Business Intelligence - Strix: Why to Sell in a Wireless World

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

March 1, 2005

4 Min Read
Business Intelligence - Strix: Why to Sell in a Wireless World

Strix: Why to Sell in a Wireless World

By Kelly M. Teal

The Wi-Fi market is maturing, and Strix Systems Inc.s Doug Huemme shares
his views on the hows, whys and ways channel partners should adjust their
portfolios to keep up with Wi-Fis changes. Huemme is assistant vice president
at Strix Systems, a maker of wireless networks, and oversees the companys
channel marketing program.

T@G: Lets talk about how the Wi-Fi market is maturing and re-shaping the
channel. How is Wi-Fi prompting the channel to change?

Doug Huemme: Wi-Fi is creating additional revenue opportunities for the
channel, but it also means that the channel needs to change in order to pursue
those opportunities. As with any new technology, expertise is required to
effectively sell and service Wi-Fi products and services. And, unlike some
technologies, Wi-Fi is not just science, there is some art to it as well, so it
can be challenging for channel partners to become experts. In addition, it has
created opportunities for smaller channel partners to specialize and compete
more effectively with their larger competitors. Weve seen some partners
change their entire business models to focus on Wi-Fi and pursue the
opportunities that are afforded to them in that space.

T@G: Why is Wi-Fi making such an impact on the channel?

DH: Its pretty simple. There is end-user demand for Wi-Fi products and
services. The channel is smart. It moves to areas where there is the opportunity
for profitable and sustainable business opportunities. These opportunities are
across verticals, providing the channel partners who have Wi-Fi expertise to
enter new segments that were previously difficult to enter.

T@G: How should partners be adjusting their portfolios to keep up with the
maturing Wi-Fi market?

DH: Wi-Fi is a growing market and a maturing market. Advances in Wi-Fi
mean that the channel must keep abreast of the technology advancements to ensure
that the products and services that they are offering to their customers will
continue to meet their customers needs into the future. We are living in a
wireless world, and technologies that enable reliable, secure and manageable
wireless network deployments are of great interest to end customers.

What is also of interest to end customers are the applications that can be
run on these wireless networks that will help them conduct their businesses
better, faster and cheaper. The channel is well-served to not only have
expertise in Wi-Fi products, but also the applications that will run on those
networks. Offering customers an entire solution is an attractive proposition.

T@G: What can we expect to see in this space in the next 12 months?

DH: Continued growth of Wi-Fi opportunities across a number of segments
and verticals. The more traditional buyers of Wi-Fi will continue to be an
important part of this space, but we will also see new customers play an
important role as well. A perfect example of this is the metro-network segment.
Cities are deploying Wi-Fi networks for a number of reasons. Examples might
include public-access networks as a service to residents or visitors, or public
safety networks for police, fire or even homeland security applications. These
types of deployments are creating opportunities for the channel.

There will also be some technology uncertainty in the next 12 months. WiMAX
is getting quite a bit of attention, though its not entirely clear how or
when it will actually be a meaningful part of the wireless space. The hype is
certainly causing many questions to be asked by end customers, and perhaps will
even cause a few to wait before making buying decisions.

Finally, there is a growing demand for emerging applications like VoWLAN, or
wireless VoIP. As we see improvements in power requirements of Wi-Fi chips, and
these chips get embedded in smaller mobile devices like phones and PDAs, this
market will become even more important. Wi-Fi vendors are already solving issues
like quality of service and security on VoWLAN network. The adoption of this
application will be much like the adoption of VoIP in the enterprise. It will
start slowly but build exponentially.

T@G: What are the revenue opportunities for partners in Wi-Fi?

DH: In addition to opportunities in the conventional areas like
enterprise, hospitality, education, health care, new revenue opportunities will
continue to emerge. Two of these opportunities I have already touched on
citywide networks and VoWLAN.

T@G: How does Strix work with its partners to keep them abreast of constantly
changing technologies?

DH: At Strix we are constantly innovating to ensure that we are offering
our channel partners a differentiated product that exceeds the expectations of
the end customers. We communicate with our partners regularly to keep them
abreast of what changes we are making to our products, as well as to what
changes we see happening in the Wi-Fi space in general.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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