On this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Ryan Chacon is joined by two guests from EDJX, Benjamin Thomas, CEO, and Delano Seymour, CTO, to discuss the serverless IoT at the edge.
The podcast begins with both guests introducing themselves and providing more information about EDJX before diving into mesh computing and serverless IoT. They then talk about serverless at the edge and their companies' offerings. The conversation then moves more high-level with discussion around challenges in development, the biggest drivers of growth, the evolution of serverless IoT, and advice for how developers can approach the onboarding process.
Benjamin Thomas is the CEO of EDJX, the intelligent edge OS and computing platform that makes it easy to write, deploy, and execute IoT and other applications using serverless computing and an edge mesh network of micro-compute and storage nodes to minimize latency, eliminate expensive backhauling of data, accelerate content delivery, and rapidly deploy IoT sensors at the far edge. His diverse technology and business experience includes being an industry disrupter in the travel and veterinary services industry. In previous ventures, he managed large-scale offshore development teams, overseeing the development of over 100 software applications. Benjamin grew a chain of veterinary practices to $42 million in revenue and 450 employees through 28 acquisitions in 7 states. Benjamin was a nominee for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from Tulane University and an MS in Management from Stanford University.
Delano Seymour is a visionary founder, pioneer, and disruptive innovator, with several technology patents to date. He is the former founder and President of a high revenue-generating Managed Services company headquartered in the Caribbean. Delano is also a global technology speaker at prestigious industry forums such as Cloud Expo Container & Microservices Summit, Red Hat Summit, and OpenShift Commons Briefings.
EDJX is an intelligent Edge OS and computing platform that makes it easy to write, deploy and execute applications using serverless computing to increase responsiveness and security. EDJX's edge mesh network of micro-compute and storage nodes minimizes latency, eliminates expensive backhauling of data, accelerates content delivery, and rapidly deploys IoT sensors at the far edge. EDJX helps businesses handle the explosive demand for data processing to serve real-world edge computing applications, including industrial IoT, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and robotics. EDJX is a privately held company based in Raleigh, NC.
- [Ryan] Hello everyone and welcome to the IoT For All Podcast, the number one publication and resource for the Internet of Things. I'm your host, Ryan Chacon. If you're watch this on YouTube, we would truly appreciate if you would give this video a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel if you have not done so already. Today's episode is a good one. We have two guests from EDJX. We have the CEO, Benjamin Thomas, and Delano Seymour, the CTO on here to talk about a number of fantastic topics. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with EDJX, they are an intelligent edge operating system and computing platform that makes it easy to write, deploy and execute applications using serverless computing to increase responsiveness and security. So, we talk about a number of different topics here. We talk about mesh compute, storage roll, why it matters. We talk about what serverless IoT is, why it's important, how serverless at the edge is shaping the future of computing and the Internet of Things industry benefits from that applications can get from being serverless at the edge and major challenge we're seeing in the space, and the current landscape kind of going forward when it comes to platform tools and things like that. So, all in all, great conversation. The end of it, we dive into biggest growth drivers in the space. So, you definitely don't wanna miss that. But yeah, overall fantastic conversation with both Benjamin and Delano. I really employed to listen to the whole thing. I think, we get a lot of value out of it, but before we get into it, give of you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market, but don't know where to start. Check out our sponsor Leverage. Leverage is IoT solutions development platform provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go to IoTchangeseverything.com. That's IoTchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All podcast. Benjamin, Delano. Thank you both so much for taking time today to be on the IoT for all podcast. Welcome, great to have you.
- [Benjamin] Great to be here, Ryan.
- [Delano] And it's great to be here.
- [Ryan] Yeah, it's fantastic. And obviously Benjamin, this is your second appearance on one of our shows. So, welcome back and let's go ahead and start off by having you both do a quick introduction about yourself too and give us any kind of background information you think will be relevant to our audience. Benjamin will start with you and then Delano, we'll throw it over to you.
- [Benjamin] Yeah, thank you Ryan. My name is Benjamin Thomas, I'm the CEO of EDJX and I'm a serial entrepreneur, and I joined the company a few months ago and I'm very pleased to be here.
- [Ryan] Great to have you.
- [Delano] And my name's Delano Seymour and I am the CTO of EDJX. Been involved in a lot of different startups, so I'm glad to be here.
- [Ryan] Yeah, it's great to have both you, I would love it if perhaps Benjamin, you wouldn't mind giving a quick overview of the company, kind of the role you all play in the space. Talk about kinda the story behind the company, just kind of at a high level just to catch our audience up if they may be unfamiliar.
- [Benjamin] Yeah, no thanks, Ryan. EDJX is an intelligent edge operating system that makes it easy to write, deploy, and execute applications using, you know, serverless technology to increase responsiveness, security to the edge. And so, what we have is an edge mesh network of micro compute and storage nodes that really provide compute and storage and a mesh network that can be in the data center or at the far edge and enables companies to deploy IoT sensors, accelerate content and build applications very quickly.
- [Ryan] Fantastic. And do you all have a focus from a target industry standpoint or use cases that you kind of mainly are operating in? Or is it much more kind of horizontal and you kind of agnostic to all that?
- [Benjamin] Well, we're a platform. So, we can work across any industry. =What we're seeing right now is anything moving, anything, you know, remote outside of cities, anything that is, you know, very sensor heavy. That seems to be where we're getting the most traction.
- [Ryan] Fantastic. And you mentioned kind of mesh computing and I thought maybe I could throw it over to Delano for a second and just talk about what exactly that is and what role does it play in the IoT space? Why does it matter? Why should people pay attention to it? And kind of just go from there.
- [Delano] All right. So, mesh compute is our way of delivering on something that we're probably kind of familiar with. You had mesh networks in the past and in a mesh network you'll have many different wireless access points that work together to create a network in a surrounding area. But we do something very, very similar. We take compute and we deliver compute in exactly the same way. We have many nodes that spend the globe in different areas and they talk to each other independently in a decentralized way, and therefore we can provide a compute platform that is in, that is across the area that you live or wherever you are.
- [Ryan] And at a high level, can you talk about kind of the benefit and value of doing that?
- [Delano] Well, so somebody benefits of doing that is one, you get a node or several compute unit close to you, you'll be able to compute on that node as you move from one state to another state. It moves with you follow, it's like that follow the sun idea. Also, our developers can write code once and have that code delivered globally. So, their code can be used anywhere and everywhere in the world.
- [Ryan] Fantastic. And the other topic that Benjamin mentioned serverless and talking about kind of serverless IoT, which I know was a conversation Benjamin and I had before in our previous conversation. But from your perspective, can you talk a little bit about first at a high level what it actually means, serverless and serverless IoT and why it's important and kind of just kinda like as we were talking about mesh compute here.
- [Delano] Yes. So, serverless of course has server, but the serverless part of that nomenclature is for the developer themselves. They don't have to deal with or think about or configure any service. All of the servers are something that we take care of, and our platform takes care of. Now, we've done it in a way where our platform takes care of that in an autonomous way. So, people, we don't have a lot of people running around adding new service to the network. It's all autonomous. And each of those nodes in our network talk to each other on a peer-to-peer network. So, they can communicate from node to node to deliver that service to you.
- [Ryan] Fantastic. And Benjamin, let me ask you from your side of things, as you look at the market and the current state of IoT, how does serverless kinda at the edge really, how do you see it shaping the future of IoT kind of, and the computing that's being done there? And just from a general sense.
- [Benjamin] Well, look, I mean, I think the IoT industry is very much focused on serverless because, you know, you think about you're putting an appliance or a sensor or something on the edge. And that's a lot to think about already. And so, if you can reduce the complexity of your stack by using serverless technology where you not happen to think about virtual machines or Kubernetes or the scaling piece of it. I think, that's why the IoT industry has adopted serverless for the most part as their platform of choice. And, but of course, not all serverless platforms are built the same way. But certainly I think the IoT industry is embraced serverless in a big way just because they're already doing something hard. They've got something moving around, it's a drone or, you know, driverless cars or sensors that are in weird locations. And so it's already pretty complex. And so, making the stack overall easier to manage with fewer people is something that, you know, reduces the risk of IoT implementations.
- [Ryan] Yeah. And kind of tag onto that, I wanted to ask you if you could elaborate a little bit more on kind of the benefits of building applications using serverless at the edge computing. You kind of just hinted one there at the end of that kind of statement, but just generally speaking, what are the other benefits that people should be thinking about when it comes to utilizing and implementing this technology?
- [Benjamin] Well, a big benefit is simply reducing the number of people required to maintain the application. And so, you know, if you think about the traditional way that software has been built, you start with a server, right? It could be a physical server, it could be a virtual machine, and then you start thinking about, okay, what's our database stack? What's our middleware stack? And there's a lot of choices that have to be made to develop software. And so, it just adds to the complexity. You need more people to manage the application and you also pay for that, you know, for that server, whether you're using it or not. And so, there's some cost built in there too. And so, I think that it's really about reduction in the DevOps maintenance team as well as, you know, paying for what you use instead of paying for a whole infrastructure that, you know, may or may not get a lot of traffic.
- [Ryan] Sure, sure. And how does your all's offering kind of fit into the current landscape of these platforms and tools and kind of how does it differentiate and what are the, you know, how should people kind of view it and as it currently stands?
- [Benjamin] Well, look, I think a big differentiator is what Delano alluded to earlier, which is we're a peer-to-peer architecture, And so, why does that matter? It matters because IoT is at the edge by definition. And so, if a serverless platform is built in a very centralized way, then you know, you may not have the best response, the fastest response, you may not have the flexibility of being able to connect, for instance, your sensor directly to the compute node. And so, the peer-to-peer aspect is also important because, you know, the edge is a messy place. It could be on a tower, it could be on a rooftop, it could be on a street corner, you know, in a traffic control box. And these are places that are not necessarily temperature controlled. They're subject to the elements. And so, it requires different, a different way of handling it to make sure that, those computers stay up. Or more importantly, your application stays up in the event of, you know, an accident or lightning strike or drunk driver or whatever else knocks out the actual box. And so, that's a different architecture entirely from, you know, traditional centralized systems that really rely on, you know, protected data center environments that are temperature controlled, that have, you know, access to the data center with badges. And they achieve security and through, you know, very traditional centralized methods. And so, it's a totally different architecture that frankly enables use cases that, that people are just now starting to realize are available.
- [Ryan] And what are some of those use cases, if you wouldn't, if you mind following up on that?
- [Benjamin] Well, sure. I mean, think about, think about a drone. I mean, a drone is a flying object that automatic, you know, that by definition is communicating over the air. And so, anytime you're communicating over the air, there's latency involved. And so, as the drone flies away from the data center location, there's a, the latency will go up, it's just linear. And so, you know, you think about to achieve, you know, something that's other than line of sight for a drone that requires a network of nodes at that span outside of the data center in a whole city, for instance. And so, that's one example of where, you know, you have a latency over the air communication that needs to be managed through a mesh network of compute and storage.
- [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, I wanted to throw back over to Delano real quick and from the tech side of things, the developer side of things in the IoT space and pivot and talk about the major challenges that you all have seen developers really face in the space and kind of advice you have for overcoming those challenges. Again, from more of the technical perspective that developers are kind of working in every day.
- [Delano] Well, most developers have to write their code and then deploy that code somewhere. That deployment option takes time. You might have to write deployment code and of course you have to think about your system being online no matter what happens, whether you get a burst of customers, whether something else like a bug or something else comes into your system. But we can sort of help to take away some of those problems. By removing the need even to do deployment, the deployment is very quick, very simple. It's basically just a click away. Also, the maintenance of the system, the system is autonomous. So, because their system is autonomous, you can rest assured that your code will be available and online and secured without you having to worry about it.
- [Ryan] And from your perspective, I know you kind of asked this question already to Benjamin, but from the technical perspective, and as more of the technical audience watches this or listens to this episode, one of the questions I'm sure they're gonna have is how what you all have really differs from existing serverless platforms and kind of how you, what you feel is kind of your secret sauce that you're obviously willing to publicly talk about, and really what separates you out from maybe other platforms out there. Not so much like in a sales pitchy way, but just outta curiosity kind of, what's unique about what you all have built and kind of your approach more on the technical side of things.
- [Delano] Right. So, I would say the biggest thing is what we call Edge Net. We call it Edge Net because it's a network that spans all of the different nodes across the world, right? And each of these nodes communicate with each other, not necessarily a centralized system. So, whenever someone does something as simple as upload a file. We can then take that file and break it down into blocks and then deliver, push those blocks to one node and then that node gossips to all of the other nodes and says, hey, we have a block. Do you guys have a copy? Do you need a copy? And it can then deliver that block to all the nodes that request it. And then, as people are trying to access that data, let's say you're in India on one week. And then, you're in Bermuda and the next week the nodes in India could talk to the nodes in Bermuda and say, hey, I have this person who's requesting a particular piece of data, please send me that data, send me a copy of that data. Well, in a centralized way or centralized serverless system, all of the data is generally in one geographic location. And therefore, yes, it makes it easy to move data on in that data center. But what about when I moved from one country to another country and halfway around the world. Right? How do I get that data over to that country in a way that's fast and my latency doesn't get sort of abused or my latency is still high, right? So, that's some of the main advantages of using edge platform, edge computer platform.
- [Ryan] Absolutely. Well, fantastic. Benjamin let me ask you this, it's a little bit higher level question, but from your perspective, how, what are some of the biggest drivers of growth, not just for your all as a company, but also that you're seeing take place in the IoT space when it comes to adoption and adoption of these types of kind of edge computing serverless platforms, but at the same time, like just generally IoT technologies and solutions. What are you seeing as some of the biggest drivers of growth and kinda break down even further, what are some of the biggest drivers that relate directly to what you all do that's really helping drive things forward as a company?
- [Benjamin] Yeah, sure. I mean, I think we have a statement that, we've started to incorporate when we talk to people when is late wrong. And what I mean by that is late is wrong when you're dealing with things like Vision Zero, which is reducing traffic fatalities. And you need your sensor on the edge to have very fast response time and be able to react to changing conditions in front of the sensor. And so, you know, when we are working with a client right now that's developing a very advanced gunshot detection system, and currently late is very wrong because, Someone will, you know, get shot at and that data's analyzed and two months later they can tell you, you know, what kind of weapon fired from what direction? Well, late is very wrong because you know that, that you can't bring that person back from the dead. And so, if we can do real time analytics at the edge, that is a hugely important development, not only for safety, but also just for communication with moving things. And so, you think about driverless cars, late is very wrong. A car can crash, a person could die because, you know, you don't have real time on the fly analysis. The sensor data, the environmental data, the fact that, a light, you know, changed that, that, you know, maybe was on a remote control with an emergency responder. You know, those are the kinds of things where late is very wrong and late could equal death or could equal destruction of property. And so, you know, what we see is, you know, peer-to-peer edge networking and mesh computing really opens up a whole new ability. You know, when we go to conferences and we look at the tools available right now for intelligent infrastructure, what have you, most of those tools are looking back, they look at data, they analyze it, they bring it to the cloud. And then, they tell you, here's what we could've done better. I think the future applications are actually gonna do real time analytics, real time processing, and, you know, give the the answers in real time. And this has to happen very quickly. You know, the human eye can see 150 milliseconds. That's when we think it's good. A websites fast enough at 150 milliseconds, but machines operate in terms of sometimes single digit milliseconds. And, you know, whether it's a heavy sensor that's putting off a lot of data that has to be analyzed very quickly. Or whether it's a machine to machine or mobility application from vehicle to cell phone tower, you know, these are very fast transactions. And so, you know, that's really where we start to shine is when late is wrong and we need low latency real-time analysis.
- [Ryan] And how do you kind of see this space evolving kind of in the coming months to years? You kind of talked a little bit there about some future things that could possibly happen, but where do you, from your all's perspective, where do you see this space going? It seems like a very rapidly growing space and becoming more and more important every day to enable a lot of these use cases that we're talking about now. But just from a general sense, where do you kind of see the evolution of this space and what are you most excited for when it comes to these technologies?
- [Benjamin] Well, I think, a big driver is just the IoT spending. You know, when we looked at the market and you know, frankly, IoT is expected to be half a trillion dollars globally in the next three to four years. And it's interesting because edge computing is actually growing, you know, at 50% a year, it's gonna go from six and a half billion dollars last year to almost ninety billion in a few years. And so, what's really driving that is, IoT is very much an edge use case overall. Not all IoT, but a big chunk of it is something at the edge, kicking off data, something moving, like we said earlier, with cars moving around that are, That don't have an operator, they're operator as a computer for instance. And so, we see a lot of brand new things that are, we're running into new use cases every single day, but you know, when you look at IoT spending that's exploding and also edge computing that's exploding even faster. That should tell you that the demand for edge computing is really being driven by IoT.
- [Ryan] Sure. I completely agree with you. I've heard very similar sediments from a lot of the other experts I've interviewed, but not too many of them are as close to this as you are, nor are they building an edge computing serverless platform. But there does still seems to be a lot of agreement that, this is the future that the industry is heading. It seems like you guys are in a very good spot to take advantage of that growth that we all see is projected in the industry, which makes it even more exciting. As, before we wrap up here, I wanted to ask Delano on the technical side, when you work with developers, how do developers kind of approach or how do you all approach the onboarding process of developers? And for those listening, how can they learn about that process and potentially explore your all's offerings and kind of get in touch there?
- [Delano] Yeah, so what we do, we help developers to first realize that what they're doing with EDJX is very similar to what they're used to doing in a cloud platform. But the back end, the stuff in the back is what's different. So, onboarding with EDJX is very simple. I mean, we have a nice website. You can go to that website, you can click the sign out button and create an account. Once you've got an account, you're basically ready to go. We have documentation on our website as well, which takes you through these steps of creating that first serverless function, for instance. And compiling that code down to WASM. We used Web Assembly in how we delivered the serverless compute. And then, uploading that WASM to our platform, very simple. It's like uploading a file to a, you know, a bucket in any other, So, you know, a storage facility, very simple, right? And once they upload that file, that file's not ready to be used everywhere and anywhere on the planet. And so, the onboarding process is very, very simple and we hope that it's very easy for all our developers to take on.
- [Ryan] That's awesome. Benjamin, on on from a more general sense, our audience out there who wants to follow up, ask questions, learn more about what you have going on, what's the best way for them to engage with you and connect?
- [Benjamin] Well, we recently updated our website, it's edjx.io, edjx.io, and we have very detailed product descriptions and service descriptions. We have forms where if somebody wants to, for instance, host a sensor, they can fill out a form and we'll do our best to accommodate them. You know, we've really worked hard over the last several years forming relationships with tower companies, rooftop companies, traffic box companies, and so really we, you know, we can get things put up in almost any location. And so, what we're seeing now is that, we're at being asked to, you know, retool some older tools to the platform. And to take advantage of the capabilities. And we have partners that can help with that. We're not a software development shop from the standpoint of, you know, we don't have a system integration team that helps port applications over, but we do have very good partners that, that do that every day in and day out that we're working with. And we can make that easy for the customers as well.
- [Ryan] That's awesome. Very good. How was, by the way, I wanna ask you before I let you go here, how was you guys just recently were at an event from I understand the IoT World Congress. How was that? How events kind of been? I haven't been to any personally. I know we had some members of the team attend some that have been really successful, but how's it been for you all?
- [Benjamin] Well, look, we were at IoT World Congress last week in Los Angeles. I think, it was over 10,000. People from all over the world. You know, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, I mean everywhere. And we had a great time there. People were showcasing their applications that they've been working on for driverless cars, for LIDAR, all the latest and greatest technologies for traffic safety. And man, we just were, we had a panel that we stood on with Michelin, you know, they make tires and, and they rank restaurants, but they actually also have their own software. And so that was standing room only in that particular panel. We just had a great time and honestly, we're really just excited to follow up with everybody and you know, the eyes were starting to open around, you know, multi-tenancy, For one thing, right? You know, these municipalities and states have been putting up, you know, one computer at a time for one specific function. So, we were able to show them, you don't have to do that. You can put up a computer that can run, you know, thousands of applications at once and just keep building on that. And then, for the sensor companies that were there, we were just showing them a new and better way to build and roll out their applications. And so, we had tremendous response.
- [Ryan] Fantastic. And do you have plans to attend other events throughout the remainder of the year? Like what's the on the agenda?
- [Benjamin] Yeah, so we're gonna be at Edge Compute World and in Silicon Valley here in a couple weeks. We're really excited about that. That's almost a whole different kind of core platform group versus, You know, specific sector like transportation, safety and whatnot. But we're gonna be there and we're gonna have a booth and we're gonna be, you know, out there with Sasquatch taking pictures with people and having fun.
- [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, Benjamin, and thank you both so much for taking the time here. I've been looking forward to this conversation ever since we got scheduled, I think, not only what you have going on is very, very important and in a very prime spot in the contributing to the growth of this industry and the adoption of solutions. But the knowledge you're able to share, I think, gonna be very helpful for our audience. So, I wanted to both or thank you both for your time today, and I look forward to hopefully creating more content in the future. And I think, our audience is getting a lot of value to this.
- [Benjamin] Thank you so much, Ryan. It's a pleasure to be with you.
- [Ryan] You as well. Thank you both. All right everyone, Thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, and be sure to hit the bell notifications, so you get the latest episodes as soon as they become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching and we'll see you next time.