ChannelPro: What changes must happen in the IT channel to staffing, business model, etc. for partners to have IoT solutions be a larger part of their business?
Weinberger: It seems that the vast majority of MSPs will initially outsource to consultants and contractors much of the actual IoT work for the next few years until their staff is trained and certified in the many required areas. IoT is a combination of hardware, software, open standards, connectivity, data, and business models. Subcategories include: presentation components (i.e., web browsers, mobile OS); platform components (manage edge, reports, etc.); messaging protocols (HTTP, REST, etc.); connectivity and gateway components (Wi-Fi, 5G/4G/3G etc.); and devices and things (vehicles, drones, sensors, etc.).
The MSP will need to create new procurement policies and detail[ed] data ownership, privacy, and access issues. They will also need to educate the end user on customized data pricing and all the new devices and services associated with chip to cloud security. The staff will have to be updated with new cybersecurity skills (CompTIA Security, CISSP certificates), IoT solutions development and software platforms (Particle; Ayla, etc.), IoT project management certifications, (PMP, CAPM, etc.), IoT systems integrations, and data analytic skills.
Educating the end user on the value of IoT and starting with a pilot project to show a potential ROI is the best way to go. This is an immature market to most MSPs, and the needs and outcomes must be stressed.