November 9, 2013
Companies that produce big data sometimes do not realize the potential of said data. Chris Houghton and Arlen Nipper started Cirrus Link to give those companies a delivery system that connects The Internet of Things to big data.
‘The Internet of Things’ refers to objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. For example, businesses can equip themselves with identifying devices or machine-readable identifiers.
That would, in effect, provide them with loads of data about how much of a certain item they have left in stock, what their waste production is, and what is specifically being consumed. Where Cirrus Link steps in is connecting both of these worlds via the cloud.
Tech Cocktail: Can you give us a little background on Cirrus Link?
Chris Houghton: Cirrus Link’s core technology is made of two key components: a lightweight messaging protocol, MQTT and a real-time, scalable message data broker, CHARIOT.
MQTT was originally invented by Andy Stanford Clark and Arlen Nipper, current President of Cirrus Link. Specifically, it was used to solve recurring problems faced in providing pipeline control solutions for the Oil and Gas Industry back in 1998.
Once you connect a device to an application, its data is stuck in a silo and is hard, or impossible, to break out. This does not bode well for potentially interested parties within the organization that could create value from having access to it.
We have taken MQTT and CHARIOT and connected billions of devices to the cloud in order to feed big data analytics. MQTT will be to the Internet of Things what HTTP was for the Internet of People.
Tech Cocktail: Why is it important to connect devices to feed big data analytics?
Houghton: The Internet of Things, like big data, applies to every market segment, and we are focusing on the biggest early adopter markets to generate the biggest return. Today there are estimated to be 2 billion connected devices with a forecasted 18 billion by 2022. Cirrus Link expects to be a major part of this $1.4 trillion dollar market.
Today’s businesses are just starting to realize the power of big data in fueling informed decisions about their industry. But in order to have big data, you need big access to data.
Tech Cocktail: How is your startup faring so far?
Houghton: The triumphs and challenges never end; starting your own business is a roller coaster. There are days when you don’t know if, or when, you are going to reach the bottom and start to go back up.
The biggest challenge we have had is bootstrapping while trying to develop core products. However, we have come a long way in a short time and have some stable products, namely in asset and vehicle tracking, that are just now attracting customers.
And as with any new technology, there are going to be customers who will be leaders and those who will be followers. Thankfully we have been able to work with channel partners like IBM, Avnet, and Geotab to get us in front of potential customers.
Cirrus Link Solutions was featured at Tech Cocktail’s Kansas City Mixer & Startup Showcase on October 17th.
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