Edge Executive Insight – Allen Salmasi, CEO, Veea, Inc
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 Allen Salmasi, CEO of Veea, Inc.
Hi Allen ! Veea is deeply invovled in the Edge. What exciting markets and use cases are you seeing for edge computing right now?
As an edge platform provider, we see many exciting applications that cut across many verticals, including retail, commercial real-estate, construction, farming, medical, cities/public infrastructure, and more. In retail, we are improving the in-store retail experience and creating new revenue opportunities for retailers with highly targeted advertising through our new TROLLEE RetailHub Smart Shopping Cart solution. In Commercial real-estate, Veea Edge Platform solutions are being deployed in office buildings to monitor and improve air quality for the post-pandemic return to work and are expanding commercial building service offerings from there. In construction, we are supporting the deployment of intelligent safety systems, as well as creation of mobile, remote, wireless-WAN connected IoT-enabled LANs on construction sites. In farming, we are a part of the Rural Cloud Initiative’s Precision Agriculture solution in deployment at Grand Farm, N. Dakota, where information from wireless remote soil sensors is being used to improve crop yields. The solution possibilities supported by edge computing are limited only by the imaginations of the problem-solvers, because the value proposition of edge computing is clear – faster response times, reduced WAN and Internet bandwidth, autonomous functionality, a reduced attack surface, and more.
How do you see edge computing in the context of post pandemic business recovery?
Edge Computing is a very real component in the post-pandemic plans of many businesses. I touched upon that in my previous answer, in which I referred to our air-quality monitoring solution for office buildings. But the pandemic has permanently changed the way many of us work. Remote work has now become commonplace, and bad actors have seized upon that reality to focus their attack vectors there. At Veea, we have developed a highly secure “plug & play” remote work solution, vTPN, which is built on VeeaHub smart computing hub elements, to improve remote worker and satellite office security. At the same time, these VeeaHubs can be used by enterprises to deploy their applications close to the remote workers, reducing traffic to the datacenter, improving responsiveness for their employees, and providing a platform for new service creation.
How do you see edge computing being managed and controlled?
Placing processing at the edge is only the beginning of an edge computing solution. We have always believed that control and management of an edge computing platform must be architected from the beginning for a variety of reasons, including security and scalability. That is why the Veea Edge Platform was designed with cloud-based edge management capabilities. Every deployed VeeaHub connects to this edge management service for activation and configuration, software maintenance, authentication and authorization, application distribution, and orchestration. In fact, our VeeaWare software is a distributed set of software elements running on both VeeaHubs and in the cloud, all working together to provide the management and control capabilities that any distributed computing solution requires. This is one of the key differentiators between the Veea Edge Platform and a collection of point solutions – we approached the edge computing problem from a comprehensive system perspective. This makes it simpler for our customers to implement, deploy and maintain their solutions. It is also one of the key reasons why Gartner identified us as a “2021 Cool Vendor in Edge Computing”.
How can edge computing be effectively secured?
There are three aspects to security for edge computing. The starting point of securing the edge is making the hardware platform totally secure and clone-proof. The VeeaHub hardware platform is secured through a combination of hardware-based secure boot supported by a combination of cloud-based bootstrap and enrollment servers with Single Sign-On (SSO) capability across the entire platform. Secondly, the VeeaHub platform provides for comprehensive “non-bare metal” distributed edge computing, with integrated connectivity solutions and a virtualized software environment to run applications. This is all targeted for the “Device Edge” where VeeaHubs create a connectivity and computing micro-cloud. To provide for highly secure sandboxed applications in this virtualized environment, Veea has implemented secure lightweight Docker containers with a licensed execution environment – including for its network interfaces. This implementation provides for a highly secure application execution environment outside of the datacenter, on the customer premises. The third leg of security stool is Cloud-managed “full-stack security” with capabilities comparable to other leading Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) networking solutions but with extensibility to the endpoints or leaf devices (e.g., sensors or cameras), Zero Trust Networking, zero touch “plug & play” deployments, and secure cloud-based management and maintenance of VeeaHub units.
It is a very methodical, meticulously-architected approach to security, because we deploy VeeaHubs in the real world, at the device edge – where access points and wireless routers are commonly found. So we knew from the start that relying on a “physical security” approach would not be possible, and that the edge required a more robust, systematic approach than would typically be applied in hyperscalers’ cloud computing environments, for example.
How does Veea work with the ecosystem to bring compelling solutions to market?
We believe that the ecosystem of technology partners and solution integrators are critical to our success, and we strive to develop those partnerships with leaders in their respective technology areas and verticals. To effectuate this vision and enable our ecosystem partners, Veea offers the VeeaHub Toolkit (“VHT”) along with an open software development environment solely for the Docker containers so its customers, partners and third parties can develop applications that run within the secure containers on VeeaHubs. Apps developed by third-party developers or ecosystem partners could be either custom apps for their clients or for general availability to the broad Veea Edge Platform user community.
We have further extended our Veea Edge Platform into the Microsoft Azure IoT ecosystem by developing platform capabilities that gained “Azure certified for IoT” certification for our VeeaHub products. This allows Azure IoT Moby containers to run side-by-side with VeeaHub platform application containers.
But from a more market vertical-specific perspective, we recognize that as a horizontal edge platform provider, we must rely on these partners to know their specific markets’ needs. We then help them to understand the benefits our specific edge platform implementation can bring to their solutions. Because our system is architected as a complete end-to-end platform solution, we offer simplicity and ease of deployment. And in contrast to other architectural approaches that may be more “cloud-out” than “edge-in” focused, we pride ourselves on being cloud-agnostic. Our customers can use whatever clouds they want, and we can help them bring it all together.
We also work to build relationships with technology partners, both on the IoT device side, and on the application side. As an example of an ecosystem partner running applications on the Veea Edge Platform, Wynd Technologies’ innovative software-defined air quality sensors and software applications work in combination with our edge platform to provide a near turnkey experience. We also work with companies like Codit, a leading Azure IoT solution vendor in Europe, because our platform makes it easy for them to employ VeeaHub devices as a combined Azure IoT Edge Device and Gateway to connect to many different devices over multiple wireless technologies to solve a variety of different challenging customer problems, quickly. We expect a great deal of progress in IoT platform partnerships in the coming year.
How do you see edge computing and distributed architectures evolving in the future?
The VeeaHub platform is an example of edge computing with a distributed architecture. Both indoor and outdoor VeeaHub models can mesh together using an advanced mesh networking capability, called vMeshÔ, to create a micro-cloud throughout the coverage area (e.g., akin to a distributed micro-datacenter) at the customer premises such as in an office or apartment complex, a train, a large public venue, or even throughout an entire city. vMesh networking can be established through both wireless and wired connections to increase the extent of the area covered by a given mesh and reduce the number of backhaul connections. This scalability and extensibility is highly desirable for IoT applications, while also minimizing the costs associated with structured cabling and unnecessary backhaul connections. The containerized apps can be instantiated on any VeeaHub node within the coverage area of vMesh to instantaneously provide for a “Computing Mesh”, a microservice-based “Service Mesh”, an “Application Mesh” and an “Edge Intelligence Mesh” over the “Connectivity Mesh”. The routing within the mesh is adaptable and automatically managed by the containerized edge applications running on VeeaHubs to provide for the desired QoS and QoE delivered to the edge devices.
We believe that edge computing supported by a connectivity and computing mesh and a distributed architecture is an ideal solution for the introduction of 5G private networks as either a standalone non-public network (SNPN) or public network integrated non-public network (PNI-NPN) as defined by 3GPP standards. In order to accelerate the implementation of such private networks within the scope of both 3GPP and LF Edge standards, much like the “plug and play” initiatives Microsoft drove with Windows, a similar effort is needed to make it easier to discover and connect all kinds of IoT devices to edge platforms.
What are you looking forward to most about your involvement in Edge Computing World?
We are eagerly anticipating connecting with new potential ecosystem partners, so that we can learn what innovations they are bringing to the edge computing arena and have them realize the benefits and advantages that being part of the Veea Edge Platform ecosystem can bring them. Just as our platform can be employed at the network device edge for Microsoft Azure IoT applications, our platform architecture is flexible enough to extend other cloud-managed edge computing solutions. We truly believe that we have a novel approach to edge computing. The time for explosive growth is here, and we believe that with the proper partners, we can achieve tremendous success together.
Thanks Allen ! We’ll look forward to hearing more from Veea at the show !!
Veea CRO William Hurley will be presenting a Keynote on “Strategic Thinking and Production Execution at the Edge” at Edge Computing World on October 13th.