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Riding on the Internet of Everything

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Riding on the Internet of Everything

B Raghavendran, Director, Partner Organization, Cisco India & SAARC
The article appeared in Channel World

Across the board, businesses have transformed the way they function by embracing internet, mobile and cloud-based technologies and services. As a result, progressive organizations are leading in an era of disruption like never before. They are guiding their customers through this transition by engaging with partners, IT leaders and line-of-business executives for retooling sales and marketing strategies to stay ahead of competition.

IoE Changing the business Landscape

The Internet of Everything (IoE) aimed at "connecting the unconnected" is viewed as the fourth evolution of the Internet. By 2020, the world is expected to see 50 billion connected devices ranging from smartphones to cars and robots, all of which will share data with each other and the people around them via the Internet. According to Cisco research, IoE is expected to create $19 trillion of business value over the next 10 years.

While IoE includes the connection of both people and objects, IoT (Internet of Things) refers to the networked connection of physical objects. With an estimated 99.4 percent of physical objects still unconnected, the opportunities for partners within the IoT space are multi-fold.

The opportunities presented by both IoE and IoT far outweigh the challenges, if managed with the right partner. The connection of devices, machines, and things allows to dynamically generate, analyse, and communicate intelligent data; increase operational efficiencies and power new, greatly improved business models. It also opens avenues to create strong partner ecosystems which include solution providers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), technology partners, and consulting firms who can provide solutions that address changing market conditions, enable flexible consumption models and help customers achieve desired business outcomes.

Partners developing applications for a specific line of business or vertical markets can win in the IoE era because IoE is largely about selling to customers on business outcomes. Analysts say by the end of the decade, 90 percent of IT spends will be controlled by line-of-business. So the ability to deliver business outcomes becomes really critical.

Some of the opportunities that partners can tap into are:

Safety & Security: As more devices get connected to the internet, security will be one of the major challenges for enterprises. Businesses will be looking to converge unrelated networks, scale to meet increasing traffic demands, employ advanced data analytics, and create a new class of intelligent applications that increase productivity without sacrificing security. There will be a heightened need to secure the complete networking architecture. Partners who can provide integrated security solutions will stand to gain the most.

Manufacturing: IoE is changing manufacturing significantly. Global competitive pressures are challenging manufacturing companies to drive inefficiencies out of their systems, manage workforce skill gaps and uncover new opportunities.

To simplify and address complexities and adapt to market changes, there is a need to intelligently connect all parts of the value chain, quickly and easily share information with every department, employee, partner, and customer. Connected systems reduce maintenance costs and downtime; enhance the ability to aggregate data and present dashboards accessible on the Web that allows effective monitoring of operations.

With the emergence of IoT, there will be a growing need for partners to provide next-generation cybersecurity, secure-access, and compliance solutions for critical infrastructure. Such solutions will help to more effectively manage industrial automation environments besides protecting against risks and improving efficiency.

Mining: Mining and materials companies are often pursuing resources in remote, hazardous locations. Safety is always a top priority, as companies strive to reduce harm to employees as well as the environment. Cost control and better asset management are critical. To manage these concerns, there is a need for an integrated view of the entire production and operations to deliver better visibility and traceability. Partners who can help customers to fully connect and integrate all operational environments and apply an integrated approach to converge existing IT networks with consolidated operational technology networks will benefit the most.

Oil and gas: Within the Oil and Gas sector, Collaborative Operations Solutions that help accelerate workflows and problem resolution with improved information gathering and expert communications will be needed. This will help improve decision making and business outcomes for energy companies, and reduce expensive operational issues. Partners providing integrated solutions will help customers gain a highly secure industrial automation and control systems environment to protect workers and facilities in the energy industry.

Partner Enablement: Designing Solutions for the IoE era requires deep understanding of solution spaces and an ability to connect hierarchical systems. It requires understanding specific usage models, domain expertise to translate those user models into sensors, actuations, control logic, data aggregation, and local network connectivity and service layers.

For partners to succeed it is important that:

Partners and their solutions get more visibility: By enabling to develop a vast array of market leading solutions spanning across hardware, software and services, vendors can enable their solution partners to get access to channels where the solutions can be integrated and taken to market to enable differentiation.

Partners are enabled to deliver business outcomes: Partners can use new solutions to reach a broader set of customers and increase their relevance beyond IT. They can strengthen their role as trusted advisors and capitalize on new market opportunities with horizontal/vertical solutions and services resulting in higher revenues and profits.

Connect: Partners must connect with each other so that they can create a repository of solutions that enable improved business outcomes for the enterprise across applications, products and services.

IoE provides unprecedented opportunities for partners to derive greater value from networked connections among people, processes, data and things. Partners riding on leading-edge platforms of global networking majors can develop unique value-additions to their solutions and cater to both local and global customers. Important is to align with the market and create business models that accommodate the new norm.

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