As predicted by analysts, the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart technology are now becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives. Simply put, the IoT is the concept of being able to connect any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). It’s essentially a giant network of connected devices, and the IoT is set to take the channel by storm as it allows for endless opportunities and connections to take place.
In the UK alone for instance, the use of IoT services are already prevalent, as seen in the energy sector and the rollout across the UK of British Gas’s Hive Heating. Smart heating alone has opened up opportunities for electrical installers and plumbers and allowed them to expand their business and service offering.
Web tools such as ‘If This Then That’ (IFTTT) have also been created to meet the growth in connected devices. Put simply, IFTTT automates everything from apps to websites to app-enabled accessories to smart devices. At D-Link we collaborated early with IFTTT, as interoperability is ultimately the future of smart technology. Whether it’s our televisions, phones or the technology in our homes, smart technology and IoT are terms that many people will now have come across.
While it’s often associated with consumer technology, the IoT is a lot more than just smart homes and connected appliances. Devices are now creeping into most businesses, in the same way in which computers and the Internet did twenty years ago.
As a result, businesses are beginning to benefit greatly from smart technology, and are aware they need to keep pace with the speed of innovation in order to ensure employees have the latest tools – from access to mobile productivity apps, to wearable technology. In this respect, the physical workspace is evolving.
With affordable and accessible IP solutions that can be monitored from smartphones and tablets, voice control technology such as Amazon’s Alexa, motion sensors that can trigger alerts to the user’s phone, and energy saving with the use of smart plugs to control electrical devices, small to medium sized business owners now have a wealth of different solutions available to them.
Many smart products can now also be applied and used as entry-level security solutions for small to medium sized businesses that don’t necessarily have a wealth of resources to invest in protecting their business. In fact, just purely installing surveillance devices contributes to safety and acts as a valuable deterrent, enabling home and business owners to protect what’s important to them. Unlike traditional security systems, smart products are an entirely scalable solution that can be operated at any level, with the ability to add as many cameras or sensors that are required. With no installation costs and no monthly fees, smart home security is a very attractive prospect for small to medium sized businesses that do not want to invest in more expensive, professional solutions.
With this in mind, the opportunity smart technology presents for B2B and B2C resellers is vast and it’s an area that is only going to witness further growth as new technologies are brought to the fray. For resellers looking to offer smart technologies and solutions now is as good a time as any to get on board and reap the rewards from such an excellent opportunity.
First and foremost, resellers that want to sell smart solutions should look to educate users, whether this is via content, displays, social media etc. as the huge breadth of products on offer from a number of vendors can often be overwhelming for potential customers. Physical displays can be incredibly effective in order to showcase smart home solutions, allowing people to have hands on experience with the technology. They can also be used as a mechanism to educate and inform consumers about smart technology and its benefits.
It’s also important to demonstrate the way in which smart products interact with each other in order to create a fully automated environment. Many people aren’t aware that, for instance, a camera could be set up to detect motion and subsequently trigger a light via a smart plug, all set up via the user.
Ultimately the increasing importance of smart technology in people’s lives is a trend that we will see continuing this year. Following the launch of widely adopted products such as Amazon Echo and the collaboration this had led to with multiple vendors, including D-Link, smart technology is now starting to gain significant mind-share amongst the public. This means that customers are ready for the technology, making it a must have offering for resellers in 2017.