IoT Channel Chronicles: Strategic Mobility Group Lays Out The Challenges, Vertical Opportunities In The Internet of Things

From Mobile To IoT

Solution providers in the channel are approaching the Internet of Things from different perspectives – including Strategic Mobility Group, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based company that was named to the CRN 2016 Solution Provider 500 list.

For Nico Genet, director of IoT and co-founder of SMG3, the Internet of Things is a "blanket that has been thrown over the industry," incorporating all technologies and creating ample opportunities for the channel.

Genet, and SMG3 director of inside sales Michael Grudecki, sat down with CRN to discuss the opportunities and challenges in IoT.

Note: This is the third of CRN's weekly IoT Channel Chronicles series, which is an in-depth interview with solution providers to dig into opportunities and challenges the channel is facing with the Internet of Things.

How do you view the Internet of Things?

I think the IoT blanket has been thrown over the industry at first on the consumer side, and now is incorporating everything else. So in the enterprise we've been dealing with the Internet of Things for years because you've had mobile devices … in industries like distribution and transportation. Now they're just bundling that all together to say this is part of IoT. That works on the consumer side too. [Although] a recent study by Accenture said that 87 percent of people don't even understand what IoT is – there's no perceived value yet -- yet you have products like FitBit and Nest, Samsung has their [smart] refrigerators.

What's the biggest area of opportunity from IoT that your customers see as improving their organization?

So I think consumers are still trying to understand how it will help them and improve their life, but in the enterprise, every day something is going to the industry to help leaders examine data, and that's the big trend we're seeing right now, is that data is in real time now.

Instead of looking at sheets of what they did last month, they're now able to see what their hours are in shipping. They can see devices … and provide that real-time data directly to the correct individual.

How are you approaching IOT? What's your strategy?

What we're doing is capitalizing on those [real-time data capabilities] and trying to present the data through technology. It used to be you're selling technology, now you're selling access to data through their technology. That's the big change.

A lot of customers will say how do you make our warehouse more efficient, how do we … speed up our shipping. We'll come in and actually look at the procedure and their technologies.

What are some key verticals for IoT you're looking at?

It's really all aspects of what we work in … manufacturing, logistics, warehousing. Hospitals are now going to a convergence device that nurses can have nurse call capabilities and pharmaceutical order fulfillment as well as paging for doctors all on one device connected to the internet.

What specific products have been helpful for IoT?

We also have a product called the SMG3 Edge that allows customers to have a single sign-on or multiple signns, to see all of their handhelds and devices – including where it's connected, what it's doing, where they're shipping, if they're down or working.

What we're doing in the transportation world is now we're putting on board computers – handheld devices – that will do all the tracking of the trucks, proof of delivery signatures, but we also have sensors now that can track the temperature of the cargo, speed, if doors are open – and that goes back to one central site that is holding this data in, so it gives real-time data.

Are you seeing differences between SMBs and large enterprises in their adoption of IOT?

The smaller companies tend to be not as much early adopters, while bigger companies have already been into IoT – it's still not where everyone thought it would be, but definitely increasing. The biggest thing [customers are asking] is how quickly can I see my data, how can I make intelligent decisions based on that data if I'm able to see it hourly? So we're seeing changing trends in the way they view the data.

What are some key vendors you work with who are making waves IoT?

Everyone wants to consider IoT. Zebra has really taken the initiative and everyone's trying to catch up with them, because they jumped on IoT well over two years ago. While everyone else was talking about it, they were trying to take it and adopt it for the enterprise, and others are trying to catch up. Honeywell has their sensors out there as well, and [we're also seeing key partnerships with] DataLogic, CradlePoint and Cisco.