IoT Journey Is All Mapped Out

For many SME resellers their IOT journey remains in first gear as they ponderhow best to capture revenue and avoid making too many wrong turns. Here, Mark Curtis-Wood, Head of Network Services at Nimans, cuts through the confusion and clears the road to success…..based on ‘painting pictures’ for customers.

How to sell IOT is one of the fundamental questions many resellers are currently asking and it’s understandable too. Since we launched our own IOT proposition in June last year we’ve had some good traction and there’s currently around £400,000 worth of business pipelined so momentum is definitely growing.

The starting point is to understand what IOT actually is. It’s one of those labels that not everyone fully understands so we’ve broken it down into two sectors. At one end of the spectrum is Machine to Machine which is true IOT and then in between is Mobile Data which bridges the gap.

Everyone understands they are using data on a smartphone in conjunction with having a voice tariff. Equally there’s mobile broadband via a SIM card in a tablet when you are out on the road. But inevitably what’s changing now is the utilisation of mobile data in fixed devices like routers and many other applications such as ATM’s, PDQ machines and point of sale terminals. All these general things that people are using and aware of, are opportunities for resellers to get deeper involved in the Internet of Things. This is the starting point for me because once we get resellers thinking about where mobile data is being consumed, they naturally get their customers thinking the same about their own habits too.

But it’s not just mobile data as we know it in terms of being mobile, it could be fixed too. For example we have a big construction project going on at Nimans just now with the expansion of our warehouse. There are contractors using portable cabins who need to connect to the internet and possibly have a phone system. So how do they do it? Well we are not going to dig up the car park and put fibre cables down and they won’t be able to piggyback off our Wi-Fi. So the alternative solution is mobile data with the utilisation of 4G. This is the same scenario for construction sites all over the country. So from a reseller’s perspective it’s about getting their customers to think where they are consuming data and where they are likely to do so in the future. If they had access to mobile data that was competitive and flexible what they could they do?

Where we have had success with this in a very short space of time is by painting pictures for resellers of various scenarios which has enabled them to paint pictures for their customers. That could be a chain of six local petrol stations who all take credit card payments. If we were to put a backup solution in there which meant their PDQ never went down it will mean they won’t lose any sales. What tends to happen on forecourts is they have a quiet period during the middle of the night and their broadband goes down. Then someone comes in at 7am to make a transaction and they suddenly realise their PDQ isn’t working so all their busy morning sales are lost with people travelling to work and school.

When ATM’s go into shops it’s another area of rich pickings for resellers. Installing a router with a 4G SIM card gets things moving a lot quicker and more flexibly than waiting for a broadband line to go in on a 24 month contract. Resellers need to think outside the box for things to start to snowball.

In our traditional channel IOT is still relatively new and in its early days to some extent. There’s a huge adoption of IOT globally which is happening at manufacturer level such as in the car industry and home appliances. The awareness is becoming better from consumers as well as the business community. Resellers need to understand where the journey could take them.

The concept of voice becoming an application is very real now. But unlike the mobile world where everyone has only one or at best two mobile phones with connections, IOT won’t have the same restricted churn. There will be massive organic growth based on multiple applications and SIM cards. We will see smaller individual revenues and margin, however longer term contracts and higher volumes make this a really exciting time to get involved and there is a huge opportunity out there. Resellers and their customers need to be thinking about what their IOT strategy is. If the reseller understands this then it is the perfect door opener to having a conversation about IOT.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine