It’s time to embrace the Internet of Things.
For a few years now the Internet of Things, or IoT for short, has been a much-talked-about phenomenon, especially in the consumer world: “You mean my refrigerator can let me know when it’s out of milk? Cool!” The promise of connectivity to a multitude of household devices is predicted to make our lives easier--what could be better?
The only problem is that the initial products developed, like many first-generation technologies, were too expensive for mass adoption and too glitchy to work as expected. But now, IoT is more mature--the kinks are worked out, and there are real applications that are ready for the business world.
More than 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020. But as far as the channel should be concerned, “go time” is now.
Getting Down to Business
There are some critics of IoT who will reference the occasional story of a consumer who had a device hacked, like the Texas mom who discovered someone watching her 2-year-old child through an Internet-enabled webcam. But the difference between consumer-grade technology and business-enabled solutions are night and day (especially if consumers don’t adequately protect their home networks, instead using weak or no passwords).
When looking at business applications, there are many reasons to implement an Internet of “Everything” strategy. There are even more reasons to do it right. That’s where solution providers have the greatest opportunity—doing it right, and within the context of a larger IT solution.
More Data Means More Business
The influx of many new Internet-enabled devices translates into a tremendous spike in the amount of unstructured data. Vendors—and solution providers—will be counted on to manage the devices and the data those devices create into meaningful applications that solve real-world business problems. Integration of the devices and the use of analytics to make sense of disparate data are points that systems integrators can capitalize on to create selling opportunities.
For example, Hagleitner an SAP customer in Europe that makes paper towels, toilet paper and soap dispensers for public restrooms, has installed Internet-enabled sensors in their equipment. This equipment installed in bathrooms at arenas and hospitals now uses IoT technology to determine which bathrooms need servicing and when. Integrating this information into other systems allows them to save money on janitorial services, manage compliance issues for healthcare, and streamline fulfillment through SAP supply chain and product ordering systems.
Or, let’s say I owned a brewery (just because I can). How cool would it be if I could be notified automatically within the SAP procurement and management system when a specific ingredient was running low or if a controlled-environment vat reached a temperature too high or too low for a specific part of the brewing process?
Tomorrow’s Opportunity, Available Today
There are so many potential applications for IoT; we are limited only by our imaginations and creativity. While vendors like SAP have dedicated significant resources to help develop IoT solutions for vertical markets and lines of business, our ability to do so is only a fraction of what we expect our software partners and solution providers to do. So think about it … Where can you help your customers take their business with IoT?
SAP offers partners a complete portfolio of end-to-end business solutions that include applications such as ERP as well as analytics and databases. All of these solutions can be powered by SAP HANA, the powerful real-time computing platform; are mobile-ready; and can be delivered via on-premise, cloud or through a hybrid model.
Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://www.sap.com/partners/.
Ira Simon is vice president, Partner Marketing & Communications, at SAP. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship.