The small-office, home-office market is a prime target for independent retailers and small resellers looking to step up their value proposition with networking services, according to Netgear.
The low-end networking vendor has launched a program designed to skill up and support a select group of retailers and resellers across its product range of routers, switches and network interface cards.
The program is designed to give dealers the ability to offer consulting and network design services to SOHO and SME customers claims Mark Churchill, national account manager for Netgear.
"It's really a way for them to offer the next level of design and consulting," says Churchill. "We want people to go out and represent us and themselves with a range of services based around the Netgear product."
Dubbed the Powershift Partner program, it offers a way for independent retailers to differentiate themselves from the shopping centre approach of some of the large national retail chains, according to the company.
Churchill claims that the falling complexity of networking hardware, combined with the added necessity of a networked environment for SME customers, will drive more businesses through the retail channel. But the SOHO and SME market is still "patchy" as to what it can do with the infrastructure already in place.
"Some [SME] customers are quite skilled in IT, especially if their business necessitates that. But others have very little idea of what they can do," offers Churchill. To this end, he claims the opportunity is ripe for dealers to step in and provide advice and solutions.
Netgear also sells ADSL (broadband) routing technology, which Churchill believes will be a significant market driver for home and small business networking. He sees an impending explosion in ADSL connectivity as an enabling technology for SMEs that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford leased or dedicated lines, and a big component for the success of this program.
Netgear's Mark Churchill