Chalk up a big win for Proliphix's relationship with Sprint. Back in September of 2008 Proliphix was rolling out the IMT-550 Internet managed thermostat that was connected to the Sprint wireless network. Early on, they were targeting small and medium buildings with energy management solutions. Rolling out 1000 retail locations is a big deal for Proliphix, as it would be for any EMS company today struggling to differentiate in a clouded market.
One of the largest challenges for EMS companies targeting small and medium sized buildings is awareness, a classic market education challenge. Arming distribution channels with the right educational tools is very important... But as anyone that has been part of a channel (being a distributor or a channel manager), motivating the channel to push your wares above others takes creativity, resources, and time. In this case, Sprint has been a channel, and a customer. Being you own example oozes confidence in the market. Just the right touch for a service provider looking to engage in "sticky" services to reduce churn and increase customer retention.
EMS players are trying to find the distribution channel that works for them, and its a market land grab to ink deals. Part of the challenge for EMS companies finding distribution channels is understanding customer decision making dynamics--finding who is the right decision maker. Sprint is a great example of a customer for retail. Sprint is also a very good distribution channel--depending on product and customer decision maker.
Energy management generally falls in the lap of building management and maintenance, however, EMS solutions are rapidly evolving with cloud services and networked devices that utter IP (Internet Protocol) based communication. This very important trend lands the installation, configuration, and maintenance more on the IT (information technology) side of the fence than in building maintenance. Important note: not all buildings have stereotypical organizational structures, they are varied with competent experienced people with diverse skill sets.
If it talks, walks, and smells like IT, odds are it's going to end up on the "To Do" list of the IT manager.