A few years ago IoT was driving transformational change in certain market sectors such as utilities and transport. The return on investment was so rapid that if you didn’t invest in IoT you were vulnerable to competitors who were already benefiting from efficiencies being gained from their investment in IoT. Today you would struggle to find a water supplier that isn’t monitoring their distribution networks in real-time or a transport company that isn’t tracking and monitoring their fleet in real-time. In fact, in these industries, they’re probably on their second or third generation of solutions.
Today every market sector has a problem that can be solved by IoT. A few years ago companies would seek out an IoT specialist or perhaps the IoT division of a mobile operator for help. Today, IoT is mainstream and companies are turning to their trusted IT service provider or telecoms service provider for advice.
IoT sits adjacent to so many other services that resellers may find it relatively easy to fill gaps in their portfolio. For example, somebody that is already selling traditional mobile could find adding IoT connectivity a natural extension and if you’ve already got businesses that trust you to supply, support and bill their mobile handset SIMs then you’re halfway there. You may be providing public cloud consultancy or services. Over 80% of IoT projects are built using one or more services in the public cloud and so there’s a great opportunity to develop an IoT business using tools and technologies that you already know.
IoT opportunities don’t just come because you add an IoT product or service to your portfolio. You already have customers with huge IoT opportunities but you just don’t know it yet. At Jola, we have a process called the Mobile-Data Revenue Generator™ (The MRG™) that helps resellers identify opportunities in their existing base and helps develop the necessary products, services and skills to be successful in winning those opportunities.
The sunsetting of 3G and indeed 2G has huge implications for the IoT market. There are millions of devices out there that only support 3G that need to be replaced. There are millions of SIMs that only support 3G, even if they’re in devices that are capable of connecting to 4G. So there in many cases, the starting point should be an audit of your customers' use of IoT and M2M connectivity and devices. Some major sectors are payment processing terminals, vehicle telemetry/vehicle trackers, remote environmental sensors, digital signage etc. In many cases, your customers may not be aware of the ticking time bomb within their own organisation. Of course, for the reseller, this is a huge opportunity not just to solve a problem but to save their customer money. The reality is that connectivity costs have come down significantly over the past few years so your customers’ 3G solution likely supplied by one of the big four mobile operators will look very expensive based on today’s prices. Of course, swapping hardware could be expensive but with solutions like the Jola Device as a Service then you may be able to solve their problem without any CAPEX at all whilst delivering better performance and the latest features.
Every IoT solution will involve a variety of vendors from the device manufacturer, connectivity supplier, device management software vendor, application vendor, and cloud or hosting location. In some cases your customer will be coming to you for just one element of the solution, in others, they’ll be looking for the end-to-end solution. Many vendors are not geared up to sell via the channel and should be avoided. Only a truly channel-only specialist will be able to help resellers at every step of the engagement with a new IoT opportunity. The low-hanging fruit in all IoT opportunities is connectivity. The reality is that mobile network operators have quite rigid product sets and limited management bandwidth to deal with a lot of opportunities. Of course, if the opportunity is sizeable then they’d rather win it themselves.