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Particle Cloud Addresses the Device End of IoT Deployments

By Paula Bernier August 02, 2016

Particle, the company previously known as Spark.io, today formally announced an enterprise IoT platform that helps businesses more quickly and easily create connected products. Unlike many of the other IoT platforms on the market, Particle Cloud focuses on the hardware endpoint piece of the equation.

To get an IoT deployment up and running, organizations need devices that are connected to the network; a device management platform for security, device management, and the like; business logic that lets you write policy; and a data solution to collect and analyze incoming data, said Zach Supalla, CEO and co-founder of Particle. Most companies that provide IoT solutions for businesses focus the last two of those four things, he added. But, he said, the hardest part of building an IoT solution has more to do with the device, so a lot of people install an IoT platform, but they don’t have any devices connected to it for the first two years. Particle has set out to change that.

Established brands like Briggs Healthcare, Engie (GDF Suez), and Keurig, as well as startups like CleverPet and Grove, already run on Particle Cloud today.

“We made more progress on our first day with Particle than we had in months without them,” said Michael Cunningham, CIO of Keurig, “and within six months we began collecting data from thousands of connected brewers in the hands of consumers.”

Keurig has connected its coffee brewers to the internet via Particle Cloud to better understand how people use these products. The connected brewers are not available for sale, he said, but rather are provided to select users for Keurig research.

Whatever the use case, the point is that Particle helps companies shave down the typical connected device development time from 18 to 36 months and millions of dollars to as little as six months and a whole lot fewer dollars. It does so by providing inexpensive hardware development kits, related software, Wi-Fi and cellular chip connectivity modules, the ability to do device management and over-the-air updates, security, and more. And the hardware comes pre-connected to Particle Cloud so customers don’t have to do a lot of coding to make that happen.

Under its previous name, the company now known as Particle is a San Francisco-based, venture backed business that has been around since 2012, first trying to push a solution called Spark Socket through an ultimately unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign, and then providing prototyping boards. More than 120,000 of those developer kits have been shipped to date, said Supalla, who was previously in sales operations at Groupon, and a business analyst at McKinsey & Co.

Today Particle has hundreds of unique customers, and its solutions are used to connect about 150,000 devices. Its Particle Cloud platform is the company’s core service and is available for free for 25 devices or less, and ranges in cost from $79 to $1,800 a month for those that need support for more devices, want service-level agreements, and other features. The company provides hardware with connectivity modules down to the $6 range. And it offers SIM cards and data plans. These different piece parts can be purchased separately or all together.

Particle has built a nice ecosystem to deliver all that. Its partners include data and analytics cloud platform providers including Google, Microsoft, and IFTTT to help customers generate insights from their IoT data; semiconductor companies Broadcom, Cypress, u-blox, and ST to deliver hardware solutions; Twilio, T-Mobile, and Telefonica to provide networking; and more than 50 professional services companies like Jabil, Lunar Design, and Sigma Connectivity to help customers develop their applications and physical IoT products.




Edited by Ken Briodagh

Executive Editor, TMC

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