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Datto Exec: 5G Won’t Blow Market Away

5G Smart City

Managed service providers (MSPs) have historically built their businesses by providing a solid IT foundation that keeps their clients’ lights on.

Sure, there have been some leaps forward here and there over the last several decades, but there’s never been anything to equal the rapid pace of change and customer demand we see in today’s channel. New “revolutionary” technologies emerge faster than partners can keep track of, much less learn to manage and incorporate into their offerings. And it doesn’t help that in many ways, the main appeal of consumer tech is that it feeds users’ needs for the latest and greatest features. New flashy technology is practically available in the iTunes store as soon as we all hear about it.

So when customers bring that same expectation into their business IT, many partners feel the pressure to provide the snazzy features they demand, especially because there’s always a vendor ready to offer a product or service around the latest tech trend. There are certain areas this plays out in more than others, such as security or unified communications. But MSPs can only do so much. When they start focusing more and more on features, what happens to the foundation?

Datto's John Tippett

Datto’s John Tippett

John Tippett, vice president of Datto Networking, cautions partners not to lose sight of the fundamentals, even if they aren’t necessarily as sexy to talk about. At the upcoming Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 17-20 in Las Vegas, Tippett will explain to partner attendees that there is big opportunity in some of the unsung heroes of IT, specifically managed Wi-Fi. “New Technology Advances and How to Grow Your Business with Wi-Fi,” part of the MSP/CSP conference track, will examine the trends surrounding the one thing that every client – no matter the size or vertical – demands: constant, fast, reliable connectivity.

We sat down with Tippett to get a sneak peek at the insights he’ll share.

The following transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

CP/CF: How does the managed Wi-Fi opportunity reflect the convergence between the telco and IT channels?

JT: I see managed Wi-Fi as one of those obscure technologies that actually brings the two channels closer together. We’ve seen this with other industries. Back in the day, no MSP touched voice. There were specific telecom providers and their partners that did nothing but sell voice solutions. Then you saw that migrate and converge into VoIP, and then carriers picked up MSP partners.

Wi-Fi is that bubble that hasn’t been popped yet. You’ve got the carriers that historically stayed away from it that are now making their way in and saying their carrier solution now extends further, past the edge device into the network, and includes wireless connectivity. You’re seeing it in specific niches like retail and hospitality where the carriers are getting hit. On the flip side, MSPs have historically looked at it as a commodity-type play where they sold it because businesses needed to be connected.

The middle ground is the future, where it’s a differentiator. It’s a service. Businesses consuming this technology are less concerned with the bells and whistles. No one is saying, “I would like a wireless HD wave 2 access point.” They’re more concerned with, “I need customers to be connected,” or …

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