New RMM Software, Cloud Tools for MSPs Still Emerging

Just when you thought the RMM (remote monitoring and management) software market for MSPs couldn't get more crowded, two more aspiring disrupters have surfaced. Their names: Acorn Energy and Pulseway MSP.

While most traditional RMM platforms were originally written for PC and server management, Acorn and Pulseway are pursuing the market in different ways.

Acorn Energy, for instance, has repositioned itself for the Internet of Things, promoting RMM for stand-by generators, energy pipelines, cell towers and other mission-critical infrastructure. Pulseway MSP, meanwhile, has built an RMM platform specifically designed for the age of mobile and cloud computing, the company says.

Acorn Energy IoT Remote Monitoring

Acorn is a company in transition, selling off certain assets while doubling down on its OmniMetrix subsidiary, where the company's IoT monitoring assets reside.

The transition won't be easy. Acorn's overall revenues were $1.9 million in Q2 2016, down sharply from $4.1 million in Q2 2015, the company says.  Still, revenue in the OmniMetrix business was $761,000 in Q2 2016 -- up about 10 percent from Q2 2015. The company's core customers include emergency power, pipelines and the oil & gas verticals.

That intense vertical market focus could be a blessing -- helping Acorn to stand out from a crowd of remote monitoring solutions -- and a burden. Indeed, MSPs within the oil & gas vertical have been hard hit by economic turbulence. A case in point: RigNet, one of the top MSPs in the energy vertical, recently had layoffs amid the economic headwinds.

It's unclear if or how Acorn plans to promote its RMM platform to third-party MSPs -- though key channel partners include OEMs and dealers that remotely maintain customer infrastructure.

Pulseway MSP

Meanwhile, Pulseway is pushing beyond its corporate IT roots to offer RMM for MSPs. The new Pulseway MSP offering is a mobile- and cloud-first RMM platform for MSPs. The company says the platform blends rich capabilities and easy of use on smartphones and mobile devices, though we haven't independently confirmed those claims.

Pulseway MSP is available now at starts at $2.40 per server per month, with no contract and no setup fees. MSPs can therefore scale the system up or down whenever needed, the company says.

Pulseway MSP wasn't an overnight launch. The company's parent, MMSOFT Design, was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 2011. The Pulseway platform, originally called Mobile PC Monitor, has caught on with more than 3,000 IT departments worldwide, the company says. An integration with Autotask quietly emerged in April 2015, setting the stage for a more formalized MSP partner push.

Entrenched RMM Competition

Pulseway's mobile pitch isn't entirely unique. Most RMM providers now offer mobile apps for their platforms. Still, some of those mobile offerings feel like "stripped down" versions of desktop-based RMM. In Pulseway's case, the company says its platform was built from the ground up for mobile adopters.

I've openly wondered if standalone RMM tools can survive, especially as MSP software suites and end-to-end platforms emerge. Still, I've been surprised the number of RMM startups entering the market -- with emerging names like Atera (which also has PSA), Auvik Networks and NinjaMSP turning some heads in the MSP market right now.

You can certainly add Pulseway MSP to the list of aspiring RMM providers. As for Acorn Energy, we'll be watching to see if or when the OmniMetrix platform potentially becomes an IoT monitoring option for MSPs.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.