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Experts: Take a careful first step into IoT services, not a leap

IoT opportunities exist for partners, but according to experts, taking the first step into the IoT space requires channel firms to embrace cloud computing, new partnerships, and IoT protocol. Some companies have already found success.

Over a year ago, global systems consulting and systems integration firm Wipro Technologies decided it was time to focus on the Internet of Things (IoT). The company formed a group to develop an "analytic stack" to target four verticals: global telecom and media operators, manufacturing, healthcare, and energy and utilities.

Wipro partnered with Axeda, a cloud-based software and services company for managing connected products and machines. Axeda's cloud platform acts as application middleware, allowing companies to connect assets to the Internet, take in and process information, and manage and build apps that connect back to those assets. Assets could include a device embedded in a car, a piece of medical equipment or an alarm system. Wipro decided partnerships like the one it has with Axeda are the key to success with IoT services.

"We're looking at an outcome-based or connected business transformation," said Alan Atkins, vice president and global head of IoT at Wipro Technologies. Wipro typically works with device manufacturers and is developing embedded solutions for after-market business, such as maintenance and warranty issues, he said. "With Axeda as a partner, we collect data, analyze that data and work out algorithms to predict outcomes and come out with … an end-to-end solution."

While not a new concept -- IoT has existed in the manufacturing realm for a long time -- the notion of compiling and analyzing data from devices and sensors has only recently begun to take off. For the channel, participating in IoT opportunities will require a big mindset change, and, as Wipro has found, partnerships with manufacturers and other providers.

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Is your company ready to offer IoT services?
With any new technology or business concept, I really think it's essential to figure out some way to take a small, conservative step forward. We're not there yet but I hope that the steps are taken thoughtfully.