Internet of things News

CBT CEO Kelly Ireland: XR ‘Absolutely’ A Channel Opportunity

Wade Tyler Millward

‘Is there an opportunity in the channel? Absolutely,’ CBT CEO Kelly Ireland tells CRN. ‘I've been espousing this for two years, if not longer.’

Are you seeing real-world outcomes today? 

I’ll give you some generalities. Think of during COVID, or you could look at it now with the way the economy is going – airline flights are astronomical, more limited than ever before and recently unreliable … What if, instead of flying somebody in to take care of a special machine, you get an engineer or a technician of an acceptable level and that person can be walked through it?

Just like a doctor with a procedure or health care worker with a doctor on the line watching them go through a specific procedure with expert guidance. … We’ve (also) integrated a dosimeter (radiation detection device) reading into a wearable device. Instead of a frontline worker simply having a beeper style apparatus to notify of the radiation level, they can actually see what level they’re at as they're walking around a nuclear facility.

We have created augmented training programs where employees can go into a shell structure of a building that has open studded walls with an electrical conduit or plumbing pipes and fixtures. The augmented reality shows color-coded hot or cold water running in the appropriate directions through the plumbing fixtures and pipes. Electrical shows the step downs of power from external sources into a home down to a power outlet or appliance.

And it's teaching these people what type of tools are used, why they’re used, in what situations, why it's applicable, what it does. So it’s been able to augment training.

So we're seeing … training, supervision, being able to not have to have specialists in certain areas and just have those be virtually connected and be that remote mentor, teacher, trainer, expert - a vast array of choices to provide a multitude of levels of support.

We called it 'toe dipping’ for two years. It's been toe dipping. Everybody’s like, 'Yeah, I want to try it. But, oh, so many people are in POC purgatory. And they didn't achieve it. And nothing ever came of it.’

And we're like, 'Nothing ever came of it because you approached it … as buying a product – hardware, software or a combo – and not as a tried and true solution.’ … And they’re like, 'Yeah.’

And I go, 'We don't approach it that way.’ You have to approach it as – What specific issue are you trying to address? What outcome … do you need to achieve?

Don't talk about product. Don’t talk about a wearable. Don't talk about a phone. Don’t talk about an iPad or a laptop or tablet. And don't talk about a software. Talk about what the problem is. And if you start from there and work back, then you bring them exactly what they need.

And that's what our approach has been. It’s like building software. It's the same approach as building software. You take the agile approach. And that’s why, right now, we don't bring any OEMs or ISVs in the discussion with us – because they’re going to sell their widget. We don't want a customer buying it unless it’s the right application.

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Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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