Last week, we hosted our first event specifically focused on our Partners, that we decided to call Barbara Partners Day.
When we started designing the concept of what would soon become Barbara OS and Barbara Panel, we had something very clear: we would need partners to succeed. Barbara Software platform (formed by Barbara OS and Barbara Panel) is a technology that makes the IoT deployments easier and adds security to the devices. But we need partners to use that technology and do those deployments. That’s why we launched our Partnership Program a few months ago.
During these past months, we’ve worked hard to introduce and explain the potential of Barbara to system integrators, hardware manufacturers, service providers, distributors, and other companies. By organizing a partner-oriented event, we wanted to create a meeting point to share experiences, projects and use cases, and give orientation on how to leverage our technology to create successful business models. And so we did.
On Barbara Partners Day 2019, we welcomed more than 50 people that gave us the opportunity to speak about Barbara Software platform and how others have started deploying IoT thanks to it. It was a half-day event that we decided to structure in 4 different talks:
- Building with Barbara – What is Barbara and how partners can define a business strategy upon this technology.
- Sharing a Use Case – Demo on an actual project that one of our partners executed, and how Barbara can integrate into other technology platforms.
- What’s new – Introducing Barbara Aqua, the upcoming new version, and its features, both in Barbara OS and Barbara Panel.
- The key is in the ecosystem – Why we think partners are essential and how we can join forces from a marketing perspective.
Our CEO, David Puron, opened the event with a brief talk aiming to set the context for the rest of the morning: What we mean with IoT and why we think it is worth to make business around it. One statement was the conclusion: IoT is now. IoT is a means to optimize processes and create new revenue models, so companies in every professional sector are starting to work with it. The moment to position your company as an IoT Service Provider or an IoT Integrator and become a reference is now. And if we don’t do that, someone else will.
Building with Barbara
It is important that our partners perfectly know what the key elements in Barbara are, and how they can build an IoT service upon them. We wanted to highlight the flexibility of Barbara and explain that, in the end, it is a powerful set of tools that allows partners to address a huge variety of IoT projects, no matter what their typology is. We used a simile to illustrate this concept: a Swiss army knife.
This “toolbox” we provide the partners with is mainly formed of two key components: Barbara OS and Barbara Panel. With them, partners have a means to:
- provide security at the edge, in IoT deployments
- adapt to different typologies of projects and integrate different technologies
- create IoT services.
We made a special effort in remarking the importance of security in IoT. We have talked about this on several occasions in the past and we have written several articles on the topic (like this one, this one, or this other one). Security is not only the biggest concern in companies deploying IoT projects but also a major barrier for the adoption of IoT. The security chain is as strong as the weakest link, and that link is the device. That’s why Barbara focuses on the device. With a security-by-design approach, we have created a secure Linux operating system specially developed for IoT devices. And as part of this design and development process, we implement those guidelines and recommendations from the GSMA, OWASP IoT project and the IIC Security Framework related to the device and the lifecycle management. And we have recently successfully passed a complete security audit over the whole system.
But what’s probably most appealing for our partners is the capability of building IoT services upon Barbara. Barbara OS and Barbara Panel bring an SDK and an API respectively that allows partners to leverage all their functionality and benefits to create applications and services. We want to walk with our partners and guide them through the route of transformation, where Barbara can ease the path.
Sharing a use case
For us, it is essential that our partners fully understand the potential behind Barbara and how our tools can truly help them grow their business in the IoT segment. Sharing a real use case with them is the best way for them to picture it. So, during the event, we presented one recent project we have participated in that explains very well the flexibility of Barbara and the integration possibilities: Integration of IoT gateways in a photovoltaic plant and use of a Unified Communications software to interact with them. The primary goal of the project was to have the means to get the measures collected by photovoltaic counters and send it to the cloud. This project emphasizes 2 main integrations:
- The integration with industrial protocols: Thanks to the flexibility of Barbara, we were able to develop a program over Barbara OS that understands the protocol used by the photovoltaic counters and parses that information so it can be sent remotely to the cloud.
- The integration with communication platforms: In collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, one of our Technology partners, we integrated Barbara and Rainbow, their UCaaS platform. That brings a tremendous UX potential to the solution. The information collected by the IoT gateways are not only sent to the cloud but also reported to the necessary stakeholders via chat messages or emails. Moreover, by implementing a chatbot, those stakeholders can interact and operate the device itself, leveraging the capabilities of the lifecycle management that Barbara Panel provides.
We will soon post a video and another article talking about this particular use case in depth, so stay tuned if you want to know more.
At this point in the event, it was the moment to give some pieces of news. After a quick review of our recent milestones since we started working on the product, we presented our new version of Barbara, that will be available in the coming weeks: Barbara Aqua. It will be our second major version of the software and includes quite a few enhancements in both Barbara OS and Barbara Panel.
From Barbara OS perspective it’s worth to mention the following new functionalities:
- Enhanced security: Obviously, security keeps being key for us, so we are including some new features such as hardware-based security features (we are now supporting IMX6 and IMX7 platforms), protection against cold-boot attacks and enhanced encryption mechanisms.
- Integration of Hyperledger: In collaboration with IBM, one of our technology partners we have been working in different use cases where their hyperledger-based blockchain is used in Barbara-based IoT deployments.
- Integration of docker: Our partners will now have the liberty and benefits of using docker technology to deploy their applications on Barbara OS
In Barbara Panel, we have fully refactored the whole stack, both backend and frontend to make it fully scalable. We have migrated to a microservices architecture, based on our API (that has been extended to cover absolutely all the power that Panel originally brought). We have also done a whole review of the UX, to make the web dashboard much more functional and intuitive.
All these improvements make Barbara Software a much more powerful tool that gives us a great potential to offer our partners.
The key is in the ecosystem
Our success is bound to our partners’ success. That’s why our marketing plan for this year includes actions specially designed for that. We will keep creating content, videos, webinars, articles… that are useful for the IoT ecosystem in general. But not only that; we want to ally with our partners and host theme events, create joint content and promote our common use cases so our social and mediatic exposure increases.
And finally, as a closure for the event, we wanted to recognize the special efforts from 2 of our partners: Esema and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Thanks to the collaboration with them, we have successfully launched the IoT project for photovoltaic plants we previously shared.
This has been our first partners’ event, but we are already eager to host next year’s!
Article written by Juan Pérez-Bedmar, Pre-sales Manager at Barbara IoT.