Cloud Wi-Fi network vendor Xirrus has made some significant enhancements to CommandCenter, which it introduced almost a year ago to assist managed service provider (MSP) partners provision their customers faster and speed up time to revenue for Wi-Fi-as-a-Service (WaaS). Now they have extended that platform’s capabilities.
“Last March we both announced our new MSP program, and introduced Xirrus CommandCenter, which made it much easier for MSPs to provision new customers by themselves,” said Bruce Miller, VP of product marketing at Xirrus. “The cloud-based Wi-Fi solution talks to access points at the customer sites, and gets equipment provisioned as quickly as possible. One MSP who deals with fitness centres saw their configuration time go down 85 per cent with this. “Now, we are enhancing CommandCenter, with changes to the interface that make it more scalable for MSPs. We are also extending the cloud platform by opening up some of our APIs.”
Miller indicated that WaaS had grown significantly – but not massively – since Xirrus introduced CommandCenter almost a year ago.
“In looking at the growth of “X-as-a-service overall, software has moved strongly out in that direction, and so you have seen things Office 365 being amazingly successful,” he indicated. “When it comes to infrastructure – hardware – that’s further behind. When it comes to hardware, some security services like firewall have done fairly well. WiFi-as-a-service hasn’t seen their level of growth, but it has been faster than some others, like switches as a service.”
Miller also indicated that WaaS growth has been heavily vertical-dependent.
“Some parts of the market have adopted it more rapidly, like the hospitality industry, retail, restaurants and MTU/MDU [dormitories],” he stated. “It has seen less adoption in the general enterprise. K-12 education, and healthcare have been a little slower, and we don’t expect to see much of it in higher education because they tend to have more sophisticated IT. Some organizations will never go this way because they want to maintain full control. So while the overall trend is upwards, it is not massively so, and it is very dependent on use cases and sophistication.”
Miller noted as well that their MSP partners have grown significantly in number since CommandCenter and the new MSP program came out last March.
“We continue to sign up more and more MSPs, and the program has over 175 today,” he said. “That’s a large growth since program began last year.”
The enhancements in this release are small in number, but Miller said they are important.
“We have enhanced the monitoring side of things,” he said. “Before you would get alerts, but you now have graphic visuals, where you can look across up to 1000 customers on the dashboard and see at a glance what is down. This new NOC view of the dashboard allows the power to be proactive about taking care of issues before a call comes in that a network is down. This simplifies things for the MSP, especially ones that are larger, and makes it easier to scale their operations.”
The other enhancement involves Xirrus opening up some of their APIs to let MSPs to integrate their service platforms into a Xirrus network faster and more efficiently.
“We are extending the systems to enable MSPs to integrate through APIs so they can integrate it into their own systems and operations workflows,” Miller said. “For now, we are just opening a subset of them, but over time we will add more. Doing this enables interesting use cases like location. There’s a ton of data that’s available and it will allow things like determining where a lost laptop is. That extends the business value for the end customer.”
The changes, Miller said, all build on the core value proposition of simply connecting users to the Wi-Fi network.
“We are focused on rolling out new ways to do that,” he said. “It’s a powerful proposition for partners looking to sell Wi-Fi-as-a-Service.”