Start Your IoT Revolution Now

Lynn Haber**Editor’s Note: It’s not too late to register for the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, the gathering place for the technology services community, April 10-13, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.**

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow mindshare of partners and customers alike. No surprise. Gartner forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017 – up 31 percent from 2016 – and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.

CloudTech1's Rick BeckersThe IoT opportunity for partners is big. In 2017 alone, businesses are expected to employ 3.1 billion connected things. Services, i.e. design, implementation and operating IoT, play a critical role in kicking the IoT market in gear.

And, there’s a lot more that partners need to know about IoT. “The Experience Area Live: IoT,” on the Jive Big Stage at next week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, will feature a panel discussion on the opportunities, challenges and next-gen offerings, that partners won’t want to miss.

Rick Beckers, president of CloudTech1, will be the session moderator. He’s joined by Ken Conor, vice president, sales engineering at Kore; and Tim Cook, CEO at BluLogix. We caught up with Beckers and Cook to preview their session.

Channel Partners: IoT is happening today, but many partners firms aren’t there yet. Why not?

Rick Beckers: If you look at the health-care industry, for example, IoT is very real. The channel isn’t necessarily seeing it because you have system integrators going out on their own and finding IoT solutions — versus the large carriers dropping them into their offerings.{ad}

Blulogix's Tim CookIt’s coming. It’s going to mature real fast; I want to say that I wouldn’t be surprised to see IoT begin to mature at the same time that 5G hits the world.

We’re from Detroit, which is manufacturing, so we make stuff, and IoT here equates to IIoT, the Industrial Internet of Things — or what’s being called Industry 4.0, the next era of industry in the world. What that means to us is that we’re connecting our clients’ manufacturing shop floor equipment to the front office so they can pull BI [business intelligence] data off of that equipment and see it in real time, collecting and modeling that data in any number of different ways so that they can improve their businesses so they can run more efficiently and more productively.

There’s a ton of things that IoT will be useful for. For me, IoT is … I have a sensor, a method for pulling data off of that sensor and I have a collector of the data to decide what I want to do with that data.

CP: So what should partners be doing now? What do they need to learn?

RB: Partners can learn what they should be doing to create an IoT business so they’ll be ready when …


… it happens. All of the carriers will be competing in the IoT spaces — they can learn about that. They’ll definitely need to learn about security because it goes hand in hand with any and all IoT solutions. Security is a big risk factor in IoT and can be a liability. Security can be done internally via your company’s own efforts or by partnering.

IoT is like where cloud was when it was first introduced a long time ago. You had some partners who were early adopters and out in front, so when it popped they were prepared and had a business model for it in advance of having an offering for the customer.

Be an evangelist of the technology, educating people in advance so when it does take hold you have credibility.

Tim Cook: I think there’s a big need to be able to monetize IoT — how do you do that? We talk to our partners about how to efficiently monetize the IoT experience. A lot of that has to do with automation, but again, there [are] a lot of additional nuances involved in that — for example, different notification events based on usage or based on times or different thresholds; and then looking across the entire portfolio of having so many devices collecting so much data, in a way you can make sense of the data, and that would be leveraging our analytics to get the insight you need to plan for additional capacity or plan for additional devices, etc.{ad}

CP: Do you see, or expect to see, a lot of partnering in IoT?

RB: I do, because you have those three components and of those three components – the sensors, the connectivity and the collectors – there aren’t too many people out there covering all three. So, if you do have someone doing all three, it’s because they’re partnering.

I expect that there will be more partners involved in IoT. In some cases, partners will only want to provide referrals and if a deal comes to fruition; they’ll do a split revenue, like they’ve done for years with master agents. In other cases, solutions will require custom work, such as application development, or solutions that fit certain industries either horizontally or vertically — I expect the role of master agent to change. There’ll be new master agents who have the technical capabilities to do this kind of stuff, the others won’t want to.

The reason I say this is because so many of them tried with the cloud and failed miserably because they come from the telecom side not the data side and this is not their mindset.

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