Remotely monitoring and managing PC devices is old hat. Adding smartphones and tablets to the mix is old news. So what's the new wrinkle for IT management platforms that can remotely monitor devices? The short answer involves the Internet of Things. But instead of getting fixated on devices (again), dig deeper and focus on the data. Here's why.
Let's start with a prime example of the PC to IoT market shift. PlumChoice started as a provider of remote technical services in 2001, and launched a call center in 2006. Check the company's home page today and it states, "Who provides tech support for the Internet of Things?" Naturally, PlumChoice wants to answer its own question. And the company has hired Carbonite veteran David Hauser -- an SMB IT expert -- to help drive home that point.
The Next Wave
I suspect plenty of IT monitoring companies will follow suit. Over the past decade, dozens of small business IT monitoring tools have gained critical mass -- allowing support experts to remotely maintain IT devices. But overall, the market remains highly fragmented and far too focused on traditional IT endpoints (PCs and servers) -- where the SMB installed base has stagnated.
Some pundits (including me, though hardly a pundit) thought smartphone and tablet sales would deliver a new wave of remote management opportunities -- and plenty of money along with it. But in many cases, SMB customers didn't open their wallets wider for mobile device services.
Think Data, Not Devices
Now, along comes the Internet of Things (IoT), which pushes the IP device conversation beyond PCs, servers, switches, routers, smartphones, printers and tablets. The extended definition includes monitoring systems for physical buildings; patient monitoring sensors in healthcare; retail beacon networks tied to point of sale systems; and so much more.
- The downside: Much of the latest IoT wave involves machine to machine (M2M) communications and embedded sensors that don't really need day-to-day configuration management or optimization.
- The upside: Those M2M systems generate boatloads of data. And that data needs to be gathered, stored, protected, analyzed and monetized.
My key takeaway? IoT will provide some remote management upside. But overall, I think the far greater opportunity involves managing and monetizing all the data that IoT generates.
Subscribe: Want to receive our blog headlines in your inbox each business day? Then subscribe to our enewsletter. Thanks to those who already have.