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Join Us as We Celebrate 25 Years of MQTT

by Dominik Obermaier
7 min read

2024 marks the 25th anniversary of MQTT, now the standard IoT protocol, a pivotal innovation which has driven much of the progress in technology and communication we rely on today. The initial version of MQTT was invented in 1999 by Andy Stanford-Clark and Arlen Nipper to monitor oil and gas pipelines over satellite networks. Today, the protocol powers our world with everything from connected cars, to factories around the globe, to autonomous drones, to home appliances to leading airlines. Essentially, most of the Internet of Things runs on MQTT.

Back in 2012, Christian Meinerding, Christoph Schäbel, and I found ourselves immersed in the burgeoning world of the Internet of Things. We realized that the technology required for the Internet of Things would need to be vastly different from that of the Internet of Humans. 

While the origin of the MQTT protocol was with commercial use cases, the technology was shelved for many years until it was published under royalty-free license in 2010. Then makers and hobbyists around the world started adopting it. It dawned on us that MQTT will be the solution to connect all of these billions of devices and assets of companies worldwide. But besides IBM, almost nobody seemed to care about this technology for commercial purposes.

In hindsight it’s also clear why it never got traction with enterprises back then. While MQTT was ideal due to its lightweight, publish/subscribe mechanisms, the most popular open source MQTT implementation, Mosquitto, was not built to meet the needs of business-critical applications. Christian, Christoph, and I made it our personal mission to make MQTT enterprise-ready by focusing on the core principles we still have today: Scalability, Reliability, Flexibility, Observability, Simplicity, and Security. Along the way we founded the company that is now HiveMQ and invented many things that became industry standards like clustering, an extension system, cloud native deployments, public MQTT endpoints, etc.  

We released the first version of our MQTT platform in 2013 and BMW, one of the leading premium car brands, adopted it for their car sharing application. Now over the past 11+ years we have continued to champion the adoption of MQTT by anyone from a hobbyist to the largest companies in the world. From the start, we felt it was important to educate the public on the benefits of the protocol as MQTT is a technology by the tech community for the tech community. We wrote informative content, we spoke at international conferences, we were one of the few companies who drove the specification of MQTT 3.1.1 and 5.0, and we built the culture of MQTT and IoT knowledge-sharing that is so critical to our vision today. 

As part of that commitment to seeing MQTT reach its full potential, we welcome you to celebrate MQTT with us throughout 2024, and hope you will follow along as we spend the year honoring the technology, the inventors, and the community who made it all possible. 

MQTT’s Silver Jubilee begins this month, March, and will consist of a number of online, virtual, and in-person events, interviews, new content, and even a big announcement or two throughout the year. We will culminate the celebration with an intimate gathering on MQTT’s official birthday in October and will then recap the year and share a vision for where we at HiveMQ and others plan to invest and steer the future of MQTT. 

If you’re interested in following along, sign up to join our mailing list. We’ll keep you updated about things like a community survey, swag opportunities, and a fireside chat later in the year. Join us, share your stories, and be part of celebrating the history of MQTT while shaping the future of this pivotal technology with us.

I am more excited about the future of MQTT than ever. At HiveMQ, we believe every company will be an IoT company. And MQTT is the technology that supports this big seismic paradigm shift in how the world works and communicates. 

The first 25 years of MQTT were just the beginning.

Dominik Obermaier

Dominik Obermaier is CTO and co-founder of HiveMQ. He is a member of the OASIS Technical Committee and is part of the standardization committee for MQTT 3.1.1 and MQTT 5. He is the co-author of the book “The Technical Foundations of IoT” and a frequent speaker on IoT, MQTT, and messaging.

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