What is the real revenue-generating and growth potential for the channel from IoT and M2M. Craig Smith, director IoT & Analytics, EMEA at Avnet Technology Solutions reports.
It can be a little bit overwhelming to think that ‘anything that can be connected will be connected’, but we can’t ignore the distinct possibility that the Internet of Things (IoT) will uncover vast opportunities for those of us willing to embrace this brave new world.
The opportunity that IoT opens up for enterprise connectivity is immense. Enterprise is being touted as the largest of the three main IoT markets, next to government and the connected home. In a recent report, IDC revealed that IoT is gaining traction in a number of verticals, particularly healthcare, followed by transportation and manufacturing, and is now seen as “strategic to the enterprise.” After surveying 2,350 IT and business decision-makers in 15 countries, the market watcher also discovered that 73% of respondents “will deploy IoT solutions in the next 12 months.”
This is an exciting prospect for businesses looking for new revenue streams, or for clever technologists intent on inventing the next big thing. The advent of the Internet has brought with it incomprehensible amounts of data that can be baffling to the individual, let alone large and complex organisations, and IoT will only help increase this volume.
All this data needs to be processed and analysed, then applied to real-life situations and finally stored in a safe, easily retrievable fashion. The networking and security infrastructure requirements to deal with vast amounts of data and analytics provide challenges and a perfect storm of opportunities for the channel.
Top five business opportunities for the channel from IoT and machine to machine
Here are the top five real business opportunities to look out for:
- Business analytics – The world of work, although complicated by the connectivity and security issues associated with trends such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), has already embraced IoT and is continually finding new ways to harness all of the ‘big data’ out there.
One of the most exciting opportunities is a greater use of smart devices and analytics tools in the enterprise space. More easily accessible, near real-time organisational and operational information will lead to greater efficiencies for frontline staff and faster more effective decision making for business leaders.
Employee productivity, increased asset utilisation and supply chain efficiencies are just some of the key benefits organisations will enjoy. It’s time for channel partners to dig deeper into the whole area of business analytics to expand their existing portfolio and reap financial dividends.
- Big data equals more storage – Consumers use a plethora of data every day. When we check the weather forecast and make the simple decision on wearing sunglasses or holding umbrellas, we’re using information based on complex mathematical models driven from enterprise level analytics engines. This creates a market need for big data storage solutions and services, not just data analytics and business intelligence products.
- Security & compliance – Big data also means big security risks. The responsibility increases for organisations to protect privacy and secure information while remaining compliant with regulations across EMEA. Both security software and services are already in high demand to manage data transfer and analytics, irrespective of physical location, without leaking information or being hacked.
- Mobility – Mobility adds another dimension with the requirement for asset tracking and management, as well as secure data transmission over public networks. This mobility trend highlights the issue of security again as enterprises will need to be able to remotely identify risks. The mobility market need widens the scope for implementing access management solutions and services to verify data sources, yet another IoT opportunity for the channel.
- Services – The requirement for predictive and reflective analytics will present an ideal opportunity for consultancy and services for those business partners skilled and nimble enough to take advantage of them. Services will enable partners to stay close to customers as they find additional business applications for IoT and machine to machine (M2M). Channel partners will need to keep ahead of the game to provide business solutions using the most relevant software, networking and security products.
Real life, right now
IoT is happening right now. Imagine a remote oil rig floating in the middle of the North Sea. Transmitting data remotely to and from the rig requires secure cloud storage that is capable of handling millions of small data packages securely from multiple devices and locations.
What UK business partner wouldn’t like an opportunity to take a closer look at the network connectivity, mobility, storage and security requirements around this application?
As the different phases of IoT and M2M arise, it will be impossible for individual channel partners to keep tabs on every opportunity. It’s time to unlock the business value of Internet connectivity, being sure to target those areas that matter most to your customers and ultimately support your long-term corporate and product strategy. Building a robust IoT ecosystem with distribution at the core will be the secret to success for the channel in the coming year.
The author of this blog is Craig Smith, director IoT & Analytics, EMEA, Avnet Technology Solutions.
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