Ray Ozzie at the inaugural GeekWire Summit in Seattle. (File Photo, Annie Laurie Malarkey)

Collaboration software package pioneer and previous Microsoft executive Ray Ozzie has lifted $11 million for his most current startup, Blues Wi-fi, an IoT organization that aims to make it straightforward to join almost any item to AT&T’s mobile community for a preset up-front price, without use fees.

Achieved by cellular phone, Ozzie verified that the startup has lifted funds from undisclosed buyers, as discovered in an SEC submitting March 26.

Blues is the latest job from Ozzie, who invented the Lotus Notes group messaging system in the 1980s. Ozzie has given that launched and sold two startups to Microsoft: Groove Networks in 2005, and Talko in 2015. He joined Microsoft after the Groove offer, ultimately succeeding Invoice Gates as the company’s chief software package architect, and encouraging to guide the start of Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing system.

The concept for Blues arrived from Ozzie’s get the job done as a board director at Safecast, a data monitoring nonprofit that launched in reaction to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. A several several years in the past, he tried using encouraging the corporation build photo voltaic-run mobile environmental measurement equipment, but it was more difficult than expected.

Ozzie, an adviser to AT&T, reached out to the wi-fi huge for support. Which is when he began putting alongside one another principles for a mobile IoT product that could be embedded into almost any components and seamlessly join to the web without relying on WiFi.

Blues arrived out of stealth manner in February 2019, announcing its Notecard “System-on-Module” product that runs on AT&T’s wi-fi community. The concept is to make it straightforward to join almost nearly anything — from a refrigerator to a propane tank to HVAC units — to the web, enabling remote administration and monitoring. Aspect of the novelty is the organization model. Blues only fees prospects for the module by itself, and almost nothing far more after that.

“It’s a preset price offer,” Ozzie said. “That alterations the logic for a ton of men and women in conditions of the selection to embed connectivity into a item that may well not usually have it. They really don’t have to take care of mobile subscriptions, or a great deal of nearly anything. The property can just be in the cloud.”

There’s also an ease-of-set up factor, significantly for prospects that really don’t have professional software package developers who know how to carry out and keep existing IoT platforms.

“It’s likely been at the very least eight several years of men and women talking about this,” he said. “The problem is that a ton of the alternatives that have been attempted are extremely complex for the styles of developers who build these very little equipment.”

Blues is concentrating on substantial-quantity and reduced-charge use situations, Ozzie said. The organization has been tests its technologies with early prospects for the past eight months, and the COVID-19 crisis has even further highlighted the need for this kind of connectivity. “We have experienced engagements with men and women producing points and making an attempt to monitor points that we didn’t have any publicity to even several weeks in the past,” Ozzie said.

Blues is a distributed organization with about a dozen workforce. Ozzie spends a vast majority of his time in Boston, but however will make recurrent outings to Seattle.