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Meru has a modest, but intensely devoted network of channel partners. One thing AP400 provides, said Vincent, is a migration path for customers: how to drive more wireless networking as customers begin to phase out their aging wired networking equipment over the next several years.
It should prove an advantage as Meru looks to up its channel profile.
"We have no desire to be overdistributed," said Cindy Cole Sauvignon, who became Meru's vice president, worldwide channels a year ago. That said, however, more than 50 percent of Meru's top partners are new to the company within the past year, and Meru is looking at ways to leverage app developers and larger ISVs, as well as VARs that specialize in vertical markets beyond Meru's shored-up bases in education and health care.
Count Carolina Advanced Digital (CAD) among Meru partners that have seen their appeal.
"Our first loyalty is to the customer, and the mission the customer has put before us, not to the manufacturer," said Jabbusch. "It is to Meru's advantage, because as people are demanding more and more bandwidth, in combination with client density, they seem to have the solution to answer that. From a channel and a marketing perspective, they're an excellent fit with an engineering-focused company like ours."
CAD signed on with Meru in December 2009 and has done about $1.5 million in Meru sales since then.
"They're a smaller company, and we're used to dealing with the larger global IT manufacturers, so frankly, it's refreshing to talk to a company where you're not some nameless entity," said Susan Jabbusch, CAD's president. "Wireless vendors are coming out of the woodwork right now, so it's good that people hear Meru's name and realize they're a player. That helps us be more successful."