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AT&T Gives Partners Cloud Connectivity, Commends IoT Opportunity

A new solution from AT&T might slow the “inevitable demise" of MPLS networks.

James Anderson

October 11, 2016

4 Min Read
AT&T Gives Partners Cloud Connectivity, Commends IoT Opportunity

AT&T PARTNER EXCHANGE SUMMIT — AT&T is giving its solution providers access to a cloud connection solution that one partner says might persuade customers to stick with their MPLS networks just a little longer.

Td20634c48be240f6b92dec0f57147fac.jpghe company announced at its annual Partner Exchange Summit Tuesday that its partners can now sell NetBond, a solution that lets customers use AT&T’s virtual private network to access 16 cloud providers.

Sue Galvanek, vice president of marketing, pricing and product solutions for AT&T Partner Exchange, said the solution offers partners and their end users more choice in how they choose their cloud platforms, a secure means of making the connection and a new recurring revenue model.

“It’s a great augment to the AT&T virtual private networks that our solution providers are already selling,” she said. “It brings together the power of private clouds with the power of public clouds in a very easy-to-use way.”

NetBond has existed since late 2013 but has not been available to partners until now. Andy Daudelin, vice president of cloud for AT&T Business Solutions, said the solution originally started with the clouds of IBM, Microsoft and Amazon but has spent recent years scaling and adding cloud providers.

0dd6d0b722b941558ed95d8aa3f001a0.jpg“2016-2017 is the year of integrated solutions, and that’s why we’re focused on the Partner Exchange with solution providers,” Daudelin said. “Now we’ve got this robust infrastructure, and we’ve scaled it – now it’s about how we configure and sell solutions.”

Alliant Technologies, a networking infrastructure utility company and AT&T partner, got the chance to sell NetBond earlier this year. Phil Towle, Alliant’s senior vice president of sales, said his company used the solution to help a customer connect to Microsoft Azure. It had been using the Internet to do so previously.

Towle said he initially felt concerned about how the migration would go, but it ended up only taking 15 minutes over the phone.

“NetBond now brings more value and stickiness to the MPLS offerings that we make to our customers,” he said. “So it helps us and it helps them in terms of getting more return on that investment of the MPLS network.”

He went further to say that NetBond might help slow what he calls the “inevitable demise” of MPLS networks – by at least five years.

“A lot of customers are looking at broadband, for example, as alternatives to MPLS because of the difference in cost. But now by offering these types of solutions and capabilities on top of…

…MPLS, it provides that cost justification – business justification – to keep the MPLS network in place,” he said.

614e5c4378eb44ed95e86fcca24be29d.jpgAT&T Partner Solutions President Brooks McCorcle introduced Tuesday’s keynote with interesting statistics on mobility. She said that partners have tripled their wireless revenue since hearing a strong exhortation to incorporate mobility into their portfolio at last year’s summit.

That might not be the case for some channel members reading this article. McCorcle said the core of the solution provider group is “wireline-centric” and more accustomed to managing hardware.

“We are pulling them into a new realm,” she told Channel Partners. “We’re serious. We truly believe that if you’re not into mobility, you need to rethink your strategy.”

Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions (shown above, discussing IoT opportunities for partners with McCorcle), told partners in the audience that the trend of mobility naturally segues into in the Internet of Things. He cited two statistics. First, the number of IoT-connected devices will skyrocket from 6 billion to as much as 50 billion in the next four years. But more importantly, he cited Gartner’s prediction that 80-85 percent of those devices will be traverse through indirect sales channels.

Partners, take note.

“It’s a huge opportunity, but you’re not going to be able to leverage that if all you’re selling is wirelines products,” de la Vega said. “You have to get the underlying capabilities to do this.”

He encouraged partners to bring up IoT in conversations with their customers. He listed the strongest verticals for growth as fleet management, health care, asset management, smart cities, wearables and drones. Talking about IoT will “change the conversation,” he said, as C-level executives need to understand the impact it could have on their business. Just look at how Uber – an AT&T customer – has shocked the Taxi industry, he said.

“My message to them is, either you take this technology and you figure out how to disrupt or you will be disrupted,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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