AT&T Arms Partners With IoT Starter Kit To Help Them Seize Recurring Revenue Opportunities

AT&T wants to help its partners take advantage of emerging opportunities -- and new revenue streams -- around the Internet of Things.

The Dallas-based company is offering an IoT Starter Kit for prototyping IoT solutions, along with several resources that partners can use to determine their IoT readiness.

Sue Galvanek, vice president of marketing, pricing and product solutions for AT&T Partner Exchange, told CRN that 85 percent of businesses today are considering or implementing an IoT solution and 75 percent of them want outside help. That's a perfect opportunity for solution providers, she said.

[Related: AT&T Adds APIs To Help Partners Move More Mobility Products, Services]

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Selling connectivity for IoT devices is an easy entry into the space, but solution providers that can sell the entire IoT solution stand to gain the real recurring revenue opportunities -- which is why it's imperative for partners to learn about the market, Galvanek said.

"IoT isn't just connectivity. It needs security, data analytics and device management. Those are all recurring revenue opportunities for solution providers," she said.

Many solution providers are ready to start investigating IoT to see where these solutions could help their end customers, so breaking down its many moving parts is very helpful, said Max Silber, vice president of mobility for MetTel, a solution provider and AT&T partner.

New York-based MetTel has been deploying IoT solutions, especially for its distribution and inventory, and health-care customers. An IoT-specific starter kit is a "great idea, and a great enabler" for partners who want to deliver a full IoT solution on a much larger scale than carriers would be able to reach on their own, Silber said.

"For AT&T to be offering an IoT Starter Kit really gives us a turnkey path to delivering IoT solutions that include things like access to platforms, software development kits and connectivity," he told CRN.

Among the tools that AT&T unveiled Monday is "A Channel Executive's Guide to IoT" that offers insight into IoT trends but then digs into IoT "building blocks," the network, devices and applications that partners need to understand before launching an IoT strategy, Galvanek said.

The guide also highlights success stories from AT&T partners who already are offering IoT solutions as well as guidance on how to build an IoT offering based on a partner's existing customer base.

The guide is the latest in AT&T's series for its Partner Exchange members. The company in 2016 released its Mobility Guide for partners, as well as access to Control Center, its cloud-based platform for managing IoT applications.

AT&T partnered with business consulting firm Infusion Partners to create the IoT Readiness Assessment, a self-service, web-based survey that solution providers can use to evaluate their investment level and focus on IoT.

Perhaps most importantly, the tool can help partners hone in on potential areas in which IoT would be a good fit -- for example, if they have a particular vertical that they should focus on such as retail or manufacturing, Galvanek said.

"We learned that partners need help even assessing where they are in terms of how ready they are to deliver IoT," she said. "[Partners] can use the tool to indicate their business plans for IoT and it will come up with an evaluation and where the opportunities are for them."

After taking the survey, solution providers can graduate to AT&T's IoT Starter Kit. The kit lets solution providers build and test their own IoT solutions using AT&T's hardware, services and data.

The starter kit can be used by seasoned developers or by partners just starting up an IoT business who want to rapidly develop and prototype an IoT solution, Galvanek said.

The three tools are now available to AT&T's solution provider partners via a new IoT website, along with recommendations for IoT-enabled devices that have been certified on AT&T's network.

"We plan on building that portal out over time to give [partners] a more robust set of resources beyond just this beginning," Galvanek said. "We'd like to help more partners take advantage of the IoT opportunity."