I was fortunate enough to hear Kevin Ashton, the founder of the IoT moniker, speak at the My World of Tomorrow conference. He believes everything that’s been achieved in computing to this point has been building a foundation for the Internet of Things. We’ve been manually inputting data into computers for years, but with the connection of a plethora of sensors, the world around us now has a voice and a way to be mapped to the digital world. The phrase Ashton used that most simply describes the IoT is ‘where the atom meets the bit’. And the possibilities are massive. If you think how big the ‘digital’ internet is, then add almost any inanimate object you can think of and give it a voice, this will give you some sort of idea of the potential size.
While some of the long-term visions around the IoT may seem to come straight out of Hollywood blockbusters, there’s certainly a swelling of activity and attempted landgrab underway by some of the biggest names in ICT. The progress being made means we’re taking steps towards turning science fiction into reality. And it’s here where it’s going to get exciting for the channel – IoT plays in so many technology areas, and therefore provides opportunity to a wide variety of channel businesses. With wearables and mobility, it’s likely to impact millions of individuals; with the ‘smart home’, it’s likely to affect home-owners too; with sensors in everything from water taps to manufacturing machinery, it will affect the enterprise; and with all this data being created, transmitted, stored and processed, it also draws on cloud, big data, networking, security and connectivity. So whether you sell components or gadgets to the consumer, or provide packaged tech solutions to the SME, or architect and integrate entire systems for corporates, the IoT is likely to impact your business offering some time soon.
In this issue, we also look at product recalls in the tech space, the impact of PoPI on the channel and the potential diversification opportunities presented by IP CCTV. We’ve also got a story that may have significant implications for local hardware product launch timeframes as the period for official certification of electrical compliance has been extended from three weeks to three months…just as South Africa seemed to be catching up on technology. You’ll also find a host of other regular stories in these pages, such as the mini-survey on the local storage market, a distributor profile on Esquire Technologies and The Pitch, which is about selling tech to marketing rather than IT.
I hope you find this edition an interesting and useful read.
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