Spanish low-power sensor and radio hardware vendor Libelium has had something of a pivot, and launched the IoT Marketplace. With plans to treat it like a separate business, Libelium will be opening up the web-market’s offerings to include third party apps and services – in packages aimed at specific verticals and needs.
The initial kits are mostly centered around Libelium’s own hardware – it’s Meshlium radio gateways, Waspmote end-nodes, and Plug & Sense sensors that allow the Waspmotes to convey a vast array of potential sensor data back to a cloud platform via the Meshlium gateways.
The first partners for the project include Element Blue, ESRI, IBM, Indra, IoTSens, Microsoft, Telefonica, ThingPlus, and ThingWorx – collectively bringing a healthy mix of hardware and software to the table. Potential adopters should find solace
The cloud platforms have been a particular target for Libelium this past year, CEO Alicia Asin told us at MWC. Now supporting Microsoft’s Azure, PTC’s ThingWorx, IBM’s Bluemix, and Telefonica’s cloud platform, Libelium is aiming to be as open as possible once a customer opts for its hardware, with a number of app platforms to support the processes that are going to use all that sensor data.
With environmental sensing, smart city monitoring, water management, smart metering, security, retail, logistics, agriculture and farming, industrial control and automation, eHealth and home monitoring, the Waspmote platform is rather versatile in terms of the functions it can monitor.
Once the sensors have generated a reading, that data can be backhauled via a number of communications protocols – including 2G, 3G, LoRa, Sigfox, and other 868/900MHz protocols at long range, with WiFi, 802.15.4, and ZigBee at shorter ranges, and Bluetooth, RFID and NFC at very close ranges.
Asin said that the IoT Marketplace would be leveraging partners to solve the who’s-who problem in the marketplace. Aiming to be a one-stop-shop, Asin said that a key point of differentiation is Libelium’s logistics experience – which is something that a software company would be sorely lacking if it tried to transition from the cloud down to dabbling in hardware.
With 15 kits available through the store today, Libelium is aiming to have 50 on the shelves by the end of the year, on the path to being the “Amazon of the IoT.” With trial accounts for the app platforms bundled as part of the kit, the marketplace is aiming to provide an easy way for interested parties to both experiment with initial designs and launch a fully-fledged service once the trials have proven successful.
Libelium won’t initially be taking a percentage of the sales generated through the marketplace, with Asin noting that the company doesn’t want to take the risk of killing the initiative by taking a cut in the early stages. In terms of future ambitions, it would make sense for Libelium to branch out of its hardware market and into software and services, as commoditization is always a threat to pure hardware plays.
Asin told us that management software was a potential next move for the company, but that the next 18 months would see Libelium continue to augment its hardware ecosystem – adding improved versions of existing sensors, including highly calibrated and sensitive tools as an alternative to the more affordable but less accurate versions, as well as entirely new kinds.