Interop: SMC Networks Sets The Tone
My first meeting at Interop 2008, Las Vegas was with Keith Alexis, SMC Networks VP of Sales – Americas, Stephanie Sullivan, Director of Marketing and Iain Kenney, Director of Product Marketing. I got an overview of the company's history and traction in the SMB market, where the brand is most well-known. Focused initially on the framework for Token Ring Networks in its initial founding in the 1980s, and being acquired by Acton of Taiwan, the company has settled into its role as a major brand focused on SMB networking devices and applications with a significant $600-$700 million in annual revenue.
SMC's channels include the classic VAR reseller via two tier distribution, strategic channels via cablecos and telecommunications companies and more recently the Enterprise market via systems integrators such as IBM where the SMC 10 Gig switch is integrated into a high performance storage solution. SMC has no retail strategy and they're happy about leaving that space to DLink, Netgear and Linksys.
I forgot, but I am an SMC customer. My business cable ISP (Charter Business) uses the SMC cable modem to terminate my network on their 2Mbps synchronous service. As well, many of 3Com's OfficeConnect and BaseLine products were/are OEM'd from Acton.
My big line of questioning at the show, after coming off the opening day unconference Energy Camp was around energy consumption and being green. The company's answers were a little standardized around paying attention to the early adoption of best electronics industry manufacturing processes, packaging minimalization to assure easy recycling of cardboard and the use of single chips to keep electrical and cooling requirements lower.
I think SMC is missing an opportunity on the power consumption feature set. Not only are competitors moving utility consumption higher up the decision critieria, but customers are very concerned and want answers. SMC needs to develop a stronger story if they plan to maintain or grow market share against competitors who are making hay about green.
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