Finding opportunities in the Internet of Things

A recent report by Accenture Digital has highlighted that there’s opportunity for the channel in the Internet of Things (IoT).

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Finding opportunities in the Internet of Things ((ITP Images))
By  Manda Banda Published  July 26, 2015

The connected devices, sensors, cloud, data and analytics that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) will work together to deliver a new set of personalised services that intuitively learn a person’s habits, tailor offerings to changing or personalised needs and react to fluctuations in the environment or behavioural patterns, all in real time.

A recent report from Accenture Digital has dubbed this outgrowth of IoT “living services.” In the report, the firm outlines some of the opportunities and challenges these services will create for the IT industry, as well as the benefits for businesses and consumers. More importantly, the report offers channel partners a rough blueprint of how their customers will have to transform IT infrastructures, sales and marketing operations, and supply chains to effectively deliver them.

Accenture Digital expects the mainstream living services rollout to begin in about two years and take strong hold in about five. Solution providers already have many of the disciplines and divisions in place to help customers integrate solutions needed to develop, launch and support certain components of these sophisticated, tech-rich services. But, depending on their level of engagement, some solution providers will want to start bolstering practices that living services will put heavy demands on—in particular, data analytics and pre- and post-sales consulting.

Vendors looking to partner with resellers in the space will have to begin refreshing outdated channel programmes and launch new ones to support solution providers in areas where they need additional help, such as cloud and consulting services.

The good news is that channel partners and vendors have already started to play a strong role in developing, implementing and integrating different elements of living services/IoT. The emergence of a robust IoT ecosystem - thanks to new releases such as Google’s Brillo IoT OS, Samsung’s Artik IoT chip technology and Apple’s HealthKit platform - will now help to drive consumer demands and expectations for a new breed of services.

One of the earliest examples of these services (resellers who have helped customers develop omnichannel retail strategies are probably familiar with it) is slowly taking shape in retail shopping environments in the Middle East.

A shopper’s visit to a clothing store or consumer electronics outlet can yield consumer preference data (a size 2 red sweater or a hardware purchase) captured via a loyalty programme, visit intent captured through scanned quick response (QR) codes, and the departments or aisles most frequently visited captured via beacons (hence the heavy need for data capture and analytics).

During the shopper’s next visit, the store will recognise him via his smartphone or wearable device as he walks through the entrance and offer him personalised discounts, promotions, price comparisons or bundled packages based on his documented preferences.

Similar IoT technologies and infrastructures also will be used in the transportation, health and banking industries to provide more intuitive and personalised maintenance, management and marketing services consumers.

As consumers begin to experience the best of these services, they will demand more from almost every vertical and industry. Chances are, most solution providers and systems integrators will have customers in at least one of them. If you have now is the time to get ready to feed their demands.

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