Connecting Every Little Thing to the Cloud

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If Apple has shown us anything, it's how just about anything can be connected to an application running in the cloud. Yet building these types of applications has been beyond the resources of most companies, unless they were as big as Apple.

Now at least two companies specialize in providing a platform to build and run applications that can connect to any digital device.

Neither Axeda or SensorLogic is a household name yet. But chances are that as more companies embed processors into their products, they will need cloud computing platforms to run applications to access and manage those devices.

Axeda this week rolled out a Developer Connection service that promises to teach developers how to write machine-to-machine (M2M) applications in the cloud. As part of that effort, Brian Anderson, vice president of marketing for Axeda, said the company is making its platform available to developers for a free 60-day trial.

Meanwhile, SensorLogic has similarly opened up its platform for developers. According to SensorLogic CEO Mike Campbell, the primary application use case for the platform today is asset management, such as tracking containers during shipping, but the he agrees that the entire category is poised to expand rapidly.

Obviously, companies such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard probably have their eyes on this space as well as IT organizations begin to see everything as a set of interconnected business processes stretching from sensors on one end to huge database applications on the back end.

Though people tend to think about cloud computing as it applies to traditional IT services, the whole world of embedded systems is about to be transformed. This spells a lot of opportunity for IT-savvy companies and upstarts. But don't be surprised to see some major companies fall by the wayside because they couldn't read the writing in the clouds.