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April 18, 2022 |

Three News Notes from the Channel Partners Conference & Expo

LastPass, SkyAMP, and Wildix share insights on their latest milestones and future goals.

There were more than 320 exhibitors on the show floor at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo last week in Las Vegas, and ChannelPro spoke with a bunch of them. Here are updates from three in particular.

Former GoTo Unit LastPass is Developing a Partner Program for VARs and MSPs 
Newly separated from GoTo, its former parent company, password management vendor LastPass has a new partner program coming.

“The traditional program that we had was very focused on UCaaS agent and that type of go-to-market route,” says Patrick McCue, vice president of partner sales at LastPass. “We’re really going to focus on the MSPs, and the resellers, and the technology partners [now], so we’ll be building that from scratch.”

Per plans first disclosed last December, LastPass recently spun off from GoTo as an independent company shortly after the former LogMeIn embraced the new GoTo brand. McCue, who was global vice president of channel sales at GoTo and LastPass before, stayed with LastPass. Michael Day officially replaced him as vice president of partner sales at GoTo earlier this month. Previously a channel executive at RingCentral, Day is no stranger to the SMB channel.

“My whole career has been in the partner world,” he notes.

A “redheaded stepchild” in the past, according to McCue, LastPass was a security vendor attached to a larger company in an entirely distinct field. “It kind of got lost in the shuffle,” he says. “By spinning it off, we can give it its own identity and its own go-to-market within the partner ecosystem.”

McCue pointed to a recent integration pact with Ping Identity as an example of the kind of agreement the company can now more easily pursue. “We want to go out and replicate that across all the different types of partners in cybersecurity,” he says.

LastPass introduced an identity and access management solution specifically for managed service providers called LastPass MSP nine months ago. The partner program McCue has begun designing will be the company’s first with membership tiers and a standardized program of requirements and benefits.

“We do some work on the LastPass side with resellers, but it’s different with each and every partner,” he says.

According to Day, the initial partner response to GoTo’s new brand and simplified portfolio, which features the GoToMeeting conferencing solution, GoToConnect cloud phone system, and a new remote management tool named GoToResolve, has been favorable. 

“Patrick did an amazing job building this partner program, and now it’s my opportunity to get the brand out there, to get people to know who is GoTo, what does the product set look like, and how can they take advantage of it in the SMB market.”

SkyAMP Has First Distribution Deal
SkyAMP has signed on the first distributor for its wireless signal amplification technology. 

Channel pros can now purchase SkyAMP’s compact appliances, which extend the range of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 4G cellular transmissions by as much as 1,000 feet, through TD SYNNEX. 

“It’s going to be that much easier for resellers to come on board,” observes Jason Howell, SkyAMP’s president.

Based on patented technology that “combines physics with a proprietary blend of materials,” according to the company’s website, SkyAMP devices don’t employ a power cord, battery, solar panel, or other source of electricity. Place one almost anywhere except on a metal shelf, the company says, and it begins boosting wireless signals within its operating range immediately. According to Howell, in fact, the product’s ease of use is in some sense its greatest impediment to adoption. 

“Our biggest challenge is convincing people that because there’s no on/off switch or blinking red and green lights, that it’s actually doing something,” Howell observes.

The product is most useful, according to SkyAMP, in settings such as campgrounds and disaster sites, where power is either limited or unavailable, as well as in buildings with thick walls or electrical interference.

“The problem usually isn’t your phone or the carrier,” says Howell of the “dead spots” that plague many businesses. “It’s usually your environment or the terrain that’s causing issues, and that’s where our product comes into play. It works with those devices and the carriers to remediate those problems and make everything work a lot better.”

SkyAMP is actively recruiting members for its Get AMPed partner program, especially companies with expertise in education, hospitality, and other promising vertical markets.

The company is also pursuing agreements with additional distributors. It ultimately plans to convince its distribution partners to bundle SkyAMP units in with networking gear from leading vendors.

The three SkyAMP models aimed at commercial buyers range in price from $449 to $1,495. New devices equipped to amplify 5G signals are coming shortly.

“5G is the not-so-secret secret,” Howell says. “That’s our next big push.”

Wildix Pursuing UCaaS-based Business Solutions
Phone service may be a universal need, but Wildix sees greater potential for itself and its partners in solutions that employ communications technology to address business needs and pain points.

“People are selling telephone systems these days. It’s not what a company needs. Nobody needs a new telephone system. What they need is communications capability that helps their business grow,” says Robert Cooper, Wildix’s managing director for North America.

Wildix released a system that targets one such need in January. Called x-hoppers, the solution employs a custom-designed headset and cloud-based back end to help sales associates and managers at retail sites collaboratively provide real-time answers to customer inquiries fielded in person, over the phone, or from in-store kiosks. 

The system lets shoppers scan QR codes scattered about a store to get immediate information about specific products as well. An analytics component reports on customer engagement with those codes, to help store managers see which offerings are generating the most interest.

The end result, according to Cooper, is a solution that distinguishes channel pros from run-of-the-mill VoIP resellers by addressing a strategic, industry-specific opportunity to grow revenue and improve customer satisfaction. 

“They’re differentiating themselves by selling value that the customer needs,” he observes.

Designed for use by MSPs, x-hoppers is priced on a per user per month basis, like everything else Wildix sells. It offers multi-tenant management as well.

Earlier UCaaS-based solutions from Wildix include x-caracal, a contact center analytics tool designed to help organizations monitor the quality of caller interactions in real time, and x-bees, a browser-based platform for coordinating and tracking sales-related customer interactions. According to Cooper, Wildix has more such offerings in the works.

“We’re always thinking about the industry, always thinking about how communications helps companies succeed,” he says.

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