In the past year, the Internet of Things has transformed from an overused buzzword to one of the hottest topics in IT. And while the true potential of IoT has not yet been reached, each passing month has proven the concept has staying power. In fact, Gartner predicts there will be upward of 25 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things by 2020, with IoT product and service suppliers expected to generate revenue in excess of $300 billion.

In case you aren’t already familiar, the Internet of Things is the concept that eventually all of our electronics (think home and office lighting, security systems, and even washers and dryers in the consumer space) will be connected to the Internet, creating an ecosystem of smart devices we can manage remotely. As the number of smart devices grows, we will continue to have more control over technology, which will lead to new ways to improve our lifestyles.

And while all this sounds well and good for the casual consumer, what opportunities, if any, are available to channel partners looking to capitalize on the millions of devices flooding the markets? According to a recent survey, The VAR Guy’s readers believe channel partners are most likely to profit from selling infrastructure and software related to the growth of the Internet of Things.

Overwhelmingly, 91 percent of respondents said the underlying infrastructure components (think hardware and networking solutions) are likely to offer the most opportunities for solution providers looking to make their mark in the IoT sphere. Additionally, 73 percent of respondents said the software used to manage IoT will be an important area for solution providers to invest in, since users will need help setting up and maintaining devices over their lifetimes.

And while there will certainly be opportunities to profit in terms of hardware and software, 64 percent of readers believe data analytics will also be a lucrative field for solution providers looking to capitalize on the growth of IoT. The swelling of connected devices is bound to produce a glut of user data, which companies will undoubtedly want to sort and catalogue to learn more about their end users. This, in turn, could mean big business for solution providers skilled enough to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Only 9 percent of readers feel it is too soon to tell which opportunities will be available, since we as a society are still several years from realizing the full potential of IoT. However, no readers felt there would be absolutely no opportunities for channel partners, indicating partners are likely to benefit in some regard from the growth of connected homes and offices in the near future.

Even though the idea of the Internet of Things is still in its infancy, it's difficult not to get excited about the possibilities that soon may be available to channel partners once more devices become connected to the web. In fact, solution providers who want to get ahead of the competition should begin looking into ways to develop their IoT-centric businesses ahead of upcoming demand, so they will be ready to take on new customers once a larger ecosystem of smart devices has been established.