If you’re not out there offering wireless to customers, you’re opening the door to competitors. That was the word from Todd Lattanzi, director of the cloud services portfolio at ADTRAN (News - Alert), in his speech about ProCloud at the recent Connect press and analyst event in Huntsville, Ala.
ProCloud is a service that ADTRAN offers to enable its service provider customers – even those without much knowledge about wireless networking – to get into the managed Wi-Fi business instantly and easily.
Scalability; no upfront costs; visibility of end user devices and the network itself from a single pane of glass; round-the-clock proactive monitoring and alerts; priority technical support response times (1 hour and 30 minutes); fast turnaround on hardware replacement when needed; and backup to the cloud that provides a hitless, seamless transfer if one data center goes out are all among the features and functions of ProCloud.
ADTRAN can install both the Wi-Fi infrastructure and handle the management of it, or leave the management piece to the service provider or other reseller. Whatever ProCloud option a partner selects, ADTRAN says, it will position that service provider to grow its portfolio and address the expanding mobile opportunity.
There are a variety of ways in which ProCloud can and is being employed by customers.
For example, because more businesses are interested in separate Wi-Fi networks for internal and guest use, ProCloud can be leveraged to support the secondary (guest) network, and a business may elect to have its own IT organization manage the primary network, Lattanzi said.
Some businesses may want to offer Wi-Fi services to end users at no cost, he said, or in exchange for user-provided information. The latter model can allow the business to garner value by leveraging the network to track customer behavior (such as customers’ in-store movement and purchasing habits in the case of a store) and to use that information to populate digital signage with more targeted messaging based on shopper profiles at particular times, for example. It could also enable a casino, as another example, to see if its high rollers are on site, and where they are on the property.
“So now you can really take the analytics you’re capturing from what was a dumb Wi-Fi pipe,” said Lattanzi.
Other businesses, like hotels, may elect to offer Wi-Fi at a certain data rate for free, and also provide a higher speed premium option, he added.
In addition to businesses, schools are increasingly using Wi-Fi, and may find that outsourcing the management of that is a good option for them to save money and enable them to allocate their IT resources in other areas, Lattanzi suggested. In fact, ADTRAN offers a solution called ProCloud.edu, which includes content filtering, and classroom management software that enables teachers to push content to students and make sure everybody is on the same page. And Lattanzi added that late this year or early next year E-RATE bids will be going out, so ProCloud can enable ADTRAN partners to make their bids even more interesting and their services more sticky for the education vertical.
Tommy Whitten, district technology coordinator at Madison County Schools in the Huntsville area, is already a ProCloud convert. At the ADTRAN Connect event he talked about how the district, which includes 28 schools and just a handful of people managing its network, has adopted the cloud-managed ProCloud service with great success. The district now has 802.11n access points installed across all classrooms.
“Now it’s very obvious the future is cloud-based and mobility,” said Whitten.
Edited by Maurice Nagle