The Channel rides the IoT wave
IoT represents a significant opportunity for the channel, who can build their profile as trusted advisers in the implementation of new connected platforms
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New research shows that the broader adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) amongst enterprise is rapidly gaining momentum. Every day, companies around the world are coming up with new and innovative ways of exploiting opportunities brought by connected ‘things’.
However, it’s also evident that the potential impact of IoT depends heavily on the sector as more transformative technologies and business applications become available.
According to IDC, IoT spending in the Middle East and Africa is expected to reach $7.8 billion in 2017. In light of this statistic, the suggestion is clear that businesses across industries are applying the current thinking around IoT and integrating this new technology into existing operations.
Why is this? First, it’s clear there’s an opportunity for channel IT solution providers to drive this growth, especially in those sectors which have been slower to take up these new, connected opportunities. In many cases this will involve working closely with industries where the governance and legislation is traditionally more complex, such as healthcare, energy and transport. Additionally, in these sectors, the heightened awareness around the scale of personal information and data collected will only increase with the adoption of IoT.
IT solution providers might consider IoT to be an opportunity for business growth and expansion, but it’s not surprising to see slow-burn in sectors where there is more ‘red tape’ and a greater emphasis on demonstrating return on investment. Lower adoption rates drive a self-perpetuating cycle, as technologies cannot prove themselves in the market until adoption is more widespread.
The greatest factor underpinning all this will be the sheer speed of change. The IoT revolution is happening at such a rapid pace that in some cases IT solution providers just haven’t had time to think about how they market their value-add, finding it easier to simply respond to demand from the everyday requests of customers who want to use IoT. However, looking at the adoption patterns it is clear that throughout 2017 we will see a broader opportunity start to be captured.
Unsurprisingly, demand for IoT amongst consumers has been dramatic. The enterprise market on the other hand, has been slower to adopt, mainly due to security concerns and difficulty integrating with existing infrastructure. There is a challenge in both balancing the strategic commitment and the necessary resource behind implementation, but the end result provides a win for both the consumer and the business, creating a tangible return on investment.
Looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, IoT represents a significant opportunity for the channel, who can build a platform as pro-active and trusted advisers in the implementation and management of new infrastructure and enterprise protocols. Those channel partners who think about the customer needs that can be solved with IoT will contribute to positive development in the sector. As appetites increase, particularly from the laggard-sectors’, they will be able to provide trusted advice and tailored solutions to reduce the complexity and apprehension around adoption.
Greater regulation and complexity around implementing new technology is highly likely to slow the adoption of IoT solutions. Even now, certain industries, including rail and oil and gas, require certified engineers to implement new technologies. It’s important that these sectors do not get left behind and this represents an opportunity for everyone from system integrators to VARs to IT consultancies to offer their assistance to help those companies better understand and realise their vision of IoT enabled infrastructure. Ultimately, it’s about the customer, and businesses will need to adopt future enabled technology in order to prevent the end user from losing out.