The Internet of Things (IoT) may still be a concept for many in the channel, one partner has built a successful practice using simple principles.
Queensland-based CloudTrek began life in 2012 as an Amazon Web Services (AWS) migration expert, after which it developed a data analytics practice. But the company’s latest venture is in IoT.
The company partners with business intelligence software vendor, Jaspersoft, as well as cyber security company, Trend Micro, but its main partner is AWS.
CloudTrek’s solutions architect, Mark Green, told ARN that just 18 months after starting the business unit, the IoT practice has become equally important as the other parts of the business in terms of focus.
“Revenue wise, it is getting close,” he said. “The IoT is probably the newer side of the revenue but it is growing, and so what that means is that the organisation needs to ensure that we are also growing in the right way to help the customers.”
In its first major deployment, the company completed a project for the Sunshine Coast Council using a specific product CloudTrek Connect, which Green describes as an integration layer for external IoT data sources.
He said the tool allows organisations to consume, manipulate, structure and deliver back to staff or customers the data generated by IoT devices.
“The product itself was born out of different ideas we had internally and we completed our own research and development around integrating different devices,” Green said. “From that we realised how difficult it can be to take those different data sources from completely different protocol stacks in completely different forms and bring those back together.
“The project itself started with integrating smart city devices around a region in Caloundra that was to take feeds from different data sources.”
These sources included lights, garbage bin sensors, and road objects among others. CloudTrek was then able to manipulate those sources in a way which presented new services back to the council’s customers.
Green explained that CloudTrek worked with hardware vendors which deployed the particular IoT devices. Unlike many partners who want to own the whole stack from implementation to ongoing management, CloudTrek is focused on the management of these devices.
“Part of the initial investigation in our journey into IoT was understanding how we could be valuable, and part of that understanding is knowing what we are not good at, and hardware is not it, we don’t have electrical engineers, we don’t build devices,” he said.
“That was a key learning that we understand the market and what is coming through, because where we want to keep driving CloudTrek Connect is to be the data integration point for those different vendors and to try and simplify organisations’ consumption of those different devices and integrate those together.
“That is really hard for those organisations to do on their own because of the early stage of the market, so we want to be on the front foot to assist with that problem.”
While the product has proven benefits in local government, Green said that he also saw applications in the enterprise and larger government.
“Where we see the product going is being able to deal with the multitude of vendors that come as enterprises start to deploy IoT devices. In different sectors they will have many different types of devices, and so it is really important that organisations are able to communicate between those devices.
In this, CloudTrek hopes to become an IoT aggregator. Its pure platform approach allows it to be vendor agnostic and thus work with any technology the client wants to deploy.
“What I think will be interesting in the future is when these worlds of government and enterprise collide, where local and state governments are looking to provide data sources freely and openly back to the industry," said Green.
“As they do that, enterprise organisations need to start consuming them at the same pace that the data is coming out. To make that occur, you need a product like this," he said.
The interview with Mark Green was conducted at AWS re:Invent which Chris Player travelled to as a guest of Amazon Web Services.