Printer vendor updates channel on its NOC-in-a-Box

OKI Data Americas has built a network operating centre (NOC), slated to help businesses manage all of their IT systems in one place.

In April, OKI announced it was partnering with U.S. company ISS Solutions to roll out what it calls a “NOC-in-a-box,” which gives IT administrators the ability to monitor and control multiple networks. This particular version of the NOC provides hardware, software, installation, security, and support.

However, the solution is an expensive one to build, and it took OKI and ISS Solutions about a year to develop. And, the decision to build a NOC may also seem strange, given OKI is known for its printers solutions, rather than something that manages several software systems at once.

ISS Solutions has been largely spearheading the move, says Carl Taylor, OKI’s vice-president of marketing. While ISS Solutions is taking the lead in bringing the NOC to customers, OKI is aiming to meet the needs of its managed service providers, he adds.

“We have a lot of feedback from the managed services provider audience. A lot of the smaller MSPs that we’re dealing with don’t necessarily have network operating centre solutions readily available that they can deploy,” he says.

“Companies will be piecemeal. They’ll go to one company for their servers, they’ll go to another company for their phones, or wireless capability in the building or printers.”

He added that ISS will be doing all the testing, configuration, and certification for the NOC. On the other side, OKI is the “print component solution,” supplying ISS with the printers required to allow the NOC to run.

In June, OKI released a new line of 28 printers mostly aimed at the mid-market, focusing on sectors it hadn’t previously been targeting, like healthcare and retail. The push to build a NOC is another part of OKI’s strategy to move more aggressively into the mid-market segment, Taylor says.

“It is kind of a new area for us to pursue,” he says. “It seems like the sweet spot, from the customer side, can be more on the medium-sized customer … A NOC in a box, or a NOC solution, is really just trying to consolidate the technology that is really being used already by a lot of these companies, but maybe in a more fragmented manner. This takes a lot of the guesswork and computer issue work out of the mix and makes it easier.”

The NOC is currently in its pilot phase and is only available in the U.S. for now. There is no word yet as to when it is coming to Canada.

While OKI and ISS Solutions may change their pricing model after the pilot phase ends, right now a NOC solution runs from $550 to $850 a month for a 36-month subscription, giving customers access for five to 10 users and 90 days of help desk support.

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