Aeris is a cloud-based platform for building and managing end-to-end M2M / IoT applications. From small beginnings, starting out in the 1990s with a platform to connect remote security devices to a central security center, Aeris now claims to have put the "Internet" in the "Internet of Things", and with significant recent year on year growth, has established itself as a major player in the M2M / IoT market.
Its success is built on addressing two of the major hurdles to M2M application adoption. First, Aeris has addressed the cost of wireless data backhaul for sensor and device data, and second, eliminated dependence on a single service provider for wireless backhaul connectivity. Aeris is also proud of the quality of its customer support, which it claims to be a competitive differentiator and a key factor in maintaining high customer satisfaction ratings.
The platform offering is a virtual mobile communications service provider (MVNO) and an analytics platform in one. As a technology provider, Aeris has focussed on the monetization of the data, shifting the onus from connectivity pricing to value pricing for information. Aeris claims to have reduced the connectivity cost for each new device to almost zero. As a virtual network operator, Aeris does not actually own any physical wireless network assets, rather it has established roaming and pricing agreements with the majority of the world's mobile service providers. Devices with Aeris SIM cards installed can connect to any mobile network for the wireless backhaul of data, reducing network coverage problems considerably, and enabling device roaming on most networks across the world.
The Aeris platform consists of its own mobile core network functions for interworking with its MNO partners, and a cloud stack for the customer applications and data analytics. Rarely does a conversation about M2M and IoT continue for long until the discussion turns to security, often either the fraudulent use of SIM cards to make calls or to send SMS spam. Aeris takes security seriously, and as it manages its own core mobile network functions, is uniquely placed to implement a range of measures to prevent SIM cards from being used to make calls, or sending or receiving SMS messages for example. Security analytics are also provided to monitor device behaviour, and for example, to alert on potentially fraudulent patterns of activity.
The end user analytics and application layers exploit (the now standard) range of open source technologies for building real-time, cloud-based operational intelligence systems, including Apache Hadoop, Spark, Apache Storm, Cassandra and Kafka. Cloud and hybrid cloud deployment architectures are supported. Aeris is available on AWS, and also offers multiple points of presence for cloud services with its own data centers in Santa Clara, Las Vegas, London, and in Delhi. Docker containers are supported for hybrid cloud / on-premises configuration, a feature that will become increasingly important as IoT data volumes increase and edge intelligence becomes more sophisticated.
Aeris has also collected 50 industry patents along the way for its IoT technology, including MicroBurst (telemetry system for transmission of small data packets over a cellular network), and a mechanism for selecting and delivering Shoulder-Taps to devices (to prompt the device to initiate an IP packet session).
Aeris's offers technology agility, ease of engagement, M2M focus, and international footprint as differentiators over established MNO competitors such as Vodafone, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom, and its complete core network offering as a key differentiator over other MVNOs who typically leverage the MNOs core network.
Security concerns and the cost of connectivity have been impediments to wider M2M adoption. We believe that the Aeris approach enables then to address both. Having control of their own core network functions enables security and fraud detection to be deployed. And a Big Data analytics stack, enables customers to derive value from the information and to help address the cost of connectivity. The roaming agreements with MNOs is of course a significant contributory factor in pricing, an area where Aeris appears to have expended significant resources. Evidence suggests that this is a rapidly growing market. Consideration will need to be given to the introduction of new wireless technologies, and emerging IoT/M2M network architectures for cloud-hybrid appliances for example, but Aeris has the right toolset and positioning to succeed.