Dieter Lott, Vice President, Business Development, EMEA, shares how we see 2016 shaping up in terms of technology trends.
#1: Mobility for channel enablement
Mobile interactions are continuing to evolve. There’s a massive shift in the mobile space with apps becoming the norm for any kind of customer interaction. Downloading apps is now a normal ask of customers. In 2016, this will open up new solution areas for channel partners as mobility moves more towards app-driven channel enablement where partners can communicate, receive and access information through easy-to-use apps.
Value-added distributors can help here by offering their expertise, such as mobile app development, to enhance the skills of their partners. In the vertical markets this is all the more essential as growth in those segments is driven by customer engagement which can be achieved through personalised experiences generated by the merging analytics, mobile apps and Internet of Things (IoT) data.
On top of this, the tech world is merging. There is strong synergy between IoT and mobility and this closed loop will become even more apparent into next year. Mobile is becoming just one of masses of applications in the IoT ecosystem, like social media.
#2: Security: a new engine to drive the transition to “the 3rd platform”
“The 3rd platform” created by the rise of mobile computing, social media, cloud computing, and data analytics is impacting and accelerating business management and IT infrastructure around the world. Although this acceleration offers enormous potential, it forces critical processes, information and shared data to operate at stellar speeds, exposing them to huge security risks.
In 2016, we’ll continue to see advancements in security and networking solutions as an integral part of every data centre. To address this transition to the 3rd platform, next year, value-added distributors will need to adopt a broader security strategy to enable the channel by providing partners with a skill set in security and networking, to place security at the core of all their solutions.
#3: 3rd platform big data and analytics evolution
One of the trends leading into 2016 is that all 3rd platform technologies are inter-related and one of the key strands is big data and analytics. Interconnected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) are generating more and more data which, in turn, is forcing data analytics to become even more intelligent. We’re only now starting to scratch the surface as this vast amount of data must be interpreted to gain actionable insights. The danger is that data for customers investing in this area is being diluted through information overload. As a result, next year, there will be even more of a focus on gaining actionable insights to make the data practical and profitable.
In 2016, there will be a renewed focus on data visualisation tools to present data in digestible chunks, on any device. This will open up more doors for industry growth and deliver greater rewards for those partners helping their customers improve business outcomes through data analytics.
#4: Cracking the next IoT layer
It may be an exciting time in the IT industry, but what opportunities are going to unfold for the Internet of Things (IoT)? This is something that’s more difficult to grasp for the channel at the moment. The principle that ‘anything that can be connected will be connected’ uncovers vast opportunities for those willing to embrace this. The principle that smarter devices will drive smarter decision making is a core opportunity for the channel. We’ve already seen movement in the secure storage of big data, for example. Every day we use technology to gather information, check facts and gain insight to drive revenue opportunities. For the channel and end businesses to take their data to the next level, it will need agile exploration, analysis and action.
Distribution can help by bridging the gap between Operation Technology (OT) in industry and Information Technology (IT). These two markets have, in general, been operating independently for many years. The opportunity for IoT is to bring them together – on a massive scale.
The market for analytics software will open up for insights that are accurate and meaningful. The requirement to protect privacy and secure information will become even more critical too. This will also have an impact on the requirements for security, location data, secure cloud storage, asset tracking and management, and mobility. In the long-term, enterprise-focused IoT hardware and software in the manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and information sectors are where the real growth opportunities will be. That is the next layer of IoT to crack.