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November 28, 2017
Your clients are hearing a lot about the Internet of Things, and it’s likely that they have many Internet-connected devices running and generating data in the organization. But for many companies—especially small and midsize organizations—IoT is something to be dealt with at a future time. That makes it the perfect time to start offering your IoT expertise.
Even if companies aren’t quite ready to tackle IoT in a strategic way, they know the technology is important, (if not currently a little disjointed). Now is the time to develop a deeper understanding of IoT, and the benefits and challenges it can bring to the business.
Here are five things your customers need to know about IoT:
1. Definition of IoT
At this point, the term “Internet of Things” has been hyped so much that it has almost lost its meaning. While it’s true that IoT can mean different things to different people, it’s important to establish a baseline definition. According to Gartner, “IoT is a network of IP-enabled, dedicated physical objects (things) that contain embedded technology to sense or interact with their internal state or the external environment. This excludes general-purpose devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs.”
2. Projected IoT growth
Gartner forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017, up 31 percent from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. Total spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion this year, Gartner adds. Putting these numbers in context will be important as companies scope out their future IoT plans.
3. Potential rewards
IoT technology has already taken root in industries including healthcare and manufacturing. Partners should provide use cases and proofs of concept to help clients get their heads around the potential of IoT in their own organizations. For example, in the report “Internet of Things: Risk and Value Considerations,” ISACA notes applications including Santander, Spain’s, use of IoT in the quest to become a “smart city,” Chinese manufacturer QuanU Furniture’s implementation of a product tracking system that integrates with its ERP platform, and U.K. transportation company RAC’s use of IoT to help pinpoint problems of stranded motorists.
4. Potential risks
Of course, where there is risk, there is reward. “Although IoT can result in financial, health and safety, and quality-of-life benefits, IoT can also introduce new risk,” states the ISACA report. “Any new technology, process or business method can increase risk, but IoT, because of its pervasiveness, has the potential to increase risk significantly.” Partners can help clients assess the balance between risk and reward as they move closer and closer to implementation of IoT- focused projects. (And that balance point will almost certainly be a moving target as IoT technology and applications widen in use and scope.
5. What to do next
At this point, most companies will be comfortable in the exploration phase, but they should have some sense of what’s coming next. Partners can work with clients to filter IoT hype from reality, and to apply relevant and timely information to build out a road map that aligns with expansion of technology vendors’ IoT-focused products. Partners should also work with clients to assess their existing hardware, software and services for IoT-readiness. What systems are already Internet-connected? How are they managed? What kinds of data are they generating? What value might that data have? Where will that data be stored? Secured? How can IoT be leveraged in the development of new apps?
When it comes to IoT, these are only a few of the questions that must be asked and answered. Partners are in the perfect position to help their clients do just that.
For more on what VMware is doing with IoT, please visit the VMware Internet of Things Solutions site.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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