Born of the Internet of Things, With Help From Intel
Just as new solution providers were founded based on business models made possible by the advent of cloud computing, the same phenomenon is likely to take place as new solution providers come into being to address Internet of things (IoT) opportunities.
Looking to provide many of the foundational technologies that will be used to enable IoT business models in the channel, Intel has been assembling an array of complementary technologies that essentially make up the primordial soup that Intel is expecting systems integrators in the channel will serve as a catalyst to create new classes of IoT solutions.
Jim Douglas, senior vice president of marketing for Wind River, believes that as a provider of an embedded operating system that is owned by Intel, Wind River is central to those efforts. He explained that Intel is in the midst of putting a comprehensive IoT framework in place that encompasses assets from Wind River and other Intel business units—including anti-malware specialist McAfee and Mashery, a provider of an application programming interface (API) management platform.
Coupled with Intel processors and a major investment in Cloudera, a provider of a distribution of Hadoop, Intel is essentially maneuvering into position to provide an IoT management platform, Douglas said.
Intel isn't so much focused on the processors that go into embedded devices as much as the chips that go into gateways and servers through which IoT data needs to ultimately flow. The margins on embedded processors are relatively thin. But the margins from processors that go into gateways and servers are extremely high, Douglas said.
Obviously, systems integrators will be needed—not only to tie all the infrastructure together to make IoT a reality, but also to build the applications. Wind River is focusing its channel efforts mainly on systems integrators looking to establish some IoT expertise in a particular vertical industry, Douglas said. After all, IoT deployments in health care, for example, will require substantially different levels of systems integration expertise than in the oil and gas industries.
Obviously, many existing systems integrators will make the transition to IoT. But just like the cloud, Douglas said, the business models surrounding IoT will be substantially different. That difference will give rise to a new class of systems integrator that is specifically optimized around IoT projects in which most of the revenue is generated on an ongoing basis over multiple years versus a one-time engagement fee.
Regardless of the approach, the IoT opportunity is shaping up to be worth trillions of dollars. The only issue for the channel is how to get into a position to have the skills and expertise required to take advantage of what is still a fairly fragmented market.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.