ThingWorx, the ‘platform as a service’ (PaaS) vendor, has made empowering the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything) its rallying cry. Now the company says it is the first to market with an IoT “marketplace” that it claims will speed development of smart, connected products.
The company announced ThingWorx Marketplace at Salesforce.com’s “Dreamforce” event in San Francisco on Monday. The new platform will allow ThingWorx and third party firms to offer “components and services” that are needed to build full-featured IoT applications. Those may be things like new kinds of sensors, widgets, device connectors, protocol adapters, hooks into device clouds or integrations with enterprise management platforms, according to a ThingWorx statement.
The platform will be accessible by ThingWorx partners, independent hardware and software vendors, and third party developers, the company said. Enterprises will be able to deploy private instances of the Marketplace to host internally developed applications, application templates, analytics, visualizations and services. ThingWorx is also offering the Marketplace in a PaaS model that organizations can offer as a private label instance.
Echoing the arguments made about mobile phone “app stores” in years past, ThingWorx said the Marketplace will increase the value of the company’s PaaS platform for downstream IoT device-, software and services makers, providing a global platform for new IoT offerings.
“We are excited about the launch of the ThingWorx Marketplace,” said Russ Fadel, CEO of ThingWorx. Analyst firms like IDC estimate that there will be tens of billions of Internet connected “things” and other non-traditional endpoints online by the end of the decade. ThingWorx said all those new devices will drive a market for IoT applications that add value to the underlying hardware and sensors. “Our Marketplace will provide the next significant improvement in application development efficiency by providing a global market with the building blocks necessary to rapidly assemble these applications,” Fadel said in a statement.
A lack of standard platforms and protocols for everything from operating systems to wireless communications protocols has hampered IoT adoption by erecting hurdles to integrating IoT products from different manufacturers, many experts agree.
Consolidation could solve some of those problems. For example, chip maker ARM in September purchased Sensinode, a maker of software that runs low-power devices like embedded sensors. However, an even bigger problem lurks in the form of software insecurity, as a lack of developer know-how combines with a confusing and complicated development “stack” to produce IoT products that leak sensitive information, are prone to compromise or both.
ThingWorx said its Marketplace will initially be available to ThingWorx customers and partners, before becoming generally available in the 1st Quarter of 2014.