Pekka Sillanpää, Chief Technology Officer, Tosibox
The year 2019 was an interesting one. We released a new hardware product, TOSIBOX® Lock 150, and gained the required certifications to the US market for Lock 150 and Lock 500 products, which have been great achievements. But the most interesting times we have spent implementing the building blocks for a purely software-based connectivity solution. The first fruits of this work are now out, TOSIBOX® Lock for Container being the first product. We have learned a lot about secure connectivity for different virtual platforms, clouds, containers and IoT ecosystems throughout the year.
Learning and deep understanding of new concepts is not only fun and interesting, but it’s crucial for us! Tosibox wants to be THE expert of simplified IoT connectivity, and nowadays IoT connectivity is a much more complex world than just connectivity to automation networks in buildings and factories. Without a good understanding of the related technologies, ecosystems, and especially the user needs, it’s impossible to simplify. We are very grateful to our customers and partners that have helped us understand their needs and requirements. Thanks a lot for cooperation so far and let’s continue innovating together this year as well!
In 2019 we invested heavily in R&D and recruited a whole bunch of experienced and innovative software talents to our team. This investment has paid off and thanks to this team as well as other functions at Tosibox, we have been able to shift our focus more heavily into software.
If you look at it, Tosibox has always been a software company. Software has just been packed into our hardware units that together allow a simple setup for secure connectivity. This has been the way to distribute our technology to almost 130 countries so far since 2012. And it has worked well – now it’s a global standard for connectivity.
However, there were many reasons to change the traditional hardware model and take the functionality out and distribute it as pure software, and I want to emphasize some of them:
The first reason for transforming into deeper software development are the costs and the environment. Usually there are automation devices already in place in factories or buildings, where remote connectivity is needed. These devices have typically lacked a simple and secure connectivity method.
One of the biggest benefits of using TOSIBOX® technology is that remote connectivity helps reduce traveling costs and therefore CO2 emissions, protecting the environment. However, by having the technology built-in in an existing hardware, we can reach even more remarkable cost savings, and save the nature even more by reducing the production of physical materials.
Now we can provide connectivity without additional connectivity devices. A good example is the smart building automation system provider Fidelix, who has committed to integrating TOSIBOX® technology into its FX-3000-C building automation device. At SPS in Nuremberg, we launched TOSIBOX® Lock for Container, our newest VPN endpoint solution, in the pilot phase already integrated into WAGO’s PFC200 Controller family.
Another reason is cloud transformation. Today’s IoT platforms involve a lot of processing and data analytics in the cloud and also in edge devices. One example of such a platform is Siemens’ MindSphere. In October, Tosibox joined MindSphere World for closer cooperation with technology partners.
Connectivity must be fluent between the sites and different clouds also. IoT platforms have started to form more and more complex ecosystems, and connectivity needs are growing. In this world, there is a clear place for a simplified connectivity solution.
The third reason is scalability. The new TOSIBOX® Lock for Container is a nice way of distributing TOSIBOX® technology to third party hardware platforms, and when pre-installed, the TOSIBOX® ecosystem can grow much more rapidly. Basically, any platform that is able to run Docker, can now have TOSIBOX® Lock functionality that can be joined to the TOSIBOX® connectivity ecosystem really easily. The scalability does not only mean growing in size, but also scalability to different hardware-related needs, such as hazardous environments or marine use – or hardware directly supporting specific connectivity technologies.
To sum this up, 2019 was definitely the year of software. 2020 will still be about software as well, and we will increase support for new ecosystems. In 2019 we developed the building blocks for a purely software-based connectivity solution, and the main focus this year will be to implement a lot of new professional-level features to our software products that help especially our largest customers to integrate them fluently with their processes.
“There were many reasons to change the traditional hardware model and take the functionality out and distribute it as pure software.”
Pekka Sillanpää, CTO, Tosibox