Salesforce debuts IoT Cloud powered by Thunder to process billions of device events

IoT Cloud 1On Tuesday, at the beginning of Dreamforce, Salesforce presented Salesforce IoT Cloud for processing billions of customer events from the Internet of Things (IoT).

Powered by Thunder, Salesforce’s massively scalable, real-time event processing engine, IoT Cloud is designed to unlock customer insights from sensors, wireless devices, applications and others.

In an interview the week before the product launch, Dylan Steele, Salesforce’s senior director, product marketing, App Cloud, revealed that the company is very excited about this next evolution in the IoT space. “Connecting to the universe of the customer, we’re generating more data than ever,” Steele says. “Phones and web sites are delivering data at a new scale.”

As Millennials and other consumers accustomed to instantaneous gratification become the majority of customers, they have come to expect companies to be proactive rather than reactive in their customer service. And they expect it in whatever channel they are currently in, Steele says.

As a hypothetical example, Steele discussed a car with a Check Engine Light that is on. “No info—it tells me nothing,” he says. “I need to go the dealer to find out what it means.” That was how the old way of doing business played out. Now, consumers expect the dealer to proactively reach out and call in the auto driving public to inform them that routine or emergency car maintenance is necessary.

Utilizing the Thunder platform, IoT Cloud will be able to ingest thousands of events in real time. It can even scale to accommodate a company that has 5 billion events in a single day. After the data is aggregated, value is derived when it is “washed” with CRM data that already exists in Salesforce. “That way we know the car with the engine light is Dylan’s,” Steele says. “We will know that it’s been serviced twice in a year and that Dylan is a Platinum customer.” With all this information on customers, they become more engaged and the system enables better decisions, according to Steele.

This is due at least in part to the way the solution has been architected, according to industry analysts. “Thunder is a new technology platform from Salesforce (that) uses Heroku, Apache Spark and other notable pre-existing components,” says Yefim Natis, vice president and Gartner fellow at Gartner. “But it may represent the foundation of the future Salesforce Platform—web scale, event-driven, standards based. This may be the beginning of the expansion of Salesforce from a business platform to a technology platform.” And working with customers as large as industrial conglomerates like Emerson to as small as startup fleet management solution provider TeMeDa, Salesforce’s IoT Cloud is serving as the technological basis for service alerts from customer devices such as thermostats and GPS.

Combined with Salesforce’s other recent announcement of Service Cloud Lightning Console for customer support agents, Salesforce is truly trying to transform the Internet of Things into the Internet of Customers, according to Marc Benioff, Salesforce chairman and CEO.

by Derek Handova

Derek Handova is a veteran freelance journalist and corporate content marketer who contributes regularly to B2B News Network, Economy Lead and Intelligent Utility.