The technology industry tends to articulate things in a way that leaves people thinking that nothing existed before the technology industry discovered it. But our industry often takes an existing idea and looks at it through a new lens. That may be disruptive, but it's not completely novel.
A good case in point is the Internet of Things (IoT), the oft-discussed idea that in the future there will be billions of sensors and devices connected to the Internet. The IoT, however, isn't completely novel. For decades, industrial companies have been running vast networks of devices and machines. The difference in the IoT world, however, is that these things will run on more general networks and protocols rather than the heavy, proprietary and siloed systems of old. And therein lies the interesting aspect - if you're a company that has been delivering these sort of industrial connectivity solutions for years, the IoT is a potentially disruptive change.
And so, if you're that sort of company, you have a couple of options. You could ignore it and believe the status quo will always remain, or you could embrace it and join in the journey. The latter path is the one that Pacific Controls (PCS), a global provider of existing machine-to-machine systems, is taking. The company is today announcing a strategic investment in another entity, WS02. For its part, WS02 is an open source middleware platform that can be seen as an alternative to the better-known solutions from Oracle and IBM.
WS02's platform allows organizations to build, integrate, manage, secure and analyze their APIs, applications, and web services. And it allows them to do that where they want: in the cloud, on mobile devices, and across the all-important IoT. WS02 has customers in a plethora of sectors, including health, financial, retail, logistics, manufacturing, travel, technology, and telecom. WS02 has a 10-year history and has grown to the point where it has 2.2 trillion customer transactions running through its systems per year.
With this deal, PCS gets a front-row seat in the IoT game, and can add WS02's take on things to its existing networked computing and large-scale data management tools. PCS already offers end-to-end managed solutions, real-time machine data intelligence systems, and a budding ecosystem. $20 million into WS02 is a small price to pay to ensure they're not left out when it comes to future developments.
Under the deal, PCS not only takes an equity stake in WS02, it also standardizes on the WS02 platform to build its next generation of IoT solutions. In addition, the companies will jointly be working on PCS' smart city initiative.
This is an eminently logical deal. The only question is whether PCS will do the right thing and leave WS02 to execute the way it knows it needs to.
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