To say 2020 was a challenging year for all of us would be like saying water is wet. Duh. Instead, we turn to some of our favorite films for inspiration to explain why challenges are good for people and companies.
Today I’m happy to announce four new members have joined the InOrbit Board of Advisors, representing outstanding expertise in the field of robotics, cloud technology, supply chain management and venture funding. Our advisors help InOrbit accelerate our vision to help companies scale their robotic fleets through our cloud-based robot operations (RobOps) platform.
The four new advisors represent a wealth of experience across different fields:Martin Hitch, one of the co-founders of BossaNova Robotics, who helped the company pivot from consumer products to service robotics. During his tenure at Bossa Nova, he raised more than $40 million in venture investment.
Patricio Echague, co-founder and CTO at Split.io, is an entrepreneur and engineer passionate about data and high-performance systems. At Split Software, he’s changing the way software companies release features and add value to their customers. He was also part of the engineering founding team at RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce.
Developing modern information technology solutions of any reasonable complexity will require that you integrate existing technologies at some point during the system creation process. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to scale, you will face the decision of using an existing piece of software or building your own. The level of sophistication needed today can only be attained by building on top of other components, such as libraries, platforms or services. Just like in the old Western, experiences with these services can be good, bad, or ugly, depending on the providers you choose.
Even as InOrbit is building a platform to make it easier for robotics companies to focus on their own secret sauce, our software engineers have faced these decisions. In the course of our development, we have chosen services and components along the way. By choosing this path, we’ve also been able to add our own expertise, allowing us to augment those services to create a better platform for our customers.
Along the way, we’ve also had some mixed results that we’d like to share with you. We hope this lets you avoid some of the mistakes we made, as a way to help you speed up your own development process.
And should you choose to use the InOrbit platform yourself, we expect to be held to the highest standard.
Detecting insights from 3.8 million hours of robot monitoring data is elementary
For the last several years, we’ve all heard the quotes about data and information - it’s “the new oil”, it’s “the new science”, and that Big Data “holds all the answers.” Others have famously stated that “every company will eventually be in the data business,” or the real goal is to “turn data into information, and information into insight.”
But one of the best comments about data comes from our favorite fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, who said (via Arthur Conan Doyle), “Never theorize before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.”
The term manifesto is usually reserved for political or artistic declarations around the intentions, motives or views of an individual or group, but in recent years the technology world has seen its share of manifestos from various groups.
Explanation of a new technology, term, or the goals of such a group are seen in manifestos such as the GNU Manifesto (1985), The Hacker Manifesto (1986), The Third Manifesto (1995), and The Agile Manifesto (2001), which fundamentally changed how software is built.
It is in that spirit that we founded the Robot Operations Group (ROG - pronounced “rogue”) with a group of robotics leaders and have just released the Robot Operations Manifesto. The ROG’s mission is to further the creation of best practices for robot operations at scale. We felt that, while there are already many places to learn about how to build a robot, when it comes to the challenges that emerge when growing from 50 to 5,000 robots, there just wasn’t a venue for discussion and learning.
Today, InOrbit announced our latest funding news, with $2.6 million in seed round funding to help us on our goal to support 1 million robots that will positively impact the lives of 1 billion people.
We started InOrbit more than 2 years ago to help accelerate the adoption of robotics at scale. At the time, there were no good platforms to manage fleets of robots in the field, and most companies had to cobble together tools that were hard to maintain, and often didn’t work as their fleet grew.
Over the last two decades, we’ve seen the evolution of hardware virtualization that resulted in the cloud as we know it today. It started with Virtual Machines and then expanded to include Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Software-Defined Storage (SDS).
Software-defined networking is “an approach to networking that uses software-based controllers or application programming interfaces (APIs) to direct traffic on the network and communicate with the underlying hardware infrastructure.” (Source: VMWare) Similarly, software-defined storage separates the management and provisioning of storage from the underlying physical hardware.
Creative destruction. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? If you’re picturing a demolition derby with decorated cars driven by artists and designers… that’s not it at all.
The gale of creative destruction was first introduced by economist Joseph Shumpeter in 1942, to describe the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”.
We are excited to share that InOrbit is one of a small number of companies that have been selected as finalists for Verizon’s Built on 5G Challenge. This was an extremely competitive process, with over 500 innovators vying for the top spots. A couple of weeks ago, we got a unique chance to present to key Verizon executives and were impressed by their drive to enable innovation. The set up was a bit like a Shark Tank episode. Here’s a quick video the Verizon team put together.
The InOrbit team recently had a chance to showcase Mission Control, our cloud-based robot management platform, at RoboBusiness. This event has become one of the most important in the industry, attracting the most innovative robotics companies as well as a business audience hungry for technology to help tackle some of the hardest problems across different industries.
We had a really busy week, including co-organizing the first face-to-face meeting of the Robot Operations Working Group, presenting on stage in front of +100 people at Pitchfire, and moderating a panel on Best Practices for Robotics Operations at Scale, with great panelists from Brain Corp, Qualcomm and Service Robotics & Technologies.