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Want to Benefit From Much-Hyped Internet of Things? Make It Valuable

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is taking up a lot of conversational space these days.

To be sure, there’s a boatload of promising statistics floating around, and the forecasts are nothing to ignore. ABI Research, for one, predicts that the installed base of active wireless connected devices will exceed 16 billion in 2014, about 20 percent more than in 2013. The firm goes on to say that the number of devices will more than double from the current level, topping out at 40.9 billion in 2020.

But it seems vendors and analysts, more than channel partners, are pushing the IoT discussion, and a new brief from CompTIA underlines some continued wariness toward this much-hyped technology.

For starters, casual chats with MSPs indicate that while IoT is, of course, on their radar, it’s not yet a main focus for many. Rather, these MSPs say they have to think more about day-to-day concerns such as ensuring that what they’re selling brings value to their customers.

And that’s the key. To attract MSPs and other partners, and their clients, IoT must represent more than just the ability to connect a device and gather data. So say some partners who like IoT for its promise but remain somewhat unsure whether it will provide real-world results.

Indeed, in “Sizing Up the Internet of Things,” CompTIA said its data reveal an element of uncertainty around IoT; that probably is causing some industry players to withhold judgment until the IoT ecosystem further matures, CompTIA said. Highlighting that point, CompTIA found that IT executives are evenly split as to whether IoT is hype or reality.

Still, that does not mean IoT won’t come to fruition – without a doubt, there’s too much complexity and momentum involved to halt the train. IoT is coming, it’s just a matter of to what extent. And, at the moment, the opportunity appears most lucrative for big companies. Here’s the lineup of business types most likely to profit from IoT, according to IT executives surveyed by CompTIA:

  • Device companies: 45 percent
  • Data analytics/big data companies: 43 percent
  • Companies skilled at tying services together using APIs: 35 percent
  • IT solution providers: 30 percent
  • Telecom carriers and cable companies: 26 percent
  • Networking equipment/software companies: 25 percent
  • Sensor/chip companies: 23 percent
  • Platform and ecosystem providers: 15 percent

Note that the respondents see the IT channel as raking in 30 percent of IoT revenue. Given the billions of dollars at stake, that’s a sizable possible chunk. What partners must do is ensure that IoT gives their clients more than just the bragging rights that go along with being an early adopter.

Observers agree: There has to be a solid reason for connecting a device to the cloud. Here are some drivers identified in CompTIA’s research brief:

  • Creating new revenue and business opportunities from connected systems (e.g., smart cities, connected vehicles).
  • Controlling and monitoring newly connected pieces of equipment.
  • Collecting new streams of data.
  • Adding intelligence to previously “dumb” objects and systems.
  • Gathering contextual information about customers.

Seth Robinson, senior director of technology analysis for CompTIA, summed up the directive for partners this way: “The true value of IoT lies not just in the data being generated and captured, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way.”


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