IoT technology continues to attract investments and inspire acquisitions as more companies find out how to combine sensors, connectivity, and software into winning services that the channel can deliver. Let's quickly look at one recent investment, one acquisition and one bit of good advice from a solution provider as vendors continue evolving their channel-focused IoT plans this year.
First, one startup received more funding for its ability to automate device security, a step necessary for vendors who need to get IoT devices to different channel partners in different vertical industries. CRN reported earlier that IoT security startup VDOO received $13 million in funding from investors to expand its ability to help IoT device makers add device-specific security settings quickly and efficiently.
The funding round included investments from 83North with participation from Dell Technology Capital. A former Palo Alto Networks channel executive, Ariel Kriger, now heads VDOO's partner program. "We see huge opportunities to work closely with the channel to address a greenfield of security opportunities," Kriger told CRN. "We welcome partners to approach us."
Google made an acquisition worth looking at; it purchased LogMeIn's Xively IoT platform for $50 million. As Google Cloud continues to compete in IoT with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, the Xively purchase gives Google an ecosystem of new partners who can build connectivity directly into the IoT application design, as well as adding capabilities for remote device and endpoint management.
For vendors and solution providers alike, the maturity of cloud platforms is a big deal to IoT becoming a significant revenue source. Rick Erickson, executive vice president of Agosto, a Minneapolis-based Google partner, told CRN that this acquisition allows partners to help customers get from the prototype phase to product production much more quickly while saving money on the operations side.
Xively's team of 45 employees joined Google, and a former Xively vice president was appointed as Google Cloud's new go-to-market lead for the Internet of Things.
Finally, a bit of advice from an early success story in IoT. Altaworx CEO Rickie Richey told CRN this month that there is a lot of IoT opportunity out there for vendors and solution providers. Richey, who said IoT is now one of his company's most profitable areas, started his business as a traditional telecom company, reselling switch capacity and business phone services. "We spend a lot of time with businesses and trying to find ways to have an impact on business," Richey told CRN. "To really solve a business problem for customers you need to understand their business first."
Putting the customer's business first led Altaworx to embrace IoT. That path is a different approach than producing a catalog of products and going to a customer and saying, "Which one of these do you want to buy?"
Likewise, the most successful IoT efforts in the coming year will involve useful technology but also a solution provider's unique ability to provide vertical industry advice, to customize products, to integrate applications, to layer on security and provide monitoring and other services. Savvy vendors can keep the channel educated on each of those points, as it relates to their products, and then even more companies will benefit from the current wave of investment dollars and acquisition spending that's propelling IoT forward.