By The Business Solutions Network
2015 may very well go down in history as the “year of disruption” in IT – and consequently in the channel. Everyone is talking about changes that are happening right now (e.g. cloud and mobility) and bigger changes to come.
Last night, during the opening session of the Zebra Technologies 2015 Global Partner Summit at the ARIA Resort in Las Vegas, CEO Anders Gustafsson addressed a room of more than 900 channel partners about three specific mega trends that are converging and ushering in a new trend — the Internet of Things (IoT):
- Sensing. This includes Bluetooth and active/passive RFID as well as NFC (near field communication) and UWB (ultra wideband), which can be attached to nearly any asset ranging from wine bottles to NFL players’ shoulder pads and helmets (which Zebra Technologies is currently doing).
- Cloud. This trend is not just about massive data centers that are transforming IT into a utility and can scale storage and compute resources on demand. The cloud is about aggregating data captured by the myriad sensors, conducting real-time analytics, and turning it into actionable information.
- Mobility. The explosion in smartphones and other mobile devices with Internet connectivity is another key megatrend. Last year, in fact, mobile Internet traffic exceeded desktop traffic. It’s this component that enables the right information to be sent to the right person at the right time, and at the right location.
“Together we have a unique opportunity to transform our customers’ businesses to our mutual benefit,” Gustafsson shared. “And, we will invest in building this category, strengthening our brand in this space, and we are committed to helping our channel partners participate in these opportunities.”
Zebra calls the convergence of the above mentioned trends “Enterprise Asset Intelligence,” and Gustafsson went on to share why he believes Zebra is uniquely positioned to dominate this market. “Some companies can do a piece of Enterprise Asset Intelligence such as data capture or analysis, but there is no other company like Zebra that has more resources and more know-how and can offer a holistic solution,” says Gustafsson.
He also clarified that Zebra would not be abandoning its traditional staple technologies such as data capture, bar code printing, mobile devices, wireless LAN, and RFID. In fact, these technologies will play a key role in delivering Enterprise Asset Intelligence applications.
About a year ago, Zebra commissioned a joint study with Forrester Research that gathered feedback from more than 600 IT professionals from all over the world. “About 80 percent agreed that our type of technologies — data capture, bar code printing, mobile devices, wireless LAN, RFID — were all foundational building blocks to the Internet of Things,” says Gustafsson. “Additionally, about 75 percent said they already had or were planning to deploy Internet of Things applications within the following year.”
He also emphasized that Enterprise Asset Intelligence isn’t just something that’s going to happen in the future; it’s here now. “We need to get into it now to build our position, stake our claim, build our reputation, and start scaling our businesses for long-term growth over the next 5 to 10 years,” he says.
Gustafsson concluded his message by sharing his vision for how Zebra and its partners will enter this space. The remainder of 2015 is going to be a bit bumpy as Zebra continues laying the foundation it started more than a year ago, following the acquisition of Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business. In 2016, he said, that’s when Zebra and its partners will be in a position to accelerate growth and shape the industry. In 2017 and beyond is when Zebra and its channel partners will be in a position to own this market, Gustafsson predicts.
“Enterprise Application Intelligence is not the question; it’s the answer.”
Zebra Technologies 2015 Global Partner Summit is being held May 3-5 at the ARIA Resort in Las Vegas. For more information on Zebra, go to www.Zebra.com.