AWS-focused Onica unveils pre-integrated IoTanium solution for Internet of Things solution builders

Onica, which acquired Vancouver-based TriNimbus this year as part of a strategy to create a very large AWS consultancy, has launched a solution which combines a reference hardware platform, a software package for building IoT applications and analytics, and professional services that greatly shortens the time needed for IoT deployments.

AWS consultancy Onica today has announced the launch of IoTanium, a pre-integrated Internet of Things [IoT] solution designed for the builders of IoT solutions, to facilitate the rapid development and deployment of IoT applications.

Los Angeles-based Onica is a cloud consultancy and an AWS Premier Partner, which acquired Vancouver-based consultancy TriNimbus, the first AWS premier in Canada, earlier this year. They also made another significant acquisition late last year, effectively combining three large AWS consultancies into one in a strategy designed to make them a juggernaut among the focused AWS cloud specialists.

“IoTanium is the brand name of our whole initiative in IoT,” said Tolga Tarhan, Onica’s Chief Technology Officer. “What’s unique about it is that it is entirely cloud-native to AWS. Other solutions like this are often just virtual machines or black boxes that you run in AWS. We help you adopt AWS technology – as opposed to selling you a third-party technology that sits on top of AWS.”

IoTanium is a repeatable, ‘productized’ version of a solution that Onica was frequently called upon to build.

“We had to build this for a bunch of customers over and over, and having to repeat the work made projects longer,” Tarhan said. “This will accelerate the projects by having a better starting point. Each project you would spend time on just getting the power to work right, or cellular connectivity. These are things that you do every time, and it takes time. IoTanium lets you skip all of that on Day One of the project.”

The project started earlier this year as an internal skunkworks project, when people weren’t on billable hours.

“By the July-August timeframe we had gotten comfortable on the hardware side where we were comfortable putting it in the box,” Tarhan said. The Reference Hardware includes pre-integrated power and battery management, bootstrapping, provisioning, firmware updates, and connectivity through LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth to eliminate the undifferentiated heavy lifting of designing and building IoT hardware.

“The reference architecture has a Dev Board that lets you start coding on Day One,” Tarhan said. “A week or two into the project, we then take the design of our board and customize it for you. So Version 2 is customized from the Version 1 Dev Board. There is a path to production, so the customer doesn’t have to start the second stage from scratch, and gets a customized version of IoTanium. This lets them own the design and manufacture it however they like. We think this is a novel approach. Everyone else wants to be in your supply chain, and on the software side, they want to sell you SaaS. We just want to sell services work with the platform and reference architecture.”

The IoTanium Platform utilizes 11 different AWS services including AWS IoT Core, AWS Greengrass, Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Lambda, and Amazon Kinesis.

“It is deployable on Day One, uses AWS serverless offerings and manages data ingestion, storage and analytics,” Tarhan stated. “It also includes professional services for customization.”

Onica defines IoTanium’s sweet spot not as end user customers, but as the companies who build the IoT solutions for them.

“Gartner divides the market between companies who make things that are IoT, and users and owners and operators who consume them,” Tarhan said. “A large hotel chain might look for industry-specific IoT devices, or might engineer their own. Our target is the people who are doing the latter, who are building the IoT things. We would be selling to the company making the pre-integrated things, who sell it to the end customers.”

They have been seeing interest from a variety of verticals.

“We have done Smart Office business – unfortunately not referenceable customers,” Tarhan stated. “Oilfields in harsh environments, entertainment venues where they track things and connected medical devices have been customers. In the shipping industry, we have done new applications of fleet tracking around cargo. Retail is something that we haven’t done yet. All these have been addressed by selling to the people who make things, who work in lots of different industries.”

Other IoT solutions and services emphasize their multi-cloud capability – a fundamentally different approach than the single cloud focus Onica takes with AWS.

“We think that multi-cloud is the lowest common denominator approach, where they can cover all the clouds, but not go into the depth that any of them offers,” Tarhan said. “Some customers want AWS, but want the flexibility to be able to change tomorrow if they want. That idea of being multi-cloud makes you avoid the value-add services the AWS provides, so the option of being able to change clouds later. We think we provide more value by being able to provide the deepest value in the AWS cloud.”

Onica will be doing an unboxing and demo of IoTanium on Thursday, November 30th at the AWS re:INVENT 2018 show at 10:15am PST at The Aria Hotel.