Cisco mobilizes Philippine 'showroom'

Networking equipment maker Cisco Systems, unveils 40-foot container fitted with its products and applications targeted at SMBs in the Philippines.

PHILIPPINES--Networking gear maker Cisco Systems has rolled out a mobile showroom in the Philippines featuring its products and applications, which are targeted at small to midsize businesses (SMBs) in the country.

In a media briefing held Monday, Cisco executives unveiled the Cisco Express-Network on Wheels, a specially-designed 40-foot container retrofitted with various equipment showcasing Cisco products.

The container will make the rounds in Metro Manila before moving to nearby provinces to showcase Cisco technology that were built for SMBs.

According to company executives, the mobile showroom was not built "just for product demonstrations" but has actual working network equipment and applications that provide unified communications, security and mobility, IP-based video surveillance, and digital media experience.

Christian Hentschel, Cisco's Asia director for channel, marketing and commercial sales, the networking equipment vendor is targeting to showcase the products to more than 20,000 SMBs in some 30 cities across Asia.

"We started the Cisco Express-Network last year in Singapore [and] we plan to bring it to other Asian countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand this year," Hentschel said. He added that the Cisco mobile showroom will run for three years throughout Asia.

According to the executive, the company has invested US$1 million for the "working" equipment inside the container.

He noted that Cisco has been working with various Asian carriers, which will provide the necessary wireless infrastructure the container needs to showcase the SMB applications.

Hentschel said the company eventually plans to invest another US$1 million for a second customized container in February, "depending on the response" from Asian SMBs that Cisco will be speaking with.

He noted that SMBs in Asia, in general, are becoming "sophisticated" and are now looking beyond traditional communications such as the telephone, to conduct and enhance their businesses.

"We see many SMBs that are now looking at IP (Internet Protocol)-based communications for their businesses," Hentschel said.

According to Luichi Robles, country manager for Cisco Philippines, the company will be targeting 3,000 SMBs in the country.

The SMB segment in the Philippines remains highly untapped, as more than 90 percent of all businesses in the country classified as an SMB, according to the local government.

Cisco said it will venture outside Metro Manila in an attempt to attract this customer segment. Robles noted that the vendor has identified areas outside Metro Manila, or what the Cisco calls tier-two cities, that can be viable targets for the company.

"Our presence in tier-two cities is our way of supporting the country's bid to develop provinces as either tourist destinations, or IT and training hubs for BPOs (business process outsourcing service providers) and other booming industries," Robles said.

Joel D. Pinaroc is a freelance IT writer based in the Philippines.