Mist Systems Announces First-Ever MSP Channel Program As Startup Touts Channel Momentum

Building on its tremendous partner recruitment effort, networking startup Mist Systems is rolling out a brand-new channel program targeting managed service providers selling cloud-based wireless solutions.

Mist said it currently has 80 solution provider partners today spanning several countries and is looking to double that number over the next year. It will do that by looking beyond traditional resellers, Jeff Aaron, the provider's vice president of marketing told CRN.

"We are mostly focused on the MSPs -- the folks that are managing WiFi and Bluetooth-based location services on their own clouds, not just [partners] reselling access points," Aaron said.

[Related: Mist CEO Fires Back At Aruba Claims, Talks Cisco Relationship And Network Virtualization Disruption]

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Mist Systems combines cloud-based wireless and artificial intelligence to create intelligent networks and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), location-based solutions for enterprise customers. The provider is currently experiencing success in the hospitality, healthcare, and retail verticals.

The new partner program will give MSPs access to a wireless-as-a-service offering with a service-level agreement (SLA) that they can sell to their business customers, Aaron said. Using BLE, MSPs can also add services on top of the wireless offering, such as proximity-based messaging or turn-by-turn directions. "We have the platform. The next step is to have partners that can bring wireless-as-a-service to the next level," Aaron said.

The program lets MSPs sell Mist technology while white-labeling the solution, which includes a user interface and wireless access points, with their own brand name, Aaron said. MSPs will also have access to the Mist Master online certification program that trains partners on how to design, deploy, and operate a Mist solution.

To augment its growing partner program, the Cupertino, Calif.-based startup on Thursday also announced two new distribution partnerships. Mist is now working with WAV, Inc. to expand its channel presence in the U.S., and Net One Partners in Japan. Both distributors are helping Mist onboard and train new MSPs.

Aurora, Ill.-based Wav, Inc. is a wireless-focused distributor with networking and wireless LTE solutions in its portfolio from vendors such as Huawai, Brocade, and Ruckus Wireless. The addition of Mist services to its portfolio will give MSPs a one-stop shop for a wireless, IoT, and BLE solution that they won't have to cobble together, said Zach Hubeck, vice president of sales and marketing at WAV, Inc.

"Partners have to à la carte a solution with Wi-Fi, BLE and IoT devices together with several different players," Hubeck said. "With Mist, the differentiator for us is now we have all three of those components built within the solution."

WAV has about 1,000 solution provider and MSP partners today who will now have access to Mist's solutions. Cloud-based management of Wi-Fi and IoT is becoming a popular offering not just for the MSP community, but for the traditional VARs who are looking to evolve their businesses, Hubeck said.

"Once partners get their hooks into Mist and see what the solution is all about, adoption should be quick," he added.

To up its channel efforts, Mist hired Mike Anderson as vice president of channel sales in January. Anderson, previously a channel executive at Barracuda Networks, signed both WAV and Net One Partners. Anderson is credited with putting the new MSP partner program in place for Mist.