The internet of things (IoT) is already changing how we live and work. At home, we’re using smart speakers, app-controlled lighting and video-linked doorbells. In the workplace, smart beacons enable wayfinding, connected vending machines automatically order a refill and security cameras keep watch. In addition, manufacturing and healthcare are being transformed by IoT sensors that can detect potential issues inside machines and track the location of equipment.
Use of IoT technology is set to pick up pace in the post-COVID-19 world, as companies negotiate the return to work for employees and the safety measures that are required. But that’s not the only driving force for uptake of IoT. Many businesses have had a financially tough year and are facing another. They are looking for ways to cut costs, innovate on a budget and keep customers coming back. Now more than ever before, businesses need the ability to monetise emerging technology.
IoT can help companies rise to all these challenges. For our reseller partners, that means potential to capitalise on the opportunity of IoT-based solutions and services.
Data is at the heart of how IoT empowers organisations. By combining dynamic information gathering and real-time analytics, businesses can make better-informed decisions. With the right IoT solution in place, data becomes a real-time actionable insight that can improve workplace safety, reduce operating costs, improve productivity and efficiency, reveal consumer behaviour and enhance customer service.
Building on a growing market
The figures already look good. Global management consultancy Bain & Company predicted that annual revenue from the IoT vendors selling IoT hardware, software and comprehensive solutions could exceed $450 billion by 2020.1 Looking at the years ahead, the total installed base of IoT-connected devices will top 75 billion worldwide by 2025, a fivefold increase in 10 years, according to Statista.2
Where things are happening
To understand what businesses want from IoT, let’s take a look at the devices and use cases that are relevant right now. These span both the IT environment and the operational (OT) one.
As businesses move forward from CV-19, there is a need for them to ensure the safety of employees, contractors and customers. This requires effective monitoring of any premises to promote physical distancing and to provide an audit trail of occupancy (to show risk and compliance) at any given time as well as support contact tracing. Doing this manually isn’t realistic for most businesses, so part of the answer is connected cameras. Meraki MV cameras go beyond security and do more with the footage that’s captured. With automated AI, MV analyses video to create heat maps that capture foot traffic through areas and show where people are congregating – useful tool in density planning.
New possibilities for efficiency savings
Businesses are always looking for ways to prevent downtime and reduce costs. IoT offers new possibilities for both when it comes to keeping IT infrastructure stays online. Environmental conditions can be a significant factor in this, with extremes in temperature and humidity causing equipment failure and network outages. By installing IoT sensors, critical information is relayed remotely, providing real-time alerts and helping the business take action before service suffers. Equally, the reassurance that everything is ok reduces unnecessary site visits, so limited resources can be directed to where they are needed most. It also reduces unnecessary employee movement through buildings – good for safety and efficiency.
Complexity has held businesses back
To date, businesses wishing to implement an IoT solution have faced issues of complexity and cost. Typical sensors don’t slot easily into existing networks. Many IoT sensors require dedicated gateways and on-premise servers for management, meaning long deployment times and delayed outcomes. Delays and difficulties aren’t something businesses can afford right now, which is why Meraki’s two cloud-managed sensor solutions are very good news.
Meraki does things differently
Meraki recognised the issues with traditional IoT sensor systems and set out to make things better. With a focus on simplifying installs, enhancing security and providing scalability, Meraki created a new IoT solution. Meraki MT environmental sensors eliminate the need for a separate gateway and management software, and importantly can be deployed across a traditional IT managed network. Meraki MT sensors use a network’s existing Meraki MR access points or MV smart cameras as gateways, automatically connecting and speeding up deployment timeframes. Now businesses can quickly provision thousands of sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, water leaks and door entry/exit. Management is made easy too, with real-time visibility provided by the Meraki cloud dashboard and mobile app. Businesses can now keep tabs on critical infrastructure and sensitive inventory at all times, from anywhere – all delivered with the signature simplicity that Meraki is known for.
Explore more use cases with Meraki
Another strength of Meraki is its range of Technology Partners who offer IoT software solutions built on the Meraki solution. This enables IoT to be integrated into wider use cases, via Meraki’s MV Sense MQTT and open APIs. For businesses looking to extend their use of IoT, Meraki offers many directions in which to explore.
The OT environment is covered too
While Meraki MT sensors monitor indoor environments and IT network closets, OT environments can be addressed by Cisco IoT’s new Industrial Asset Vision. This is an all-in-one solution that simplifies asset and facility monitoring in outdoor and industrial indoor environments.
Finally, working alongside the sensors, Meraki rounds out its IoT offering with MV smart cameras. Naturally, these cloud-managed cameras provide Cisco proven network security and valuable business insight. But they can also provide the monitoring required for maintaining COVID-safe working practices. For example, MV cameras can enable retailers to see how many people are in the shop and where queues are building up. With so many angles covered, Cisco Meraki will appeal to a wide range of customers, who will appreciate the simplicity and fast time to value.
Reach more customers with Ingram Micro’s IoT expertise
You don’t have to be an expert on IoT deployments in order to capitalise on this opportunity. For resellers who have ambitions to grow revenue from IoT business, Ingram Micro has a whole range of services lined up. Usually, there is more than one way to accomplish your objectives. We’ll show you the various options and guide you to the one that aligns with the skills of your team, your business model and your time-to-market objectives. By working with us, we can help you increase your service revenue, expand your geographic reach and extend your technical competency. After all, IoT requires qualified, certified administrators, technicians, system analysts and engineers. As an Ingram Micro partner, you have access to the right people through our Professional Services to help plan, implement, deploy, manage and support IoT projects.
To find out more about Meraki MT sensors, IoT use cases or how Ingram Micro can support you and your customers, please contact Stephen Hoy. Stephen.Hoy@ingrammicro.com | +4479 1751 4462