has a 20-plus year history of operating a network and delivering machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, generally considered the more industrially focused predecessor to the developing IoT realm. In addition to selling M2M/IoT services directly, Aeris positions its GSP platform as a platform-as-a-service offering — a white-label solution for mobile network. Sprint’s Command Center M2M platform is “powered by Aeris,” for example.
At this stage in the development of the IoT sector when the precise role of mobile network operators is still a bit unclear — at least in terms of going beyond providing network connectivity to play a role in application enablement and service operation — Aeris appears to be ahead of the game. Still, competitors like RacoWireless — which functions as an MVNO, leveraging connectivity on a number of operator networks — already have introduced efforts to spur IoT apps to market. (See RacoWireless Opens App Store for the IoT)
Similarly, Neo could give Aeris access to smaller companies and app developers trying to bring services to market and use the Aeris network for connectivity.
“There’s a huge number of solutions providers that are small,” Kanaya says. “How do we enable those guys in a really scalable way?”