CompTIA: Channel Firms Report IoT Revenue Gains

Lynn HaberWhile the Internet of Things (IoT) is certainly not yet mainstream, channel-partner firms are not sitting out IoT opportunities and reported an uptick in IoT-related earnings compared to just one year ago.

That’s according to the latest Internet of Things Insights and Opportunities (IoT) study by CompTIA.

In the nonprofit IT trade association’s third, most extensive and latest, IoT report, 23 percent of channel firms reported having made money from IoT-related work, compared to just 8 percent of firms last year. While the nitty-gritty details of what types of IoT projects these partners are working on or what specifically they’re doing isn’t available, the self-reporting does reveal partner sentiment around IoT.

CompTIA's Seth Robinson“The sentiment that we’re seeing around IoT is very healthy. We don’t see the fear that we saw with cloud computing and I think because of the lessons learned with cloud computing, the channel is a little more ready to take on the IoT challenge,” said Seth Robinson, senior director of technology analysis at CompTIA.

This is a similar survey approach that CompTIA’s taken with other emerging technologies such as cloud computing and mobility, for example.

“We just wanted to start broadly and allow people to define for themselves and to classify themselves into pockets and that gives us a sense of sentiment around the topic,” Robinson explained.

With that, he told us that the survey results indicate that respondents don’t view IoT as unsubstantiated hype or the next great thing to jump on.

“Instead, we’re seeing a healthy understanding of IoT and what helps that is the IoT ecosystem – the opportunities that come with that can spread across different areas,” he explained.{ad}

The IoT ecosystem consists of the bits and pieces that work together to create the IoT model. So, for example, the four big buckets are hardware, software/connectivity, rules, and services.

Channel firms already work in some of these buckets — selling and installing hardware, or doing software development work, or data analytics, or integration work, or providing managed services, for example. It’s less of a stretch for partners to envision themselves delving further into one of these areas to provide a piece of an IoT solution than, say, jumping into cloud computing, which was a much bigger leap when it first came on the scene.

Robinson also told us that partner firms are getting educated about IoT from a number of sources, i.e. new stories, discussions with customers, industry intelligence, investigating IoT provider offerings, for example – in essence, they’re …


… staying ahead of the opportunity curve and ahead of their clients.

Compared to a year ago, 39 percent of partners have a significantly more positive view of IoT and 36 percent have a slightly more positive view of IoT. These figures jibe with optimism about IoT revenue expectations, which varies by channel-firm size. Thirty-six percent of large channel firms (50+ employees) are already making money with IoT, while 15 percent of small (less than 20 employees) and 15 percent of medium firms (20-49 employees) report reaping IoT revenue. Jump head and the optimism around IoT revenue gains is apparent, with 39 percent of large firms expecting to make money within the next 12 months. It’s 40 percent of midsize firms, and 25 percent of small channel companies.

The two most popular IoT offerings today as reported by partners are consulting (40 percent) and security (39 percent). After that, 30-35 percent of partners said they offer analytics, managed services, customer applications, reselling and infrastructure services.

Looking on the other side of the aisle, 27 percent of business respondents said they have a formal IoT initiative underway, while another third (33 percent) are experimenting with IoT. Within a year, 23 percent of businesses expect to have an IoT initiative underway.

Three hundred and fifty IT channel professionals in the U.S. participated in the survey between May and June, as did 512 businesses and IT executives, or customers and end users.

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