Sramana Mitra: We are doing an accelerator with Datastax. They manage the whole Cassandra stack. Their value proposition is the same – real-time, scalable, high availability, and high velocity processing of information from IoT. Does that make you competitors of Cassandra?
Prashant Kumar: Suppose AT&T wants to use Cassandra, we can push data into Cassandra. That’s the first component in our platform. You can stream the data out to multiple endpoints. We are compatible with all the cloud providers being cloud native.
We are in the process of launching our own SaaS deployment portal which should be available around December 2021. They can utilize us southbound of what platform they’re using. For example, if they’re using Google Cloud and Big Query, they can deploy us, and we will interact with both the companies they’re utilizing. That’s the first component.
The second component is around use cases. We faced exactly the same question back in 2016 to 2017. If we don’t build an engine, we will end up being a services company and we will be cost-cutting code and creating some custom logic for every customer. We developed that second component, which is a use case engine. It’s fully written in Scala. You basically punch in SQL and you can do multi-stage ops.
Sramana Mitra: What are use cases that you think your platform could be good at that you’re not going after but other entrepreneurs could go after maybe on top of your platform?
Prashant Kumar: We have a very specific partner that we’re working on right now. They have a billing support system platform, which is groundbreaking. It’s focused on the mobile and telecom space, but they have ambitions to branch out into adjacent verticals like healthcare. What they do is they provide much more control to end users.
Think about a telecom. It’s a little easier for a consumer to control their billing relationship with the telecom. It’s a little bit harder for businesses. We’re working with them to provide a lot more network intelligence. I like to refer back to the use case we did for customer happiness – being able to correlate things that are happening in the network to the customer experience. This vendor is looking to use that in their billing system to do a number of things. One is to inform dynamic pricing.
As we move into IoT, think of things like smart grid. Complex systems require more automation and have a commercial component to them. Dynamic pricing is one big area where we feel that we can be a feeder into applications that provide that sort of thing.
Sramana Mitra: How does that position you? Companies like C3.ai are going straight at that.
Prashant Kumar: It’s hard for us to pinpoint competitors because we have an architecture that is open in the sense that you can plug pretty much anything into the data pipeline. It doesn’t matter to us. We can build the connectors and the APIs and we do that on a regular basis. My understanding of C3.ai is that they’ve developed a framework over the past seven years. Their approach is to team with large enterprises to build from the ground-up.