SAMS is Ruckus Wireless‘ newly announced Smart Access Management Service, that promises “smart Wi-Fi” in the cloud”. Targeted at public access, the SAMS solution is built to allow customers with public hotspots to generate revenue off of their WLAN investment. SAMS is not a general purpose managed services framework. We’re talking monitizing the non-enterprise public access paradigm when we talk SAMS.
With the purpose of SAMS defined, let’s look at the underpinnings.
This is a Ruckus Wireless offering, so the access points, controllers, and management and reporting aspects of SAMS are of Ruckus componentry (with controllers onsite or in the cloud) and also dovetail with other established Ruckus Features like SPoT location services. Hotspots in public venues- from retail spaces to airports to stadiums- can provide recurring revenue while servicing clients with the new SAMS Smart Wi-Fi as a Service. When the new SAMS cloud-based management service is turned loose on Ruckus’ hardware by a Big Dog channel partner, it promises a new ease of network design and management with a fresh option for profit-generation that Ruckus considers unique in the industry as a single integrated framework.
As I read through the promotional, the steps of subscribing to a cloud account and configuring the network settings that will be used in deployment feel somewhat akin to the Meraki (and Aerohive, and AirTight and…) mechanisms that let you get it your networking straight and functional through a cloud dashboard. This is all well and good, but hardly disruptive. But then we get to the “monetizing” part, and SAMS gets interesting.
Each SAMS Wi-Fi network has a configurable “user journey” registration page. Customizations allow for vendor branding, sponsored content presented before or during login, and a number of options for customer engagement. The flexibility that can be leveraged to bring a business-interactive experience to customer hotspot login is impressive.
At the same, it means clients are subject to a very controlled login in exchange for hotspot access. Even though it’s a fair trade, part of me personally despises being “monitized” as opposed to just getting connected. Ah well- that’s my problem, and no one is making me use the hotspot Wi-Fi.
No good management system is complete without effective reporting, and SAMS has a serious analytics and demographics engine that reports on user parameters like OS, new versus returning users, gender, age, and more in customizable time slices. You don’t get info like user gender and age without either asking or mining the likes of Facebook, and SAMS can facilitate both depending on how you choose to implement.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s amazing how wireless is becoming about so much more than simple client access. Ruckus’ SAMS is certainly another case in point, and at well under $300 per AP per year I’m guessing a lot of Ruckus customers and channel partners are going to like the new offerings.