IoT channel opportunity shifting to the data level

Trying to make money out of devices and management is not going to yield the sort of rewards that those concentrating on IoT data will be able to tap into

Right now the opportunities for the channel around the Internet of Things (IoT) might be in getting the practical’s right with networking infrastructure and security the areas to focus on.

But before too long customers are going to look beyond the hardware and device management and expect someone to help them with the increasing amounts of data they are picking up and storing in the cloud.

Resellers wondering where they could make some money out of IoT should start to look for services that can be subscription based and use data to solve specific vertical market pain points.

The examples of what that could look like are already growing with the healthcare market and education two areas where sensors are being used to monitor the care of patients and the development of children. But there are more B2B case studies coming through with some of the smart city projects having enterprise applications for those users looking to maximise the use of their facilities and reduce waste.

As the use of IoT by customer’s changes and the demand for devices, cloud, data analytics and business intelligence grows not only will the channel be expected to deliver something slightly different but there will also be new vendor names looking for partners.

One of those actively out in the market hoping to build a UK channel is Japanese IoT specialist Kii, which is keen to not only get partners to take out its market offering but also to help those hardware and software developers with product ideas also get them in front of customers.

Anthony Fulgoni, vice president of business development EMEA at Kii, said that there were partners out there that could "think outside the box" and it was keen to work with those that were being forward thinking on IoT.

"The channel have to think about services because the price of hardware is going down. They have to be able to think outside the box on services and applications," he said.

"We are partnering with the system integrators and with the software and hardware developers," he added "It is not just about storage and backup but also about exploring data and using data."

Some of the most obvious areas to look for partners is in the vertical markets where development tends to be much more advanced around specific customer needs. 

"We can make IoT realistic and add value and the challenge is to recruit the right system integrators," added Fulgoni.

Evidence of the dangers of approaching the IoT market from the hardware angle have been underlined with the decline in demand for tablets and the dropping revenues that can be gained from smartphones.

According to figures from GfK although global smartphone demand is increasing, up by 6% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2015, revenues are not going in the same direction as they stagnate thanks to 6% drops in the average selling price of the units.

Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK, said that although a strong Q4 in terms of growth there were issues dogging the market: “Local factors, rather than regional and industry trends, are increasingly driving markets. Diverging economic trends, device saturation, mass market adoption, politics, social change and even sport have an impact on smartphone demand and prices at country level.”

At the end of last month, Gartner produced a list of the IoT areas which would receive the most corporate investment in the next few years, with security close to the top of the chart.

IoT analytics was also on the list, along with device management and low power wide-area and short range networks.

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