Salesforce.com, at its Dreamforce conference Tuesday, said it's working on a cloud service that will let customers make use of the mountains of data generated by devices, sensors, websites, social media and other sources that comprise the so-called Internet of Things.
The service, called the Salesforce IoT Cloud, isn't expected to be available to customers until late next year, but Salesforce said it can help them get value from the billions of data events they're logging and storing every day.
Salesforce's IoT Cloud, used in conjunction with its CRM software, can analyze event data to help companies anticipate their customers' needs ahead of time and build closer relationships, Adam Bosworth, executive vice president of Salesforce IoT Cloud, said in a blog post Tuesday.
As is the case with many of its other cloud services, Salesforce is making the IoT Cloud simple to use so that sales and marketing people -- who typically aren't data scientists -- can use it. At the heart of the IoT Cloud is Thunder, an open source processing engine that Salesforce built in-house.
"We want to empower every business user and analyst to solve big problems around big data too," said Bosworth, who previously held senior engineering roles at Google and Microsoft.
Michael Porter, principal of the portal and social practice at Perficient, a St. Louis-based Salesforce partner, told CRN he thinks the vendor's foray into the Internet of Things makes sense.
"When I talk to clients in both the medical and energy industries, they have huge interest in getting more information from a variety of devices. But none of those industries are really ready to gather, store and gain insights from that data," Porter said.
Porter said Perficient has a customer in the print services market that gathers data from almost every printer they sell, puts it into a data warehouse, and then sells services to their clients based on these printer usage insights. This type of customer could benefit from Salesforce's IoT Cloud, he said.
Paul Smith, a partner at DataSmith, a Walpole, Mass.-based Salesforce partner, said putting IoT data analysis into the hands of smaller firms, as a cloud service, will help them have the same benefits as larger firms that deploy the technology in-house.
Salesforce, in a press release, said a fleet management firm could use the IoT Cloud to identify drivers that are driving erratically, while a retailer could use it in conjunction with beacons to give real-time discounts to shoppers in stores.