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Taking the IoT business case to African ICT distributors

Taking the IoT business case to African ICT distributors

The Internet of Things is proving invaluable to ICT distributors and vendors, offering clear business opportunities to grow according to Microsoft and Rectron.

The companies used the Rectron Innovation Summit in Johannesburg today to emphasise the need to embrace IoT in the channel.

Gerrit Geertsema, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft Azure and Enterprise Mobility anticipates a major increase in the uptake of IoT by ICT distribution businesses due to benefits, including predictive maintenance and remote monitoring.

"Talking to small businesses and ICT distributors is exciting because their level of creativity and gut to do something new is much more than you would have with the big guys. I think there is opportunity in the whole industry. We've seen customers optimise routes etc. and I think any industry where there are moving parts, like distribution, due to the logistics behind it, is a sweet spot for IoT."

Geertsema says in addition to building a competitive edge for the distribution business, IoT will offer businesses insight and empower them to access new opportunities and redefine customer service.

"The time is really ripe for IoT, everything is falling into place and customers are realigning this as well. Almost fifty percent of the bigger customers have already started to adopt IoT or they have a plan to do so. I talk to a number of customers and our partners in South Africa and they are all interested in how they can start with IoT. People will use IoT in the manufacturing industry and the vehicle industry, but it is pretty much relevant to all industries. It is now a business imperative. It presents opportunities in digital marketing, content delivery, mobile apps etc."

Engela Minnaar, Brand Manager at Rectron South Africa, says the partnerships they have built with Intel for example, who are ensuring that the software end of IoT is delivered seamlessly, means that they can maximise the opportunity of the million devices that will be connected by 2020 according to Gartner.

"Rectron supplies the hardware components and we get assistance from Intel and other to assist us from the software side as a partnership. Our focus is to provide the full solution to someone who wants a smart home for example and we will find all the partners and put a solution together and propose it to a vendor, so the opportunity can only grow for us. We do video walls, digital signage and we supply all the hard wrest and make sure that the installations are done. We are currently putting together a DIY IoT kit that will have sensors, development boards, the gateways for vendors to propose to customers."

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