Aeris Sets Up Recurring IoT Revenue For Channel With New Partner Program

Aeris Communications has launched a new partner program that brings Internet of Things (IoT) network connectivity services to the channel via a recurring revenue model.

Aeris' cellular network services, which it touts as "built exclusively for machines," provides connectivity specifically for the IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) markets. Last week, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company launched the Neo Affiliate Program to open up sales of its services to partners, such as solution providers, distributors and IoT/M2M device manufacturers.

Raj Kanaya, chief marketing officer at Aeris, said IoT and M2M ecosystem partners face a disjointed and complex process when integrating cellular connectivity into their products and solutions. The industry norm for mobile network operators offering M2M connectivity is a lengthy sales cycle, a complex on-boarding process and an opaque pricing model, he said.

[Related: Juniper Revamps Partner Program ]

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Aeris' answer to those problems is its Neo online marketplace, launched in October, which enables users to see what services are available to them, select the number of SIMs needed and the connectivity desired. There is no volume commitment or minimum term. With Neo you can buy today, connect tomorrow and pay as you grow, Kanaya said.

Bryan Eagle, vice president of business development and communications of the Queensland, Canadian-based manufacturing company MultiTech Systems, a vendor partner, said Neo allows a service that can self-activate and users can easily manage in a fast-growing market.

"There is explosive growth and interest in M2M and IoT-enabled devices," said Eagle. "Aeris has been recently pretty aggressive in coming up with new tools like this that are going to help us accelerate our hardware deployment … People that want to do development around this, people who are light users of cellular connectivity can manage themselves by going to a website."

The emergence of IoT has created a rapid amount of players and difficult deployment challenges that Aeris is hoping to solve, said Kanaya.

"We wanted to make buying M2M connectivity as simple as Amazon made it to buy computing with AWS," Kanaya said. "We saw in the M2M connectivity space, that there's a big part of the market that wasn't served … We're seeing growth across the board."

Now through the Neo Affiliate Program, solution providers will receive a portion of the monthly revenue, around 10 percent, of each customer who signs up for the service through their referrals. As their customers grow, partners get access to an expanding recurring revenue stream, Kanaya said.

"For example, a reseller sells some devices to a company, that company then connects through Neo based on a referral from that reseller. Then as long as that program is alive for that reseller, they're getting a percent of the revenue that we take in a monthly basis," said Kanaya. "So it's a way for them to increase profitability that they just didn't have before."

The program is aimed at companies providing value-added services for the IoT and M2M ecosystem, including device manufacturers selling cellular-capable IoT and M2M devices, solution providers targeting vertical markets, and for distributors who resell a range of IoT and M2M products.

’A platform like Neo and this affiliate program allows us to provide quick, reliable and affordable connectivity options to our customers for one to thousands of devices with just a click," said Eagle.

Through the program, partners also are provided with key information about their customers' programs. On a monthly basis, Aeris provides a report indicating key characteristics of their customers' usage, including amount of data usage, location, traffic patterns and other key data points.

"We have access to a rich source of data on our customers' usage patterns to better optimize their overall experience," said Eagle.

According to a recent report by technology market research firm Infonetics Research, the mobile M2M market will account for $1.6 billion in sales in 2015.

"Machine-to-machine and the Internet of Things are transforming industries and creating tremendous opportunities for mobile M2M module vendors around the world," said John Byrne, directing analyst for M2M and IoT at Infonetics Research, in the report. "Infonetics is forecasting the global mobile M2M module market to accelerate more noticeably in 2015, and ultimately to nearly triple to $4.5 billion by 2018."

Jeff Kaplan, managing director of Wellesley, Mass.-based THINKstrategies, said the program enables Aeris partners to easily obtain and sell cellular connectivity to support a rapidly growing population of M2M and IoT-enabled devices.

"VARs will make money in the IoT and M2M markets in the same way they've done in previous technology areas -- by integrating various components from a variety of vendors to develop and deliver specialized solutions to meet the needs of specific industries or solve particular business process issues," said Kaplan, in an email.

He said THINKstrategies believes the IoT will grow rapidly in the for business-to-business market fueled by the growing popularity of consumer-oriented IoT products and services.