Article | December 20, 2017

The Internet Of Things Is Not The Next Big Thing, It's THE Thing

Source: ScanSource, Inc.

By Greg Dixon, Chief Technology Officer, ScanSource

Seven reasons resellers and MSPs should consider adding IoT solutions to their portfolio

The Internet of Things, or IoT, has been a buzz word for some time, but now it’s here, and hitting mainstream media everywhere from TV commercials to the gym. It’s not the next big thing, it’s “the” thing, and will connect everyone to everything. In short, IoT will one day connect the whole planet. We’ve been talking about IoT for several years now, strategizing and teaching resellers about the effect it will have on their customers, as well as all who are involved in the technology world. Everyone, from the most technical business enterprise to the average homeowner, will feel its impact in some way or another, although they may not even realize it. In fact, they may not even know to call it, “the Internet of Things,” because it will seem like such a natural progression of technology. This is, however, the evolution and implementation of IoT.

As connected solutions become more readily available, resellers and MSPs will have endless opportunities for outcome-driven results that will enhance the way they do business. Convincing others of the benefits of IoT, however, can often come with challenges. Many resellers look for big, upfront dollars rather than a smaller, steadier revenue stream over time. IoT may not make you $10,000 up front, but it can make you one dollar, 10,000 times. To further illustrate this point, we’ve highlighted seven reasons resellers should consider adding IoT solutions to their portfolio, in order to bring in recurring revenue.

  1. IoT is all about connectivity. By using sensors and beacons, IoT connects non-computing devices, like a commercial icemaker, to the Internet. As a result, the icemaker can “listen” to The Weather Channel and generate more ice on warmer days and less ice on colder days. In turn, the icemaker now becomes a smart device and becomes more energy efficient. Look for any opportunities to connect sensors or beacons to a non-computing device and turn a “dumb” device into a “smart” one. With this in mind, the ability to connect devices is only limited to your imagination.
  2. IoT is outcome driven. Think of IoT as outcome-as-a-service. It allows businesses to produce less waste, less cost, and incur less risk. Or perhaps, they can become more compliant, more efficient, or more profitable. The end user, in conjunction with the reseller, is able to plan better and predict these outcomes when implementing their technology solutions. The results become measurable outcomes and generate true return on investment.
  3. The opportunities are endless. We’ll never know exactly how many devices, applications, and solutions can be connected, but IoT is highly diversified and allows for the potential of many billions of devices to be connected. These opportunities translate to endless recurring revenue opportunities for the reseller.
  4. IoT can be managed remotely. Devices, platforms, infrastructure, data, and user interfaces can all be managed remotely from a dashboard that provides Business Intelligence to the end customer. Further, the dashboard alerts the reseller to maintenance needs and other information, providing a managed service agreement. 
  5. IoT is current yet innovative. IoT is a combination of edge hardware, cloud services, and managed services. Therefore, as most resellers have some type of cloud offering (or are moving toward one), combined with managed services, those who are integrating IoT solutions into their product offerings will continue to reflect the natural progression of technology.
  6. Life cycle management is important. The hardware involved in most IoT solutions, like mobile devices and payment terminals for example, require management throughout the product’s lifecycle. From the time the terminal ships out of a warehouse, to the point it will (most likely) need repair, and later, nears its end of life, requires lifecycle management in order to integrate successfully as part of an IoT solution. If the battery dies or the software is no longer compatible, it’s useless. Resellers should look for opportunities around managing the complete lifecycle of the IoT solution components. If implemented correctly, IoT solutions will have a very long lifespan and provide an indefinite revenue stream.
  7. Fleet management matters. There are technology solutions that have been mainstream for many years that are actually IoT applications. Asset management solutions and vehicle fleet management are hardly new industries, but managing fleet inventory, locations of product, physical truck locations, etc., comprise another entity of IoT that lends itself to the larger umbrella of IoT investment opportunities.

Today, ScanSource is hard at work bundling the necessary hardware, software and services — from our deep line card — to deliver an IoT solution stack reflecting the transition from top-of-mind conversations to a tangible working solution. As resellers grow more comfortable with how to sell IoT, more solutions from the major players in the channel will become widely available. Resellers need to be ready to jump at these opportunities. And ScanSource, with its industry-leading partnerships, stands at the ready to deliver these connected solutions to the channel. From hardware, software and applications to connectivity products, middleware, and data centers, the opportunities for IoT success are endless.