IoT development is a wildly complicated affair, which is noticeable when comparing iteration times for software products vs IoT products. In certain software development domains such as web development, iteration speed can be rapid, but on the other hand the build, test, debug cycle for IoT prototypes can take weeks, let alone productizing, deploying and scaling said prototypes.
Building software alone for IoT products is not easy either — not even taking into account the hardware side of things with regards to components, costs, integrations, sourcing, and scaling the manufacturing/assembly of products. To contextualize where developer tooling for IoT development stands, let’s compare it with tooling in the web development ecosystem:
The State of Web Development
10 years ago, building for the web wasn’t a walk in the park:
A developer would have to pick a stack (LAMP, MEN - later MEAN/MERN, ASP.NET, etc.), build an application, deploy & manage an instance with an operating system, a webserver, a load balancer to scale web servers, manage a database - along with scaling, sharding, etc., manage a deployment for caching and message queues, and integrate a CDN to deploy an app among other things.
Separately, the developer would integrate third-party apps into their application like Mixpanel for analytics, Optimizely for A/B testing, Crashlytics for error logging, and so on.
Instead of focusing on the business logic, developers would spend a significant amount of time on engineering software architectures from scratch, integrating disparate components, and provisioning and managing various servers to run the underlying tools.
Eventually, the rise of Platform-as-a-Service apps such as Firebase and Heroku made it much easier for developers to build fully functional products. And without the overhead of configuring and managing their own infrastructure, developers could now launch apps in a single afternoon that took a week to deploy earlier!
List of tools offered by Firebase to developers
The State of IoT Development
IoT development today, in many regards, is where web development was in 2010. Developers find themselves configuring and maintaining their own concoctions of gateways, timeseries databases, device management tools, over-the-air update infrastructure, logging tools, analytics platforms, and connectivity logic for granting end-users access to IoT devices via apps or other methods.
What makes matters worse is that IoT developers are more removed from infrastructure management than web developers are (given that the whole infrastructure-as-code tooling was built by and for web developers, which has now been retrofit for other use-cases), making IoT development a multi-disciplinary task - taking developer focus away from writing core business logic, and forcing them to work outside their comfort zone on infrastructure management.
As a platform, Bytebeam is to IoT developers what Firebase is to web developers — instead of wrangling together multiple services from multiple service providers to build their cloud backends from scratch every time an IoT device is built, hardware developers can build atop the Bytebeam platform and start deploying in days instead of weeks.
Bytebeam allows developers to manage devices with over the air updates, debug issues at scale, create observability, analytics, and operational dashboards, and save on hosting costs as well, but most importantly, the platform allows IoT developers to focus on what they know best – IoT development, without having to hire additional resources or spend bandwidth on multiple integrations, devops, and troubleshooting to run their business logic.
From left to right: Bharadwaaj, Gautam, and Raviteja
Given their deep experience building the IoT platform for Ather, the team realized how fragmented IoT development ecosystem was, and set out to modernize the IoT cloud stack.
Our Investment in Bytebeam
We are thrilled to partner with Gautam, Raviteja, Bharadwaaj, and Achal in their seed round, along with Together fund, Accel, Strive VC, and several notable founders and angel investors.
Special thanks to Arun & Sanjay (co-founders, Exponent.Energy) for introducing us to team Bytebeam! They previously closely worked with the Bytebeam team at Ather, and had great feedback on the product as early customers of Bytebeam’s product at Exponent.