Axonize Co-Founder Janiv Ratson: Leveraging AI to Build a No-Code Solution for Smart Enterprises
How Axonize managed to build a game-changing no-code AIoT platform offered as a DIY service.
Founded in 2015, the company has raised over
USD 7.8M in
Series A funding from several investors, including Cornerstone Venture Partners. Based in
Ramat Gan, Israel, Axonize develops an IoT application enablement platform offered as a DIY service that supplies all necessary backend functionality. The platform's architecture enables users to offer multiple applications in multiple industries with minimal time and effort.
How was the idea of Axonize born?
Axonize was founded in
2015 by CEO Janiv Ratson and a team of three fed-up IoT platform experts, who had already connected over
25 million devices to platforms they had developed. Starting their journey in
2003, the four founders realized that although most of the platforms were essentially the same, they were actually re-developing the same server again and again for each of their customers.
They decided to build something different, a single smart enterprise platform that could handle all business types, verticals, and sensors. But even more importantly, their idea was to create more than just “smart products”, as all other existing solutions were doing. They aimed to create secure, “smart enterprises”, for service providers, with dramatically greater speed and fewer resources to enable scalability, flexibility and immediate profitability. And Axonize was born.
We like to think of ourselves as game changers. We enable customers to easily digitize their buildings and other businesses and by way of this process, gain new business insights never before accessible, to enable significant and immediate ROI for their businesses. The new digital world brings constant changes which require agile responsiveness for executives. We help our customers respond quickly and efficiently to the required changes, both internal and external to their companies, without investing large amounts of time and resources. Customers reap significant value from our solution. They receive a wide range of business insights enabling them to manage their business unit in a more efficient and transparent manner.
We like to think of ourselves as game changers. We enable customers to easily digitize their buildings and other businesses and by way of this process, gain new business insights never before accessible, to enable significant and immediate ROI for their businesses.
Prior to founding Axonize, you had a career as a tech leader assuming R&D director and technical lead roles at various companies. How did you manage to transition to the CEO role and which lessons did you take with you?
From a very young age, I have always found myself in organizations in which I was selected by members to be in a leader type role. It excites me to be in a role whereby I can help my team brainstorm new ideas and successfully implement these. In parallel, I have always been drawn to books based on the great leaders of all times. I learned a lot from these books, and am constantly trying to implement these methods in my day to day work. Many of the methods I have picked up, have actually led me to what I would define as, failed initiatives. However, a few turned out to be successful, and these are the methods that have defined how I successfully lead the company today. I am a people person, and as a leader, I always surround myself by people who are smarter and more experienced than me. I believe that teams that learn and grow together while sharing a common vision, mission and goals, become the strongest teams. Over the years, I’ve created an environment for continuous self-learning and self-development. I always make sure to surround myself by mentors and soak up their wisdom. To me mentorship is a critical component to building and sustaining a successful business.
The above, and of course my experience in the connected devices world, has led me, together with my co-founders to where we are with Axonize, in developing a no-code platform for smart enterprises and products.
Axonize aims to create secure, "smart enterprises", for service providers, with dramatically greater speed and fewer resources to enable scalability, flexibility, and immediate profitability. What role does technology play in realizing your vision?
Based on six breakthrough technologies, our no-code solution is unlike any other on the smart enterprise market. Complete with our off-the-shelf Any App and orchestration layers, our disruptive technology fits all applications and verticals, allowing you to start small and scale quickly across multiple verticals. It connects directly to the cloud and the Edge from the Axonize Platform core, enabling customer-specific configuration.
Based on six breakthrough technologies, our no-code solution is unlike any other on the smart enterprise market.
What are the 6 breakthrough technologies behind Axonize?
Axonize allows you to create new businesses and services within days by leveraging our core technologies.
1) Hierarchical Business Logic
Axonize provides service providers with the ability to have an overall view of all customers and projects they are managing and customize them in one centralized location. This orchestration feature enables you to reuse business logic and disseminate data across projects, devices, verticals and customers.
2) Cloud Gateway
Axonize receives, supports, normalizes, and transforms incoming data from multiple protocols (as is), including – TCP, UDP, Modbus, OPCUA, SNMP, HTTP, AMQP, MQTT, web sockets, and more. We take predefined data from other sources and normalize it to the Axonize structure, which enables us to support legacy devices.
3) Logic Hooks
Axonize enables you to extend the business logic (visibility, automation, analytics, reports and more,) that’s provided out-of-the-box by using Axonize hooks. These automatically trigger your own external logic, code, and/or machine learning analytics according to your definitions.
4) Universal Model
Axonize provides customizable schemas for defining Axonize entities – products, devices, applications, etc. Axonize provides a baseline, codeless schema and enables you to extend it as necessary by adding and customizing properties, operations or events.
5) Intelligent Edge
Edge enables you to run your own logic directly on the device, ie. rules engine or machine learning. Edge can be installed on any IP device, enabling it to send events to Axonize IoT Hub and listen for events originating from the Axonize portal or a 3rd party application through the Axonize portal.
6) Xstream Engine™
Enables the ingestion of millions of events and commands per second, thus supporting hyper-scale projects with real-time demands.
What is the role of AI in your product?
When artificial intelligence is combined with internet of things, we get something called Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT).
The main reason behind combining AI with IoT is, while IoT devices serve the purpose of collecting all the data and transferring it to usually cloud or any other space where data can be accumulated through the internet, AI, which is considered as the brain of AIoT is what actually helps in decision making and simulating the machines to act or respond.
For better and in-depth understanding, we can again consider the example of smart air conditioner that we discussed above. The smart air conditioners have sensors installed in them which are actually responsible for detecting the outside temperature. But a sensor can only collect data and mere collection of data does not serve the purpose of a smart device. It is the artificial intelligence component blended with IoT devices that actually helps in making intelligent decisions. Thus, the AI component in the air conditioner is what helps in adjusting the room temperature ultimately.
AI, which is considered as the brain of AIoT is what actually helps in decision making and simulating the machines to act or respond.
What was the most significant-tech challenge that your engineers had to overcome while building Axonize?
We at Axonize built one platform that fits all businesses globally, and as such the major challenge was to build something generic across all industries. The platform needs to be able to handle all verticals, easily as in ‘One application that fits all,’ which we have achieved. The second major challenge was to turn a complex system into something simple.
You have an impressive client list including TMobile, DHL, Schneider Electric among others. Could you share a particular client story?
ISS, a service company in building management, sees revenue of
€10.73 billion per year. ISS specializes in catering, cleaning, security, and support services.
ISS wanted to meet customer demands globally by capturing data to enhance operations and the structure of its buildings.
One of the noteworthy results is that Axonize enabled
ISS to cut down daily cleaning schedules from 15 to 4, which is a huge cost reduction, as well as a significant reduction in labor, not to mention enhancing customer satisfaction.
Axonize offers its services to enable the monitoring of patients in a hospital quarantine. Could you elaborate on ways Axonize is helping to battle COVID-19?
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have been working closely with the governments and enterprises in the US and globally to scale monitoring and tracking solutions. Axonize has developed a platform for complex systems like hospitals, cities, building and factories. The platform is designed to manage millions of assets, i.e. COVID-19 test kits and ventilators, and analyze and present big data streamed from a plethora of data sources. The platform is already installed in systems worldwide, including hospitals and healthcare systems.
Axonize has developed a platform for complex systems like hospitals, cities, building and factories. The platform is designed to manage millions of assets, i.e. COVID-19 test kits and ventilators, and analyze and present big data streamed from a plethora of data sources.
What are your plans going forward in terms of product, team, and sales strategy?
After all these years, and all of the platforms that my teams and I developed, my vision was clear. It was to build an innovative platform, across all devices, systems and verticals that leverages the connected world, creating a more convenient, efficient and sustainable life. That is exactly what we have done with Axonize. Our future objective is to continue to scale and grow this disruptive smart enterprise platform and to help companies build new businesses and grow their existing business with the help of our SaSS solution.
AIoT is transforming the way we live and work. What do you think is next for AIoT in your industry?
AI has a subset of various technologies like M2M communication, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and many more. These technologies enable AI to run an analysis of abstract data. It is believed that the AI process on Big Data is so quick that it can provide real-time responses to the other connected devices or interface where humans can act quickly. We’re now seeing significant investment in the convergence of IoT and AI and even more sure with this "intelligent edge". Microsoft announced in May its vision for intelligent cloud / Intelligent Edge. Azure IoT Edge will enable low-power devices to run containers and perform artificial intelligence locally while retaining a connection to the cloud for management and modeling.
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