How Smart Spaces Pave Way to Better Experiences and Profits for Channel

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By opening up to smart spaces, security integrators unlock doors to new opportunities for themselves and their customers.

Formed when IoT and IT are applied to office, commercial or restricted areas, smart spaces use networks and sensors to collect data from people, places and things. They create safe, healthy and sustainable environments that enhance the employee and customer experience. Sensors and smart cameras capture data like temperature and foot traffic that give actionable insight.

As a result, businesses are empowering hybrid workers to reserve desks and conference rooms before they visit an office and are helping floor managers ensure team members don required safety gear. They’re also monitoring temperature and water leaks as part of sustainability efforts and expanding beyond hot-desking into building management systems, wayfinding and mapping to support hybrid workplaces.

Security Use Cases 

Organizations are increasingly adopting Cloud-managed networked smart cameras and sensors to protect employees, customers, administrators and students at businesses and schools, acquire data analytics and provide additional benefits as well.

At East Stroudsburg Area School District in Pennsylvania, students, faculty and staff felt more secure after it deployed more than 1,000 Cloud-managed smart cameras across its 10 schools, six non-instructional facilities and two stadiums. The district’s smart-space investment also saved tens of thousands of dollars by pinpointing inaccuracies in worker’s compensation claims.

The prior on-premises system frequently broke down and took days to repair. Blurry footage added to the problems, making it challenging to prove or disprove workers’ claims, find the culprits behind vandalism and address other security concerns.

The Cloud was also the answer when the Marmot Library Network in Grand Junction, Colo., sought to enhance the services it uses to protect artifacts within the Eagle Valley Library District in the Colorado Rockies. The technology company oversees more than 1.2 million titles of rare books, documents, maps and works of art that date back to the days of gunslinging and the gold rush.

To secure these artifacts and the network infrastructure against cataclysmic damage in the basement storage area that is prone to occasional flooding, Marmot used Cloud-managed water-leak detection sensors, which send alerts when they determine water is near.

Value-Add Beyond Security 

In today’s hybrid workforce world, more businesses are providing employees with air quality and other environmental information. These enterprises use smart-space technologies like sensors to deliver this insight so individuals can use it to decide whether to work on- or off-site that day.

Some retailers and distributors use automated alerts to reduce inventory spoilage and waste, and in turn are cutting the chances of inadvertently selling food after its sell-by date. Likewise, organizations — from hospitals to construction firms — use precision location analytics to keep track of expensive supplies and equipment.

Digital signage — managed remotely and changed on the fly as conditions alter — enables users, such as retail customers or residents looking to renew drivers’ licenses, to quickly find and go wherever they need or want to be.

Green Thumbs (Up)

Over the next few years, more than 80% of U.S. chief executives said environmental and social initiatives, governance and sustainability will be value-drivers for their business, a recent EY 2022 CEO survey found. The data center — typically a large consumer of HVAC, power and square footage — is often a first step in many organizations’ sustainability initiatives.

It’s also a great starting point for smart-space deployments. A global advertising agency saved 27% on annual energy costs at one campus by deploying temperature and humidity sensors inside its data center and outside its building to maximize its use of free cooling.

Channel Partner Pluses

Of course, as systems integrators know full well, the most successful technologies are seldom about cost savings alone. They’re about value for the customer. Cloud-based smart spaces can do a lot, and when powered by partners, they can do even more.

Even better, smart spaces fit comfortably into many indirect channel businesses. Whether partners incorporate smart spaces into a vertical market (healthcare, government, retail) or add them into a practice heavy on applications (security, networking), it’s a move that typically complements many existing skill sets and technologies. Teaming up with vendors that use APIs enables partners to more easily develop applications.

Solution providers may generate ongoing revenue by providing subscription services for Cloud-based offerings. In addition to the fees themselves, these services can also give channel partners almost invaluable stickiness, given the ongoing interactions with customers.

Whatever their area of specialization, many channel providers will find that smart spaces complement their existing skill sets and technical knowledge. With an array of Cloud-first smart cameras and sensors, WiFi access points and API-based applications available, smart spaces deliver new solutions to current challenges and help discover novel opportunities for growth and revenue.

The door is open, the welcome mat is out, and there’s a world of potential for solution providers to deliver secure smart spaces to customers.

Scott Wierstra is Senior Manager of IoT Product Management at Cisco Meraki.

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