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Embedded software drives enterprise IoT

Platforms like Twilio and Kandy could fuel enterprise IoT

The internet of things represents a huge opportunity for wireless carriers, but getting enterprise customers to choose cellular connectivity requires more than just a reliable network running low-power protocols. Carriers also need to support IoT applications, as T-Mobile US explained last year when it partnered with embedded software provider Twilio. The companies said that Twilio’s cloud-based application programming interfaces would help developers and businesses enable IoT solutions for any device that is connected over the cellular network.

Genband’s Kandy is another cloud-based API provider that is targeting the internet of things. Kandy’s enterprise IoT solution is marketed as a way for service providers to integrate voice and messaging services into IoT applications, and at this year’s Mobile World Congress Genband demonstrated the solution using AT&T’s IoT starter kit.

Some analysts see Kandy and Twilio as competitive offerings, but there are important differences between the two. Kandy has the advantage of Genband’s existing relationships with carriers, which will soon be complemented by Sonus’s carrier relationships when Genband and Sonus complete their merger. Meanwhile Twilio has many more independent developers using its APIs, which some see as a distinct advantage.

Both companies are investing heavily in research and development. At Genband’s annual Perspectives conference this year, chairman and CEO David Walsh said the company is investing $25 million a year in Kandy, and that Genband has invested billions in R&D over the years. Twilio spent $77 million on R&D in 2016, according to the company’s 8-K.

Kandy and Twilio are both focusing on enterprise customers, and particularly on IoT for the enterprise, but Kandy is also very focused on the service provider market. Walsh sees Kandy as a platform on which enterprises can build IoT applications using many different APIs.

“Our game plan isn’t to be Twilio; it’s to create hundreds of Twilios,” said Walsh. “We have the platform, the carriers have the network. Twilio has neither. … Our game is to use the sales channels of the largest carriers; they will be selling to the enterprise.”

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