Motorola To Launch Wireless-Specific Channel Program


The wireless-centric channel program, dubbed the Motorola Enterprise WLAN VAR Development Program, won't be ready for the next month or so, but at Interop Las Vegas Motorola senior director of product marketing Kevin Goulet gave ChannelWeb a sneak peek into some of the program features.

According to Goulet, the program will encompass Motorola's radio frequency (RF) management suite that VARs can offer to customers for planning and managing their WLANs. VARs can also offer managed services around the suite to create custom services around wireless deployments and installations.

Built off Motorola's existing Partner Select Program, Goulet said the new WLAN component targets the program more toward networking VARs looking to capitalize on growing wireless trends, like the new 802.11n wireless standard.

Goulet said networking VARs have grown tired of having to compete for the same business and are looking to offer complete indoor and outdoor wireless solutions to their customer bases.

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"They can go into a customer with an all-wireless enterprise offering," he said, adding that Motorola's price points and the ability to compete on a wireless front could easily boost margins for networking VARs.

The program will feature lead programs, marketing support and a certifiable Motorola wireless training class, among other features that are still being hammered out, Goulet said.

The new program will also leverage the Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA) certification, the wireless LAN certification for the CWNP Program that arms VARs with the skills to administer enterprise-grade wireless networks.

"We're not trying to go out and blanket the market," Goulet said. "We're not going to let everyone in."

As it stands, the two-tier WLAN program will offer quarterly rebates, so VARs don't have to continually put out their own money to offer solutions. VARs in the top tier get a dedicated marketing manager or a dedicated wireless specialist.

Goulet said the program will help VARs hammer home the message that customers should start taking a step back from wireless deployments and take traffic back to the data center wirelessly. Goulet said an all-wireless network can run between one fifth and one tenth the cost of a wired network, giving VARs a strong competitive advantage.

The announcement of a new program comes at a transitional period for Motorola, which last month announced that it plans to split its Mobile Devices Business and BroadbandMobility Solutions Business into two separate publicly-traded companies.

Despite the changes, the upcoming wireless channel program falls in line with exactly what Paladino discussed at Interop Las Vegas last week: putting the mechanisms in place to create an all-wireless enterprise. In Paladino's Interop keynote, she said wireless technology is ready, especially with advancements in 802.11n gear and wireless mesh technologies, new tools VARs can offer to capitalize on the growing number of wireless deployments.

Motorola also added that a recent study it performed across the industry found that 52 percent of companies surveyed have fully or partially deployed WLAN technology, while another 23 percent are either piloting and evaluating or planning to deploy within the next six months. Additionally, 56 percent of survey respondents said they plan to strongly or moderately increase their WLAN spending over the next year, opening doors for wireless networking VARs.

"Companies are spending money and looking for productivity gains," Goulet said, adding that VARs can take advantage of that increase in spending.

Paladino, in her speech, said wireless innovations have reached the point where a shift from wired to wireless is at its breaking point.

"The technology is ready. The time is right to make the shift," Paladino said, adding that wireless networks have the potential to "accelerate the evolution of how we do business."

Paladino said the networking industry is at a crossroads between wired and wireless, and the wireless path that was once less-traveled is soon to become the one traveled most.

"The question today is not why to cut the wire, but when," she said.