According to a recent Gartner report, there will be 20.8 billion Internet of Things devices by 2020. Whether you agree with this statistic or not, it is certainly true that the Internet is being increasing populated by devices, as opposed to people. While some of these IoT devices will target the consumer space, others will certainly prove useful for business customers and managed service providers should ensure that they are ready to make the most of the coming IoT explosion.

[easy-tweet tweet=”For #MSPs and IT resellers, the Internet of Things provides a number of exciting opportunities” hashtags=”IoT”]

For MSPs and IT resellers, the Internet of Things provides a number of exciting opportunities, particularly around device management. Many businesses are already struggling to track and manage all of the devices operating across their network and the expected influx of IoT products will only exacerbate this issue. Some MSPs are beginning to offer Internet of Things as a Service (IoTaaS) to their customers, as a way of recognising new business challenges surrounding connected devices. This could involve IoT management software, consultancy, staff training or data storage solutions, depending on a company’s particular needs.

Another significant IoT opportunity presenting itself to MSPs involves business automation. The huge volume of data created by IoT sensors and other devices is giving organisations the information they need to automate many processes that previously required human intervention. The manufacturing sector, in particular, has been quick to embrace IoT automation, but many other industries are likely to implement IoT business automation in the future. Harnessing the devices and data required for automation is unlikely to be easy, however. MSPs should begin looking at their automation software offerings now, if they do not want to miss out on this potentially lucrative market.

The manufacturing sector, in particular, has been quick to embrace IoT automation, but many other industries are likely to implement IoT business automation in the future

Of course, with all the additional network access points and datasets associated with the Internet of Things, MSPs will also need to redouble their security efforts. Reports have already begun to surface that consumer IoT products are being targeted by hackers and it won’t be long before any existing business weaknesses are also exploited. IoT security could, therefore, become a strong revenue stream for MSPs, providing they are able to put the necessary safeguards in place. On the other hand, MSPs that are not prepared for the additional risks surrounding IoT devices could face harmful data breaches, regulatory fines and long term reputational damage.

For managed service providers hoping to grasp the coming IoT opportunity, it is important that they have a clear understanding of the technology and what it could bring to their customers’ businesses. You may also need to evaluate how you deliver your services given that IoT devices and software usually require 24/7 management. This could have an impact on customer contracts and the workload of your service desk team. You’ll also have to consider whether you actually have the IT tools in place to administer such a broad spectrum of IoT devices, many of which will be made by different manufacturers and use a variety of operating systems.

[easy-tweet tweet=”MSPs that are not prepared for the additional risks surrounding #IoT devices could face harmful data breaches”]

If MSPs are concerned about their ability to offer IoT services, they could always partner with a vendor that is capable of providing the assistance that they need. At Dell we are always looking to support MSPs in any way we can, whether that’s via sales-enablement tools, staff training or marketing resources. According to a survey by Vanson Bourne, 58 per cent of MSPs believe that they need a partner vendor in order to offer IoT services and they would certainly be better off acting sooner rather than later. Having a true end-to-end offering, Dell are well placed to support all aspects of MSPs requirements. The Internet of Things market is accelerating rapidly and MSPs need to get onboard now to ensure that this opportunity doesn’t pass them by.

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James Hulse, Director, Managed Service Provider Division, Dell UK With 20 years’ experience in partnering across the Public and Private sector in both the technology and telecommunications industry, James is one of the UK’s leading Managed Service Provider experts. For the past decade James has worked with entrepreneurs and new technology providers to the UK market, particularly working with Service Providers to enable them to generate new revenue streams and build sustainable businesses. James is involved in the Dell GenNext Employee Resource Group and has a passion for educating the Business leaders and founders for the future.