Motorola Solutions Throws Down Gauntlet in Growing IT-Services Sector

Motorola Solutions has joined the growing numbers of IT equipment suppliers adding services to their portfolios. The game-changing shift comes as the traditional IT and network-services fields converge, due in large part to cloud computing. For vendors, the evolution means new ways to capture customer dollars and loyalty; resellers, meanwhile, supplement their vanishing up-front compensation with recurring revenue, and end users juggle fewer outlets for their infrastructure and communications needs.

To that end, Motorola Solutions this week debuted WLAN Cloud Services, which combine Motorola’s WiNG 5 wireless controller and management platform; the AirDefense security and network assurance applications; and WLAN Planner for network development and deployment, all in the cloud. In essence, this marks a way for Motorola Solutions to compete head-on in the services sector. Organizations need help identifying and managing the bottlenecks in their internal wireless networks, particularly as they rely upon cloud apps, and as more employees connect via tablets and smartphones.

WLAN Cloud Services is sold in a Software-as-a-Service model, rather than as on-premise hardware. The SaaS approach brings a couple of advantages to end users: They get to move capex costs to the opex budget, and someone else oversees their WLAN lifecycle activity, including traffic management, WLAN planning and analytics, and detection of Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Motorola Solutions said WLAN Cloud Services works in any WLAN environment, and with thousands of access points, even over a number of locations. WLAN Cloud Services contain features such as scalability and regulatory compliance reporting. Customers pay a monthly fee based on the level of services they use and the sizes of their networks. Channel partners will resell, but not administer, WLAN Cloud Services, Motorola Solutions confirmed.

Motorola Solutions is targeting vertical markets including retail, hospitality and health care with WLAN Cloud Services; those industries already are among its core customer base.

Value-added distributor Altura Communication Solutions took a look at WLAN Cloud Services in advance of the official release. Bob Blazek, president and CEO of Altura, said in a prepared statement that the product allows resellers to fill a big gap.

“WLAN Cloud Services will allow us to help customers tackle WLAN performance problems that were previously left unaddressed due to cost or functionality considerations,” Blazek said. “This offering gives new reasons to engage and will allow us to forge closer relationships with customers as they search for ways to maximize the return on their WLAN investments.”

For Motorola Solutions, WLAN Cloud Services represent a big step into the services world from IT. And competition is heating up. Earlier this week, HP announced its partnership with Avnet, a deal that provides data center lifecycle services for end-users, through channel partners. Expect to see more IT vendors entering this space as they feel the pressure to earn residual income; the large, up-front paychecks are disappearing as fewer end users invest in expensive on-premise equipment.

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