The Internet of Things (IoT) is connecting endpoints everywhere, but connectivity is far from the true benefit of IoT. The GSM Association reports that connectivity will be responsible for only 5% of the total IoT revenue opportunity. From its introduction, it’s been clear that IoT has the potential to provide the type of powerful insights that can ultimately contribute to increased revenues and reduced costs. However, for many organizations, potential sources of this powerful data are being ignored.
Across nearly every industry, there is a tremendous opportunity for consultants and channel organizations to help clients translate IoT data into real business insights. For those that specialize in communications and collaboration infrastructure, the proliferation of IoT into the communications space presents a greenfield opportunity to provide high value products, services, and consulting that will help your organization strengthen customer relationships and loyalty.
The communications industry is experiencing IoT in a rather sneaky way—traditional user endpoints (headsets, phones, mobile apps, etc.) are functionally being transitioned into sensors that can be used to provide visibility into productivity, user behaviors, environmental conditions, occupational safety, and facility utilization. As the communication endpoint category broadens, even more opportunities will present themselves.
Currently, there are an estimated 26.66 billion connected devices, according to Statista, which says that by 2025 over 75 billion devices will be connected. Google Home, Amazon Echo, and other virtual assistants play their role in the equation, but these technologies alone are not responsible for accelerating projections. Traditional devices are connecting to the network, and across markets we are seeing the convergence of “something old” and “something new.” Businesses are evaluating their current collaboration tools, devices, and messaging applications and exploring ways to turn these traditional devices and systems into tools for producing insights that drive new revenue streams, increase efficiency, and enhance overall satisfaction.
Trust lies in visibility
Organizations adopt unified communications (UC) systems to improve collaboration internally and externally, and our industry has not historically been looked to for value beyond that. However, as vendors continue to generate increasing amounts of data about the collaboration environment, we’re at risk of overlooking the real value in this newly available telemetry—and the revenue opportunity that comes with it.
As communication and collaboration platforms shift from on-premises to the cloud, the opportunity is to go beyond helping businesses capture simple data about the network performance of a phone call to helping them select devices, tools, and services that can drive more meaningful value by exposing a wide variety of business insights.
Missing the opportunity, possible but preventable
As IoT infiltrates the market, companies will not be able to delay their investments in it, and UC should not be left behind. The shift from traditional communication platforms to endpoint devices that drive business decisions is the next great frontier for the communications and UC industry. Keeping up with demands in order to fully realize the benefit of IoT will require visibility into the entire environment and the ability to tame vast amounts of data. As IoT provides insights and real-time data, reporting and monitoring tools need to scale in previously unimaginable ways.
With the race to benefit from IoT well underway, the UC industry is quickly advancing to help deliver the promise and value of enhanced endpoint telemetry. If your UC project is stuck or you’re simply looking for ways to move your value proposition upstream, consider helping your customers imagine the hidden insights to be exposed by understanding that a headset is actually a powerful and deep-reaching IoT sensor.
TIM ARMSTRONG is vice president of product marketing at Nectar Services Corp. A 20-year veteran of the communications and collaboration industry, Tim is responsible for Nectar’s product positioning, messaging and supporting business development efforts. Tim has held positions in all major categories of the UC industry including consulting, carriers and vendors, including a ten-year career at Microsoft. Tim’s responsibilities at Microsoft spanned business development, marketing leadership and executive operations roles. Prior to Microsoft, Tim worked in a variety of sales and technical roles in the IT and telecommunications industries. Based in Seattle, Tim and his wife, Jennifer are proud parents of two young daughters. On the weekends, the Armstrong family can often be found at their small family-owned winery, hosting guests and working to produce wines from the finest vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington State.