Internet of Things and Machine to Machine applications encompass four key elements so we asked Dan Cunliffe, Managing Director of Pangea, ‘When it comes to IoT/M2M, what is more important? The devices, the connectivity, the application, the data or the analytics?’
The IoT is a market full of surprises. New ideas and innovations become available as we grow to understand its potential and problem solving capability. I think that is a crucial element that has been missing from the channel when it comes to the IoT and M2M markets. The IoT is important to the success of the channel reseller of the future, as it’s the one growing market that will enable resellers to gain more business from their existing, strong relationships.
I feel it’s difficult to answer the question of which is more important in the IoT regarding devices, connectivity, solutions or analytics. From my perspective, it’s really about creating an IoT ecosystem that allows partners to develop winning solutions within this framework across all of these areas.
Connectivity is a vital part of delivering and winning almost any IoT business. It’s important to know you can rely on a platform of global and local networks that will deliver flexibility as well as commercial efficiency when faced with a variety of requirements. Connectivity also needs to be well managed and span across large terabytes and petabytes of data through to smaller KB sized solutions. It should be easy and straightforward to build what the solution needs to deliver what is intended, but also scale for future development and requirements both up or down.
Devices also have a crucial place within this ecosystem, as they bring the services to life by acting as the gatherers of information and doing so as effectively as possible. Your customers may not always know what they want from their solution in terms of devices, so it’s important that you have access to a tried and tested model involving sensors, gateways and tags to support the requirements. Devices are evolving all the time and they drive much of the CAPEX commercials, and therefore will be a strong piece in your IoT solution.
Applications bring everything together and are often the sexy side of the IoT along with the Analytics. However, people can easily get their heads around applications as we are in a world where almost everyone on the planet has downloaded an application to solve a problem in their daily lives. Where would most commuters be without Google Maps, or all of us without WhatsApp? The IoT applications perform a very similar role, which is to combine the connectivity with the devices and start solving problems. We think about turning inanimate objects like bicycles or vehicles into really valuable, data gathering smart machines by equipping them with connectivity and devices. All of this data allows the application to display the “answers” to our questions or problems about the real world. Whether it be how much energy have I used, helping irrigation systems to optimise crops or simply managing vehicles more efficiently. The IoT for the channel is about solving problems, not connecting toasters and fridges.
Finally, all of these aspects are pulled together by offering a tangible return on this investment through actionable details on the problems the IoT is solving. Simple, straightforward and measurable analytics really drive the agenda for investment in an IoT solution. Our Pre-Ethernet product predicts to add 3-6 months’ worth of Ethernet revenue to the bottom line for our partners. That is a tangible ROI that supports the investment. Or, take, for example, the ability to monetise your own solar energy more efficiently through understanding when you can sell this energy back to the grid: this is periodically improved through the analytics platform. These things are real and are factors that allow an IoT reseller to sustain long term and lucrative contracts with their customers.
It’s clear that you want to be a part of the whole piece, however, where do you start? It all begins with collaboration, as you can’t be everything to everyone in the IoT space. It’s just too big and not practical. It’s an approach that we are constantly taking to provide an ecosystem where resellers can bring their IoT opportunities from their existing clients to win new business, and capitalise on what is surely the biggest market at the moment.