Microsoft Prepares Partners for Digital Homes
Just in time for 3DTV (no joke, Norton), Microsoft is set to launch a Digital Home competency for channel partners in May 2010, according to documentation on the company’s Web site. The Digital Home channel initiative is part of a broader Microsoft Partner Network competency overhaul. Here are the details.
Through its Twitter feed, Microsoft is telling partners to prepare for ongoing changes as the Microsoft Partner Network completes its evolution. The software giant has developed a simple grid to show VARs how their former competencies potentially map to new competencies within the revised partner program.
At least one of the competencies, Digital Home, is completely new. Expected to launch in mid-2010, the Digital Home competency is:
“For partners who provide home entertainment and information systems. Sometimes referred to as Digital Agencies, these partners will have the capability to provide customers with the underlying connectivity infrastructure to ensure that connected digital networking across systems and devices work effectively.”
Translation:Digital home experts will understand how to tie together consumer IP devices.
But can VARs really make a decent living assisting consumers with their digital needs? Folks like OnForce sure seem to think so. The company’s online marketplace connects thousands of service professionals with consumers who have immediate IT needs. Maria Battaglia, senior VP of marketing at OnForce, points to 3D TV as the next potential wave for consumer electronics projects.
Indeed, 3D TV generated buzz at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. And Microsoft’s researchers are tracking the 3D TV trend. But near term, it’s safe to say Microsoft’s Digital Home competency will address more familiar challenges — like home WiFi and the next Windows Home Server release.
Still, The VAR Guy wonders: Can a solution provider make a decent living in the consumer market?