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How Distribution Is Responding to IoT Data in the Channel

Distribution sits at the heart of every vertical enabled by electronic components. Over its 100-year history, the products have changed but the model remains constant. Now, data is the new product in the channel and distribution is responding to changes in the supply chain.

Lou Lutostanski

November 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Big data technology and data science illustration. Data flow concept.
Getty Images

Manufacturers have moved on from proof-of-concept and are now deploying IoT devices in their thousands. The massive IoT leans heavily on cloud platforms. This dependency has highlighted just how hard it is to deliver robust and scalable IoT cloud services. 

IoT has a well-documented evolution from M2M, but AI is the more recent megatrend impacting industries. As these two come together, IoT will feed the AI algorithms with data. If data is the new oil, then AI is the engine that consumes that oil. And internet infrastructure is the pipeline, supporting IoT data collection and transfer. 

Not surprisingly, security is now even higher on the OEM’s agenda. The focus has now widened, to creating and maintaining robust, secure connections for massive IoT data as it passes from local area networks through the wide area network and up to the cloud. 

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Creating a Secure IoT Data Channel

The IoT boom spawned well over 100 IoT cloud platform providers. Many of those were niche, focusing on a small number of customers. That business model is hard to sustain. Cloud services, particularly in the massive IoT, need to be keenly priced. Maintaining the cloud infrastructure necessary to support massive IoT is expensive. 

This created an inflection point in the industry. Two IoT cloud platforms have emerged as leaders; AWS IoT and Microsoft Azure. Developing a massive IoT deployment based on either of these cloud platforms is still complex. 

If we assume that data is now the product in the channel, it makes sense that a distribution company with a focus on electronics and providing enabling technologies can offer a value proposition here. Semiconductor vendors agree. Many are now working with Avnet to pre-integrate technology it has developed to make IoT cloud connectivity simpler to deploy and maintain. 

As part of its IoTConnect software solution, Avnet has developed secure device management (SDM) and over-the-air (OTA) updates for IoT endpoints that are hardware and cloud platform agnostic. Associated software development kits (SDKs), developed with cloud platform providers and semiconductor manufacturers, make it easier for OEMs to integrate these and other solutions, including AI, into their IoT products. 

AI in the IoT Data Channel

AI has introduced a new dimension, increasing demand for good data. AI and machine learning (ML) sit at both the network’s edge and at its core. This end-to-end value chain requires a holistic approach to data management. 

No single supplier in the horizontal IoT sector has the scope to deliver this end-to-end solution. This is where distribution specialists are now delivering further value.

About the Author(s)

Lou Lutostanski

Vice president, Internet of Things (IoT) for Avnet

Lou Lutostanski is the vice president, Internet of Things (IoT) for Avnet. In this role, he works across the company to help customers bring new IoT products to market, from idea to production. He has 30 years of experience and industry knowledge across sales and implementation. Lutostanski graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and earned an MBA from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. He resides in Austin, Texas.

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