Want to Hit the IoT Jackpot? Here's How

The No. 1 sector for profitable IoT opportunities is asset tracking.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

August 27, 2018

5 Min Read
IoT Data

Cashing in on IoT can be a challenge as the landscape is complex and difficult to navigate.

Bain expects the combined markets for IoT, including hardware, software, systems integration, and data and telecom services, to reach $520 billion by 2021, more than double the $235 billion spent last year. Most of that will be captured by the enterprise and industrial segments.


TeraNova’s Natasha Royer Coons

IoT is confusing, hyper-siloed and, despite all the buzz, there’s no straight and easy path to cashing in. However, with the right guidance, partners can ensure they’re getting the most bang for their IoT buck.

During an education session, part of the marketing and technology conference track sponsored by Cyxtera at Channel Partners Evolution, Oct. 9-12, in Philadelphia, Natasha Royer Coons, managing director of TeraNova Consulting Group, and Steve Brumer, partner at 151 Advisors, will reveal the five stops on the road to IoT profit.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Royer Coons and Brumer give a sneak peek at the information they plan to share with attendees.

Channel Partners: Is the IoT landscape difficult for partners to navigate? What are some of the issues involved?

Natasha Royer Coons: The challenge is that currently the technology and supply chain [are] hypersiloed, not integrated and certainly not channel-enabled or -centric, except for a few unique suppliers.

Verticals have specific requirements and business needs that require expertise and industry knowledge and focus to solve. Except for some elements such as the connectivity for IoT that are more universal, other elements of the IoT solution require the design to address very specific vertical challenges. Partners can consider choosing a vertical, getting a win, and then leveraging that to scale and repeat.

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151 Advisors’ Steve Brumer

Steve Brumer: For a majority of the channel partners, IoT sounds great and the recurring revenue is wanted, but IoT is still hard. There are no “IoT in a box” solutions available for the average VAR, and the distributors do not have all of the pieces and parts needed. It is a lot better than it was a few years ago, which is great for the industry.

CP: What are some of the “waypoints” on the road to IoT profit?


  • Consulting. If you are truly delivering value to your customers, you should have a deep understanding of their business already and you can use that understanding to push their thinking.

  • Enablement hardware. Partners can tap into companies incorporating connectivity (Bluetooth, LoRa, BLE or cellular) that have some of the landscape covered. To source the right hardware, we need to solve whether the asset is moving, low or high bandwidth, long or short range, and high or low battery life.

  • Business intelligence. Platform providers – combined with sensors – provide analytics and location information via a dashboard. The platform provider charges a (monthly recurring charge) for the service per asset, place or person tracked.

  • IoT WAN/connectivity. Partners can procure bandwidth via master agents, wireless solutions providers or (mobile virtual network operators). They can either earn commission on it or purchase it and mark it up. Connectivity can be bundled with the hardware and managed services to create an integrated IoT or SD-WAN solution.

  • Integration and managed services. Most verticals require specific types of solutions and industry specialization, and businesses often need help with integration (engineering and testing) and managed services (analytics, monitoring and support services). Leveraging relationships with suppliers and experienced colleagues to provide these services will drive value to the customer in a cluttered, confusing and highly segmented IoT space.

SB: Partners need to reach out and ask for help from the experts in the industry in order to help with the bundled solutions needed to help solve our end users’ problems. Profit on a per-IoT deal can come from …

… a variety of places, but long-term recurring revenue will come from services provided by the VAR.

CP: Are there examples of industries and verticals with profitable IoT opportunities?

NRC: Some partners have already successfully sold asset-tracking IoT opportunities in the health-care vertical to hospitals and health-care systems, tracking anything from gurneys to high-value machinery. Others have successfully sold fleet-management solutions tracking vehicles and people, which is a fairly mature IoT solution. We recently deployed a 3,500-site IoT opportunity by integrating a carrier-agnostic radio module with a single SIM solution into unmanned kiosks in a big-box retailer delivering curbside preventive care.

If you don’t have any experience in this expanding frontier, it’s easy to get started. As complex as IoT applications can be, more often than not they aren’t all-or-nothing scenarios.

SB: The No. 1 sector is asset tracking and it is the most mature and easiest to deploy for channel partners. Whether vehicles or containers or animals, the hardware, software, connectivity and management solutions are available for the VAR to buy and sell, and make money.

CP: What do you hope those attending your session can learn and put into practice?

NRC: Now is the time to challenge your customers in a positive way by offering unique perspectives that align with their economic and value drivers. In this session, we will teach the partner how to get started, how to prospect and how to navigate the space to bring in IoT experts, suppliers and are channel-friendly.

SB: We intend to provide them with what not to do as much as we can provide insights into what partners can do to be successful at making money by selling IoT to their customers.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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