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5 Channel Ops: How Super Bowl 50 Could Inflate WLAN Sales

Lorna GareyU.S. and European regulators this week announced an agreement that, pending approval by the 28 EU member states, will replace the Safe Harbor deal that expired in January. Under the proposed EU-US Privacy Shield framework, U.S. companies that import EU citizens’ personal data will need to commit to “robust” privacy controls, enforceable by the FCC. There are also agreements in regard to U.S. intelligence agencies accessing EU data.

The new agreement is important to agents because data center providers are getting more global as they consolidate. A customer’s data may start out locally, but it’s increasingly unlikely to stay that way. And the trend toward fewer, larger data centers is accelerating, if 2015 consolidation deals are any indicaton. Nuvalo’s Manon Buettner runs down eight of the largest deals, and the reasoning behind them, in a recent blog post. Buettner says that for 2016, she’s watching closely the planned sales of data center facilities and assets by CenturyLink, Verizon and others. “There will be a more clear delineation between REITs and service providers this year,” she says.

Buettner, along with Vince Bradley of WTG, Brynn Maddux from Megaport and NTT’s Jordan Whyard, will take a look at the current reality of doing business internationally in a “Going Global”` education session at the upcoming Channel Partners conference that’s sure to be well-attended.

AT&T, Verizon See Super Bowl as Mobile Proving Ground

Given Levi Stadium’s proximity to Silicon Valley, this year’s Super Bowl is going to be a tech showcase. The stadium is billed as “the most technologically advanced” athletic venue, with 40 Gbps bandwidth and some 1,200 APs deployed on a normal game day.

For Super Bowl week, Verizon spent $70 million to more than triple LTE wireless data network capacity around the Bay Area, including installing 75 small cells and a new, patented antenna system to reach the lower stadium seats. AT&T invested more than $25 million and upgraded its distributed antenna system to provide 150 percent more LTE capacity.

Norman Rice, executive vice president of worldwide marketing and corporate development for Extreme Networks, the NFL’s official Wi-Fi provider, says that last year’s Super Bowl surpassed the largest amount of data ever consumed in a single day — much of it delivered over Wi-Fi to mobile devices. HPE’s Aruba Networks, which supplies the Wi-Fi gear for Levi’s Stadium, will join the carriers in having reps on hand, according to San Francisco 49ers COO Al Guido.

The message seems to be, why watch the field or a mega video display when you can go heads down and see replays on a smartphone while simultaneously tracking your fantasy league on a tablet?

For partners whose customers’ rickety 11b/g WLANs could use updating, these stats, and new advancements in Wi-Fi technology, could start a conversation. There’s a good reason carriers and vendors invest millions in ensuring people can order beer from their seats. Consumers expect free, fast and secure Wi-Fi where they shop, eat and spend time, and many businesses are investing, finally. ABI Research says sales of 802.11ac APs gained momentum in 2015, rising to 39 percent of total Wi-Fi access points shipped, and the firm says adoption will continue to accelerate as more 802.11ac Wave 2 products enter the market, along with backward-compatible tri-band access points that use 802.11n, 802.11ac and 802.11ad in the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 60 GHz bands, respectively.

As for complaints about cost, Ruckus Wireless announced this week some new 802.11ac APs, starting at $495 and available through its distribution and partner networks, as well as updates to simplify management of its “Unleashed” controller-less Wi-Fi networks. The Ruckus ZoneFlex R310 comes in both controller and controller-less versions; the latter model eliminates the need for separate controllers and AP licenses. Ruckus is also adding its SmartMesh technology to the Unleashed APs. With SmartMesh, customers no longer have to run Ethernet wiring to all indoor and outdoor access points, saving both money and time. Ruckus Unleashed also now supports SNMP.

Cisco: Mobile Traffic On Exponential Growth Path

Need more persuasion points? Cisco released this week its 10th annual Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, covering 2015 to 2020.  From 2015 to 2020, it says global mobile data traffic will grow two times faster than global fixed IP traffic. Much of it will be offloaded to Wi-Fi networks: Globally, total Wi-Fi hotspots will grow sevenfold, from 64 million in 2015 to 432 million in 2020. Last year, monthly Wi-Fi offload traffic exceeded monthly mobile/cellular traffic for the first time — 3.9 exabytes versus 3.7 exabytes. By 2020, Cisco says 38.1 exabytes of Wi-Fi offload traffic will be generated each month.

In addition, by 2020:

  • There will be 5.5 billion mobile users, representing 70 percent of the global population.
  • Smart devices will generate 98 percent of mobile data traffic. 
  • Over 75 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video.
  • More people will have mobile phones (5.4 billion) than electricity (5.3 billion), running water (3.5 billion) and cars (2.8 billion).
  • 4G connections will account for 72 percent of total mobile data traffic, up from 47 percent in 2015.

Source: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2015 to 2020

Yeah, you’re going to need a bigger WLAN.

Verizon to Resell Keeper Enterprise

Got customers that need help managing passwords? Trust me, the answer is “yes.” Half of the 4,000 or so reported large data breach incidents worldwide in 2015 targeted just two data types: passwords and email addresses.

The best bet to make passwords secure is a vault system that works across desktops and mobile devices and uses 256-bit AES encryption, with the option of two-factor authentication. Verizon will join AT&T, Orange and others and begin selling one such system, Keeper Enterprise, to its corporate customers via the Verizon Partner Program. In a statement, Verizon said it selected Keeper after carefully considering the core product, security infrastructure and distribution strategy of the top enterprise password management applications.

Keeper Enterprise is SOC 2, TRUSTe, Qualys and HIPAA certified and offers its own partner program as well as a personal option for partners that would like to try before they recommend customers buy.

“This partnership aligns perfectly with our enterprise channel strategy and our prior success with mobile operators,” said Jim Walsh, EVP of sales for Keeper Security. “We look forward to working with Verizon to help their customers prevent data breaches and be more productive — whether it be on entity-provisioned devices or BYOD devices.”

You can see my IoT security Q&A with Darren Guccione, Keeper Security’s CEO and founder, here.

Midokura MEM 5.0 Updates for CSPs

Ashish Mukharji, director of business development at Midokura, told me the company has forged new alliances. “Midokura has negotiated reseller and OEM agreements with global hardware, software and consulting partners to integrate our products into their catalogs” says Mukharji.

Midokura, which does cloud-scale software-based network virtualization, is definitely on the move. It recently inked a joint go-to-market program, a validated reference architecture and a global reseller agreement with Dell, and it works with a number of software and consulting partners, including SDN Essentials and Solinea. This week’s news involves Midokura Enterprise MidoNet 5.0 technology. MEM 5.0 provides per-tenant network control so that cloud-scale data center operators can more easily configure virtual networks without messing with the underlying physical infrastructure. 

“The enterprise-focused management features in MEM 5.0 will improve the value proposition for our partner offerings across the board, leading to shorter sales cycles, quicker deployments and faster adoption site-wide,” says Mukharji.

What’s interesting for CSPs is that by setting up a software-based network abstraction layer, MEM 5.0 provides a view of historical flows through physical hosts and virtual routers, visibility into network consumption ranked by highest tenant usage for showbacks or chargebacks, and the ability to monitor bandwidth and examine the load on virtual objects in real-time, as well as security and NFV features. CSPs can register for a free trial, and Midokura also offers an open source version of its MidoNet technology.

Prelert Launches Real-Time Retail Analytics

Your large retail customers likely spend big money collecting transactional data across different products and platforms. But is it paying off?

Behavioral analytics provider Prelert launched this week its Retail Order Analytics, which helps spot technical and operational problems as they’re happening, so IT or partners can intervene before they result in lost revenue. The Retail Order Analytics system learns what normal behavior looks like and can then analyze in real-time such metrics as orders and carts created per minute and invoices or deposits generated per hour. If there’s suddenly an unusually high number of abandoned carts, for example, the cause can be identified and addressed quickly. The system can also automatically adjust to seasonal changes so that you don’t get hit with false-positive alerts.

“Historically, extracting actionable information from all of this data has been a daunting challenge,” says John Sullivan, Prelert’s vice president of sales. “We’re leveraging channel partners to go back to their retail customers and deploy Prelert’s behavioral analytics capabilities to solve this problem.”

As to justifying the project, delivering near real-time analysis of vast amounts of data gives a retailer instant awareness of, and insight into, the stuff that loses customers, and money. Prelert cites an instance where a retail company found anomalies in its revenue data and realized that a bug in its currency conversion code was costing 40 cents on the dollar every time a transaction originated from Japan. Ouch.

“Uncovering current and preventing future retail order disruptions delivers strategic advantages by improving uptime and customer satisfaction, and ultimately protecting online revenue streams,” says Sullivan. “Prelert and its partners are working together to add this natural layer of insight to the retail industry.

EMC Shareholders Slam Dell Deal

This week TheGrantLawFirm filed a class action complaint on behalf of EMC stockholders. The firm says the proposed Dell purchase of EMC will shortchange investors by under valuing cash flows, revenue, gross profit and various other income. It also asserts that the analyses of Morgan Stanley and Evercore Group, the investment advisers that weighed in on the fairness of the proposed transaction to EMC’s shareholders from a financial point of view, are “materially misleading and/or make omissions of material fact.” Part of issue, says the firm, is failure to accurately calculate the equity value for both EMC and VMware.

The suit isn’t unexpected — TheGrantLawFirm started investigating the proposed acquisition in October, just days after the announcement that privately held Dell would acquire EMC for $24.05 per share in cash in addition to tracking stock, while maintaining VMware as a publicly traded company.

Follow executive editor @LornaGarey on Twitter.


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