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TheEditor I hope this finds you well
his may be one of the most difficult leader columns that I’ve sat down to write since becoming editor of PCR. The process of putting this magazine together throughout the past month has been somewhat disrupted. Our business has been functioning pretty much as usual, and thankfully, all those involved in getting this magazine into your hands have been able to continue working as hard as they do any other month. But with daily updates from the government about the state of the economy, the country, and the people living and working within it, I am conscious that this month’s issue needs to reflect the current state of the retail and tech channels, and provide as much insight, information and advice that we can. As such, you’ll find information in our Retail Analysis section (p6) about how the government is helping retail and tech businesses amid the current crisis. We also look at the importance of device security (p24), especially how this has evolved with the increased number of people working from home. However, this issue is not the COVID-19 special, it’s our PCR Awards 2020 review issue. And as such, we bring you all the winners from our successful 2020 awards show (p14), which took place on 4th March. And you can all reminisce back to when more than two of you could gather in one place by checking out our after party snaps in the Logging Off section (p49). I would once again like to say a huge thank you to all of our Awards Partners and all of those that attended this year’s PCR Awards. Stay safe, everyone.
“Reminisce back to when more than two of you could gather in one place”
Laura Barnes, Editor
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April 2020 | 3
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14 April 2020 06 Retail Analysis: How the government is supporting retail 10 Industry opinions 14 PCR Awards 2020: The winners revealed 24 Business device security 30 Philips discusses its latest monitor technology 32 Top 5 Tech: Dynabook's Nick Offin 34 Sector Guide: Printers and accessories 38 Crowdfunding Corner 41 Sector Guide: Business machines, monitors and peripherals 46 Life in the Channel: QBS Technology's Dave Stevinson 49 Logging Off: PCR Awards after party pics
PCRmag April 2020 | 5
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How the government is supporting retailers amid the COVID-19 crisis PCR outlines the advice given for keeping employees safe, and the procedures the government has put in place to support your business during this difficult time...
t’s impossible to get away from the current global crisis we are facing. As countries around the world try their best to stop the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19, businesses of all types and sizes are figuring out how they are going to get through the next few months – and how that’s going to affect them for the rest of the year, and possibly beyond. That’s why it felt right to take our monthly retail analysis pages and use it to outline as much information as possible about how the UK government is helping and advising retail and tech businesses. With daily updates on the current status, and things rapidly changing, please be aware that although everything in this article is correct at the time of going to print, there may be changes in advice and help from the government. PCR advises that all businesses and self employed workers make use of the resources and information at https://www.gov.uk/ coronavirus.
Best practice for employees working together
The government advises that businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible. If this is not possible, here are some measures employers should take to ensure their workers are safe in their workplace. – If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home and advised to follow the advice to stay at home – Employees should be reminded to wash their hands for 20 seconds more frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues – Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products
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– Employees will need your support to adhere to the recommendation to stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to others – Those who follow advice to stay at home will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of their absence from work – Employers should use their discretion concerning the need for medical evidence for certification for employees who are unwell. This will allow GPs to focus on their patients – If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online, and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website – Employees from defined vulnerable groups should be strongly advised and supported to stay at home and work from there if possible If you are an employee working from home, or in the office/ shop floor at this time. Here is some advice for protecting yourself and others. – The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
– Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
Government’s support for businesses
– To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue in a bin immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
– Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Under the scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
– Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.
Cleaning guidelines for your oﬃce
If you suspect an office or shop worker, or visitor, may have the virus, here are some best practices for cleaning your environment. – Cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people – If an area can be kept closed and secure for 72 hours, wait until this time has passed for cleaning as the amount of virus living on surfaces will have reduced significantly by 72 hour – Wherever possible, wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning. These should be double-bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished – Using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles – If an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), consider using protection for the eyes, mouth and nose, as well as wearing gloves and an apron – Wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning
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The Chancellor has set out a package of targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:
– Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments: The government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you’re self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021. – Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs): This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020 – 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England: The government will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible. – Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief. – Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. – The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank. – A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme.
April 2020 | 7
ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS HERE AND REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS IN THE IT AND TECH INDUSTRY.
PCR is read throughout the channel, from store managers to leading executives. Put simply, PCR is the trade publication that everybody in the industry reads. Print is still the most effective way to target an audience engaged with the content theyâ€™re consuming. Find out more about advertising in PCR by contacting Sarah Goldhawk at sarah.goldhawk@Biz-Media.co.uk
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@PCR_Online 16/12/2019 17:17
Nutanix has appointed Sylvain Siou as Vice President, Systems Engineering, for the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region. Having formerly been Senior Director, Systems Engineering, EMEA, in his new position, Siou will take a more strategic role in supporting Nutanix’s expansion in EMEA, whilst continuing to have overall responsibility for the company’s growing team of systems engineers in the region. The team provides pre-sales consulting, technical guidance, and assistance to customers and channel partners. Working closely with the sales teams, the systems engineers recommend and design the most effective and appropriate solutions for customers, based on Nutanix’s broad portfolio. “In the seven years I have been working with Nutanix, I’ve never ceased to be amazed at our company’s capacity for demonstrating constant innovation and ability to turn complexity into simplicity,” said Siou. “Nutanix has grown at lightning speed in Europe over the last few years, and I am more than ready to step up to the challenge that my new role brings. It’s exciting to see how far we have come and think that the best is yet to come.”
John F. Abbot has joined Datto’s executive management team as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He is based out of Datto’s Norwalk, Connecticut headquarters. In his role, Abbot will work closely with Datto’s senior executive team and its board of directors, driving key processes and systems to enable the business to maintain close touch with MSPs, and he will oversee all global aspects of Datto’s financial and accounting operations. Datto currently serves more than a million small and mediumsized businesses (SMBs) globally through partnerships with more than 16,000 MSPs. Abbot joins Datto from Cumulus Media Inc. (CMLS), an audiofirst media and entertainment company, where as CFO he played a key role in the operational turnaround and financial restructuring of the business. “This is a pivotal time for the company and I’m excited to be joining Datto’s executive leadership team,” Abbot said. “Datto enjoys a unique and compelling position in the IT services space, and I am eager to contribute to the execution of its vision and be a part of the next phase of its evolution.”
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This month’s movers and shakers in the tech industry...
Dixons Carphone has appointed Ed Connolly as its Chief Commercial Officer. He was previously at John Lewis Partnership where he held a number of roles across commercial and strategy, most recently Director of Partnership Strategy. In his new appointment, Connolly will continue Dixons Carphone’s “commercial transformation”. Connolly replaces Steve Ager who is leaving in June after 12 years to take up a new role outside Dixons Carphone. In his time with the business Ager has built a market-leading commercial function and a “legacy of a strong team and exceptional supplier relationships”. He has also developed the business’s online operations which continue to grow and gain market share. In addition, Mark Allsop will expand his existing digital portfolio and lead Dixons Carphone’s omnichannel customer experience as Chief Operating Officer – bringing stores, contact centres and the online business together. He joined Dixons Carphone from Merlin Entertainments in January as Chief Digital Officer. Alan Ritchie, currently Chief Operating Officer, has also decided to leave the business and will also depart in June.
Cyber and information security company 2|SEC Consulting has appointed Parminder Lall as its Director of Cyber Security. Lall has over 15 years industry experience and most recently served as the Head of Cyber Security Consultancy at Six Degrees, leading the Governance Risk and Compliance teams. Before joining the consultancy world, Parminder was leading compliance programmes for organisations in the private sector, notably British Airways and T-Mobile’s PCI DSS certification. He is well regarded in the security Industry and has a vast network of security professionals and being renowned for his thought leadership. Having been chair of the UK Merchants PCI working group, Lall understands the challenges of many different sectors in the security industry. “I’m really excited to be joining 2|SEC Consulting at such a pivotal time. 2-Sec occupies a unique place in the Cyber security market with its exceptional record of delivering consultancy and compliance accreditations for its clients for over the last 9 years,” said Lall. “I’m looking forward to working with Tim and the team to sustain this outstanding record and to further enhance 2-SEC Consulting’s reputation for being the market leader in the cyber security Industry.”
April 2020 | 9
Printer security should be taken extremely seriously While many organisations don’t feel that printer security is a threat, ASL’s Managing Director Nigel Allen outlines why they could be putting themselves at risk...
full data encryption and ‘follow-me’ printing will assure that ithin the last year, 55% of businesses in the UK have confidential documents don’t print until the user authenticates experienced a cyberattack and reported the cost of the device. dealing with such an incident on average is For businesses without in-house expertise, using a specialist £200,0001. managed print service will help to ensure that patches are updated Increasing in both sophistication and scale, the threat of on all printers, passwords are changed and managed effectively, and cybercrime is rising and is crippling businesses of all sizes. Securing general best practice measures are put in place. Partnering with a your printer fleet is a priority that should be a key part of an trusted MPS supplier that offers a comprehensive cyber security organisation’s overall security strategy. solution will help to save time, reduce costs, increase efficiencies and Whether carelessly or maliciously, employees act as the greatest provide peace of mind. threat to network security. Opening phishing emails, A client of ours recently suffered a serious cyberconnecting unauthorised devices to corporate networks attack that resulted in network intrusion across all and creating poor passwords are all key issues in sites. Hackers used Emotet, a malware that fools network printer security. users into infecting endpoints through phishing Often low down on the list of priorities, many “Investing in the latest emails. organisations don’t feel that printer security is a technology and ensuring To isolate the complete network, ASL threat, especially small and medium sized ensured that all devices were disconnected and businesses. More concerned about malware that employees are then tested each device to ensure that they and firmware vulnerabilities, companies properly trained, will were free from any malware. We then devised enforce tight IT security policies yet ignore a cyber defence strategy to minimise the risk of their printers suggesting that the severity of dramatically mitigate future threats and recommended that our client security risks in print infrastructure is not being the risks” used an isolated printer VLAN to create a secure taken seriously. With the rise of the Internet of printing infrastructure. This helps to protect the Things, IoT devices including printers, employ corporate network against another attack, as it powerful processors and run increasingly advanced prevents the device from having any direct access to the operating systems making them highly vulnerable to internet or any other network device. an attack. We also carried out a number of other security measures There are a number of measures businesses can take to help including the ‘secure release’ feature that ensures print jobs are only secure their multi-function devices. Ensuring that all printer released when the user is next to the printer, eliminating waste and firmware is kept up to date, disposing of printers correctly, carrying preventing documents from ending up in the wrong hands. Our out an audit of IT assets and creating a plan to improve the security client’s network infrastructure is now configured as securely as of printers and multi-functional devices are all simple steps that will possible and downtime of their business was kept to a minimum. help to protect your devices. Printer security should be taken extremely seriously and investing Current print environments can be enhanced by using a print in the latest technology and ensuring that employees are properly release from existing ID cards or limiting how much a user can trained, will dramatically mitigate the risks. print. Looking out for a printer management solution that supports
10 | April 2020
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How D2C retailers can look to a brighter future Kevin Murray, Managing Director at Greenlight Commerce offers his advice to D2C retailers…
s we witness the closures of high street stores and the changing dynamics of consumer behaviours, innovative brands who understand the changing industry, are realising that they are having to extend their digital presence to offer consumers a more personalised, seamless buying experience both in store and offline. Driven by this adoption of online shopping and the shift in consumer demands, brands are increasingly looking to cut out the middleman and go direct-to-consumer by opening their own ecommerce offerings. In fact, a recent survey has found that 40% of consumers say that nearly half of their spending will go to D2C brands in the next five years. There are several reasons behind the rise in D2C commerce, including ownership of the customer interaction and experience, learning about the behaviour of the customer through online channels and collecting customer data. These grounds facilitate the chance for D2C retailers to quickly adapt and tailor their strategy to their customers. With consumer habits constantly evolving, shoppers are becoming increasingly invested in brands who can deliver a faster and more personalised shopping experience – and the D2C model enables retailers to do exactly that. However, for D2C brands to fully reap the advantages of their offerings, decision makers need to ensure they have an ecommerce platform in place that can adapt to the evolving needs of consumers. Customer experience as a focal point This year, customer experience is expected to overtake both price and product as a brand differentiator with a recent survey finding that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if the brand is able to deliver an excellent customer experience. In an attempt to keep up with evolving customer needs and expectations, D2C retailers are narrowing the gap between online and offline user experiences. Online sales are increasing while in-store sales diminish at a growing rate. According to research by GlobalData, half of the UK’s consumers are now purchasing online. The increasing number of online
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customers suggests that this is the preferred shopping channel. As such, it is imperative retailers adapt their offering to provide the best digital experience. However, many D2C retailers are struggling to adjust to the changing face of retail in the age of digitalisation. According to a recent study jointly commissioned by Greenlight Commerce and BigCommerce, the majority of respondents (98%) are facing challenges when it comes to their ecommerce platform. The most common problems cited are customer retention (42%) and customer experience (34%). As a result, almost half (47%) of D2C ecommerce decision makers believe these challenges are leaving them lagging behind the competition. Cost of missing metrics The survey further discovered that in 2019, poor ecommerce planning and execution resulted in D2C retailers wasting £174k in 2019 and this problem is only expected to get worse. D2C operators expect to waste a total of £304k on failed ecommerce projects in 2020 which suggests that lessons are not being learnt. A number of D2C organisations are failing to measure key metrics when it comes to their ecommerce offering. Three quarters of respondents are not measuring abandoned carts, 74% are failing to measure the return on investment of a project, and 71% do not evaluate site loading times. Yet these are necessary requirements for any D2C brand. If D2C retailers are not measuring basic KPIs or collecting customer data, they won’t have the capacity to tailor personalised shopping experiences based on their previous activity. Senior executives within the D2C space must ensure projects are properly planned, executed and the right KPIs are measured. Selling directly gives D2C brands the opportunity to connect with their customers, forming a two-way conversation that inevitably boosts sales. However, brands need to start making investments that are going to provide a superior customer experience and ultimately enhance the bottom line. To do this, retailers must ensure a measured and diligent approach is taken, ensuring projects are planned, implemented and measured in accordance to their loyal customers’ needs.
April 2020 | 11
The acceleration of digital transformation and managed service initiatives With a dramatic turn of events due to the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus, many companies are having to instantly ascertain how to ensure business continuity, remote working and collaboration for the entire organisation, amidst a plethora of corporate travel bans, potential curfews, lockdowns and employees being forced to self-isolate. Gerry Tombs, CEO of Clearvision, discusses the acceleration of digital transformation and managed service initiatives...
ost companies have started to digitally transform their businesses as they look to automate working practices in order to optimise processes and be more productive. As a result, the majority already have flexible and remote working practices in place, as well as working from home policies for specific teams and employees. But with the sudden dramatic turn of events due to the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 virus, businesses are having to instantly ascertain how to ensure businesses continuity, remote working and collaboration for the entire organisation, amidst a plethora of corporate travel bans, potential curfews, lockdowns and employees being forced to self-isolate. This almost instantaneous change in employer and
employee behaviour and working practices has placed unprecedented pressure on organisations to enable home working, to an extent that has never been seen before. And organisations such as Google, Microsoft, Cision and Zoom have already extended the free aspects of their collaboration and video conferencing tools, normally only available for enterprise customers, to all businesses, in order to keep global commerce running. Without a doubt, this is a wake-up call for organisations that have placed too much focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Businesses that can shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms, will certainly mitigate the impact of the outbreak and maintain business as usual both now and over the long term.
â€œMy advice to readers is to seriously look at accelerating your digital transformation plansâ€?
12 | April 2020
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Taking COVID-19 aside for a moment, the more sophisticated technology gets, the faster we move away from the centralised, hierarchical office model. Additionally, in the last few years, the perception of work has shifted from ‘time at desk’ to a more outcome-driven approach that is delivering major advantages to companies and employees alike. In fact, cloud-based project management and virtual teams are quickly becoming the norm. For example, over 16% of companies worldwide hire only remote teams. This flexible new work style goes a long way towards solving the work/life balance challenge that’s arisen in our modern world. Globalisation has meant the need to communicate with colleagues all over the world and in different time zones has stretched the boundaries of our normal working day from “9.00 to 5.00” to “when is the most suitable time to talk?” This means that not only can employees tackle work challenges when it is most appropriate, but they can work when they’re most productive, and have access to their teams and their projects whenever insight or opportunity strikes. And the uptick in productivity, when employees are working more communicatively and collaboratively, is enormous. Additionally, while new technologies present powerful opportunities for organisations, they also introduce challenges. As outlined above, the pace of change in IT is unprecedented and no longer can IT departments standardise on one or two computer models, a single operating system, and a short list of approved applications. The mobile devices and cloud-based technologies that have brought so much possibility have also introduced complexity of devices, platforms and apps for IT departments to manage and secure. For many organisations, those challenges add up to significant expenses: the cost of hiring and training qualified workers, purchasing the infrastructure to support emerging technologies, and keeping systems up to date and secure.
Rather than struggle to keep pace with technology, many companies are turning to managed services providers for help. By trusting a third party, such as Clearvision for example, to handle cloud deployments, mobile initiatives, collaboration tools and security, organisations can focus their time and resources on their core business objectives. And again COVID-19 brings into sharp focus the need for many organisations to transition to a managed service in order to build much needed business resilience. Likewise, organisations should be seeking reassurance from their managed service and IT support partners that they will be able to operate as normal in the event of any widespread change to how employees need to work. Here at Clearvision, as a born-inthe-cloud organisation, we can provide this capability; in the event of regional or nationwide restrictions on movement, nothing will change for our customers from a servicing and business continuity perspective. That is because we have always been highly focused on bringing both teams and people together, delivering a 24/7 managed service, utilising our ClearHub contractors, our cloud capabilities and multiple tools. My advice to readers is to seriously look at accelerating your digital transformation plans. We can help you implement the right strategy, the best tools and our team can undertake a health check to ascertain what you already have and whether you are using it properly and a team of consultants to move your IT infrastructure forward. Right now, we are working hard to make sure that none of our customers get left behind in this pandemic and that we are supporting their ongoing business. Let’s face it, change is inevitable, this new virtual/ managed workplace dynamic is here to stay and I foresee that once we are over the pandemic, more companies that have experienced the value a managed service brings will be changing the way they operate, not just in the short-term but over the long-term.
“COVID-19 brings into sharp focus the need for many organisations to transition to a managed service in order to build much needed business resilience”
The UK Government has advised that businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible. Employees from defined vulnerable groups should be strongly advised and supported to stay at home and work from there if possible.
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April 2020 | 13
A night to remember! O
n 4th March the channel gathered at The Brewery in London to celebrate the biggest and brightest companies working in the UK tech and IT industry. And what a great night we had! The PCR Awards 2020 were hosted by Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman, where – with the help of some big names from the industry – she handed out 19 awards across the retail, reseller, channel services, distribution and vendor sectors. After the ceremony, attendees celebrated their fantastic achievements at the after show party, where much drinking, dancing and networking took place (you can see snaps from the dance floor on page 49). PCR would like to say a big thank you to our panel of 36 industry experts for making some very tough decisions considering we had such a vast array of well-deserving finalists this year. Congratulations to everyone that won on the night. As it was such a great selection of finalists, this year we decided to give a special shout out to a highly commended company for each award, so a big congratulations to those as well. Here are all the winners and highly commended companies for the PCR Awards 2020:
THANK YOU TO OUR PCR AWARDS 2020 PARTNERS We would like to say a massive thank you to our Awards Partners who helped to make the night such a success. HANNspree as Event Partner AOC/Philips as Distribution Category Partner Exertis as Entertainment Partner CMS Distribution as Retail Category Partner Synaxon UK as Vendor Category Partner Tenda as Red Carpet Partner Smithie UK as Flower Wall Partner Zaboura as Event Partner QBS Distribution as Dining Room Partner
SYSTEM BUILDER OF THE YEAR Highly Commended – Chillblast
WINNER – UTOPIA COMPUTERS “We’re super excited to be in a room full of our peers. For them to choose you for any award is a wonderful achievement. It means a lot to us and it means a huge amount to the team back home.”
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SYSTEM BUILDER OF THE YEAR ONLINE RETAILER OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Fierce PC
WINNER – BOX “To be shortlisted is amongst all those amazing brands was enough for us, but to win is massive for Box.”
INDEPENDENT RETAILER OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Geeks on Wheels
WINNER – THE POWERHOUSE (JERSEY ELECTRICITY) Award collected on behalf of the company by PCRʼs Sarah Goldhawk
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April 2020 | 15
SMB RESELLER OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Buy It Direct
WINNER – EBUYER
CORPORATE VAR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – SSC
WINNER – SOFTCAT
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MSP SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Neuways
WINNER – TRANSPUTEC
CHANNEL SERVICES CATEGORY DEALER SERVICES OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Synaxon
WINNER – NETWORK GROUP
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April 2020 | 17
MARKETING & PR AGENCY OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – The PR Room
WINNER – GEKKO
PERIPHERALS & ACCESSORIES VENDOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – MSI Computer UK
WINNER – ASUS “This is a lovely surprise and a great validation of everything we’ve been doing in the peripherals and accessories space. Events like this are really important for the industry and great for people to network.”
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SOFTWARE & SERVICES VENDOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Smartsheet
WINNER – BULLGUARD
COMPONENTS VENDOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – NVIDIA
WINNER – KINGSTON TECHNOLOGY
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April 2020 | 19
PC VENDOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Terra
WINNER – LENOVO
NETWORKING VENDOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Tenda
WINNER – TP-LINK UK
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SOFTWARE & SERVICES DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Exertis
WINNER – TECH DATA “The whole atmosphere, despite all the challenges right now, has just made it a really enjoyable evening.”
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – CMS Distribution
WINNER – EXERTIS
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April 2020 | 21
HARDWARE DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR 2020 Highly Commended – Ingram Micro UK
WINNER – EXERTIS
DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR (SUB £150M TURNOVER) 2020 Highly Commended – QBS Distribution
WINNER – CI DISTRIBUTION “Thanks to all the vendors and the customers. It has been a great four years growing the business. This award is great, thanks very much.”
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DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR (£151M PLUS TURNOVER) 2020 Highly Commended – Westcoast
WINNER – EXERTIS
PCRʼS COMPANY OF THE YEAR 2020 WINNER – BULLGUARD “It’s always stiff competition at the PCR Awards, so to get an accolade like this really says so much about BullGuard as a product, a business and an opportunity. This is just fantastic.”
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Be on the safe side Laura Barnes discovers how business device security has evolved both in the office and for remote workers...
espite themes around tech and cyber security being some of the most popular content that we run in PCR, it’s surprising how many companies still fall short of the mark when it comes to properly securing their networks, devices, printers and more. And it’s not just the network and devices in the office anymore. As more and more employees work remotely – with the current climate being the perfect example of just how many can work from home – companies must think about their security needs outside of the office as well. “In the past, most security breaches came via the network. Today, threats are increasingly coming in through
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endpoint devices such as smartphones and laptops,” explains Paul Lipman, CEO of BullGuard. “As a result, the model of centralised network protection isn’t working as efficiently as it did before BYOD became more frequent. This means business device security has gradually acquired new layers of security for endpoint protection. “It’s important because companies are opening up data access from mobile devices to create better efficiencies and more responsive sales forces. This presents new complications as employees are working from home on their own and potentially with safeguards that aren’t strong enough.
“For instance, some connect to corporate networks via public Wi-Fi, which is inherently vulnerable. Research into SMB cybersecurity carried out by BullGuard in January this year revealed that one in five SMBs have no security on their endpoint at all,” reveals Lipman. “Furthermore, one in five people take significant risks by failing to check if public Wi-Fi connections are legitimate rather than those set up by hackers. At the enterprise level at least, over the past few years we have seen a greater shift towards endpoint cybersecurity software which uses encryption and application controls to secure devices accessing the enterprise network. Encrypting data on endpoints helps protect against data leaks and loss. Application controls prevent endpoint users from downloading unauthorised applications that could create vulnerabilities or unload malware onto the network.
“Digital technologies have increased the speed at which software can be created or updated, often meaning that companies struggle to keep up with security processes” Alan Hayward, SEH Technology “This shift has been gathering pace over the last two years or so and is becoming mainstream as organisations begin to understand just how vulnerable they are to data loss via business devices. There has been a variety of technologies around for a long time designed to secure business devices, and their usage has largely been ad hoc, but today protecting business devices has gone from a trickle to a steady stream. However, it’s worth pointing out there are still substantial numbers of smaller companies that tend to think they don’t need this level of protection.” Alan Hayward, marketing and sales manager at SEH Technology UK & Ireland, agrees that digital technologies are transforming the business world, with a growing number of organisations adopting IoT devices and moving their data to the cloud. “Whilst it presents a range of opportunities, it also brings a number of challenges including the evolving security needs that come with expanding digitally. As an increasing
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number of applications, data and processes become digital, the more opportunities there are for cyber crime. Data is also extremely valuable in today’s business world, meaning the potential for damage due to a data breach or hack is at an all time high,” Hayward tells PCR. “With increased potential points of entry, it is quickly becoming more difficult for cyber security professionals to keep up with all threats. This is especially the case for businesses that host their servers in the cloud, as it means their networks aren’t contained and require protections that restrict access. Digital technologies have also increased the speed at which software can be created or updated, often meaning that companies struggle to keep up with security processes. The ever increasing speed of change makes it easier for security vulnerabilities to slip through.” Remote security With more remote office workers than ever, how has this affected the way businesses protect their networks, and their company devices? Nick Offin, head of sales, marketing and operations at dynabook Northern Europe, tells PCR that, according to an IWG study, half of business professionals work remotely for at least half of the working week – whether that is working from home, at a client site, or commuting on public transport. “Mobile working and remote system access through BYOD offer great benefits to both staff and employers, however, they open up new potential threat vectors and present new challenges in relation to data security device management,” says Offin. “For businesses who encourage remote working, it’s all about data access control and encryption. In line with changes to the modern working environment and the growth in the number of cyber attacks on businesses, we’re seeing more employee devices equipped with the latest security hardware and software to provide robust protection against potential risks. Laptops which boast advanced biometric features and hardware-based credential storage capabilities offer a stronger defence mechanism against password or access hacking. “However, today’s cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated, and businesses need to help nullify datarelated threats by withdrawing sensitive data from the device itself when it isn’t needed. Zero client solutions provide this extra layer of security. With information stored away on a central, cloud-based system, these solutions protect against unsolicited access to information if a device is lost or stolen. This is especially useful for mobile workers looking to access data outside of the office or on the move. Offin points out that another thing to consider is employee training: “According to research, almost 90% of data breaches are caused by human error. For example, it’s well known that passwords are merely a speed bump for today’s sophisticated cyber criminals, and all it takes is for
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one wrong click on a fraudulent link or a laptop left on a train to compromise business or employee-sensitive data. “With this in mind, it’s now become fundamental for companies to educate their staff on the concepts of cybersecurity and how to handle sensitive information correctly, especially as mobile workforces are on the rise. Part of that training should include insight into the business’ security setup, why and how certain security solutions are deployed, and their own responsibility to carry out good cybersecurity practices.” Advice for new businesses BullGuard’s Lipman warns that smaller businesses simply don’t think they will be a target for hackers: “Enterprises have learned their lessons and understand the consequences can be serious, such as a negative impact on reputation and the bottom line. Cybersecurity at enterprises is now on the boardroom agenda, but for many small businesses it simply doesn’t register. “You can look at volumes of research and study and they all point to increased cyberattacks aimed at smaller businesses. But even simple things like good password policies can elude them. And certainly, mobile business devices, and all endpoint devices, need sturdy protection. One device infected with ransomware can infect the entire network and all the devices on it, which in some cases can have a significant impact on a small business, even causing closure.” His advice for new or growing companies when it comes to protecting their business devices and printers? “Don’t relegate cybersecurity to the bottom of the agenda”. “It needs to be prioritised alongside operational plans, growth projections and revenue targets. If a company is compromised because of poor cybersecurity, growth and revenue targets may well turn to ash,” says Lipman. “The first step is to have good cybersecurity on all business devices; security that can be managed centrally and simply via a cloud portal so that all devices can have updates applied at the same time, and can be monitored at the same time. “Only printers connected to the internet can be hacked. And how often do you need to remotely print something? It’s better to simply disconnect your printer from the internet, in which case it will still be accessible through the local network, and only connect to the internet when you need to print remotely which for most is on very rare occasions. You can also change the printer’s username and password if it uses login credentials. In fact, it’s important to never use default ID credentials for any device connected to the internet. Hackers can swiftly find default ID credentials for any device. And finally, turn off your printer when it’s not in use.” SEH Technology’s Hayward outlines how growing businesses are an “attractive target” for hackers: “Many new
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EVENTS NETWORK GROUP EXHIBITION AND AWARDS 2020 30th April 2020, Hilton Metropole, Brighton
Attendees can expect a packed day at exhibition with direct engagement and networking, and a Gala night to remember. Celebrating excellence with the UK’s leading technology community, Network Group’s 11th annual Gala & Awards will recognise the best and brightest in the channel, with all contenders nominated and voted for by Network Group members.
INFOSECURITY EUROPE 2020 2nd-4th June, Olympia, London
InfoSecurity Europe is a leading event for information and cyber security, bringing business, tech and cyber communities together to discuss and discover how best to protect companies and individuals. Meet with the world’s most innovative suppliers and cyber experts, immerse yourself in hands-on tech and learn from world-renowned speakers and thought-leaders. At the conference you will get the insight and education you need to manage information and cyber risk to build resilience within complex organisations. At the exhibit, expect to grow your brand, generate sales leads and build relationships with 15,000+ of Europe’s top cyber security professionals.
Find out what tech and retail events you should be attending in the coming months…
CHANNEL LIVE 2020
22nd-23rd September, NEC, Birmingham
Channel Live is the UK’s only ICT trade specific exhibition. It is a conference, exhibition, thought leadership and networking event all rolled into one. Focused entirely on the needs of resellers, MSPs and Channel partners, Channel Live covers UC, IT, networks, cloud, hosted voice, IoT, mobile and security. Attendees can discover how these technologies, and more, can be added to your portfolio for future business growth.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION EUROPE 2020 30th September - 1st October, ExCeL, London
Digital Transformation is inevitable, and presents a great opportunity, but a lot of cultural and business change is needed to make it work. Digital Transformation EXPO Europe, with its 300+ expert speakers in 20 seminar theatres, and 260+ exhibitors, will help light your path to a successful Digital Transformation of your organisation. Find out what the upcoming market trends and threats are and meet with peers at this year’s show.
6th-9th January, Las Vegas
SYNAXON NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2020 18th June, Wyboston Lakes Resort, Wyboston
The business technology sector is arguably the most exciting and dynamic with new innovations driving business change in all aspects of the industry. Synaxon is always identifying and implementing ways in which it can evolve and improve, as such, its annual gathering will unveil exciting new plans for the future. The event will have over 250 attendees, 55 exhibitors, industry-leading keynotes, 30 Vendor & Synaxon workshops, a VIP keynote from Rev Richard Coles – all finishing up with Synaxon’s gala dinner and awards show.
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CES is the world’s gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years – the global stage where nextgeneration innovations are introduced to the marketplace. Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), it attracts the world’s business leaders and pioneering thinkers.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis a number of these events may be cancelled or rescheduled in the coming months.
Here are some of the most interesting stats and facts from the tech channel…
CRUNCHING 20% A new report from Advanced has revealed that 20% of Gen Z workers say a lack of diversity and multi-generation experience will hold their company back from modernising its key processes or systems.
77% A study by hosted security provider Morphean of 1,000 IT decision makers across Europe has revealed that physical security systems are not optimised, according to 77% of respondents.
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The UK spends the most time binge-playing video games, second only to Japan, with 1 in 10 (10%) playing for more than 20 hours each week, according to a new report by Limelight Networks.
Datto’s annual European State of the Channel Ransomware report has found that 69% of MSPs predict ransomware will target IoT devices in 2020.
Webroot’s 2020 Annual Threat Report has revealed that phishing URLs grew by 640% throughout 2019, with a notable uptick seen before the holiday season.
April 2020 |
Partner Content from Philips
Secure sign-in with Philips 499P9H’s privacy-minded pop-up webcam
Innovate your workplace with Philips monitors
he world and our society keeps changing, as well as our priorities, our behaviour and values. We’re now more conscious about our carbon footprint more than ever due to the climate crisis. We value our privacy even more and want to have as much as control over it as possible. We’ve become more flexible in our working environment; we’re increasingly mobile, increasingly available with our laptops and use flexible workplaces, and still using larger displays for increased productivity. Users who want their tech to reflect these changes will certainly appreciate Philips monitors’ developments. The innovative technologies from Philips monitors help users implement these changes into their daily lives. For instance, the environmentfriendly Philips 241B7QGJEB is a 23.8“ business monitor with energy-saving features such as PowerSensor and LightSensor, and an incredibly low energy consumption – 8.2 W in Eco mode, Typical 13.14 W. The integrated pop-up webcam in selected business monitors from Philips, such as 439P9H or 499P9H, makes it easy to stow away the webcam behind the monitor so the camera is physically hidden from the view, giving users privacy and safety whenever they need it. Full-fledged USB-C connectivity (including a USB hub, RJ-45 connection and DisplayPort over
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USB-C) in selected business monitors from Philips enables users to connect a laptop with a single USB-C cable and access the network, charge and power their laptops, and transfer video signal and data, all in one solution. Let’s dive deeper into the recent developments. Going green Philips monitors introduced the world’s most energy-efficient “green” monitor, the 23.8-inch 241B7QGJEB. This display features an innovative new backlight technology ensuring optimum brightness at significantly reduced power consumption. Even the packaging is carefully optimised: 100% recycled packing material for less environmental impact. Also, smart technologies prolong the lifecycle of the monitor while saving costs and reducing consumption: The LightSensor measures the ambient light and automatically adjusts the display’s brightness. The embedded PowerSensor uses infrared rays to detect when a user moves away from the monitor, reducing backlight intensity, which results in a lowered energy consumption that saves up to 80%. More so, the 241B7QGJEB is also certified EnergyStar 8.0 and EPEAT, proving its innovative claims. While being highly efficient, the 241B7QGJEB doesn’t compromise
Partner Content from Philips
A clean desk with a clean mind: the Philips 258B6QUEB with USB-C docking
on image quality or build quality. It has an ergonomic, height adjustable stand for a comfortable and healthy use throughout the day. The 241B7QGJEB is also equipped with an IPS panel at Full HD resolution, offering accurate colours, sRGB gamut coverage of 102% and wide viewing angles of 178/178°, so that users will not have to compromise on anything to have an impact on our nature. Increasing security Not long gone since tech-personalities and government agencies taped their webcam’s in their laptops to avoid unwanted access. Philips monitors’ innovative pop-up webcam solution solves this issue beautifully. When in use the webcam is only facing the user when it’s needed, afterwards it can be tucked away behind the panel. In new models such as the 329P9H, 439P9H, 499P9H and many others, the built-in webcam is also capable of instant and secure login with facial recognition thanks to the Windows Hello support. By using this feature, users won’t need to enter their password when booting up or activating their system from sleep mode. It not only saves time, but increases security in publicly used installations, and bypasses any mischievous key-logging software since no physical typing is required for the authentication. A secure network connection is also possible with Philips monitors. The full-fledged USB-C docking Philips monitors include a Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port to route the network connection to the connected device via USB-C. This wired connection eliminates the possibility of packet sniffing via Wi-Fi, therefore increasing the network security and using the full bandwidth capacity of the network as a bonus. What if you’re in a public space and use the monitor and require privacy where only your immediate surroundings can see the display? Visual hacking, especially in open spaces is a legitimate concern when it comes to securing confidential, sensitive or private data. Philips monitors’ upcoming solution to this comes with the Privacy mode. A convenient Privacy switch activates a privacy cell between the panel and backlight to limit the angles of light direction, enabling users to reduce the viewing angles from 178°
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horizontal and 178° vertical to only 45° horizontal and 178° vertical and reduce the brightness to 100 cd/m² from its top brightness of 350 cd/m². Easily connected Comfort, ease of use and flexibility are more accessible then ever with USB-C. Thanks to the full-fledged USB-C docking Philips monitors, users can simply go mobile with their laptops and when they get back to their workplace, they can simply connect a single USB-C cable and voilà! The laptop is now connected securely via network connection, syncing the data to the backup drive via fast USB 3.0/3.1/3.2 connection, the desktop is extended seamlessly on the Philips monitor, and it started charging! The new USB-connector type, USB-C, uses a much intuitive, reversible connector as opposed to the common USB-A type, and the overlying USB 3.2 specification is highly capable: Very high speed data transfer (up to 20 Gbit/s ≈ 2.4 GB/s), up to 100W USB Power Delivery to charge and power laptops etc. and the DisplayPort over USB-C specification enables laptops to transfer the video signal to the monitor. Philips monitors present a much wider portfolio of USB-C monitors: these range from monitors with simple USB-C display ports for delivering power and charging laptops up to 90W, some with an included 4-port USB hub and daisy-chaining multiple monitors with DisplayPort outputs for increased USB-C docking capabilities, and some with a full-fledged USB-C docking station built inside, with a RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port, a KVM switch for controlling two computers with a single keyboard and mouse, and DisplayLink capability to extend screen sharing to PCs with older USB connections. The new curved, SuperWide Philips monitors 439P9H (32:10) and 499P9H (32:9) also come equipped with a KVM switch and come with Philips’ MultiView technology. Their uninterrupted screen space can fit two 16:10 or 16:9 displays side by side. And with MultiView, you can use different sources in each half, too. What this enables: You can duplicate/extend your laptop screen to the left half, and display the primary PC’s laptop on the right half and conquer both with a single keyboard and mouse, thanks to the KVM switch. Go wild with your imaginations.
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Top 5 Tech
Dynabookâ€™s Nick Offin Nick Offin, head of sales, marketing and operations at dynabook Northern Europe, takes us on a journey through the tech thatâ€™s shaped his life...
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1 Top 5 Tech
COLOUR TV I tell my children “you have never had it so good” with today’s entertainment viewing choices. Hundreds of channels, streaming, video on demand, Sky, Netflix, Amazon Prime. Let me take you back to when I was a young child growing up in a household with a black and white TV with just three channels. Imagine my bewilderment the day a colour TV turned up, it changed everything. Pot Black Snooker in colour, for example, I recall the commentator famously saying “for those of you watching in Black and White the pink is behind the black”.
BETAMAX VIDEO My father, ahead of his time, purchased a Betamax video system because his Which? magazine told him it was the best technology. In these early days of timer recording, you could build up libraries of tapes, recording the whole of Live Aid on a number of cassettes. Our local corner shop branched out into film video rental long before Blockbuster ever appeared, it’s where I bought the first Indiana Jones film. The only trouble was the inferior VHS system won out as the electronics and film studios backed it, quickly making Betamax redundant.
BREVILLE SANDWICH MAKER The Breville Sandwich Maker revolutionised my life as a student. When considering what to spend my student grant on in the most economical fashion, which included necessities such as rent, beer and the most cost-effective food regime – apart from the weekly splurge down the local take away. Long before microwaves, I armed myself with a sandwich maker and a copy of the great “Breville Toasted Sandwich Book”, filled with the best savoury and sweet delights you can get between two slices of bread. Quick and functional, it allows maximum time at the Students Union.
SONY WALKMAN One of the great inventions of the 20th century was portable music – it was a game-changer. All your favourite 80s music on cassette tapes played in a battery-powered device with foam ear headphones. On long journeys and flights to holiday destinations your hand luggage would be brimming with music tapes and spare batteries, it was the must-have gadget. The Walkman is one of those products that named itself after its inventor, like Hoover, and became synonymous with portable music systems.
PELOTON SPINNING BIKE Just to prove I’m no technology laggard who yearns for the old days, my latest investment and must-have is the Peloton spinning bike. No more expensive gym memberships, when every year you commit at Christmas to losing weight and getting fitter, only to cancel the membership six months later when you realise the cost and number of visits you are making are less than economical. The only problem I have is queuing up behind the rest of the family to use it.
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Printers and accessories Whether your customers are looking for a family printer, something for a home office set up, or a printer capable of handling a large operation, here are some great options... Epson EcoTank 7750 Specs: Prints up to 3,400 photos with the included ink, High-quality photos: Four dyes and a pigment ink for great results, Enjoy hassle and mess-free refills with the enhanced ink bottles, Wi-Fi & apps: Print from mobile devices, 3-in-1 with 6.8cm LCD screen: Print, copy & scan - plus double-sided printing. “The Epson EcoTank ET-7750 is an A3 cartridge-free model designed for printing high volumes of photos at an ultra-low cost. Its ultra-high-capacity ink tanks removes the need for cartridges, and makes it possible to print lots between refills - up to 3,400 photos (10x15cm) with the included ink bottles. The EcoTank is hassle-free to use, boasting an SD card slot, borderless photo printing and dual paper trays. In addition, with Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct, users can send files to print from smart devices via the Epson iPrint app.” Contact: Epson
SEH Technology PS55 Print Server Specs: Quick installation, Supports standard operating systems 2 x USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, WLAN (802.11b/g/n) up to 300 MBit/s Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS-PBC), Button for status and diagnostics, Automatic printer error notification, Browser-based management, Regular software updates, Supports 10 languages, Free warranty for up to 60 months. “The PS55 from SEH Technology is the ideal solution for using up to five USB printers or multifunction printers through a WLAN network easily. Devices that previously could only be used at one workplace now can be shared by all network users, increasing productivity and flexibility at any location. Setting up the wireless connection is simple thanks to a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button. The PS55 also offers guaranteed network security, with coded printing via an IPSec connection, complex access control, the ThinPrint protocol and integration into a network protected by the 802.1X authentication standard.” Contact: SEH Technology
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Brother HL-L3270CDW Colour Wireless LED printer Specs: Fast print speeds of up to 24 pages per minute, Large paper capacity of 250 sheets, Automatic 2-sided printing, Easy to use 6.8cm colour touchscreen, Wired and Wireless connectivity & - Near-Field Communication (NFC) for quick mobile printing, Inbox toners - Bk: 1,000 pages*, CMY: 1,000 pages each (*Approx. cartridge yield is declared in accordance with ISO/IEC 19752). “The reliable Brother HL-L3270CDW colour laser printer, is quiet and compact - ideal for the busy home or small office. Designed to be desktop friendly, this robust printer is fast, yet quiet, enabling you to carry on working, while the document is being printed. This model also has a larger than average paper input, so that you don’t need to worry about refilling the paper tray.” Contact: Brother UK
Epson WorkForce 7710DWF Specs: Up to 18ppm print speeds, 35 page A3 automatic document feeder, double-sided (duplex) printing, 10.9cm touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, print via NFC, Scan-toCloud. “This high-quality 4-in-1 features single and double-sided printing, scanning and fax all up to A3. You’ll stride through tasks with print speeds of up to 18ppm and a 35 page A3 automatic document feeder (ADF). And that’s not forgetting its flexible wireless connectivity solutions such as NFC1 and Scan-to-cloud. This A3 4-in-1 printer will meet the needs of even the most demanding home office and small office users. It offers double-sided (duplex) printing, scanning and faxing all up to A3, plus its automatic document feeder can process up to 35 double-sided A3 pages. It’s also simple to operate directly thanks to its intuitive user interface and 10.9cm touchscreen. Print from anywhere in the office with Wi-Fi connectivity or use Wi-Fi Direct to print from compatible wireless devices without a Wi-Fi network. You can also print via NFC with a simple tap of a compatible Android device on the printer. Epson’s free mobile printing apps and solutions provide further versatility; Email Print allows you to send items to print from almost anywhere in the world. And with Scan-toCloud, you can enjoy the benefits of collaborative working.” Contact: Target Components
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Sector Guide RICOH IM C400 A4 colour intelligent MFP Specs: Fast 43 ppm, 1,200 dpi print performance, High capacity Single Pass Document Feeder (SPDF), Integrated fax facility, 2,300-sheet, 3-tray autoswitching paper supply (option), Super-sized 10.1 inch Smart Operation Panel, RICOH Always Current Technology keeps the device up to date, Web help and RemoteConnect reduce downtime. “With a 10.1 inch smart touch-screen control panel, it’s always running the latest technology. This intelligent A4 MFP scans, copies, prints and faxes A4 documents effortlessly. No more frustration with an out-of-date device, this colour MFP will transform your workflow, powering through office tasks. You can also add additional functionality that your business may need in future. Your MFP is always ready to operate. You can print, copy and scan more materials, faster and remotely from wherever you are. This color MFP is the first Ricoh A4 device to feature Ricoh ‘Always current technology’ ensuring it will always utilise the most upto-date technology. Designed to improve your workflow it powers through prints, copies, scans and faxes more materials, faster and remotely from wherever you are.” Contact: Ricoh
Epson EcoTank M2170 Specs: Economical ink tank printer with lots of ink included, Reliable and durable: One-year or 100,000page warranty, Reduce energy usage: Save up to 95% in power consumption, Time saving: Wi-Fi, doublesided printing, 250-sheet tray, mobile printing, Fast, business-quality printing: 20ppm print speeds, no warm up time, PrecisionCore printhead “The economical Epson EcoTank ET-M2170 is fundamentally different to laser printers. It features a large refillable ink tank that users fill with ink bottles instead of toner. From the start users have enough ink to print thousands of pages, slashing costs and saving time by not having to frequently change toner. The printer is a cost-efficient solution, printing up to 11,000 pages with the included black ink. The EcoTank can also save up to 95% in power consumption compared to mono laser printers.” Contact: Epson
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Sector Guide SEH Technology PS03a Print Server Specs: Quick and easy installation, Supports all standard operating systems, Button for status information and diagnostics, Automatic printer error notification, Browser-based management, Print job monitoring, Regular firmware updates, Supports 10 languages, Free warranty for up to 60 months, IPv6 support and IPSec support, Access protection and encryption of print data. “SEH Technology’s Gigabit Ethernet Print Server PS03a enables users to embed non-network-ready printers into the network with ease, adding a second network interface to printing systems. Data transmission is also completely secure with IPv6, access protection, authentication controls and encryption of print data. The PS03a is easy to install by simply connecting up to five devices to the USB interface, including; ink-jet printers, laser printers, label printers, large format printers, multifunctional devices and digital copying machines.” Contact: SEH Technology
Epson Workforce Pro C5790DWF Specs: Print up to 10,000 pages without replacing the ink, Uses up to 90 percent less power than competitive colour lasers, Save at least 50% on colour CPP (cost per page) versus comparable laser models, Added functionality with software tools such as Epson Open Platform. “The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5790DWF is perfect for the business environment, from small offices to large corporates who may have traditionally used lasers and want to cut costs, increase productivity and reduce downtime. This is while also cutting their environmental impact and improving CSR reputation. Delivering the Fastest First Page Out Time (FPOT) in its segment for both colour (5.3 seconds) and mono (4.8 seconds) prints against comparable lasers, it also has the fastest colour scan speed in the segment at 24ipm.” Contact: Epson
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Orbitkey Nest Orbitkey Nest is a portable desk organiser designed to help you declutter and be more productive and efficient. The Nest features a wireless charging port embedded in the lid, which works with a variety of devices. It also has the ability to separate the top tray from the internal storage, making it truly portable. Movable dividers allow you to customise compartments to suit your specific needs, and there’s even space in the lid to store cards you don’t use often to free up space in your wallet. Also included is an elastic pouch for smaller items that tend to go astray, as well as a pen loop. “At Orbitkey, we believe that life’s better when everything has its place. Which is why we designed Nest – to help you spend less time searching through mess looking for things, and more time on things that matter,” say its makers. For more information visit: http://kck.st/2UqEit2
Black Shark Ophidian Gaming Earbuds With premium tech and distinctive design inspired by mechanical art, Black Shark Ophidian aims to redefine the way gaming earbuds are made. Finely tuned acoustics, RGB lights, and more than 14+ hours of playback time on a single charge, make Black Shark Ophidian a great choice for long gaming sessions. Thanks to world-renowned Knowles balanced armature drivers, a 10mm moving coil, and LHDC with a bandwidth that is 3x larger than most Bluetooth earphones, Black Shark Ophidian promises to deliver a premium listening experience. Black Shark Ophidian has a uniquely low latency of 50+ms. This allows for the audio to always sync with the device. Whether it’s gaming, music, or video, you’re able to hear everything in the same instant it happens on your screen with no lags or stutters. For more information visit: https://igg.me/at/black-sharkophidian/x#/
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MAD Gaze Watch Smartwatches and mobile phones have powerful features that we rely on throughout our day but they can be inconvenient to use while on the go, points out MAD Gaze, makers of a new smartwatch aiming to combat this problem. The MAD Gaze Watch lets users conveniently control their digital lives with simple hand, wrist, and finger gestures to trigger apps, photos, music, and many other smart features. The MAD Gaze Watch is powered by advanced hand gesture controls that can be fully customised for any watch function. For instance, tapping a surface, snapping different fingers, turning your wrist, or simply tapping the back of your hand can trigger different actions such as taking pictures, answering and declining phone calls, playing music, controlling volume, setting timers, sharing locations. MAD Gaze Watch also works as an accurate gesture control device for playing games in AR and VR using advanced motion sensing. For more information visit: https://igg.me/at/ madgazewatch/x#/
With so much talent in the channel, it can be difficult to sift out the freshest gear and potential tech giants of tomorrow. Stay ahead of the curve with PCR’s Crowdfunding Corner…
Clicbot Educational Robot Clicbot is your family’s newest friend. He listens, he thinks, and he even reacts. Makers Jainbo insist his personality is “contagious”, and his playful design “makes him even more lovable”. Clicbot’s character and personality were designed by Carlos Baena, an award winning designer. The result is a robot with a personality that adjusts depending on how you build and code him – each setup (and there are more than 1,000 setups) has its own unique combination of use cases. Clicbot has more than 200 reactions, like nuzzling up to you when you pet him, trying to find you when you cover his eye, and getting excited when you put him in the charging station. There are two setups with predefined personalities according to their specific set ups. For more information visit: http://kck.st/3bnPo89
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Business machines, monitors and peripherals From machines specifically for business use, to the most comfortable peripherals for long working days, here’s everything you need for the perfect work set up... Philips 439P9H SuperWide curved LCD display Specs: 43” curved 32:10 SuperWide display that replaces two 24” monitors, VA panel with 3840 x 1200 resolution Built-in KVM switch to easily switch between sources, USB-C docking station with power delivery up to 90 W, Windows Hello pop-up webcam. “Philips 43” curved 32:10 SuperWide display is like two full-size highperformance monitors in one. Productivity-enhancing features like USB-C and pop-up webcam with Windows Hello deliver the performance and convenience you expect. The 439P9H offers incredible connectivity, featuring a MultiClient Integrated KVM switch to connect two separate PCs and a USB-C docking station for easy, one-cable docking.” Contact: Exertis, Midwich, Tech Data, VIP UK
Target AMD Windows 10 Pro Thin Client Business PC Specs: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G Quad Core processor, Radeon Vega 8 graphics, MSI A320M-A PRO MAX motherboard. “Designed using Target’s unique Custom PC Builder, this AMD Quad Core PC is powerful, yet small and discreet, using all-branded components. With AMD’s Ryzen 3 3200G quad-core processor with Radeon Vega 8 graphics alongside MSI’s A320M-A PRO MAX motherboard, this small form factor desktop also boasts 8GB DDR4 Team Elite Plus RAM, 480GB Team GX1 SSD and Windows 10 Pro preinstalled. This business PC also comes with a card reader, DVD-RW drive and wireless capabilities to create an incredibly versatile, useful and ‘ungradeable’ machine.” Contact: Target Components
Synology DS918+ Specs: Quad-core 1.5GHz, burst up to 2.3GHz, Dual 1GbE LAN ports, 4GB DDR3L, scalable up to 8GB, Over 225 MB/s and 221 MB/s encrypted sequential reading and writing. “Synology DS918+ is designed for small and medium-sized businesses and IT enthusiasts. With a powerful built-in AES-NI hardware encryption engine, DS918+ provides exceptional encrypted file transmission. Also capable of transcoding up to two channels of H.265/H.264 4K videos at the same time, DS918+ is ideal for sharing and storing ultra-high definition media content.” Contact: Synology
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Sector Guide Poly Voyager 8200 UC Specs list (50 words max): Soft ear cushions, 24 hours listen time or 20 hours talk time, Bluetooth range of up to 98ft/30m, four mic boomless design, multi-device connectivity and Active Noise Cancelling (ANC). Smart sensor technology, OpenMic to hear surroundings without taking the headset off, dynamic mute alert, call answer/end/ redial and volume control buttons. “Whether you’re in an open office or on a crowded flight, taking calls or listening to music, the boomless Voyager 8200 UC headset with soft ear cushions and in-built ANC let users focus on what’s important, in comfort and style. Smart sensors allow users to answer calls by simply putting on the headset and automatically mute or pause music when they’re taken off. Users can also seamlessly connect to their PC, smartphone, tablet or Bluetooth desk phone and walk and talk while on a call with 98ft/300m wireless range. Regain concentration anytime, anywhere.” Contact: Poly
Dynabook Portégé X30L-G Specs: 13.3in Sharp IGZO screen with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, Intel 10th Gen Core processors, Intel Iris Plus/Intel UHD Graphics, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wireless plus Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 2 x USB Type-A 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, microSD card reader, combo mic/audio, 870g. “The Portégé X30L-G is the world’s lightest 13.3” fully featured business laptop with Intel 10th generation processors. Uniquely designed for portability yet packed with features to enhance connectivity, performance, security and user experience, the new device meets and exceeds Microsoft’s Modern Device standard, the benchmark for modern computing devices. The Portégé X30L-G has been engineered to be the perfect companion for the modern day professional, both in the office and on the move. Balancing mobility and durability, its magnesium chassis is incredibly light but also robust, having been carefully engineered for rigidity. “The Portégé X30L-G is a testament to our engineers and their ability to pack powerful business-oriented components into increasingly compact devices”, commented Damian Jaume, President, Dynabook Europe GmbH. “The next generation of lightweight devices is here and we’re excited to be at the forefront of this innovation.” Contact Dynabook Europe GmbH
Trust ClassicLine Keyboard Specs:USB Interface, Wired Connectivity, UK Layout, Numeric Keypad, 3-year warranty. “The Trust ClassicLine is a keyboard with full size and classic key layout for comfortable and quiet typing. The device is wired so is simply plugged-in to start with no software required.. The keyboard features dedicated keys for power, wake and sleep and is spill-resistant; offering protection from liquids. The cable is 1.8m cable length.” Contact: Misco
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Sector Guide Hama EMW-500 Vertical Ergonomic Mouse Specs: Natural pain-free position, relieves strain, 2.4GHz radio signal transmission, 8m wireless range, 6 buttons incl scroll wheel, USB nano receiver, 1000/1400/1800dpi switchable sensitivity, smart-link, low energy consumption, 8.6 x 11.5 x 7.1cm, Windows 10/8/7 compatible. “With its unique vertical design, the Hama EMW-500 recognises the importance of hand posture in achieving pain-free, ergonomic operation in the workplace. Often focusing on correct positioning of the neck and back, everyday strains on tendons, muscles and circulation in the hand from hours of desktop working regularly gets overlooked. The EMW-500 naturally adapts the hand position for a more relaxed grip that can help relieve tension and strain from the shoulder to the wrist, whilst permitting smooth and precise control through a high-resolution optical sensor, switchable dpi sensitivity and 8m wireless range.” Contact: Hama UK
Zoostorm Delta L12 Performance PC Specs: Intel Core i7-9700, 16GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM, 500GB M.2 SSD, Windows 10 Pro. “This small form factor solution features a powerful Intel 9th Generation i7 CPU with UHD 630 Graphics which provide a performance orientated compact system that can be deployed as a cost effective standalone unit for home and business power users or as part of a larger estate for businesses with high specification requirements.” Contact: VIP UK
ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 Specs: 14” FHD Primary Display with Secondary 12.2” touch ScreenPad Plus, 10th Gen Intel Core i7, Nvidia NX250 GPU, 512GB SSD, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Ergolift Hinge for advanced cooling. “With its revolutionary new form factor, the UX481 is perfect companion to work from anywhere. The ScreenPad plus can work with any application and can run up to 3 more windows of content meaning you can multitask and maximise efficiency even when away from desktop extras like external monitors. Coupled with Intel’s latest processors and a discrete GPU, the ZenBook Duo can crunch through any task you could possibly throw at it in a professional environment to deliver an all round outstanding remote working solution.” Contact: Exertis
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Philips 346B1C Curved UltraWide LCD Monitor Specs: 34” curved UltraWide display in 21:9 format, VA panel with WQHD (3440 x 1440), Built-in KVM switch to easily switch between sources, USB-C docking station with power delivery up to 90 W. “The Philips B line 34” curved UltraWide display gives a wrap-around view of your work. Enjoy enhanced connectivity – control two separate PCs with a single monitor-keyboard-mouse setup via the MultiClient Integrate KVM switch and connect all your peripherals like your keyboard, mouse and your RJ-45 Ethernet cable to the convenient monitor’s USB-C docking station. Ergonomic stand design and eye comfort features with TUV certified to reduce eye fatigue make for optimal working conditions.” Contact: Exertis, Midwich, Tech Data, VIP UK
piXL Frameless Full HD Widescreen LED Monitor Specs: Vivid colours, 24” display, frameless design, 5ms response time, 1920 x 1080p full HD LED, widescreen. “The zero-frame design maximises its viewing area and provides more seamless viewing experience for multi-monitor setups. Its slim profile keeps your workspace clear using its simple, stylish stand. Turn it on and the crystal-clear 1920 x 1080p full HD LED widescreen looks crisp, even from a distance. Connecting via HDMI provides the best possible picture quality across all media, from games and webbrowsing, to films and picture editing. piXL monitors also conform to the latest environmental standards and come with a 2-year warranty as standard.” Contact: Target Components
Compoint (By Dynamode) Keyboard and Mouse bundle Specs: Full-sized UK keyboard with Windows(tm) shortcut keys, Bundled 3-button, hi-res optical USB mouse, Generous length USB cables on both devices, Excellent tactile feedback - 10 million keystrokes approx., Ideal for Windows, Mac, Linux - PnP design, Low cost bundle - Retail packaging. “The Compoint CP-KM9014 USB keyboard and mouse bundle offers both a really competitive price point when compared with other similar quality products and gives both retailers and end-users an excellent price advantage in this sector. Excellent quality, hi-res optical mouse and a full-size keyboard with numeric pad means its ideal for all computing sectors, business, education, healthcare and of course general home user input devices. With attractive, retail packaging in a newly-styled, slimline box means its cost and effective for delivery while at the same time giving the Compoint bundle a quality feel and experience.” Contact: Exertis
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Sector Guide Hama HS-USB300 PC Office Headset Specs: Padded earpads and headband, adjustable microphone arm, in-line volume and remote, mute button, single-sided 2m cable, USB connection, 40mm speaker diameter, Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20 kHZ. “Hama HS-USB300 PC Headset puts an end to sore ears and poor-quality audio for online conferences and conversations. The deluxe cushioned headset comes with padded ear cushions and headband for long wear comfort throughout the workday, in addition to adjustable microphone arm for optimal positioning during voice communications. Designed specifically for PC use, a USB-A connector allows immediate connection and set-up, with users accessing the integrated in-line remote for convenient adjustment of volume and instant mute of sound.” Contact: Hama UK
AOC M2470SWH Widescreen LED Monitor Specs: 5ms response time, 50M:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 250cd/ m² Brightness, 1920x1080 Resolution, 1x Analogue Input, 2x HDMI Input. “With Full HD resolution and high contrast ratios, the 23.6-inch M2470SWH display offers brilliant picture quality and sharp, clear imagery – even on the darkest areas of the screen. A perfect monitor for a range of home computing requirements and business use. Its advanced MVA panel technology delivers ultra-wide viewing angles of 178 degrees to ensure you’ll see every detail, no matter where you’re sitting. The integrated VGA and HDMI ports make it easy to connect your computer, media center and more.” Contact: VIP UK
Trust Optical Mouse Specs: Wired Connectivity, Right and left-handed, Optical, 3 buttons, Scrolling wheel, USB cable included, 2-year warranty. “The Trust optical mouse is a three button basic optical mouse with advanced optical sensor for high precision. Furthermore, the mouse is plug and play, so installing the driver isn’t required. This mouse is suitable for both left and right handed users.” Contact: Misco
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â€œI truly believe in specialising and doing one product area very wellâ€?
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LIFE IN THE CHANNEL
QBS Technology’s Dave Stevinson The Group CEO of specialist distribution firm QBS Technology Group discusses the company’s passion for software and what he thinks the future of distribution will look like... QBS started in May 2017, you now have revenues approaching £100m. Tell us about that journey. QBS was conceived to scale quickly with seven acquisitions on top of a very fast organic growth cadence defined by a rigorous focus on delivering value for multiple application software publishers. We now offer a full service to our publishers having established entities in four discreet market sectors: Consumer Software, MSP/CSP, Value Add Distribution and Software Delivery. Today we have seven offices across Europe with four in the UK and employ almost 110 staff. How did you expand internationally? It takes time to do international well, one must understand the culture, logistics, business models and market nuances. We started by acquiring Siener Informatique in France to extend our platform into an adjacent geography. Many of our key partners, (solution partners, resellers, MSPs and RSIs) have pan European footprints – so by being closer to them, speaking their language and collaborating was a model that worked. So we decided to extend this into Russia through the acquisition of UAB Laknova. We believe by 2023 our export business will exceed our domestic business in value
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Why are you so focussed on software? I truly believe in specialising and doing one product area very well. In the knowledge economy enterprise software offers a market of significant size and I believe we operate in a defined niche in that market and that provides QBS with the opportunity to obtain a relevant position alongside the broadliners of Tech Data, Ingram, Westcoast and Exertis in the UK. Naturally we have walked away from a decent, growing and profitable hardware business but our vision is clear and we see ourselves as a pure software company, thus we made a conscious decision to exit. This was necessary so we could put our capital to use in order to have a full service and complete coverage for several key software publishers. Your model differs from traditional distribution – what is a software delivery platform? We deliver our entire product range electronically and in many cases with STP (Straight Through Processing). We have almost 10,000 ‘publishers on platform’ and transact with just over 4100 partners. We offer a renewals management service, software asset management, dynamic quotations, billing, provisioning, SaaS and perpetual licensing through a single pane of glass.
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Coupled with experts in telemarketing, pre-sales, post sales and positioning on hand for when partners need a hand with a relevant opportunity. Essentially we are very different from traditional distribution and for some clients that works particularly well and we tend to grow our mutual business together very quickly. What is the obsession with MRR and ARR? The beauty is that our solution partners enjoy consistent and predictable revenues and margins. Our platform can manage the entire process for the reseller including quotation, billing and provisioning allowing them free to wrap professional services around creating a solution for their client all through our platform. Our focus is then helping foster adoption and expansion of the technology by the user through personalised marketing, success sharing, pre-sales and post technical support.
security, automation, DevOps and data analytics SBUs. We are primarily driven by listening intently to our customers and publishers in order to make it easier to buy and sell more software. What is your view on the future of distribution? I still see distribution consolidating further with the big getting bigger and the small either specialising or getting squeezed out completely. The appetite for acquisitions will show no sign of abating but these will be predominantly there to fill gaps in the offering or as P/E arbitrage transactions or both. There will be steady disintermediation which will grow faster than the growth of the market, yet the market served by distribution will still show modest growth in the next five years and internationalisation will still be important post Brexit and COVID-19.
“I still see distribution consolidating further with the big getting bigger and the small either specialising or getting squeezed out completely” You recently acquired a £10 million VAD. Can you explain the rationale for this? Many of our System Integrators and Solution Partners have the capability to deliver professional services (consultancy, solution development, training, sizing and chargeable support) themselves, others need to lean on us to do the heavy lifting here on their paper. We are hyper careful not to cannibalise our true VARs by replicating or replacing their capabilities and simply moving the profit layer away – so the acquisition of the VAD was to provide an extra 30 technical staff with capabilities to deliver projects for our RSIs around specific publishers. What’s next for QBS? We will continue developing our platform and commit a significant proportion of our profits to extend and augment the features and services. This is designed to increase efficiencies through process automation for both our publishers and clients. We will extend our business model into further geographies primarily through acquisition. We expect to see treble digit growth in our
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Why should readers of PCR do business with QBS? We believe we operate in an attractive market with high barriers to entry and sustainable recurring revenues for resellers who can maintain a strong customer relationship. The market we operate in is incredibly fast growing and although many of our publishers are not household names, we have witnessed their growth over the last few years driven by customer demand. For those customers who want to fully access the platform there is a small piece of work round data integration required. Are there any more acquisitions planned? The short answer is “Yes”. We have put a lot of effort into building and maintaining a watchlist of targets. We are carefully targeting acquisitions which deliver to us more than just profits. We have a clear strategy of where we intend to operate and how we intend to succeed. We know exactly what we are missing and will build up those competences by organic growth or through selective acquisitions. Saying that, we are not afraid to walk away from the transaction at any stage if the deal is not right for both parties.
<Logging off>\\ Out and about in the industry
< Strictly Come Dancing at the PCR Awards 2020 > Whether it was the joy of taking home an award, or being able to take a snap with Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia Winkleman, those attending this yearâ€™s PCR Awards couldnâ€™t wait to get to the after show and throw some shapes on the dance floor. And boy, did they have some
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<Logging off>\\ Out and about in the industry As well as hitting the dance floor, PCR Awards attendees were able to let their hair down by challenging each other in Exertis’s racing corner to see who ruled the virtual road.
NEXT MONTH May – Esports / XR For the next issue of PCR we will look at the current state of esports landscape, outline the latest developments in XR (AR and VR), and investigate the importance of gaming security. We will also be putting together two sector guides in the May issue: – VR and AR technology – Pro gaming machines If you would like to get involved in the April issue, here’s how: For editorial enquiries contact Editor Laura Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising opportunities, contact Sales Manager Sarah Goldhawk at email@example.com.
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