Exclusive: Pilixo Emerges From Stealth Mode With IoT Cloud Management

Pilixo, launched by former Kaseya CEO Gerald Blackie, will emerge from stealth mode sometime today. At first glance, Pilixo is a cloud-based platform for managing networked devices worldwide -- the Internet of Things (IoT). But take a closer look and you'll find that Pilixo is an extendible platform -- potentially empowering software developers to write management apps that plug into the Pilixo system.

Pilixo CEO Gerald Blackie and Chief Revenue Officer Michael Sanders

Pilixo CEO Gerald Blackie and Chief Revenue Officer Michael Sanders

In an exclusive interview, Blackie and Chief Revenue Officer Michael Sanders (formerly VP of strategic accounts at Kaseya) demonstrated Pilixo for After Nines Inc. several weeks ago -- ahead of today's official company unveiling.

Pilixo's goal: Manage any type of device that has an IP address -- computers, tablets, sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints and plenty more. Moreover, Pilixo will strive to help customers take their existing client-server management applications -- and "cloudify" them via the Pilixo framework.

Who Will Plug In?

The most interesting piece of the strategy likely involves Pilixo's APIs. It's safe to say the company wants to create an app store of sorts -- allowing customers to leverage all sorts of IT management apps. I suspect the first apps will be designed for compliance, security, storage, performance optimization and more -- running in the Pilixo cloud and exposed through the company's unified dashboard. 

Two early application examples are called Bodi (for corporate compliance) and Curo:Mac (for Mac OS support).

Bodi records and stores all computer activity -- capturing video from every monitored endpoint and moving it to Pilixo's cloud in real time. (Blackie and Sanders described a range of ways Bodi manages the video data to ensure it doesn't become too large and doesn't overwhelm Pilixo's cloud. Check in with the company for the technical answers.)

In terms of privacy and compliance, all the information is encrypted -- and customers hold the encryption key. Blackie thinks Bodi can help companies to spot IP and data theft, reduce financial fraud, minimize inappropriate user behavior, meet compliance regulations and plenty more. 

Curo:Mac, meanwhile, allows IT managers to provision and manage Mac OS services. I think Curo is still under development and coming real soon. Upon launch, it should allow IT team members to perform Mac software updates, deployments, full system configurations, audits and more.

I could be wrong, but the Curo:Mac name suggests to me that we may eventually see Curo:Windows, Curo:Linux and more...

Managing the Internet of Everything

So where is Pilixo heading next? A clue comes from Bodi itself. The product's name comes from Bodhi -- a Buddhism term that describes an awakening or a state of all-knowing. 

In some ways, Blackie and some Pilixo team members have been down this road before -- back at Kaseya. But this time, the road has transformed into multiple global highways heading off into multiple directions -- and it's going to take plenty of help to navigate and manage millions of devices riding those highways.

A decade ago, Blackie and many of his Pilixo peers built Kaseya -- an IT platform built mostly for PC management. It started out as a client-server system but gradually shifted to a cloud system. Insight Venture Partners acquired Kaseya and rolled in some third-party software in mid-2013, further modernizing the platform. Blackie and the former Kaseya management team exited the company when the buyout occurred.

Generally speaking, most early PC management platforms attracted a few dozen ISVs to the party -- mostly involving storage, security, and data-protection add-ons. Fast forward to the present, and Pilixo hopes its pure cloud approach -- coupled with APIs that plug into the system -- will attract hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of ISVs that help businesses to manage just about every device or application on the IoT highway. 

Big Ambitions, Big Challenges

Pilixo, like Kaseya during its early days, is boot-strapped (i.e., self-funded) and doesn't plan to raise angel investor or venture capital dollars. The approach means Pilixo controls 100 percent of its strategy and destiny -- but I'm curious to see what that means in terms of how quickly Pilixo can roll out new features, staff up the support team, and more.

In some ways, Pilixo will depend on crowdsourcing -- but not for dollars and cents. Instead, the company hopes to attract crowds of ISVs onto its platform -- potentially inspiring developers to write a new generation of IT management software that runs and resides in Pilixo's cloud.

The obvious question: What type of revenue model can Pilixo's ISV partners expect? I don't have the answer to that yet.

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