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Thursday, May 30, 2002

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VoIP legalisation -- Webcams see an increase in sales

Vishwanath Kulkarni


THE recent legalisation of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has seen an increase in the sales of Web cameras (Webcam). Vendors expect further sales growth in the days to come.

Mr Sanjeev Shah, National Sales Manager, Logitech's India, said the demand was mainly from the SOHO segment and from corporates and the financial services sector to some extent.

Webcam provides a simple and exciting way to communicate with video and images. With the legalisation of VoIP and a drop in tariffs, a new avenue had been thrown open for the consumers, said Mr Shah adding that it is easier for them to communicate face-to-face with friends and family members overseas.

"Webcam will become necessary as part of the PC kit in the days to come as web chats, video conferencing and video mails are becoming popular", said Mr Shah. ``We expect Webcam sales to grow by over 50 per cent in the current year and the market is as big as the SOHO segment in the country,'' he added.

Till last year, Logitech used to sell a few hundred Webcams in the country, of which a major chunk was to the OEMs. This year, sales had already crossed the four-figure mark, he said.

Admitting that there has been an increase in the demand for Webcams, Mr Pankaj Oberoi, in charge of commercial desktops at Compaq India, said it was coming mainly from the retailers. Till November last year, Compaq used to bundle Webcam along with its PCs as a freebie. Compaq, which considered the offer as unique, discontinued it after the PC assemblers in the country started offering a similar freebie, Mr Oberoi said.

Low prices are also a reason which compel a PC buyer to go in for Webcams, sources at Kathie Business Machines, a leading vendor of branded as well as assembled products in Bangalore, said. Webcams are priced as priced as low as Rs 2,000 and sometimes are even offered with an assembled PC for a price as low as Rs 995, sources added.

The Webcam market in India is dominated by players such as Logitech, Compaq, Intel, and D-Link among others along with the low-end unbranded imports that mainly come into the country from Taiwan, China and Singapore.

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