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Kii Addresses Backend, Distribution Requirements of IoT

By Paula Bernier August 19, 2015

Organizations that develop new things—whether those things are online games or smart lighting solutions—tend to want to focus their resources on those products as opposed to all the backend billing and management related to them. A company called Kii has responded to that market reality by providing such companies with a platform as a service that addresses these requirements.

Kii got its start as Intellisync, a company that did data synchronization for personal digital assistants like BlackBerrys and PalmPilots and had a successful IPO before being acquired by Nokia in 2006. That technology was later purchased by a couple of entrepreneurs, who used it to create what is now Kii.

But it wasn’t just the technology they got, the nice thing about how this all happened is that Kii had customers and revenue from day one, said Phani Pandrangi, Kii’s chief product officer. Those customers included carriers and some phone manufacturers.

Around 2011 Kii was looking to move on new opportunities in the marketplace. Smartphones and apps were the latest thing at that time, said Pandrangi, but no one then was talking about the Internet of Things. Developers were trying to create apps, because that’s what they wanted to sell, so Kii decided to help them enable those apps by creating a backend solution addressing stuff like user management, data management, analytics, and billing. Initially it was mobile app and game developers that were using the solution, but once IoT started to take off, people in that space also needed this kind of thing, said Pandrangi. Since Kii’s relationships were already with service providers and device manufacturers, it made sense for the company to move into IoT, a space on which it is now dedicating all its resources.

Image via Shutterstock

The Kii platform as a service can, for example, provide backend management of devices like thermostats. But, Pandrangi said, Kii has realized that just providing a horizontal platform on which customers can build whatever they want will only take things so far. Device manufacturers, he said, also need distribution to be successful. So a couple months ago Kii announced an ecosystem—of which wireless distributor Brightstar and Japanese media and communications powerhouse Softbank are also founding members. This initiative was launched to bring the demand side (carriers and retailers in this case) and the supply side together. This ecosystem is not just about sourcing these products, but about integrating them.

Pandrangi added that another noteworthy aspect of the value proposition that Kii, which is headquartered in Japan and has operations in China, delivers is that its PaaS solution is portable and can be used anywhere in the world. There are many IoT offerings being developed in China, and the Chinese want to bring those solutions to the rest of the world, said Pandrangi; meanwhile, the rest of the world wants to bring solutions to the Chinese market, he said. The Kii solution runs on Alibaba in China, and AWS in other parts of the world.




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Executive Editor, TMC

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