Standard Microsystems Corporation is staking its claim in the workgroup networking market with a new strategy designed to bring smaller organisations into the Fast Ethernet market.
SMC's vice-president of new products development Steven Schmid says the Connect 100 strategy aims to assist people in understanding the fundamentals of Fast Ethernet. "There have been certain things that have been inhibiting people from taking advantage of 100Mbit/sec. We believe we can help people overcome those needs and issues."
Schmid says the key is in providing basic information, and talking about the fundamentals of Fast Ethernet and the decisions that need to be made as the technology becomes more affordable. "The price of Fast Ethernet switching is going to fall like a rock. And we're trying to address end-users' needs in very practical terms, to help them understand this type of technology and integrate 100Mbit/sec with their existing 10Mbit/sec networks.
"We're providing a lot of guidelines and practical information for people, and we're providing opportunities for the resellers to scale solutions to their customers' needs." As well as seminars, SMC's Web site contains 54 different integration scenarios, to assist resellers in designing solutions.
Schmid said SMC is not focusing on the high end on the market. "What's crucial for small to medium businesses is having an affordable entry price." We're focused on having a complete hardware solution for the small to mid-sized businesses for local-area networking, and then for the larger enterprises having complete workgroup/departmental solutions that have to co-exist with enterprise vendors' products." Hence the Connect 100 hardware release, with a number of Fast Ethernet products designed to reduce price per port to an affordable level.
Further to this, Schmid says SMC hopes to roll out its customer satisfaction guarantee program in the Asia-Pacific region before the end of the year. The guarantee goes beyond existing lifetime warrantees by including features such as 48-hour product replacement. "Lifetime warrantees are great, but network uptime is really what's paramount.
"What the customer satisfaction guarantee is about is trying lower overall cost of ownership. You get a money back guarantee, you get toll- free support, you have a lifetime warranty, but you also have a 24-hour shipment policy. Those are the things that will amount to a lower cost of ownership."
As a company operating an indirect sales model, much of the satisfaction guarantee will be administered by the channel. "We don't have the sales and service infrastructure to sell directly to end-users and provide on-site service and support. But one of the things that we're really good at is supporting the resellers and users, and the customer satisfaction guarantee is really a way to capture the things we do very well."