Exclusive Interview - How partners can make the most from IoT
Ruckus Networks has, by their own admission, had a rocky last couple of years.
However, Ruckus chief commercial officer Ian Whiting says that since their acquisition into Arris, they have emerged with a strong sense of where they are headed and a particular interest in the A/NZ markets.
This time last month, the company announced a new IoT offering designed to allow for the use of common infrastructure between the wireless local area network (WLAN) and the IoT access network.
Whiting and I sat down to discuss IoT and how partners can begin to make the most of this paradigm-changing tech.
What advice would you give to partners looking to take their first step into IoT offerings?
IoT is a big new world and if you try to go too broad and not deep enough, you run the risk of not understanding or differentiating yourself in the market.
There are two things I would suggest.
One - pick your spot.
Pick an area where you can differentiate, where you have partnerships with companies like Ruckus and potentially other companies so you can use a suite of different technologies to offer a packaged solution for addressing problems that customers have.
Two - get smart.
There's no substitute for getting good technical expertise in this area.
Ruckus goes a long way to provide training and certification for our partners so they can build confidence with their customers that they know what they are talking about.
You have to have knowledge of how to design and support the network and how to integrate endpoint spaces successfully - then, once you get some use-cases behind you, life becomes a lot easier.
What are the big opportunities for resellers and systems integrators/MSPs in IoT?
It’s the value-added, technically competent channel partners who are really going to be able to take advantage of this technology.
There are a lot of partners out there who can talk about the performance of the network infrastructure and why ours is better than theirs, but in this area, partners can get to understand apps and services and demonstrate their differentiation by helping to design the network to support those apps.
It's a big opportunity for the channel to go beyond designing great high-performance networks and show how the integration at the API level into all these different IoT services works and how they can help customers consolidate their network infrastructure so they don't have to buy and go through the complexity of installing whole new IoT networks and gateways, they can take advantage of the WAN infrastructure they already have.
How can partners help the enterprise make use of the data that IoT will be collecting in order to avoid being caught in a data swamp?
Data management is something we work on with our partners - our role is to make sure that the ingestion of the end-point data is done efficiently and in a way that supports the analytics platforms.
They can then provide back to their customers informational that is actionable.
Customers should not have to manage data themselves, that's the value that offerings like IBM Watson add.
What measures has Ruckus taken to ensure end-users are safe and secure when using IoT networks?
We use digital certificates to secure the end-point - not just any device can hop on the Ruckus wireless network because they have to have an authenticated digital certificate to do that.
Partners control and manage that centrally using our own policy management and management security software.
We have some fairly techy capabilities within our management software to isolate certain types of traffic on the network - if we see user data traversing the network, we can isolate that to make sure there is always bandwidth for the more critical information.
Also, all the data is encrypted - we use multiple encryption technologies to make sure the data that's traversing the wireless network is encrypted.
The combination of those things really helps to provide the confidence that an end-customer wants so that if they are moving more of their user data across a wireless network, it's not being hacked. It's not easy to hack into it and suck it up the wireless network.