IoT is a huge ecosystem play, thus, channel partners will have a big role in IoT as they bring together, parts of the IoT solutions from multiple areas. Partners who can also add value with last mile customization and integration based on specific customer use-cases will have greater advantage than the others. There will also be new avenues for channel partners in IoT to offer simple use-case based solutions in the mid-market as managed services.
For the past 30 years, the Internet has been about connecting people to information. For the next 30 years, it will be about connecting people, data, processes and machines – from cities to cars to wearables – to information. The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the everyday physical objects that surround us into an ecosystem of information that will enrich our lives. Indian market is waking up to the possibilities. IoT is slowly, but surely ushering in lots of changes in our daily lives – be it in healthcare, transportation, automotive, energy, construction etc. In the healthcare space, we see a high adoption of IoT in the area of remote monitoring of patients (especially the elderly). In other industries, sensor-based agriculture, water management and remotely monitored and managed animal farms are currently in vogue. Smart buildings and smart manufacturing, which have been spoken about for a long time now, are bringing in more optimization and better utilization of resources with minimal wastage. Gopalan Govindharajan, Sales Engineering Consultant – IoT, Dell India shares his view on IoT. He says, “The new Digitization initiatives and proliferation of wireless technology across the country is making IoT much more affordable and acceptable. IoT can successfully address the issues of water scarcity, analytics based smart surveillance for security, affordable healthcare for all and smart manufacturing (a boost for the Make in India initiative). With the perennial energy crisis looming overhead, effective utilization of resources by implementing IoT can ensure great gains for the country. We are looking at a market upwards of several billion dollars in the near future for our country. According to Biplav Srivastava, Senior Researcher & Master Inventor, IBM Research – India, “IoT opportunity in India will reflect the global trends in manufacturing, utilities and infrastructure with government supporting Make-in-India (manufacturing), utilities (renewable energy) and smart city initiatives. One estimate is that IoT in India’s market will be $15b by 2020.” Agreeing to this, Anshuman Haldar, General Manager – Channel Business of Network Connectivity Organization, Schneider Electric explains, “IoT can generate a lot of value for every industry – be it manufacturing, logistics, insurance, retail, utility, healthcare, hospitality or even agriculture. It is helping the enterprises and industries in not only reducing costs, energy consumption and downtime of machines, but also in improving efficiency and customer service. IOT can actually help the enterprises to reduce their pain points”.
In India, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will enable transformation of nearly all industries. A connected enterprise significantly enhances decision making, increases security and productivity as well as improves overall collaboration across the enterprise by providing the right information at the right time, to help optimize operations. In this regard, Amol Deshmukh, APAC Channel Director, Honeywell Process Solutions explains, “Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) recently established a new business unit to help manufacturers harness the IIoT and more rapidly deploy technologies that will allow them to better manage and analyze data, making their operations safer, more reliable and more efficient. HPS’s Digital Transformation Unit will become a key enabler in Honeywell’s setting new benchmarks in the country’s IIoT landscape.”
Excitement amongst Indian SMEs for IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the fundamental way that technology is used and is opening up new possibilities of leveraging technology in our day to day lives. Ravi Subbarao, Director of Networking Products, Avaya, India believes, “Indian market is fast learning about new possibilities and outcomes from IoT. For example, customers are adopting IoT with its location and end-user tracking for better customer intelligence or marketing. Similarly, the smart meters in buildings and video surveillance are another example of how Indian market is quickly adopting IoT.”
For mid-market businesses focused on manufacturing, distribution or logistics, IOT will definitely be a game changer. Internet of Things being a network of low-cost sensors, two-way controllers, and machine-to-machine networks (M2M) can add new competitive advantages across the supply chain, can play vital role in Manufacturing Maintenance and Product Quality, can monitor cold chain, can help in asset counting, tracking, forecasting and inventory. IoT is still in a nascent stage but enterprises are adopting this technology for better network connectivity. With the announcement of Smart cities mission by the government, IoT will get further boost in the Indian market. According to Sanjai Gangadharan, Regional Director, SAARC, A10 Networks, “The market for IoT security products is currently small but it is growing as both consumers and businesses start using connected devices in ever greater numbers, with Gartner estimating worldwide IoT Security Spending reaching $348 Million in 2016.”
Seeing IoT as a major revenue generator for businesses across various industry sectors, Sai Pratyush – Additional Vice President, Product Management – Managed Services, Enterprise Business – Tata Teleservices opines, “Along with revenue opportunities, IoT solutions will enable the partner to move up the customer value chain and provide more complex solutioning rather than plain telecom infrastructure. It will also enable the partner to explore newer business opportunities in the devices or system integration space as well.”
Security is the biggest concern in IoT
Although IoT has paved way for tremendous innovations and connectivity, it will also entail risk of security. Devices with ‘always on’ network connectivity are enabling new types of attacks that have not been seen previously; these devices represent a new set of targets for potential data stealing and crime. The need for assurance, security and governance professionals to take notice of the IoT trend is indispensable, because it has the potential to redefine the risk equation within numerous enterprises.
For a digitized world, security should be embedded into and across the extended network, from the data center and service provide network, through the campus, perimeter and branch offices, out to the mobile endpoint and even reaching to the factory floor as well as the ecosystem of applications and services. Nal Gollagunta- Managing Director, Commercial Sales, Cisco India & SAARC shares, “Cybersecurity is not just a top consideration with the IoE, but one that is foundational to delivering on the promise of the vision. Protecting all of the interactions of the IoE is crucial in enabling people and organizations to benefit from these advances”. The biggest challenge is that there is no mechanism to secure all devices as there may not be enough memory to run security software on them. So the need of the hour is to develop such software which can detect and prevent such security risks. Major possible threats for an enterprise working with IoT around security are: hacking of the device to make it unmanaged, unsanctioned operation of IoT devices, loss of control over their data and its unregulated release, and not able to scale with IoT usage and data volume. Now if we look at IoT in context of enterprises, it becomes more tricky. Today enterprises are using a lot of devices that are IoT enabled, which inturn increases the threats to them from the outside world. These IoT devices come with embedded systems that are able to tackle the threats which prevail during the time of production. Adding to this, Altaf Halde, Managing Director – South Asia, Kaspersky Lab says, “With every passing day, new threats and vulnerabilities prop up which remain undetected by old systems. Herein lies the biggest threat for enterprises.” Symantec secures more than one billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including everything from televisions and cars to smart meters and critical infrastructure. “With IoT devices expected to number 25 billion by 2020, Symantec is leading the effort to protect consumers from hacks against their always-on, Internet connected devices”, adds Atul Anchan – Director Systems Engineering, India, Symantec. As part of its broader Unified Security Strategy, Symantec is investing in and offering the industry’s most comprehensive IoT security solutions. This approach includes authentication, device security, analytics and management to help prevent cars, medical devices, industrial control systems, and countless consumer electronics from becoming hacked, tracked and electronically hijacked as shown in recent news.”
Role of Channel Partners in IoT
Channel partners have a vital role to play in IoT. Microsoft is completely committed to helping partners stay competitive and successful by delivering a strong foundation of trusted advisor to customers, technology support, resources, and opportunities. Srikanth Karnakota, Director – Server and Cloud Business, Microsoft India says, “Microsoft partners enjoy a constant revenue source once the implementation happens. That’s because every time the product sells, the partner’s solutions sells along with it and hence there is a constant revenue source. “
Laying the groundwork for IoT and having IoT discussions with customers is a very real opportunity for partners today. That might translate into guiding customers around IoT products and services or, even if an IoT implementation isn’t immediate, looking at a customer’s infrastructure to assess whether it will support IoT when the time comes. There is lot of play for System integrators to integrate Solutions using an IoT gateway, this increases wallet share of partners in current accounts as well gives them a new capability to scale. On the role of channel partners in IoT expansion, Dr Chandan Chowdhury, Managing Director-India, Dassault Systemes excerpts, “Channel partners are delivering the consumer experience to the customer and therefore IoT is of critical importance to them-a moving to the next level of technology growth will become central to partner strategy soon. Channel partners should start planning their IoT roadmaps, paying particular attention to vertical market skills and integration capabilities.”
Oracle is also working with its partners to make available innovative solutions through its Internet of Things Platform to help clients harness the increasing amounts of data from IoT to drive smarter decisions, enable new services, business models, and reduce costs. To derive value from IoT, enterprises need not only to collect this data but also to secure, analyze, and integrate it with enterprise applications and processes. Shedding more light on Oracle’s initiative for partners working in Iot Solutions, Sunil Mehra, Vice President, Fusion Middleware, Oracle India excerpts, “Under our Oracle Partner Network (OPN) program, we have launched a Specialization to offer enablement resources and specializations in IoT-related areas including Java, Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware and more. The tools and resources help our partners extend business opportunities and differentiate their services in the market around IoT.”
No matter what your business is, there is certainly a play for everyone with IoT. But be patient in seeing real business value amongst the hype, because the use-cases are still evolving and the proverbial wheat is getting separated from the chaff.
Beyond the Internet of Things, The Internet of Experiences will change the way the world operates. Participants in the IoT tend to focus on individual smart devices. Internet of Experiences aims higher, building possibilities when smart devices work together to create experiences. Earning a piece of the Internet of Experiences requires a higher level of “Strategic Thinking- Experience Thinking”. Return on Investment from “Experience Thinking” is higher than Internet of Things. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between the “Internet of Things” and the “Internet of Experiences”.
Partner’s view on IoT
IoT is a wholesome solution where several partners come together to contribute various piece tying into a business critical technical solution. Therefore, the key point is to treat IoT as a business enhancement tool, and not an IT initiative. HCL has the unique advantage of extensive experience in the Systems Integration space. HCL services have been focusing heavily on three-four industry verticals, including manufacturing, the health care and BFSI. As per Manu Kumar V, Practice Head- IoT, HCL Services, “We are trying to focus on manufacturing, automotive, FMCG, logistics and healthcare from the IoT perspective.”
An Ideal Partner for IoT
Any partner who has built successful relationships with customers and has an intrinsic interest in providing technology related “solutions” to them should look at getting into the IoT space. In general, there are 3 key aspects for a partner to consider:
1. Use the current solutions and account base to target – this is very simple. A partner can easily target the existing customer base as IoT is already being discussed
2. Invest in expertise – have your resources trained on IoT related scenarios in different verticals
3. In house adoption – there can be no greater example to showcase than to use it in house. For partners having diverse businesses, this is a good way to both adopt IoT as well create a live showcase.
IIoT for Indian customers is a new concept. Although there is excitement and curiosity around IIoT, lack of awareness among customers is a challenge. The standards and regulations around IIoT have not been established yet in the country, however Indian customers being quick with understanding and learning new technologies, IIoT has the potential to emerge as a strategic industry. Being a partner with Honeywell, Shashank Phalake, Chairman and Managing Director, SPA Instruments, India excerpts, “With Honeywell’s support and guidance, we are building our capacities and domain expertise. Using Honeywell’s wide product portfolio, we have executed integrated projects which have helped us meet customer requirements with speed and efficiency.” In general, 3 Major challenges that every company thinking of adopting IoT bandwagon will face
• Integrating new age IOT use cases with existing business model
• Baking in security in overall architecture
• Sound and scalable architecture to handle large data volumes
Tips for Peer Group
Customers do see a lot of value in IoT use cases – but new revenue generation from IoT investments is still a long shot. Companies are shying away from making large investments in IOT as there is no clarity on overall RoI. But customer do believe that they have to start their IoT journey soon enough to stay competitive. YASH technologies educate its customers to see beyond a mere IT project around IOT. Shishir Choudhary, Service Line Lead – IoT, Yash Technologies says, “With our strong business process understanding of our customers, we help them realize value of investing in IoT.”
It is imperative to keep an eye on the market for new developments. The mantra is to ‘Adopt in stages and grow in phases’. IoT should be adopted with a clear and well-defined roadmap in place. Otherwise, silos can be created wherein one discipline does not communicate to the others. Uday Bhaskar Rao, CEO, iRam Technologies(Dell Partner) says, “We suggest peer groups to concentrate more on rugged end points / sensors / actuators development, rather than concentrating on only analytics. Unless data collectors and eco-system for data collection (Gateways) are standardized and they can co-exist and operate seamlessly, it would be difficult to achieve great success from IoT solutions”.
It’s also important to measure the growth of IoT in the context of how fast the analytics business is growing. Robust analytics is the essential next step for IoT to be useful for deriving information. So anyone who directly jumps into IoT without clarity on analytics may not be able utilise IoT in the most fruitful manner.