“It’s a New Day at the PARC”

PowerCloud Systems was incubated by the PARC until our 2010 spin-out.  Intellectual property underpinning our CloudCommand software platform was developed at PARC.  Our headquarters are on its beautiful campus, and PARC is one of our investors.

The Silicon Valley Business Journal highlights PARC’s increasing importance in the startup ecosystem and touts its success with PowerCloud.  Diana Samuels writes:

It’s a New Day at the PARC

It’s a new day at the PARC.

Using technology developed at one of Silicon Valley’s most storied research centers, Jeff Abramowitz’s startup just raised $6 million.

Abramowitz said his company, PowerCloud Systems Inc., which was incubated at the Palo Alto Research Center and announced the Series B funding from Qualcomm Ventures on Dec. 14, is part of a “new wave” of innovation and research at PARC as the center’s business model has evolved.

PARC has transformed in recent years, from a research center for its parent company, Xerox Corp., into a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox that looks for broader business opportunities in innovation. In the Xerox days, PARC was famous for inventing great technologies that Xerox never capitalized on. Now, PARC’s CEO Stephen Hoover said the research center serves exactly that function: Help businesses like PowerCloud use PARC’s technology in commercially viable projects.

“There’s a history of having great scientists (at PARC), and now we have great innovators — the people who bring together that fundamental capability in technology, and couple it with a business sense and a focus on customer needs,” Hoover said.

The Business Journal notes that PARC works with about a half-dozen startups at a time, taking equity in the companies, entering into licensing agreements or taking cash fees for access to PARC’s research.

PARC originally hired Abramowitz as a consultant and then named him entrepreneur-in-residence, giving him seed funding for the development of a business based on PARC’s patented intellectual property work. PowerCloud, which has just under 20 employees and a total of about $10 million in funding, is independent but continues to work out of PARC’s Palo Alto campus. The company makes a system to manage networking equipment through the cloud.

“It really is a good environment for innovation,” Abramowitz said. “I know how to focus to get a business going, but I actually thrive in an environment where you have a lot of smart people around with creative thoughts.”

The entire article is worth a read (subscription).

News: Managing Wireless Networks as a Service

 Veteran IT & channel analyst Michael Vizard highlights how MSPs are positioning themselves for profits and efficiency using the CloudCommand platform to develop Networking as a Service (NaaS) models:

The emergence of the bring-your-own-technology (BYOT) phenomenon coupled with the multiplication of wireless networks in the enterprise is creating a new opportunity for solution providers in the channel.

As the number and types of mobile computing devices on the network continue to expand, managing is proving to be a major challenge for many IT organizations.

At the same time, many organizations now have multiple wireless networks in place from different vendors. Ideally, those networks and all the devices attached to them would all be managed under a common framework.

That’s the capability that PowerCloud Systems is trying to deliver as a service through the channel. According to PowerCloud CEO Jeff Abramowitz, PowerCloud has been working with providing its CloudCommand service via OEM partners. In the wake of attaining an additional $6 million in a round of funding led by Qualcomm, the company is now trying to expand its partner ecosystem in the channel.

Specifically, CloudCommand-powered networking devices enable MSPs to provide SMB customers with enterprise-like networks that cost a fraction of traditional enterprise solutions.

MSPs deploy and operate CloudCommand-powered networks because they gain a rich set of tools (think plug-and-play deployments, remote management, real-time alerting, etc.)  that enable them to rapidly expand their services to include NaaS as a profitable and recurring revenue stream.  Learn about our solutions in action.

Read the article.

PARC Spin-Out PowerCloud Systems Raises $6 Million from Qualcomm

 PowerCloud Systems, a spin-out of Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) that offers a ‘networking-as-a-service’ platform for OEMs and service providers, has raised $6 million in Series B funding in a round led by Qualcomm Ventures, with prior backers Walden Venture Capital, Javelin Venture Partners and PARC participating.

The capital will be used to enhance the company’s online software platform, CloudCommand.

The CloudCommand platform enables networking OEMs and service providers to integrate cloud capabilities with their wireless and wired networking equipment and to deliver networking-as-a-service-based solutions for SMBs.

CloudCommand’s initial implementations support Wi-Fi networking, and in 2012 the company says it will expand into additional networking categories.

PowerCloud Systems is not only a spin-out from PARC, but its technology is also supported by intellectual property developed at the research center, including 10 patents in areas ranging from cloud-virtualized network controllers to usable security.

The company has raised approximately $10 million to date.

Read the article.

eWeek Covers the Debut of ZyXEL’s New CloudCommand-Powered Device

 eWeek & Nathan Eddy highlight the debut of ZyXEL’s NWA1100N-CE:

Zyxel Announces Cloud-Managed Access Points

The price for the platform is $159, and a one-year subscription for cloud-management service has a price of $129.

ZyXEL Communications, a provider of secure broadband networking, Internet connectivity and routing products, announced the availability of its cloud-enabled access point, NWA1100N-CE, and a promotion with PC Connection. Customers who purchase a three-year cloud-management service for $299 at PC Connection will receive the NWA1100N-CE at no additional cost.

The NWA1100N-CE offers the dual-management option of being controlled either via local user interface or remotely through cloud services. Zyxel also offers all NWA1100N-CE customers a free one-month trial of the cloud-management service.

The NWA1100N-CE leverages PowerCloud Systems’ CloudCommand technology. Designed to meet the needs of the small to medium-size business (SMB) market, CloudCommand delivers cloud capabilities to networking devices and provides the NWA1100N-CE with management functionality.

In addition, the solution offers recurring revenue opportunities for managed services providers (MSPs) that serve the SMB market. The NWA1100N-CE allows MSPs to administer multiple customers’ WiFi networks remotely and in real time. According to AMI Partners, SMBs will spend nearly $100 billion by 2014 on cloud computing and the cloud offers SMBs numerous benefits, including pooled resources for lower cost per user, on-demand access to services, the ability to centralize and simplify management, and constant access to resources.

The platform allows midmarket companies to create a single virtual wirelessnetwork across multiple locations, and employees can access a network at any location without changing client settings. Companies can enforce uniform access rules and policies for their business from a single point. The access point also allows businesses to remotely manage multiple networks in real time from anywhere via a browser-based dashboard, and administrators can perform all management activities remotely, upgrade all APs with a single click, and receive real-time alerts to emails and cell phones.

The D-Link DAP-2565 Wireless Access Point Is Seriously Serious

The tech team at HotHardware.com highlights our newest CloudCommand-powered networking product, the D-Link DAP-2565.  With the launch of the DAP-2565, D-Link becomes the first OEM vendor to offer a complete CloudCommand portfolio of indoor, outdoor and plenum-rated cloud-managed access points to SMB/SME customers.  Here’s what contributing writer Ray Willington had to say:

Plenum-rated. Networking. Cloud. Small biz. Mix those all together with D-Link, and you’ve got the company’s new DAP-2565 Wi-Fi Access Point, which is designed for indoor plenum deployment in above-ceiling airspace installations. The new Cloud-Managed solution provides small and medium-sized businesses, as well as K-12 and hospitality environments, with a secure, reliable and affordable way to manage their networks.

As a new member of the D-Link Cloud-Managed Access Point family, the DAP-2565 delivers business-grade features at a lower cost than other enterprise solutions, including flexible IEEE 802.11n performance, Power Over Ethernet (PoE) support for installation in areas where power outlets are not readily available, and secure guest access and control privileges for individual users. The DAP-2565 also utilizes CloudCommand, which allows end users and value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs) to easily and quickly set up, secure and remotely manage high-performance wireless networks with multiple access points through a Cloud portal, saving significant time and resources. In addition, the DAP-2565’s plenum-rated metal chassis meets specific requirements to be flame retardant and have low smoke production for placement in air passageways.

Read the story.

Article: Connecting to the 21st Century with Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi

A 100-unit installation of a CloudCommand-powered Wi-Fi network received great local coverage in the Sand Mountain Reporter (Ala.).  Our partner, Amer Networks, delivered the solution to the Boaz School District in northeastern Alabama.

Connecting to the 21st Century: Boaz Schools Upgrade to Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi Network conveys the key value propositions of a CloudCommand cloud-managed networking platform:

  1. Business-Grade Features: “I can go in and see if a student is watching a ton of YouTube videos instead of doing his homework,” IT Director Wayne Caudle said. “It’s a fully managed system. I can even manage it through my cellphone.
  2. Consumer Usability: “Students and staff effortlessly connected across campuses and between buildings,” he said. “Teachers can immediately start expanding their lesson plans to make technology a more integral part to their classroom instruction.”
  3. Unprecedented Affordability: Caudle and three assistants installed the new system, saving the school system thousands of dollars. The cost of the network totaled about $30,000. “Amer’s solution costs a fraction of competitive alternatives,” officials said. “(It) was considerably less than an established competitor’s quote to install Wi-Fi in just two locations.”

Read the article.

Article: Remote Management of Wi-Fi Is a Growing Trends for Schools

In school districts around the country, cloud-managed Wi-Fi is fast becoming the affordable alternative to traditional enterprise-class Wi-Fi.  It delivers business-grade features and consumer usability for a fraction of traditional enterprise costs.  For most districts, that combination of great features and unprecedented affordability should make a CloudCommand-powered network the No. 1 networking choice.  It was for the folks in Boaz, AL:

More than 3,000 students and staff throughout the Boaz City School District in Alabama will soon be able to text and browse the net straight from their smartphones and mobile devices. Amer Networks, a networking, storage and security product developer and provider, is helping the school district to roll out the cloud-managed WiFi solution.

First, the nuts and bolts of the deal. Amer Networks will install 100 units of its cloud-managed 802.11n wireless solution –the WAP223NC access point. The access points will be deployed across five schools and two administrative buildings.

Amer Networks is a partner company of PowerCloud Systems, a developer of software platforms for cloud-managed network services. Amer has recently been expanding into the small-to-medium-enterprise (SME) market with a line of software products to improve efficiency and productivity. Here are some of the benefits Amer will deliver to the Boaz City School District:

  • Full campus coverage;
  • Remote management;
  • Enhanced security with Individual Device Authentification (IDA);
  • Ability to establish a single network across multiple locations; and
  • SMS Alerting.

Students texting in class be warned: The Wi-Fi solution also allows school administrators to moderate the network use of individual students. Users will be able to access the network from all classrooms, gyms, libraries, staff offices, parking lots, common areas and cafeterias.

No doubt, WiFi use is a 10-year-old trend in schools and colleges. But remote management of WiFi — via the cloud — seems to be a growing trend among some managed service providers that work with schools.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.

Read the article.


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