Yes. And for our customers that are bound by HIPAA, we regularly sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
Yes, and really everything we do is a white labeled solution. We aren’t in the business of selling an end-user product. Our logo doesn’t go on your solution. Everything about the look and feel, theme, styling, etc is going to be your identity – built to your specifications.
Nope, you’re on your own, sucka. Okay, okay – yes, of course we do. As part of us hosting your solution for you, support for you is included within that service contract. If you are licensing our software, support is also provided as part of that licensing contract. And while those options don’t include support to your end customers, end customer support is one of the optional services you can choose (as part of our IoT as a Service offering).
Since April of 2016.
Lucky for you, we have an entire section that addresses this. But just because it isn’t listed there doesn’t mean we wouldn’t or couldn’t do it. We work with IoT, not a specific industry. If you need IoT and you’re in a different industry than what we have listed, you need us. Cause you need IoT.
The bulk of our customers are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) companies that are 1) looking to bring a new product/service to the market or 2) want to add IoT capabilities to an existing product or service that they already offer. These are typically mid-size and larger companies, and sometimes “well-funded” start-ups.
A secondary category making up a smaller portion of our customers are enterprise companies that are big enough to justify the cost of custom-developed solutions for their own use.
Consulting, Design (product, software, firmware, application, UI/UX), Development (software, firmware), Application Management (hosting your IoT solution, the ongoing management of it, supporting software services). To that last point, when we host someone’s IoT application, it’s not like we have one server hosting that IoT application. It runs across many different servers and uses many other servers that provide services (like everything from email to text messaging, to message brokering to database, etc.) so it’s a big environment that has dozens of servers that are all there to support your application. We also provide something we call IoT as a Service, which is a full turn-key outsourcing of the ongoing operations of an IoT deployment, providing as much or as little of the ongoing operations as you like.
You do. When we build it, we will use both third-party software and our own software (Prism) as part of building the solution. Those third-party pieces might be open-source, or they might be commercially licensed (and of course we’ll let you know what tools we’re using), but the application that ObjectSpectrum builds to your specs belongs to you, the customer.
We based in Dallas, TX.
You, the customer, do.
See the FAQ titled, “Why use you instead of a custom software or an internet application development firm?” It’s the same answer, just replace “software outsourcing firm” with “web development firm.”
But specific to this question: what they’re doing in a very complex web application project is just very, very different from an IoT project. It’s not what they do. We aren’t saying it is impossible for someone that has web design and e-commerce experience to also have IoT experience, but it’s highly unlikely that their IoT experience would be very deep or wide. The vast majority of companies that specialize in web, e-commerce, and mobile applications simply have not had the exposure to a true IoT application. This is also part of the challenge: the term “IoT” can be used very broadly. Somebody might say, “I wrote an app that lets someone see the pollen count in their zip code and that’s an IoT application.” No, that’s a mobile app. There’s no IoT there whatsoever, but someone will tell you the opposite when trying to sell you on using them. It really does boil down to expertise.
We aren’t saying it isn’t possible, but we are saying it’s unlikely they have the expertise because, frankly, it’s just a different skill set. You can be an amazing musician and know how to play the trumpet, the trombone, the tuba, the French horn and all other brass instruments, but that doesn’t mean – with all the expertise in the world as a musician – you will be an expert at the viola. In fact, odds are, you won’t have a clue about playing the viola. You wouldn’t go to the foremost musical expert in the world who plays brass instruments and expect her to teach you about string instruments. And yet, we see that happen frequently – especially when that company is not terribly technical. They ask themselves, “who do we know that’s technical – oh yeah – we should call the company that built our website. That was technical!” It’s the only technical company they know. And then they call that company and say they want to build this application with all these sensors, etc and the sales guy is like, “Oh heck yeah, we can do that!” – ‘cause they’ll say yes to anything – and then two years later they’ve spent five times their initial budget and they won’t have anything that actually works. This happens literally all the time. If someone came to us and asked us to build an e-commerce system, we’d simply say “no.” And that’s not because we don’t have some idea about how e-commerce works. It’s because we focus on IoT. That is our expertise–the many complex layers of IoT–and that’s what we do. That’s all we do.
There are two issues here:
It ultimately translates into speed, cost, and low risk. That’s really what this boils down to.
ObjectSpectrum is primarily a software engineering company, focused on creating IoT solutions. We are more like a traditional software outsourcing company than a SaaS provider. An IoT SaaS company is primarily looking for a customer that wants to do it themselves and is willing to operate within the constraints of their software. The closer you get to a tool that can be used by non-software engineers (i.e. application designers and developers), the more you will have to play by the rules they have created in their software. Their software will let you take your knowledge of your warehouse, for example, and combine that with their software to connect and monitor this thing and that thing, and that’s great. But by targeting that kind of a user, you are going to be putting constraints around what you can do. And for some people, this may be completely fine. That might be the best choice for them and their situation.
If you are an enterprise customer, and what you need is to collect data from a hundred different sensors in your factory, or GPS trackers on your hundred different pieces of heavy equipment, then an IoT SaaS company could be okay for you because it will let you build a functional application. But the problem is that you are still going to be working within those constraints. To be clear, we are not knocking the idea of you working with an IoT SaaS company. We are just stating what’s different about that type of company and ObjectSpectrum. It’s important for you to understand the differences so that you can make the best choice for your specific situation.
But the dirty little secret of any SaaS company is that if you need to go beyond the scope of capability that they deliver to you, you either a) have no choice because they didn’t provide you with a way to extend it, or b) you now need to bring in the hardcore developers that are necessary to go beyond that set of functionality provided with the software. If you’re trying to build an application that is going to be offered for sale, either as a standalone service or as part of something that you’re selling, you want something that is a lot closer to from-scratch software development. You want something that doesn’t have those constraints; you need something that isn’t designed for a non-technical user. Because you’re going to run into issues with the SaaS products where they simply don’t meet your needs, and then what do you do? So the target audience for this is typically someone who is using it internally and they’ll tell you, “oh no, you can white label it, put your logo on it and offer it to your customers,” and that’s all great. If what you actually need is what they thought you needed, you’re in good shape. But as soon as you cross that line, you’re now into having to bring in the technical people to actually get the job done.
The bottom line is that an IoT SaaS company is not in the business of IoT solutions engineering. It is in the business of licensing a piece of software. ObjectSpectrum is in the business of solutions engineering. Tools like an IoT SaaS company can be a great prototyping tool. Because once you learn how to use their tool, it can be very quick and easy to set up, “okay, we need to monitor these five sensors and we need to test this thing over the next two weeks” and that type of stuff. It can be a great prototyping tool. Unfortunately, with most IoT SaaS companies, it comes with a pretty high price tag just to license it. So that makes it kind of an expensive prototyping tool. That’s not the case for every single one of them (IoT SaaS companies), but it is with a lot of them.