Awarepoint’s New CEO Enacts Plans to Expand Wireless Health Business, Software Portfolio

6/15/11Follow @bvbigelow

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Awarepoint’s software portfolio, making the company more of a full-service provider of health IT products and services with Patient Care’s portfolio of software technologies. Deady also moved to expand and strengthen the company’s ability to expand its technology business—both with existing customers and new customers—by beefing up Awarepoint’s account managers and in-house sales force and by overhauling its partnerships with third-party technology providers of Awarepoint’s technologies.

“My perspective, both offensively and defensively, was to go to market with a broader software portfolio,” Deady says. In the past, if Awarepoint failed to sell a hospital on its ZigBee-based technology, Deady says the company didn’t really have anything else to offer. “Today we can still sell them millions of dollars in software and services,” Deady says. Patient Care had a different customer base, especially for its electronic health records business, so Awarepoint also has a new set of opportunities to cross-sell Awarepoint’s technology to Patient Care customers and vice-versa.

As for revamping Awarepoint’s third-party sales partnerships, Deady says the company has “gone from smaller, regional community-based hospital resellers to [firms] that really understand healthcare technology and who have global reach, with hundreds of [sales] people in the field who have thousands of relationships. Those are the channels, in addition to our direct sales channels, that will really give us leverage.”

In expanding Awarepoint’s in-house capabilities, Deady says he was dumbfounded to learn the company had a single business development account manager. “We’ve got these great clients that are highly reference-able and very satisfied, but they didn’t have an account management program,” Deady says. “So while the clients liked the technology and it worked quite well, nobody was really helping them get deeper adoption, and helping them show the return on investment internally, helping them tell the story to their executives and why they should continue to expand their investment and what it would mean to them.”

Part of the problem in the poor rate of overall market adoption was that some competitors had oversold healthcare providers on the capabilities of RTLS systems based on Wi-Fi technologies, Deady says. “They were really out over their skis, promising a lot more than they could deliver and some early adopters really got burned, and a lot of us got tarred by that,” Deady says.

He estimates that about 25 percent of Awarepoint’s installations require pulling out a previous Wi-Fi installation “that just never scaled across the enterprise.”

So why does Deady think the market is ready now to consider adopting wireless tracking technologies?

“Part of it is confidence that the technology will work,” Deady says, “with a hard return on investment, and with improved patient safety and improved compliance, however they want to measure it.”

The Awarepoint CEO also maintains that the company’s proprietary ZigBee’s mesh networking technology is far less expensive and far easier to install in a healthcare setting than Wi-Fi networks. Deady contends that Awarepoint is driving its gross profit margins “well above 80 percent, and we think we can get those even higher next year.”

In terms of the strategy he’s set in motion, Deady says, Awarepoint is “just about done expanding our account managers and sales force.” The next logical step is to increase the headcount in product development, implementation, and customer support, which means hiring almost 25 more employees. Deady says he expects Awarepoint’s workforce will number 126 by the end of this year.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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