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Belkin Exec Wayne Newton Joins GoZone WiFi As Channel Chief In Bet On Smart Wi-Fi Opportunities

GoZone WiFi will be going big with the channel this year via its re-invigorated partner programs, and the startup is bringing on channel veteran Wayne Newton to help lead the charge.

Smart Wi-Fi specialist GoZone WiFi has brought on channel veteran and former Belkin executive Wayne Newton as its first channel chief as the company focuses more on the channel for its growth plans.

Newton, GoZone's new vice president of channel partnerships with more than 25 years of hardware and software services leadership under his belt, told CRN that the company's new channel initiative is based on four years of helping a variety of partners -- including hardware vendors, VARs, and MSPs -- monetize Wi-Fi in public spaces.

"Smart Wi-Fi is a highly attractive offering with a big opportunity to make more money in wireless, and we are devoted to building this out with partners," Newton said.

[Related: 5 Big IoT Innovations: Aruba’s Wi-Fi Access Points, AI Software And Switches ]

GoZone, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., today offers three cloud-based platforms; Marketing4WiFi that lets businesses collect information and engage with their end customers while promoting their brands over guest WiFi, Ads4WiFi for delivering targeted ad campaigns over guest Wi-Fi, and Analytics4WiFi, which gives businesses real-time insight into their environments, including user traffic patterns and time spent online data.

Because GoZone's software platforms can help customer-facing businesses earn more revenue by learning about their end customers and pushing out more targeted marketing, GoZone's technology can pay for itself, Newton said. "Many channel partners and large venue owners are looking at platforms like GoZone as ways to offset the cost of investments they are making in wireless infrastructure to turn it into a profit center."

As part of its ramped-up channel efforts, GoZone is formalizing its Reseller Program and its White-Label Program for service providers and solution providers. The programs let partners sell GoZone’s software-based smart Wi-Fi platforms through AP-based and session-based pricing models.

The programs offer both a turnkey reseller model for partners, or a customizable white-label approach that gives partners a wholesale pricing model. Via the enhanced programs, partners have access to multiple discount tiers, deal registration, marketing and sales support, lead generation, and expert training and tech support, GoZone said.

GoZone is hitching its wagon on partner development. Today, the company does about 80 percent of its business through the channel and Newton expects that percentage to grow.

"We have high expectations for three-figure percentage year-over-year growth – we are rapidly expanding, and that does include growing in the reseller and hardware partner communities across North America," he said.

Newton said that he will initially be focused on building out GoZone's channel presence in North and Central America, with EMEA and APAC expansion to follow later this year.

In addition to solution providers, GoZone also partners with a variety of hardware vendors in the wireless market that build access points, including players like Ruckus Networks. GoZone's cloud-based platforms are hardware-agnostic.

"Most venues already have wireless infrastructure in place and an MSP might be looking to add additional services on top of that offering," he said. "We also work directly with hardware providers as they do new deployments."

Prior to his appointment with GoZone, Newton most recently served as director of commercial markets for Belkin's networking division. Newton also held the position of senior director of sales for Cisco's home networking business unit, and before that, associate vice president of consumer markets for networking equipment company D-Link.

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