Solution Providers See IoT Channel Opportunities In The SLED Market

The Internet of Things is opening new opportunities for the channel to make a real difference in the state, local and education (SLED) markets, solution providers told CRN.

"Most of the [IoT] opportunities we see in the SLED market are in the infrastructure that enables IoT," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at Ontario, Calif.-based Sigmanet.

As the public sector aims to benefit from the IoT, SLED customers depend on solution providers to pull together and deploy the overall IoT solution. "Every time new IoT technology gets adopted, there has to be an underlying structure, and that's where the channel comes in," he said.

[Related: Eye On IoT: 15 Lesser-Known Companies That Could Ramp Up Your Business Today]

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Monteros said that interest in IoT in the public sector is at an all-time high – the company hosts an informal roundtable for cities to gather and share ideas of IoT applications, and every month, he said he sees a couple of new people who want to join.

The company most recently worked with a city that wanted to deploy smart trash cans in their sports fields – and needed the solution provider's help implementing Wi-Fi coverage for those areas.

Research conducted by CRN publisher The Channel Company reveals a broad awareness of the IoT opportunity. In a group of 170 solution providers surveyed, 46 percent of the respondents said IoT would have a "significant impact" on their SLED businesses.

Sandeep Khaneja, vice president at Function1, a Washington, D.C.-based solution provider, said his company's new IoT project at a large university is one of those difference makers. It will help connect and digitize the university's campus safety department so that it can more easily locate missing students.

"If you think of the number of technologies to get from point A to B, and then point B to C all the way to the end, it's quite a bit," Khaneja said. "But it also drastically cuts down on mis-utilized campus police resources."

Solution providers also play a major role in securing networks for SLED markets, as networks increase and become more complex with the deployment of IoT solutions.

"Security's huge right now," said Sigmanet's Monteros. "A lot of government [and education] clients have limited staff, and once their network gets larger due to IoT, security concerns are ongoing."

Solution providers responding to The Channel Company's SLED survey agreed. According to the report, the channel sees security services and solutions as the third fastest growing technology area for their SLED business – just behind managed services and cloud services and solutions.

The IoT impact on SLED markets for the channel will be discussed in greater detail at The Channel Company's XChange SLED conference in May.