Last year Philips introduced two models of VoIP phone – the first vendor to market with a consumer product.
Mark Franklin, director of Ingram Micro’s Australian communications division, says Philips’ VoIP phones are designed and engineered for the home consumer market.
However Franklin is quick to highlight opportunities in the small business sector.
“We find a lot of small business owners – such as electricians or plumbers – are buying these phones, giving them to contractors and dramatically reducing their phone bills,” he says.
Philips introduced two models into the New Zealand market last year; the Skype VOIP321 and Windows Live Messenger VOIP433. Both models operate on DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telephone) technology. DECT ensures the highest quality of calls and reception from the base station to the handset.
Users can make and receive calls on PSTN and VoIP networks from the same handset, allowing them to use their existing landline and take advantage of low cost – or free – VoIP calls.
Franklin says the consumer market can be broken into three categories.
“There’s the existing phone customers who want the best device for today and want to be future–proofed against the technology of tomorrow. Secondly, there are existing Skype users who already have a headset. Philips’ phones allow them to move away from the PC. The last section is heavy phone users who want to access cheap international calls.”
According to Franklin, one of Ingram Micro’s key objectives is to bundle Philips VoIP phones with laptops and PCs.
“Basically these phones are an attach sell.”
Franklin says the cordless phone market has a diminishing average sale price but the Philips phones give retailers a reason to upsell to their customers.
And the product is a relatively easy sell, he says.
“This isn’t about learning something brand new. Retailers have to be able to answer customer questions but it’s not a huge learning curve. For the customer, it isn’t even about changing their behaviour patterns – they all know how to use a phone.”