Intel IoT Exec: Channel Will Be Key Driver In Chip Giant's IoT Offensive

Intel's channel will be the key in the chipmaker's efforts to dominate the lucrative Internet of Things market, as the company looks to deeply integrate its technologies in fragmented vertical markets, Intel Internet of Things Vice President Jonathan Ballon told CRN.

Ballon said that in the 30 years he has been working in technology, "there's no better time than now to be working in the channel," with partners playing a critical role in the customization and integration of IoT market solutions.

"We're not measured by the number of [IoT] announcements we're making, but by hardened market-ready solutions and deep integration from partners," he said. "IoT is causing us to dramatically reform our strategy for how we go to market … The customization that partners enable is the name of the game right now. What's gaining traction in the IoT market are those vertical, specialized applications."

[Related: Intel Dives Into Artificial Intelligence With New Nervana Platform, Product Roadmap]

Sponsored post

While Intel's traditional go-to-market strategy for embedded compute was primarily through distribution and OEM partners, IoT has broadened the company's channel to prioritize the roles of ISVs, resellers, and IT and operational technology systems integrators, said Ballon.

Through the three tiers of the Intel Technology Provider program, Intel offers Internet of Things partners benefits that are tailored for resellers across the board - whether they're trying to expand into the IoT space for the first time or are already developing and deploying IoT solutions.

The program equips partners with IoT specialty training courses; IoT specialty sales tools for retail, hospitality and food service vertical solutions, as well as marketing materials and a solution directory.

The channel can also access Intel's IoT specialty benefit designation, which was re-launched this year to brand qualified partners as leaders in the Internet of Things space. Eligible gold or platinum partners will receive exclusive communications, and have exclusive access to case studies and training courses.

The Internet of Things is growing rapidly –research firm IDC expects the market is to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020 – but when it comes to margins and new business models, channel prospects are high as well, said Ballon.

"For the software at the application layer for the software portion of the solution … margins are generally high," he said. "When you see the integration of these things, we're seeing new business models where companies are starting to participate in revenue sharing agreements. That gives you an opportunity to get software-like revenues, even if you are a hardware provider."

Operational technology systems integrators are a fairly new player in Intel's channel – but they are the key for reaching critical industrial markets, said Ballon.

"The OT players are getting a lot [more] traction than those large global SIs because they bring subject matter knowledge of the OT environment," he said. "These are the people who work in oil and gas, on the rigs and the well … that's a totally different skill set than the IT players [who] are working primarily in the enterprise. What you're going to see is a confluence of OT and IT coming together."

Ballon said he is seeing a tremendous amount of conversion from customers moving from competing architectures onto Intel, due to the company's full end-to-end solution. "They realize the total cost of ownership is optimized when you have an end-to-end architecture, and it's more secure," he said.

"From a silicon point of view, there is no one else other than Intel that can actually provide you with secure offerings on the machine, in a full computing architecture, and back to the data center with integrated security."