Cisco Systems Inc. and Meraki have built a dashboard solution for resellers, levelling their sights at small businesses and the mid-market.

In November 2012, Cisco announced it was acquiring Meraki, integrating its product portfolio with its existing offerings. While Cisco has always been known for wireless, switching, and security solutions, it wanted to be able to provide an offering for resellers catering to a smaller market, said Rod Scotland, national architectures strategy manager for mid-market solutions at Cisco Canada.

“Where Cisco really needed some help is in the areas where we start to talk about mid-market and small business, and even in very large enterprise, but a characteristic of customers that are light on IT, that are purely focused on what they do for a living,” he says. “And they need the technology to be very self-driven and self-supported, and also a very, very simple interface. And this is where Cisco brings that to the table, and Meraki has finished and completed that portfolio for us.”

On Sept. 11, Cisco presented this combined solution at a session during Computer Dealer News’ Channel Elite Awards. Jason Falovo, cloud networking product sales specialist for Cisco Canada, made the presentation during a workshop held before the awards ceremony.

By offering this solution from Meraki, Cisco is essentially offering its resellers and customers a choice – to go with Cisco’s more traditional IT offerings, or to use its cloud networking services, said Falovo. Some of those services may be a better fit for verticals like education, healthcare, and retail, he added, speaking in an interview held this week.

For example, if a reseller was serving a small business client who owned a coffee shop, Cisco Meraki’s dashboard would provide a graphic analytics solution – something that’s helpful for a client who may not be versed in tech, he says.

One use case scenario could be a marketing customer who may use Facebook as a big part of his or her Wi-Fi service. If the customer was interested in getting more Likes or Shares on his or her page, the reseller could show the customer how to align the Facebook page with providing Wi-Fi to users, all while deploying Cisco Meraki’s solution.

“Customers can’t recoup money anymore from Wi-Fi. As consumers, we’re not going to go into Starbucks, Second Cup, et cetera and pay for Wi-Fi,” he says. “So customers have had to figure out, how do I monetize from the network? What Meraki does is, we’re enabling the resellers to deliver a solution directly to the customers.”

And with the Cisco Meraki dashboard, resellers also get access to all of Meraki’s portfolio, including features for managing the bring-your-own-device trend. Resellers using Cisco Meraki can also give wireless access points to their customers, allowing them to give them a trial run and to demonstrate the value of their services.

When resellers sign up for Cisco Meraki’s deal registration system, they get a 15 per cent advantage over the distribution price as well, Scotland addef. They also get tech support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Subscriptions run on a yearly basis, with terms of one, three, five, or seven years.

This makes Cisco Meraki a good choice for resellers who want to manage their customers all on their own, Falovo said.

“We have these analytics available … that the reseller can go directly to the customer to say, I can deliver this to you, from day one, with no other help needed.”

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  • http://www.completelymanaged.com John Goriy

    This is an excellent way for Cisco to cater to a growing market segment. One that could benefit greatly from the IT solutions Cisco offers, but with the easy of use (both for the companies and the IT workers) of the Meraki Solution.

  • Canuck

    I implemented a MR12 from a webinar I attended and have found this system helped in reducing connectivity complaints, allowed me to set up custom connectivity on the fly, and to monitor traffic over my network. I wanted to roll out this system in a couple of commercial building, but started to get pushback from ISP’s citing small print and offering wifi services to other people. Also, told to contact a dealer and buy additional product with a 30 day return policy if I wanted to demo other products.

    I have since shelved this project until I get better support from the ISP’s.

    The other issue is the cloud based licensing. Do I buy a more expensive appliance with greater range and one licence, or two licences and two less powerful and less expensive appliances