Sanjeev Aggarwal's Blog

November 29, 2010

Dell Vostro V130 – A Great Fit For Small Business Entrepreneurs, Executives And Mobile Professionals

Filed under: Blogs - Sanjeev Aggarwal, Infrastructure, Small Business, SMB, SMB strategy, video — Tags: , , , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 9:33 pm

 

As a entrepreneur and a CEO of a small business who travels frequently, I have been looking for a business-class notebook that is sleek, lightweight, provides good performance and security, and is also affordable. Dell’s Vostro V130 meets these requirements and provides enhanced performance over the previous V13.

 

Figure 1: Mobile Workers (employees that travel more than 20% of their time on business)

Source: Small and Medium Business Mobility Study, SMB Group

Small Businesses Are Becoming More Mobile

Mobility is a key consideration for most small businesses (companies with less than 100
employees) when purchasing technology solutions. Overall, about 81 percent of small
businesses (Figure 1) have mobile workers that travel more than 20% of the time for business related activities.

Breaking this down a bit, we see some other interesting data points:

  • The larger a small business becomes, the more important mobility becomes: 86% of companies with 50-99 employees have mobile workers.
  • A larger percentage of employees travel in companies with fewer employees. In those with 1-19 employees, 22 percent of the employees travel more than 20% of their time on business.

Many of the mobile business executives in these small businesses no longer have desktop PCs in their offices. They want an all-purpose, ultra-portable mobile device that they can rely on to run their business applications and most likely their personal applications as well. Key considerations for small business entrepreneurs and C-level management include:

  • Ultra portable laptops that can fit in the smallest carry-on bag and weigh almost nothing. They also need to be sturdy to withstand all the beating the laptops encounter during airport security inspections. Successful entrepreneurs–and those that would like to be–also want a sleek and stylish device that helps them put their best foot forward in client meetings.
  • Although small businesses are using more web-based solutions, most still rely on several tried and true packaged applications, such as Intuit QuickBooks and Microsoft Office, excluding netbooks from consideration.
  • Data security is a key concern for travelling executives because these systems usually store sensitive company and customer information.
  • Executives never have time to backup their laptops, they need a secure automated online backup service that works in the background.
  • Wireless connectivity in the office(Wife) and while travelling (mobile broadband).
  • Strong battery life for long trips, client meetings and conferences.
  • Onsite support to provide peace of mind should anything go wrong and the device can’t be fixed remotely.
  • Affordable pricing because technology and capital purchase budgets continue to be tight.

How the Dell Vostro Stacks Up

  • Fresh and sturdy design. The Vostro V130 offers CEOs and entrepreneurs sleek and ultra portable functionality. But it’s also tough, built with an anodized aluminum scratch-resistant shell in either Aberdeen Silver or Lucerne Red (Figure 2). Having a full-featured laptop that weighs in at 3.5 pounds, and measures a skinny 0.65 inches a full featured laptop gives the Vostro a touch of the wow factor that will get it noticed.

Figure 2: Dell Vostro V130


  • Strong multimedia capabilities. The V130 features a 2.0-megapixel webcam and microphones for web and video conferencing. HDMI output enables high definition streaming to an HDTV that is very useful for making presentations. In fact, these features are becoming a must have for the executive laptop, and I see myself using most of these as they make for a richer collaboration experience and higher quality presentations.
  • Affordable pricing. The V130 line up ranges from the Intel Celeron system running Linux and priced at a competitive $499 up to Intel i5 ULV processor running the Windows7 operating system for $849.
    Details on the 3 models include:

 

  • Intel® Celeron™ Processor ULV U3400: 2M Cache, 1.06GHz, 800 MHz FSB with Linux for $499 and the same system with Windows7 Home Premium for $549.
  • Intel® Core™ Processor ULV i3-380UM: 3M Cache, 1.33GHz, 800 MHz FSB with 4GB memory and 320GB hard drive and Windows7 Home Premium for $689.
  • Intel® Core™ Processor ULV i5-470UM : 3M Cache, 1.33GHz, 800 MHz FSB with 4GB memory and 500GB hard drive and Windows7 Home Premium for $849.
  • Performance. With the latest Intel Core iCULV processor, the Vostro V130 offers up to 40% overall performance improvement over the previous V13 with a duo core processor The performance range between V130 models is significant, as shown in Figure 3. Because I create a lot of PowerPoint presentations and Excel documents, my preference is to go with the best performance processor. Those with less process intensive requirements may not need as much horsepower. Most entrepreneurs will want to add available security, backup and onsite support options to safeguard their data and ensure peace of mind.

 

Figure 3: V130 Relative Performance with Different Processors and Windows7 Operating System

Source: SMB Group, November 2010

  • Battery life. Since I travel frequently, I like the fact that the
    V130 features a sealed 6-cell 30WHr battery that provides up to 4 hours and 21 minutes of mobile productivity —almost long enough for a cross country U.S. flight.
  • Mobile Connectivity. Many very small businesses only use a wireless network in the office and home office. The Vostro V130 laptops support a full range of connectivity options, including 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless LAN, Bluetooth 3.0, and mobile broadband. These options make it easy for the mobile executive to connect to the network in the office, while travelling, at clients’ offices or at home.
  • Data protection. Since I have all of my company’s financial, banking and customer information on my laptop and shudder to think what would happen should it get dropped, lost or stolen. Freefall sensors are standard on the V130. These sensors detect if the laptop is in a state of free fall, and park the head of the disk drive to prevent a head crash and resulting data loss upon impact on the ground.
  • Data backup. When was the last time you backed-up your laptop? Though many of us are loathe to admit it, most small business executives fail to back up their laptops regularly. Viruses, accidental file deletion, disk crashes, etc. can irreparably compromise data and information that cannot be easily re-created. Dell’s DataSafe online backup is an easy way to ensure mission critical laptop data will get backed up.
  • Flexible service and support
    options. If a key executive’s laptop is down, the business suffers. Most small businesses lack dedicated internal IT staff, and need to rely on third parties when a problem arises. Dell provides a range of service solutions, from phone support to ProSupport, which includes a dedicated, single point of contact and next day onsite support in most instances. A 3-year ProSupport agreement with next day onsite support is $190 – money well spent to gain peace of mind. Based on my own personal experience with Dell ProSupport service, I would rate it as an industry best and would not hesitate to recommend it for mission critical executive support.

 

Summary

The new Dell Vostro V130 is primarily intended for small businesses entrepreneurs and executives that are highly mobile and need a thin, light, full featured notebook–and have a tight technology budget. Having the opportunity to review an early model, I believe that the Vostro V130 will be very appealing choice for mobile professionals looking for a sleek, highly capable and professional looking executive laptop.


October 4, 2009

Could Video Conferencing become the SMB segment ‘Killer App’ ? At least Cisco thinks so with the Tandberg acquisition!

Good move by Cisco. The key beneficiary of Cisco’s acquisition of Tandberg will be the SMB and mid-market. Cisco already has video Telepresence solutions. However, these Telepresence solutions are primarily enterprise solutions – way beyond the affordability of the SMB (1-499 employees) or the mid-market enterprises (500-1000 employees). Both segments together are referred to as SMB in this blog.

The SMBs and vendors (that service this segment) are rapidly comprehending the business value and short-term ROI that Video Conferencing solutions offer. The global SMB video conferencing solutions and services market opportunity is around $150M in 2010 and forecasted to grow at an annual rate of around 9%. The SMB segment purpose built, cost effective, standards based solutions (from vendors like Tandberg and Polycom) coupled with rapidly declining prices of high throughput network bandwidth are now making the SMB video conferencing market very interesting.

In my 2 previous blogs, I have addresses the market opportunity for these solutions and vendors that provide solutions: Video Conferencing Solution – Now Affordable by the SMBs, SMB’s turning to Conferencing Solutions in tough economic times

Tandberg has an extensive video conferencing solutions family purpose built for the SMB market. With the introduction of the Quick Set C20 solutions, they have priced these solutions more in-line with what the SMB market can afford. What Tandberg lacked was a channel that could sell and service the SMB market – hence, not much of a installed base.

What does Tandberg bring to the Cisco-Tandberg party?

  • A complete set of video conferencing solutions for the SMB market that are standards based
    • Personal, desktop to conference room based video conferencing solutions
    • Desktop video conferencing phone with E20 and the MPX desktop solutions
    • PC based video conferencing with Movi
    • Conference room based solutions from standard def. to HD with the Quick Set C20
  • Almost no product overlap between Cisco and Tandberg in the SMB segment
  • The recent acquisition of Nortel Enterprise Div. by Avaya makes them the market leader in the SMB IP Communications segment. Cisco’s differentiation for these products was diminishing. Adding video conferencing to the Cisco product portfolio will provide the required differentiation.

What does Cisco bring to the Cisco-Tandberg party?

The Cisco/Tandberg pairing will open-up opportunities for Polycom to work with vendors such as Avaya, Nortel, HP (a Tandberg partners) – as they compete with Cisco in the SMB segment.

Cisco’s strength in integrating some of the SMB segment based acquisitions has been less than stellar, especially in the collaboration area. Acquisition such as WebEx, Jabber, PostPath have lost the momentum they once possessed before the Cisco acquisition. Hopefully Cisco will do a better job integrating Tandberg.

One private company (which is a partner of Tandberg) that will make a good acquisition target for Cisco is Broadsoft. They could provide Cisco the push and presence with the global service providers for hosted VoIP and Unified Communications solutions that Cisco currently lacks or are not much of a competitor.

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June 10, 2009

Video Conferencing Solution – Now Affordable by the SMBs

Filed under: Channels, Collaboration, Conferencing, mid-market, SMB strategy, video — Tags: , , , , , — sanjeevaggarwal @ 10:06 pm

As the on-premise systems now support reservationless On-demand conferencing, they let employees hold impromptu meeting, without pre-scheduling these meetings – allowing them to collaborate when they need to, with whomever they need to, provided both parties have access to compatible video conferencing systems.

Vendors are recognizing the market opportunity and value of video conferencing solutions for the SMB market and are making available systems that are affordable and easy-to-install/ use/manage because SMBs typically don’t have the IT staff to support these solution. In some instances these solutions can be managed remotely by VARs and service providers. However, they are still a ways away from a price that will explode mainstream adoption in the global SMB markets.

Video conferencing solutions fall in three broad categories:

Video conferencing solutions vendors are now developing products and solutions designed specifically for the SMB and mid-market. These systems are easy-to-use and priced appropriately for this market segment. Polycom’s QDX6000 system is now available for under $4,000. The QDX6000 is a full featured SMB product that offers high resolution DVD quality video room-based video conferencing solution that has low-bandwidth requirements. A these price points, SMBs can pay for the systems by reducing travel expenses – reduction of 2-3 business trips can now pay for these solutions providing short-term ROI.

Video conferencing solutions are leading to more frequent meetings between distributed workers (and in several cases with outsourcing partners), and providing improved productivity by speeding product development by helping teams triage and resolve problems faster. This is especially true for SMBs that sales and development office in the U.S., outsourced software development locations in India, and outsourced manufacturing in China and Latin America.

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