D-LINK is launching a range of off-the-shelf installation services designed to drive sales of its home networking equipment.
Targeted at the mum and dad market, as well as professionals who have the knowledge but not the inclination to do it themselves, the move is sure to be a big hit with the mass merchants but is unlikely to be embraced by traditional IT dealers.
The service goes live in Australia on September 1 and in New Zealand early in 2005.
D-Link Installation Services (DIS) come in three flavours – a starter pack (DIS-101), an extras pack (DIS-102) and a future pack (DIS-103).
A consumer buying networking equipment can buy the installation services packaged in a DVD case and will have a technician visit their home within 72 hours of making an appointment via the D-Link website, phone or fax, according to D-Link marketing director, Maurice Famularo.
The starter pack covers the connection of up to two desktop or notebook PCs, a router and two network adapters. The technician will also connect the router to an existing broadband service, configure file sharing within the network and perform testing. The Australian service costs A$149.95.
Those with more kit to install immediately can purchase the extras pack for A$49.95. It covers the connection of an additional PC, printer, multifunction device, gaming console or D-Link device such as an access point, router, or internet video equipment.
The future pack covers the same equipment but is considerably more expensive at A$129.95 because another callout fee is involved.
The service will be provided by an unspecified third-party within 50 kilometres of wherever the pack is purchased.
D-Link Australia operates a similar service scheme for business users, called NetProtect, which is fulfilled by NCR.
While Harvey Norman and Dick Smith PowerHouse stores have been earmarked as the most obvious beneficiary of the service packs, D-Link Australia is also making them available through Leading Edge stores and is in discussions with some internet service providers (ISPs).
“ISPs don’t have this level of installation services,” Famularo says. “They have people that will go out and install a modem but won’t assist if there’s more than one PC to be connected. Some of the ISPs we deal with have been pushing for this service to be launched since late last year.”
While he admitted many traditional resellers would shun the service packs in favour of their own installation services, Famularo claims it could be a hit with IT consultants working with small business customers.
“A lot of one-man bands out there can use the service packs as a sweetener on a per-user basis that turns a hardware sale into a solution,” he said.
Famularo says the same service will be provided in New Zealand, early next year, with Kiwi prices or its third-party provider, yet to be determined.
"Everything is on the cards," he says.
Additional reporting by Darren Greenwood