It’s not unusual today to notice just how many objects are connecting to the Internet, and in turn, the Internet of Things (IoT). Rewind ten years, however and this idea was far from many people’s minds. There was one person, however, who was decades ahead of his time, and that was Jasper CEO and founder Jahangir Mohammed. I met Mohammed in NYC this week to learn about how he got started in the IoT, how that led to the development of Jasper (currently the only IoT company valued at more than $1 billion -- $1.4 billion to be exact) and what he expects to see as the IoT matures and becomes more pervasive.
It all started with a road trip to Tahoe and a check engine light. To make a short story shorter, Mohammed had to detour to Reno, Nev. for a simple fix at the dealer. He thought, “What a pain. Why didn’t the car call the dealer itself?” Before long, he was looking at almost everything as a possible means of connection, and soon it was 2004 and he was pitching Jasper Wireless to investors at Sequoia and Benchmark. He knew every person and thing would soon be connected, and there would need to be a platform to connect all of this, and that’s exactly what Jasper sets out to do.
Jasper partners with 19 network operators around the world and enables thousands of companies, including GM, Coca-Cola, Volvo, GE, Amazon, Heineken and more, to join the IoT. Mohammed explains that as more devices, systems and applications join the IoT, all companies will soon become service companies. Jasper provides the software and platform that enables companies to embrace this transformation and effectively transition into this new connected era.
He said he knew the deep interconnection to mobile networks around the world was absolutely the way to bring these different IoT devices and applications together, but it was a massive problem to solve. Jasper spent nine years developing its cloud-based software platform in order to bring all the “things” in the IoT together and deliver it as a service to the end user.
“The Internet of Things is not about things – it’s about service,” he said. “When something gets connected, it becomes a service. Just about every business will become an IoT business, and they’re getting connected to their customers. The IoT also then becomes about how to serve the customer continuously.”
When it comes to security concerns, questions about hacking baby monitors and home security systems jump to mind. Mohammed explains there are two layers when it comes to IoT applications: the communication service layer, and the application layer. It’s critical that the communication service layer is secure and solid, because it makes applications stronger. Jasper leverages the same technology used for mobile devices, but it also focuses more on enterprises than consumer Wi-Fi devices like many found in connected homes. “We eliminate the need for people to set security settings,” he said. “When people buy a connected car, it’s a preset. It’s ready and secure. We deliver an end-to-end setup.”
Over the last few years, there have been some critical trends that have led to the rise in the IoT. Many things today in the IoT are smartphone-driven, rely on high-speed mobile networks, generate big data from sensors and rely on cloud infrastructure. All of this converging together is what is driving the IoT, but a few years ago, everyone owning a smartphone was just an idea. As we move forward, enterprises need to be prepared with IT and operations earlier rather than later. This technology needs to operate and needs to be managed, so enterprises, their IT teams and their networks need to be prepared to help bring it in earlier than other technology trends.
There are a few categories Mohammed believes will be impacted the most or the fastest by the IoT. Connected cars are at the top of the list – Jasper believes all cars will be connected in the next five years. The others include industrial companies and equipment, home security, security as a whole and medical devices/healthcare.
“The Internet happened fast. The IoT will happen faster,” Mohammed said.
Edited by Maurice Nagle