What do you do when your customers tell you that competitors keep coming in to offer a service you don't yet offer? You figure out a way to offer it. That's just what Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) reseller Annese & Associates did recently and now it is rolling out a brand new managed service it co-developed with Cisco -- managed wireless. The offering, called AnyAccess, is designed to provide management of highly secure and reliable wireless networks for indoor and outdoor environments. Here's the scoop.

Annese's customers were getting visits from representatives of Cisco competitors such as AeroHive and Meraki offering them great deals on managing their wireless networks in the cloud. So Annese went back to Cisco and together the two companies developed a competitive offering. Access points remain at the customer sites. But the controllers are moved up to the cloud, Annese Director of Operations and Business Development Jamie Aiello told me.

Just Where is this Cloud?

The cloud in this case is Annese's own data center, which enables the company to achieve the economies of scale necessary to offer competitive pricing to customers. And that meant it required a capital investment by Annese, but that was a move the company was ready to take.

The initiative is a win-win for Cisco and Annese, and the way that partnerships should work. Now Cisco can compete with these cloud-based upstart companies and Annese can offer a managed service that its customers want and that can provide that regular revenue stream.

Potential Markets

Top potential customers for this technology right now are hotels, college campuses and K to 12 education. But Aiello points out that wireless is everywhere now, driven by the BYOD phenomenon. Aiello points to a study that says that the average college student has  six devices from smartphones to tablets to laptops.  And if users can't get a quality wireless connection somewhere, they will go somewhere else where they can. It's a retention issue for colleges with their students, for hotels with their guests, and for businesses with their employees.

Annese says in its press release:
This new offering will allow businesses who find themselves limited in terms of IT capabilities, to easily deploy and manage secure wireless networks, even across multiple sites. Customers can expect to save roughly 40percent by deploying Annese’s cloud-based wireless offering compared to installing the controller and access points on premise and managing the environment themselves.
As part of the offering Annese can also provide all levels of support, or just level 2 and level 3 support if that's what the customer prefers.

Right now Annese has one customer in beta for the service, and the company received its first purchase order last week right after it started putting out quotes.

Annese's Managed Services Moves

AnyAccess isn't the first managed service offering from Annese. The company has been jumping into the MSP space with both feet, and that will continue to be its top business development priority for 2012 and 2013.  Currently the company also offers remote monitoring and management through another co-developed service called ARMS and also a cloud video conference bridge called Unite. It also provides a corporate YouTube solution called Ensemble.

And there's more on the way. We'll be keeping an eye on Annese for any more developments.