The sweeping $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November 2021 earmarks billions of dollars for building and repairing the U.S. transportation infrastructure, power grids, Internet broadband, and cybersecurity. Federal agencies increasingly have leveraged MSPs and VARs for IT services.
With the influx of new infrastructure funding, however, VARs and MSPs now have an unprecedented opportunity to partner with government entities to manage their IT infrastructure. Here are some lucrative technology areas that service providers and resellers should consider to achieve next-level business growth and scalability.
Cybersecurity in Big Demand
Cyber criminals have increased their attacks on government agencies. Between 2020 and 2021, government customers saw a staggering 917% increase in cyberattacks—the most significant jump in any industry. Often, local government agencies may hire a part-time IT person to manage their infrastructure, which makes them a target for cyberattacks.
The recent $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill includes $1 billion as part of the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act. This new funding allocation provides a significant opportunity for MSPs and VARs to partner with state, local government, and education (SLED) organizations to help bolster their infrastructure.
As one source states, “Smaller government entities may want to consider working with a trusted third party to conduct a cybersecurity assessment or work with them on grant applications.” Service providers and resellers should look for ways to partner with SLEDs. The best way to begin is by helping each entity prepare a comprehensive cybersecurity plan and roadmap—a critical requirement for federal funds applications.
Capitalize on the Smart Cities Movement
Smart cities have been a thing for more than a decade, influenced heavily by the confluence of various Industry 4.0 technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, cloud computing, big data, and mobile. The “smart” component of these modern urban innovations is the integration of a wide range of sensors and IoT devices used to gather enormous amounts of data. This information is then analyzed to manage, monitor, and optimize local traffic, transportation, power plants, public utilities, waste management, crime detection, and community services—to name a few.
There are many opportunities for MSPs and VARs to get involved in smart-city initiatives, especially with the recent influx of infrastructure funding. The Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants Program allocates $100 million from 2022-2026 for everything from creating connected infrastructures, enabling autonomous vehicles, and promoting pedestrian safety to championing sustainability and energy savings.
The smart cities global market is expected to reach $2.5 trillion by 2026. Despite what one article calls the “complex fiscal considerations, lengthy procurement procedures, and the proverbial red tape,” the payoff can be significant—especially for those channel partners that help local governments zero in on projects that deliver rapid ROI.
Electric Vehicle Charging Is Just Getting Started
Another subset of the smart-city initiative that channel partners and other service providers should seriously pay attention to is electric vehicle (EV) charging. EV sales continue to grow exponentially, with the total number on the world’s roads at nearly 16.5 million in 2021, triple the amount in 2018. Rapid EV adoption is a significant driver of the sustainability movement and the push toward zero carbon emissions by 2050. However, a major roadblock has been the lack of proper charging infrastructure. The U.S. infrastructure bill addresses this issue by appropriating $7.5 billion to build a nationwide network of EV charging stations. Some states also have spun up aggressive timelines for phasing out the sale, purchase, or registration of new gas or diesel-powered cars—with Washington state setting the earliest target for 2030.
MSPs and VARs today are sitting on top of a golden opportunity to leverage their business and technology expertise to help bring EV charging stations into the mainstream. By working with state and local governments, service providers and resellers can bridge the skills gap in IT—including computer networking, cloud solutions, and data analytics—to help bring the EV infrastructure online.
There is also a growing interest among channel partners to be engaged with sustainability. Challenging the perception that EV charging is primarily driven by electricians and technicians, one source points out: “It’s not just cables and sockets…It’s innovation, technology, and programming. And it’s being part of the solution to the problem of climate change, which young people are very engaged with.”
The recent U.S. infrastructure bill has opened a windfall of business prospects for channel partners—both in familiar areas like cybersecurity and new domains like EV charging. By creating partnerships with state and local government leaders in each of these industries, MSPs and VARs will drive unprecedented growth and scalability through new connections and innovations that are sure to transform how we live, work, and travel for decades to come.