Even with the growing number of use cases, many VARs may still wonder how they can take part in the expanding Internet of Things (IoT) market. They look at their current enterprise capabilities—perhaps selling server, storage, networking and software—and wonder how they could engage in what seems to be a very device- and sensor-based ecosystem. In this blog, we'll take a look at how VARs can find unrealized opportunities in the IoT market through their current practices in converged and mobility.
One potential opportunity for VARs can be found in the converged hardware market. When customers and OEMs pull data off of devices and put it into a data center, they will also require the hardware to both store that data and build a private cloud or run the analytics products.
This is particularly true when dealing with sensitive data that the customer or OEM doesn’t want to put in a public cloud. The VAR has an opportunity to work directly with the customer or the OEM to provide the infrastructure support to properly handle that data. In many cases, this will mean reselling an IoT platform solution to handle the data ingestion, analysis and reporting. These platforms need to run on infrastructure, and a converged platform solution is a great choice.
Another large untapped opportunity around IoT for VARs is in the mobility arena, particularly mobile development. Many OEMs do a great job building out the devices that are purpose-built to collect very specific data, but which don’t necessarily include a lot of bells and whistles on the interface side.
For enterprises, the interface can make or break the true usefulness of a particular IoT device or sensor. For example, take an OEM vendor that sells 2,000 smart coffee makers to a restaurant chain. The OEM builds a capability into the coffee machines to warn the restaurant company when a machine needs service, effectively extending the life of the coffee makers. The challenge is that the restaurant chain needs to log in to the website of that OEM and manually manage these devices.
The opportunity for the VAR is to help the customer develop a mobile application that would automatically notify the facilities manager of status changes with these machines. The application is powered by all of the information from the OEM website but truly helps the facilities person smoothly manage this equipment.
There’s no doubt that IoT will put a lot of money on the table for solution providers in the coming years. According to IDC, IoT will be a $1.7T market by 2020.* That can mean amazing things for creative and driven VARs.
Analysts predict that we will likely figure out exactly how IoT is going to manifest itself in the market by mid-2017 or 2018. With much consolidation happening between IoT platform companies, VARs have time to develop their strategy and focus on a profitable area of IoT. But they must not delay.
Will that be Smart Transportation, Smart Agriculture, Smart Lighting, Smart Industrial or any of the many other growing areas of IoT? The sky is the limit for VARs, and focus is key.
Watch: Business Applications for the Internet of Things (above)
* “Explosive Internet of Things Spending to Reach $1.7 Trillion in 2020, According to IDC,” IDC, June 2, 2015