One of my takeaways from Citrix Synergy was that that Octoblu has weathered the “is it core?” storm, and is now considered a part of Citrix’s vision moving forward. What originally was shown to the public as little more than “geek pron,” automatically doing something based on specific activities (e.g. lighting Chris Fleck’s Tesla or playing Eye of the Tiger with a flick of the wrist or a tweet), now appears to have found a place in Citrix’s overall vision.
Right after the acquisition, it was speculated that it was an “acqui-hire” so that Citrix could gain the services of Geir Ramleth, who was a co-founder and Citrix proponent back in his days at Bechtel. Geir stuck around at Citrix for a year or so as their Chief Strategy Office and GM of Workspace Services, but has since departed. Octoblu’s other co-founder Chris Matthieu has stuck around as the Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix, and has been presumably been tasked with making IoT a viable enterprise technology.
The best examples about how Octoblu could integrate right after the acquisition centered around integration with GoToMeeting, lighting up conference rooms when people attended and sending out transcriptions when the meeting was over. It was hardly something to get excited about, and certainly not the kind of thing that enterprises would seek out. Since then, though, use cases have presented themselves in health care, optimizing data entry for healthcare workers that use many devices to enter data into different systems.
Still, the potential use cases for IoT appear the be limited to certain verticals, and we’ve yet to see anything that would indicated widespread horizontal adoption. In many ways, IoT seems like a solution looking for a problem. It’s awesome, and I think it will be beneficial to the world from a high level, but helping IT departments in large enterprises seems like a stretch here and now.
Shawn Bass is giving a session at BriForum Boston 2016 called “IoT: Can we move past the Internet of Toys to the Internet of Things, please?” Personally, this may be the session I’m most looking forward to, because while he shares the same frustration as I do, Shawn is also going to talk about where it does fit in and why he believes it’s one of the most important trends in IT in the last 50 years.
So it could be that Citrix has done the absolute right thing by keeping Octoblu around and banking a part of the future plans on what IoT can mean to them. The Octoblu team is very passionate about what they do, and I hope that continues when the objects they’re working with change from the latest wearable widgets and embedded technology with ‘das blinkenlights’ to comparably boring corporate widgets that might prove enormously useful despite a boring exterior.