IoT projects need to deliver growth

Those pitching IoT solutions have underlined the importance of showing customers the positive results

The emerging opportunities for the channel with IoT will be initially be in those areas where the technology can have a proven impact on revenue.

Although some of the first places customers will look to use technology is to start to link up their operational technology (OT) processes there is going to be pressure to deliver results, according to some of those that attended a MicroScope IoT roundtable.

 "Overall, the lowest hanging fruit is in the OT space and that's where the most noise has been around IoT, because that's the easiest in which to put down a business case on a spreadsheet and defend it," said Grant Dall, IoT business development manager, UK&I at Dimension Data.

"While the OT space might see the fastest adoption, that isn't to say that other verticals won't feature. Healthcare, utilities, smart spaces and retail all have the opportunity to create colourful and exciting use cases for IoT," he added.

Philip Griffiths, IoT strategic partner manager at Atos, said that a lot of the current projects were based around gaining efficiency and reducing costs but they had to be delivered in the right way.

"People want to make sure that what they're doing really delivers value, because they will be held accountable for it and that complexity slows down a very rapid adoption," he said.

Along with pressures to show results there continue to be serious customer concerns around security, with the linking up of more systems likely to extend the threat area even further.

"You have to consider the segregation of traffic, even for IoT devices. The technology is there to make it happen. You can have one unique physical network that you segregate into multiple virtual networks to secure the associated services," said Philippe Bletteries, head of business enablement at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.

Dall at Dimension Data said that the costs of failing to deal with the security concerns far outweighed the efforts that would have to be taken to help users be secure.

"Security is one barrier, but it's always going to be. You can either work with it and manage it or you can choose not to get involved in this massive new opportunity while you wait for it not to be a concern," he said.

Market growth

There are around 25bn devices connected now and some forecasts are putting that number at 80bn by 2025 making this a potentially massive opportunity for the channel.

John Morrison, vice president EMEA at Extreme Networks, said that those predictions were probably conservative because the drive towards more IoT adoption would be consumer driven.

“I think people are just putting connectivity into everything they make, with light bulbs, things like Alexa. All that kind of stuff that’s driving the production of things that connect to the internet as a matter of course. And 80bn. If you think of it as population size times by the number of items in their houses, that’s not a big number at all,” he said.

For more coverage of the IoT debate see the February MicroScope ezine

Read more on Sales and Customer Management