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Best practices used to be a recipe for success, but clinging to them today could actually be a path to failure. To compete in today’s marketplace, businesses need to embrace change. The IoT has transformed the landscape by connecting operations and information technology, expanding the scope of what’s possible. Instead of looking for one-off systems, businesses need smart solutions.
Systems integrators could be missing out if they don’t take full advantage of the new opportunities IoT presents. To be relevant in the new marketplace, SIs must shed their traditional business models of selling, integrating, and servicing technical components, and address broader business challenges. They must become solution integrators.
Making this shift requires a “village” of vendors, products, solutions, and logistics. But most SIs don’t have the resources and infrastructure to deliver the transformational solutions their customers are looking for. Fortunately, they don’t have to go it alone. SIs can turn to solution aggregators to provide these capabilities at scale, helping them better serve their customers’ fast-changing business needs with innovative new technologies.
Aggregators are not simply distributors. These value-add partners offer SIs deep knowledge of the IoT space, assembling all of the necessary technology from a wide range of suppliers as well as a host of business services to meet an SI’s needs with proven, use-case-specific solutions.
“End users might not really know their pain points, or if they do, they might not know how to overcome it,” says Rex Shiue, General Manager, Component Business Unit, Synnex Technology International Corp., an Intel® Solutions Aggregator in the Asia Pacific region. “Integrators may have a lot of systems, but they may not fit the new market requirements. When it comes to IoT solutions that blur the boundaries between IT and operations, aggregators have strong global networks and can be the voice for the end user.”
Getting Help for Your IoT Projects
SIs can leverage aggregators’ vast knowledge of technology capabilities as well as niche expertise to expand their businesses, bidding on and winning new projects. For example, Synnex recently helped an SI design and implement a new IoT project for a Bangkok school system that needed to keep track of campus activity. The previous method required visitors to swipe a badge or perform a biometric fingerprint scan.
But the solution had performance weaknesses. First, it created a logjam during peak hours, with long lines of students, parents, and teachers waiting to be scanned. In addition, impatient visitors could bypass the process, which meant they weren’t logged in. Finally, the outdated system would experience errors and had no backup capability.
Synnex collaborated with the SI to create a digital solution that used artificial intelligence. Cameras automatically logged in visitors, using computer vision without the need for a stop-and-scan protocol. Administrators could search the data by time, name, and student ID to confirm who was on campus. And in case of an error, the video capture could be played back to find information. Synnex provided more value to the SI by performing a proof of concept. Once the solution was up and running, it was scaled and expanded to serve 15 schools.
The aggregator created the new technology by leveraging an existing Intel® Market Ready Solution (Intel® MRS), bringing added value to SIs. By tapping into a portfolio of MRS and Intel® RFP Ready Kits (Intel® RRK), solution aggregators can quickly address an SI’s customer pain points with ready-to-deploy architecture. In fact, the solution Synnex created for the Bangkok schools is now a new, validated Market Ready Solution.
Providing market-ready solutions is only the beginning of what an aggregator can offer. From @insightdottech
But the Bangkok school solution is just one example. Synnex collaborates with SIs in a wide range of markets and industries (Figure 1) such as healthcare, where it has helped automate the patient process, from registration to prescription fulfillment, and manufacturing, where it created scalable wireless architecture that helps managers make faster decisions.
Depending on an SI’s needs, providing market-ready solutions is only the beginning of what an aggregator can offer. Many also give access to business-growing tools, such as distribution, logistics, and financial support.
“Synnex is able to provide an ecosystem of services to partners that are upstream and downstream,” says Shiue. “Besides business engagement and financial support, we can become partners in warehousing and logistics.”
Aggregators that offer professional logistics services can help SIs not only leverage new technologies; they can take them into new geographic markets, expanding their businesses. For example, Synnex combines its core strengths to help its customers improve time to market and supply chain linkages.
Aggregators Stay on Top of IoT Innovations
To be strong partners, aggregators must stay on the cutting edge of technology. Synnex brings novel opportunities to SIs by sponsoring hackathons, tapping into innovative minds that develop applications that were never before imagined. In fact, some of the hackathons have resulted in impressive solutions and new opportunities for IoT projects in city waste management and the fishing industry.
“Hackathons are definitely important, especially for the Southeast Asia market,” says Shiue. “We held an Intel® OpenVINO™ Toolkit Hackathon last year. Through the campaign, we attracted campus, research institute, start-up companies, and independent software vendors from all over Indonesia to join. A lot of new applications were uncovered.”
Being part of a global channel distribution and having access to a portfolio of Market Ready Solutions and RFP Ready Kits helps Synnex quickly ramp up to meet the needs of its customers. Intel-validated IoT Solutions provide the recipes to serve local market partners. By collaborating with local SIs and ISVs, all the existing solutions can be deconstructed, enhanced, and reconstructed to fit local regulations and answer specific challenges.
“Synnex not only sells whole solutions; we can introduce new technologies and scenarios to the market,” says Shiue. “We provide all of the necessary ingredients into a one-stop shopping experience for SIs who want to build the best solutions.”