Google buys Xively for $50M: Marks LogMeIn’s exit from IoT connectivity market

Google announced yesterday that it will acquire Xively from LogMeIn for $ 50M. This marks Google consolidation in the managed IoT marketplace as the latter expects 20 billion connected things to come online by 2020.

Structure connected product data to make it manageable and actionable.

Xively allows enterprises to activate ‘connected products’ whereby its platform offers several features such as device connectivity, data management, identity management, integrations, security, and analytics. Smart home, smart energy, and connected products are typical use cases of Xively’s platform.

The acquisition will allow Google’s customers to add connectivity to their devices from the beginning as opposed to adding it as an ‘after-thought’. This will make the connection between the cloud-mobile app and ‘connected product’ more efficient and easy.

“This acquisition, subject to closing conditions, will complement Google Cloud’s effort to provide a fully managed IoT service that easily and securely connects, manages and ingests data from globally dispersed devices.”Antony Passemard, product management lead for Google Cloud IoT

LogMeIn sold Xively to focus on ‘unified communications’ market. Two popular products it owns in the space are GoToMeeting and Join.me. Thus, the sale will give LogMeIn the much-needed cash it needs to purchase Jive communications, a cloud-based phone services company for $ 357M. LogMeIn also plans to expand its AI-powered customer engagement portfolio. The deal is even better for LogMeIn considering it bought Xively for $ 12 million in 2014.

As for Google, it gets a well-established ‘connected products’ management platform that it will upsell to its existing and new customers of Google Cloud IoT. And, Xively can itself become a ‘billion’ dollar business unit within Google as the latter’s combined cloud business generates nearly $ 1B in revenues.

Another acquisition that took place last month was that of elnfochips. It was acquired by Arrow Electronics to consolidate its IoT market via elnfochips’ 1,500 IoT solution architects, engineers, and software development resources globally.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

What Xively brings to Google’s IoT toolbox: Experience, customers and speed

Some folks are scratching their heads over Google’s intent to spend $ 50M to purchase Xively from LogMeIn. I’m not one of those folks because Xively quickly gives Google a few things that it’s lacking in this market.

It was just a few podcast episodes ago where Stacey and I were wondering, “What and where is Google’s IoT product strategy?” At the time, we didn’t see a cohesive message or product toolbox from Google like you can find for Microsoft, Amazon or IBM. To be fair, Google does have its Cloud IoT Core, which has similar capabilities to Xively, which provides an end-to-end IoT solution including device management, application support, service integration and data analytics.

Sure, Google’s Cloud products can be mashed together for all of that as well. And Google is excellent in the areas of software integrations and analytics. Device management and deployment though? There just isn’t enough history here for Google to justify saying yes. Keep in mind that the Google Cloud IoT Core was announced in May 2017 at Google I/O, so it’s not even a year old yet. Maybe that’s why when I tried to find some customer stories and case studies for it, I came up empty.

Compare that to Xively, which is ancient by IoT standards: The company launched as Pachube in 2007 and in 2011, its platform was used to connect geiger counters across Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused by an earthquake. That same year LogMeIn purchased the company for $ 15M, rebranded it as Xively and began to expand the customer base.

In fact, on Xively’s site you’ll see customer case studies that I would have hoped to have found on Google’s Cloud IoT site: Customers such as Lutron, ShadeCraft Robotics, and Heatworks, to name a few. Lutron’s story is particularly interesting since after deciding to build connectivity in its products, it took just four months “from concept to field-ready product.”

Along with the customer base, Google is getting the experience gained from Xively as it worked with those customers. That’s because 45 Xively employees will become Googlers in the deal.

That’s equally as important as the platforms and services Xively has created over the last decade because while Google knows its own products better than anyone, it doesn’t always have the end-user customer experience to understand how its products are used. Yes, Google is great about asking for feedback. But working with industrial and commercial IoT product makers requires a more personal touch: Xively has a Professional Services group providing insight from the beginning to the end of an IoT project.

Obviously, there’s no guarantees that a Xively purchase will give Google the IoT boost it needs to better compete against Microsoft, Amazon and IBM.

But if you nose around Xively’s site like I did and then compare it to Google’s own IoT product sites, you’ll see that this is a big step in the right direction. Not only is there a cohesive messaging strategy but there are platforms, services, products and experienced people to help Google deliver on its IoT dreams.

Stacey on IoT | Internet of Things news and analysis