An Ottawa manufacturer of indoor cellphone signal amplification equipment is turning to the channel to boost its revenue.Spotwave Wireless, which has been selling its solutions largely through its own sales team, wants to increase the 15 systems integrators it deals with now to as many as 25 in the next 12 months.
Another 75 would be “periodic” resellers, said Jamie Crawford, the company’s director of Canadian sales. It is also looking for partners in the U.S.
Spotwave’s systems are installed in office and commercial buildings to increase wireless coverage. Its solutions are supported by networks from Bell Mobility, Telus Mobility and Rogers Communications.
While it has been in business for several years, “it was not until the spring that we felt it was absolutely critical to the growth of our business to have a channel program,” said Crawford. One factor is that equipment prices have dropped by about 30 per cent in the past year.
He estimated that some 95 per cent of its business is direct. Its resellers were supported by two small distributors, but relations with one of them has withered. The other is Hutton Canada.
But Spotwave recently signed White Radio LP of Burlington, Ont., to be its latest distributor. White Radio, now in the middle of a cross-Canada roadshow describing the Spotwave opportunities to a number of its VARs, represents resellers in the audio-visual and communications sectors.
“For me, it’s all about leveraging White Radio’s business partners that have been productive to see which ones I can turn into success,” said Crawford.
Darin Gibbons, sales director for White’s wireless and TDM division, said half of his unit’s 350 customers are targets for carrying Spotwave business. VARs in the division include wireless service providers, some of whom specialize in WiFi installations, and system integrators.
“There’s an awful lot of buildings in cities with very poor coverage,” he said, because of the presence of steel, concrete and tinted glass, “but cell phone and PDA reception is very critical to a lot of customers.”
To get the attention of his resellers he’s already sent them an e-mail message, mentioned the signing of Spotwave in White Radio’s monthly newsletter and set up the roadshow. The dealer workshops are scheduled for Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and London, Ont.
He’s hoping to add two or three dealers in every major Canadian city to Spotwave’s network. VARs he’s interested in have experience in voice, data and wireless integration and have a service arm.
Dealers, that have to be certified by Spotwave can make 20 to 25 points of margin, he said — although Crawford said for that level of margin to be achieved sales would include services.
Spotwave’s increased attention to the channel comes with the release of its latest product family, called the SpotCell 2500. Unlike its other products, which are made for a specific carrier, SpotCell can be customized to work with any carrier’s network, said Crawford, making it a better fit for integrators.
SpotCell packages come with a receiver linked by cable to a wireless indoor transmitter in the trouble coverage zone.
There are three versions: one tailored for small businesses and homes, another for enterprises up to 50,000 sq. ft., and a third for complex split and dual-band networks.
Under the new channel program, which is free to certified partners, Spotwave will help with initial sales calls and demonstrations, provide sales material and offer financial support for events such as trade shows.