Swim.ai is a company focused on processing data at the edge. Its advanced reinforcement learning-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology has low footprint and low computational power requirements so it can be installed in a host of legacy systems (traffic lights, for example). Swim.ai can therefore help ramp up smart city initiatives by adding its edge technology to existing devices, rather than expensive ripping and replacing. It also has a role in adding automation into manufacturing processes. The company has restructured its go-to-market strategy by open-sourcing its key AI technology to help grow an ecosystem around it and has introduced a new commercial product, Swim Enterprise. This is a bold step by the company given that its technology was ahead of the market, but the move is designed to create greater momentum for the business by lowering the barrier to adoption.
The question whether to open-source software technology or not is clearly not new, but it is unusual when the company concerned is a leader in its bracket. Part of the challenge for Swim.ai is that edge computing is still a nascent technology and it wants to capture momentum before other players, particularly larger ones, start to participate in the market. Edge computing is seen as a high-tech front line that will take off with 5G. Open-sourcing for Swim.ai is a smart move because its main income is always going to be about the enterprise services built on top of the edge devices, especially in mesh/network scenarios where the edge devices communicate with each other to perform intelligent decision-making. Open-sourcing is an established business model, and with a new and rising technology where customers are making investment decisions, open source is seen as the best option to avoid vendor lock-in.
Swim technology became available as open source to the community at developer.swim.ai in February 2019 under the Apache 2.0 license. Swim.ai licenses an enterprise platform that adds security, manageability, scaling, and resilience on the Microsoft Azure cloud.
On the Radar: SWIM EDX 1.2, real-time intelligence at the edge, INT002-000088 (March 2018)
Michael Azoff, Distinguished Analyst, IT Infrastructure