D-Link has embarked on an aggressive campaign in an attempt to establish itself as the preferred networking hardware vendor in the education vertical.
D-Link appointed Carla Thornton as business development manager for the channel and education earlier this year and believes schools offer an opportunity to continue its growth in the Australian market.
"A lot of vendors in education fail to provide the level of service that should be given to schools. We do a free site survey to ascertain what is needed before passing the leads on to systems integrators," said Maurice Famularo, D-Link's marketing manager, Australia/NZ.
"Education is definitely a market that is there to be taken and we are trying to muscle in. We have been too complacent over the years, imitating rather than innovating, but now we are going to be more aggressive."
D-Link has highlighted gigabit, network security, wireless and broadband as areas where schools will look to upgrade infrastructure during the next 12 months. It wants to own 60 per cent of that market by the end of the year.
The new strategy offers attractive opportunities for resellers because D-Link is offering discounts of around 25-30 per cent on education contracts and is promising to pass those savings directly to the channel. D-Link is distributed by Tech Pacific, Lan 1, BBF, Pacific Data Com, Page Data and Synnex.
Approximately 95 per cent of Australian schoolchildren aged 5-14 years have used a computer and almost half have accessed the Internet during the past 12 months, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
D-Link has already established links with more than a dozen schools around the country and will use wireless technology as a hook to give it a hold in the education sector. "Wireless is something Apple got into a long time ago, but more and more schools are now buying normal PCs and that is a different kettle of fish," Famularo said.
"Children are increasingly exposed to computers in school and at home. The next migration is to have schools running virtual private networks so pupils and students can access school intranets or Web sites from home and teachers can have more flexibility."
D-Link also plans to run detailed training for Department of Education and Training technology advisers to make them familiar with wireless technologies.
"The advantages of wireless equipment from an education point of view are that it makes it more cost-effective to extend a network and gives schools the flexibility to move equipment around," said Steve King, technology adviser, New South Wales Department of Education and Training.
"Rather than seeing technology as something you go to do in a special place, it becomes a tool used in the ordinary classroom environment," he said.
"We are currently targeting schools prepared to be at the cutting edge, and once it becomes established, the take-up will be much greater. If I had to pick the technologies to impact across the board during the next five years then wireless would be a biggie."