Setting up home Wi-Fi networks can be daunting for some. Depending on the home size and building materials there can be dead spots or issues with streaming in certain rooms of the house. The rise in popularity of newer mesh Wi-Fi systems points to the fact that just putting in a single wireless access point is usually not going to get the job done for many homes.
Much like when homes started being hard wired with Ethernet cable or coaxial cable drops in each room, now homes can be built with Wi-Fi coverage throughout the house and outdoor space.
Whole Home Wi-Fi Integration Built-In
Home builders can now participate in the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Home Design certification program from the Wi-Fi Alliance. It makes me wonder: Will builders partner with MSPs and other types of channel partners to make sure these network deployments meet recommended specifications?
Wi-Fi Home Design plans integrate professionally designed Wi-Fi networks directly into builder floorplans, the company states. Wi-Fi Alliance also claims that each floorplan is specially created to provide whole home coverage based on the new home’s size, the number of levels, and wall composition. The plans utilize high quality, dual-band Wi-Fi CERTIFIED AC equipment, and professional installation.
This makes sense, as I'm sure builders will also start integrating smart home devices into newly built homes such as smart fire detectors, doorbells, and home security cameras. Having the Wi-Fi network in place for these items can make set up so much easier for both the builder and the homeowner. Once in place though, homeowners will need to find a way to maintain the network and additional devices.
MSP Need to Figure Out Home Support
As lines continue to become blurred between office buildings and homes, MSPs will need to decide how much of the consumer market they are willing to support. Maintenance of these in-home Wi-Fi networks, whether built-in or installed by the homeowner, can become a requirement for an MSP supporting a business. The homeowner, working from home, will have just as much need for a working network as someone in the office, and when the network fails it may already fall under the MSPs service agreement to fix. With the complexities of home networks now, and the security requirements necessary to allow access to a business, technicians from big box retailers can be ill-equipped to handle the task.
If your business already has a hard line against supporting users in their home, it may be time to revisit that policy. It could be an incredible revenue stream for your business, as you create additional fees for supporting an end users home network. Once that employee leaves the company, the home support will terminate as it moves to the employee that has taken their place. Many companies want to create flexible work environments, and as an MSP that has solutions for the homes of employees, you could show value over competitors that have not figured it out yet.
MSP Per User Billing: Office Plus Home?
When the IT firm I worked for in Southern California was starting out with managed services, most of our monthly fees were per computer or per server.
Over the years many of our contracts have moved to a per user format due to the number of devices required to support each employee. A single employee usually has, at the very least, a computer and a phone, but usually will also have a few more devices to support.
The per user billing allows for these multiple devices. I can see this changing again to include a monthly fee for a per office user and a per home & office user which would be more expensive than the per office user fee. Under this model MSPs will really need to familiarize themselves with home network best practices and IoT devices, as they all become just part of the job in the future.