AirMagnet Jumpstarts the Channel

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, AirMagnet’s vice president of marketing, said the kits are geared specifically toward helping channel partners deal with the increased complexity of 802.11n wireless networks. “We’ve 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 we’ve packaged the back-end reporting side so it’s very services-oriented,” he said.

At this point, Rockel added, about 80 percent of AirMagnet’s 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, it’s not about the access points. It’s about these new wireless IV pumps and these Vocera badges that are hanging around people’s 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 AirMagnet’s leading VARs, said he’s 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 I’m finding is that then they’re 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, we’ve been able to kind of up the game for the customers,” he said.

Boylan added this week’s announcement makes it easier for AirMagnet’s other VARs to do the same. “If you just sell products, whether they’re hardware, software or whatever, that’s okay for a while. But after a while, you need a higher margin business. And the higher margin business is in services.”

Article courtesy of ITChannelPlanet.

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and a contributor to TechnologyAdvice websites since 1999. He's covered security, networking, storage, mobile technologies and more during his time with TechnologyAdvice.

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