Airespace channel trained for takeoff

Wireless networking platform vendor Airespace, having just appointed US Telecoms as its regional value-added distributor, is training resellers from across the Middle East this week.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  October 12, 2004

Wireless networking platform vendor Airespace, having just appointed US Telecoms as its regional value-added distributor (VAD), is training resellers from across the Middle East this week. Airespace’s wireless enterprise product platform includes control system software, wireless LAN (WLAN) switches, WLAN appliances and access points. “We are running a training session for interested resellers this week and have 12 companies attending,” said Marcel Dridje, director and general manager EMEA at Airespace. “These value-added resellers (VARs) are from all over the region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon and Dubai.” Fast-growing Airespace was formed three years ago with VC backing and already has OEM agreements in place with major networking vendors such as Alcatel, Nortel and NEC. In these deals, the OEM partners are using Airespace products under their own brand name. Reducing the overall importance of these agreements and building up the Airespace brand in its own right have encouraged Airespace to construct a channel. “This is the reason why we have just signed US Telecoms as a VAD,” explained Dridje. “If we want to be strong and successful moving forward we want to make sure that 50% of the business comes from Airespace branded business. Last year the split between OEM and Airespace business was 70:30 respectively and this year we hope to move that to 50:50.” Dridje claims that Airespace products offer a compelling business opportunity for VARs. “Right now, all of the partners in this region selling Cisco or Foundry or Extreme or Juniper are looking at how they can enable the end-to-end solution for their customers,” added Dridje. “Putting in a appliance from Airspace can extend the traditional LAN environment and make it wireless.” Airespace is also toying with the idea of putting its own dedicated staff into the region once sales hit a critical mass. For now though, Dridje is more than happy to work through US Telecoms. “The VAD plays a major role in extending the knowledge, resources and marketing through to the VARs,” added Dridje. “In this region VARs are very hungry for new technology. They want to be the early adopters that benefit from strong profits and margins before it becomes a ‘me too’ product.” With the market for wireless LAN equipment expected to surpass US$3.5bn globally in 2005 according to Synergy Research Group, Airespace is banking on a successful combination of OEM deals and channel partners to capture a sizeable piece of the pie.

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