Dell Boomi looks to future with similar strategies around IoT and Blockchain

Boomi partner Hathority discussed how they use Boomi in both IoT and Blockchain solutions, using the multiple components of the Boomi platform beyond its core integration capabilities.

From L to R: Boomi’s Michael Morton and Hathority’s Rhonda Steele, Vishvam Annam, and Philip Bernick

LAS VEGAS – Today at Boomi World 18 here, Dell Boomi articulated its vision of redefining the iPaaS [Integration Platform-as-a-Service] industry around its vision of a unified platform that does more than integrate applications. They emphasized that a platform also needs to connect applications, people and things to drive faster time to outcomes. They also emphasized that their platform, in addition to its core integration functionality, meets this requirement by   providing data quality capabilities [Hub], next-gen EDI management [Exchange], API design and management [Mediate] and workflow automation [Flow]. This vision will also guide Boomi’s support of Blockchain, which Boomi stepped up by formally announcing its support for the Ethereum and Hyperledger platforms, to facilitate customer adoption of smart contracts into their business processes, as well as by pledging its active commitment to blockchain standards. Boomi articulated at Boomi World how this also parallels the strategy that they have executed around the Internet of Things [IoT].

“We are reinventing the i in iPaaS,” said  Chris Port, Boomi’s COO. “Our big goal is to help customers solve one problem, and go on to solving more issues, beyond that initial opportunity with the application and data integration. That really is where the power of the platform comes in to play.”

Michael Morton, Boomi’s Chief Technology Officer, said that this was the position to which Boomi naturally gravitated in their IoT strategy.

“Our customers have been asking for at least three years what Boomi does for IoT,” Morton told a breakout session at the Boomi World event. “They initially asked us for education about it, because they had no plans. So we knew there was viability. The impetus for it picked up in 2016-2017. Now, 60 to 70 per cent of the time, we talk with someone responsible for IoT. Three years ago, companies didn’t use to even have a person who did this.

“We had to figure out what to do around IoT, and where we fit in,” Morton continued. “Most conversations around IoT are around connecting to devices, collecting data, and doing analytics on them – but that in itself doesn’t produce a business outcome. The last mile is what to do with the data, and integrating with applications either on-prem or in the cloud. That came into focus for us.”

For Boomi, business outcomes from device data come from the integrations of clouds, applications and data.

“By 2019, device data will be making its way into everything,” Morton said. “Nearly every business will be consuming or producing data from devices. Nearly every business will need to produce or consume data from devices to remain competitive.

“Nearly every business will need an integration platform for this,” he emphasized. “And the entire Boomi platform is involved with this.”

Morton ran through multiple examples of how customers use Boomi for IoT challenges. He detailed how they use Boomi to integrate device information and device data into the customer support process in the customer experience industry, and how trains do analytics using multiple data sources on their passengers and where they are located physically, to inform the passengers more effectively about the status of their trains. He gave a Smart City example from the Town of Cary, N.C., integrating traffic signal data with a Salesforce CRM solution to dispatch the right people to solve the problem. Morton then described a manufacturing Edge example, where ISV partner Alleantia uses Boomi in an integration of robotics data with a CRM solution at the Edge.

Vishvam Annam, Principal at Tempe AZ-based Hathority, an integration and development shop that is Boomi’s 2018 Embedded Partner of the Year, did a demo of Phase 2 of an IoT Solution they provided for the city of Phoenix to meet its zero-waste goals.

“We wanted to reduce the rework [going back for missed trash people complained about], to increase the usage of the city’s training for recycle program with gamification solutions, and to increase recycling,” Annam said. “We solved all of these problems.” Their solution, which leverages Boomi plus Dell Edge gateways, provides text and email reminders to citizens around trash and recycling, and sensors to monitor container fill levels, always capturing capacity. By exchanging data quickly with microservices, they allow the city to adjust routes and make sure garbage and recyclables aren’t missed, and recycling is maximized.

“Boomi helps make the business decision based on data on the edge device,” Annam said. “It alerts dynamic routing where data should go and lets organizations respond in real time.”

Morton stated that Boomi’s Blockchain strategy follows parallels to their IoT strategy.

“In 2017, Blockchain was the number one searched term on the Gartner research portal,” he said. “People are at the same stage with Blockchain now that they were at with IoT three years ago. where they are figuring out what it is. So in determining our strategy, we educated ourselves where integration would play a role – around the smart contract that a Blockchain node uses. We are not about the node or network. We are about integrating smart contracts into everyday business processes. Boomi will make that easy. We are just the client that calls the smart contract. All the smart contract complexity is handled by Blockchain.”

Morton said that Boomi now has a tech review utilizing these connectors in place.

“There are many different platforms in Blockchain, but they are narrowing,” Morton added. “Ethereum and Hyperledger are the frontrunners, and  Salesforce will stand up their own. After studying the market, we decided that Ethereum and Hyperledger would be the first two we would support.”

“We use Boomi to connect and integrate with the Blockchain,” said Philip Bernick, also a Principal at Hathority. “We have a Flow front end to the Hyperledger framework.” He also said that the Boomi platform was valuable here for its data integrity capabilities.

“For data integrity, Boomi will make your life a lot easier than interacting with the Blockchain directly,” he told the breakout session audience.

So what are the takeaways from this for partners?

“The future is very bright,” said Rhonda Steele, Director, Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Hathority. “Boomi makes integration easier and faster for IoT and Blockchain.”

Steele also offered some advice for partners around these newer kinds of solutions.

“Do your homework,” she emphasized. “Successful innovation begins with determining the question you are trying to solve. In addition, be ready for challenges, and partner and play well with others.”