Early last month, Savant officially introduced the Savant Smart Network, dubbing it “the only learning wireless network solution leveraging Juniper Mist Wi-Fi technology designed for smart home integrators.”
One month later might seem like too soon to assess the success of a partnership between Savant and Juniper Networks – a major player in the AI-driven wireless and wired networking segment. However, Savant’s veteran custom integration beta testers have actually been reviewing this technology for more than a year, so we reached out to two of them for feedback after receiving our own impressive virtual demo from Savant Product Category Director of Networking & Security Aaron Gutin.
“We were in the beta group that started with it this time last year or so,” noted Nick DeClemente, owner of Elevated Integration, in Armonk, NY. “The Juniper range of this product performed as well as other competitive products in the marketplace, such as Ruckus and [Cisco] Meraki, but the Mist cloud with its AI has been exceptional.”
Paul Bochner, owner of Electronic Concepts Hi-Fi, in North Rochelle Park, NJ, said that the Juniper tech within the Savant Smart Network, has been “game changing” for his company.
“It has been superior to other brands for us,” he said.
For those new to the name, Juniper Networks is considered a leader in enterprise-grade networking and is run by some of the same people who developed the first Wi-Fi standard. Savant partnered with Juniper to develp the best long-term wireless experience for homeowners that was also more efficient to deploy and more profitable for integrators.
“The information that comes out of the system is exceptional,” DeClemente confirmed. “Then couple that with the ease of deployment, now your average-level technician gets you to a really high level of performance without having to be network-certified engineer.”
The Savant Smart Network applies artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-based analytics to create a learning ecosystem for optimal wireless performance throughout the home. The Savant Smart Network uses a combination of Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E access points from Juniper. Paired with a Savant Smart Networking Subscription, each Savant Smart Network utilizes Juniper’s Mist Cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science techniques to optimize user experiences in real time.
The advantage of the Savant Smart Network, Gutin said, is that it is “always working” and offers analytics that are much faster and more precise than human data analysis.
“Juniper has true AI built into their software,” Bochner pointed out. “The system can recognize many potential issues and make adjustments on the fly without requiring us to log in, roll a truck, etc. Their system even charts these changes, so you can track and see why it was needed. Before Juniper, we often would need to make site visits to assess interference or other environmental issues, make changes, and spend time. Now, Juniper just does the work.”
Savant points out that user privacy and security is always paramount, so no user data is captured or stored in the cloud. Yet, direct integration with Juniper’s Mist AI allows Savant integrators exceptional visibility into the user experience through customizable Service Level Expectation (SLE) metrics that are now accessible in Savant Central Management.
DeClemente has found that the combination of the Savant cloud for monitoring integrated home devices with the Juniper Mist cloud for monitoring the network enables an “average technician” to assess a service question anywhere in the home without having to be an expert. “Because it’s a familiar interface, they don’t get nervous… they’re not clicking the wrong thing,” he explained.
In addition to delivering better automation and simplified deployment of even the most complex wireless networks, Savant Smart Network analytics provide instant root cause analysis and real-time user metrics, enabling integrators to differentiate their businesses by delivering significantly faster customer service to their clients. Users will benefit from a network infrastructure that is more predictable, reliable, and measurable.
“The Juniper Mist cloud is great because if a client tells you that they can’t get on their Wi-Fi, you can see, for example, that when they login, they’re just putting their password in wrong or something along those lines,” DeClemente said. “That’s a really great toolset. There’s a tremendous amount of insight into what’s going on.
Gutin noted that there is a service charge for accessing the AI-cloud solution that runs $120/year per access point or $10/month. This subscription is sold by the Savant integrator who earns an ongoing revenue share on this fee.
So far both Bochner and DeClemente have experienced little or no objections on this recurring fee-based service from their clients.
“We have done a large amount of network upgrades to Juniper and have had very little push back,” Bochner noted. “Once we explain the features and benefits, it is a no brainer.”
DeClemente recalls earlier days with other technologies where clients had “not been thrilled” with recurring charges, but that now they are becoming more accustomed to other products and services requiring a fee for more responsive service and performance.
“We haven’t really had any pushback, but for people who don’t want to commit to a fee-based service, there are other products out there that are still fine at different performance levels,” DeClemente added. “Then again, the idea of annual fees, you just kind of roll that into your other service contracts. In an industry that has always struggled to pull that off successfully, I think that just pushes the issue and forces us to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to have to charge anyway. We’re charging for the Savant SSL, their yearly subscription, so let’s roll that in and roll the Mist stuff and package that all with our service plans and start generating some recurring revenue.’”