Internet of things, or IoT, is an industry that on the surface-level is very interesting, especially when it comes to consumer products. Seeing a refrigerator or a toaster utilizing this technology could make any aspiring developer ask, “Why not try and create something IoT myself?”
However, for those who are curious about building applications with IoT, it can be challenging if you don’t have the right development tools. This is where Apiotics’ tools come in to lend a helping hand.
Apiotics is an IoT-focused startup in the Boston area that has created development tools for anyone interested in the industry to develop their APIs without struggling. The company’s team has considerable knowledge of the industry and wants to give back to those who are interested in becoming developers themselves.
Apiotics' origins in the DoD and DARPA
contract work with the United States’ Department of Defense (DoD). Each of the team members has extensive IoT and cybersecurity experience, especially in Taylor’s case.
“It was all built off of the foundation of Steve’s work over the past 30 years,” Dougherty said talking about how the DoD came into contact with the team. “We were helping them use, develop, and conceptualize highly-secure IoT applications. You can imagine that if your the Department of Defense, you’ve got an interest in sensors and distributed points of contact.”
As the three were continuing to do IoT-related work for the DoD, they discovered they were spending more time developing the inner workings and tools, or “plumbing” as Dougherty described it, as opposed to using the time to finding a specific solution for the customer.
“It was an avalanche of recurring decisions that needed to be made that didn’t directly impact the customer,” Dougherty said. “Customers are interested in the end result, not so much on the plumbing. That’s where our original pain point came from.”
The team asked themselves a simple question: why not let someone built IoT applications the same way you would create a web application? While there is a substantial challenge, Apiotics today lets web developers construct secure IoT applications in hours.
“It took us 18 months to develop Apiotics, but you could argue with our combined experience in this field, it took 30 years,” said the CEO. “We built it initially because we wanted to use it and we were tired of spending months building applications from scratch.”
Apiotics’ development and community
Since many of the tools are open-source and the company fosters a community of both longtime developers and hobbyists. Apiotics encourages any and all users to share their designs and ideas through their website.
“Aside from ourselves and the DoD, we have a wide range of users,” Dougherty said. “We love working with enterprise companies, but we work with companies that you may not think about when it comes to IoT.”
The Startup Institute in Boston was one of the first users of Apiotics. Several students in the Web Development track at the education center were asked by Dougherty and his team to try it out because of their inexperience with the complex nature of IoT. Fortunately for the company, the students at the SI were able to start tooling around with Apiotics’ platform and jump into the developing process. Some students began creating their own IoT web apps, and some developed a “Tree of Life” that lit up.
Aside from working with the Startup Institute, Apiotics has been putting their IoT foothold in multiple developer-centric events in the Boston tech scene, such as the Ruby on Rails Meetup and hosted a conference panel about cybersecurity applications in IoT for the French American Chamber of Commerce. They plan on hosting an IoT hackathon at the Martin Trust Center soon and will be presenting at RailsConf in April in Pittsburgh.
Dougherty and team are looking forward
IoT is slowly, but surely, becoming one of Boston tech’s more prominent sectors, but for those looking to get involved with development on their own or even start an IoT company, it can seem daunting based on the learning curves of the software.
Apiotics is helping bridge that gap for the would-be developers and engineers with their easy-to-learn platform and a community that fosters creativity.
Base on his knowledge of both startups and IoT, Dougherty has some confident predictions for the city and what is to come with his chosen sector.
“Because I’ve been involved with startups my whole career, I’ve noticed no company succeeds or fails on their own without help from the tech ecosystem,” Dougherty said. “What does success look like for me? Supporting companies that have supported the industry. And Boston has a strong ecosystem for IoT.”