Channel Partners is part of a big, diverse extended family, from sister site Channel Futures, to Light and Heavy Reading, Ovum, the IoT Institute, IT Pro, Telecoms.com and hundreds more media and event brands owned by our parent company, Informa. My talented editorial colleagues cover technology and business topics that shed light on what your customers, competitors and top suppliers are thinking about now — or will be soon. To help partners catch the next big wave early, here are some insights from around my world.
At IT Pro, Brian Buntz (who is heading up an IoT security session in Vegas that you won’t want to miss) characterizes the IoT platform market as “frothy and fragmented” — not an ideal situation for partners looking to develop bundled solutions. I was surprised to learn that there are currently about 450 platforms in play, according to IoT Analytics, up from 260 in 2015. But we’re heading toward dramatic consolidation: Nitesh Arora, head of marketing at asset tracking specialist Cloudleaf, tells Buntz that he wouldn’t be surprised if roughly three-quarters of IoT platforms disappeared in the coming 12-24 months. So how do you choose? His advice is to look for platforms that play well with Azure and AWS and that help you quickly deliver on business promises. “I talk to a variety of Fortune 500 companies, and many of them complain the time to value for an IoT platform is anywhere from six months to a year,” Arora says. “They can’t afford to wait that long to see results.”
While at IT Pro, check out the IT Professionals 2017 Salary Report. Are you paying your technical staffers what they’re worth on the market? Now answer that in the context of the GOP being right about the new tax bill and the economy edging closer to full employment in 2018.
Over at Light Reading, cable/video practice lead Alan Breznick checked in with Satya Parimi, Spectrum Enterprise group VP of data and cloud products. Spectrum Enterprise is catching up to Comcast in terms of business service revenue, said Parimi, and is banking on SD-WAN to further close the gap. With help from its partners, Spectrum Enterprise has been quite successful selling fiber services to midsize and large businesses; now it’s building an SDN platform to deliver virtualized managed services, including the hybrid SD-WAN (now in field trials and due next year) and eventually firewalls, UTM and content filtering, and WAN acceleration. What makes this SD-WAN product stand out? According to Parimi, it’s the capability to combine OTT and Layer 2 connections into a hybrid managed WAN, preserving legacy Ethernet business in the process. One interesting perspective is that Parimi says SD-WAN doesn’t add to the overall WAN market, which he puts at $20 billion nationwide, with about half of that MPLS. Rather, it’s about swapping share. “The WAN market overall is not going to grow,” he said. “It’s going to be substitution of one technology for the other.”
Telecoms.com deputy editor Jaime Davies fills us in on how Facebook is using AI to catch identity thieves — although the tech isn’t being marketed that way. You may have seen news that Facebook will use its facial-recognition algorithms to describe who is in a picture to visually impaired people and alert you if anyone uses your mug as a profile photo or whenever an image of you is uploaded, whether it’s tagged or not. Yes, there’s a creepiness factor here, but once you get beyond that, the potential benefits are clear. One catch, says Davies, is that …