[Avnet] VIDEO: Can VARs Truly Play in the IoT Space?

In the sensor-less world, the primary focus of many value-added resellers (VARs) has been the sale of hardware and software. As customers continue to use infrastructure and applications in new ways, many VARs and solution providers are adapting. One primary way to do that is to develop a business model that is oriented more toward services and SaaS.

Many of these resellers have heard about the tremendous opportunities the technology industry will experience as a result of the Internet of Things (IoT). Now, they are looking for new ways to take advantage of the growth projected in the IoT market in the coming years.

A growing movement, IoT describes a world in which everyday objects like your fridge or your vehicle have always-on, always-connected sensors. These sensors track and measure movement, performance and any other quantifiable attribute you can think of.

While home automation is a great use case for IoT in the consumer world, it is really just the tip of the iceberg for VARs focused on the enterprise marketplace. The most pressing challenge facing VARs today is finding their place in this expanding market, and learning how they can unlock the potential found in IoT.

This emerging technology will not only change the way we live as consumers, it will also create huge potential in the enterprise. The bulk of the revenue will come from initiatives such as smart industrial applications, smart transportation, retail customer behavior modeling and smart energy. The public sector is also starting to see a rise in interest as it uses automation to reduce complexity.

Even with the growing number of use cases, many VARs may still wonder how they can take part in the expanding IoT market. They look at their current enterprise capabilities—perhaps selling server, storage, networking and software—and wonder how they could engage in what seems to be a very device- and sensor-based ecosystem.

VARs would do well to remember that all of those devices and sensors generate data, and an increasing amount of it. The true power of IoT for the enterprise customer is not in the devices or sensors themselves but in how that user harnesses the data and turns it into business insight. VARs can provide true value in helping customers leverage this data. This is something that many VARs already know how to do, including managing the nuances around storage, analysis, and interfacing with and securing information.

There are five major areas of unrealized opportunity for VARs interested in IoT:

  1. Cloud and data center automation
  2. Data analytics
  3. Mobile
  4. Security
  5. Converged hardware

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