Although much of the buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT) leans toward consumer products such as smarthome devices and Web-enabled vehicles, the technology is quickly gaining speed in the business arena as well. With an ability to connect multiple facets of an enterprise, IoT has the potential to revolutionize business intelligence, IT, logistics, and product development. That means VARs must be ready to help customers fully embrace IoT and harness its possibilities.
Often, the first step is helping your customers understand the importance of moving toward IoT and looking for business-ready characteristics in a platform. There are several reasons why customers should consider embracing Internet of Things platforms, and knowing those drivers can position VARs as valued resources in the decision-making process. Here are three reasons your customers should be moving in the IoT direction:
1. Unified approach
With the IoT, mobile devices can serve as sensors, giving an enterprise's workforce the ability to capture information easily and transform it into valuable data. For example, a widget maker can bridge the divides among order processing, manufacturing and shipping by tracking inventory in real time through smartphones, and refining logistics into a just-in-time manufacturing model.
The kind of connections that IoT provides for streamlining processes can provide insights that will make your customers more efficient and successful. Integrating all the elements of an enterprise into a single ecosystem by using a unified platform such as IoT can significantly simplify management and unite once-disparate parts of an organization.
2. Device and application compatibility
Putting various pieces of a technology setup together has often been rife with compatibility issues, but IoT platforms are designed to improve devices and applications so they play well together. That can ease integration of IoT architecture into a broader IT ecosystem, even if that environment includes enterprise systems such as ERP and CRM.
VARs will be particularly important as this integration matures because security can be an issue, and enterprises will look to VARs to help mitigate their risks, especially as they're aligning IoT with other enterprise assets.
3. Forward-looking strategy
Although IoT is still somewhat in an early stage, your customers should be looking at platforms now or they'll risk falling behind as adoption continues to rise. This doesn't mean your customers need to think about a rip-and-replace strategy for a data center; it's just the opposite. An IoT platform available in the cloud can provide scalability, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility in a way that doesn't require major technology upgrades throughout a data stack.
Your customers can also build additional scalability into the deployment of IoT because platforms are designed to make it easy for an enterprise to grow IoT as needed. Because of that, adoption of an IoT platform can seem like future-proofing an organization, especially as more IoT developments are rolled out in the near term.
As more software and hardware are developed around IoT, VARs must stay on top of this technology direction. Customers will appreciate resellers and vendors that can help them make sense of IoT and harness its full potential.
Also, by addressing security issues up front, VARs will be able to assist customers in making the most of their IoT implementations. Helping customers choose a platform that enables data encryption and provides robust authentication will go a long way toward better IoT integration, and strong customer loyalty, as IoT becomes more robust.
What are you hearing from your customers as they evaluate IoT platforms? Tell us in the comments!