From the mag: WebNMS forge into industrial

Karen Ravindranath, director – WebNMS explains the company’s expansion into Industrial IoT and appointing regional channel partners to accelerate its growth in the region

An ideal partner would be one with experience in installing devices, commissioning projects and deploying solutions but not necessarily in the IoT space, though that would be an added advantage, says WebNMS director, Ravindranath.
An ideal partner would be one with experience in installing devices, commissioning projects and deploying solutions but not necessarily in the IoT space, though that would be an added advantage, says WebNMS director, Ravindranath.

IoT is being utilised in a number of industries including oil and gas, insurance, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure and retail for improving operational efficiency. WebNMS has been operating in the IoT space through system integration partners in the Middle East for more than two years, and is gradually expanding its geographical footprint.

The first half of the year has been quite promising for WebNMS, particularly in working with facilities management companies in the Middle East for building and energy management, and gas pipeline management. The key areas where the vendor has seen successful IoT implementation include smart lighting, utilities and energy management.

Currently, WebNMS operates in the Middle East through a dedicated office located in Dubai, however, majority of its business is through regional systems integrators.

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WebNMS IoT platform

WebNMS has two types of offerings. The first are off the shelf or ready to deploy products that the vendor has in particular for energy management and fleet management companies.

“IoT is an ecosystem where the requirements can be totally different for different verticals and even organisations therein. So, rather than building solutions for each industry, we offer a generic and customisable IoT platform that the SI partners can use to build specific solutions for different use cases as needed,” says Karen Ravindranath, director – WebNMS.

With this option, WebNMS partners have the advantage of addressing specific requirements and pain points of customers, rather than working from scratch and figuring out the technology, connectivity, and hardware – which also play a key part in building a solution.

Why industrial IoT

WebNMS is now working to extend its expertise in IoT to cover the industrial segment in the Middle East. A recent report has revealed that majority of medium-to-large organisations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia believe Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies are critical to business operations, or will become critical in the next five years.

WebNMS’ venture into industrial IoT comes at an opportune time as increasing adoption of cloud computing and sensing technologies has caused many companies to integrate industrial machine sensors and actuators to the internet. With this move, the technology provider will help organisations in improving operational efficiencies, monitoring and controlling business operations and enhancing industrial performance as a whole.

Having gained significant experience in the IoT space, WebNMS identified some gaps where data was in silo, isolated from the rest of the organisation. The technology provider recognised that this gap could be bridged through its heterogeneous solution that would unify the data generated by the machines, and associated hardware and software components.

WebNMS has already partnered with 27 year old industrial automation provider, HMS Networks who have business operations in Asia and North America. This partnership has offered the technology provider better edge into the industrial IoT segment.

Enabling partners

WebNMS takes security very seriously and works alongside its systems integrators to enable them to efficiently work with customers in the industrial space. The company offers training programs to educate partners hardware configuration, connectivity and data security. For SI partners that work with WebNMS, this training is completely free resource.

“We train them in terms of the newer differentiation and OT related security because that is where we can add value. We educate them about the technology itself and what kind of transformation is required. Once we onboard a partner, we provide them with the required resources and training, in addition to consultation and support in the early stage to enable them to reach out and expand their reach in the IoT domain,” adds Ravindranath.

Scouting new partners

Recognising that channel partners are well aware of customer requirements and can better identify the right customers, WebNMS is looking to expand through channel partners, and is also looking for more partners in the region.

When looking for new partners, WebNMS selection criteria is domain specific. An ideal partner would be one with experience in installing devices, commissioning projects and deploying solutions but not necessarily in the IoT space, though that would be an added advantage. WebNMS aims to empower vertical specific solution and service providers like facilities, building management, energy service providers, MEPs and the likes with easy to deploy and manage plug and play IoT solutions.

“One key factor would be having a services or implementation capability and hardware handling capability in the Middle East with multiple customers, irrespective of domain with an inclination to expand into IoT sector,” explains Ravindranath.

In the Middle East, WebNMS will be onboarding new systems integration partners that can further its goal to expand in the industrial IoT space. The company is also aggressively pushing its ready to use and customisable IoT platforms to gain better market share.

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