Six years ago, I started my first company to make logistics easier for the transportation industry. I thought a cool device with a cell connection and customized software was going to change the world, or at least the flashy world of freight transportation. It turns out that changing the world is hard.
Throughout the next four years, I had a lot of other (potentially) good ideas. They all hit roadblocks.
My traffic monitoring camera was great but clients wanted it to do more, like monitor crime. By the time I altered the product and re-built the software, those clients had already moved on. My next product, a solar powered GPS unit to track trailers for a large trucking company, had early success. It turns out logistic companies lose a lot of trailers. Yes, this is a thing: cargo loss totals $50,000,000,000 annually. My device mounted on every trailer would save these companies a fortune, and I was already planning my retirement.
Then it snowed…on the solar panels…back to the drawing board.
I started to notice a pattern—each new roadblock required me to reinvent the wheel, or in this case, the hardware, software, and delivery. At this pace, I would never have a marketable product. How was I going to keep up with the speed of competition and the rate of technological change? I wasn’t quite sure how to move forward.
Then I discovered the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things (or IoT) can be described as the interconnecting of a whole host of devices to provide novel services, information, and experiences to humans. I quickly dove into the topic and a (smart) lightbulb went on. Instead of customizing hardware and software for each new use case, what if we built a flexible framework instead? This one-stop shop would enable us to easily solve business problems without the pain of starting over with each new roadblock faced.
Andium was born.
I’ve never successfully given a short pitch for Andium, but let me try.
Remember that flip phone you had? A primitive device to the smartphones we have today, no doubt. A rigid, unsustainable approach in which each company—Verizon, Samsung, and Blackberry (remember those guys?)—built their own software. This persisted for a time, but as hardware improved, the more flexible Android and iOS killed everyone else (with an assist from Candy Crush.)
The same thing is happening right now with, well, everything. We have smart toasters, smart coffee machines, smart refrigerators, and smart frying pans. And now we have their manufacturers Oyster, Keurig, ElectroLux, and SmartyPans.io (😊) all developing software. But here’s the problem—none of these IoT devices are customizable, with each device running separate software. So, what happens when you put all of these “smart” devices together? You get one big, dumb, inflexible home.
And it’s not just big companies. We also have thousands of Kickstarter campaigns dreaming up thousands of new types of hardware, with thousands of pieces of rigid, single-solution software.
Andium fixes the “dumb device” problem. We created a standardized and flexible, hardware-agnostic platform. It can communicate the same way your new smartphone does, with Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular, NFC, and even over sub-Ghz protocols. This software can run on just about anything, instantly making it smart! Now organizations and developers can create any solution using common programming languages on devices that are configurable, upgradeable, and interoperable (a fancy word for integration).
Here’s a real-world example. Say you own commercial property. Your buildings likely have devices collecting carbon monoxide readings, cameras watching the front doors, thermostats monitoring temperature, and a dozen other sensors measuring numerous other things. These devices are rarely compatible. With sensors spread throughout basements, boiler rooms, and garages, your business could be missing out on certain data collection. Or perhaps you’re manually collecting data and driving up costs. You’re probably also spending a lot of time and money on new individual devices for each new data point you want to track. For the enterprise, it gets even harder. With countless inflexible devices and no common platform, IT departments fight for “their” projects and “their” data, as opposed to working together for a collective goal. Your company misses the opportunity to leverage the same devices to meet different ends and satisfy cross-departmental goals. Andium provides you with this opportunity.
Imagine instead that the thousands of sensors across your building all ran on Andium. Now you can write an app (in Java) and your carbon monoxide detector in the basement can send a signal THROUGH your basement camera (using mesh networking), alerting a manager of a problem on his smartphone (actionable data). And now your tech team has access to the full picture, which allows them to continuously improve your operation.
So, while solar panels still won’t work when they’re covered in snow, we think Andium can solve some of the bigger problems facing organizations. We’re especially excited to see how organizations and individuals alike begin to use our technology. We’re confident that with the power of Andium, a lot of smart people are going to come up with a whole slew of “Things” that we have yet to even imagine.
I’d love your feedback! Feel free to get in touch!