Interview: Jayesh Kotak of D-Link talks about ‘Link your Life’ concept, Green tech

Jayesh Kotak

D-Link has been ‘Building Networks for People’ across India for a little over 15 years now. Techshout (TS) had a word with Jayesh Kotak (JK), Vice President of Product Marketing, D-Link India in an email interview about the company’s ‘Link your Life’ concept, Green technology and on going wireless.

TS: Can you tell us something about the operations of D-Link India?

JK: Globally, D-Link Corporation features among the top five networking companies. It set up its Indian subsidiary in 1995 and since then D-Link has been ranked amongst India’s Premier Networking brand. Today D-Link has a strong regional presence across the country with 17 branches. This is further backed by a strong pre and post sales support team. Followings its recent de-merger in 2009, D-Link has realigned its strategy and adapts a more focused approach while addressing customers’ networking requirement. Our objective is to further strengthen D-Link’s position as an ‘end-to-end networking solution provider’. Our key agenda this year will be to reach the untapped market potential and create more awareness at the end-customer level.

TS: How would D-link sum up their performance in the market in 2009?

JK: The global economic slowdown has certainly had its impact on industries across all sectors. This also brought along a lot of challenges. The first half of 2009 was filled with anxiety amongst both vendors and the channel community. As a result, most IT vendors were a little cautious and used a conservative approach in their spending. The second half witnessed a phase of optimism but at the same time the market was very cautious again. Overall 2009 was a great learning experience. It brought everybody back to basics, that is moving away from valuation to value creation. Away from complex business models and futuristic projections based on highly leveraged finance models to a simple profit and loss approach

TS: By far, how has the Indian consumer market changed over the years?

JK: In my opinion, over the years there has been a major change in the customer’s buying pattern. Today’s consumer is highly aware of his requirements or needs. Hence, he does not only look for cost effective products that can lower his total cost of ownership (TCO), but also for more value addition, something that can justify his Return on Investments (ROI).

TS: Elaborate on D-Link’s ‘Link your Life’ concept, revealed at the CES 2010?

JK: At the CES 2010 D-Link showcased a mix of products that deliver a seamless connected experience throughout the home, demonstrating how the latest technology innovations enable today’s consumers to enjoy easy-to-use connectivity and futuristic applications in their households like never before.

TS: Do you think wireless technologies will overshadow others? Can you elaborate on your wireless innovations?

JK: ‘Wireless’ as technologists would like to call it or ‘wire-free’ as consumers would like to look at it, is dominating but not necessarily overshadowing others. More and more devices are going the wireless way by using technologies like Bluetooth which offer ‘wire-free’ personal devices like headphones to other wireless technologies like wireless keyboards, mice and so on. Personal devices like gaming consoles, portable media players and smartphones also support Wi-Fi, one of the most popular wireless technologies. D-Link wireless innovations are on the technology side, like the new N standard supporting 300MB/s speeds, scaling down the radio based on the N standard to offer 150MB/s. D-link offers Wi-Fi scheduling which supports power conservation and being ‘green-conscious’ is an important aspect of D-Link and its customers. Another innovation is the application of wireless technology to our products. D-Link has integrated wireless technology to digital photo frames and coupled them with innovative software. So consumers can get live and updated pictures of their friends and relatives from the net instead of uploading them through PCs or pen-drives. A similar approach is in using 3G technology for innovative products like routers and a door bell! Yes, a door bell which initiates a 3G video call to the user when someone rings the door bell.

TS: Tell us something about the Boxee Box? Does there seem to be a tug-of-war between TV and large screen PCs acting as the complete entertainment hub?

JK: D-Link debuted a complete lineup of new products under the theme, ‘Link Your Life’ at the CES 2010. One such splendid product was Boxee Box, which received an overwhelming response by everyone present and was also the recipient of over 11 awards including ‘Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) – Best of Innovations’ in the Home Theater category. Boxee Box is a beautifully designed, fully-featured media player that allows users to gather, organize and stream their favorite movies, TV shows, music and photos from their PC, home network, storage devices as also the internet to their HDTV using only a remote control with QWERTY keyboard.

There is no need for a PC. Users can also share their content with friends and relatives over social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and others directly from the TV. Currently and in the next couple of years, there seems to be a healthy overlap in terms of functionality. Both are growing and seem to be fueling each others growth like USB support on TVs for viewing photos. TVs will dominate as the face with which consumers view the entertainment, including source being the PCs. PCs have an edge over the stored/offline content. However, live content is where the TVs have the edge. PCs can offer live content on larger screens today. But they still depend on video being streamed through broadband. Bandwidth and QoS issues still have some time to go before they becomes non-issues.

TS: What about green-technology (D-Link Home Energy Monitor Starter Kit)? With the various products going green, to what extent could any manufacture vouch for their ‘green’ products?

JK: These days awareness is at an all time high. All across the globe people are demanding more environmentally friendly products and solutions that enable high-performance computing while satisfying ecological concerns. D-Link as an organization has always been committed towards green computing. We spend a significant amount of resources and time pursuing green computing initiatives and designing green products. All D-Link Green devices are designed to help conserve energy, protect our environment from harmful substances and reduce waste by using recyclable packaging. Most of D-Link’s routers, switches, IP cameras, VoIP solutions and wide range of Wi-Fi solutions feature D-Link Green technology. D-Link Green technology includes a number of innovations to reduce energy consumption.

D-Link Green technology leads the market with energy saving of up to 80% D-Link never uses materials considered hazardous. All D-Link products comply fully with the European Union’s RoHS directive to protect both our customers and the environment. D-Link was the first networking company to get registered as an Energy Star partner, a global initiative to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, which ensures that our power adapters now comply with strict energy-efficiency guidelines. As part of the D-Link Green strategy, D-Link is an Energy Star partner for end-use products incorporating single voltage external AC-DC or AC-AC power supplies. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. D-Link Green is D-Link’s commitment to do our part as we continue to build a healthy future together with our customers.

TS: Is there any specific business oriented product that is set to stand out among the array of devices this year? Any new eco-friendly product in the pipeline?

JK: Introducing better and innovative products at regular intervals is a continuous process at D-Link. We are currently in the process of launching a Managed Green Ethernet switch. This would be the first Managed Green Ethernet switch to be launched in India by D-Link.

TS: What can we expect from D-Link India in 2010?

JK: At D-Link we believe that innovation is the key and have organized various innovative marketing campaigns in the past. Last year we launched ‘bits2009’, a multicity channel education seminar for end-customers, wherein we covered 37 cities (36 cities in India and one in Sri-Lanka). On the end-customer front we launched D-Link Premier League (DPL), Secure Switch Promotion (SSP), and Sales Incentive Program (SIP). So 2010 will be no exception and you can definitely look forward to more innovative marketing campaigns from D-Link.

In fact, we have already launched ‘Global partner program’ and ‘Sales Pro2010’. Global partner program (GPP) is aimed at improving the skill sets of partners by providing training opportunities. GPP is divided into 4 levels, namely, registered partners, Elite, Silver and Gold. Whereas ‘SalesPro2010’ is an exclusive 2 days training program for partners, devised with the objective of giving insights to attendees on network design and helping partner understand customers’ networking requirement in a better way.

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