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2020 Internet Of Things 50: Realizing The Promise Of IoT

For solution providers just getting started in IoT and those who have already established businesses in the field, CRN presents the 50 coolest IoT companies of the year across connectivity, hardware, industrial IoT, security and software.

Businesses are increasingly viewing the practice of gathering information through sensors and controlling a variety of physical systems as an important part of their IT infrastructure. As evidence of that trend, research firm IDC in its latest global spending forecast said it expects businesses to spend $1.1 trillion on IoT projects in 2023.

But to make those IoT projects possible, businesses rely on a variety of vendors to cover everything from the hardware and security to the software and connectivity, as well as solutions that allow businesses to draw data from industrial control systems. And in many cases, the products from these vendors need to be combined for businesses to realize their full value.

“When you end up with one of these complex solutions, you could have 15 vendors in a single solution,” said Pam Miller, director of infrastructure channels research at IDC, in an interview with CRN.

Vendors alone, however, can’t get businesses to the IoT finish line. By 2021, more than 75 percent of organizations plan to turn to solution providers—whether they be system integrators, managed service providers or value-added resellers—to handle the complex integration, software development, management and support work necessary for IoT, according to an IDC FutureScape 2020 report.

“Most companies don’t have an ‘IoT guy.’ They don’t have advanced analytics in-house,” Miller said. “That’s why, increasingly, they’re looking to channel partners, service providers and various other people that have those skills on board to be able to help them get to the solution they’re looking for.”

But it’s not just as simple as vendors opening arms to solution providers. Solution providers are looking for building blocks they can use to more easily scale solutions to multiple customers and focus on value-added services.

“What we in the IT channel are looking for is a packaged solution that we can sell,” said Luis Alvarez, president and CEO of Alvarez Technology Group, a Salinas, Calif.-based solution provider that has made inroads in connected agriculture with IoT building automation vendor KMC Controls.

“We don’t want to have to go out and buy a bunch of components and create our own thing,” Alvarez said. “We want to be able to say, ‘Hey, we have this package for greenhouse management, or we have this package for building management, we know how it works, we can install it, we can sell it, we can make money.’”

What’s made it easier for solution providers to adopt IoT and work with a variety of hardware and software solutions is the connectivity work being done by cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, according to Stephen DiFranco, a former Broadcom and Lenovo executive who is founding principal of IoT Advisory Group.

“These tools are now coming online from Google, from Amazon and from Microsoft, which make plugging endpoint devices into the cloud a lot easier,” he said.

There is also work being done by OEMs like Cisco Systems and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company to curate and build native support for a variety of applications on their systems.

“You’re starting to see them now build libraries of applications that can sit on top of their network that partners can sell,” DiFranco said. “And this is really valuable because the partners are really having a hard time with sorting out, ‘which app should I use?’”

With IoT moving demand for high-performance computing from the cloud to the edge, solution providers now have an opportunity to build out and manage a new kind of network topology that consists of endpoints, edge gateways and cloud servers, according to DiFranco. And it’s from there that a new foundation of applications and business value can be created.

“I think what we’re going to see in IoT is really the big brands bringing along on the back of their hardware [the] software solutions to help connect, compile, collect and calculate data,” he said. “I think it’s really going to be through that.”

For solution providers just getting started in IoT and those who have already established businesses in the field, CRN presents the 50 coolest IoT companies of the year across connectivity, hardware, industrial IoT, security and software.

The 10 Coolest IoT Software Companies: The 2020 Internet Of Things 50

Innovative IoT software offerings are coming from a variety of vendors, from large cloud service providers to startups. What follows are the 10 coolest IoT software companies.

The 10 Coolest IoT Security Companies: The 2020 Internet Of Things 50

In order to tackle IoT security issues, vendors are creating a variety of offerings, from network visibility and segmentation to dynamic policy enforcement. What follows are the 10 coolest IoT security companies of 2020.

The 10 Coolest Industrial IoT Companies: The 2020 Internet Of Things 50

Industrial IoT manufacturers are constantly seeking to improve operations while finding new revenue streams. What follows are the 10 coolest industrial IoT companies of 2020.

The 10 Coolest IoT Connectivity Companies

5G may be coming for IoT in the future, but the need for connectivity is now. What follows are the 10 coolest IoT connectivity companies of 2020.

The 10 Coolest IoT Hardware Companies

Innovations in hardware are enabling a variety capabilities in IoT, including AI performance and 5G. What follows are the 10 coolest IoT hardware companies of 2020.

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