Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Internet of Things - How to get involved in a huge growth opportunity

You can't pick up any tech publication at the moment without reading something about the “Internet of Things (IOT)”.  In fact HPE CEO Meg Whitman recently sent out a Christmas message talking about a world, where everything is connected and everything computes. She cites a recent World Economic Forum report that predicts that within the next 10 years, IOT will impact nearly two-thirds
of global GDP.

Gartner predicts there will be 26.5 billion connected IOT endpoints globally by 2020, with other analysts saying this number is conservative. These end points will be hundreds of different products from smart meters to buildings. There is no question that there are real life benefits that will drive productivity and efficiency in both the business and consumer world and therefore is no surprise that IT vendors and Mobile operators are all scrambling to provide IOT solutions.

The challenge is how you manage them, get them talking to each other and make sense of all the data they produce.  

Think of the managed print solutions of today that inform you when you are about to run out of ink and automatically place a replacement order. Now imagine this on a larger scale in a factory environment full of smart machines all connected and talking to each other. These “Smart machines” can send key operating data back to the manufacturer with experts analysing the data. By the way it is possible for those experts to be both human or machine. This would allow you to service a machine before it goes wrong based on real time data, saving production downtime and reducing maintenance hours. This is just one example based on manufacturing, but this could easily be in any other vertical market.

Of course IOT is not just restricted to the business world - within the home we are already seeing a big take up of Connected Home solutions, with Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and even British Gas all fighting to be at the centre of your living room to improve your life. This could be on a dedicated hub device, or from your smartphone.    

In the initial days we saw a lot of manufacturers bringing out everything from smart light bulbs to smart kettles but they all talked their own language all requiring their own applications to work. The interoperability of these devices have come on leaps and bounds, with apps like IFTTT allowing you to create different scenarios based on multiple devices and systems. Now it really is possible to speak to your system to turn your TV onto Sky Cinema, close the blinds, turn the heating up and dim your lights without even leaving your sofa. When the doorbell rings you can see who is at the door from your phone or TV and tell the person you are not interested, again without missing that important whodunit scene. 

The future of IOT has huge potential in all markets and will be a great growth opportunity for reseller's so undoubtedly there may be a few questions wanting answered -  starting with...

How can I get involved in this huge growth opportunity? 

Firstly, resellers should talk to their customers about the challenges they face. At a basic level, all of these devices need to connect to the internet. HPE Aruba offer a range of wireless networking options that address this requirement.

Once connected how will I manage all these endpoints?
Westcoast are here to help resellers manage all endpoints by offering Unified Endpoint solutions from the likes of SOTI and Microsoft.

How can I analyse the data?
Finally, analysing the data can be managed by something like Microsoft Azure which is available from our specialist Cloud team.

To find out more about how Westcoast can assist you on the Internet of Things and Mobility get in touch with our specialists on 0118 912 6000 or by emailing sales@westcoast.co.uk

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