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Also posted on: IT Infrastructure
Surveying the ocean of stories about the Internet of Things (IoT) must make business leaders feel a little like the poor sailor in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner… “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” Everywhere you look there are articles and news items about how IoT, along with new 5G networks and Edge computing are heralding the next Industrial Revolution, sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0. Yet, practical information about where and how to start and what the real benefits are likely to be is being drowned out by the technology buzz. Unless you are a digital start-up with a team of savvy technologists, or a very large enterprise with skills and money to invest in this area you can be forgiven for not understanding if and when IoT will be right for your company.
It was refreshing therefore, to talk with Richard Simmons from Logicalis about their approach to helping customers implement IoT projects. It’s fair to say that I hadn’t associated Logicalis with IoT up to now. Certainly, their strong heritage in datacentres, networking and managed services should provide a strong underpinning for IoT infrastructures. But it was their track record in developing IoT solutions in South America, including developing their own IoT platform, Eugenio, and a very pragmatic approach to going to market in Europe that surprised me and made them genuinely interesting in this space.
Logicalis are very clear about their target markets being medium to large enterprises (below the Global 2000) that do not have large IT teams with broad IoT skills. When they talk about Europe, they mean UK and Ireland, Germany and Spain where they have a strong customer base and significant technical resources. Their initial focus is on a small number of key verticals; logistics, manufacturing, retail and smart cities. This is where they have had success in South America, and it enables them to have informed discussions with existing and prospective clients in these sectors in Europe.
However, Logicalis are not simply trying to sell their South American solutions in Europe. For example, they are not trying to sell Eugenio as a platform. Where potential customers don’t have a platform already, or haven’t mandated a particular platform, they would use Eugenio as the underpinning, but they are not planning to go head to head with other IoT platform providers. Their pragmatism extends to working with key partners and a growing eco-system of technology providers in Europe. In Germany they work closely with Oracle and their IoT platform. In the UK they focus more on working with IBM’s Watson IoT platform.
What Logicalis really want to do is help customers identify and make the business case for IoT projects and move them into implementation. Building on the experiences in South America they understand the issues in helping businesses take their first steps down the IoT path, or how to develop on existing Operational Technology (OT) into new IoT environments. Indeed, as testament to this approach they are in the process of hiring OT specialists in Europe. But if this all sounds a little like “trust me, I’m a consultant”, Logicalis are prepared to go further than most in publicly putting more skin in the game. After initial meetings and an IoT workshop they offer an IoT starter kit that comes with a complete bundle of software, hardware and services for 3 months to support the customer to build the business case, provide a clear roadmap on investment required on key enterprise architectures and provide a first Minimum Viable Product for a selected use case.
Logicalis have a rich mix of their own IoT intellectual property and experience, significant, highly relevant IT infrastructure facilities and managed services expertise, all allied to a pragmatic approach to the market. If you are one of those mid to large enterprises wondering how and if IoT will deliver significant business benefits, but are not sure where and how to start, Logicalis should be a vendor you consider seriously.