NEC launches Univerge wireless LAN suite

NEC is to train up its existing reseller channel on how to sell its new Univerge wireless LAN products.

The education program will be accompanied by promotional activities, like the bundling of soft phones and handsets for IP telephony, to drive sales.

NEC will target organisations looking to converge voice and data transmissions over wireless and wired networks.

NEC business solutions wireless voice and data manager, Alex Gatiragas, said converged wireless LANS were a new focus for the company but fitted into its strategy.

“It’s an area we certainly weren’t covering before but, at the same time, it’s a part of our overall strategy to providee convergence for customers,” he said.

NEC would look to the healthcare and education sectors for initial sales of Univerge, Giteragas said.

“Healthcare professionals want more access to information,” he said. “Using this technology they can access x-rays or reports from pathology by the patient’s bedside.”

Large education institutions such as universities provided opportunities as both students and staff needed ready access to intranets, libraries and information, Giteragas said.

“It’s a logical step for us and there is very large growth in the market place,” he said.

While providing organisations with wireless voice access had been relatively easy, Giteragas said, NEC was only moving into the area only now because data access had traditionally been a difficult obstacle to overcome due to concerns around security.

“There’s a sense of security on wired [LAN] networks because somebody would need to physically gain access to the building [to cause harm],” he said. “With wireless networks you have radio emissions outside the building and there is always a big concern that people driving by [with WLAN enabled devices] could maliciously gain access to your information.”

NEC would look to work with its existing reseller channel in pushing through the new technology, Giteragas said.

“Resellers have been telling us that they need something new to talk to customer about,” he said. “They’ve been very successful at selling phones systems but need a means of gaining an additional revenue stream from that install base.”

“We’re hoping resellers will walk into an organisation and be able to say they can provide wireless voice and data with just one kit.”

Giteragas said IDC was predicting 90 per cent growth in the WLAN market during 2004.

He predicted NEC would grow at twice the market rate during the same period.

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