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Billions of new devices are coming online as the internet of things (IoT), and machine-to-machine (M2M) ecosystems continue to grow. No longer will the end points for the internet be human users, but rather devices. Those end points will be in the billions to tens of billions — far and away dwarfing the human users as end points for the internet.

How can you tap into this ever-expanding marketplace? One thing these technologies have in common is their need for connectivity.

And all of this is enabled by better-than-ever mobile broadband connections. In order for these to all function in a manner that can reliably support and not hinder the IoT, business and cities alike will have to enlist not one, but all types of connections to the internet from public broadband to private circuits. In fact, it will have to mix all of these to create a robust virtual network for the IoT’s billions of end points. Partners have a key opportunity amidst all of these changes, to become a single point of contact for both wireline needs and mobility.

While all of these opportunities to get involved in the mobile marketplace are growing, one key emerging arena for partners is the fact that IoT is driving SD-WAN sales.

IoT devices need management and cybersecurity protection; SD-WAN allows companies to consolidate everything from network encryption to policy-based controls from all of an enterprise’s remote offices into a one secure network and management console, over the internet. This greatly reduces operational management.

SD-WAN also allows for multiple access methods spanning wired and wireless networks—regardless of the connection, users can manage their SD-WAN in a centralized way. Some IoT devices must be wirelessly connected; in other cases, companies are looking for diversification.

The industry standard for 4G wireless downlink connections is better than ever, and 50Gbps is not unheard of. That means that 4G links are an ideal backup, disaster recovery or failover solution, and they offer true geographical diversity.

Simplification is Essential

IoT has been enabled by the simplification of hardware.  The open hardware movement has close parallels to the growth of cloud software in making formerly complex technologies and processes available for massive deployments.

Simplifying WAN technology is as important as the IoT sensors themselves in bringing a mass market for IoT services. Extending this sort of simplicity into the network, as other technologies before it, is critical for enabling the IoT with reliable and inexpensive connections.

Virtualization should ease the task of setting up massive IoT networks relatively simply. It would enable IoT sensors to connect to overlay entry points collocated with IoT gateways, which would also ease insertion of any new services without physical network reconfigurations.

You need all the elements of the IoT to function reliably to realize the true promise of IoT: sensors, gateways, cloud intelligence, and also the virtual network overlay that connects them. Connectivity is a key player here where partners can be the game-changer for their customers.