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Companies today often have two objectives when it comes to improving operations: increasing innovation while decreasing costs. It can sound like an impossible combination, unless you look to the cloud. The IoT is rapidly expanding the scope of what’s possible. By linking proven edge technology with plug-and-play cloud services, companies can forgo the expensive design and implementation of elaborate systems and get to the next level. And systems integrators can guide their way.
For example, an SI working with a hospital in China uncovered a new opportunity to help the facility streamline its operations. The hospital wanted a better way to deliver meals and medication to patients by using robots. Not only does the new system automate the process; it keeps patients and hospital workers safer by reducing exposure and touchpoints (Figure 1).
In another case, a retailer wanted to maximize the return on investment from the digital signage it had throughout its stores to create better shopping experiences and new marketing opportunities. But while the SI specialized in retail and had expertise in selling digital displays, it was not familiar with how to connect the system to the cloud. In this case, the SI needed help in upgrading the digital displays, deploying all the needed in-store hardware, and adding cloud support as well.
Edge-to-Cloud IoT Projects = New Opportunities
Hospital robots and smart retail signage require complex infrastructure and domain knowledge to execute. In the past, SIs may have had to walk away from opportunities due to a lack of expertise. While they may have had a deep understanding of a specific vertical market segment, such as retail or healthcare, they often lacked the resources or knowledge needed to provide a complete solution for the customer—until now.
Today, SIs can turn to solution aggregators that can help them better serve their customers’ fast-changing business needs. Not simply product distributors, aggregators are value-add partners that can help SIs grow their businesses and broaden their vertical coverage by offering information and access on new technologies and services.
Digital China, for example, is a provider of the latest edge solutions and cloud services. The company has a depth of knowledge that gives SIs and end customers access to customized cloud management services and software as a service (SaaS). Its deep relationships with cloud service providers such as AWS, Alibaba, Microsoft Azure, and others enhance the company’s ability to lead the way in delivering edge-to-cloud solutions.
Digital China can provide SIs information and operations technology solutions across many verticals. In fact, it is the aggregator that stepped in and helped the SIs design the hospital robot and AI-enabled interactive digital signage systems, with a technical and service staff to provide expertise and support.
“Looking forward, Digital China will continue to build our technical team for Intel® related programs, which along with our Intel partnership can help SIs acquire new business quickly,” says Lihua Chen, Marketing Director, Microelectronics System SBU, Digital China Group. “And we will work with the SIs every step of the way.”
SIs and end customers have access customized cloud management and SaaS services thanks to Digital China.
IoT Solutions Belong in the Cloud
Instead of buying solution components from different vendors, working with Digital China to implement cloud-based solutions can be a better way for SIs to go. Systems are not limited to one physical location, and scaling is often as simple as a quick download of software.
SaaS models maximize operations by letting businesses increase cash flow without tying up capital expenditure through software subscriptions. The SaaS market is forecasted to grow to $116 billion by the end of 2020 due to scalability, and SIs can get in on the trend and be ahead of the competition when they partner with an aggregator like Digital China.
Partnerships Are the Key to the Future
One of the ways solutions aggregators stay current with the pace of technology is through strategic partnerships. For example, Digital China leverages ready-to-deploy, end-to-end cloud platform solutions such as Intel® IoT Market Ready Solutions and Intel® IoT RFP Ready Kits, helping SIs solve customers’ pain points with proven concepts.
Aggregators like Digital China help SIs serve an enterprise’s full IT environment lifecycle, from deploying the latest hardware to managing software releases. In the IoT world, cloud services are relatively new, and the company will continue to accelerate in this area.
A rising tide lifts all boats, and the aggregator-SI relationship is a partnership for the future. By working as a team, they can better service customers and acquire new business opportunities together.