IoT: It’s About Starting in the Middle

IoT Data

Thinking about starting an IoT practice? Don’t start at the beginning; instead, dive right into the middle — the middleware that is, also known as the IoT platform.

The IoT platform is what allows you to connect “things” to applications; there are currently about 200 of them. A foundational element in the IoT architecture, the IoT platform is where customers will derive value from IoT. It’s where partners will deploy solutions for their customers, and it’s where partners will make money.

Stephen DiFranco, principal at IoT Advisory Group, is going to make sense of IoT platforms at the “IoT Update: Platforms, Partners & Profit,”, during the upcoming Business Success Symposium. The day-long preconference kicks off the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 17-20, in Las Vegas.

IoT Advisory Group's Stephen DiFranco

IoT Advisory Group’s Stephen DiFranco

Channel Partners/Channel Futures caught up with DiFranco to learn more about what partners need to know about IoT platforms; how to figure out which platform is right for their business; how to select one to begin formulating their IoT practice strateg; and be a part of what’s projected to be a $1 trillion industry.

Channel Partners/Channel Futures: You spent a year studying all the different IoT platforms. Why are IoT platforms so important?

Stephen DiFranco: These platforms are the basic middleware that allows you to connect “things “ to applications. This is what’s important to a VAR, whether that’s an IT channel partner or a 5G or cellular channel partner, whether you’re selling telco or connectivity of any type. At some point, the end nodes have to connect to the application.

These platforms are what VARs will use to deploy solutions to their customers — it’s the key to IoT.

CP/CF: How is it possible for partners to sort through 200 IT platforms?

SD: Today, there are about 200 IoT platforms commercially available. There’s a lot of work going on in this area. To give you some examples about what’s going on: Amazon acquired a company called Greengrass, and Google announced its intentions to purchase Xively. These are two examples of cloud companies buying IoT platform companies. The cloud architecture is great way to manage many applications and many users working on these enterprise applications, but [it’s] not well designed to control many “things” that all send different very small messages all the time. A couple of other examples, GE Digital has the Predix platform and Siemens has MindSphere. There’s a company that offers the Fog platform for connected cities.

The number of IoT platforms will eventually whittle down to about a dozen, at some point in the future. There are so many of them now because many early industry IoT players had to create their own platforms to make IoT work. Most won’t survive the competition.

CP/CF: Put the opportunity for partners into context around the platform versus other pieces of the IoT architecture.

SD: There will be thousands of endpoints, but those will be easily purchased at …

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