Tech Data Gives VARs a BIG Hand with Wireless Networking

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print


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Tech Data inks a distribution deal with BIG Wireless to deliver BIG's wireless networking services. 

Tech Data has initiated a partnership with BIG Wireless for services. The move is expected to help networking and wireless VARs boost their indoor and outdoor wireless networking practices, the IT distribution company said.

Tech Data already distributes wireless hardware products, according to Chuck Bartlett, vice president of product marketing for Tech Data's networking division. The new agreement with BIG allows Tech Data's VAR partners to self-brand and resell BIG Wireless's wireless networking services as well, including site surveys, the design and implementation of networks, and remote management capabilities, Bartlett said.

John Dolmetsch, CIO of BIG Wireless, said that while most resellers and integrators don't have a lot of expertise in the wireless industry, many of the solutions their customers are looking for involve some kind of wireless component. Dolmetsch said BIG's agreement with Tech Data would help resellers gain access to BIG's years of wireless experience to help build an integration, implementation and monitoring services practice.

"We've been a big Tech Data reseller for about 10 years, and we had already been providing the products and some of the services," Dolmetsch said. "Tech Data was selling most of the hardware components already, and it just makes sense for them to offer the services piece as well."

BIG Wireless products are distributed through Tech Data's Wireless SBU (Specialized Business Unit), launched in October 2007, Bartlett said. He added that Tech Data was acting as sort of a "general contractor" for resellers looking to boost their wireless networking services practices.

"We've adopted this method to provide resellers opportunities that range from providing and implementing the actual wireless networking hardware to the services that let resellers put that network in place, monitor and maintain it and provide customers with any networking applications that end customer needs," Bartlett said.

Jennifer Cook, manager of the Wireless SBU, said resellers had great wireless opportunities in the health care and the education vertical areas, especially with customers who needed an extensive indoor or outdoor wireless networks or physical surveillance networks spanning large hospital institutions or covering huge education campuses. 

"The education and health care verticals are natural extensions of wireless networking," because many hospitals and educational institutions already have a wireless data network, Cook said. Resellers can now leverage BIG Wireless products and services to add additional surveillance and digital video networks for existing customers with wireless networks, she said.

Bartlett added that providing these services through Tech Data would ease the way for resellers to develop advanced networking skills for themselves without a large learning curve.

"Resellers had to develop those skills within their practice themselves, but now they have access to third parties like BIG Wireless, who already had networking services capabilities," he said.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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