Bluetooth fairy pays 3Com a visit

Bluetooth fairy pays 3Com a visit

With a nervous Nasdaq index on the one hand and stiff competition from a swag of vendors on the other, 3Com has launched the technology it hopes will settle investor nerves and make its remaining Australian directors a motza.

3Com last week announced a slew of products including a new range of its SuperStack switches, a host of OfficeConnect servers for small businesses and its much anticipated foray into Bluetooth technology.

The vendor has held back on any releases until now, weathering the loss of its Australian MD Archie Wilson and pressure from industry pundits left questioning the company's direction. So the question remains: has 3Com finally thrown down its trump card?

Michelle Kinna, marketing director of 3Com Australia, believes it has. "The reason we've launched all the products in one go is because the product sets fit together to form one solution," she said.

Kinna claims resellers can also believe in the vendor, with 3Com offering a breadth of products to suit all environments in the SME space.

The drive behind the releases is the notion that the product sell is dead. 3Com is stepping in to provide resellers with the platform on which to build applications for its customers, and therefore attract premium services revenues, claims Kinna.

Kinna highlights the OfficeConnect range, which includes a storage server, e-mail server, Internet server and Internet firewall.

She argues that instead of sourcing products from a number of vendors and running into connectivity and proprietary technology issues, 3Com can provide a range of interoperable self-contained boxes.

"We're definitely telling the reseller the products are cheaper, faster and better. You don't have to spend so much time integrating [products] and can spend more time on delivering services," claims Kinna. One such service is the remote management function built into the OfficeConnect products, which can be monitored by the reseller if the SME doesn't have the skills in-house.

The company is also banking a part of its future prosperity on the widespread adoption of Bluetooth technology. 3Com will be bringing to market a range of wireless hubs, PC cards and USB adapters that Kinna claims are designed to "prepare the desktop" for Bluetooth's arrival. She also mentions the company will be bundling its Bluetooth connectivity products with a number of hardware manufacturers' goods in the future.

TAble-What's on the table?

Product Pricing (US list) Availability

n SuperStack 3 Switch 4900 $4995 November

SuperStack 3 Switch 3300 $1995 Now shippingSuperStack 3 Firewall/Web Site Filter $4999/$699 November SuperStack 3 ContentSwitch TBA April 2001SuperStack 3 Web Cache TBA April 2001SuperStack 3 Baseline 10/100/1000 $1795 November SuperStack 3 RAS 1500 $2145 (base) January 2001n NBX 100 system v2.7/2.8 TBA November n Bluetooth Wireless TBA Q1 2001n OfficeConnect Network Storage Server Starts at $849 NovemberOfficeConnect Internet Server $1999 DecemberOfficeConnect E-Mail Serve $899 JanuaryOfficeConnect Internet Firewall w/VPN Starts at $695 JanuaryDistributors:

Ingram Micro: 1300 653 333

Tech Pacific: (02) 9381 6000

LAN Systems: 1800 646 112

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