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Published on January 13th, 2014 | by Alexis Argent

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4Gon Discusses Wireless Solutions, How to Sell Them, the Best Wireless Applications and More with Comms Business Magazine

Alexis Argent, founder and director of 4Gon Solutions and VoIPon Solutions, is featured in the January 2014 issue of Comms Business Magazine. 

Commenting in the “Riding the Wave of Change – Wireless Solutions” feature, Alexis discusses the best way to sell wireless solutions, advice for resellers, the best wireless applications and more. 

To appreciate the size of the market opportunity presented by wireless solutions, it’s important to realise that the internet is the application. Anything can be plugged in, in any industry, and arguably in the future, everything will. 

 

If the first era of the information age was about PCs going online, and the second was mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, then the third is about everything else from printers to fridges and other industrial equipment being connected to the web. It’s highly likely that wireless access points will be the primary means of connection in the machine-to-machine communications era.

 

For resellers, this presents an immediate sales opportunity simply because there’s demand for the products. But the increasing ubiquity of WAP across devices means there are additional opportunities to offer customers increased and sustainable value. Which is how, as an industry, we should talk about this, as opposed to wanting to ‘lock customers in’.

 

If resellers can secure contracts on large and geographically spread out installations, with Universities being one example, as per our Newnham College case study, they can do more for the customer than simply sell them the equipment. This means consultancy, pre-sales, installation and then maintenance, potentially on retainer.

 

Another positive is that WAP equipment is becoming easier not only for end-users to maintain, but for resellers to configure remotely via the cloud. The point being that delivering a maintenance contract should now take up less of a resellers resources or capacity than it would have done before, making it a more viable service to offer.”

How can key suppliers and distributors help resellers expand in to this market and build new revenue streams?

I’d advise resellers to have a broad wireless product range, not just WLANs. What makes wireless solutions such a high potential market, with the capability of even replacing the last mile, is all the other things they can do. As wireless access points, this includes point-to-point links to connect multiple sites together, and having 4G routers as a high-quality back up to primary internet via DSL.

 

However, to take advantage of this opportunity, resellers must be prepared to step up. Maintaining a network is a big responsibility, as with all business comms equipment, when it comes to network and internet access there is virtually zero tolerance for downtime.

 

If you can do it though, the opportunity to both compliment and displace the traditional LAN is huge, as Wi-Fi is continues to encroach on the cable space. More and more devices, like the MacBook Air for example, are dropping RJ45 (ethernet) ports; meaning wireless is becoming the primary means of access. When you look at the size and quality of businesses like Cisco who own the cabled space, you can see not only the size of the business opportunity, but also how good you will have to be to compete.”

What applications are selling well and where?

Two issues that are of increasing importance in the wireless age are security and signal clarity. Any application that improves network and data security or privacy, will have huge value to almost any business, but especially those in say, government, defence, finance or the legal industry.  As wireless solutions become the norm, signal interference, especially in high-density areas, is more of a problem. Hence products like the brand new UniFi Outdoor+ Access Point from Ubiquiti, which has Multi-Lane RF technology to isolate wireless signals and reject RF interference, will do increasingly well.”

What constitutes a BYOD check list for wireless solutions providers?

Your checklist should include a good hardware manufacturer that supports the latest wireless protocols, and also covers non-legacy wireless protocols (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac). Also desirable is a good distributor that provides useful technical sales advice, fair margins and solid post-sales support, guest management software, a high capacity co-current user limit and the ability to roam. As wireless evolves, good handover will also become more important, so a wireless client can move around the office or site, and go from access point to access point without any loss of internet or latency issues. The increased mobility wireless solutions deliver is a crucial advantage, so it’s essential it works.”    

How simple it can be for suppliers to comply with the access provision in the Digital Economy Act?

There are numerous third parties that specialise in ensuring resellers keep within legal frameworks, I’d recommend them as any concerned resellers first port of call. Ofcom are vigilant when it comes to any type of legal framework and wireless is no exception. As with all successful wireless vendors you can be assured they take all of the required measures to stay within these guidelines. When guest management networks are setup you need to be able to have a record of sites visited and MAC addresses used, as well as putting a disclaimer on your splash page. All of which is achievable with any of the Ubiquiti Unifi access points.”

 Visit Comms Business Magazine to see these comments as originally features in the November 2013 issue. 

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