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INTERVIEWS
By 29 August 2012 | Categories: interviews

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TechSmart talked to Greg Solz, MD at Samrand-based Nology Distribution, about the connected home and connectivity at the office.

TechSmart: What are the advantages of having a connected home?

Greg Solz: The gap between the digital needs of businesses and consumers continues to close at a rapid pace. As a result, having multiple connected devices which create a network that enhances one's lifestyle is becoming a necessity - and not only for the tech-savvy. The connected home is so much more than internet connectivity for a few notebooks and/or PCs. It means that movies can be streamed to your flat screen TV, photos and music shared from a single device and more. Soon, this will be extended to having 'control' over our appliances such as alarms, washing machines, TVs and fridges. For example, imagine a fridge that sends you a SMS to let you know that you are out of milk, or even one that is connected to an online shopping portal and orders the milk for you.

Do you think the current broadband availability locally justifies a connected home?

Yes. The additional bandwidth available to South Africa (and the lowered cost thereof) along with Wi-Fi industry standards that provide 'close to wired' speeds, and home plugs that utilise the electrical wiring of a house to transmit data, all mean that we are definitely looking at the 'connected home' as a reality in South Africa. Furthermore, technology has developed to provide redundancy for connectivity with the introduction of ADSL 'failover' to 3G, ensuring homes can be connected 24/7. Connectivity options are also expanding for consumers and small businesses with the introduction of routers that make use of 3G connectivity exclusively. However, these 3G routers include the capability to share this connectivity with other users.

What can Nology Distribution offer the consumer in terms of setting up that connected home?

Nology Distribution provides the networking and connectivity products that are required for a 'connected home'. These include failover capabilities that deliver redundancy. For those that don't have an ADSL connection, our fully portable Wi-Fi 3G router with USB connectivity shares a single 3G connection with multiple Wi-Fi devices. These routers can be deployed at the office or remotely, whilst on the go. For the person that requires 'single' connectivity, we also offer a 3G USB modem or dongle that, similar to those that the providers offer with 3G data contracts, does not feature this 'lock in'. A user can purchase a data enabled SIM card and they are connected. Furthermore, these devices offer speeds of 7.2Mbps and 21.6Mbps, providing the user with choice.

Nology Distribution also supplies security solutions such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that allow you to remotely send and access information over a secure connection, ensuring information is not intercepted. In addition, we supply accessories such as home plugs that extend the 'reach' of the network to all four corners of the home using the existing electrical infrastructure in a home. We deliver solutions that not only enable connectivity for many devices but also facilitate the improvement of the speed and performance of the internet connection and network and sharing of digital content. We have also recently moved into the mobile market with the distribution of tablets and e-readers, all of which will enhance the user experience.

Do you see a greater shift towards wireless offices in SMEs and if not, what do you think is hindering them?

Yes, there has been a shift towards Wi-Fi, especially in the SME environment as it is easier to create a wireless environment for a smaller office. Larger corporates are also beginning to incorporate Wi-Fi areas in their workspace, with aspects such as 'hot spots' in meeting rooms and coffee areas. This shift is further being fuelled with the introduction of new wireless standards such as 802.11ac which delivers throughput speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps).

Where is Nology Distribution's focus in terms of wireless connectivity?

Our mission and vision says it all. Nology Distribution aims to supply products and solutions that deliver services, enhance service levels and add value to the broadband and voice markets in South Africa - making true convergence a reality.

How do you perceive interest from the Channel regarding devices for the connected home and the wireless SME office?

We see the need for 'always on' connectivity driving 3G failover in the market. This is a popular requirement with ADSL users who don't want to experience the inconvenience of 'downtime' due to a faulty line or technical carrier issues. Users are also looking to connect via a variety of devices such as tablets. They also want to share content. As more bandwidth becomes available and the price decreases, users are becoming discerning about Wi-Fi speeds, performance and durability.

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