In the world of physics, a particle is a minute fragment or quantity of matter — in the world of information technology, Particle (with CAPS) is the name of a software platform used for cloud-centric IoT deployments.

A ‘fleet’ of connected IoT devcies

Particle Cloud provides the necessary infrastructure to connect physical devices to the web and expose their functionality through a secure API, as well as a suite of software development tools and a Device Management Console for managing a ‘fleet’ of connected devices.

Particle co-founder and CEO Zach Supalla explains that his firm’s technology is being used ship secure and reliable IoT products in as little as six months.

“Typically, building an IoT product takes 18 to 36 months and costs millions of dollars,” claims Supalla.

Build the IoT, for US$19

“With Particle, engineers and developers can build their first prototype in an afternoon with an inexpensive hardware development kit (US$19) and can move incrementally to pilot hundreds or thousands of units and eventually to a full-scale roll-out of 100 thousand units or more,” he said.

This model is said to allow so-called ‘product creators’ and OEMs to iterate quickly and ship a higher-quality product faster. Companies like Keurig, Briggs Healthcare, and Engie (GDF Suez) have already developed new products that run on Particle Cloud.

Enterprise customers can upgrade to get private cloud deployments, enterprise uptime SLAs, enterprise support contracts, pre-built integrations with data management and analytics platforms, access controls and audit logs to track activity in the system, and storage of events and data published by devices.

Partner pleasure

In order to deliver a complete solution to customers, Particle has partnered with Google, Microsoft, IFTTT and a number of other data and analytics cloud platforms who help handle the massive quantities of data produced by IoT products.

Particle has also partnered with semiconductor companies like Broadcom, Cypress, u-blox, and ST to deliver its hardware solutions, and cellular connectivity providers like Twilio, T-Mobile, and Telefonica to provide networking.

Particle is known for Spark Core, the Photon and Electron, the firm’s hardware development kits for creating IoT prototypes. These “dev kits” rely on Particle Cloud, the company’s IoT PaaS cloud platform. To date, they have shipped more than 120,000 dev kits and built a community of 70,000 software developers and hardware engineers developing new IoT products and solutions with Particle.