Mountain View Voice

News - May 10, 2013

MV's Kaazing has a need for speed

by Angela Hey

Kaazing is a Mountain View company that is fueling the Internet of Things for enterprises. Its server connects people and devices instantaneously and efficiently. Kaazing bases its technology on the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) HTML5 WebSockets. It also works with Java and XML messaging interfaces.

The W3C is a standards body that is increasingly advocating an open web for all that runs on any device.

In a web address, "http:" describes how data is transferred from a web browser to a server. If you fill in a web form with your name and address and then hit "Submit", the http protocol sends many other bits besides the characters you typed. Traditional http technology creates a new connection every time you transmit information. This leads to delays, or what is known as latency.

WebSockets is a new features in HTML5 that keeps the connection between browser and server open, so each request requires far less information than with the http protocol. It is designated by "ws" instead of "http"and "wss" for secure WebSockets, analogous to "https." HTML5 with scripts becomes a foundation for software applications that run over the Internet, rather than on a single tablet, smartphone or laptop. Web connections become real-time and super fast.

Peter Moskovits, head of Real-Time Solutions at Kaazing, demonstrated how an iPhone can control a remote-controlled car, how presenters can engage huge audiences with interactive presentations and how sports fans can interact with games in real-time.

Peter turned on the car by plugging in its Raspberry Pi control computer. When it was ready it sent a message to Kaazing's server that responded by turning on the car's lights and moving its wheels.

To set up the phone, Peter typed a web address into his iPhone browser and entered a security PIN number. By merely tilting the phone, Peter controlled the car. The phone didn't need a special app. The HTML5 language running in the browser controlled the car.

You can check out the next demo, at Prezing.com, a Kaazing website. If you choose "Create Presentation" you will see presentation slides that are downloaded to your tablet or computer. Hit an arrow key on your computer keyboard and the slides fly by very fast. You can also control the slides from a smartphone. I set up a slideshow on my desktop computer, then displayed it on my Kindle and controlled the presentation on my iPhone, which simply shows two arrows and a password to connect.

The third demo showed a baseball game where viewers could predict the result of the next ball. It reminded me of PicksPal, a Mountain View company that sold its assets to Liberty Media in 2009, then disappeared. Using WebSockets lets the many fans watching a game like baseball or cricket to interact very quickly, as a ball is being thrown or a batsman is running. Traditional technology tends to be slow when there are many viewers.

When money is transferred from one bank account to another, it is useful to show the account balances in real-time so that the accounts are not put on hold. Transaction-based businesses like banking and telecommunications are potential customers for Kaazing.

Kaazing is located at 444 Castro Street. From their orange-themed 11th floor offices are wonderful views of the Bay, encircled by mountains. As Peter told me, looking from Grizzly Peak near Berkeley to the telescopes on Mt. Hamilton above San Jose, you can see how Mountain View got its name. The company just received an infusion of $15 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), raising its total financing to $39 million. The company is pursuing enterprise customers and expanding globally.

Angela Hey advises technology companies on marketing and business development. She can be reached at amhey@techviser.com.

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