High-flying Chargifi picks Belkin as a hardware partner, leveraging that company’s recent expansion of their B2B channel in a move which will see the integrated solution distributed in North America through Ingram Micro.
Chargifi, a U.K.-based startup which can legitimately claim to be the pioneer in the development market for cloud-managed smart wireless charging for businesses, has announced a new partnership with Belkin designed to expand their routes to market further. The partnership will see Chargifi’s software made available integrated with Belkin’s BOOST↑UP Wireless Charging Spot. While Belkin is popularly seen as a consumer brand, they have been developing a B2B channel, and that is the target here. The integrated products will go to market in North America through Ingram Micro. It is available in the U.S. now, and the expectation is that it will be in Canada by the end of Q1. Chargifi made the announcement Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Chargifi sees itself as doing the same thing in the market for wireless power that Aruba and Meraki do in the wireless connectivity space, except that the market for wireless power is in a similar place as the Wi-Fi market of 20 years ago, where people had devices to recharge but had limited options to do so. Some early wireless charging solutions have tended to be unreliable. Chargifi addresses this, providing what is in essence an Internet of Things enterprise management platform.
“The management piece is our big value-add,” Dan Bladen, Chargifi’s co-founder and CEO, told ChannelBuzz. “We provide service providers and integrators with the tools they need to build out charging networks. Without us, there is no way to manage them, to fix them remotely, or to see how they are being used. We can provide very granular information on usage. Hotel brands can now engage with customers through wireless charging, and know where someone is sitting, based on proximity to the charging spot. We can tell within a centimetre where someone is sitting at a table because of proximity. Wi-fi cannot get close to that level of accuracy.”
Last year, Chargifi announced a partnership with HPE in which they will go to market through the HPE Complete program. While Chargifi has also recruited its own partner channel, which includes both telcos and systems integrators, HPE has been important in expanding the company’s channel route to market. Ingram Micro also entered the picture last summer, to provide Chargifi with distribution in the United States and Canada. Westcoast Limited was announced about the same time as their distributor for the U.K.
Chargifi works closely with Aruba through their HPE relationship. They also do some work with Ruckus, and have announced several important recent software integrations, including with Zoom and with Slack. Belkin, however, makes a major move for them into a partnership with a hardware-focused vendor.
“We have multiple partnerships and relationships, because our cloud platform can work with anyone, but Belkin now becomes our premier hardware partnership right now,” Bladen indicated. “With this integration, we have tailored our software to work with the Belkin transmitters, and we are promoting this to our partners now.”
Belkin International, whose acquisition was announced by FoxConn earlier last year for $866 million, has multiple brands, with the Belkin brand being used for their charging, cabling, KVM, docking and surge products. Their networking products have all being branded as Linksys since Belkin acquired Linksys from Cisco in 2013, and they also have the Wemo and Phyn brands. The Belkin brand is still popularly associated with a consumer focus and the retail market, but that has changed recently.
“Over the last three years, they have invested tens of millions in the B2B market,” Bladen said. “They are really upping their game in that space, selling through the channel to government and universities in particular, and selling Smart Office products. This is the market where we are working with them, through Ingram Micro.”
While Belkin also works with Ingram Micro, and Bladen said Ingram has been helpful in developing the relationship between the two companies, they didn’t bring it about. The partnership originated – as many do – through a meeting at a trade show.
“We met at a show and dropped them a note after it about possibly working together,” he indicated. “We worked closely with their senior team on it, frequently flying from London to their offices in L.A. The goal here for us is to allow Chargify partners to get to market with market-leading hardware very quickly, and it is important for us to be partnering with someone of this scale to do that.”
Orders are being taken for the joint solution now. It will be available in March.