As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains popularity with consumers, OEM’s and retail space consumers are seeing the additional value IoT brings to everyday products. I recently attended Xperience2015 by LogMeIn and was blown away by the plethora of OEM’s that are adding value to their products with beacons and sensors. For example, I recently saw a pill bottle that connects to your home network and reminds you when to take your medications. The type of creativity going into these products raises a fundamental question…how can VARs tap into this growing market?
Besides selling the basic IT hardware, software and services that provide the backend to these solutions, there is a fundamental shift in how to make money that needs to be addressed. OEMs are cramming many types of sensors and beacons into their products, which lead to interesting conversations around what is possible with all of the data collected by these devices. The question is how the owner of the devices will use the gathered information and that depends on the goals of the business.
As the trusted advisor on everything IT related, a VAR could lead an interesting and potentially very profitable conversation around new revenue opportunities for their customers. IoT opens up a world of new types of data often called “dark data”, which simply means operational data that has historically not been used such as raw video footage, collected tweets or geo-location data. IoT uncovers this “Dark Data” but it is the trusted advisor that can help the business turn that information into new and potentially game changing revenue streams for the business.
Ten years ago, the trusted advisor status was around data center consolidation with virtualizing compute and storage. We all had to shift our thinking from selling more compute and storage to how to utilize and leverage existing technology with virtualization. Our business model and personnel had to adapt and adjust or die. This led to the proliferation of Cloud Computing and we had to shift again to address the SaaS/PaaS/IaaS markets. The trusted advisor status went from focusing on on-prem compute and storage to an off-prem strategy and again we had to shift our focus and re-train our people.
We are now in an age of information consumption and at this point there is no data too small to not matter. In fact, sometimes it is the smallest of data that can be the most compelling. We have to adapt or die again (and it won’t be the last time, I might add). We need to re-tool our business and train our people on the up and coming trend in this information age. Data Scientists will be the new IT architects and instead of recommending IT hardware and software, the data scientist will recommend the type of information that needs to be collects and parse through the data to ensure it has meaning and context.
It is an incredible time to be in a new IT revolution…again! Opportunities are everywhere; you just have to know where to look, so get ready for the new information age. It will be like something we have never seen in IT and we need to be ready.