New Zealand might see offerings like San Francisco’s Hotspot 2.0 service by the end of this year or early next year, but this would depend on the carriers in the country.
“It is up to the carriers in the country. I do think they are capable of it now. The good thing is that what one does, the other is likely to follow through on,” Ruckus Wireless NZ country sales manager, Renilda Saguil, said .
The cities of San Francisco and San Jose used Ruckus’ Smart WiFi equipment to create the municipal Hotspot 2.0 services. The service allows Hotspot 2.0 capable devices to automatically join a Wi-Fi Hotspot 2.0 service whenever the user enters the service area, and is meant to rival cellular coverage for broadband access.
“The first release of the service is the one where seamless authentication is allowed on devices with SIM cards. The second release is seamless even without a SIM card, allowing laptops and tablets to tap into the service automatically," Saguil said
"That is what San Francisco and San Hose has now. That is a tricky one, because if the carriers want to integrate it into the core network, your user credentials should be connected to your mobile and the Wi-Fi network. It is a bit difficult and might take a long time.”
According to Saguil, NZ has been a strong market for the company, with growth occurring on both the carrier and enterprise sides.
“Ruckus has successfully branched out into other sectors such as service providers, retail and warehousing, while remaining a strong provider in the education market. I am proud to say that in the last two-and-a-half years we have diversified and have grown enormously,” she said.
Ruckus works through two distributors in the country – Connector Systems and Exeed – and both have potential to expand into new markets, including the likes of age care, Saguil said.
“It is a very strong channel market for Ruckus. Even though I have a very strong relationship with carriers they still go to my disties. There is very minimum conflict between the two. When I see deals they are very different. At the last revenue check, Exeed was doing more outside the education market, around 80 per cent non-education. Connector Systems is very strong in the education market,” she said.
The company has around 192 partners on the ground in the country through the two disties. However, only around 12 are the top partners who are making it big, according to Saguil.
“Partners have always been applying to be at Ruckus. I would encourage partners that are focused outside of education. The guys who start with age care get a different discount scheme and we support them with on-site surveys and other elements. What’s also exciting about age-care is that we create managed service demands, like subscriber access management. That provides monthly recurring return for the partner,” she said.
Saguil agreed though that very few of the current set of partners are capable of monthly billing.
“When I have needs I just go to the same five resellers, because I want to make sure that I have the best service delivery. But we are getting there. We are training them. It is not the knowledge, it is the willingness to invest. It is the mindset. We have seen that those who invest the time they get big bucks, because they are satisfying a need,” Saguil said.
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“We have Dog Days that are being run in the US. They don’t focus on Ruckus technology. They focus on evolving markets and how to tap into them. This includes the likes of subscriber access management, location based services, hotspots, - we are educating our partners about these. When they see the advantages of service provision, they get less scared of the time and resources they would need to put in to make it work.
“Aside from that education, a drive to make it happen will only occur when it is a win-win situation. We need to incentivise them, see that they are investing enough time and make sure that we are investing enough time to make it work.”
She added Ruckus New Zealand might take on one more full-time employee, but will not grow greatly in numbers, since it is focused on being a channel player.