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Tech Matters with Pete Harris: Kaazing’s Living Web For Everything-as-a-Service

Founded in Silicon Valley back in 2007 as a better way to deliver interactive web apps, Kaazing is getting a new lease of life with the emergence of what it calls the Living Web – its marketing spin on what’s more often called the Internet of Things (IoT), where distributed applications of all kinds communicate and collaborate to deliver fully functional services to both businesses and individuals.

As applications in the financial markets are increasingly delivered as services, for both human consumption on a wide variety of devices, and for machine processing in the cloud and enterprise data centres, so the technologies that underpin the IoT have the opportunity to become a ubiquitous data fabric for finance. In order to be considered, they will need to provide requisite performance, scalability and security, and that’s what Kaazing – and its new leadership – is focused on.

While founders Jonas Jacobi and John Fallows are staying with the company as president and CTO, respectively, the company will no doubt be driven upwards to meet these opportunities and challenges by new CEO Vikram Mehta and chief architect Todd Montgomery.

Mehta has a background in enterprise systems and data communications, and was founding CEO of Nortel spinout Blade Network Technologies, selling it to IBM in 2010 and then leading IBM’s System Networking division. Meanwhile, Montgomery joins Kaazing from data management specialist Informatica, where he was vice president of architecture since 2010. Before that, he was CTO at low-latency messaging pioneer 29West, which Informatica acquired.

No doubt Mehta will look to build the company’s position in the IoT marketplace (which IT analyst IDC reckons has a $7.3 trillion potential) by investment in sales, support and marketing operations, which will likely mean adding to the $37 million in venture backing the company has so far secured. And as for technology, Montgomery’s experience at handling the extreme performance requirements of Wall Street should feed into Kaazing’s future developments as they scale to meet the IoT challenge.

So what’s the Kaazing secret sauce? Unlike standard web communications, which is mostly focused on the request/response delivery of static HTML pages via the HTTP protocol, Kaazing’s standards-based WebSockets technology is a low-overhead, full duplex protocol allowing simultaneous communications in both directions, and delivery of both binary and text payloads. It also leverages the underlying TCP protocol support for Port 80 to traverse firewalls, routers and other network equipment that can make machine-to-machine data transfers tricky.

Already in the financial markets, Kaazing’s technology has been incorporated into trading portals, in dashboards for risk management and in performance monitoring systems. But its deployment could increase significantly as cloud/services-based delivery (via public and private internets) and mobile access becomes the norm for applications from market and reference data, to pre-trade analytics to trade execution, compliance and risk processing. And everything else.

Pete Harris is Principal of Lighthouse Partners, an Austin, TX-based consulting company that helps innovative technology companies with their marketing endeavors. www.lighthouse-partners.com.

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