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Channel of everything

Brian Karlovsky | March 7, 2014
The channel is no stranger to the overhyped ‘next big thing' and marketing departments delight in coming up with pithy catch-all labels for revolutionary technology. Now we have the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and the more expansive Internet of Everything (IoE) as the world's largest networking vendor, Cisco has dubbed it.

Data#3 managing director, John Grant, warned of the pitfalls of getting caught in the "trough of disillusionment" in the Gartner hype cycle (a graphical representation of the life cycle stages a technology goes through from conception to maturity and widespread adoption).

"The industry keeps giving big labels to things and you have to be careful not fall for all the market hype," he said. "There will be huge amounts of data and it's really about organisations being in a position to make better decisions."

He said it was another disruptive force which would create a more proactive business model. "But I am very mindful of the Gartner hype cycle," he said. "Your question as a channel partner is when do you stop talking about it and investing in it."

Fujitsu chief technology officer, Joseph Reger, said 2014 would be the year of the IoT. "Growth is driven by advances of technology in the area of sensors and communications, but also in the availability of Big Data analytics methods and Cloud computing capabilities," he said.

"IoT ties the disciplines of Cloud, Big Data, social services and mobility very nicely together, it can thus play the role of the aggregator for existing technologies and business models. Aggregation almost always accelerates development."

He said it would be a substantially growing opportunity for the channel, but warned of privacy and security concerns.

Flexera Software VP Asia-Pacific, Tom Canning, said IoT would herald a new revenue stream for the channel. "For the Internet of Things to become a reality, a whole range of ongoing infrastructure renewals and deployments are required," he said.

"This is where the channel can benefit the most from demand from IoT environments: their expertise, which spans both hardware and software, is well-suited to managing projects that will typically involve integrating networks of sensors with the software needed to collect, share, and analyse the resulting quantities of new data."

Pilot projects
According to Canning, IBM and Google were already leading pilot projects and would soon need channel suppliers on the ground. Channel players should start seeking out opportunities to partner with these larger players where possible, as well as up-skill into new areas such as sensor deployment and integration," he said.

"So too, increasingly, will the healthcare sector, where software management and integration will prove essential for sensor data to be transformed into meaningful patient profiles and recommendations. "It's in this software and analytics space — potentially even providing software management through an "as-a-service" model — that channel providers can develop sizable and sustainable sources of new revenue.

Channel Dynamics director, Cam Wayland, said IoT's rise was the result of the maturation of a whole new set of technologies, but that it was still in its infancy.


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