As one of the attendees pointed out to this discussion table organized by CHANNEL PARTNER and sponsored by Fontech, the massive digital transformation of the business fabric will be possible mainly thanks to wireless technology, and, more specifically, thanks to Wi-Fi. Years have passed and Wi-Fi, denying the doomsayers that it was a marginal solution, is more present than ever in the homes and technological projects of companies and the public sector.
Yes, now it is necessary for the providers and the channel to add layers of intelligence to these wireless infrastructures, and also to fine-tune the solutions to adapt them to the needs and business expectations of each sector in particular. For this, it will be vital that companies see the return on the investments they make in their network without cables. These are some of the ideas that came out of a debate organized by CHANNEL PARTNER and led by Santiago Lopez, director of sales & delivery at Fontech, and David Tajuelo, senior channel manager of the firm in Iberia and the United Kingdom, and also It had speakers from Cambium Networks, Compusof, Datek Sistemas, Sermicro, Telefonica and Wifidom.
Precisely, Santiago López broke the ice to remember where Fontech comes from: “Fon is a startup with 10 years of existence that was founded by Martín Varsavsky. It was created from a certainly disruptive idea: the creation of Wi-Fi network communities. The goal was that anyone could take advantage of the Wi-Fi left over from the houses. It was a good example of a collaborative economy and the press gave it a lot of hype, but then the business was complicated enough. There was a lot of marketing to do to make that community grow. But in the end, it was achieved.”
Contrary to what one can think, Fon did not prosper at the expense of the operators, but in collaboration with them. Santiago Lopez assured that the company has 8.5 million routers associated to its network in the United Kingdom thanks to an agreement with BT. In Germany and thanks to another agreement with Deutsche Telekom, it has more than 3 million hotspots. “There are many operators in Europe and outside the continent that have opted for this model,” explained Lopez.
From this expansion, Fon’s next step was to create a technological platform based on this service. And that’s where Fontech comes from, which markets solutions in companies and homes that help manage wireless networks and control the user’s experience. “The world is moving towards greater professionalization of Wi-Fi. There are many scenarios where the quality and improvement of infrastructures are requested. The renewal process that is coming is intense and will have to be done intelligently, “predicted López.
The Needs of Retail
On the other hand, David Tajuelo, Fontech’s senior channel manager at Iberia, pointed to retail as a clear example where Wi-Fi brings a lot of value. “The owners of commercial areas are eager to get data from visitors to their centers. While e-commerce is becoming more sophisticated, in the traditional store still survive very old models of counting. All that it is to know the habits of purchase or habitual routes of the buyers, for example, is going to help to make decisions to the owners of the commercial centers “.
It was Javier Gomez, head of Cambium Networks in Iberia and the Mediterranean area, who proclaimed that wireless technology will be key to making “a massive digital transformation” a reality. And he reminded that in Europe there are huge expenses in corporate Wi-Fi, a business that in Spain is more timid. “The volume of business and services around Wi-Fi is brutal. Everything related to analytics is in great demand. ”
For his part, Roberto Lara, a business development consultant at Telefonica, agreed on the convenience of Wi-Fi deployments in retail environments. “In retail, the idea is that users have a unique experience. The goal is to have the final customer in your space and know how much time is and where to then offer useful information or to sell products or services. In addition, Lara recalled that companies are increasingly responsible for marketing and business who are asking for these solutions, and not so much the IT department.
The Challenge of Safety
Miguel Angel Gonzalez-Gallego, director of the security and communications business of Sermicro, complained that until now there has been a lot of poorly managed Wi-Fi platform, and explained that sometimes it is the services that “go wrong”, and not so much the net. Moises Camarero, general director of Compusof, certified the good moment of the Wi-Fi and spoke of the greater growth that it exhibits in front of the cable, although it said that there are pending challenges, like those of the security and the monetization of certain services.
Meanwhile, David Gomez, director of business development for the wholesaler Wifidom, put on the table another problem: that of finding experts that take advantage of the data that a well-managed Wi-Fi network can generate. “The analysis of these data to apply to a business model requires making decisions,” Gómez explained.
Datek Sistemas is a partner of Zaragoza that has been in the market for 18 years and specializes in the implementation of technology for the data center but now wants to diversify. Javier Berne, its general director, assured that Wi-Fi gives him the option of renewing a lot of technology in his clients. “In addition, wireless technology takes us to environments where we are not, such as IoT, security or data analytics.”
Berne recalled that his company has been in talks with LaLiga football to provide technology to the stadiums. “With this project, we have opened to other sectors and has allowed us to sit with startups. It has also allowed us to meet many people who have nothing to do with IT, but with the business. And all that was thanks to the Wi-Fi in the stadiums. In the US they are far ahead in the implementation of these services in the stadiums, and there a large part of the revenue comes from the advertising of large companies that want to have access to the data of the spectators. “