(pictured above, left to right: WTG’s Cory Dzbinski, CenturyLink’s Garrett Gee, WTG’s Vince Bradley, Managed Solution’s Sean Ferrel, and Verizon’s J.J. Harrison)
WTG HOLIDAY EVENT — The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be a huge money maker for the channel in the coming years and it’s imperative for partners to pursue every available opportunity.
That was the overall message during a panel discussion titled “Are You Monetizing IoT?” at master agent WTG‘s Hawaiian Holiday channel event in Palm Springs, California. Panelists included Garrett Gee, CenturyLink’s vice president of indirect sales; Curt Allen, Windstream’s channel chief, Vince Bradley, WTG’s CEO; Sean Ferrel, founder and chairman of Managed Solution; and J.J. Harrison, Verizon Enterprise Solutions’ channel sales manager for the West region.
Bradley said IoT is a forward-thinking concept in that it’s something that’s in development right now.
“It’s basically something where we don’t even know what we’re dealing with yet because it’s changing so fast,” he said. “But at the end of the day, this is something that we have to embrace. Look what happened with cloud. That was a huge revolution in our industry and changed everything, but now IoT is going to do that again. And so, if your customers can be ready for that and our partners can also be enabling them to understand the technology, they can go to the next level. So at the end of the day, IoT is probably the most important initiative for our industry today.”
Cory Dzbinski, WTG’s training development manager, moderated the session and said SD-WAN, UCaaS and security are three good entry points for partners to start selling IoT. SD-WAN is a native key component of IoT, while UCaaS will increasingly converge with IoT, he said.
“Partners that understand security and IoT are the ones who will be successful,” he said.
Allen said IoT is going to bring a lot of new sellers to the market and the partner community needs to “open their mind[s] to some of these folks.”
“Say they come from a lighting manufacturer or logistics around shipping companies — those folks are now touching on network devices and they’re going to need a partner because they’re not ready to sell network, but they’re touching the network,” he said. “So if I were a partner out there, I’d be trying to align with these guys that are selling these endpoint devices and then it opens up that whole ball of wax.”
Gee said it’s crucial to focus on what’s important to the business, and doing so will “help you start to develop a solution.”
Harrison said it’s important to research a business thoroughly before initiating a conversation about IoT.
“You first need to define and understand what their needs are and what IoT means,” he said.
Ferrel said there’s “tons of money” to be made by offering IoT managed services.
Adam Jacobs, national account manager with Datatel1, a telecom consulting firm representing more than 85 carriers globally, said his company is just now venturing into IoT.
“We see the market exploding with all of the different opportunities that this type of service and understanding of networking will produce for us,” he said. “We’re excited. We’re going to be reaching out to our existing customer base about new opportunities … and see how receptive they are to what they can do for them.”
Jacobs said his company is in discussions with a customer that has about 1,000 employees about retrofitting their lighting to new LED as connected devices providing analytics, reporting, visibility and oversight of lighting and the overall cost.