As NAS specialist Synology enters into a new market with its first router, we go behind the scenes at the company’s UK office to find out more, including plans in home automation…
Walking through the industrial estate in Milton Keynes, I am soon welcomed by the iconic Synology logo emblazoned across the top of a building.
Joanne Plummer, Synology’s UK marketing manager is the first face I see as I walk through the entrance, who insists I meet the rest of the team before we settle down, all of which don a Synology branded T-shirt. Surprisingly, just 15 employees work in the UK office, who have to manage tech support enquires, repairs, marketing and sales.
While I wait to meet the company’s new sales manager, the team pauses to sit down and tell me all about the most memorable tech requests they have had from their customers. Some end users have on occasion sent back a NAS from a competitor in the hope it will be replaced or fixed, much to the team’s amusement.
I meet Billy Knowles, the sales manager for the UK, Ireland and Nordics, who can’t wait to tell me all about the company’s new products.
“We’ve got a router coming out, it’s still in development and we haven’t actually got a release date on that yet,” grins Knowles.
“It is the RT1900AC and you can still use it as a small NAS. It’s got an SD card so you can install some packages and have videos and stream them directly from your router. So it is quite good for the home user.”
Knowles also revealed that Synology will be updating its DS214+ with the new DS215+, as well as the new Visual Station 360HD, propelling the company further into the surveillance market.
Having recently been promoted to the role, his days are far from dull. He tells me: “I’m very busy on the computer, answering emails, answering the phone and just catching up.”
As always, the company has a line-up of new devices coming to the channel, and Knowles isn’t shy about sharing the details with PCR.
Taking a glance around the room, I notice a line-up of framed certificates that litter the back wall, representing each award the company has won over the years, and there will soon be another two to join that line-up. During Computex 2015 in Taiwan, Synology also bagged a Golden Best Choice Award for the new RT1900ac router, as well as securing a Best Choice award for the RackStation RC18015xs+, which the company says it couldn’t be happier about.
Having previously held the role as sales manager for the Nordics, Knowles has had plenty of experience geared towards his new position within the company: “The UK market is a lot bigger so there’s a lot more work to be done, and we have a lot more events.
“The workload is a lot more and it means we’re looking at expanding the team as well to get the extra assistance and support we need,” explains Knowles.
What other plans does the firm have for the future? Home surveillance and automation are firmly on Knowles’ agenda, and the NAS will be the centrepiece for the company. As the NAS becomes more popular with customers, the company is looking to expand into more verticals and grow within the market. Knowles continues: “The NAS has grown and become more popular in the last few years, and I think it’s quite a growing trend.
“The next step is looking at home surveillance and home automation. I think that’s going to be the next step for the consumer market, and I can see NAS being quite a big part of that, as people are looking for somewhere to store their data.”
Industry events are an important aspect to Synology’s business, having previously exhibited at the Photography Show and Gadget Show Live earlier this year, and PCR Boot Camp, Knowles also attended DreamHack in Sweden to check out the gaming side of the industry.
Plummer adds: “The photography industry and the gaming industry is something that we have looked at for a while but haven’t done anything with. Photographers really need us, and this year was the first time we exhibited at the Photography Show, and that was one of our busiest exhibitions.”