Cloud-based platform provider for managing devices connected to the Internet of Things, Jasper Technologies Inc, has won the 2015 Global Mobile Award competition for ‘Best Innovation for the Internet of Things.’ Known since its founding in California in 2004 until last year as Jasper Wireless Inc, the name change was to more accurately reflect the company’s product offerings according to founder and CEO Jahangir Mohammed.
Although Mohammed and Jasper, which is valued at $1.5 bn, are amongst the top international IoT pioneers, he claims not to have heard the term Internet of Things until 2009, although Jasper had been connecting things – mainly vehicles – to the Internet for five years by then. Initially it was a hard slog persuading companies of the value of connected devices, but in the past two or three years tipping point has been reached, with Jasper’s business growing at 100% a year for the past two years and 300% predicted for this year. Mohammed’s particular insight into the IoT is that it takes common everyday objects and transforms them into services, so the IoT is about services, not things. He believes the transformations to society stimulated by the IOT will be even more profound than those brought about by the Internet.
It should be no surprise that a device management platform won the first GSMA sponsored award for IoT. As a judge, I did a simple classification of the entries for this award and found fully half of them are enablers. A majority of those enablers are IT platforms for managing connected devices. The capabilities of the software management tools for machine-to-machine (M2M) connections matter. Entry barriers into the platform space are low, as many small and large players have developed new platforms. Mobile operators themselves are developing their own platforms to gain more flexibility in addressing M2M verticals.
The emphasis on platforms reflects the current stage of IoT development, in which a number of enablers are still evolving to make sure new services can be delivered, from low-power chipsets and short-range technologies to device-management tools and more-flexible billing systems. Jasper stands out from the pack for the long list of mobile operators which have embraced it, choosing not to develop their own platforms and instead using Jasper’s. They have done so because the Jasper platform addresses their needs for cross-vertical, easy-to-use device-management tools.
Some of the biggest names in mobile, such as AT&T, China Unicom, Etisalat, Telefonica, and another 19 groups with networks comprising more than 100 operating units, have partnered with Jasper. The company’s cloud-based platform enables machines to connect to the Internet over a mobile network via embedded SIM cards. As a common platform, it cuts across all verticals. Its business model is a revenue sharing one and has been very successful so far. Perhaps even more successful than Mohammed envisaged when the ex-Bell Labs and AT&T employee and Concordia University graduate was doing the rounds of venture capitalists in 2004, attracting initial investments from Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital.