2017 Internet Of Things 50

Internet of ThingsWith less expensive sensors hitting the market and the rise of new analytics tools, there’s no better time for solution providers to invest in the Internet of Things.

According to a recent study by research firm IDC, spending on IoT will increase up to 17 percent year over year in 2017 — reaching just over $800 billion — and global IoT spending is expected to reach $1.4 trillion in 2021.

“The discussion about IoT has shifted away from the number of devices connected,” said Carrie MacGillivray, IDC’s vice president, Internet of Things and Mobility, in a statement.

“The true value of IoT is being realized when the software and services come together to enable the capture, interpretation and action on data produced by IoT endpoints.”

The study also found that niche use cases such as manufacturing operations, freight monitoring and production asset management are expected to drive investments in the IoT market.

Vendors are recognizing that they need the sales flexibility, customer relationships and vertical market knowledge that solution providers possess to be able to tap into new markets.

And solution providers are seeing opportunities in consulting, designing, implementing and managing IoT solutions with both existing customers and new ones.

“IoT is basically the evolution of all of the things that we built … devices that give us the ability to write applications that are constantly sending analytics information,” said Shanin Pirooz, chief technology officer at San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider DataEndure. “The problem is all that data is just going into a massive cesspool of data. So IoT is collecting tons of data, but without the analytics and machine learning … it’s not information, it’s just data.”

While understanding vertical markets and bringing value to specific businesses are critical to developing IoT solutions, vendors are bringing their own expertise to the technology side of IoT with more innovative and less expensive products. On the hardware front, vendors including Intel and Cisco Systems are working to create the portfolio of sensors, gateways and routers that their partners can install into customers’ environments to collect data from assets and send that data into the cloud.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, meanwhile, are offering a bevy of software and services that focus on the data itself so that customers can monitor, analyze and act on data collected from their assets, ultimately driving value in their IoT solutions.

While vendors are equipping partners with an array of products, services and software for IoT, customers are also concerned about the security of their connected devices and data collected from those devices—particularly customers looking at connecting their mission-critical infrastructure, like those in the industrial space.

Luckily, an array of security players have emerged in the IoT space—both traditional vendors pivoting their strategy around IoT, like ForeScout, and startups that have built their business around IoT security from the get-go, like Pwnie Express.

Finally, for the industrial space, a set of vendors is emerging that can bring IT to industrial control systems, for example. They have an understanding of how operational technology works and also can understand how IT can be effectively applied to drive value in the industrial IoT market.

For solution providers just getting into the IoT arena to those already building their business around the technology, here is CRN’s list of the 50 coolest companies in security, hardware, industrial IoT, and software and services.

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