Tibbo: Modular Programmable Controllers and Software Integration Platform for the IoT
Digitalization might be the biggest revolution in the technology world and the Internet, connecting millions of users around the globe. The evolving trends of the Internet tools have already made a tremendous impact in the field. In addition, with the Internet of Things (IoT) gaining popularity, it has become easy to improve interaction between people, devices and product ecosystems. With the growing demand for IoT in varied industries, start-ups are entering the field by offering innovative tools and technologies and taking the competition up a notch. Tibbo Technology Inc. is a company that has been contributing to the sector for more than a decade.
The idea for the company’s first product – a small CPU module with built-in Ethernet networking – came to Dmitry Slepov, a Russian expatriate living in Taiwan, back in 2000, when Dmitry was working at Giga-TMS Inc., a manufacturer of Auto-ID products.
“I thought of a module that would be small, simple-to-use and equipped with an Ethernet port for native TCP/IP communications. ‘Network enablement’ of existing devices was a hot subject among auto-ID vendors at the time, so I knew there would be a market for this product,” explains Dmitry. Giga-TMS and its parent company, GIGATEK, found Dmitry’s idea fascinating and deserving of its own business unit. In 2001, Dmitry Slepov, Mark Chang, M.T. Wang, and several other shareholders had established a new company – Tibbo Technology Inc. – with the goal of making Dmitry's networking module a reality.
Tibbo initially gained traction with a line of serial-to-Ethernet modules and device servers. These became the stepping stones for its main project – development of a family of simple-to-use programmable networked modules and controllers.
The company is proud of the fact that it has been supplying the building blocks for miniature, network-enabled embedded devices (a.k.a. “IoT devices”) since 2006. It has single-handedly pursued the objective of simplifying and speeding up the development of IoT services. Not content with only building hardware, the company has developed its own embedded OS called Tibbo OS (TiOS), Tibbo BASIC and Tibbo C programming languages, and Tibbo Integrated Development Environment (TIDE) software for Windows.
“In some way, we are a software company pretending to be a hardware play” jokes Dmitry. “Ninety percent of our value comes from our firmware and software. Hardware is just a media we deliver these on.”
To further strengthen its positions in IoT, Tibbo has developed an AggreGate IoT integration platform. AggreGate is a unique product that facilitates acquisition, storage, processing and visualization of data from connected devices. AggreGate also integrates collected data into third-party enterprise systems.
IoT fosters interconnectivity and provides new communications protocols and concepts enabling fast and efficient integration of various devices and systems
Devices connected to AggreGate may be Tibbo’s own embedded modules and controllers or third-party products. AggreGate development, sales, and marketing are handled by Tibbo Systems, a sister company of Tibbo Technology. Located in Tver, Russia and managed by Victor Polyakov, its MD, Tibbo Systems works on the advancement of Tibbo cloud IoT solution and also offers project management and consultancy services.
One other Tibbo product that is quickly gaining traction with customers is its Tibbo Project System (TPS). TPS is a highly configurable and affordable automation platform. Its flexibility derives from Tibbits – miniature hardware blocks implementing specific I/O functions. “The module-based approach of TPS saves our customers money by allowing them to precisely define the features they want in their automation device,” explains Dmitry. “Hence, our TPS product line’s motto: “Take what you need. Leave out what you don’t.”
“Module-based approach gets our customer’s creative juices flowing,” continues Dmitry, “Very often our clients start with a TPS box that only has a few Tibbits in it. Once the system is in place, new ideas emerge and the box quickly fills up with additional modules performing new tasks. In a way, TPS future-proofs our customers' investment in hardware!” This flexible and modular approach is the hardware extension of Tibbo’s AggreGate platform, which is also modular.
The IoT has a greater influence on businesses today. It fosters interconnectivity and provides new communications protocols and concepts enabling fast and efficient integration of various devices and systems. Carving a niche in the IoT industry, Tibbo serves as a one-stop shop for making its customers’ projects or systems a success. Elaborating on this, Dmitry Slepov says, “By using our AggreGate cloud platform and IoT hardware, our customers can dramatically shorten time-to-market. We provide the proven hardware, software, and infrastructure so that they could focus on their core competencies.” Understanding the pulse of its customers’ business requirements, Tibbo maximizes its efforts to contribute the most toward their growth. “We contribute simultaneously as a hardware vendor, as an embedded OS developer, and as a cloud software house, whereas our competitors are typically engaged in only one of these fields. Pursuing all three of the above IoT components increases our ability to offer true end-to-end solutions,” concludes Dmitry.
Contemplating on the betterment of its clients’ businesses, Tibbo intends to expand its offering across several service domains. To this effect, the company is readying two new end-user solutions based on its AggreGate platform and TPS devices: access control and data center monitoring.
In a bid to advance the capabilities of its TPS platform, Tibbo has just announced a Linux-based line of TPS devices. With Linux onboard, TPS capabilities are now starting to gain the skills of traditional PLCs, while Tibbo solution portfolio is scaling up to SCADA and MES levels. In a strikingly innovative move, Tibbo is offering new Linux TPS (LTPS) devices with an embedded version of its AggreGate software. “The immense power of AggreGate embedded into a small DIN rail-mountable box, which is expandable with Tibbit modules. This is revolutionary!” promises Dmitry.