Simplifying IoT device development with Bytebeam
“The devices of today are getting connected, capable of taking the owner’s commands. But the devices of tomorrow will be smart. They will have an intelligence of their own to make decisions contextually. The Internet of Things is about to radically change the way companies are building products and the way companies are doing business. If IoT looked promising in the previous decade, it is now looking inevitable.”
Accel Atoms partnered with Bytebeam, a Bangalore-based integrated cloud platform for all kinds of IoT applications and use cases.
In a lively conversation with Gautam BT, Co-founder, and CEO at Bytebeam, we explored the influence of IoT on the industry, the role Bytebeam is looking to play in it, and the future that could unfold.
What is the IoT revolution looking like, in terms of a technology and market perspective?
The world started connecting probably 3 decades ago with the internet. Mobile accelerated the connections humans formed with each other. We are witnessing a similar trajectory with devices now. We see a few connected devices per household today. The number will potentially look like 50 connected devices per household by 2030. It is expected that 127 devices will connect to the internet every minute in 2030. Every gadget or appliance that you see around you will be connected. Further, each of these devices will be a mini-computer with data storage, connectivity and artificial intelligence inbuilt.
By various estimates, the number of connected devices in the world will touch 75 billion by 2030. In the same time frame, the IoT market is set to grow by 20% CAGR and will amount to 4 to 5 Trillion in value by 2030. For reference, this will only be a fraction lower than the current GDP of India!
That sounds fascinating. Is that what inspired you to start Bytebeam?
Prior to starting Bytebeam, Ravi, Bharadwaaj & I were building software at Ather. At Ather, we realized that the future will be dominated by connected smart devices and IoT. Several things excited us about the use of IoT. For one, having real-time data meant we could remotely debug and fix a bunch of issues. This also meant we could roll out the product earlier and iterate faster. Customers also loved the fact that we could roll out updates and keep improving the vehicle over time. And all the sensor data being collected helps Ather design better product lines.
Quite naturally, we also gained first-hand experience into the challenges and problems of building IoT applications. One of the key challenges we had to overcome at Ather was the lack of a mature backend ecosystem for IoT device manufacturers. This was our initial inspiration behind building an end-to-end IoT backend solution.
Can you elaborate on the challenges you're referring to?
Sure, Imagine you are building a smartwatch. You would want to provide a bunch of features to your customers. You want to collect data, provide some insights, and roll out updates & features to your users. Similarly, you might also want to provide a mobile app for the users to interact with your device. All of this requires cloud infrastructure. However, if you looked at the ecosystem today there is no IoT focused cloud infrastructure out there.
The lack of an IoT focused cloud platform is the prime reason why bringing a connected product to the market is so difficult today. The current approach requires integrating multiple components for each use case from different vendors. It is a slow and costly approach.
So, how do device manufacturers deal with this today?
They typically resort to outsourcing this to professional service firms, who end up doing the integrations. This means even for a simple PoC you have to find vendors, negotiate rates, figure out scope of work and everything else that goes into outsourcing a project. Also, good vendors are mostly unaffordable for startups. About a third of the IoT projects never go beyond the PoC stage due to this.
Can you tell us more about the product you are building and the vision for Bytebeam?
We have built an IoT platform that solves the three most popular use cases for manufacturers:
- Collecting and visualizing data
- Rolling out over the air updates
- Syncing data between device and mobile.
We also provide client side libraries for all popular devices, making integration super easy. With our pre-integrated hardware, users can directly integrate their device to speed up development even more.
In terms of vision, we want Bytebeam to be what Firebase is to mobile apps: A single managed service that solves all the use cases that an IoT developer has.
Compared to the existing ecosystem, how does Bytebeam make the life of an IoT device developer easier?
The main advantage is that OEM’s can get started super quickly with us. As opposed to months, with us, you can usually reach a working PoC within a day or two. Since we provide an integrated service we will also end up being cost effective as you add more features to your product.
Our customers also can sleep peacefully without worrying about scale & security issues as we are a fully managed service.
Security and Privacy are big concerns when it comes to IoT. How does Bytebeam deal with these?
True, it is super important to get security and privacy right for the ecosystem to thrive. Security is complicated in the current approach where the device often needs to speak to multiple backend systems and numerous credentials need to be managed securely.Privacy also requires tight control on where the data is flowing and how it is being stored and accessed. This is also difficult to achieve if you have to integrate different systems from different vendors.
We have been conscious of security & privacy from day one. We have designed our system around best practices, so that all devices are authenticated and data is encrypted in transit and at rest. We also come with a comprehensive access control system which allows you to control who can access what pieces of data.
The Internet of Things has been in the limelight for a while now. How will things look different from now on?
So far the IoT products and solutions focused on the connectivity of the devices. With advances in data technology, Artificial intelligence, and advanced sensors and hardware technology, the world is now uncovering the possibility of smart devices.
Let us understand this with a few examples: In 2018 Apple launched a new ‘Movement Disorder API for Apple watches. This API helps monitor, analyze & present data for Parkinsons’ disease substituting the need to maintain cumbersome diary logs & costly diagnostics tests for the same. On the other side of the world in India, Fasal, an agritech startup invented a machine to automatically detect nutrients levels in the soil and automatically spray fertilizers, as and when required, while notifying the farmer on his mobile app.
Automotive companies are now remotely updating their fleets with newer features. In December 2021, as the owner of their cars slept, Tesla turned all its cars into megaphones at the click of a button.The inflection point for the growth of IOT technology is what we are witnessing at this moment. It is driven by other high tech innovations along with IoT – Edge computing, over the air updates, configuration updates, remote troubleshooting, etc.
The Internet of Things - The future of business processes
IoT is more than connecting things to the internet. It is about making things smart and responsive. We will definitely see advanced devices in the future. But more than that, IoT has potential to disrupt every aspect of a business – Product Development, Customer relationships, servicing and even Sales. Bytebeam intends to make IoT device development as modular and as fast as mobile or web application development.