Xively Acquisition Will Boost Google Cloud's IoT Maturity, Turn Up The Competitive Heat On AWS, Azure


Google's deal to acquire Xively, LogMeIn's internet of things business, could help Google go head-to-head in IoT with cloud competitors Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

All three cloud heavyweights currently have offerings that address data management and analysis from internet-connected devices. For its part, Google's Cloud IoT Core is the company's' managed service offering that allows users to securely connect, manage and ingest data from globally dispersed devices.

Xively, which has been selling its IoT platform for years, will also boost the maturity of Google's Cloud IoT Core, said Rick Erickson, executive vice president of Agosto, a Minneapolis-based Google partner.

[Related: Google CEO: The Google Cloud Platform Is 'A Billion-Dollar Per Quarter Business']

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"This deal will advance Cloud IoT Core considerably because they will immediately have an ecosystem of micro-controller partners that Xively had," Erickson said. "This is the missing piece of the puzzle."

Micro-controller software providers, such as Raspberry Pie, give developers a quick way to manage edge devices and their data. Having them as partners could help Google compete in the public cloud arena because AWS and Azure don't have the same level of device management capabilities that Google will have with Xively.

"Amazon and Azure have some of the pieces, but I don't think it's as comprehensive as what Google will have after this acquisition closes and after this technology is integrated," Erickson said.

Xively will give Google a tool that lets designers build connectivity directly into the IoT application design process, as well remotely manage the endpoint via a mobile connection between the end-user app and the connected endpoint. Xively's technology will be combined with Google's existing security, analytics and machine learning capabilities, as well as the scale of the Google Cloud, according to Google.

For Google's partners, the Xively technology integrated into Cloud IoT Core could mean getting their IoT solutions out the door with less friction.

"It's going to let us take customers in prototype phases and help them realize their vision of production product faster and for less money on the implementation and operation side," Erickson said.

The existing Xively team of 45 employees, including its engineering team, will be incorporated into the broader Google Cloud Platform team, according to the companies.

In 2013, Boston-based LogMeIn, Xively's then-owner, envisioned itself pivoting into a cloud company that powered IoT. At the same time, LogMeIn was placing its bets on its Xively service as an important part of the cloud infrastructure that would allow endpoints to connect in a secure way.

"I think if you look by the end of this decade, I would not be surprised if (Xively) is the majority of our business — half or more of our business," said LogMeIn's founder and CEO at the time, Michael Simon. Simon still sits on the Board of Directors for LogMeIn, and the company's current CEO William Wagner joined the company two years later in 2015.

This week, however, LogMeIn addressed Google's acquisition of Xively in a blog post, saying that the company was "aligning and prioritizing" around three key areas: customer engagement, unified communications and collaboration, and identity and access management.

"We believe that Google Cloud, now armed with Xively’s team and great technology – and backed by their platform and developer heritage and reach – are a far better fit for the future of platform leadership,’ Wagner wrote in the blog post.