XChange 2014: Ruckus Makes Wi-Fi, Cloud Business Case To Partners


Driving recurring revenue and bolstering customer relationships are two key points Ruckus Wireless drove home in a presentation for solution providers Monday.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based wireless systems supplier has rolled out a few cloud-based solutions this year and is working on a business analytics tool to help partners with their monetization strategies, Vice President of Marketing Wendy Cartee told an audience of solution providers during the XChange 2014 conference running through Tuesday in San Antonio.

"Big data, cloud, Internet of Things -- millions of devices will be connected to the Internet and these devices will be using massive amounts of data that will be uploaded to the cloud," Cartee said. "[It's] projected to become a huge market in the future."

[Related: XChange 2014: Lenovo Touts Strength Of Channel Partnerships]

And all of those industry-changing shifts have the ability to provide big-growth potential to Ruckus and solution providers, Cartee said.

Ruckus notched a 26.8 percent gain in second-quarter revenue to $81 million and adjusted net income of $10.8 million, up from $5.8 million in the year-ago period.

The company provides Wi-Fi technology for carriers, such as Time Warner Cable and Sprint, which accounted for 33 percent of its business in 2013. The rest of its business last year came from the enterprise across a number of verticals, such as retail, transportation, education and hospitality. Enterprise companies that have deployed a Ruckus solution include Marriott and the Sundance Film Festival.

Continuing to grow the company's share of the enterprise market is where solution providers come into play, Cartee said, with Ruckus relying on partners to help it in the enterprise.

The company introduced two cloud-based services this year. 

One is SPoT, which stands for smart positioning technology. It's a location-based service that runs from the cloud, eliminating the need for hardware or cabling, that lets solution providers and the enterprise find a user's location to help send targeted marketing messages or find new customers.

Another is SAM, or smart access management, a cloud-based Wi-Fi service that provides customer analytics and demographics information.

"I like some of their cloud-based solutions because I'd like to recommend them to some of my customers who are actually setting up new offices," Fremont, Calif.-based KloudData Vice President of Engineering Gaurav Patel told CRN. "Primarily, you see a wireless setup in everything when you set up a new location. ... Rather than them going in and bringing in a specialist, this could help them do more with the resources they have in-house, and so it's better for them."

Ruckus also is focused on helping partners monetize wireless in the cloud and there are a couple ways of doing that, Cartee said during her XChange presentation.

The first in which a vendor supplies the equipment to the channel, which then goes out and sells it, is one model Ruckus supports.

The other, Cartee said, is one in which a company like Ruckus makes the software available to partners so they can build a cloud for themselves that they can own and from which they can drive revenue.

Ruckus also wants to help its partners go even deeper into business modeling with a tool in the works, Cartee said, to help estimate up-front capital and operating expenditures for a company considering building a cloud service.

Cloud-oriented partners see 2.4 times higher growth, 1.6 times higher profit margin and 1.3 times higher revenue per employee than those not in the cloud, Cartee said, referencing numbers from research firm IDC.

The numbers grabbed the attention of Fred Limmer, an IT consultant at Houston-based InterDyn.

Limmer found the discussion around the potential for monetizing Wi-Fi access as a service interesting, but voiced some concerns on how that process would work.

"One thing that I got out of that that concerns me a little bit is the information gathering," Limmer said. "I know there's probably some opt-ins, but I'm not sure if people would understand what they're opting in for, so privacy concerns with that are a little disconcerting, but I have to see how it implements."

PUBLISHED AUG. 19, 2014