The UK?s first network equipment cyber-company, Virtual Access, was launched today with the promise from its CEO, Tom Hughes, that it will ?slash the cost of Internet connection for SMEs? by eliminating the labour intensive cost of the installation process.
A new product, LinXpeed, is a self-configuring ISDN modem which Philip Smith, director of product management and marketing, dubbed an ?engineer in a box.?
He claimed it will free up the ?bottleneck? that exists for the UK?s 1.2 million SMEs who want to get connected because it will ?remove the complexities of configuration because the end user simply plugs it in and switches it on.?
The box is automatically programmed to dial up a number and the remote configuration removes any need for the services of a qualified engineer.
According to chief operating officer, Graham Skelton, ?the elimination of complexity reduces cost and time.? He hopes that ?the purchase and employment of LinXpeed will be simpler and easier to use than the mobile phone? which in turn will lead to mass deployment.
Professor Sampler from the London Business School said that ?80 per cent of SMEs do not understand new technology which prohibits them from adopting it.
Barbara Roche, parliamentary under secretary for small firms, trade and industry, endorsed the product which will be provided free for business links throughout the country so that ?people can be offered advice locally on how to use the services.?
Roche declared: ?We are at the cross-roads of a revolution and SMEs are important for three reasons - they are engines of growth and job creation, they can create opportunities for communities and their capacity to innovate is immense.?
She went on to say: ?An effective use of IT and new technology is an essential component of competitiveness. An important part of that is ecommerce, which can change their lives.?
The minister pointed out the gap which exists ?between the large firms and SMEs on how quickly they take up new technology.?
Skelton believes that ?the telcos have not done enough for SMEs compared to the service they provide for the smaller companies? but he was confident that LinXpeed would ?enable the service provider to provide a service in a previously non-viable market, that is the service provider can be profitable.?
Virtual Access is presently conducting trials with a number of service providers over provision of the ?Activator? or virtual access box but would not say which ones.
The LinXpeed range of family products sell at between #150 and #400.
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