An IoT start-up company based in Boston and spun up from a company that started in Tel Aviv, has named Alon Mantsur as its CEO.
Mantsur comes to the world of hyperconnected things after a successful career in security software, information technology, systems development, and solutions innovation and management. Including establishment of 2BSecure, Israel's leading cybersecurity firm, that acquired by Matrix IT Ltd. (MTRX.TA), and leadership roles in Matrix, a global company with 800 million in revenue and approximately 8,700 employees serving Fortune 500 and Global 2,000 companies.
So why did Mantsur decide to venture into IoT, and establish DeviceTone’s headquarters in downtown Boston?
“The potential for value creation, for our customers, our partners, our investors and our team is very exciting,” Mantsur said in an interview. “We have assembled an amazing team of pioneers in IoT who are experienced and focused, and we have built and continue to build a very purposeful capability when other IoT companies are spreading themselves too thin. We have the very best firmware and related software that enables any device, including constrained devices, to securely connect over any network protocol, and work over any local or distributed system.”
When Mantsur began learning about DeviceTone, he was sold on the technology, and joined to drive strategy, business development, and to build and grow the company.
“The US is naturally a huge market,” Mantsur said, “and our technology is great for scaling, so we’re working with manufacturers and systems integrators who have thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of devices to connect.”
DeviceTone provides an embedded “ready to run” DeviceTone client, which manufacturers can easily add to their components, immediately turning everything from refrigerators and dishwashers, to faucets and LED lights into smart products.
Mantsur’s enthusiasm for the mission is clear in the excitement he shares not only for the technology itself, but for the disruptive business models the technology enables.
DeviceTone originated with a company called Cloud of Things, founded by Eliav Gnessin and David Chouraqui in 2016. In 2018, Mantsur joined the company and the field of IoT after more than 20 years in the IT world and a career in cyber and information security.
Earlier this year, he rebranded Cloud of Things to DeviceTone, and opened the American office together with Philip DesAutels, PhD, one of the world's IoT pioneers, with the aim of replicating the company's European success in the US.
"The world is progressing towards a point where billions of devices will be connected to the Internet – including those that we wouldn't have imagined as smart,” Mantsur said. “It started with applications like the smart iRobot which cleans the house using a software program that manages it and includes fields like healthcare and autonomous vehicles and extends to entire smart cities and regions."
“For the manufacturers, who are our customers,” Mantsur said, “it creates infinite opportunities. For example, they will be able to predict a fault in a product and offer their customer a solution even before he contacts the service department, or to offer instruction on a specific product's function in case of incorrect usage."
DeviceTone, in practice, is an open system which facilitates the execution of multiple actions. There are two important advantages expressed in two patents they have developed.
The first is the client software and the second is called CloudSwitch.
"Our most important patent is a unique client software called DeviceTone that can operate either on a large appliance such as a refrigerator or a small device like a smoke detector,” Mantsur said. “The difference is that the larger appliances usually have a strong processor on which a software component can be installed while in the smaller devices the processing component is a ‘thin’ chip.”
DeviceTone can be installed on any type of hardware and communicate via any kind of communications protocol, not just Wi-Fi.
“Our competitors usually do not offer any edge device client or, in their best case, the edge software is limited in communication capabilities," Mantsur said.
The DeviceTone client, which is installed on the device itself, includes several layers of software, communications, hardware management and security (data encryption and authentication included).
Each layer is a stand-alone domain, demanding and complex enough to be a challenge by itself, especially when installed on low processing power devices.
DeviceTone allows quick connection of devices and systems to the internet and cloud – a process that its time consuming, and difficult to do, based on the multiple disciplines involved. Such development is costly and time consuming (up to two years), delaying the time to market and increasing the costs.
The DeviceTone client provides a high level of information, encoding capabilities, and is capable of interfacing with other devices connected to it. Allowing a versatile range of supported MCU’s to be installed on, DeviceTone includes interoperability with multiple communication protocols.
“Manufacturers can quickly and efficiently make their products both smarter and connected without any prior knowledge, investments or resources,” Mantsur said.
"The second patent is CloudSwitch, recognized and funded by Israeli Innovation Authority,” Mantsur continued “Over my career in IT, I designed and implemented large data centers, dedicated to store, monitor and present huge amounts of information. I was surprised when I saw that a home refrigerator generates tens of thousands of pieces of data each day: a rise or decrease in temperature, power consumption, opening of the doors etc."
"When we talk about connecting devices to the Internet, we are talking about vast amounts of data," explained Mantsur. "The cloud suppliers have a specially designated array of servers which create the IoT Cloud, which receives data from the various components and, based on the collected data, performs analytics. Prediction, Big Data, Correlation, Machine Learning, Clustering are the big words hiding behind the process performed based on the collected data.”
With CloudSwitch, the company can transfer the data selectively to the cloud and leave some of it behind pending the real needs. The capability to transfer some of the data to one cloud and some other to another cloud allows companies to benefit from a multi-cloud strategy, with cloud choices based on price, analytics, data processing and more. The result is a customer capability to produce a load balancing in the data traffic and attain an optimal level of trouble shooting.
“Our complete solution along with which is agnostic to the hardware, chipset, communication modules (IP and non-IP), and the cloud enables our customers, including manufacturers, IoT integrators, telecoms and electronics integrators to implement smart & connected solutions quickly and more efficiently, with less risk leveraging our SDK/API development process,” Mantsur said.
"There is a world of possibilities,” Mantsur said. "Each of our customers use the data for their own purposes. We simply enable their innovation.”
DeviceTone customers are currently approaching are various manufacturers in the fields of lighting, faucets, solar and electrical heating units and kitchens, and are actively working with CSPs and MSPs to collaborate on end-to-end solutions.
About the move from Israel to the US, Mantsur says “this has been the adventure of a lifetime, and we are just getting started. My family and I and our team at work have been very warmly welcomed. This is an entrepreneur’s dream, in a category which couldn’t be more exciting and creative.”
You can learn more about DeviceTone here.
Edited by Ken Briodagh