NEC is bringing its ruggedised notebooks to Australia and has committed a number of staff to the sector.
NEC marketing manager for rugged notebooks, David Cooke, said the vendor saw a niche opportunity in an underserviced market for Australia.
"The target market will be NEC's traditional enterprise and government customers initially, but in the future we see potential in areas such as education, now that students are increasingly expected to have notebooks," he said.
The rugged notebooks will be distributed through NEC's business solutions group to about 120 enterprise and government channel resellers.
Cooke said NEC was open to the possibility of future retail presence, but it wasn't an immediate priority.
The decision to enter the rugged notebook space was guided by an IDC report that said the market was growing at around 12 per cent per year globally, he said.
NEC's first locally available ruggedised model, the ShieldPRO, has a 12.1-inch touch panel, weighs 2.5kg and has a magnesium alloy casing. The vendor claims it offers up to eight hours battery life and has been IP54 rated, meaning it can withstand dust, water and severe temperature changes.
Cooke said NEC had dedicated four staff to the segment and allocated staff in production management, technical engineering and logistics. They were reallocated from other areas in NEC.
"Depending on growth in the revenue stream, we'll look at bringing on more staff. We see a lot of opportunity in this niche market for vendors who can offer local support and technical capabilities to help large customers with systems integration," he said.