Extreme Networks is striving to help partners capture net new Internet of Things opportunities by revealing plans to launch a new ecosystem program that matches solution providers with IoT projects.
San Jose, Calif.-based Extreme has been working with a company identifying digital consultants who advise customers on digital transformation specifically in regard to IoT.
"We think there's a fantastic opportunity to connect those consultants with a set of partners," said Gordon Mackintosh, senior director of Extreme's Worldwide Partner Organization, in an interview with CRN. "What we're trying to do is sort of like a dating service. We're trying to match our channel with their vertical IoT expertise to a set of consultants who will be engaging the customer on these digital transformation products."
Partners were bullish about Extreme’s new Business Transformation Program, saying the enterprise networking vendor's product portfolio – which now includes solutions from Zebra Technology's integration with Extreme's analytics products -- fits the mold to drive IoT sales through the channel.
Solution providers said Extreme is already a staple for IoT deployments in large stadiums, while the pipeline for smart cities is increasing.
"This IoT program is so wise and a perfect fit because that's where a lot of IT is going. That's where these large networks are going, it's going to be in places like cities," said Kevan Akers, sports technology executive at Bedford, N.H.-based BEI Net.Works, who partners with Extreme.
BEI partners with Extreme to provide professional services in many NFL stadiums throughout the nation, including at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro Mass. home of the New England Patriots.
"It's really about connectivity. So whether it's a stadium, which is theoretically a city -- 70,000 people is a good size city – all of those applications transfer into smart city. You can make your city a living breathing thing where you have smart meters for parking, water sensors, temperature sensors – there are so many elements," said Akers. "This is a great direction for Extreme."
David Raftery, managing partner at Integration Partners, a Lexington, Mass.-based Extreme and Avaya partner ranked No. 129 on CRN's 2017 Solution Provider 500 list, said IoT is something on "everybody's whiteboard."
"So many Extreme products are already transferable around IoT, especially around security with our Extreme Management Center and the analytics packages and some of the wireless technologies," said Raftery. "It's obviously a big market, but the way they can come into it and have the whole portfolio and then put some business emphasis behind it, I think is going to be a great thing for partners willing to participate." For the new IoT ecosystem program, Extreme is seeking partners who specialize in certain vertical markets who have a few successful IoT deployments under their belt. Once a solution provider is designated as an IoT expert, Extreme will work with the consultants to send potential clients its way.
Raftery said Integration Partners is seeing IoT sales grow "leaps and bounds" in the health care industry.
"In health care, their IoT devices are medical devices. So that's arguably the most important data there is. Securing those devices, getting them on the network -- it's just a huge market opportunity that we've spent a lot of time working on," said Raftery. "This is a smart move for Extreme that we're excited to hear more about."