AirMagnet Helps Channel Go Wireless
The vendor unveils a new effort to help its VARs offer high-margin professional wireless services to their clients and deal with the complexity of evolving Wi-Fi networks.
AirMagnet has launched a series of new jumpstart kits to help channel partners offer their enterprise customers professional services around wireless surveying, design and planning, troubleshooting, WLAN validation, voice readiness and more. The kits include discounted product bundles along with training, video demonstrations and sample audit output reports.
Chris Rockel AirMagnets vice president of marketing, said the kits are geared specifically toward helping channel partners deal with the increased complexity of 802.11n wireless networks. Weve packaged together computer-based training so we can more quickly bring the VARs up to speed on the fundamental characteristics of 11n networks and how they deploy differently in customer environments and then weve packaged the back-end reporting side so its very services-oriented, he said.
At this point, Rockel added, about 80 percent of AirMagnets sales worldwide go through channel partners. The new announcement represents a significant opportunity for them, according to Rockel All the VARs out there, rather than just trying to sell our stuff, can jack up their services revenue by using our stuff to conduct services for their enterprise customers," he explained. "For instance, our AirMagnet Survey product costs a little under $4,000. So in about two-and-a-half days of consulting time, the VAR has paid for that product and can go off and do services for other customers and continue to use that thing forever."
Rockel believes the wireless LAN market itself is transitioning from simple products to broader solutions. If you go into a hospital, its not about the access points. Its about these new wireless IV pumps and these Vocera badges that are hanging around peoples necks, he said This is true enablement of a mobility infrastructure, and I think this is the long-term horizon for the wireless market.
Rockel added that within the next few years, networks will be wireless by default and only wired by exception. So solution providers within the wireless community can continue to build strategic relationships with the core verticals. But also, as the opportunity expands, you need to make sure that the wireless infrastructure is simple to lay out and simple to deploy, and our stuff helps do that, he said
Terrance Boylan, director of professional services for PacketLogix, one of AirMagnets leading VARs, said hes seen distinct growth in customer demand for services over the past several months. Up to about a year ago, people would buy the tools, and then they would do the surveys, which is kind of logical, he said. But now people are buying tools, and what Im finding is that then theyre asking for our expertise in going in and doing the site survey, particularly with all the congestion in the unlicensed bands.
The reason for the shift, Boylan added, is straightforward. The deployments are getting more complex as people look to put more applications -- voice, streaming media and what have you not only on the wired network, but expect a wireless network to have the exact same performance that a wired network has. So weve been able to kind of up the game for the customers, he said.
Boylan added this weeks announcement makes it easier for AirMagnets other VARs to do the same. If you just sell products, whether theyre hardware, software or whatever, thats okay for a while. But after a while, you need a higher margin business. And the higher margin business is in services.