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VMblog Expert Interview: Benjamin Thomas of EDJX Discusses the Role of Serverless Edge Computing in IoT


VMblog had the pleasure of connecting with newly appointed EDJX CEO, Benjamin Thomas, and we learned more about their serverless edge platform and how the technology is shaping the future of computing and IoT.

VMblog:  EDJX just announced that you have been appointed its new CEO.  Can you please tell us about your new role and why EDJX?

Benjamin Thomas:  Thank you. It’s an exciting time to be the CEO of EDJX.  Even though EDJX is a startup, the vision of EDJX and how we have been able to see the future of computing and potentially lead it is amazing. I love the passion of the team…we all know we are working on something hugely important for the future of computing.  I don’t really want to change much. I just want to accelerate what we’re doing right.  One example of acceleration that we have now opened up our platform to developers… more are joining every week!
The Internet of Things is advancing faster than people thought, some might call it an explosion, with 1T devices expecting to be connected by 2030.  This is not only going to put tremendous pressure on the Cloud but also require a different architecture.  EDJX has built this, and because of this, we expect to lead the next wave of computing, by enabling new use cases that have never been done before.

VMblog:  What is different about EDJX’s serverless edge platform from the competition?

There are a number of serverless platforms out there, but most of them are built using centralized architecture, using traditional cloud tools designed for cozy, protected data centers.  I think a lot of the developers of these platforms just assume centralized is the answer and it’s what they know. The edge is a messy place, and you have to badge out of the data center to discover the edge.

In the future where you have hundreds of billions of devices, compute and storage will need to move out to the edge.  The sheer amount of data and processing will require hyper-local compute and storage to process the data generated.  The cloud won’t be able to keep up, and micro-data centers at the far edge will be necessary.  This is where EDJX comes in with our operating system.  At EDJX, we believe we’ve solved the problem with proprietary, decentralized architecture, a self-healing mesh network that is able to live on the edge, that allows enterprises to quickly and efficiently deploy to the edge – at lower cost and complexity.  Also, developers can connect their sensors directly to our EdjBlocks for virtual real time signal processing, something that you can’t do, or would not want to do, in a data center.

The key architectural difference in our solution is it is peer-to-peer, vs centralized. It’s built to live at the edge and even what we call the “far edge”. Our platform automatically chooses the closest node to the end user (which could even be a sensor) in an event-driven serverless platform. Infrastructure needs to be smart enough to look at an event and then provision what needs to be provisioned, at literally the operating system level. Our platform does this automatically for the developer, so the developer can focus on solving, building, and scaling very interesting things.
VMblog:  How is serverless at the edge shaping the future of computing and IoT as EDJX sees it?

When we go to IoT conferences, everyone is talking about using Serverless platforms to roll out their next project.  It makes sense when you think about it. Most IoT projects fail not because of the engineering of the end point, but because of the dev ops stack.  Serverless takes away a lot of this risk.  Serverless applications are a collection of functions that are each responsible for a single task and respond to user actions or network requests. With serverless, instead of running an entire application from one’s own server, it’s broken down into smaller functions and sent via the internet. Each function is specific in what it does, and is faster and easier to create, test, and even change down the road. Serverless computing provides freedom from building and maintaining servers. It also reduces risk as serverless platform providers have dedicated systems and processes in place to manage security and data integrity.  We can scale the infrastructure as demand grows. It’s cost effective, too, with users only paying for the computing power they use.

However, as I mentioned earlier. Not all serverless platforms are built for the edge. The vast majority of IoT happens at the edge, so developers need to think about whether the platform they are choosing can take them all the way to the edge or even the far edge.  For instance, If a drone company needs an array of sensors along its flight path, these sensors can be attached directly to our EdjBlocks, which also deliver the serverless functions and store data. We believe that is an important distinction in the marketplace. Most of the other serverless platforms deliver their services strictly from a data center.
VMblog:  You mentioned that EDJX is onboarding developers.  How does that play into your emphasis on serverless at the edge and IoT?
Yes, we’re actively looking for developers to come on board and code. Our easy to use, intuitive serverless computing environment is perfect for building powerful applications. We’re encouraging developers to join us to build and run applications with us as being with EDJX means there is no need to manage servers or maintain underlying infrastructure. Currently, we support applications built with C++ or Rust with more languages to be added soon. Readers can find out more about building apps on EDJX serverless here.  
VMblog:  What do you see as your main priority at EDJX for the rest of 2022?

We have now opened up our platform to developers, so our priority is to carefully listen to feedback from developers as we grow our developer base.  We are also onboarding customers that have some exciting use cases, like sub 5 millisecond sensor response rate.  To my knowledge, only EDJX can accomplish this. We plan to launch new features at upcoming conferences, including ITS World Congress, and Edge Computing World, where we will be running a hackathon with lots of cool prizes. 

EDJX’s vision is to deploy to thousands of locations to create a serverless edge platform that’s fast, reliable, and secure. We  run code at ultra-low latency, closer to users and connected things than ever before. We continue to locate enterprises, software vendors, and other developers that need our platform to make their vision real and affordable.  For instance, we are working with a drone company that is trying to solve the problem of pilot handoff along a flight path. This is where EDJX really shines, as their flight control program can automatically hop nodes based on our architecture.

Data processing needs to be closer to where data is being generated and EDJX understands that the edge is everywhere – a thousand feet from connected machines and devices at all times.  Computing in the era of IoT is moving out of the realm of the abstract – mobile apps, websites, and software-as-a-service platforms – and into the real world to power augmented reality, empower decision-making via AI and machine learning, operate cars, and increase public safety. The EDJX platform is foundational to these changes. Our priority for the rest of the future is to create a company that will actually accelerate revolutionary technological change, by making it a reality.  We are the easy-button for the edge.



Benjamin Thomas is the CEO of EDJX, the intelligent edge OS and computing platform that makes it easy to write, deploy, and execute IoT and other applications using serverless computing and an edge mesh network of micro-compute and storage nodes to minimize latency, eliminate expensive backhauling of data, accelerate content delivery, and rapidly deploy IoT sensors at the far edge. His diverse technology and business experience includes being an industry disrupter in the travel and veterinary services industry. In prior ventures, he managed large-scale offshore development teams, overseeing the development of over 100 software applications. Benjamin founded and grew a chain of veterinary practices to $42 million in revenue and 450 employees through 28 acquisitions in 7 states. The practice grew 25% per year topline and 35% margin growth from inception, and was sold to a PE funded group in 2020, yielding a 100% return to initial investors. Benjamin advised Goldman Sachs on a novel strategy to enhance earnings of a subsidiary prior to initial public offering in 2004 of Strategic Hotel Capital. He founded a group to lead the management buyout of the largest private hotel room distributor, with $360 million in annual bookings in 2003. The company tripled before selling to PE in 2009, yielding an average IRR of 39% to investors. Benjamin’s career began as an engineer for NASA\Lockheed Martin, followed by Accenture. Benjamin was a nominee for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from Tulane University, and an MS, Management from Stanford University. 

Published Tuesday, September 06, 2022 9:01 AM by David Marshall
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