Internet of Things has actually been around for a while, especially in the industrial automation space. Kepware Technologies has been catering to the needs of that industry for 20 years. Let’s discuss why things are accelerating now and where the gaps are.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start with introducing our audience to yourself as well as Kepware.
Tony Paine: I’m the CEO of Kepware Technologies. Kepware is a software company focused on communications software for the industrial automation market. We’ve been around since 1995. We started Kepware in order to fulfil the need in the market for a low-cost human machine interface product for the industrial space. Such a product would allow you to visualize what’s going on within a plant. When we started the company, standards to exchange information between applications from different vendors did not exist. In addition to developing this visualization package, we had developed communications drivers that would collect data from the various types of equipment used in facilities.
Around two to three years into our life as an organization, we ended up building a very strong library of communications drivers that would connect to these devices. These devices include PLCs [programmable logic controllers], distributed control systems, drives, and robotics. We built up a large collection of these communications drivers, which actually caught the interest of some other companies competing with us. They reached out to us, not as a competitor but as a potential partner so they can actually leverage our driver connectivity and pull in data from these various data sources into their own applications. Given that we were having a hard time competing with some of these larger organizations like GE, we decided to take advantage of this opportunity by leveraging the IP that we had created, wrapping it with some compatibility for some of these other vendors so that they could leverage this library of data sources.