Samsung’s New Math

Samsung’s convergence calculation goes like this. Routing + switching + VoIP + security = 1 — One box, one management interface, one architecture. Last month the Korean electronics giant introduced the U.S. enterprise networking market to Samsung’s new math with the Ubigate iBG Series all-in-one enterprise networking platform for SMBs.

Ubigate begs the question: does the world really need another box?

That’s a simplistic and narrow view, according to Samsung Director of North American Enterprise Networks Lynn Tinney. Ubigate, Tinney explains, is a foundation for converged communications.

“When you speak to customers, they’re speaking about investments: how can I make network operation more efficient. It’s not like they woke up one morning and wanted convergence. It’s coming more gradually, in terms of wise investment, pushed by [the need for] making end users more productive, getting more for their investment.”

To meet these perennial business objectives, the infrastructure has to be in place to serve up what end users need. But while big companies have many choices in today’s market, SMBs have a limited range of options.

“To reach an SMB market, you have to recognize that you’re putting a lot of functionality on a single box,” says Tinney. “It’s risky on the low end but cost makes it a bad financial decision on the high end.”

In other words, when you have a dominant market player — that would be Cisco, the elephant in this particular room — all solutions entail sizable compromises for customers.

Enter Samsung Ubigate iBG.

“We recognize that in the SMB market Samsung could develop a box that offered some clear advantages,” explains Tinney.

Ubigate iBG aims for the SMB sweet spot: cost, reliability, security.

The first place Samsung hopes customers will work the new math is in their costs. To start, Ubigate pricing is about 30 percent less than its “nearest competitor,” according to Tinney. Further, cost of ownership goes down as well, Tinney says, with less equipment and a single, browser-based network management interface. “Business gateways are new corner stones for any infrastructure, Samsung’s Ubigate can consolidate three or four boxes to one.”

Reliability is another part of the calculus that Tinney says makes a convincing argument for the Ubigate.

“Samsung’s long history of outstanding engineering delivers its worth to customers. They can feel confident Samsung brings to market a well engineered and tested solution. The Ubigate is built for redundant power supply to further ensure network reliability,” Tinney says, adding,”If there’s a flaw in it anywhere, it’s that it’s over-engineered.”

Finally, Samsung is also aiming to change the security versus performance equation.

“Security is often the feature that end users either have to sacrifice to maintain performance or accept slower processing speeds to keep the security levels,” explains Tinney. “With Ubigate, the customer can have AV, IDS, IPS, etc. without giving up on performance. Although I doubt the Ubigate will be looked at for only security, this is a critical benefit that goes to significant TCO and ROI.”

Finally, Samsung’s acknowledged expertise in the consumer market will give the Ubigate an additional market advantage, Tinney says.

“Strategic decision makers recognize that the end user is a consumer. Understanding the consumer is an advantage as we design our product. We understand that single user’s perspective.”

So how does that elephant in the room figure in Samsung’s math?

“It’s one thing to go out and buy a tennis racquet,” she says. “It’s another thing to learn how to play.”