Broadcom, Cisco Help Channel Embrace IoT

Broadcom is adding channel partners that will address demand around the Internet of things, while Cisco is creating new IoT specializations.

Broadcom IoT

Cisco Systems and Broadcom are launching separate initiatives to make it easier for channel partners to embrace their solutions for the burgeoning Internet of things market.

Broadcom is increasing the number of its channel partners to help meet the growing demand, not only for the Internet of things (IoT) but also for Ethernet solutions. The semiconductor and networking vendor is hoping the new partner lineup will fuel adoption of its WICED Smart and WICED WiFi platforms for the IoT.

In addition, Broadcom officials expect the partners—which include a broad array of companies, from module manufacturers and independent designers to original device manufacturers (ODMs) and VARs—to expand the reach of the company's RoboSwitch, StrataConnect and NetXtreme Ethernet offerings.

The IoT is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years as more devices, industrial systems, home appliances and cars are infused with more intelligence and are connected to the Internet and each other. Gartner analysts have said that the number of connected devices worldwide will hit 25 billion by 2020; Cisco Systems officials have put that number at 50 billion.

Most tech vendors are looking to get traction in the new market, which IDC analysts said will generate $7.1 trillion by the end of the decade and which could represent a $19 trillion opportunity for businesses around the globe, according to Cisco officials.

Broadcom in December 2013 launched its Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) portfolio of products armed with a smart chip that can be leveraged for IoT devices. In August, the company introduced the WICED (pronounced "wicked") Sense development platform that device and software developers can use to quickly create prototypes and concepts for systems—including wearable devices—and applications for the IoT.

Now the company is hoping the new channel partner effort, announced Nov. 10, will further drive the adoption of the WICED technologies.

"As the IoT market continues to evolve, we're seeing increased demand from thousands of emerging developers wanting to get their hands on our low-cost, highly integrated development platforms, modules and resource materials," Vincent Brocato, Broadcom's senior director of the global channel, said in a statement. "By making our technology easy to use and widely available through our expanded global channel, companies both large and small now have immediate access to the technology and tools required to bring their innovative ideas to life."

For their part, Cisco officials are creating three more IoT specializations for channel partners aimed to help them take advantage of a market that is only now beginning to ramp. Company officials see the Internet of things as a significant transition in the industry, and last year created a new business unit dedicated to the IoT.

Cisco estimates that of the billions of devices that will make up the IoT—which the company says is a subset of what officials call the Internet of everything (IoE)—less than 1 percent are connected today. This is "creating a massive opportunity for the Cisco Partner Ecosystem," Steve Benvenuto, senior director of business development for Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization, wrote in a post on the company blog.

The vendor is announcing IoT specializations for partners in connected safety and security, industry expert and manufacturing. Partners can get tools and training for these specializations, and gain a better understanding of Cisco technologies that can help in developing solutions aimed at these areas, Benvenuto wrote.

He added that more IoT specializations are on the way for the first half of 2015.