Cable Accessories company Cabac NDS is pushing for a piece of the retail networking action, with the launch of Equip, a new division which the company hopes will be at the forefront of the home networking market.
Recognising small LANs as an area of growth in the networking sector, Cabac NDS has been approached its entry into the retail sector in a very different way. The way is littered by companies who in the past have tried unsuccessfully to move connectivity products onto retail shelves with few having identified the right channel to help make home networking pervasive amongst consumers.
"Until recently, cabling has very much been a product of the back of a trade counter," said Equip's director of business Peter Elderton. "But in the last few years we have developed it into merchandise and a lot of installers found they sell active networking products instead of just the traditional passive offerings. So we looked again at where the business was going, and discovered it was going into retail.
"People don't understand where networking has been living - it has been living very comfortably in the small business in the electrical wholesaler."
Elderton recognised that infrastructure for the SME business was already installed and the key was the installer.
"And the installer was a customer of an electrical wholesaler. We are trying to convince our electrical wholesale partners to move into the retail supply range, because they own the relationship with the installer. They have great regional positioning to roll out any sort of infrastructure."
Equip represents the other side of Cabac NDS' retail equation - a range of communications and networking products as well as a number of traditional product lines like mice and multimedia equipment aimed squarely at the retailer. The offering includes a quarterly catalogue of the company's top 400 products which is being marketed to dealers and system integrators as well as the mass merchant channel.
"We are consistantly developing new product lines but connectivity will always be the focus for us. We don't want to get into peripherals or PCs," Elderton said.
Although the company is looking at the mass merchant channel, the corner computer dealer is an equally important target in Cabac NDS' push, because they are the ones that can offer the service and onsell on networking products.
"We see an emerging need for retailers to offer solutions if they are going to take on the sale of networking products into the home," he said. "Everything that goes out the door is fully retailed. It puts the corner store computer guy in the same part of the market as the mass merchants, because they can also offer that aethestic value add."