Salesforce tackles the IoT head-on with 'Thunder' and a new cloud

IoT Cloud will help marketers personalize their interactions with customers, Salesforce says

A new cloud offering from Salesforce aims to turn the Internet of Things into the "Internet of Customers," company chairman and CEO Marc Benioff will tell an audience of thousands of customers on Tuesday.

IoT Cloud, which will be unveiled at the CRM giant's annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, aims to connect billions of events from devices, sensors and applications with Salesforce's own software. Equipped with such information, companies can interact with their customers in new, more customized ways, Salesforce said.

Making it all possible is Thunder, a massively scalable, real-time event processing engine that's part of App Cloud, Salesforce's integrated set of platform services.

Thunder's input connectors "listen" to the connected world at IoT scale, Salesforce said, ingesting billions of events every day from myriad sources. Using Thunder, Salesforce's new IoT Cloud connects customers with real-time data from devices such as phones, windmills and industrial turbines as well as data from websites, social interactions and blogs.

Business users can use point-and-click tools to set filters to identify relevant data from event streams. Using that data, they can trigger personalized actions for sales, service, marketing or any other business process in real time. A national retailer holding a holiday sale, for example, can use the technology to set rules based on loyalty program status, inventory or sales performance and trigger retail beacons to send discount offers to in-store shoppers in real time.

Salesforce users can also use the IoT Cloud to interact with customers more proactively. A thermostat vendor, for instance, could parse through billions of events gathered from weather forecasts, sensors and temperature settings and then proactively advise customers on managing their HVAC usage within their predefined budget.

IoT Cloud will be pilot-tested starting in the first half of 2016, with general availability later in the year. Pricing will be announced at that time.

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