I cannot believe that it has been over two years since we formed MILL5.  We have grown from a small two-person start-up to a team of people that are doing amazing things for our customers.  Initially, we did not have an office or phone number or even a website.  What we had was a passion for building great products and making our customers successful.  Now we are an established company doing some amazing work for our customers and releasing products to the world.

Our first customer that gave us our start was BlueMetal.  They believed in us and got us started with our first engagement at Fidelity.  Of course, it did not hurt that over the past 17 years we had a reputation for success with Fidelity working on a variety of big projects.  Still, it was BlueMetal that gave us that initial opportunity and we did some great work together.  Thank You!

Many things have changed since we started.  We now have all the things you would expect from an established company such as an office, a phone number, employees, benefits and of course many more customers.  We even have expanded into other cities both inside and outside the United States.  The one thing that has remained constant throughout is our passion for building great products and making our customers successful.  That has not changed.  We feel very lucky considering that we had nothing when we first started.  We had even put money into the company.  So financially speaking, we had less than nothing.  Now we have a thriving business with everything that you would expect from an established company.

These days we attribute our success to many things.  First, we have to thank our customers that believed in us and continue to believe in us.  Without you, we would not be successful.  Second, we have to thank our employees who work hard every day.  You continue to do amazing work for our customers.  Thank you!

Having customers that believe in you and great employees that work hard are the foundation of any successful company.  These are a must haves!  However, the key component to our success is much more.  It is how we define ourselves as a company and in the products and services we deliver to our customers.  To understand that, you need to know what MILL5 does.

MILL5 is first and foremost an innovation company.  We set ourselves apart by delivering on products and services that nobody else can and delivering products and services better than everybody else.  This is not arrogance, what it is, is a dedication and commitment to constant learning and continuous improvement.  We believe that those that are always learning new things and continuously improving themselves are best suited to deliver on innovation. Innovation can easily be seen in the work that we do.  To that end, we want to share with you three customers that we have done work with over the past year.

 

Industrial Automation using Cloud and IoT

Recently we had a customer contact us to do an architecture review of one of their products. This customer does industrial automation and provides products and services to various industries including manufacturing and oil & gas.  They were interested in us reviewing various aspects of their product including security, maintainability, performance, and scalability.  During the review, we realized that they did not have a clear cloud strategy for their business.  This was a little surprising to us, but a situation we have seen before.

Over the years we have seen many companies just like this one.  Most of them approached us not having a cloud strategy and are now using the cloud thanks to MILL5.  This got us to thinking though.  Why is this customer not implementing cloud right now?  What is preventing them from starting? After all, Amazon introduced Amazon Web Services in 2002 followed by Microsoft introducing Azure in 2008.

We have worked with this customer many times over the past decade.  Because of that work, our familiarity with their industry, and our work with the cloud, we knew what their competition was doing and that competition was already embracing the cloud.  During our discussions, it became clear that our customer thought that moving to the cloud required a longer-term strategy, specifically a five-year plan.  They did not see a path forward which allowed them to leverage the cloud today.  Instead, they were married to the idea that adopting the cloud was still years away.

Fortunately, we were able to develop a plan for them to adopt the cloud which aligned to their business this year.  This plan is not a lift-n-shift scenario.  It is a true cloud adoption that takes advantage of the cloud.  The plan was not a five-year strategy.  Instead, it is a realistic plan to adopt cloud where they can begin development immediately and see the results of that effort later this year.  The key was helping them envision what was possible.

Our success was not just helping this customer understand the cloud, but understanding them and their business, and working with them to ensure their success.  The plan not only catches them up with their cloud adoption strategy, but allows them to adopt new capabilities such as IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

 

The Surgery Room of the Future

Early last year we had a customer that approached us to do some security work.  This was a new customer that was an established player in the medical devices industry.  They were interested in us developing a federated identity solution to integrate with their customers.  During our initial meetings, it became apparent to them that they could leverage us for much more.  That is when we embarked on the development of a completely new product for them.  We call this product “The Surgery Room of The Future”.

We worked side-by-side with their developers leading the effort to build a connected surgery room, all while teaching their developers how to do cloud.  Eight months later they released their first cloud-based product and announced to the world that they were officially a SaaS-based cloud company.  They are now a leader in the medical device industry bringing cloud-based solutions based on the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and connected devices.  At the moment, we are helping them with their mobile, machine learning, and artificial intelligence efforts.  The year ahead will be just as exciting as last year.

 

MATLAB Infrastructure Service, an Algorithm-as-a-Service Offering

Finally, we look at a customer that develops financial models using MathWorks MATLAB for the public finance industry and municipal bond market.  Fourteen years ago, we were approached by this customer to take their financial models and make them available as a service.  We provided them with a solution based on traditional web services and high-performance computing which was the state-of-the-art at the time.

At the time, we had several customers that all wanted to do the exact same thing, which was “How do you take our models written in MATLAB and expose them as a service?”.  While all of these customers had one thing in common (i.e. MATLAB), each of them had significantly different use cases.  One wanted to expose models for financial investment, another wanted to analyze risk associated with reinsurance, and yet another wanted to predict equipment failure on oil rigs.

Back then, there was nothing on the market to address their needs.  We were able to provide each customer with a custom solution which met their needs.  The technologies we used back then were traditional web services (i.e. SOAP) combined with high-performance computing (HPC) grids. While this was state-of-the-art back then, it would not be considered state-of-the-art now.

Roll forward in time to two years ago. The same customer that approached us fourteen years ago said “Remember that thing you did for us, can you do it for the cloud?”. Of course, our response was a resounding “Yes”. This is when we quit our jobs and began working on building our new product, MATLAB Infrastructure Service.

This time the needs have changed slightly.  There was still the need to expose MATLAB models as a service and leverage high-performance computing.  However, the industry had moved away from traditional web services based on SOAP and XML to a more modern approach using REST and JSON.  Also, there was little desire to build, maintain, and pay for a high-performance compute grid. In fact, there was no desire to pay for servers when they were not in use.  That is when we kicked our engineering skills into high gear. After some hard work by many here at MILL5, we are pleased to announce our new product, MATLAB Infrastructure Service.

MATLAB Infrastructure Service (MIS) is an Algorithm-as-a-Service offering that extends MATLAB to the cloud.  MIS is built using a microservice and server-less computing architecture.  Now you can build applications based on custom analytics that scale-on-demand based on your needs without the need for dedicated infrastructure.  Before MATLAB Infrastructure Service, you needed dedicated servers which meant additional costs to you.  Now you can scale your algorithms on demand and pay only for what you use. Here is a glimpse into some of the features:

 

  • JSON representation of MATLAB data types
  • Repeatable and reliable deployments across environments
  • Promotion of releases between environments
  • Expose MATLAB models as RESTful services
  • Elimination of startup performance issues
  • Low latency processing of concurrent requests
  • Supports for multiple MATLAB versions
  • Pay-as-you-go with server-less computing
  • Elastic-scale based on demand
  • Multiple cloud environments such as AWS and Azure

 

Shortly we will be making the product available to additional customers.  If you are interested in knowing more about the MATLAB Infrastructure Service, please send an email to info@mill5.com.

 

Summary

So, there you have it.  Two years, many new employees, many new customers, and new product offerings. MILL5 has grown from a small start-up and is now an established company.  Make no mistake, we are still very much a small start-up company, but that is one of the things that we enjoy right now.  We are looking forward to the next two years that MILL5 has to offer.