xmatters
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xMatters seeks messenger role in Internet of Things

“Most people are over-communicated to,” says xMatters CEO Troy McAlpin. “Part of the value in communicating is being intelligent about what is being sent. Someone has to monitor the noise and traffic… you can’t react to every false alarm.”

McAlpin knows of what he speaks. xMatters is a leader in messaging systems that bridge between machines, sensors and people and he knows from 15 years of experience at the California company that it’s important to send only information that is germane and to the point.

That’s because many customers use xMatters as the targeted notification medium for crisis communications and dealing with major incidents from fires to critical ICT outages. In those situations, in order to increase your chances of business continuity you want to be very clear and often concise in what you’re saying and have a template that specifies who receives what message. The company’s customer roster includes Tesco, Honda, Vodafone, Box, DirecTV, Sky, MGM Resorts and British American Tobacco.

In some cases, such as a known issue with a mobile phone service, there might be a mass notification; at others the message might only go to a very small constituency.

But what makes xMatters interesting is its scope for growth. The Internet of Things is often presented in futuristic terms: in our robotic tomorrow, life becomes easier as machines talk to machines and thence to human beings, delivering incredible efficiencies through a never-ending steam of status updates. But McAlpin knows that always-on, real-time communications cycle has its own challenges.

In future he sees his company participating much more in the machine-to-human process of making ‘dumb’ systems intelligent and able to communicate, for example healthcare staff being warned when blood supplies are nearing their use-by dates, or a retailer being told when a refrigeration unit has failed.

McAlpin knows that xMatters’ role will persist in the mass notification arena but he sees real scope for being what he calls the “layer of connectivity between things that were analogue and not connected” and the digital and human world. The field is open and the ‘x’ in xMatters is intended to stand for whatever matters to your organisation.

“We’re at the beginning of the curve of adoption and large funds are being earmarked,” he says. Instrumenting more systems to be able to ‘talk’ will be a big switch for many.

Growth at xMatters is pegged at about 45% per year and the 250-staff company has about $50m in annual revenues. McAlpin can see an IPO possibly coming in the next two or three years as the opportunity to be the communications backbone for more and more systems and scenarios swells.

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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