Hi Martin (Epic Name).
- What price point do you think this new stripped down product should be at?
- Who is is aimed at? Who will buy it?
- What devices would it be in competition against at that price point for that audience?
I ask because I know thats the sort of questions the product dev team will ask.
Of course I agree with you that more customers would potentially buy a Peplink Cellular device if it was cheaper, however personally I’m not convinced that is the way forward.
We meet customers everyday who question the cost of a Peplink based solution. They wave their (often free of charge from their operator) MiFi device they currently use at me and say ‘How Much?!’, 'I’ve got this MiFi it gets me connected nearly all the time, has an inbuilt battery and only costs [nothing/$40 / $80 / $120 - delete as appropriate].
Then I quietly remind them that the reason for calling me in the first place was that they couldn’t get connected where they are / that they have had a huge cellular bill as its unmanaged / that it isn’t powerful enough to be used by an office full of people / that it melted when they left it in the car / that it doesn’t work consistently. And you know what, a large percentage of consumers will stick with what they have and not want to pay for a Peplink device as their demand for connectivity doesn’t justify the extra cost.
if I’m speaking to an IT department of a large firm the conversation is slightly different. They normally come to me when they have larger numbers of staff who have MiFi units and they are currently trying to monitor and manage that estate of devices buy using mobile network operator SIM portals/dashboards. They can’t get enough info from those portals to diagnose local user issues, they have staff who drive to motorway service stations to connect to public wifi because the MiFI units don’t always work. Those guys know and understand the pain of cheap devices that fail and need for hero levels of remote management and can barely contain themselves when I show them InControl and the problems they can solve with it.
The combination of enterprise grade hardware and remote management means that IT departments & service providers reduce their support overhead. They don’t have to go to site to see what is wrong or to work out what is consuming the bandwidth on site. They can see the cellular signal strength, set up a VPN in a blink of eye for remote diagnostics of LAN side equipment, and they can switch SIM cards remotely in a device when bandwidth caps are smashed on the primary SIM.
At the moment, Peplink Devices are squarely aimed at the enterprise and managed service providers as a primary target market. Naturally they also get a bunch of us prosumer customers tool, attracted by the level of capability in the product and services. Yes the devices are more expensive than some of the competitors equipment but when we’ do our 6 monthly review here and try another vendors kit we normally find the features so obviosuly lacking that those reviews take almost no time at at.
Personally I don’t want Peplink to produce a consumer cellular WiFi device - the market is flooded with hundreds of those things already. Could they do it better than most - yes I think they could. Does it make business sense to - I’m just not convinced it does.