Bringing Agility to the Edge: Unleashing the Full Potential of IoT
In December, Nubix was thrilled to announce a successful round of funding and our aspirations for the future. And we're equally excited to get great coverage in VentureBeat, CRN, and Stacy on IOT. Since that time, we’ve hired some amazing talent in engineering, product management, and sales – and we're building out our approach to early POCs.
But the hard work came months before persuading investors to come on board. It took the form of myriad conversations with potential customers and partners. The theme that consistently dominated those conversations is that IoT suffers from a massive lack of agility: there’s simply too much friction in legacy tools and approaches to unleash the full potential of IoT.
We spent a lot of time understanding that pain and how best to address it. What emerged from months of conversations, research, rapid technical prototyping and product planning is our vision for the space: Nubix seeks to make it as easy to develop, deploy, and manage edge-native solutions as it is done today in the cloud.
While technology innovations have brought greater agility to gateway devices in the form of containers for microprocessors (MPUs), tremendous friction remains with microcontrollers (MCUs), which account for two-thirds of the devices used in industrial IoT. MCUs don’t support Linux, and therefore defy the use of “containers” as they are currently and narrowly defined. Updating MCUs requires a monolithic firmware update and can end up “bricking” the target device. Customers of different stripes echoed these concerns:
“We have to keep it simple. If you do something “smart” or try to enable devices with more functionality, the update process becomes near impossible to troubleshoot and update safely..”
“The ‘end’ node has to be updated like the edge node. We need to have the same agility for MCUs that we have for MPUs.”
“We are limited in the things we can do. We can't do it the way we want to yet because of the way it is approached. I wish I could go as fast as the cloud”
These pain points aren’t new. But the need to find solutions to them, and many more, are mounting: the pace of IoT deployments and the gravitational pull of intelligence to the edge are driving the need for discontinuous innovation.
Arm Holdings, the largest designer of MCUs, shipped 100B devices over the last 20 years. It will ship that same number in the next 4 years.
At the same time, artificial intelligence and machine learning are pushing further down the IoT stack to the level of MCUs.
To keep pace with the scale of IoT and to realize the benefits of continuous learning at the edge, it simply needs to be easier to deploy application updates and ML algorithms to MCUs. We see the opportunity to take the ‘connected enterprise’ and bring it all the way to where the data is generated – with the same level of agility, visibility and security rigor the cloud makes possible today.
So that’s where we’ve chosen to begin: making post-deployment updates more nimble and less risky. Nubix offers a novel form of container for MCUs, representing a step-change in agility, security, and reliability. We’re taking a pragmatic approach to introducing this functionality, aligning it to familiar embedded methodologies and workflows. Through the process, we’ll liberate MCUs from risky firmware updates and unlock a future where IoT agility rivals that of the cloud.
We’re excited about the journey we’re on and are energized by solving real problems that have constrained the vibrant potential of IoT. If you’re interested in joining us on the journey – as a customer, solution partner, or investor – I’d love to hear from you.