EDGE EXECUTIVE INSIGHT – Blaine Mathieu, CEO of Pratexo
In the lead up to Edge Computing World, we’re taking some time to speak to key Executives from the leading companies supporting the show. Today we’re talking with Blaine Mathieu, CEO of Pratexo.
Hi Blaine, As CEO you talk extensively with customers in industrial space. What are their most important needs and use cases that can be met by edge computing solutions?
Over the last 10 years, industrial companies have been moving to the cloud. Most early IoT platforms were cloud-based and still are. The challenge facing these companies is that issues like data security, privacy, regulatory compliance, and data latency, don’t lend themselves to putting raw data streams from machines into central clouds. So Pratexo brings the cloud down to the data, instead of bringing the data up to the cloud.
Edge Computing is often cited as the place where IT (Information Technology) meets OT (Operations Technology). In your experience is this true, and what challenges and opportunities arise?
The evolution of the IT and OT functions over the last 5 years has been really interesting and changing rapidly. It used to be that these functions had minimal communication and collaboration. But the latest data I saw indicated that almost 70% of OT operators are now under the CIO. This makes sense, as boards need one throat to choke regarding using technology to drive operational improvements.
The ‘operational’ edge is where the action is really at because that’s where the business really happens for industrial companies. CIOs are becoming more comfortable there as they can now take their experience in cloud computing solutions and apply it to the far edge, using platforms like Pratexo.
Security and data sovereignty are often major considerations on the factory floor. How does edge computing support these areas of concern?
By definition, processing the majority of data locally means that data privacy and data security are easier to ensure. Simply that many fewer places where an intercept can take place. Related to that, regulatory compliance is becoming a big driver of solutions powered by Pratexo. For example, our work in the Norwegian power grid is driven by the fact that, by law, grid operators are not allowed to connect the grid over the public internet. For them, local processing is not a nice-to-have – it’s required.
How does Pratexo work with the ecosystem to bring compelling solutions to market? For instance, how do you work with ABB?
Pratexo is very focused on partnering with two types of companies. First are the key industrial players like ABB. Their hardware powers a substantial portion of the world’s infrastructure, transportation, electrification, and manufacturing projects. They are now moving rapidly towards offering their solutions as a service, which means they need to wrap software around their hardware that can ensure it is managed in real time and always running at peak efficiency.
We were excited to have been recently chosen winner of ABB’s Electrification Startup Challenge, out of over 100 companies that entered. Now we are officially on the ABB product roadmap, and a key part of ABB’s journey to transform its products and its customer experience.
The other ecosystem partners we are focused on are Systems Integrators and Solution Developers. IoT-related projects have always been held back by the number and complexity of the components that make up a solution. While our platform dramatically accelerates the efforts of these SIs, they are still a critical piece of the puzzle.
Solution Developers are also key to our go-to-market efforts. Many of them have developed cloud-based solutions over the last decade. Now Pratexo micro clouds can help take their solutions all the way to the far edge where they can operate most effectively.
What are you looking forward to most about your involvement in Edge Computing World?
Last year’s Edge Computing World was really Pratexo’s ‘coming out party.’ Winning Edge Computing Startup of the Year truly accelerated our efforts in the market. This year, we are excited to show off our progress through a series of keynotes, training sessions, panels, and the Micro Cloud University we are holding in our booth. We can’t wait for you to check them out!