Video security firm looks to add VARs to its channel partners

A year and a half ago a Utah company began selling through retailers an integrated video surveillance system for small businesses using a building’s electric lines for the network.

Now WiLife Inc. has created a LAN-based version of its Windows-based system to be carried by system integrators with clients with Ethernet networks.

Next week the company will officially launch its Pro line, but on Monday executives were in Toronto as part of an active pursuit of VARs to add to the roughly 300 North American partners it already has.

“Between the U.S. and Canada we’re going to be adding several hundred resellers between now and the end of the year,” Mike Collett, director of reseller sales, said in an interview from the company’s Salt Lake City headquarters.

“We would like to have a couple dozen in the next few months,” he added. The lack of a Canadian distributor, which he’s hunting for now, will slow the number of signings here.

“We’ve got a lot of interest in Canada that we haven’t begun to explore yet.”

WiLife Pro systems include either one, four or six cameras, mounting accessories and software for running on a Windows XP or Vista-powered PC.

A four camera system will cost about US$1,500, not including installation.In addition to Ethernet connectivity, Pro cameras have a 400 MHz processor that send compressed video files over the network. Unlike the retail systems, Pro cameras also offer users the ability to identify motion detection on 16 zones of an image, remote zooming, e-mail or cellphone alerts.

The company also offers an online image archiving service.

Based on the price and the potential consulting and installation services “it’s an absolute revenue and margin enhancer for VARs,” said Collett. “It gives them a niche solution they have not had before to offer their small to medium-sized business clients.”

Company president Evan Tree, who said he has been in the video surveillance business for 20 years, said he co-founded the company in 2002 because he couldn’t put together a simple, inexpensive system for many of his customers.

“I found myself walking away from jobs because we couldn’t come up with a system that was affordable for small businesses. When we did install a system, we found we needed to come back and re-train (customers) repeatedly because either the software was too crude and didn’t do what was needed or it was difficult to understand.”

The first version, launched in December, 2005, was designed to be set up by buyers in 15 minutes. There’s a choice of kits with indoor or outdoor video cameras that connect to a PC through the standard electrical wiring in homes and buildings through plugs that go into electrical outlets using the HomePlug standard. Connection to a PC is made by a receiver that plugs into a USB port.

A “spy” camera is also available that looks like a digital clock.

But soon a number of retailers asked for a system that would run over the LANs used by many customers.

The company decided this version, called the Pro line, would only be sold by trained and certified VARs.

A three-level channel partner program has been created. Premier partners have to sell 20 systems a quarter, Authorized partners have to sell 10 units a quarter, while Registered partners face no minimum sales requirement. Premier and Authorized partners also receive product discounts, which Collett said have not been set yet for Canada.

The full product line and prices will be announced May 22 when the Pro line is officially unveiled.


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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