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TORONTO—With demand for Internet of things (IoT) expertise on the rise, Tech Data launched its new Smart IoT Solutions business practice.

The primary goal is to provide solution providers with access to a range of IoT engineering expertise required to build and deploy IoT solutions in both Europe and North America, said Victor Paradell, vice president of IoT Solutions in Europe for Tech Data, who announced the new business practice on July 11 at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference here.

Tech Data is committed to providing access to various types of IoT expertise that will be at different points in the lifespan of an IoT project. For example, at the early stages of an IoT project, the emphasis is likely going to be on connectivity. As a project matures, the emphasis tends to shift toward big data analytics applications.

“IoT solution providers are going to need access to a lot of electrical engineering skills,” said Paradell. “There’s also a skill gap on the IT side.”

Prospective IoT solution providers will need to take into account the nuances involved in working with operations teams that tend to report to the line-of-business and internal IT organizations, Paradell said. At different stages of the IoT project, solution providers are likely to find themselves interacting with both teams. The challenge is finding a way to bring all those parties together in a way that reduces any friction between them as much as possible. Achieving that goal, said Paradell, will often require the solution provider to have deep knowledge within a particular vertical industry segment.

In general, Chris Chute, an industry analyst with IDC, said solution providers should be careful not to let the hype surrounding IoT projects get in the way of their better business judgment. While demand for IoT solutions offers massive potential, Chute said the vast majority of the spending on IoT projects involves manufacturing and logistics applications.

“Outside of those areas, our research shows that partners should be careful to pick their spots,” said Chute.

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications, including InfoWorld, CRN and eWeek. He currently blogs daily for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, Channel Insider and Baseline.