CompTIA: More Customers Are Looking To Adopt IoT, With Partner Help

Channel partners are starting to "warm up" to the Internet of Things market as more customers move to adopt experimental pilot projects and formal initiatives surrounding IoT, according to a CompTIA report.

Lisa Person, community director at CompTIA, told solution providers at The Channel Company's NextGen Cloud Conference & Expo that the channel realizes the benefits and opportunities surrounding the massive amounts of data coming in from connected devices.

"Customers need help in connecting the different pieces of IoT," she said, Tuesday. "As devices become more connected, they want to know: How do you support all this and what do you do with all the data? That's where partners can come into play with BI and analytics tools."

[Related: Google Executive: Change 'Not Optional' For Channel To Keep Up With Customer Digital Transformation]

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Though the IoT market is still new, customers are beginning to express interest in the Internet of Things as they realize benefits to IoT solutions – including better customer experiences, better asset visibility, more accurate monitoring, cost savings and better decision-making data.

According to CompTIA, 33 percent of organizations have an IoT experimentation or pilot project underway, and 27 percent have already adopted a formal IoT initiative. Meanwhile, 23 percent of organizations plan to have an IoT initiative underway within a year, and only 15 percent have no plans around IoT.

Despite increasing interest in the Internet of Things, customers and channel partners both still face hurdles they need to overcome to adopt IoT strategies. For example, according to CompTIA's research, up to 55 percent of channels see developing expertise around IoT as a top challenge.

"Partners are worried about building up in-house expertise and talent surrounding the Internet of Things, and then initial starting costs," said Person.

Channel partners also listed initial IoT project costs, educating customers, and choosing business models as other challenges they are facing in the Internet of Things space.

Once solution providers overcome these challenges, however, there are massive opportunities surrounding recurring revenue services, Person said.

For example, one South African-based systems integrator, Dimension Data, came up with a revolution IoT solution to connect the Tour De France with a range of IoT applications. In 2015, Dimension Data embarked on a four-month project to connect the bikes, create custom networks, capture real-time data and provide high-tech security for the bike race, so that mobile users could instantly see the race participants' status.

Nathan Phinney, president at Bright Bear Technology Solutions, an Irvine, Calif.-based managed service provider, said that solution providers are interested in IoT, but still are looking for successful use cases to get a better sense of how to best monetize the market.

"I think a lot of MSPs are still taking the temperature … there's a level of interest that's pretty high in developing IoT practices within the businesses of managed services partners," he said. "But it's still a green market; people are still figuring it out, similar to cloud when it was young – what it is, how to monetize it, and what the opportunities are in the space."