For most of this year, Cisco Systems has largely stood alone in promoting the idea of interconnected sensors and devices – what it calls the Internet of Everything and others call the Internet of Things. But it’s not alone anmore. LogMeIn subsidiary Xively, which makes a public cloud platform for connecting sensors and devices via the Internet of Things (IoT), has announced its first-ever partner program, aiming to bring together manufacturers of sensors and systems, resellers and systems integrators, and the broader community around IoT.
The company aims to make it easy to get applications, devices, and sensors connected, essentially a platform-as-a-service offering for connecting things.
With its new Xively Partner Network (XPN) program, the company is looking to bring together what it sees as three key stakeholders in building out the Internet of Things.
Technical partners include manufacturers of components and controllers for IoT connections, as well as partners that provide dashboard and analytics software to manage them. The company also seeks to connect industry alliance partners, the educational institutions, standards bodies, and government organizations that are researching, developing, defining, and controlling the future of the IoT.
It’s an intriguing opportunity for many solution providers. Cisco pegs the value of the Internet of Everything at $14.4 trillion by 2022 in terms of productivity gained by companies as a result of moving towards the new technology.
“Whether we all believe that trillions figure or not, this is still a huge opportunity,” said Chad Jones, vice president of product strategy at Xively. “Call it $500 billion, and it’s still such a massive market that there are tremendous opportunities with people with the appropriate skillsets and proven commitment to doing it.”
The problem is, of course, thee are very few of those IoT-pure play solution providers today. The market is still so nascent, and still in the process of definition, that there are only a handful of specialist pure-play design shops and consultants focus on the space. The field is still wide open for an end-to-end practice around the technology. But is the market there for such a solution provider today? Jones said it’s likely early for a pure-play end-to-end IoT partner, but that the market is rapidly maturing.
“It’s an open opportunity. It’s such an early time that there’s nobody highly specialized around IoT,” he said. “We people with some experience with components of the Internet of Things mostly coming from a mobile background and looking to expand.”
Being early days, Jones said he sees some partners and prospects that have skills for building a business around the Internet of Things and taking it to market, and some partners that have the technical capacity to make it happen. But it’s a rarity to find a partner that’s developed both – and those who have both sides of the coin tend to be small, early-stage companies. That’s why one of the major goals of the new partner program is to foster collaboration amongst those with interests and aptitude in the sphere, with the hopes that it will develop connections to roll out full solutions for customers, particularly as the opportunity begins to scale.
Existing technology-focused solution providers may have the jump on the opportunity in terms of scale, experience, and credibility in the market. But a concept that’s still as esoteric as the Internet of Things can be a challenging place for a business to expand. Jones suggested that solution providers start by looking at their current practice areas, and come up with ways to add value on those areas. The company’s hope is that by taking the complexity out of IoT network design with its cloud PaaS offering, many partners will be able to make the transition.
“Focus on the innovation, not the infrastructure. Focus on what your strengths are, and map those strengths to the value chain around the Internet of Things. I think you’ll find there’s a huge potential to expand your revenue” as a solution provider, Jones said.