We leverage IoT Data with our Big Data Cloud and Microshares™

Internet of Things or IoT is growing at exponential rates across the world. The data generated by billions of sensors is growing even faster and needs solutions to handle several critical challenges:

  • Challenge #1: Flexible Process Participation: You need processes that can perform both fixed and completely ad-hoc processes that may start and end in the hands of untrusted but collaborating partners
  • Challenge #2: Multi-party Data Ownership: Whether on-cloud or on-premise, data ownership must be both durable and ephemeral and contextually mutual to enable collaboration processes triggered by the insights.
  • Challenge #3: Multi-tenant Data Architectures: The only way to support speed of collaboration is a model where data to be shared is inherently kept in a single accessible (but smart) server.

At Point.io we have addressed these challenges by creating a platform that can deal with the volume of information that must be consumed, categorized, and consummated. Our platform handles the flow in four stages described below.

iot-icon-sort

1. Sort

Sort the fire hose of information to allow for contextual storage in both multi-tenant cloud and on-premise data stores based on context and organizationally defined rules.

We connect to a variety of IoT gateways such as LoRa, SIGFOX, NB-IoT typically through a Network Server.

Using our self-installed integration agent, data can be pushed into (and later retrieved from) corporate data stores without the need to involve corporate security because there is no special networking required. Information can flow free across the firewall boundaries using encryption at both the network and the application layers to ensure the highest security.

2. Annotate

Attribute data, process, and document ownership in a multi-party way by annotating each asset. Annotations can be added or tag to any kind of data from documents to sensor pings.

Annotations include:

  1. Organizational affiliation,
  2. App/Sensor origin,
  3. Name of originating entity, name of data subject,
  4. Location of generation,
  5. Time of generation,
  6. Customizable tags.

3. Grant access

Grant contextual access with fluid rules that make it easy to mash-up insights from multiple sources dynamically. Point.io’s Policy Fabric allows you to negotiate and consummate data sharing partnerships in microseconds. This is a feature that we call MicroShares™.

With MicroShares™ you can both share your own and gain access to the shareable assets of others without the need for fixed integrations or protracted security configurations. Shareable assets may be on-cloud or on-prem, both are protected by the Policy Fabric’s security rules and enabled by our Enterprise-friendly integration capabilities.

4. Present

Make content useful by providing a single integration style for all types of data.

The Point.io platform makes available a single, consistent API/SDK regardless of the format, technology, or source of the information in question. The single API, called APIData™, allows apps to discover new assets and integrate new insights without requiring elaborate integrations or slow provisioning.

Our tools can even allow M2M processes to use automated discovery to find and incorporate information in robotic automation decisions without human intervention.

Explore our architecture

To find out more about our Multi-Data Architecture, you can download our whitepaper here.

IoT for Business needs Process-driven apps

Internet of Things (IoT) is not new but several factors are coming together to make it a reality for many businesses:

  • Major investment is taking place by telecoms to provide ubiquitous connectivity at low cost for data sensors. They are doing this by deploying Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) such as the ones provided by SIGFOX and the LoRa alliance. For example, the Dutch Telecom company KPN recently covered the whole of the Netherlands with a LoRa network and Comcast recently launched machineQ, a LoRa trial aimed at businesses in Philadelphia and San Francisco.
  • The low cost and simplicity of new low power connectivity hardware and software means that any company can afford to equip itself in IoT technology even if no carrier coverage is available.
  • The Digital  transformation triggered by everyone carrying a always-connected super-computer in their pocket is now well accepted and whilst many businesses have not yet adapted to it, most leaders understand the threat to business as usual posed by new digital-fuelled business models (think Uber vs. the traditional taxis).
  • Businesses under pressure to cut costs and identify new revenue sources are realizing that having real-time data on their assets and being able to monitor “things” more consistently, more regularly and for a low investment is the best and most cost-effective solution.

What is IoT for?

smartwatch-run

IoT is presenting us with the opportunity to measure in real-time and with no human effort most events affecting physical objects around us. You may have heard of or used smart electricity meters which automatically send a meter reading every 30 minutes to the electricity company? That’s an IoT application.

Now just imagine if  you could apply the same concepts to your business:  for example knowing when something is open or closed, or when certain temperature is reached or certain gas concentration is present? Possibilities to utilize that information and to proactively react to it presents huge opportunities for costs avoidance and new revenues, from preventive maintenance, to optimized logistics or damage prevention, not forgetting user experience.

Not convinced? Think about knowing how many (or how few) steps you’ve taken by 4pm can encourage you to get up and take a walk in late afternoon: having the data at hand gives you a chance to act upon it.

What do I need?

There are four major distinct components you need in place to create an IoT-enabled solution:

iot-component

Sensors measure and emit data from a device. A network transmits that data wirelessly in real-time. The information from the sensors is stored and analyzed using Big Data techniques and cloud storage, whilst Applications and Apps allow humans to visualize and action that data.

Sensors

Sensors (also called “Nodes” in IoT literature) are devices which can measure anything from where an asset is (location), what the temperature is, how heavy something is, etc. There are literally hundreds of types of sensors available and new ones are coming out everyday. We work with a number of sensor manufacturers to provide our clients with exactly what they need.

The cost of these sensors is also rapidly declining as adoption increases and you can expect most of them to cost only a few dollars in volume.

The third element is power consumption: Anyone who has seen his/her smartphone battery drained by using a GPS-enabled Application knows how much certain sensors can deplete power. Most sensors for IoT are designed to be very power-efficient and use the same battery for 10 or even 20 years, eliminating the cost of wiring them to a power source or having to replace the battery regularly.

Network

There are many competing standards for connectivity between data-emitting sensors and data-gathering servers. The options are varied from short range covering just a few meters (e.g BLE/Bluetooth Low Energy, ZigBee) to long range covering up to 6mi/10km with a single antenna (LPWAN/Low Power Wide Area Network), either using unlicensed radio bands or leveraging the LTE investments. Each usage scenario commands the appropriate network.

  • If you’re a runner out and about, looking to upload your latest performance data from your smartwatch to your own dashboard , you will most likely be using a combination of bluetooth (from the watch to your smartphone) and 3G/4G wireless data (from the smartphone to the cloud server with your data).
  • A smart thermostat such as Google’s Nest or British Gas’ Hive installed in your home utilizes your home WiFi network to connect to the wider internet over your broadband connection and give you real-time information and control on your heating or cooling.
  • A bus company looking to track its buses across its network can leverage GPS-tracking sensors connecting to a wide area network such as LoRa and an App to visualize on a map where every bus is and leverage that information to improve passenger experience and efficiency.

One of the amazing developments in IoT network over the last year or so is the real possibility for anyone to create your own network at low cost. A Building manager can install a Low Power WAN Gateway, able to receive data from all these sensors, covering an area of up to 6mi/10km for for a few hundred dollars. This gateway can use unlicensed radio spectrum so there is no need for authority (e.g. FCC) approval prior to installation.

These are particularly attractive in use cases such as Property Management as the company can use a mix of public network wherever one is available (for example in the center of a city) and deploy its own infrastructure in more rural, less covered areas. Both of these solutions can co-exist and use the same sensors and the same Apps to drive cost efficiencies.

Big Data

We expect billions of connected devices to be installed and used over the next few years (Intel published a great infographic on Internet of Things and expects the number to be up to 200 Billion by 2020). These sensors are going to generate a lot of data which traditional SQL relational databases would be ill-equipped to handle and the cost to run these internally would be prohibitive. We have therefore developed expertise and tools to leverage modern cloud-based NoSQL databases which are designed to handle billions of pieces of information at a time. Our Point.io IoT platform provides your project with a turnkey solution which you can easily use with Apps we develop, your own Apps or integrate into your wider Big Data efforts.

Apps

Last but not least, IoT needs a front-end User Interface to collect, analyze, present and act upon the data. This is where Apps come in and where we most help our clients get what they need rapidly with our App Composer Platform.

A lot of IoT roots lie in the manufacturing world and a lot of IoT User Interfaces are “dashboards”: representations of the data generated by the sensors, which users can interpret to act upon.

At Point.io we believe that data visualization is only the beginning of the story and that to be truly useful in the business world, IoT apps need to incorporate the specific business processes each company has. This is where our robotic process automation comes into its own: our apps combine the data from IoT devices, make sense of it and act upon it, whether through a notification, an approval or an escalation. We can uniquely combine the data gathered by the sensors with the intelligence and steps taken by the staff, partners and customers with full traceability.

As we have spent a lot of time helping property management companies move to the digital age with our Portal solutions, IoT is a natural evolution to create smart buildings, smart offices and smart residences.

Intrigued? Why don’t you contact us and let’s speak about how we can help your business leap ahead of your competition with IoT!

Customize & Maintain with App Composer™: more Blocks, less Code

Four years ago, Point.io set out to build a platform that would leverage enterprise learnings of the past twenty years and address all of the organizational requirements for extending operations beyond the firewall and out to mobile. Point.io’s App composer™ platform is designed and built with a hybrid architecture to combine the best aspects of cloud-based computing with the dependability of on-premise infrastructure.

The platform leverages open standards and cloud-scale technologies including RESTful APIs, Scala, MongoDB and JSON but also embraces enterprise standards like Java, LDAP, Active Directory and SOA.

The platform incorporates:

a connectivity layer that enables seamless access to IoT devices, cloud services and on-premise systems with dozens of ready-to-deploy plugins.
a powerful BPM (Business Process Management) engine for sophisticated workflow and process automation
an API presentation layer with 100% coverage of core functionality to ensure the infrastructure is highly interactive.

appcomposerThese features mean that assets built on the platform can be configured to quickly connect to data and documents–on premise and on-cloud, can orchestrate and automate any workflow or business process, and be accessed by users and systems on any device from mobile to mainframe.

Bringing the power of the platform to bear on today’s business challenges is the role of the App Composer–a set of tools and architectural practices that make it possible to snap together and rapidly deploy business apps to web and mobile without programming.

The App Composer™ uses browser-based graphical tools to allow end-users to drag-and-drop solutions from pre-built blocks implemented via the platform’s unique architectural services. Assembly of apps is a Lego™-like experience using the self-serve front-end.

All our Apps are designed and maintained in our graphical development environment using familiar Lego-like Blocks.

There are three types of blocks making up our Apps:

apps-equation 

FormsFlowsFacts
formsForms are blocks that bring the user interface to life. Forms are implemented using conventional web-technologies like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS to ensure that an average intern with access to Google can create transportable mobile screens in minutes and hours. The platform ensures that Forms can be reused across multiple apps to bring consistency to the user experience which reduces the training by making enterprise apps more familiar.

Forms are rendered seamlessly across multiple mobile devices and desktop browsers so apps can be started on mobile and finished on desktop or started on desktop and finished on mobile. The App Composer provides a simple CSS-based theme creation capability that makes it easy for branding and design standards to be applied across all of the forms assembled in an app. Without rewriting each screen, a company can apply their own standards universally with a single, simple change that takes effect immediately for all of their users on all of their apps

flowsFlows are blocks that represent business processes. A Flow block uses the embedded BPM engine to create usable, compose-able workflows that can lead a user from screen to screen, a unit of work from person to person, or a message from system to system. Point.io has developed a uniquely simple drag-and-drop user interface that makes creation of workflows well within the capability of a business analyst.

At the same time, more advanced workflows can be created using an industry standard BPMN2 interface. BPMN2 has been adopted by thousands of BPM professionals and is supported by most BPMS systems which ensures transportability of process designs into and out of the App Composer environment.

Out-of-the-box flows include common workflow patterns such as approvals, signing, work routing, and case management to name a few. Each flow can include conditional routing, escalations, reminders, and multi-channel notifications

factsFacts are blocks of data connections. Fact blocks bring data and documents into the apps that use them. Each fact block is self-contained with integration code, data translations, business rules, and user interfaces. Facts can execute on-cloud or on-premise through the platform’s hybrid architecture based on the policies set by administrators.

Facts are aware of enterprise security policies, end-user credentials, and can include advanced logging and data-loss prevention mechanisms to provide enterprise-grade data integrity and security. Data and documents can be brought into and sent out from apps without the need for the Composer to understand the technical details of the underlying integrations. Fact blocks are typically adopted out-of-the-box or created by IT to conform to the unique standards and environment of a given enterprise.

Pre-built facts include industry favorite cloud-services like Salesforce, DocuSign, Dropbox, MS OneDrive, Hubspot, and Twitter as well as on-premise systems like MS SharePoint, MS Active Directory, and SAP. Over 40 pre-built facts are currently available through the App Composer. Custom facts are created by commodity Java developers through the use of our Java SDK which takes away much of the integration guesswork allowing for the rapid development of new connectors.

Here is an example of App composer™ in action, adding conditional workflow to a DocuSign-enabled Point.io App:

ApiDATA™: Connect to any data, documents or services with Point.io’s ready-made connectors

We have pre-built connectors allowing instant integration between your custom Apps and over 40 sources of data, documents and services and we add new ones every month. We deliver direct, easy integration with your on-premise or cloud-based systems of records so you don’t have to duplicate efforts. And we maintain them over time so you don’t have to.

Here are some of the most common used by our partners such as Citrix ShareFile and our customers for our vertical solutions:

Your Apps will really work for you if they work seamlessly with your information which is in your systems as well as in the Cloud. With Point.io’s ApiDATA™, we’ve already done all the hard work of connecting your Apps with the most common Cloud and On premise data, document storage and services, so you can be up and running much faster.

Authentification and Single Sign On

Make it easy for your users to use your Apps. We offer easy integration with the most common Consumer and Enterprise authentication systems. For ultra-secure and verified identity, we even incorporate one of the world’s leading solutions used by German Authorities and Swiss Banks, Kobil.

Facebook SSOGoogle SSOKobil Trusted LoginLinkedIn SSOMicrosoft Active DirectoryTwitter SSO
Easily start using your favorite mobile applications with a single log in to Facebook .
Google Apps offers a SAML-based Single Sign-On (SSO) service that provides partner companies with full control over the authorization and authentication of hosted user accounts that can access web-based applications
With Trusted Login, an out-of-band 2-FA, Kobil offers reliable and convenient authentication
linkedin-100x67The world’s largest professional network with more than 400 million members in 200 countries and territories around the globe.
Active Directory (AD) is a directory service that Microsoft developed for Windows domain networks. It is included in most Windows Server operating systems as a set of processes and services.
Twitter SSO allows Twitter users to enjoy the benefits of a registered user account in as little as one click

 

 

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Data Systems of Records

Your Data is more and more important to your business. We make it easy to get information back and forth from your systems of records.

BSTOracleQuickbooks AccountingSalesforce.comSAP
More than 100,000 architects, engineers, and environmental consultants use BST Global solutions every day to streamline their business processes and improve their bottom line.
Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems.
End-to-end business Management made easy
Salesforce provides companies with an interface for case management and task management, and a system for automatically routing and escalating important events.
As the market leader in enterprise application software, SAP is at the center of today’s business and technology revolution.

Cloud Drives

Amazon S3Box / Box for BusinessCitrix ShareFileDropbox / Dropbox BusinessGoogle DriveHightailMicrosoft OneDriveMicrosoft OneDrive for BusinessSalesforce.com (Files & reports)
Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is an online file storage web service offered by Amazon Web Services.
Box offers secure content management and collaboration for individuals, teams and businesses, enabling secure file sharing and access to your files online
ShareFile is a secure enterprise file sync and sharing service that meets the mobility and collaboration needs of users and the data security requirements of the enterprise.
Dropbox is a service that keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.
Get access to files anywhere through secure cloud storage and file backup for your photos, videos, files and more with Google Drive
Hightail – formerly YouSendIt – is a cloud service that lets users send, receive, digitally sign and synchronize files.
Store photos and docs online. Access them from any PC, Mac or phone. Create and work together on Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents.
Store, sync, and share work files in the cloud using OneDrive for Business, which comes with SharePoint Online and Office 365 business subscription plans.
Salesforce offers easy access to documents and reports on the salesforce.com platform for sharing and updating from Apps

 

 

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Enterprise Content Management Systems

Alfresco Atlassian ConfluenceEMC DocumentumIBM FileNetFTPiManage/HP WorkSiteNetApps CIFSOpenStack SwiftOpenText Content ServerSFTPSharepoint 2007/2010/2013WebDAVWindows Share /Samba
The Alfresco Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform is an open, powerful ECM platform that is easy to extend, customize and integrate with your existing applications and processes.
Confluence is where you create, organize and discuss work with your team.
Critical enterprise content management access and control of all your information assets.
Document management with IBM¨ FileNet¨ Content Manager helps you meet the growing challenge of managing enterprise content with greater speed, efficiency and accuracy.
The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a standard network protocol used to transfer computer files between a client and server on a computer network.
Work product management solutions leader for legal, accounting and financial services firms and corporations. Formerly HP WorkSite and Autonomy iManage/FileSite.
Work product management solutions leader for legal, accounting and financial services firms and corporations. Formerly HP WorkSite and Autonomy iManage/FileSite.
OpenStack Object Storage (Swift) is a scalable redundant storage system. Objects and files are written to multiple disk drives spread throughout servers in the data center, with the OpenStack software responsible for ensuring data replication and integrity across the cluster
OpenText Content Suite facilitates an agile information governance strategy designed to reduce risk and mitigate the cost of growing volumes of content in the enterprise Ð freeing strategic CIOs to focus on using information to drive growth and innovation.
The SSH File Transfer Protocol (also Secure File Transfer Protocol, or SFTP) is a network protocol that provides file access, file transfer, and file management over any reliable data stream.
Microsoft SharePoint 2013 is the latest version of SharePoint. Point.io also connects to previous versions including SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2003.
Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that allows clients to perform remote Web content authoring operations.
Windows Network Drives using the SMB/CIFS networking protocol are one of the most common ways to share documents across users.

Services

DocuSignEvernoteGoogle CalendarGoogle MapsHubspotLinkedInQuickbooks PaymentsSugarSyncTwitter
Securely sign and manage documents online from any device with the most widely used e-signature solution.
Evernote is a cross-platform, freemium app designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving.
Google Calendar is a time-management web application and mobile app created by Google.
google-maps100x67Google Maps is a web mapping service developed by Google. It offers satellite imagery, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets (Street View), real-time traffic conditions (Google Traffic), and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle (in beta), or public transportation.
HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.
linkedin-100x67LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service.
Faster payment processing for online and mobile credit card including ACH bank transfers and all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
SugarSync is a cloud service that enables active synchronization of files across computers and other devices for file backup, access, syncing, and sharing from a variety of operating systems, such as Android, iOS, Mac OS X, and Windows devices.
Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”.

 

 

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Hosting options to suit every customer with App Composer Platform™

Hosting to suit your needs

The apps that you build and deploy through Point.io sit on our App Composer Platform™, which provides secure, low cost, high-speed delivery through the cloud. We offer a choice of hosting solutions to suit your needs and budget:

  • Public Point.io Secure Cloud
  • Private Secure Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud

Leading Hosting providers

The Point.io App Composer Platform™ was designed to be easily portable and leveraging powerful components available in many environments. Our customers to date are mainly running on the following leading Cloud platforms:

Amazon Web Services offers reliable, scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing services. Free to join, pay only for what you use.
Microsoft Azure is a growing collection of integrated cloud services—analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web—for moving faster, achieving more, and saving money.

Self-install gateway for ultimate secure connectivity to your data

Connectivity to your on-premise information is enabled by our Gateway which you install behind your firewall to give maximum control and security.

Our Point.io Gateway v3.0 is building on years of experience of integrating behind-the-firewall content with cloud Apps. We have made it as easy as possible for you to create a secure bridge between your internal applications, databases or documents and your Apps running in the cloud. We have already connected to over 40 systems and the list is growing every month.