The Internet of Things was there even before it got that futuristic name. Part of the news at this Mobile World Congress this week is the steady growth of the industry that's been making connected devices work for years.
This is the growth that Cisco Systems wants to tap into by buying Jasper Technologies, an IoT company more than a decade old, in a $1.4 billion deal announced just this month. While the two companies make it official, Jasper is signing more deals with partners to make IoT work even better. At MWC, it's lining up with an automaker, a home-security vendor and a SIM card giant.
When companies want to manage connected products like cars and keep selling services like engine monitoring, Jasper often provides the tools to make it happen. More than 3,500 enterprises use its cloud-based services, the company says. Specifically, Jasper steps in when those companies connect their products over mobile carrier networks.
Managing networked machines is a long way from standard consumer-device support, said Jasper vice president of strategy Macario Namie.
"This is not a phone. This is not something where the No. 1 response to any support issue is reboot. This is a small black box inside of a large piece of machinery thousands of miles away," he said.
For example, most IoT manufacturers have to produce connected devices for use in many countries. On Tuesday, Jasper announced a partnership with mobile technology vendor Gemalto that should make this easier. It will use Gemalto's Global eSIM, a single SIM card that can be reprogrammed for use in each country.
Without eSIMs, makers of things like cars have to equip them with potentially hundreds of different SIM cards, a complicated and expensive process. With eSIMs, they can install one type of card and then set up the local SIM profile when they know where the vehicle's going to be sold.
The eSIM technology follows a standard set by the GSMA mobile industry group. Jasper already has an eSIM partnership with Giesecke & Devrient, another big SIM vendor.
Another partnership will make home security systems more manageable. Jasper will help manufacturer Telular set up local home-security dealers with remote management capabilities for the Telular systems they sell. That way, the dealers will know when something goes wrong, like the security system going offline, and be able to fix it more quickly. That's becoming more important as home security moves away from landline connections and toward less reliable cellular networks, Namie said.
Also at MWC, Jasper will highlight a recent move that will help France's PSA Peugeot Citroen maintain the cars it sells.
PSA already sets up cellular connections for its cars throughout Europe. Now it keeps in touch with those cars through services that Jasper's cloud help to make possible.
Through a partnership with Post Luxembourg, the delivery and network company that provides mobile service to PSA's cars, Jasper gives the automaker access to diagnostics and other capabilities on those vehicles through an automated system. Collecting and analyzing data used to be a manual process.