The Right Connection: How Intel Is Enabling Partners To Customize IoT For Their Customers

Since first launching its IoT platform and framework in 2015, Intel has spent the past two years bee¬fing up its portfolio to include a reference architecture, modules, developer kits and data management tools. These products can be used for connectivity, analytics and device management and free up partners to work on customizing IoT applications for their customers.

"Our channel is all about being able to customize solutions, and for IoT that is especially true," said Maurits Tichelman, vice president and general manager of Intel's sales worldwide, direct and channel sales. "It's even more specific to customization in retail, and the transportation market. There's a great level of detail and knowledge needed for building IoT applications in these markets."

In November of last year, Intel hired Tom Lantzsch as senior vice president and general manager of its IoT Group. Lantzsch most recently was the executive vice president of strategy at rival chip company ARM.

[Intel Solutions Summit 2017]

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The chip giant then in January launched an IoT platform focused on the retail vertical and said it will invest $100 million in IoT retail efforts over the next ¬ ve years through its new Responsive Retail Platform, which will be available through the channel. The platform offers retail hardware, software, APIs and sensors to help retail businesses integrate technologies and ¬ nd new business insight.

Retail is one of the biggest areas of opportunity for partners to deploy IoT applications, said Tichelman, but transportation, manufacturing and smart cities are ripe for IoT as well. "For IoT retail, we all know the channel has been playing a key role," said Tichelman. "When you add in connected smart platforms, customization is the key word. The people who will do that best are the partners who are as close to the end customers as possible. They can have the insight on that, while we are providing key building blocks."

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.

Channel partners also can 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

Intel also brings together other vendors in the market to collaborate around IoT solutions through the IoT Solutions Alliance, which creates interoperable, secure solutions to drive efficiencies and deliver device system performance insights. Stephen Monteros, vice president of business development and strategic initiatives at Ontario, Calif.-based solution provider Sigmanet, applauded Intel's efforts in IoT — particularly in pairing partners with other vendors needed to complete a solution, such as Bosch or KMC Controls.

"We use Intel as a reference or base for our IoT solutions," he said. "I think the channel is very important for Intel's IoT strategy — they're very engaged and are in a position to enable us as they also work with other OEMs to craft IoT solutions. It really isn't about the technology as much as it is about the business outcomes."