How to Start Your Own IoT Practice
The following is a summary of the content from Ingram Micro’s NeXt Trends event, conducted by Devlin Norris of Intel, and featuring Vicky Bagwalla from Cloud Managed Networks and Savio Lee of Ingram Micro.
IoT (the Internet of Things) is one of the most impactful forms of digital transformation. It provides interconnectivity and interoperability that increases productivity, efficiency, and ultimately, boosts revenue.
Be it through sensors, at the edge, or through to the cloud, IoT offers a flexible series of solutions to organizations of all kinds. Not only that, it offers an opportunity for traditional service providers to broaden their scope and provide a turnkey solution that can dramatically expand their business.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at what being an IoT service provider entails, and why traditional service providers should get involved.
Leverage the Value of Data
The most essential aspect of IoT is the collection, extrapolation, and analysis of data. Not only can IoT collect and process new data, but years of backlogged data can be used as well to create valuable new insights.
Neglecting to collect and utilize data is a common mistake in the IoT space. In fact, a survey by Cisco reported that 70% of IoT projects failed because of the lack of data.
Successful IoT solutions have a symbiotic relationship with data. Any organization looking to adopt or offer IoT solutions of their own must recognize the value and importance of data in order to be sustainable.
Intel has created a series of over 300 market-ready solutions that can be used by a wide variety of organizations. Their goal in doing so is to enable and accelerate data—from sensors, at the edge, or through to the cloud—to grow the IoT market and potentially provide more opportunities for the use of Intel processors.
Each step in creating an IoT service or functionality requires interoperability that isn’t always easy to establish—eg. getting all the sensors at the edge, aggregating that data, moving it on-prem or into the cloud, then analyzing that data to make good business decisions.
Intel is providing a series of recipes for IoT that offer a shortcut to get things up and running. They come from vendors around the world to solve business problems.
As one of the only commercial aggregators that Intel has in Canada, Ingram Micro is making these scalable, flexible recipes available to you.
How Does Ingram Micro Create IoT Solutions?
Ingram Micro plays the role of an IoT aggregator and orchestration platform, taking an integrated and architectural approach.
IoT is a collection of systems. Therefore, a holistic approach is needed. Ingram Micro asks, what is the required outcome? then looks backwards to develop the best solution possible.
Adding sensors to existing devices accounts for only 20% of the current IoT opportunities, which are what we call ‘green field’. The majority of opportunities come from extracting legacy data that’s been sitting in a system for years, which we call ‘brown field’.
The highest value of IoT is not at the edge or the sensors; it’s in the data. That’s why we focus on getting the right data to the right people at the right place and time.
We identify a solution, address the immediate needs, and then identify adjacencies and ways that we can improve the organization’s daily processes, and prevent any impending issues by providing solutions preemptively if necessary.
One solution can cascade into other solutions that improve an organization’s daily operations dramatically.
Four or five years ago, IoT was prohibitively complicated for many organizations. It has a lot of moving parts and often requires putting new infrastructure in place. However, thanks to our hard-working team, IoT solutions are now far easier to implement.
We’ve simplified processes by standardizing protocols and helped create a framework to put things together. Organizations can now use these blueprints to their benefit.
Opportunity for Systems Integrators, Resellers, & Traditional Service Providers
Because we’re connecting the traditional control systems with the IT world, the opportunities vary for different stakeholders.
Think of IoT as being similar to a data sensor practice for IT. Within that, there are multiple domains, partners for computing, partners for security, partners for storage, and so on. These can all be in-house to deliver one solution. IoT is the same concept.
An IoT solutions integrator delivers end-to-end IoT solutions. Within the entire IoT stack, there are multiple opportunities for stakeholders and players.
A traditional IT integrator or reseller doesn’t need to be confined to things like domain, IT network infrastructure, and network security.
Because the network is right in the middle of the IoT infrastructure, it presents a major opportunity. For example, there may be a scope for traditional IT integrators to work in the control and automation side of things as well.
It’s important to note, however, that when branching out of IT and entering the operational technology space, working with an OT partner helps. IT service providers could also offer consultancy practices, and advise organizations on how to adopt IoT solutions to improve their operations.
Additionally, software and apps can be built to analyze data and identify opportunities to increase efficiency, revenue, enhance CX, and improve productivity.
Regardless of what your organization does, Ingram Micro is here to support you all the way and help you to build your IoT practice from the ground up.
Flexibility is Key When Creating an IoT Solution
One of the primary goals of being an IoT solutions provider is to figure out how to best use data for clients, and ultimately, increase their bottom line. This translates to increased efficiency and productivity through strategic data analysis.
Cloud Managed Networks, for example, is a full-stack solutions provider. They get into the depths of their client’s day-to-day operations and identify expansion opportunities through IoT. They speak to the people working on the floor to find out what’s needed and what the gaps are.
Cloud Managed Networks started working together with Ingram Micro to learn how to offer more benefits to its clients. They leveraged Ingram Micro’s efforts to make that happen.
Since Ingram Micro was able to standardize certain technologies, including creating a very robust back end, IoT became more achievable for a wider range of clients.
Cloud Managed Networks was able to adapt their services and become a solutions provider rather than simply a tech company. They’re focused on providing results that truly matter, and even enabling their clients to be proactive in terms of how to maximize operations on their own.
Their approach includes building a solid foundation for improvement, correlating and analyzing key data, and providing something meaningful in terms of output. Then, the client can plan what to do with it.
Your Company’s Value to its Clients Increases Exponentially by Offering IoT Services
To get started as an IoT service provider, go in with a plan. Work with Ingram Micro’s team to figure out what to do specifically for your business and clientele.
Take the first step by getting a demo kit. That will give you an idea of how things would work in the field, as well as insight into what needs to be done.
Offering IoT services may involve making a transformation into a solutions provider, but it can result in a dramatic increase in the overall value of your company.