Arrayent, a company that provides a cloud for connected sensors, has raised $11.9 million from DCM Ventures, Opus Capital and Intel Capital, bringing its total funding to $13.4 million. The company is one of many trying to provide the cloud back-end for connected devices. It however, is unique in that it has been around since 2002 (it reorganized in 2005 to pursue the connected device market) and has some high-profile customers such as Whirlpool, LiftMaster and Mattel.
CEO Shane Dyer explains that the concept behind the Arrayent cloud is that companies can embed connectivity and set up a service around the device while also controlling the data coming from the device and access to that data via third-parties. So while I’m advocating openness among apps and hoping to see my washing machine talk to my electric meter without ever having to open or even install an app for the appliance, that vision is probably far off.
Meanwhile Whirlpool can use the Arrayent cloud as a sort of embassy where it can exchange data or not, based on its own business assessment. This control will likely appeal to companies seeking to build out a platform for the internet of things. And later, if their platform dreams fall flat, or they can’t get the control they hope to have, they can then open up access via APIs.
“Compatibility will happen in the cloud,” Dyer said. “There are not great standards about how it’s going to work in the home. We’re starting to launch those products, so as those pieces come into people’s homes we can basically future-proof them. But the only way to so that is to make those interactions happen in the cloud and not in the platform itself.”
Dyer is also a big believer that the cloud won’t only offer compatibility, but also hide complexity. For example, when he looks at adding computing to home devices he doesn’t see a reason to add a tablet to a fridge for example. “In order for the mass market to adopt this, things will remain things. You don’t want to have to think about software for your fridge and turn it into a computer. It’s a fridge,” he said.
Arrayent, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., has about 60 employees and expects to use this funding to continue its expansion. The company had been profitable and self-funded through 2008 when it took on outside capital to expand as the opportunity for app-powered devices became real with the increasing prevalence smartphones.
For Arrayent, this round of funding is vote of confidence from Intel, which is investing heavily in the internet of things concept as well as a chance for it Arrayent to build a war chest from what will likely be a coming shakeout of cloud platform providers trying to offer connectivity for the internet of things. Other companies include Xively, Ayla Networks, Carriots, Axeda and Berg Cloud.
This post was updated at 11:31am to correct the spelling of Opus Capital’s name as well as to correct the amount of funding raised to date by Arrayent.