8 IoT Initiatives Solution Providers Should Have On Their Radar

The Rising Tide

As Cisco Systems closes its $1.4 billion acquisition of Internet of Things provider Jasper Technologies and AT&T creates an IoT Control Center for solution providers, it's clear that IoT will have a major impact on the channel this year.

The pace of new technologies, strategic partnerships and acquisitions in the growing IoT space is enough to make your head spin. Research firm Gartner said 6.2 billion connected "things" will be used this year, up 30 percent from 2015. IoT services spending will rise to $235 billion in 2016, an increase of 22 percent over 2015, according to Gartner, leading to a massive amount of opportunities for solution providers.

Here are eight important moves in the IoT space in 2016 thus far that solution providers need have on their radar.

The New IoT Wi-Fi Standard: HaLow

Solution providers need to have their eye on the new 802.11ah wireless standard recently created for IoT: Wi-Fi HaLow.

HaLow is low-powered Wi-Fi operating at a lower frequency, 900MHz, to help cut power consumption, extend transmission range and improve penetration, which is the ability to transmit through barriers such as walls and floors. Having lower power requirements and long range will help IoT devices with limited transmission power and battery life.

The new standard was created by the international nonprofit organization Wi-Fi Alliance, which promotes wireless technology and certifies wireless products if they abide by certain standards. Sponsors of the alliance group include Apple, Cisco, Comcast, Dell, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony, to name a few.

AT&T Creates IoT Control Center For Partners

The telecommunications giant recently rolled out its AT&T Control Center to give solution providers the foundation to deploy, manage and scale IoT solutions with connectivity through its 4G LTE network. The cloud-based platform supports IoT solution sales to customers across different verticals.

AT&T is just one of many companies, including Amazon Web Services and Cisco, that are providing tools to enable more IoT sales for solution providers. Dallas-based AT&T this year also revealed a new set of IoT developer tools for partners and is working with Salesforce to connect IoT data from AT&T into Salesforce platforms.

Cisco's $1.4 Billion Purchase Of Jasper

Cisco closed on its $1.4 billion acquisition of cloud-based IoT provider Jasper Technologies this week, proving that IT industry leaders are willing to spend the big bucks to advance their IoT portfolio.

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant says with the acquisition complete, Jasper forms the new IoT Cloud Business Unit within the company. Cisco plans to build upon Jasper's IoT service platform and add new services including advanced IoT security and support for additional connectivity options such as enterprise Wi-Fi and low-power wide-area network, and analytics solutions.

IoT Acquisitions Everywhere

Jasper isn't the only IoT vendor recently acquired to boost another company's IoT capabilities. IoT providers are being snatched up all over the place from the likes of Sony and even solution providers such as Accenture.

Accenture, ranked No. 2 on CRN's 2015 Solution Provider 500 list, recently acquired IoT industrial consultancy firm Cimation, while Sony snatched up LTE chipset vendor Altair Semiconductor, which provides chips for IoT connected devices that leverage LTE.

In March, IoT service provider Kore Wireless revealed plans to acquire IoT specialist Wyless to expand its IoT solution business by adding Wyless' software services, according to a release. Analog Devices also said this month that it will purchase sensor provider SNAP Sensor to build upon Analog's IoT solutions, according to the company.

Solution providers should keep a keen eye on which IoT startups are being snatched up this year because M&A activity doesn't appear to be slowing down.

Application s Becoming King

As IoT spreads across the IT landscape, solution providers should think of revamping their application development practices. Application developers are the baseline for IoT, with about 5 million individuals currently active as IoT developers, according to a report by market research firm Vision Mobile.

"Developers are a driving force in every IoT industry and a source of competitive advantage," said researchers in the Vision Mobile report.

VisionMobile isn't the only research firm bullish on app developers leading the IoT revolution. A recent report from BI Intelligence said nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions by 2020, with nearly $2.5 trillion on application development.

Strategic IoT Partnerships Galore

Companies investing heavily in the IoT space know they can't dive into the emerging market alone. Key vendors in the space have been forming strategic technology partnerships across multiple verticals including industrial, health care and the public sector.

One recent example is AT&T, which formed alliances with Cisco, Deloitte, Ericsson, GE, IBM, Intel and Qualcomm to build a new framework for smart cities and more connected communities.

Red Hat and IoT provider Eurotech also formed a partnership this year aimed at creating a new end-to-end IoT architecture. As more strategic partnerships sprout up this year, solution providers can cash in on the new opportunities.


In addition to forming strategic partnerships, IoT vendors are creating new opportunities for solution providers through increased interoperability.

ARM recently said it was accelerating its industrial IoT deployments with Hewlett Packard Enterprise by enabling greater device interoperability. The two companies are focused on providing new interoperability applications for IoT around smart cities, industrial automation and smart lighting.

Cisco and Ericcson recently signed a joint intellectual property rights agreement and professional services agreement that will leverage tens of thousands of employees from both vendors to offer joint solutions and services. Solution providers are seeing more IoT revenue paths through enhanced and new interoperability between vendors.

Prebuilt IoT Solutions For Quick Results

Organizations don't want to become IoT experts in order to reap the benefits of data and analytics. Prebuilt IoT solutions are providing the channel with quick and simple Software as a Service plays.

One example is Microsoft's cloud-based Azure IoT Suite. The suite offers preconfigured solutions that address common IoT use cases so customers can quickly capture and analyze new data to help solve line-of-business issues. Prebuilt, quick solutions like Azure IoT Suite are emerging more often in 2016 and prove an easy inroad for solution providers to get their foot in the door by offering services.