For the last six years Miguel Castillo (pictured) and his team have built dozens of platforms for connected devices, from connecting garbage cans to adding informatics to solar panels. But in 2012 Castillo realized that he was sick of reinventing the wheel for each machine-to-machine project that Wairbut, his company, accepted.
So he and his CTO, Alvaro Everlet, spun out a new company to build a platform of software and infrastructure so others could connect devices without having to reinvent the same wheel they had invented so many times before. They called the startup Carriots, and it’s now in the middle of raising a first round of funding.
Like Electric Imp, Carriots, a Madrid-based company, wants to make it easy for people to build out services for connected devices. Electric Imp provides the cloud service as well as an SD card with built-in connectivity. Carriots provides the cloud service, essentially a platform as a service, or PaaS, for the internet of things.
Castillo explained that developers can build the physical product and then link it to a software-based service on the Carriots platform using a few lines of Groovy, a Java-based language. Carriots charges companies for the number of devices they connect to the platform, with the first 10 devices being free.
Carriots has 10 employees and plans to double in size this year, as well as open a U.S.-based office to support growing interest in connected devices and services here. As I see more and more startups eyeing the internet of things, providing some type of back-end platform helps open the field up to a variety of developers who might have an idea but less of a technical background. But I also wonder what devices will work with this type of model.
For example, a consumer-facing device that sells millions might rack up some huge bills, so the team might be better off building out its own infrastructure, especially if it wants to provide access to data via an API. For companies selling to businesses, or with fewer devices, such as Pantry, the startup I wrote about recently that’s building a connected, refrigerated vending machine, it may make more sense.
Of course, if Amazon Web Services has taught us anything, it’s that even large companies like Netflix can benefit from outsourcing their infrastructure if it’s not core to their value proposition. Perhaps the growth of platforms for the internet of things will produce similar examples even as it enables new businesses to come to the fore.