IoT Partners Move Past the Hype to Opportunities

By Michael Vizard  |  Print this article Print
IoT services

IoT partners are positioning themselves by mastering a slew of new technologies. Data collection, integration and analysis skills will be key.

IoT Service Providers Benefit From Project Expansion

From IoT service providers' perspective, the nice thing about Internet of things projects is that they tend to grow over time. Before too long a simple proof-of-concept has the potential at least to transform the way a business operates. The challenge is appreciating all the data management nuances required to master an IoT deployment.

While IoT clearly represents a major integration opportunity, how much data gets processed at the end point, the gateway, in an on-premise data center or in the cloud will vary considerably by IoT deployment, said Bart Schouw, director of IoT solutions for Software AG. As a result, most IoT solutions will require a federated approach to how data gets integrated, he said.

"Organizations are going to find themselves managing fleets of different devices," Schouw said. "How all those devices in the field get integrated will depend on the business process. It's a huge opportunity, but it's also a hell of a job."

That same issue also applies to the analytics being derived from all that data.

It's not going to be feasible to stream massive amounts of IoT data back into a traditional data warehouse in the enterprise, said Dan Graham, technical marketing director for IoT at Teradata. "You're really talking about a massive dispersal of data sources. Most of what comes out of an IoT application is time series data," Graham said. "You can't do all the data transformation in the data center."

As a consequence, analytics needs to be baked into the data integration process at the very beginning on an IoT project, he said.

Of course, as it often the case with any major IT initiative, the ultimate debate comes down to how much organizations will opt to build or buy IoT solutions. A recent survey of 603 IT and business professionals conducted by QuinStreet Enterprise, parent company of Channel Insider, suggests that 60 percent of the time organizations will opt to buy an IoT solution. In reality, however, even when an IoT solution is purchased, there will still be a high degree of customization.

In the meantime, there is no shortage of IoT startups, established IT vendors and even entities such as GE and Siemens trying to carve out their share of a market that is already being measured in trillions.

"You're already seeing a lot of new relationships while others like SAP and Dell are extending partnerships," said Christoph Inauen, vice president of the IoT for SAP. "It'll be interesting to see where all these vendors wind up in five years.

Regardless of the vendors involved, however, the one thing that is for certain is that IoT will ultimately reshape the IT landscape in ways most solution providers never imagined.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.