LogMeIn’s Xively: An Amazon Web Services for the Internet of Things?

5/14/13Follow @curtwoodward

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That’s where Xively is aiming.

“Innovators will take an object, they’ll write an application, and they need infrastructure in between to really make those things communicate and record what they do, Jones says. “A lot of those innovators will kind of hand-wave and say, ‘Ah, I’ll just use the cloud.’”

But that can also mean a lot more custom work, programming software to make all of those connections and ensure that the work is spread out among servers that handle all of the Internet traffic, he says. Simply put, there’s not a clear market leader yet that works as a plug-and-play fix for connected-device creators.

Xively thinks its service has an advantage because of its combination of startup roots and established company guts.

The Pachube system gained a lot of attention when it cropped up, including serving as a connection for people who hacked together a system of real-time Geiger counter information feeds in Japan following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Meanwhile, back in Boston, LogMeIn had built its business on top of a proprietary online networking system called Gravity Cloud, which already “connects hundreds of millions of devices and supports tens of millions of users in 240 countries,” the company says.

Gravity Cloud has always been used to provide the connections for LogMeIn’s cloud-based office software—its flagship remote computer-access software, along with products like the document-sharing service Cubby and the business communication service Join.me.

“The products all run on this worldwide cloud, run on about a dozen data centers. It’s not on Amazon. It’s ours,” Jones says. ““We’re in direct control of the infrastructure and have been for 10 years. Our downtime is incredibly small. We know how to do this at scale.”

Since it has always specialized in connecting users to remote computers, Jones says, the Gravity Cloud system is well-suited to an Internet of things scenario that links a potentially huge number of miniature computers to the Internet or each other.

On top of rolling out Xively for developers today, LogMeIn also is forming a partnership with ARM, a major manufacturer of processors for mobile devices, to offer a prototyping kit that includes ARM hardware and access to Xively’s service for $130. Xively itself will be based on a “freemium” model for personal use, and will start at $999 for professional accounts aimed toward developers making commercial products.

It’s a very interesting turn for LogMeIn, which has traditionally served a mostly small and medium-sized business customer base with its online software services. As that industry gets more crowded, it’s a bold move for the company to build an entirely new lane for itself.

Xively’s Jones says the most exciting stuff is still to come for connected devices—particularly since nobody quite knows what the next wave of hackers and creators are going to come up with once the hardware, software, and infrastructure are cheap and reliable enough to let new inventions flow.

“It’s out in the collective intelligence out in the world,” he says. “And we’re going to see just the most creative things being built.”

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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  • Mike B.

    As a developer, I think the new service from Xively sucks. I’ve been with the service for a long time; first with Pachube, then COSM, and now Xively. The Xively site is terrible.

    First, they made the changeover with ZERO heads up to the developers. They took away our Summary page (which had graphs of all of our data summarized on a single page). And now you have to click to see each graph of your data points. Used to be, you could see multiple graphs and multiple data points all on the same screen (say 30 or so). Now, I went from 1 click to over 10 clicks to see the same data. Shame on whoever came up with the new website design. They obviously NEVER talked to a developer about their new design…

    In the late 80s, whatever Computer Associates bought turned to crap in about 2 years. Seems as if LogMeIn is trying the same trick. Urg!

    • http://www.facebook.com/Etheredge Andrew Etheredge

      So if you had to pick some things that you would like to see in a service such as Xively what would you like? I would love to hear your input on the subject. Shoot me a message on FB thanks!

  • AW

    Just to second Mike B’s comments. I was affected by the COSM / Xively sudden change. Having to open each plot separately each time the page is opened is a real pain. Half the page is taken up with display of Request Log, API Keys, triggers, and other Help information which I don’t often need to have displayed. The data only plots for 6 hours without an adjustable time scale so I can’t easily look at 1day, 1 week, 1 month. Also it is now broken for IE8. Nobody cares, I’m sure, but there are several locations where I still have that as a constraint. I’m looking for an alternative now unless xively happens to fix it before I find one. ThingSpeak.com looks similar but have not figured it out yet.

    • AW

      Just an update on this, the plots have now been improved so that different time durations can be plotted (6 hours, 1day, 1week, etc). Also if you display the feed page rather than the toolbox, you can get the full width of the plots.

  • Aliasgar Babat

    I liked what LogMeIn was doing for a while, but over time, I guess I “outgrew” it and became a little disenchanted with it. Now I’m using RHUB’s appliance, which gives me Web conferencing and remote access / support, all in one appliance. Plus, it’s only a one-time purchase, instead of never-ending monthly fees.