by Shadi Salama, Channel Leader – Middle East Theatre, Cisco
The Internet of Things (IoT) aimed at "connecting the unconnected" has reached a tipping point. By 2020, nearly 50 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet. According to a Cisco research, IoT will be a $19 trillion opportunity for businesses and governments globally over the next 10 years. With an estimated 99.4 percent of physical objects still unconnected, the opportunities for partners within the IoT space are multi-fold.
The connection of devices, machines, and things allows generating, analyzing, and communicating intelligent data; increasing operational efficiencies and powering new improved business models. It 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.
Designing solutions for the IoT era requires deep understanding of solution spaces and an ability to connect hierarchical systems. It requires understanding specific usage models and domain expertise to translate those user models into sensors, actuations, control logic, data aggregation, and local network connectivity and service layers. Partners developing applications for a specific line of business or vertical market can win huge because IoT 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.
Opportunities for partners:
Safety & Security: As more devices get connected to the internet, security will be one of the major challenges for enterprises 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: 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. Partners will be needed to provide next-generation cybersecurity, secure-access, and compliance solutions for critical infrastructure.
Oil and Gas: 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.
For the Channel 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 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.
IoT provides unprecedented opportunities for partners to derive greater value from networked connections among people, processes, data and things. Partners need to jump on the IoT band-wagon and enable themselves for future success.