Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing opportunities for channel partners are about to explode as growth in these technologies accelerates. IoT spending will reach $1.3 trillion by 2020, and 43 percent of IoT data will be processed at the edge, according to IDC projections. The research firm predicts that the number of “connected things” will reach 30 billion in 2020 and jump to 80 billion in the following 25 years. This sets the stage for some growth opportunities for the channel.
Channel partners, particularly network integrators, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and providers with experience in SaaS (Software as a Service) and hosted services, are ideally positioned to seize opportunities created by these technologies. Both IoT and edge computing require remote monitoring, standardized deployment and physical security – all of which our partners have vast experience in delivering – to keep systems operating optimally for real-time decision-making.
The IoT aims to link together any device or machine that can be connected through the Internet, or via private broadband communications, to generate a continuous flow of information that helps organizations fine-tune their operations and produce better outcomes. Data flowing from these devices will require a lot more bandwidth and storage than current capacity.
Beyond capturing this data, companies will require assistance on cost effectively accessing and using this data to make more informed business decisions. Because of the volume of data and the amount of network connections needed to carry it, there will be more need for distributed or on-premise infrastructure and appropriate system management platforms. Operating these data-intensive systems in the cloud can be problematic. If the data has to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to a centralized cloud center, it could experience latency that affects how quickly the required action takes place.
This is why edge computing exists. It creates a network of micro data centers that process data just outside – or at the edge – of the action, eliminating latency issues, increasing reliability and enabling real-time decisions. Local edge computing provides stations between cloud infrastructures, corporate networks and data centers to keep things moving as they should.
The Channel’s Role
Edge computing does not replace the cloud. Cloud infrastructures will continue to handle massive amounts of data, but that data, for the most part, doesn’t require real-time responses. The cloud centralizes data processing and storage, but IoT requires decentralization at the edge to enable real-time decision-making. As companies embark on IoT implementations, many will realize they need a decentralized approach.
And they will turn to their channel partners for help. As corporate infrastructures expand to include cloud and edge components, in addition to on-premise assets, they will need service providers to support, maintain, monitor and secure their IoT applications – and run their IT infrastructure at the edge.
The edge creates ample new revenue opportunities for network integrators, MSPs, and IT solution providers. Existing customers will look to their providers to help them set and manage their edge assets. Other customers, meanwhile, will be seeking providers with the expertise to do the same for them.
The edge opportunity is likely to be a long-term prospect for channel partners. Post-implementation, the brunt of customers is likely to want providers to remain involved in the management of the edge infrastructure – keeping systems running, handling the wiring and managing power and cooling technology.
The brave new world of IoT and edge computing will bring a combination of cloud, on-premise and edge computing that ideally will work in harmony to produce operational efficiencies and better business outcomes. For these technologies to deliver on the promise of improving company operations and ensuring Certainty in a Connected World, customers are going to need the expert support of channel partners.
To better understand the market drivers and business outcomes around edge computing, take a look at this free white paper, “The Drivers and Benefits of Edge Computing.”