At first glance, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a massive growth opportunity for managed services providers (MSPs). But the closer you look at the IoT market, the more you'll notice that it features traditional managed services that MSPs already offer.
First, the good news. Demand for IoT managed services will enjoy a 15.3 percent compound annual growth rate from 2016 through 2022, according to Orbis Research. Now, the challenge: Much of that IoT managed services growth involves markets that MSPs already serve. Indeed, the Orbis report covers areas like managed security services, managed networks, managed devices and managed infrastructure services.
According to Orbis:
"Within few years, billions of devices will be connecting to the Internet from various industries. The increase in the number of connected devices will lead to high demand for the managed services. To run the IoT technologies successfully, a properly managed service in each layer of IoT ecosystem is required. The IoT consists of devices, connectivity, security, applications and a properly managed service is required to manage these in an effective way. Hence managed services will play a major role in the IoT market."
One way to differentiate: Go vertical. The manufacturing industry will be the leading vertical for IoT managed services market, and healthcare and education industries are set to be the emerging verticals for the market growth, Orbis asserts. Key players to watch, the researcher says, include IBM, Google, Apple, Intel, HP, AT&T, Accenture and Microsoft.
IoT Managed Services: Potential Partner Platforms
Still, those factoids only skim the IoT market -- and the opportunities awaiting MSPs. I was rather surprise (shocked?) to see major IoT platforms like Cisco Jasper, GE Predix and Saleforce's IoT Cloud missing from the Orbis executive summary. Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, VP of Salesforce’s partner program and marketing, explained the company's IoT partner strategy in this ChannelE2E podcast.
Meanwhile, key players like PTC claim their IoT platforms can help partners -- VARs and MSPs -- to rapidly build their own intellectual property. Oracle veteran Kevin O'Brien, by the way, now leads the IoT partner initiative at PTC.
The bottom line for MSPs: Yes, you can extend your monitoring efforts to IoT devices and sensors. But the real opportunity likely involves helping customers to manage and monetize the IoT-related data they're gathering. That's where Cisco, GE, PTC and Salesforce (among others) enter the picture...