Vendors have launched significant initiatives to team up with channel partners as well as other vendors realizing that, to be successful in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena, they need each other and a wide-ranging skill set and market expertise to deliver comprehensive IoT business solutions to end users.
While the traditional partner program elements (deal registration, MDF, and other types of partner motivation and compensation) will always play a role, the emphasis in IoT is on sharing resources, expertise, leads, and training as evidenced by the following sampling of IoT vendor programs:
- GE launched a new partner program in 2016 looking to recruit thousands of system integrators, resellers and independent software vendors to capitalize on the fast-growing industrial IoT opportunity. This new Digital Alliance Program provides partners with access to sales, marketing and technical resources, as well as tools, training and enablement, online content and assets, product certifications, developer sandboxes, joint deal registration and incentives based upon contribution level.
- IBM is combining its Watson IoT technology with Cisco's edge analytics capabilities to allow a deeper understanding of critical data at the network edge. These vendors are targeting companies that operate in remote environments or at the network edge, where timeliness is important but access to the network can be limited. Solution providers can offer solutions that deliver business insight without always needing connectivity to the cloud or without relying on transmitting 100 percent of their data to the cloud at a very high transmission cost.
- Cisco launched a lab-based training program targeting networking engineers, plant administrators, control engineers and IT engineers to learn how to build, manage and operate converged industrial networks in the fast-growing IoT manufacturing markets. The program targets both the customers and channel partners to realize the full value of IoT.
Vendors have also set up programs and created industry standards to enable app developers to flourish in IoT. In the space of just a year, the possibilities introduced by the Internet of Things has attracted many developers. This transition to IoT, while not without barriers, is rapid because developers are able to leverage expertise in complementary technologies like cloud and mobile to create entirely new use cases. Channel partners now have a better solution to target IoT verticals, specifically, industries such as factories, mines, and oil and gas.
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