I recently had the opportunity to deliver one of the keynote speeches at the Imagination Summit. It’s an event that brings together hundreds of top executives and engineers who are in the trenches of the world of SoC (System on a Chip), which is, as you guess, the core business of Imagination Technologies, the event organizer.
And while it was gratifying for Altair to serve in the same keynote speaker role as Facebook, Texas Instruments and Ikanos – three well-established, publicly-traded companies, there was much more to the selection of these four companies than meets the eye.
Many are under the impression that the Internet of Things (IoT) is all about infrastructure and devices. And certainly, those two components of the ecosystem are key. After all, without communications systems and devices, there is no “I” and there is no “T.”
However, if it’s ONLY about infrastructure and devices, why would a smart company like Imagination invite Facebook to speak at its conference?
The cynics among you may suggest that, “Well, Facebook is such a great name that it’s worth it for that reason alone.” Okay, that may be the case, but you’re forgetting something …
Facebook had to accept the invitation.
Why would they accept an invitation to a conference of geeks talking about geeky things like microprocessors and MIPS? The answer is crucial to our understanding of what IoT really is.
IoT is not simply the plumbing/foundation of where the world is going. It IS where the world is going.
Facebook recently introduced new software development kits for its Parse mobile app development platform, to enable users to easily develop new IoT applications. (The company acquired Parse in 2013 for $85 million to serve as a vital bridge between Facebook and developers.) This signals the start of Facebook competing with other cloud providers for a role in IoT.
In fact, Facebook has already acquired customers including Chamberlain, which makes a connected garage door opener called MyQ, and Roost, a startup that makes a WiFi battery that turns existing smoke detectors into connected smoke detectors. Facebook is attempting to simplify the process for developers to build the next-generation of IoT applications.
So it’s true that without infrastructure players and device manufacturers there is no “I” and there is no “T.” But Facebook is demonstrating, through its recent moves – including that Imagination Summit keynote – that IoT is for everyone, or at least for its 1.4 billion users.