IoT is getting real for channel partners and I am seeing a real trend for channel partners to get into the IoT space. I think it is not only smart, but a necessity if you want to stay relevant in the IT and software industry.
I read and interesting article ” MSPs must connect with the IoT, partner warns” at Channelnomics.com and the main message in the article is that MSPs must pay attention to the Internet of Things (IoT) and not think that it is just a consumer play. I fully agree with this and I have been in a fortunate position to run a few workshops with IoT as the leading concept and it really is something that I personally want to be part of going forward.
IoT is exciting as it combines multiple different technologies such as Big Data, Power BI, Machine Learning and analytics and it enables ISVs and other partner types such as System Integrators (SIs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to innovate new revenue generating opportunities. What is also interesting is that it could potentially “break” the traditional channel structures as the data and analytics collected could also become valuable commodity for the ISV/SI/MSP especially if combined with external publicly available information.
Let me give an example of a use case from my personal life. I am a happy user of Microsoft Band that collects information of my activities each day and I have approved it to load this information to the Microsoft Health site. This information becomes interesting with time as it tracks my health from multiple different perspectives: my heart rate in different types of scenarios such as gym, biking, and walking. Following picture shows my gym workout today:
When Microsoft adds machine learning to this, it will have information about my “sensor data’ and this could become valuable to me in the future. Lets for example assume that my heart rate starts acting in an abnormal way; my assumption would be that Microsoft Health site would inform me about potential issues and it might even know what it could be based on patterns that it “knows about”. All this might seem futuristic, but it really is not. Some people do not want to share this kind of data in the cloud, but my take is that that is where things are moving whether we want it or not. This example is a consumer-based play, but similar scenarios are happing in IoT when it comes to manufacturing, retail, construction and many other verticals. It is a tremendous opportunity for software vendors and system integrators to innovate new solutions or offer new services that will replace some of the old legacy business that will never come back.