Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why don’t Motorola dealers support P25? MR Bird Picker can tell you!

Many of our readers have questioned our steadfast insistence that P25 is the ONLY approved public safety mission critical technology.  Elsewhere in our Blog, we have provided many references from government agencies supporting our position.  Still, the question remains of why are so many Motorola dealers promoting MotoTRBO (aka DMR) rather than P25?  We thought this question was worthy of an answer, so here it is, as best we can explain it.

First, you have to understand the definition of a Motorola “dealer”.  There are actually three different types of 2-way radio dealers, or channel partners if you prefer, which can be briefly defined as follows:

Business Radio Distributors – (Also known as BRD’s or “Birds”). These dealers have a restricted line that is primarily offered by catalogers, web merchants, and others that serve both consumer and entry level business radio communications users.  They do not have access to P25 products. It appears that this “channel” will ultimately replace the traditional Professional dealer (See below) for sales of all analog radios.

Profession and Communications Radio Resellers – (Also known as PCR’s or “Pickers”).  These are closest to what most users identify as a “dealer”.  These dealers are local area business-to-business communications products and service providers. They are “encouraged” to sell only in a defined local sales area.  These dealers are “encouraged” to focus their attention on the sales of MotoTRBO products to non public safety mission critical users.  In the past, these dealers sold the full line of Motorola 2-way radio products.  They are now being “encouraged” to adopt MotoTRBO as the primary focus for their sales.  They are given specific sales goals in terms of dollars.  Those who fall beyond a certain level will be eliminated.  Minimal producers will ultimately be forced out of the market by high volume resellers who are rewarded with higher profit margins. PCR's do not have access to P25 products. 

Manufacturers Representative – State and Local Government – (Also known as MR’s). These are the favored few who are given the opportunity to offer P25 products, along with some other “special” products that are not available to Birds and Pickers, both of which are known internally within Motorola as the Buy/Sell channel.  In other words, Birds and Pickers are given the opportunity to purchase and resell Motorola communications products as long as they meet minimum sales volume levels. MR’s are not resellers. They are commissioned representatives (i.e. they are paid a commission on sales rather than buying and selling).  MR’s work in partnership with Motorola direct sales and support personnel dedicated to serving the needs of State and Local Government through the offering of ASTRO 25 products.

It should be noted that ASTRO P25 is P25 compatible (well, kind of anyway, but that is another story).  If these select few have the right to sell P25 products, the question might naturally arise as to why they are not promoting P25.  There are two answers.  The first is their essential function is to sell “subscriber units” (i.e. mobiles and portables), not infrastructure.  The direct side of Motorola is responsible for sales of Astro 25 networks, which are generally proprietary in nature.  After the deal is made with the state, county, or large municipality by the direct sales force; the MR can then sell the subscriber units as well as providing service for the network.

NOW you know why Motorola dealers don’t promote P25.  They either CAN’T, as is the case with Birds and Pickers, or they won't in the case of an MR.  It can be very difficult for an MR to sell P25 product in an open competitive market since other offerings can be less expensive or more feature rich or both.  Therefore most MR’s find it is best to wait until the Motorola direct sales team has established ASTRO 25 as the P25 system of choice for a State, County or Municipal user, and THEN sell mobiles and portables without competitive pressure.  

Perhaps it is worth noting that some dealers simply do not feel inclined to pursue the public safety market or they may be unwilling to make the commitment required to move to a newer, more expensive technology.  Sometimes, we can get stuck in a comfort zone.  There were many dealers that refused to make the transition from tubes to transistors.  Their offspring are still with us!

There are other sales channels such as Federal Government Resellers, which are similar to the aforementioned MR’s, but with an emphasis on sales and support to federal agencies.  There is also another group known as Radio Solutions Resellers which specialize in network infrastructure sales and support (Consoles, data, etc.).  Additional information is available by clicking here.

Like it or not, agree or disagree, understand or don’t understand, the fact is that P25 IS the technology of choice for public safety.  By the way, Motorola also agrees that P25 IS the technology for public safety.  Click here for more information.   Others in agreement include APCO, All agencies of the federal government, All State Government Interoperability Plans, DHS, FEMA, SAFECOM, and now we hope, YOU!