File this news story under "Why-am-I-not-surprised?"
In getting ready to attend the Managed and Hosted Video Summit in June, I've been researching the electronic security industry to find telecom agents, IT consultants, business phone systems vendors or other equipment VARs who are getting into or are already providing video surveillance or other sorts of loss prevention, security, asset protection solutions.
That's when I ran across this news story published in Security Systems News that discusses how AT&T purchased a security monitoring technology company named Xanboo and then decided to discontinue Xanboo's reseller program.
Security Systems News quotes a March 31 letter from AT&T general attorney Meredith Mays as follows. (I added the bold red emphasis for dramatic flair).
“AT&T is currently in the process of integrating Xanboo into AT&T's portfolio of services and affiliated companies. At this time, AT&T anticipates modifying or eliminating current Xanboo products and services and winding down its existing processes. The purpose of this letter is to notify you that your agreement shall be terminated effective as of midnight, July 4, 2011.” The letter tells dealers "you should not market or sell Xanboo service after July 5, 2011."
Happy Independence Day!
I don't know what percentage of Xanboo's sales success can be attributed to Xanboo's VAR and integrator dealers, but but I can't imagine that the Xanboo's dealers are all that excited about AT&T's decision to cut them off from an important component to their packaged security solutions.
I also can't imagine that telecom agents are all that surprised by the way AT&T treats VARs and integrators in the electronic security industry.
“Large, well-capitalized players (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Ascent Media) are beginning to enter the market armed with products and services that are app-driven, enabling them to deliver bundled services solutions to consumers.”
The Teachable Moment for Telecom Agents?
Have electronic security and other loss prevention solutions for businesses in your technology solutions bag and be screening your customers regularly for needing an upgrade.
Just as electronic security VARs are being freed from their customers as their customers find a nice upgrade (offered by a big telecom carrier), big security carriers (like ADT or now Envysion) might just as easily upgrade your customer out of needing your stand alone voice and data network when they provide a loss prevention solution that includes the necessary data network.
"Managed Services" Includes Loss Prevention, Physical Security, Video Surveillance...
You really can't get past the home page of any major telecom provider without wading past all their "managed services" offerings?
So what is "managed services" anyway? Pretty much any non-strategic expense that a mid-sized company can push onto an outsourced vendor to handle - especially if it gets paid for through some sort of monthly subscribed payment. (Can you say, "residual commission"?)
Granite Telecom certainly "gets it". Check out the Granite Guard program they rolled out over a year ago to sop up all the money their multi-location business customers were sending to the likes of ADT. Contact Granite Channel Manager Charlie Pagliazzo at 617-933-7317 to learn about adding monitoring, fire, intrusion, CCTV closed circuit television and access contol to your multi-location business solution offerings.
What Should "Office Free" Telecom Agents Do Now?
Hook up with a friendly local Interconnect (or two).
Most telecom agents are like me - "home office" entreprenuerial pirates free of the confines (and overhead expenses) of a store-front, brick-and-mortar office. While being "office free" certainly has it's perks, it also has its marketing downside - mainly no storefront to prove to prospective customers that my business is more than "just me".
That's why I choose to sell through ATEL Communications, an interconnect (business phone systems equipment reseller) that also sells and installs video surveillance (and every other technology equipment add-on a business could ever need to buy).
The future is here. Technology applications will drive voice and data network service purchase decisions. Telecom agents need to have ready and credible access to whatever telecom, voice, data (and now loss prevention/electronic security) application your multi-location customers and prospects think they need to upgrade to.
What are Your Thoughts on the Matter?
Please leave a comment below.