With the Internet of Things (IoT) really starting to accelerate, the experience of using technology will be expected to become seamless and everywhere. Gartner’s prediction is that by the end of 2017, there will be 8.4 billion connected “things” in the world; an increase of 31 per cent from 2016, and these things will run the entire gamut, from light bulbs to security systems, refrigerators and, of course, the standard phones, laptops, and tablets.
For the typical household, this means that families and individuals will want to make use of home technology anywhere and anytime. Whether outside on the patio, in the bedroom, kitchen, or living room, the household will have connected devices in each room, and consequently the need for fast, reliable connectivity in all rooms becomes real.
For this reason the new trend in home networking is meshes. This technology has been available to corporates for many years, but it is only now where prices and reliability have reached the point where they can offer a compelling home solution. Essentially, what a mesh system does is blanket a space with a strong wireless signal, created from a central router located somewhere in the space, and then “boosted” via additional antennas installed in areas where the base signal is weaker or inconsistent. As the meshes have been designed cohesively, the effect is more reliable than using conventional signal boosters, and for larger homes, this is proving to be the best solution to fill in “black spots” where existing signals haven’t been able to reach.
“Mesh networks have traditionally been more expensive than other WiFi setups, but when you look at solutions like Ubiquiti’s AmpliFi, this is also starting to change,” Leader Computers managing director, Theo Kristoris, said. “Gone are the days that we need to think of the Home WiFi problems such as ‘network won't reach certain areas’, ‘computers can't see each other on the network’, ‘network connections drop unexpectedly’ and ‘network is not secure’. With the AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi System, it’s all been minimised if not resolved.”
Few would argue that home networking did not need a shakeup. Beyond becoming generally easier to install and manage, home networking has become overwhelmingly dominated by a few selected vendors competing with one another over very similar products. Alternatives, such as AmpliFi, are leading a charge on a space that badly needed disruption, bringing new ideas (that of the home mesh network) to more modern design elements; the AmpliFi unit has been designed to look great in the home.
“This new wave of disruptive technology is a challenge to the incumbents, and a significant opportunity for the channel,” Kristoris said. While it can be difficult to move consumers when a certain technology has become so entrenched, the low cost of AmpliFi is an opportunity to open discussions with consumers and start an education piece on the technology.
“We aim to exceed customer expectations by having them at forefront of every decision we make. Leader has dedicated Ubiquiti pre-sales and post-sales support team ready to assist with any queries that our partners might filter through to us,” Kristoris said.
“We can also help our partners get an edge by keeping stock in five warehouse locations across Australia: Silverwater (NSW), Noble Park (Vic), Archerfield (Qld) Osborne Park (WA) and Adelaide (SA). Being able to meet inventory needs quickly is important to resellers in a fast moving product trend such as this one.”
While AmpliFi doesn’t have a huge role to play in business, its ability to make Internet management easy, and provide instant and meaningful feedback to the user on its performance through the data screen on the front of the unit, means that it has some value to home offices too, in allowing the user to control guest access and password security through a simple application.