WHEN WATCHGUARD TECHNOLOGIES Inc. started reaching out to the MSP community about its Wi-Fi Cloud platform, “it pretty quickly became apparent they are interested in not just selling hardware but wrapping managed services around it. It’s more value for them and great for us for the stickiness of our technology,” says Ryan Orsi, director of product management for Wi-Fi at Seattle-based WatchGuard.
MSPs’ customers are interested too, he says. “Many people feel Wi-Fi is like black magic. They just want someone else to make it work. We provide the management tools and troubleshooting [capability] to our resellers.”
Indeed, there appears to be a lot of opportunity, according to a recent global report from Markets and Markets, which estimates that the Wi-Fi-as-a-service market will grow from $1.18 billion in 2016 to $5.94 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 38.1 percent. And Wi-Fi research conducted by market research consultancy iGR Inc., on behalf of KodaCloud, finds that 64 percent of over 12 million small to midsize businesses are very interested in Wi-Fi as a service from MSPs.
Orsi outlines four add-on revenue opportunities:
- Managed Wi-Fi: Via WatchGuard’s Wi-Fi Cloud, MSPs can remotely monitor Wi-Fi networks and receive notifications about potential issues, so they can deal with them proactively for their customers. Resellers typically charge monthly per access point or per number of users, Orsi explains.
- Managed Wi-Fi security: Orsi says Wi-Fi Cloud has a new, patented approach to a Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (WIPS) that automatically stops traffic sniffing at hotspots—without inadvertently shutting down a legitimate access point. Orsi says resellers can package services around HIPAA or PCI compliance, or providing Wi-Fi vulnerability assessments and remediation.
- Managed guest experience: This includes creating splash pages, capturing guest information, push marketing, and so on. “The typical Wi-Fi vendor doesn’t offer this built-in, but makes resellers go out to a third party to integrate with the access point. We bring this under one platform and the reseller can be carving that feature set out as a monthly service.”
- Managed location analytics: While Wi-Fi vendors can capture and sell location-based analytics, typically they don’t, and the reseller needs to engage a third party, says Orsi. The WatchGuard Wi-Fi Cloud enables resellers to package and sell these types of services to brand managers and sales managers, for example.
Orsi says WatchGuard will “continue to build out more access points to fit scenarios for channel partners,” the most recent being a high-performance, cloud-ready outdoor access point that extends the benefits of WatchGuard’s Wi-Fi Cloud for use in settings such as stadiums, schools, open-air malls, and hotel pool areas.
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