Intel executive Brad Haczynski said Intel Partner Alliance will play a key role for partners who want to pursue IoT opportunities because it is creating new openings for collaboration between those who do have expertise in the space and those who do not.
“That’s exactly why we created Intel Partner Alliance. The whole goal of Intel partner Alliance is to get all the different partner types in one room under one program,” said Haczynski, who is Intel’s vice president and general manager of global IoT sales, in a recent interview with CRN.
When Intel Partner Alliance launched in January, it consolidated previously disparate partner programs, including Intel IoT Solutions Alliance, which brought with it top-tier, IoT-focused OEMs and solution providers into a larger group of tens of thousands of partners of different types.
This means solution providers, system integrators, OEMs, cloud service providers and other types of partners working across different verticals and technologies can more easily collaborate with each other than they previously could under Intel’s previous programs. One important way this is done is through Intel Partner Alliance’s communities, which includes the IoT Solutions Community.
“That’s exactly why we think the Intel Partner Alliance is so effective, because that particular partner type you’re talking about who might not have a specific domain expertise in IoT can jump into the IoT Solutions Community and start talking and meeting other partner types,” Haczynski said.
Another crucial element of this collaboration is the program’s Intel Solutions Marketplace, which includes Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions and the adjacent Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits catalog. Combined, the solutions catalogs have more than 500 reference architectures that can accelerate the time it takes to deploy systems and applications. To date, there have been more than 300,000 deployments across 150 countries, and 92 percent of them have been repeatable, according to Haczynski.
Other Intel Partner Alliance resources key to helping partners with IoT matters includes the Intel Partner University training program and the Intel Edge Software Hub.
“This is what the whole industry’s been missing because people have been talking about digital transformation and IoT for years,” he said. “But scale has been the inhibitor, complexity has been the inhibitor to deployments. And we really feel confident that the programs and the solutions that we’re bringing to market are really helping.”
One reason why it’s important to bring partners of different types together is because not every partner will have all of the necessary capabilities, whether it’s software, hardware or connectivity, to deliver complete solutions, according to Haczynski.
“They see the opportunity to collaborate together to figure out how they fit into the value chain and drive real outcomes for our customers in scale and velocity,” he said.
Intel is helping partners understand how certain horizontal technologies apply to different verticals with a “chessboard” approach, where “they can see where the intersection of their technology within a specific vertical is” and what the associated use cases are, according to Haczynski.
Haczynski said the coronavirus pandemic initially took a toll on IoT initiatives as many vertical industries paused or halted projects, but new concerns have arisen around public health matters, like mask compliance, social distancing and fever monitoring, creating new opportunities in the space. The pandemic has also created a greater need for remote connectivity solutions.
The need for new solutions to address these issues has prompted many CIOs and C-suite executives to realize that they need a digital transformation strategy that can address how they’re going to deal with the pandemic and what the world looks like after, according to Haczynski. This has already contributed to a spike in demand, reversing quarters of dwindling revenues with a 4 percent increase in sales for Intel’s IoT Group, which reported a record $914 million in revenue in the first quarter.
“The bottom line is, [operational technology] transformation or IoT projects slowed in 2020 amidst the pandemic and the uncertainty of it,” Haczynski said. “But what didn’t slow down is what everyone’s talking about now, which is the underlying pace of innovation that really accelerated, and we’re already seeing this massive demand increase for edge technology.”
There will be many companies and organizations, according to Haczysnki, that have a need for IoT solutions like contact-less checkout or mask compliance monitoring but won’t have the capital necessary to invest in purpose-built IoT technologies like Intel’s Movidius visual processing units or Elkhart Lake CPUs. That’s why he believes the biggest opportunity in IoT will be partners who can help customers use existing CPU-based IT assets for IoT, which is made possible with things like the Intel OpenVINO software toolkit that focuses on visual inference and neural network applications.
“We believe that you’re going to see a ton of this kind of deployment, which is why we’re telling folks, ‘hey, you don’t need to go do forklift upgrades and expensive upgrades. Go look at the [Intel] Solutions Marketplace, go look at the Market Ready Solutions catalog and know there might be something sitting there waiting for you, ready to go now,’” he said.
Lisa Groeneveld, co-founder and chair of the board at OnLogic, a Burlington, Vt.-based industrial computer manufacturer and IoT solution provider, told CRN that Intel has increasingly played the role of an orchestrator in the IoT ecosystem, bringing together multiple partners to ensure that the entire spectrum of needs are satisfied for projects, from software and services to hardware and connectivity.
“Intel has come to a very quick and obviously sharp conclusion [that] no one business can provide truly effective end-to-end industrial Internet of Things solutions to an end user,” she said.
For instance, one OnLogic customer, ‘IKE Solutions, provides solutions for monitoring fisheries, and they needed helping sourcing and tying together all the technologies needed to make it happen, so Intel helped OnLogic gather all the necessary players for cloud computing, software and connectivity while OnLogic provided the industrial computers, according to Groeneveld.
“They’re the base of the pyramid, and they kind of emotionally accept that role in our industry,” she said.