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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.