Can OVH be the European champion for small business IoT?
Europe also needs a major IoT partner who can not only deliver the applications and provide a sales channel for companies selling IoT devices but also a company who is capable of delivering the backbone for IoT. One of the challenges here is the amount of bandwidth that IoT will demand and the fact that customers will need big data solutions to consume and understand the data that IoT generates.
What is missing is OVH involvement in the various European Commission projects for IoT and software development. It has yet to announce a major deal to host any of the various start-up competitions nor has it hooked to any of the EU initiatives that are currently ongoing. If it were able to do that, it has the potential with its existing data centre footprint, and its new plans, to gain partners in this emerging space and give them access to a truly global market.
It is not just about the competition but the ability to deliver the backend resources. This is where Intel comes in. It is keen to ensure that OVH partners see its platform and tools as their preferred option when they come to building out their IoT backend. Last year, OVH announced a deal with IBM to deploy IBM Power Systems inside its network. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to have been as successful as both companies would like, with the IBM team at the OVH Summit unable to provide any information as to the success of the deployment to date.
Whoever, OVH partners go with, Intel or IBM, one thing is certain, both companies are willing to throw money and technology at customers in order to capture market share. OVH has been steadily moving away from its roots of lots of small, self-built, servers cooled by a system that started life inside a fish tank. It is now deploying the latest processors from Intel and IBM into its data centres and both of these will be important to any large scale IoT project.
It was impossible to come away from the OVH Summit without a feeling of optimism. The company is making all the right noises in terms of growth and its future direction. It has announced deals with Intel and Sigfox that will underpin its ambitions in IoT and with a €1 million prize pot, it should be able to attract a lot of start-ups looking for somewhere to show off their wares.
But there is risk here as well for OVH. It must reconsider its position about not playing matchmaker to its partners if it wants to develop a successful SaaS Academy. It also needs to sort out the problems that are beginning to dog it on Internet forums where the new generation of developers that it so badly wants are located. If it does neither even a €1 million prize for IoT will only deliver it a fraction of the developers and companies it is capable of serving.