Emerson looks to power up SMBs

The UPS maker is set to roll out new offerings for small and midsize businesses as part of its 2006 focus to go beyond high-end power protection.

SINGAPORE--Uninterruptible power supply manufacturer Emerson Network Power is eyeing a piece of the lucrative small and midsize business (SMB) market with the launch of a new product in Malaysia this week.

Speaking to reporters here last Friday, Seah Siow Tech, Emerson's senior managing director for Southeast Asia, revealed that the company will introduce a new product designed specifically for SMBs.

Scheduled to be launched in Malaysia on Dec. 6, the new UPS (uninterruptible power supply) has a battery-operated monitoring system and is rack mountable--a feature which small businesses with limited office floor space would appreciate, he said.

The new announcement puts Emerson in direct competition with other rival UPS makers including APC, which Seah acknowledged, has a stronghold over the SMB space.

To better compete, Emerson plans to develop a tiered channel program as well as actively recruit resellers and form partnerships with "solution providers" such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, he said.

Said Lieny Hardiman, Emerson's marketing manager for North Asia and Southeast Asia: "We work with distributors like ECS and SiS in Singapore. But one tier down, we'll work with the solution providers too."

According to Seah, Emerson is not new to the SMB space. However, he admitted that Emerson has largely been a "big box", or high-end market player. "Today, a lot of our business is still in the 'big box'," he said. "About 10 percent to 20 percent of our regional business is from SMBs. We hope to double this in 2006."

Emerson provides protection of Internet data centers and telecommunications networks for Asia-Pacific customers including SingTel, China Telecom, Taiwan Semiconductors and HSBC.

Emerson believes this is the right time to target SMBs which have growing power protection requirements. "Businesses are focusing on business continuity, implementing technologies like voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other mission-critical applications, and SMBs cannot afford power disruption," said Hardiman.

Following this week's launch in Malaysia, Emerson's new SMB-targeted product will be introduced to the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. "Singapore is the next stop, probably in mid-January, followed by Philippines, Thailand, and so on," said Hardiman.

Asked why Emerson chose Malaysia as the first market to launch its product, he noted that there was no particular reason. "It's just that the team there is ready to handle the launch," she said, adding that there are little differences between the Singapore and Malaysia markets.

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