The Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hot topic at next month’s Channel Partners Virtual, with plenty of opportunities for partners to cash in now.
Stephen DiFranco, principal at IoT Advisory Group, will lead two sessions in the series. One will focus on the next generation of IoT applications, and the other on partner opportunities created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his session, titled “The Evolution of IoT and AI: What Partners Need to Know,” March 2, DiFranco will tell partners how IoT can help them launch IoT practices to transform their customers’ business models. He’ll also share why MSPs will be the channel model for IoT and AI.
Also on March 2, DiFranco’s session, titled “IoT Solutions Partners Can Deploy Today,” he’ll outline solutions offered by OtoSense, Occuli and more. Partners are using these services to count people in airports and transportation facilities, monitor traffic, collect tolls and more.
And during another session, titled “Channel Partners Peer Perspectives: Home Automation and IoT,” Mike Bloomfield, Tekie Geek’s president, will highlight his IoT best practices and lessons he's learned. He’ll also share how his organization helps clients add automated touch and voice controls.
On March 3, Andrea Miner, Tech Data’s director of consulting services and marketing for IoT and data solutions, will take the stage to show partners how they can cash in on the expected $100 billion in new revenue from IoT over the next three years. During her session, titled “On Topic Session: Tech Data IoT,” partners will learn about Tech Data’s IoT solutions catalog and its Practice Builder methodology.
In a Q&A with Channel partners, DiFranco and Miner provide a sneak peek of what they’ll share with attendees.
Channel Partners: Has the COVID-19 pandemic made IoT even more crucial to organizations? If so, how?
Stephen DiFranco: We are seeing an acceleration of deployments of camera vision systems in transportation centers to monitor person awareness and traffic management. IoT devices and applications with presence awareness are used to track people movement. Reduced road traffic has been an opportunity for highway authorities to advance the deployment of traffic monitoring, intersection management and smart city systems.
Andrea Miner: IoT solutions have been integral in enabling businesses to return their employees to work safely, become more resilient and expedite digital transformation. In quick response to the channel’s need to enable their customers during this time, Tech Data created a catalog of COVID-19 response solutions that include thermal imaging, social distancing and worker safety solutions.
CP: What sorts of IoT opportunities are there for partners in conditional monitoring, occupancy tracing and commercial security?
SD: Test Motors and ReflexesTech offer sensor blocks for ADI's Otosense's condition monitoring applications. Partners can install real-time monitoring with alerts and predictive maintenance schedules. Local battery-powered sensors applied to motors and machinery connect to cloud-based applications for real-time monitoring.
Deep North is using camera vision and AI for presence detection, occupancy counting and store traffic pattern mapping. These tools are helping more safely manage occupancy and customer flow.
VidRovr has AI-driven security tools to use video from any camera to understand the number of persons in the video frame. Their tools also track social media or any video stream to identify risks and threats.
CP: What sorts of opportunities does Tech Data provide for partners wanting to sell IoT solutions?
AM: Our ... Practice Builder methodology coupled with the expertise of our consulting team enables us to assess channel partners’ businesses to determine the best opportunity for them to grow their business leveraging the proven, market-ready solutions in our solutions catalog. Our Practice Builder methodology enables us to assess a partner’s readiness to sell IoT and data solutions, choose the right solution and determine the enablement they need to execute successfully.
CP: What are some of the key components of a successful IoT strategy?
SD: Start with the application. IoT networks are intended to sense (collect), then compute (determine) a physical event. Everything is built around the application.
Sense what matters. We often see deployments fail due to collecting non-relevant data. Keep the system simple. IoT networks can be complex. They require sensors, networking, connectivity, messaging and some type of application. It is easy to start too big. Start with as basic of a solution as possible. It is always easy to expand an IoT network. Just add more sensors and connectivity. Deploy small, expand fast.
CP: How has Tech Data simplified selling IoT solutions for the channel?
AM: By leveraging our solutions factory methodology, Tech Data has created a catalog of over 60 solutions within four verticals that align to partners' existing expertise in cloud, a leading vendor partner and/or a vertical industry. Tech Data’s experts have vetted the vendors in each solution and vetted the solution based upon market readiness, and the ability of the solution to deliver business outcomes to the customer. We provide a battle card for each solution, online tools via our digital practice builder and one-on-one consulting, as needed.
CP: Can IoT give your business a competitive advantage? If so, how?
SD: Collecting real-time data, then knowing how to parse, understand and use data is always a competitive advantage. IoT automates the collecting, inferring and reporting at scale. IoT is the network between the physical world and the data world. IoT networks are designed to work at a scale. That is its advantage.
CP: What do you hope attendees learn and can make use of from your keynote?
SD: An appreciation that IoT is no more complex than the networks we have built to connect PCs to servers to the clouds. There really is no difference between connecting a tablet to a network than a sensor. I want partners to see there are opportunities to create a new IoT practice built on their networking practices.
AM: Tech Data solutions enable any partner to leverage their existing expertise to sell IoT and data solutions. This enables new conversations with their customers and enables partners to deliver business value to their customers by leveraging the power of technology.