The companies’ efforts will help customers develop IoT solutions built on the IBM Watson IoT Platform. The collaboration is designed to help Avnet’s wide-ranging customer base capitalize on the opportunities in the rapidly growing IoT market, which is estimated to account for more than $921 billion in technology spending in 2016, the companies said.
The partnership builds on Avnet’s growing IoT development business, the distributor said, pointing to its recent work with SPICA Technologies to help create a smart cities IoT solution to improve water safety. The solution reduces the risk of contracting Legionnaires' disease by using connected devices attached to water pipes that provide real-time information and analysis on water temperature and flow, improving accuracy, and reducing monitoring costs by up to 60%. Avnet helped build the solution by bringing together the sensor components, IBM Core Middleware, IBM Enterprise analytics, and an IBM Cloud deployment to manage the data.
“Developing an IoT solution is incredibly complex and requires deep technical knowledge from a semiconductor level to advanced data analytics running in a data center,” Patrick Zammit, president, Avnet Technology Solutions, Global said in a statement announcing the IBM partnership. “Avnet and IBM joined together to simplify the development cycle at every stage and give our customers the power to unlock the potential of IoT.”
Such comments echo those of Avnet’s Gerry Fay, president of Avnet Electronics Marketing Global, the company’s electronic components division. Fay emphasized Avnet’s focus on IoT solutions following the release of the company’s quarterly earnings statement in February.
“We have been in IoT always,” said Fay, pointing to the company’s expertise in sensors, processing, communication protocol devices, and similar products and systems. Avnet took this to the next level recently with the hiring of Eric Williams as vice president of IoT. Such moves will help the distributor further develop its IoT business.
“We believe that finding IoT customers early in the process and asking them the right questions” will ensure success in the competitive IoT space, Fay added. “And we believe that there is more growth and margin opportunity than the market is providing us today.”
Avnet and IBM said they will provide customers with a wide range of resources to develop IoT solutions that “effectively gather information, connect to the Internet, and securely manage and analyze data.” Those solutions include:
- Availability of IBM applications critical to designing and managing IoT solutions, including IBM Watson IoT Platform, IBM Watson, and IBM Cloud;
- IoT development platforms and kits that accelerate the ability to prototype IBM Bluemix-enabled IoT solutions;
- Create proof-of-concept solutions with Avnet’s highly experienced team, enabling Avnet’s 100,000 customers to deploy connected devices;
- Avnet data center and cloud solutions based on IBM Watson IoT Platform that provide analytics engines, asset management, data management tools, IoT Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities, and security;
- Access to the Avnet Cloud Marketplace , which features IBM Cloud infrastructure; IBM Software-as-a Service (SaaS) solutions related to cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security applications; and the ability to create branded storefronts;
- Solutions design, integration, and assembly support services at its solutions centers in the Americas and EMEA;
- In-depth technical education and training through Avnet Academy on IBM Bluemix and IBM Watson IoT Platform.
Customers also will be able to leverage the Avnet Visible Things evaluation and development reference platform, which will be on display at Embedded World in late February. This initiative, driven by Avnet in EMEA, is a platform, built on IBM Watson IoT Platform, designed for edge-to-enterprise IoT projects. It delivers hardware and embedded software to connect smart sensors to the Avnet Devicepoint service, which adds context to sensor information and loads it to an enterprise-strength core system. It then presents a set of business and integration services focused on analytics, cloud, and mobile, the companies said.
“IBM, alongside its vast network of clients and partners, is ushering in a new era of computing, extending the power of cognitive computing to the billions of connected devices, sensors, and systems that comprise the Internet of Things," said Harriet Green, general manager, Watson IoT, Education and Commerce, IBM. “Working together, Avnet and IBM can help clients further embrace the full promise of IoT using innovative technologies to uncover hidden patterns in data and act on them, to transform business and society alike.”