Cashing in on the Internet of Things
With so many new buzzwords and technology, it can be hard to tell what is truly worth investing in and what is another passing trend. What will 2017 bring for resellers in the IoT space?
Is the Internet of Things (IoT) just another hype machine, or does it truly hold opportunities for the IT channel?
As we have already kicked off 2017, I want to examine both the channel standpoint on IoT along with end-user activity to give us a comprehensive understanding of demand and supply.
From a channel perspective and my interactions with key stakeholders, the feeling towards IoT in the Middle East was never fraught with as much anxiety as the feeling towards cloud.
To a larger extent, IoT has benefited from following after cloud and being built on cloud concepts, and most channel partners approach the topic with confidence having navigated through cloud in the recent past.
Of course, a positive outlook means nothing if it doesn't translate into revenue opportunities for solution providers. While analyst firms IDC and Gartner have been reporting a big jump in IoT revenue in 2016, few channel organisations are already making money in this space.
So what exactly do IoT offerings look like? What will 2017 have in store for solution providers that want to play in this segment?
While there are no straight forward answers, one critical characteristic defines most of the IoT ecosystem. For starters, this ecosystem is complex, composed of hardware, software, rules, and services built on top of the foundational components. Aside from consulting, which touches on all four areas as strategy is defined, channel efforts have tended to focus on one or two areas.
This makes sense as initiatives of this magnitude are unlikely to come in a box, and end-users will have to utilise a range of vendors and partners to build their own bespoke solutions.
Channel firms, then, can extend their current capabilities as they branch out into IoT. Their efforts might focus on hardware, such as infrastructure sales or break and fix. However, channel partners that have built development skills will find success on the software side, customising client software or building new applications for visibility and control of connected devices.
The services sector will continue to thrive, with analytics providing new insights from new data and managed services keeping the whole architecture running.
Finally, security will keep growing as a priority, and channel partners that dive into the rules and regulations surrounding IoT will help keep their clients compliant in a rapidly changing environment.
These opportunities are gaining traction, but the potential benefits that can come from connecting our physical world to the Internet are truly remarkable, and resellers have a great opportunity to extend their portfolio into this new space. Those that do will have the competitive edge.