In a time when Spain’s economy is in the doldrums, it is nice to see some good news coming out of the Iberian peninsula, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT) space – technology’s new hotness!
Libelium, an IoT hardware and software provider based in the North of Spain, and recently profiled in a Financial Times piece where they were referred to as a “baby unicorn”, just announced that it has launched an IoT Marketplace.
The marketplace currently has 15 boxed IoT solutions for sale, but Libelium plans to increase this to 50 as the year progresses.
The solutions cover the Smart Cities, Smart Environment, Smart Parking, Smart Agriculture, Smart Water, and Air Quality verticals.
As well as the kits covering verticals, there are also Application Development kits for developing IoT solutions for Microsoft Azure, esri, IBM Bluemix, Thingworx, and Telefonica’s cloud platforms.
And there specific Solution kits created together with partners like Indra, Thing+, IOTSENS, and elementblue. These kits include pre-configured hardware to speed up time to live.
In a move likely to be popular with their customers, Libelium took advantage of existing partnerships with cloud providers to ensure that kits were available with trial access to cloud offerings. This cleverly allows Marketplace customers to try the different cloud platforms, seeing which one works well, before buying.
And, this is a true marketplace. Clicking on the Buy button, brings the user to a screen with fields for entering credit card details, or using a Paypal account to buy the kit (I didn’t attempt to purchase an actual kit, so I can’t verify that part of the site works, but I’ve no reason to think it doesn’t).
I asked Libelium CEO Alicia Asín about the genesis of the marketplace and she explained that Libelium’s VARs were often not finding it easy to sell solutions to customers because they were working from a 70+ page catalog, and architecting a solution for a customer wasn’t something they were necessarily comfortable doing.
So in order to make it easier to come up with the right equipment Libelium launched a trial with four vertical kits last year in June. Despite being launched half way through the year, they were some of the company’s top selling products by the year’s end, and so the marketplace was born.
This marketplace idea is an interesting one for organisations looking to run a pilot or proof of concept, without too much risk. The variety of hardware, communications standards, and software protocols to be taken into account in any significant IoT project can be daunting, and any attempt to simplify this should be lauded.