by March 25, 2010 0 comments

Why would a small company with 25 computers require something as complex as
structured cabling? Isn’t structured cabling something meant only for large
enterprises? This was the thought in our mind when we went to speak to the India
MD for Belkin Inc, whose recently launched their structured cabling solutions
for Indian SMBs. The company has been in the structured cabling business
internationally, and has mostly focused on consumer products for the Indian
market till now. So why such a bold step to enter into a fragmented and
widespread market with both copper and fiber based structured cabling solutions?

Mohit explained his company’s strategy of why they’re targeting Indian SMBs
with 25-100 with their structured cabling solutions. He said, that “India is a
country with about 13 million organizations. Only the top 10,000 or so
organizations would be having structured cabling in place. That is not even the
tip of the iceberg. Our strategy is to tap structured cabling business from
organizations that have 25-100 computers, because that’s where the growth is
really happening.”

But do they really need structured cabling solutions? To this, he explained
that IT expands like a web in an organization. Most organizations are now
gradually coming out of the economic slowdown, and started to grow. So today, if
an organization has 5 computers, 2 to 3 years down the line this number could
grow to 10 or even 50. Many a times, the companies themselves can’t predict that
they would grow so much, and when they do, they need the right IT solutions to
help them manage everything. For instance, they would need structured cabling
and active networking equipment to connect all the computers to share data.
Mohit then gave examples of everyone, right from a dentist to real estate
companies. Even a dentist today, could have five computers to tackle his day to
day operations. All of a sudden, the dentist would realize that besides using
computers to maintain their billing, they also need computers to store and
maintain the digital records of their patients, for which they require more
computers. With more computers, transferring data between them becomes a
challenge, for which need structured cabling. Likewise, most real estate
builders are adding structured cabling into their construction projects, because
the consumers who eventually occupy those buildings would require networking.

The company has the top ten cities in its radar for the immediate future, and
later will target the remaining 20 Indian cities that are growing. For this,
they’ve partnered with Neoteric and Iris as their channel partners. The former
will handle the consumer side of the business, while the latter would handle
projects. Belkin will use its existing web of 55 support centers (that are
currently used for their consumer products business) to also handle the support
for structured cabling as well.

With this rollout, Belkin will become the only company in India to offer both
active and passive structured cabling products. They already manufacture
wireless and wired networking products like unmanaged switches and routers. The
only other company that was offering both passive and active products till now
was D-Link, and even they’ve had a demerger, with one company handling the
active networking products, while the other is handling passive products.

Considering that the Indian SMB market is very price sensitive, and companies
are mostly unaware of new technology, how does Belkin plan to grab a market
share? To this, the simple response from Mohit was “We are confident of our
strategy, and we expect tough times ahead. But we’re like a child who’s learning
to walk. We might fall, but we’ll get up, wipe off the dust, and start walking

On the pricing front, Belkin apparently has their own manufacturing unit for
copper cables in China, so they can leverage that to be more competitive in the
Indian market.

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