The connected world created by the Internet of Things (IoT) will mean more operational changes and huge new opportunities for managed service providers (MSPs), experts predict.
From management of networks and devices that include sensors, to handling the massively expanded amount of data collected about every person, place and thing, IT needs are expected to evolve as the IoT becomes more ubiquitous.
But predicting the future is impossible and making strategic decisions that position a business for the world of the next decade can seem a little like reading Tarot cards.
That’s where MachNation comes in.
The specialty IoT research firm recognized that many companies are struggling with the task of anticipating how the technological changes will impact markets for a wide range of industries.
“MachNation specializes in understanding and predicting these technology sectors, including developments in hardware, platforms, communication services and applications,” according to the company’s website. “MachNation specialists have provided guidance to the majority of the world’s leading IT and communications firms.”
The Nevada firm is co-chair of the services providers working group on the Cisco IoT World Forum Steering Committee.
During a 2014 podcast interview, featured on the Continuum blog, MachNation founder Steve Hilton spoke at a high level about the expanded opportunities for MSPs.
“I think what I recommend for MSPs is … think about that future connected world, where it is not just smartphones and laptops that are being hooked up in the office,” he said.
We caught up this week with MachNation chief technology officer and lead analyst Dima Tokar, who offered the latest thinking about current estimates of the IoT market, and drilled down a bit on the specific opportunities for IT service firms.
MachNation places worldwide IoT spending at $102 billion in 2016, and projects that will climb to $892 billion by 2025, driven by a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent, Tokar said.
"First, MSPs can expect that the demand for managed storage and disaster recovery solutions will grow with the proliferation of IoT,” he said. “Certain types of IoT solutions generate large of amounts of data that will need to be stored.”
MSPs should prepare themselves to offer help managing the collection, storage and backup of that data, leveraging hybrid cloud networks and helping companies understand how to tap that data to apply insights that drive better business outcomes, he said.
“Data generated by IoT solutions is valuable to the organization and ensuring the data is stored safely and securely is a high-priority for the businesses,” Tokar said.
Also, with upwards of 20 billion IoT devices estimated to be operating by 2025, there will be a tremendous need to store images of those devices and machines, he said.
“In some use cases, raw machine data will be processed at the edge, and only valuable insights will be stored long-term,” Tokar explained. “IoT devices have lots of solution-specific configuration stored on the device. “There's an opportunity for MSPs to offer device management solutions that ensure all of the device configuration is stored in a safe place.”
Tokar also expects increased demand for mobile device management (MDM).
“A solution that enables a business to quickly replace a faulty device and get it back up and running using a device management solution will be very valuable in IoT," he said.
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