Three of the biggest software vendors in IoT – Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), PTC and Intel subsidiary Wind River – have agreed to join the IoT M2M Council’s (IMC) fledgling template RFP programme for IoT software platforms, being presented this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Using input from many vendors and more than 100 software buyers in an open-source process, the IMC developed a template reference document that will ease buying of IoT software and, later, hardware and connectivity. HPE, PTC and Wind River have agreed to have their platforms assessed by the IMC, which represents 25,000 enterprise users and OEMs that buy IoT products and services.
The RFP programme will simplify sourcing of IoT platforms for buyers by providing reference documentation and demonstrating capabilities of established software platforms and, for participating vendors, it will ultimately shorten the sales cycle.
The RFP template was discussed at this week’s CES, where large numbers of OEMs that buy IoT products saw it for the first time. The IMC developed a template RFP document last year in a wiki-based, open-source process with input from more than 100 IoT buyers, and has now retained a third-party consultancy to validate vendors against the RFP. The validation process, conducted by UK-based Beecham Research, includes surveying vendors for responses to the RFP, contacting their customers anonymously for references, and a hands-on analysis of the platforms for ease-of-use.
“No other industry group or major consultancy is talking to buyers at scale and looking at the actual IoT sales process,” said Volkhard Bregulla, vice president at HPE, with a seat on the IMC board. “My staff spend a lot of time responding to RFPs. The IMC’s RFP programme gives us a report from a credible third-party that allows us to respond to RFPs more quickly, as well as a place to send potential buyers where they can access a template RFP document and learn more. If this programme reduces my sales cycle, even just incrementally, it will be well worth it.”
IMC rank-and-file membership comes from 24 different vertical markets on every continent, and a plurality self-identify as “operations”, meaning they are unlikely versed in communications technology.
“The template RFP provides a non-technical reference, and can go a long way in establishing a common language for IoT technology among people actually doing the buying,” said Bregulla.
The IMC is the largest and fastest-growing trade group dedicated to the global IoT and M2M sector, with more than 25,000 members. Board member companies include Aeris, Arrow, Avnet, Digi International, HPE, Ingenu, Inmarsat, Intel, Kore, Laird, Orbcomm, MultiTech, PTC, Re-Teck, Semtech, Sigfox, Teleena, Telit, U-Blox, Verizon and Vodafone.