WEARABLES ISSUE #186 June 2019
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TheEditor Rising stars THE TIME HAS come once again to shine a light on the young guns in the IT and tech channel. Every year PCR highlights the most exciting up-and-coming industry workers under the age of 30, and while this feature has been running for quite some time, it is always amazing to see the vast array of young talent that’s out there. Once again, we had an impressive pool of entries to pick from to make up the 2019 30 Under 30 list – a great sign that the ever-growing channel has a lot to offer school leavers, newly-graduated students and those looking for apprenticeships. It’s a great place to start a career. We have entrants from various parts of the tech industry – from retailers to distributors to vendors – covering a range of jobs, including marketing execs, product managers, sales support, customers services and warehouse workers. It was a tough task to whittle down the list, and so I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that nominated themselves or their colleagues. Apologies to those of you that took the time to submit an entry but did not make it into the final 30. There is always next year, so be sure to get involved again in 2020! Aside from celebrating the channel’s rising stars, this issue is also our wearable tech special. Within these pages you’ll find a great analysis piece from Gekko Field Marketing on the future of wearables (p30), and a selection of the latest wearable tech in our sector guide (p41). We also speak to brands like Fitbit and Withings to delve deeper into world of health and fitness tech (p24), so plenty to get your teeth into.
“The channel has a lot to offer school leavers, graduates and those looking for apprenticeships. It’s a great place to start a career”
Laura Barnes, Editor
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WEARABLES ISSUE #186
30 UNDER THIRTY
Contents June 2019 June 2019
A look at the boom in health and fitness devices
Wearables for all
Gekko's Dan Todaro on the future of the wearables sector
Life in the Channel
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How important is it for retailers to diversify?
We chat to dynabook's Nick Offin
Regulars 6 Retail Analysis: Overcoming e-commerce challenges 10 Industry opinion from SolarWinds, Xerox, Agilitas and Becrypt 15 Number Crunching 23 Appointments 32 Sector Guide: Mics and Webcams 36 Crowdfunding Corner 39 In My Team: Agent42 41 Sector Guide: Wearables 45 Events 49 Logging Off
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Rising to the e-commerce challenge As vacancy rates rise and high street footfall declines, more and more retailers are implementing online strategies. But with 68% of UK retailers experiencing at least one failed e-commerce project last year, Laura Barnes looks at how businesses can be more successful in the online arena in 2019...
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isten to any podcast or scroll through a popular social media site and it won’t be long until you see or hear an advert from the likes of Squarespace, Shopify or WooCommerce (amongst many others) outlining just how easy it is to set up an online shop and get selling whatever wares you desire. While it’s true that in this day and age, almost everyone is able to access incredibly clever e-commerce technology wrapped up in a neat and easy-to-use package, it’s only the start of the e-commerce journey – it doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome. While the aforementioned e-commerce platforms may be geared more towards new businesses and small-scale dealers and service providers, the appeal of a savvy online shopfront is extending to more and more small-yet-established high street retailers as the pressure mounts on them to compete in the online arena if they want to thrive – or simply survive – in today’s retail climate. Worryingly, a new study commissioned by digital commerce experts Greenlight Commerce found that retailers in the UK expect 30% of all their e-commerce work to give them back “no value”. The study, which questioned 100 UK-based e-commerce decision makers within the retail sector, found a staggering 99% of retailers are facing some sort of e-commerce challenge. The main challenges were noted as customer retention (41%), customer experience (39%), and measuring metrics (33%). These challenges are leading to UK retailers experiencing many failed e-commerce projects, with over two-thirds (68%) experiencing at least one failed project in 2018. And these failures are expected to continue in 2019, with respondents predicting just under two thirds (66%) of their organisations’ e-commerce projects will hit all key objectives outlined by the business. This leaves the remaining third of projects either missing some (20%) or all (15%) of the key objectives. PCR asked Kevin Murray, managing director at Greenlight Commerce, to expand on the reasons why so many retailers are having such a tough time getting their e-commerce projects to achieve the desired goals. “Each failed project is as unique as the next, and there is no way to foresee every delay or control every situation that does crop up. However, by understanding the most common reasons for projects stalling, retailers can ensure they help mitigate problems before they arise,” says Murray. “Often retailers fail with their e-commerce projects because there isn’t a clear and defined strategy of the overall project from the very beginning. This can lead to failure because the business doesn’t see any tangible benefits or doesn’t understand what return the investment will provide.”
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Murray advises retailers to ensure they map out the wider benefits and goals and include these in the business plan. “Retailers must also be realistic when defining the scope of the project, by identifying what the non-essential objectives are, and excluding them from the plan. This can significantly improve the project’s chance of success,” he says. “Often, when planning an e-commerce project, retailers set unrealistic deadlines, and rush to get it completed as quickly as possible. However, by moving too quickly, this can cause projects to stall as the business is unable to keep up with the ambitious deadlines set out at the very beginning. Those that rush projects often have to spend more time and money dealing with unexpected complications, compared to those retailers who assign enough time to get things completed the first-time round.
“There are no two ways about it, physical retail space is becoming less cost-effective” Michael Schirrmacher, Bloomreach “Another reason for failure is that retailers are neglecting to measure many key metrics,” adds Murray. “Our recent study reveals retailers aren’t measuring website traffic (55%), revenue (53%) and customer retention (52%). All too often, organisations are not determining the profile of success for their specific business. Being able to demonstrate a project’s success is critical to getting budget for the next project.” Having a clear vision Despite the struggles many retailers have faced when implementing an e-commerce project, the situation remains the same – many businesses feel they need to attempt to compete with the big guns online. If the British Retail Consortium’s latest retail footfall and vacancies figures are anything to go by, there is more pressure than ever for physical retailers to ramp up their omnichannel approach as fewer people make the effort to visit high streets and shopping centres. The findings indicate that vacancy rates climbed to a four-year high last month, while high streets, along with shopping centres, suffered a year-on-year fall in the number of shoppers. “There are no two ways about it, physical retail space is becoming less cost-effective. Retailers are battling a tough economic climate and a decline in high street footfall, and
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these rising vacancy rates tie into that volatility,” comments Michael Schirrmacher, UK managing director at Bloomreach. “Fewer people are entering bricks-and-mortar stores every month, so the pressure to maintain profit increasingly depends on the virtual world. This raises big questions for management around how they can make the most of both spheres,” he explains. “In the online world, people can easily find and buy what they need in just a few clicks, yet customers still head back to the high street for certain purchases. The distinction between the two is usually the experience involved. The reality is that customers won’t pay for experiences they don’t value, so retailers need to take stock of what they’re trying to achieve with the different elements of their operations. “Rather than viewing physical stores as under performing points of sale, retailers should instead focus on using their shops to deliver the human experiences that cannot be mimicked online, and to ensure brand recognition is not diminished in the shift to online. That means redefining physical stores as a marketing expense, and is exactly why digital giants like Amazon, Apple and Alibaba are still refining or growing their bricks-and-mortar stores.” So, what should retailers do to make sure they don’t fall into the same traps as previous businesses when it comes to implementing an e-commerce strategy? “Before starting an e-commerce project, retailers must have a clear vision of exactly what it is they want the business to achieve from the project,” advises Murray. “More often than not, retailers rush into a project and before you know it, the end goal has been lost. It’s therefore crucial that retailers must fully understand the business outcomes they wish to achieve, and always have that at the forefront of every stage of the journey. “It’s also understandable to feel pressure to implement an all singing, all dancing platform, investing huge amounts of time and money into implementing the ‘next big’ technological advancement to disrupt the market. However, right from the get-go, retailers must take a step back and think ‘what are the core needs of my customer?” he warns. “The key to success lies in getting the basics of customer experience absolutely right. Customer expectations have changed so drastically that one poor experience can put even the most loyal of customers off. Laying the foundations of a quality, seamless customer experience can be the difference between a successful project, and a failed one.” It’s not safe to go alone Murray also advises that retailers should work with experts in the e-commerce world if they really want to get ahead of the game. “Don’t go it alone. An e-commerce project is rarely a straightforward one. Bumps in the road are natural, timelines are stretched, and unexpected complications spring up when
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“Before starting an e-commerce project, retailers must have a clear vision of exactly what it is they want the business to achieve from the project” Kevin Murray, Greenlight Commerce you least expect them. But, by choosing a partner you trust – one who is invested in your success to accompany you on this journey – can make all the difference,” he says. “At Greenlight Commerce we are dedicated to ensuring projects run as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. That’s why we’ve developed The Greenlight Code to address this market need. Risk can be minimised if a measured and due diligent approach is taken. “The Greenlight Code is a measurement-based set of core principles that combine our technical and business expertise with a focus on growth and success. It’s an approach we’ve used successfully across a wide range of e-commerce projects for some of the world’s leading brands. At its core is a focus on measurement – which is how we maximise results, and minimise risks, on your e-commerce projects.”
THE GREENLIGHT CODE: •
• • • • • • • • • •
Stop: Take the time to honestly understand what you want to achieve. Think: Consider what you want the outcome to be. Simplify: Create what you need, not what you want. Don’t hide behind jargon. Collaborate: Bring together the relevant people, data and technology. Challenge: Ask the difficult questions. Don’t take assumptions at face value. Do Detail: It’s usually the difference between project success and failure. Set Metrics: Agree then measure what matters. It shows where real value is added. Be Open: We are. We need you to be too. Green Light: Be brave. Go when it’s good enough – don’t wait until it’s perfect. Evaluate: Make sure you have achieved what you needed. And that it’s making a difference. Stay the Distance: Even after project launch. We stay the distance to support.
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Mind the Gap: Skills for the tech pros of tomorrow Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds, analyses its annual IT Trends report and looks at why it’s important to invest enough time and money into career development...
ackling the IT skills gap is high on the industry’s agenda – as it should be, considering that sourcing and maintaining new talent is vital to the market’s continued success and growth. In fact, we’re starting to see companies actively work to address the skills gap. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to launch nine higher education courses with three UK universities, and other tech companies are following suit, launching graduate and apprenticeship schemes. SolarWinds itself launched an apprenticeship programme in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University in 2018. It’s great to see attention put upon the IT skills gap, but what about the needs and worries of already established tech professionals? IT pros find themselves at a crossroads – managing today’s wants with tomorrow’s expectations, and are asking themselves whether they’re equipped with the training and skills needed to manage tomorrow’s complex environments and emerging technologies. As part of our annual IT Trends Report, released in March, we spoke to 174 IT professionals across the UK who manage cloud infrastructures, hybrid IT environments, or SaaS-based applications, as well as MSPs and MSSPs. The results paint a picture of uncertain IT pros, preparing to manage not only their daily environments, but personal career growth during a time of significant change. Mixed feelings toward emerging technology Strikingly, 70% of survey respondents said they’re not “completely confident” they have all the necessary skills to successfully manage their IT environments over the next three to five years. When it comes to managing and implementing specific technologies, emerging tech is a pain point. The top three technologies those surveyed currently feel unequipped to manage are AI, blockchain, and machine learning/deep learning. In many businesses, this tech is still years away from implementation, but IT pros must start thinking about these today so they can form business cases early on. It’s evident that despite much hype from bosses, IT professionals still feel unconfident to manage emerging technologies and the IT
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environments they exist within. This highlights how the community requires continued training and development to successfully implement and manage these technologies. Challenges in career development Our report also highlighted the barriers blocking IT pros from pursuing their desired career development routes. Nearly eight in 10 say their day-to-day tasks extend into time earmarked for career development, with 33% saying this always happens. There is a disconnect here, considering tech pros enjoy technology skills training – with 49% finding it informative and 32% describing it as engaging and interactive. Currently, tech pros engage in IT skills training and/or career development programmes ranging from monthly (23%), quarterly (13%), and annually (13%). However, if there were no schedule or workload restrictions, 36% would prefer weekly training. Tech pros cite time and availability (51%) and cost (23%) as the biggest barriers affecting their current ability to participate in IT skills training and career development programmes at the frequency they would like. IT pros are hungry to learn but find themselves prevented from doing so. This is a worry because, more than ever, it’s essential that IT pros set aside time devoted to career development and getting to grips with important new technologies. It’s in managers’ best interest to put enough emphasis on career development – neglecting doing so will affect future success of emerging technologies. Efforts to close the IT skills gap will hopefully see thousands of new IT professionals enter the workforce in the coming years. But what lies waiting for these new IT pros? Our survey highlights how confidence around managing emerging technologies is low amongst current IT pros and bosses are failing to invest enough time and money into career development. This must change. If management teams want to grasp the opportunities of emerging technologies, they need workers equipped with the skills to do so. If not, the industry could find itself in a new crisis. Our research has expressed the voice of UK IT pros loudly and clearly. Will businesses sit up and listen?
Reduce your environmental footprint, boost your bottom line Wendi Latko, Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability VP at Xerox, outlines why sustainability needs to be part of your business DNA...
ombatting climate change – at a consumer and political level – has skyrocketed to the top of the UK news agenda over the last twelve months. Now it has captured the attention of the general public, there have been monumental shifts across Government policy and everyday behaviours, from ultra-low emission zones to reusable coffee cups. But as the world races to reduce its environmental footprint, the onus doesn’t just lie with the consumer. Instead, the focus is turning towards corporate organisations, who are increasingly being called on to lead the charge. In fact, a recent report revealed that 83% of consumers expect businesses to make sustainable choices – as a result, sustainability is becoming business-critical. So, against this backdrop of consumer expectation and corporate responsibility, how can companies advance their eco-friendly efforts without compromising the bottom line? Whether you’re a start-up or a multinational corp, here are some simple steps to help you navigate the path towards building an environmentally sustainable business: Measurement means management Firstly, it’s imperative that you have a clear plan in place to outline how you will measure your environmental footprint, allowing you to prioritise your efforts, invest accordingly, and create a roadmap to secure buy-in from key stakeholders. But where should you begin? Start with an in-depth assessment of your current operating environment and a detailed assessment of your current workflow. It’s important to have a clear picture of the total current cost of ownership (TCO) and costs. Following this, you’ll need to evaluate and access. This includes evaluating current operating costs and performance (and the potential savings opportunities) and accessing current operations in terms of overall power and carbon consumption, including paper, trees and natural resources. From there, it’s time to project into the future and model potential environmentally-preferable business solutions and ‘what-if ’ scenarios. This will give you a better idea of future TCO savings stemming from the modeled scenario. Once you have these in place, you can then assess the benefits of your proposed changes against
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your physical site map and plot them against internal policies. You should ensure that you supplement any proposals with analytics that enable fact-based discussions and designs across the business. Look at the value chain Once you have finalised your measurement plan, you should start considering your overall value chain and how your decisions will impact your broader supply chain, and eventually the customer. It’s often useful to work upstream with your suppliers as their processes and services contribute to your overall environmental footprint, and work downstream to your customers and other suppliers. For example, Xerox’s Green World Alliance relies on customers to return spent cartridges and then Xerox connects with certified recyclers to process the returns. Engage your employees and look for quick wins Once you have drawn up your new initiatives, it’s vital that you engage your employees in order to implement your ideas. As the psychological engine that drives corporate performance, employee engagement can make or break your sustainability strategies. It’s important that everyone in the business, from the c-suite to the newest intern, feels incentivised to execute change. At Xerox, we help our customers to achieve their sustainability goals through our Print Awareness Tool offering, which promotes sustainable habits at a personal level, displaying print performances and offering tips. Businesses should also look to build momentum by identifying quick wins, which not only require minimal input from employees, but produce quick results. It might be as simple as turning your default setting to ‘duplex’, reducing paper consumption by 50%, minimising the costs for supplies and recycling, and freeing up the device. By incorporating the above practices into your company’s core values and operations, you’ll be taking the right steps towards building a sustainable future for your bottom line. Because in 2019, sustainability should be more than just a corporate buzzword. It needs to be a part of your business DNA.
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Agile transformation is about adapting and evolving to customer demand
Shaun Lynn, CEO at Agilitas, looks at why a company must be able to evolve and make changes to its current ways of doing business...
widespread and positive the general attitude is towards the need for t is often said that the only constant is change, something that transformation. It seems likely that the small minority that are not seems especially appropriate in today’s tumultuous political planning to undergo a shift may find themselves left behind by the climate. This age-old saying is particularly applicable to the rest of the IT channel. This interpretation is further backed up by global IT channel today, which has to adapt and evolve to deal the fact that over two thirds (68%) of decision makers surveyed said with changing customer demands and requirements, advancements that business transformation is essential in order to meet customer in new technologies, and other disruptive elements of the everrequirements, both nationally and internationally. In fact, almost a changing IT and business landscape. quarter of respondents strongly agreed with this idea. It is clear that For some organisations, transformation may involve making transformation is generally regarded as a critical way to keep small adjustments to business plans or organisational structure, businesses up to date and relevant for customers. whereas for others, it entails a complete internal overhaul of The majority of companies that have undergone or are people and processes, often requiring a cultural shift to undergoing a transformational shift have had a change of meet the changing needs of their customers. For business model or a change in their strategic short term others, the transformation can take the form of and long term objectives. This is interesting, as it mergers and acquisitions bringing its own shows that most companies making transformation complexities of change. “Companies that want part of their approach are doing so by making a It should come as no surprise that when to thrive – not despite significant general change to their business. Agilitas conducted its research project into Channel companies that want to thrive – not Transformation in the IT Channel, many the challenging times, despite the changes and challenging times we are businesses reported that they are planning to, or but because of them – all faced with, but because of them – are are currently undergoing, a transformational are transforming their transforming their own business models. shift to align themselves better with their business models” It is critical that channel decision makers customers’ requirements. In fact, 15% of embrace transformation, ensuring that their companies are ahead of the game and have already businesses have the agility and flexibility needed to undergone a transformational shift to meet customer properly optimise the other business approaches that have requirements, with 28% currently undergoing a been the focus of discussion over the last few years. It perhaps significant transformational shift. goes without saying that in order to make the most of a company’s A further 33% of companies answered that they have started to people, finance and technology, as well as business models of look at areas in which efficiencies can be improved, bringing the disruption, innovation, collaboration, globalisation, and relevance, a total to over three quarters of businesses that are considering, in the company must be able to evolve and make changes to its current process of, or already have, undergone a transformational shift. ways of doing business. Surprisingly, 12% of respondents said that their companies have no You can have all the good intentions to adopt these approaches plans to undergo a shift. to business, but without the ability to be agile and transform, they Clearly, though, the vast majority of companies surveyed are are meaningless. making transformation part of their business plan, illustrating how
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Evolving mobile device management strategies Dom Hume, VP of Product and Technical Services at Becrypt, outlines four themes that are important for organisations to consider when implementing a mobile device management strategy...
any organisations are continually challenged by the risks associated with managing an ever growing device estate. Successfully managing the complexity of multiple software and hardware mobile platforms necessitates a practical, secure and cost-effective way to manage, monitor and track devices. This is best achieved through implementing an end-to-end mobile device management (MDM) strategy that can sometimes require consideration of the entire software and hardware stack, to ensure valuable time and resources are used effectively in securing and monitoring mobile devices that accesses business-critical data. Here are four themes I believe are important for organisations to consider when implementing a robust MDM strategy, much of which is based on work we have undertaken with UK government. Choose a manufacturer committed to security patching Android and iOS have fundamentally different approaches to the phone ecosystem. Apple has a closed eco-system, whereas Android is an open platform, and phone manufacturers are supported to build their own devices using Android. Google releases updates and patches to its Pixel phones, at the same time as it releases patches to the wider Android community. It inevitably takes time for the individual manufacturers to integrate, test and release the patch to their handsets. This can result in a period of time where publicly-known vulnerabilities exist that may be exploited. Plan your application lifecycle management From an application provisioning platform perspective, the Apple App Store and Google Play Store perform the same functions. Since its inception, the App Store has implemented a quality and compliance gateway process for apps. Developers can still sign their own apps and push them to devices via some MDMs, however, if a developer’s certificate is revoked, the apps will no longer work. A safer method is to submit the app to the actual App Store, where it will be vetted to ensure they don’t affect device functionality or security. Apple created the Volume Purchase Program for businesses, allowing them to submit apps for specific customers. All iOS devices
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have the App Store function built in; this can be switched off from an MDM server. Organisations can also push mandated apps and updates from the MDM server. Google also has a vetting process for apps, subject to a review process that can be somewhat slow. While there is no dedicated business-only Play Store, Google offers a ‘Private Apps’ concept, allowing the user to differentiate between work and personal apps. Consider a ‘split proxy’ architecture Many organisations have become increasingly concerned about the consequences of an MDM server compromise. Attackers that breach an MDM server can easily locate and unlock a device. The data security challenges associated with managing mobile devices result from the characteristics imposed by the smartphone ecosystem. Such concerns apply regardless of whether the firm’s MDM is on premise or in the cloud. MDM servers have complex communication protocols that interact with several internet-based services, such as push notification systems and online app stores. Usually, these channels are authenticated and encrypted end-to-end, preventing them from being inspected for threats. Therefore, an organisation or its service provider can either open its firewall ports to an MDM server hosted in their most trusted network segment or host the MDM server in a less trusted segment – a ‘DMZ’ of sorts. Ultimately, this equates to either compromising a secure network, or sacrificing the MDM server. One way to mitigate the risks of such a compromise is to choose a solution that employs a ‘split-proxy’ architecture. Utilising a series of proxy servers residing in a DMZ, these fulfil the range of encrypted communications with the smartphone ecosystem. Consider the business objectives before implementation Companies that prioritise data and employee protection as part of their MDM strategy should assess what they need from their mobile devices, and how they intend to be used. Regardless of whether a firm is operating in a high or low-threat environment, it needs an MDM solution that is resilient enough to protect its data from increasingly sophisticated threat actors.
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Here are some of the most interesting stats and facts from the tech channel…
61% of IT professionals have experienced a serious data breach, according to McAfee’s Grand Theft Data II report.
200 The first biometric fingerprint card issued by a UK bank has entered circulation. NatWest is piloting the technology with 200 customers, who can now use their fingerprint to verify transactions above the £30 contactless limit.
Unit sales of large-format displays (LFDs) in West Europe continued to grow in Q1 2019 by almost 14% year-on-year, reveals Context.
5 years A new study by the Capgemini Research Institute has found that consumers are ready for driverless cars with 1 in 2 saying that an autonomous vehicle will be their preferred mode of transport within the next five years.
55% New research conducted by ESET and Kingston shows that 55% of business don’t encrypt their removable devices, leaving themselves exposed to data leaks.
June 2019 |
From vendors to distributors to retailers, there is a mass of young talent across all areas of the UK IT and tech channel. In alphabetical order by surname, PCR rounds up 30 rising stars under the age of 30 who have already made an impact in the industry and we predict will be ones to watch in the near futureâ€Ś
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30 Under 30
MIKE BRITTON Technical Presales Consultant Panda Security UK “Since joining Panda Security UK in 2015, Mike has risen through technical support to become a key member of the technical presales team, training new and existing partners to get the best from Panda solutions. When not visiting partners or hosting webinars, Mike can be found presenting at both international and UK events, where he is not averse to wearing a shirt.”
JOE COWELL Northern Europe PR Manager AMD “Joe currently overseas all AMD PR across Northern Europe, including the UK. He has developed strong relationships with AMD’s SI and OEM partners to help deliver PR campaigns for the latest AMD products, including Ryzen 2nd generation processors, Radeon graphics cards and systems with AMD hardware. He has become synonymous with ‘AMD PR’ in the UK, regularly opening new doors for AMD with media and influencers alike.”
MATT COLLINS Ecommerce Executive BT Shop “Matt joined BT on a temporary graduate scheme on the education team in the product supply business and secured a permanent role last year to join the BT Shop consumer team. Working with the marketing team he collaborates with product managers and designers to produce quarterly campaigns for the online ecommerce site, BT Shop. He writes copy for emails, direct marketing and web and has helped grow the social platforms. Matt’s positive and passionate outlook to marketing has made him an integral and valuable part for the team.”
JORDAN DRUCE Retail Account Manager CMS Distribution “Jordan’s first sales role at CMS Distribution has given him the platform to exceed and grow within the company. He has already achieved huge success for himself and his customers, finding himself high in the achievers league and rewarded with a place on the annual trip to Las Vegas. A huge accomplishment at just 21.”
WILL DENTON Product Manager – Gaming Accessories Box.co.uk “Will Denton joined Box.co.uk as a web merchandiser in April 2018 to support product managers at Box. In his role, Will supported colleagues with web content, product set up and some elements of marketing. Will’s positive attitude, enthusiasm, dedication and his determination to succeed shone very early on into his employment with Box. Out of his work hours and in his own time Will regularly researched products and the industry, which was over and above what was expected of him in his role. He did this to learn and grow and to understand the categories he supported. Will’s colleagues say working with him is “an absolute pleasure, nothing is too much trouble, he is a true team player and his work ethic is one that stands out”. Product categories saw huge growth in the period that Will supported them (monitors growth over 50% and networking over 100%), and Box has received positive feedback about Will from within the business as well as from both its vendors and distributors.”
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30 Under 30
JAMES FORBES Web Services Manager Edward Martin Computer Services Ltd “James’ stature is increasing daily. In addition to his role as web services manager, he has taken his work to a higher level, and because of this, the company’s workflow in this area is currently full, with the pipeline full for at least the next six months. On top of this, James has redefined the company’s telephony and mobile offerings and in a very short time has developed in-house systems for managing them – onboarded a lot of existing and new clients. His next project is on security offerings and he has already set up dark web monitoring and back office systems to manage it. James’ enthusiasm is infectious and his can-do attitude is keeping the company ahead of the game.”
SHUBHAM GOEL Product Manager – Enterprise Software QBS Software “Shubham graduated from Kings College London with a 1st class MSci in Computer Science. He joined QBS on the graduate programme and has recently been promoted to product management after his sterling work with growing the Intel Software and Sharegate revenues. Shubham’s product area is tracking at 469% CAGR driven by his proactive nature, product expertise and epitomises the ‘value add’ in distribution.”
CHRIS FULLER UK Account Manager Corsair “Chris has been instrumental over the last four years in driving Corsair’s successful UK Amazon business. The growth Chris has helped Corsair achieve with the account is nothing short of staggering. Chris continues to represent Corsair at all major UK events, being instantly recognisable to customers and major gaming influencers alike. Chris has added Overclockers to his account portfolio in 2019 and is already proving a success in driving their business forward for Corsair.”
ABBIE-LEE HOLLISTER Marketing Director Zedsphere “Abbie has delivered massive impact implementation and invaluable strategic guidance at Zedsphere since joining the company as its first employee in May 2016. During that time she successfully operated in multiple functions including sales, marketing and operations, playing a key role in taking Zedsphere from £0 to £2m per year in its first 24 months. Abbie now oversees the delivery of Zedsphere’s pan-European marketing strategy as part of the wider QBS Group and will be earning her PhD in Business and Management in September 2019.”
IAN HOLLOWAY Head of Marketing (UK&I) Medion UK “Ian heads up the marketing function for Medion UK, devising the overall strategy for UK and Ireland. Working very closely with technology partners, retailers and etailers, he has a big impact on driving sales results through joint up co-marketing campaigns delivering a better ROI and better sales out results than standard campaigns. This has lead to the growth of the ERAZER sub-brand in the UK, making it more recognisable in the gaming industry and with consumers.”
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30 Under 30
JAMIE HOPE Distribution Account Manager Corsair “One year ago, at the tender age of 22, Jamie joined Corsair and has excelled in his role as distribution account manager since. From the start of 2019 he has run UK distribution for Corsair and Elgato products fully autonomously. Jamie is a superb brand ambassador and continues to help drive Corsair’s wide ranging business across the UK. His colleagues say he should feel proud of all he has achieved in his first year within Corsair.”
DAN JONES Intel Success Delivery Partner GNR:Tech “Dan has been with GNR Technology Group since leaving college. He manages the Intel relationship and is equally at home with his head in a data centre or talking to a reseller partner about an opportunity. Dan has driven the Intel business to a critical mass and has demonstrated success through excellent product knowledge, a pragmatic attitude and a desire to help the company and reseller partner succeed.”
MEGHANN HOWE Marketing Product Trader Buy It Direct “Meghann started at Buy It Direct as an apprentice in June 2015. After learning the ropes with basic administration, she soon moved on to looking after some of the firm’s smaller categories, and was promoted into her current role. She now looks at the customer journey for the monitor category throughout the business, and oversees the marketing strategy on the range. Her work on the website has resulted in huge improvements in SEO and over double the amount of traffic in a short space of
KATIE KING Product Assistant Hama “Joining the Hama UK team in 2017, Katie has since proved an invaluable asset to the product management team in integrating new products and driving forward the Hama portfolio of brands. Her positive attitude and ongoing commitment to her field has led to marked improvements in product/sales team communication, customer service and retail support. Always looking onwards and upwards, Katie has conscientiously nurtured the recently introduced Happy Plugs brand, a key player in its blossoming success.”
MARCUS LOWE Business Development Manager Techbuyer “Since joining Techbuyer over 11 years ago as the first member of staff at the ripe old age of 16, Marcus has been a leader in growing, developing and steering Techbuyer to become the £36 million business that it is today. During his time at Techbuyer, he has personally brought on 438 new accounts, visited 83 customers across 12 countries, received 1.24 million and sent 1.16 million emails, received over 40,000 orders and has always ensured Techbuyer is a fun place to work with countless office pranks. Marcus always goes above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service and often travels all over the country (and sometimes the world) to hand deliver critical orders when the couriers can’t get there fast enough. One weekend, when a customer called late on a Friday requiring a tape drive as soon as possible, he drove 200 miles to London, got a flight from Gatwick to Copenhagen and then onto another flight from Copenhagen to Aalborg to drop off the drive. He stayed for two hours and took the same gruelling journey back.”
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June 2019 | 19
30 Under 30
ARMELLE MCGEACHIE Marketing Executive Ingram Micro Cloud “Graduating from Loughborough University with a 2:1 in BSc International Business in 2018, Armelle took a placement at a marketing agency focusing on big tech firms in the B2B sphere, which led to an internship at a Hubspot agency upon graduating. In her final year, she was a content executive for a lead generation business, a paid fundraiser for the university and an administrator for a Data Modelling company. With her unique outlook on everyday work challenges at Ingram she has grown in strength.”
HELEN PAGE Marketing & Events Assistant Network Group “In her two years at Network Group, Helen has taken charge of, and transformed, the group’s digital strategy, driving partner uptake, creating original content and managing a very busy and dynamic multiple-platform schedule. She has been instrumental in the successful delivery of large events where she excels at managing complex people flows, information and hundreds of moving parts. Working closely with some of the channel’s leading vendors, Helen has developed excellent relationships with partners.”
JAMIE-LEA NEWBOULD Sales Support Administrator Target Components “Having just left 6th form college, Jamie-Lea joined Target Components in August 2018 as administrative support assistant for the sales department. In just a short time, Jamie-Lea has progressed extremely quickly in the role, mastering any tasks sent her way and developing her commercial acumen. She is extremely organised and works well under pressure in a busy and vibrant sales office where she is already very much an integral part of the sales team.”
BRANDON RIDLEY Customer Services More Computers “Brandon joined the MoreFrom Group in 2016 as a customer service apprentice and has been instrumental in growing the company brand and its excellent reputation ever since. It did not take long for Brandon to be offered a full-time position, this was typified by his excellent telephone skills, work efficiency and the fact that he does not shy away from going the extra mile with customer service. Brandon has a bright future in the industry and is regarded by his manager as a real asset.”
JAMES REEVES Product Manager – Smart Home Box.co.uk “James Reeves joined Box.co.uk as a junior product manager in May 2018 to set-up and manage its smart home category. From day one, James has shown incredible enthusiasm to learn in the role. In the last 12 months, Box has seen the smart home category grow by 30% month-on-month with an expected turnover for 2019 in excess of £200,000. James has spent the last year learning every aspect of the role at Box with more senior members of the product management team, which involves learning price negotiation via both distributors and manufacturers, product selection, managing and growing supplier relationships, building of customer journey and content for range of smart home products via the Box website, reporting of sales performance to sales management, and carrying out marketing activities to increase the audience for the range of Products. In January 2019, seven months into his employment, James was promoted to product manager, which meant he took on more categories including mobile phone and tablet, and is now responsible for a multimillion pound product portfolio.”
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30 Under 30
SEAN ROBERTSON Client Care Specialist Utopia Computers “Sean Robertson joined Utopia in 2017 as its customer care expert, bringing with him a raft of experience in finding solutions for clients in the finance industry. With his appointment, he won the role at Utopia over other applicants who had more tech experience. Since 2017 he very quickly became popular with Utopia’s customers, finding ease in building his technical knowledge, he showed an extraordinarily natural ability for fantastic overand-above customer service. He has now cemented a role as one of Utopia’s key team members. Responsible for nurturing relationships with some of Utopia’s largest customers, he is also often found consulting with Utopia’s system builders to create solutions around his client’s problems and design new products that solve problems his clients didn’t even know they had. He is frequently found chatting to clients around tech, Japanese culture and more.”
ANNIE SHAH Senior Digital Transformation Marketing Ingram Micro “Annie is an exceptional talent within the Ingram Micro marketing team. Her marketing knowledge, creative flair and use of social media has elevated the content and delivery of the company’s vendor marketing plans significantly. Everyone that has experienced her presentation skills comes away with the same thoughts: here is a person that is articulate, passionate about marketing and is going to make a difference now and in the future. Her colleagues say it’s a pleasure to work with her and she has made a huge, positive impression already.”
VAISH SHANKARA Marketing Executive Ingram Micro
LEAH SOMERS UK Marketing Manager Cooler Master “Joining Cooler Master in December 2017, Leah’s colleagues say she has proven herself to be worthy of a nomination in this years 30 under 30 given her outstanding contribution to the Cooler Master marketing department.”
“Vaish is a driven, hardworking and personable person. She has fully integrated herself into the team and has taken on her role as speciality lead with professionalism. Many seniors have noted her hard work, professionalism and her excellent communication and presentation skills. Her colleagues say it is a joy to work with her and her knowledge in data driven marketing is great. She’s a strong believer of diversity and inclusion in the IT channel. She is currently working with a group of leaders from Microsoft and other leading distributors and resellers from the IT channel to promote D&I in the workplace.”
ANGUS SHAW Sales Manager Brigantia Partners “Angus was part of the team that completed a management buyout of the Brigantia business back in January 2016. Now leading a growing sales team, currently numbering eleven, Angus has been one of the key team members responsible for the transformation of Brigantia into a genuine value-added managed service distributor with specialisms around cybersecurity and secure connectivity. The excellent work done by Angus and his sales team has resulted in Brigantia’s recurring revenues consistently growing month-on-month.”
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June 2019 | 21
30 Under 30
MATT THOBURN Assistant Warehouse Manager Target Components “Matt started at Target in 2014 as warehouse operative. His manager quickly recognised Matt’s extreme attention to detail, ability to plan and the repartee he had developed with the warehouse staff. Despite his age, Matt moved very quickly up the ranks, becoming trainee stock control manager seven months later in March 2015 and then assistant warehouse manager in 2017, where he was also responsible for logistics leading up to, and during, the Target Open Day. Matt’s enthusiasm and energy have been instrumental in achieving Target’s consistent 99.4% order accuracy rate, averaging less than a single error per week over a full year.”
MEGAN WARREN Marketing Executive Computer World “In the past 12 months, Megan has achieved a diploma in digital marketing (whilst working full time), been named vExpert for the third consecutive year, and was named as one of the Top 25 Women in Tech in PCR 2019 list. She was also named a Young Marketing Professional of the Year and completed her first technical demo and first expert panel at industry events.”
SCOTT WALKER Operations and Technical Support Team HANNspree “Scott’s role at HANNspree is ever evolving. As his knowledge of the company expands, he has become a major advocate for the brand, especially in the gaming world, where Scott has become the voice of HANNspree’s new range of gaming displays, and, through his networking abilities, has been able to source software support that enables cross platform compatibility. Scott has become a vital member of the UK team, not only by championing the brand, but his practical skills have had a vast influence on several aspects of the day-to-day business, such as managing product support for both customers and the in-house team, including product testing, providing valuable input on market conditions, identifying potential customers and more.”
DAN WESTMORE Retail Account Manager CMS Distribution “Dan joined CMS Distribution in December 2017, stepping into his first sales role after graduating university. He has opened numerous accounts and driven new business throughout 2018 whilst also managing a selection of large retailers. Moving into 2019 he has continued this momentum, showing significant YoY growth across his account base and is now looking at internal progression within CMS.”
ADAM WHINCUP Consumer 4P Product Manager Lenovo “Adam joined Lenovo after obtaining a 1st class degree from UWE in July 2017. Adam’s contribution to the Consumer 4P team has led to him being fast tracked through the graduate scheme and with that, taking on more responsibility on a quarterly basis. Adam focuses on the smaller and emerging product categories within the consumer portfolio. Opinionated, passionate and able to do it with a smile of his face has made Adam a key part of the consumer business in a short time and a passion for the Lenovo products has shone through. He often presents the product ranging plans to key retail partners and drives the key Lenovo messages. Adam engages with directors and VPs on a daily basis and has presented on stage at key UK Lenovo events with a confidence and degree of professionalism beyond his age.”
22 | June 2019
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This month’s movers and shakers in the tech industry...
Maverick AV Solutions
NEC Display Solutions Europe has appointed Simon Jackson as senior vice president of sales EMEA. He has spent more than two decades at NEC and has been promoted from vice president of strategic and vertical sales in EMEA. In his new role, Jackson will lead the company’s entire sales organisation, comprising regional sales teams, as well as the strategic and vertical sales teams. Jackson will be responsible for bringing a “more strategic and unified focus to the company’s sales strategy across all verticals and country markets”.
Lexmark has appointed Thomas Valjak as vice president of channel, EMEA. With almost 25 years of experience in business management, channel and end-user sales, Valjak will help accelerate the company’s channel growth across EMEA. He joins from HP, where he spent the last 24 years in different regional business leadership, sales and channel roles. Most recently, he served as vice president and head of HP’s large-format printing business, where he was responsible for managing all aspects of its channeldriven business for customers in architecture, engineering and construction, commercial printers, sign makers and industrial manufacturers.
Panasonic has appointed Chris Turner as its new country manager for the UK & Ireland Toughbook Group. With more than a decade’s experience at Panasonic Toughbook, Turner has helped business customers improve the productivity of their mobile workforces with the implementation of the company’s rugged notebooks, tablets and handheld devices. His focus will be to build on the market-leading success of these devices in the UK and Ireland, rapidly grow Panasonic’s share of the handheld market, and accelerate focus from hardware to mobile business solutions.
Maverick AV Solutions has appointed Naina Tailor as its new UK sales director. She will lead customer engagement as the company expands its AV/IT customer base with new manufacturer partnerships and global capabilities. Tailor joined the team shortly after Maverick’s recent partnership announcements with Huddly and Microsoft, which complement its portfolio of smart meeting and signage solutions. With over 15 years’ experience in the industry, Tailor has built her career working with Sony UK, Lenovo and most recently Midwich.
Cyber and information security consultancy 2|SEC Consulting has named Alan Jenkins as its new head of advisory services. With 30 years of experience in all facets of enterprise security risk management, consulting and business resilience, Jenkins will help accelerate the company’s growth. Jenkins joins 2|SEC Consulting after a short spell as an independent consultant from IBM Security, where he spent over two years as an associate partner leading engagement in the UK & Ireland financial services sector.
Cloud telephony and unified communications provider Olive Communications has appointed Andrew Jane as chief technology officer, to drive and support its global technology and cloud services strategy during a time of accelerated growth. Industry specialist Jane joins Olive’s senior executive leadership team from Mitel, where he was responsible for delivering end-to-end solutions for global cloud infrastructure, environments and applications. His appointment comes at a pivotal period for Olive, which has seen prolific growth in its cloud telephony and contact centre revenues. Jane will be responsible for technology, innovation and product strategy, reporting directly to group CEO, Martin Flick.
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The Fitbit Ionic Watch offers real-time guidance for fitness goals
In fitness and in health With smartwatches and wristbands accounting for more than 60% of the 59 million wearables sold worldwide in 2018, Laura Barnes looks at how connected devices are rapidly changing the way consumers monitor their health and fitness, and how we can expect this market to evolve in the near future...
n the 1960s, a mathematics professor called Edward Thorp created a computer small enough to fit into a shoe. While some purists may call this the true beginning of “wearable technology”, it’s fair to say that the explosion of Bluetoothenabled devices in 2002 was the point at which manufacturers decided to go all guns blazing with the rapid advancements in tech products that could be worn by consumers. While the Bluetooth boom of 2002 was centered around headsets that would work with mobile phones to let wearers answer calls, leave voicemails and send text messages whilst keeping their hands free, it didn’t take long for tech companies to
figure out how these types of devices could be extremely beneficial in the fitness, health and sporting worlds. Nike was one of the first off the block with the Nike+ fitness tracker, designed to measure and record the distance and pace of a runner wearing a pair of the company’s shoes fitted with the device. Fitbit wasn’t far behind. Spotting the huge potential for using small sensors in devices, the company was founded in 2007 and released its first tracker at the end of 2009. Another company seeing the potential in ‘connected devices’ was Withings, which brought the first Wi-Fi scale to the market in that same year. An influx of brands soon followed, and looking at the state of the
Wearables market market in the present day, it’s clear that the health and fitness side of the wearables sector has been one of the most fruitful. A report earlier this year from IDC revealed that the worldwide market for wearable devices grew 31.4% during the fourth quarter of 2018, reaching a new height of 59.3 million units. Smartwatches grew 55.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 and accounted for 34.3% of the overall market during the quarter. Wristbands accounted for 30% of the market, with IDC noting that recent launches from Xiaomi, Huawei and Fitbit “continued to drive the category forward”. Health trends With IDC forecasting a 19% increase in smartwatch shipments over the next four years, Fitbit’s marketing director Lucy Sheehan tells PCR that the company is seeing consumers becoming more attracted to a smartwatch “with a purpose that is connected to their health and fitness”. “It’s not about having multiple apps and functions that replicate a smartphone, but function and features that add personal value and insight into daily life,” says Sheehan. “Fitbit’s overarching mission is to help make everyone in the world healthier, it’s been our mission for the past 12 years. With new devices and features and an engaging platform experience of software, social, app features and personalised health insights, we are focused on helping our users make positive behaviour changes that help them achieve their health and fitness goals.” Mathieu Letombe, general manager of Withings, agrees that consumers are looking for devices that give them even more insights into their health. “When wearables first launched, adoption was the main focus of the industry. Now, we are seeing that consumers are more comfortable with wearing their devices daily and health tracking has become mainstream, allowing the industry focus to move into more complex monitoring. Devices now go beyond tracking steps and monitor serious health issues and habits. “Additionally, now that consumers are used to wearing gadgets daily, they are more interested in devices that are easy to wear long term. This is a challenge the industry is currently tackling – providing devices consumers want to wear for the long run and can easily incorporate into their daily lives, while still getting a wealth of helpful health data,” he tells PCR. “At Withings, we are focused on leading the industry in providing devices consumers will wear long term while helping them with health prevention. With devices rolling out soon like Withings BPM Core and Move EGC, people can regularly monitor health conditions and levels – like their heart health – to see trends, identify issues early and make adjustments to avoid serious health problems. Both of these devices, along with our other wearable products, are simple to use daily, have impressive battery lives and boast sleek designs that consumers enjoy using.” Now that consumers are more comfortable using their connected devices, Letombe says that Withings wants to continue to add capabilities and features that will help provide its users with even more health insight and advice. “We identified an opportunity to take the simple gesture of taking blood pressure to add other game changing tracking capabilities to a standard blood pressure monitor. This led to the
creation of BPM Core, which will be available later this year and is the first at-home product with the ability to measure blood pressure, take an ECG and listen to the heart via a digital stethoscope – in one device,” he explains. “Additionally, with Move ECG, which will also be available this year, we were able to add ECG capabilities to an activity tracker built into a standard analog watch to allow people to monitor their heart health from their wrist.” Since launching, Letombe says that Withings has worked to lead the industry in creating “beautifully designed devices that can be easily worn every day without giving up their personal style or worrying about having to charge their devices frequently”. “In order to make a real difference in people’s lives and to guarantee a long term use of our devices, Withings has been dedicated to not compromising style, providing users with designs that have long lasting battery lives, simple-to-use capabilities, and fit every routine and lifestyle, all while providing a wealth of useful information and tips,” he says.
“It’s not about having multiple apps that replicate a smartphone, but features that add personal value and insight into daily life” Lucy Sheehan, Fitbit More to come? While there is still innovation happening in the wearables sector, is there much more that can be done with health and fitness trackers or has the bubble burst? Fitbit’s Sheehan believes that there is still plenty of room in the market, pointing to recent data from GfK, which shows that despite the increase in smartwatches, fitness trackers remain a large segment of the wearables market, accounting for 43% of unit sales from May 2018 to April 2019. “Many consumers still prefer the form factor of a tracker and the simplified user interface, price is an important consideration too. At Fitbit we believe that in this market there is no one-sizefits-all solution and it is important to have a range of devices to suit everyone’s needs,” she says. Withings’ Letombe also believes there is more to come in the fitness tracking sector: “I believe it took time for consumers to adopt wearing trackers daily. Now that it is a norm to track steps, sleep and more, there is new opportunity for companies to incorporate new health features to their devices to help users
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Wearables market Withings claims its new BPM Core is the world’s most sophisticated and wide-ranging in-home cardiovascular monitor
“Wearables continue to go beyond just tracking steps and sleep. Now, there are devices that track a wealth of more advanced health conditions and habits” Mathieu Letombe, Withings prevent health risks and receive helpful feedback to ultimately make changes to their health habits.” Moving forward, Letombe says we’re likely to see devices that fit more easily into consumers’ everyday lives. “Wearables have had the issue of being invasive – where users have to work around the devices to fit them into their daily lives and understand the data provided. This has actually caused the market to slow down. I am looking forward to seeing more
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devices become available that are elegant and easy to wear and understand how to use. “Additionally, I believe we will see wearables continue to go beyond just tracking steps and sleep. Now, there are wearables that track a wealth of more advanced health conditions and habits. This allows people to not only select a device that has the design that matches their personal style, but also provides the features and tracking capabilities that are in line with their health and fitness goals, including more advanced conditions. At Withings, we are committed to this and have showcased this with Move ECG,” explains Letombe. Looking ahead to the future of the wearables market, Sheehan says it’s exciting to see the predicted growth across the smartwatch sector and the benefits this will deliver to consumers. “We believe that offering more personalised insights and connecting personal data to give users a holistic picture of how things such as getting more active, sleeping better, reducing stress, female health tracking and managing weight can positively affect overall health. This will continue to be an exciting area of development in the future,” she says. “Across the broader market, it is interesting to see more niche wearable tech products develop, products that bring personal health and wellness benefits into the home; take Owlet, for example, who make wearable tech products that track heart rate and oxygen levels in sleeping babies, and a pregnancy belt that helps track the baby’s wellness in utero. Along with Fitbit, these are the kinds of wearables that can really make a difference to people’s lives.”
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@PCR_Online 29/05/2019 14:14
DEALER DISCUSSION: HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO DIVERSIFY YOUR OFFERINGS? This month, industry community Tech For Techs asks its members what new areas they have branched out into and why diversifying their offerings have helped them generate more business... CORMIE CORMISON, CROSSHAVEN COMPUTERS https://www.crosshavencomputers.ie “Moving as many business customers as I can to MSP. With me fitting more and more SDDs, I’m less likely to see home customers as often. They only come when their computers are slow, which are usually due to windows update issues. Yes, we are living in a golden time of SSD upgrades, but we must realise that it might reduce our future work.”
PETER WHITEHOUSE, SCANSTATION COMPUTERS LIMITED https://scanstation.co.uk “We are doubling down on services both with consumers and businesses. Being a local trusted adviser to your clients is something that large etailors cannot complete with. Providing a “solution” delivers immense value to the end customer and can enhance your relationship as well as generating monthly recurring revenue opportunities.”
RICH FORTH, PHASE 4 COMPUTERS http://p4com.com/ “We’ve seen the changes in the industry, so like many others, we’ve been moving business customers onto managed services, as well as improving our offerings. Along with PC repair we do phones, tablets and consoles repairs, CCTV, ink refilling (and compatibles), and Wi-Fi hotspot management for hotels. As well as looking at the possibility of selling stationary (we’ve been asked if we can keep pens and notebooks, I don’t mean styluses or laptops!).” ◆◆◆
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MICHAEL JAMES DEAN, COLLIEDOG COMPUTERS http://colliedogcomputers.co.uk/ “It is extremely important. You have to move with the times and figure out, quickly, what is not worth doing anymore and what is worth learning and focusing on in the future. I’m pushing into digital signage now as there is a real demand for it and there are some nice hardware and software solutions out there that meet all sorts of requirements.” ◆◆◆
Retail Talk STEVE MOORHOUSE, ALBANY HOSTING https://www.albany-hosting.co.uk/ “I’m going to concentrate on getting our hosting business out there. We have been creating websites and hosting since 1996, but it’s mainly been for our existing customers. We look after over 200 domains and about 150 websites. It would be nice to have more residual income. I was thinking about doing an offer on JVZoo (joint venture website) and offering something like purchase one year and get two years free. I know we will get a hit on year two and three but year four should be good.” ◆◆◆
NIGEL PERRY, CADISHEAD COMPUTERS http://cadisheadcomputers.co.uk/wp/ “We have been pushing more and more onto SSD drives and managed antivirus. I personally think that the residential side of our business is seriously declining. With more clients having smartphones and tablets, and with everything stored in the cloud, there are less laptops being repaired. When you consider the cost of a cheap machine for £180, why would they want to pay literally half the cost again for a simple screen replacement? I haven’t seen a desktop for literally four months. I can count on one finger the amount of new PCs I’ve built this year.” ◆◆◆
IAN ROBERTSON, M21 TECHNOLOGY SERVICES http://m21technology.co.uk/ “I want to go into the creative media and website side of things. I am qualified in this and have got experience doing the job part time in college but I am still rusty and need to learn more over the summer before launching it. My biggest issue with this though as how to carve out a niche, I am not sure what I can do that other companies are not doing. The repair side of things is just dead and I taking on jobs despite my better judgement because of it. Part of me thinks I might just apply for full time jobs though and have done with it but it is a huge step.” ◆◆◆
PHILIP GRIFFITHS AND JENNI GRIFFITHS, OWNERS AND FOUNDERS OF TECH FOR TECHS https://www.techfortechs.co.uk/ “There are many thing techs can diversify into, and it can help minimise financial risks in the long term. But before you diversify, you have to make sure your current offerings are the best they can be, and if you spend more time promoting new products and services they may negatively affect the part of the business that you are known for. Some of the things that small, independent
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IT business can do is find ways of expanding on what you do rather than adding something completely different. For example, if you are a standard repair shop that just repairs computers all day long, you could venture down a few different routes, from stocking items people may need, like paper and ink (shrinking market), to even new and refurbished computers. Whatever you diversify into, make sure it’s something that will get people coming back for more or gives you some form on ongoing revenue. Security products are always good, people will always need more, but the problem is they may renew it online when they get a renewal popup so you could lose out, unless you sell a product like BullGuard, that has a revenue service, so if someone renews the product online after initially buying it from you, you will then get a 25% cut of the sale for the life of the product. Other recurring services for small business to get into is maintenance contracts. You can easily add MSP services and features into a repair business, and taking monthly payments is easer than ever with websites like GoCardless. Offering these services will not only give you a monthly income – which is ideal for quiet times of the year – but it also turns you into a proactive company rather than reactive, allowing you to find issues before they get worse or in some cases stop issues before they even happen. Focusing your business on one product or service type can also be a benefit, as your company will become experts at that topic and people will come for miles because they know you are the best of the best. But focusing has downsides as well, new product types and services are coming out all the time and replacing the older ones. Just look at computers, 20 years ago nearly everyone got online using a desktop computer. 10 years later, that changed to laptops, and five years after that, smartphones and tablets have become the most popular items for surfing the internet. The jury is still out on this debate and there are pros and cons to both focusing and diversifying.”
TECH FOR TECHS Launched in January 2018, Tech for Techs (TFT) is a new community for technicians of all kinds, including on-site call out services, retailers, resellers, managed service providers, vendors and distributors. Free to join, TFT is run by the team behind retailer Chips Computers and offers up insight and information on the industry, as well as product reviews, price comparisons, free directory listings and more. Visit www. techfortechs.co.uk for more information.
June 2019 | 29
Wearables for all In the first of a new regular column from field marketing agency Gekko, the firmâ€™s Managing Director Daniel Todaro discusses how the decadeâ€™s most hyped of technologies has found its groove...
here was much talk of wearable technology in the early part of this decade and in what can only be described as a media frenzy. Google launched its hotly awaited Google Glass in 2012. It was everywhere, Diane von Furstenberg used the product on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, while Virgin Atlantic tied up with the brand for flight crew to check in passengers on selected trans-Atlantic flights. Whilst
30 | June 2019
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available to a selected group of subscribers, it unfortunately never made the shelves but set the pace as the pioneer. The sale of smartwatches and trackers such as the Jawbone UP and Fitbit Flex accelerated in 2013 and things started to evolve rapidly. Then in 2015 we saw the launch of the first Apple Watch. While there has been commentary on the demise of the whole category with Jawbone already defunct, smartwatches are still the
Looking at the impact automated insulin delivery has on patients and parents of children with severe diabetes, WELT is well documented and was one of the most talked about pieces of tech from CES 19. The new SMART belt from Samsung, launched at IFA 2018, can help tackle one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century, rising obesity. The belt can monitor weight, walking speed, sitting duration and eating habits. Another interesting application of wearable tech is Quell 2.0. This over the device wearable from Neurometrix uses advanced neurotechnology to stimulate sensor nerves sending neural pulses to the brain and blocking pain signals. The device is designed to block multiple types and sources of pain. Innovation in wearable technology is as big as manufacturers dare it to be and wearable tech used today has evolved to be practical and convenient to make our daily lives more efficient. For resellers it’s interesting to note that it’s claimed that one in ten wearable owners have two or more devices, with those who don’t currently own a wearable stating that they are in the market for one. Research shows that fitness devices and smartwatches are equally
“Advances in technology means devices can be small and lightweight. The future of wearable tech is in the sublime not the ridiculous” only product where we’ve seen continued sales and enhanced innovation, with luxury brands like TAG Heuer launching a range of Google Wear OS devices. According to Statista, global wearable technology sales in 2018 were 123 million units, with trackers making up 15 million and smartwatches 80 million. Watches are still growing faster than any other category and forecasted by CCS Insight to reach 142 million units worldwide in 2019 and a staggering 260 million units by 2023. There’s little doubt we’ve come to a point where the market is less about the consumer tech and gadgets that we might see in store and rather more about the application of wearable technology – driven by trackers and smartwatches – into other fields such as health and wellbeing that are having a real and valuable impact on people’s lives. Wearables are evolving. Motiv’s smart ring won Breakout of the Year at the Wearable Tech Awards 2018, but the jury is still out on its success. Looking at the exhibitors at 2019’s Wearable Technology Show, it indicates that there’s more than just smartwatches, but many innovations are being driven by health and wellbeing.
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wanted to aid in health, detect calorie intake, assess overall fitness and provide stress measurements. Advances in nanotechnology, batteries and microprocessors have meant the devices can be small and lightweight. It therefore looks to me like the future of wearable tech is in the sublime not the ridiculous. Tech companies that succeed will be the ones that understand consumer behaviour and are solving real world customer needs or problems, rather than just focusing on ‘what’s possible’. Linked to real time data and tapping into human needs, its potential now does seem potentially revolutionary, with applications in health being a particular game-changer for the wearables category. This decade’s most hyped of technologies has found its groove, enabling not just athletes to monitor wellbeing and lifestyle but for all manner of consumers and in a variety of exciting form factors. Gekko is a full service field marketing agency, specialising in connecting brands with consumers in retail throughout the UK and Ireland. Find our more at www.gekko-uk.com
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Mics and Webcams Here we round up the best mics and webcams for bloggers, gamers and business users… Razer Seiren Elite Pro Steaming Microphone Specs: Dynamic microphone made for professional streaming, single dynamic capsule for rich quality sound, high-pass filter switch for ultra-clean recordings, digital/analog limiter to reduce distortion, zero-latency 3.5 mm headphone monitoring port, flat frequency response for accurate recordings. “Steamlabs certified, the Razer Seiren Elite’s professional-grade single dynamic capsule ensures minimal electronic interference so voices sound richer, warmer and true to life during broadcasts. Thanks to an inbuilt high-pass filter that cuts out unwanted lowfrequency vibrations, like footsteps or the rumble of an air conditioner, only the cleanest recording signals are picked up. When the action heats up, it’s easy to get a little too enthusiastic with your shoutcalls. When that happens, a digital/analog limiter helps adjust your gains to prevent audio distortion and voice clipping, so you’ll always sound in control.” Contact: VIP UK
Logitech C920 Webcam Specs: 15MP, HD 1080p, mic, HD video calling, auto light correction, 1920 x 1080 video resolution, built-in dual stereo mics with automatic noise reduction. “Connect with everyone in Full HD 1080p on Skype, or in fluid HD 720p on FaceTime for Mac. Also make highquality video calls with Google Hangouts and video-calling clients. Even chat with your Facebook friends with video calling powered by Skype or Facebook Messenger. Record vibrant, true-to-life HD 1080p video clips that capture the smallest details. Full HD is made possible by H.264, an advanced compression technology. H.264 eliminates time-consuming compression, so that you get fast, smooth uploads with less demand on your computer.” Contact: Spire Technology
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Sector Guide Hama uRage xStr3am Mic Specs: Ideal for podcasts, voice-over, vlogs, music recording or streaming, adjustable tripod, direct mixing control, universal use, HD-USB, 2.5m cable length, 3.5mm headphone output with volume control, frequency range: 30Hz – 18 kHz, impedance: 2200 Ohm, directivity: unidirectional, model: capacitor, -38dB ± 3 dB. “Seamless audio recording and video voice-overs arrive on the desktop via the uRage MI xStr3am Revolution Mic. Connecting to PC via simple USB connection, the increasing popularity of audio/video streaming across vlogs, YouTube, Twitch and other social media sites, has heavily influenced its high-definition, distortion-free design. Featuring secure grip and adjustable tripod mount, the universal uRage xStr3am adapts to any user or PC hardware, including 3.5mm headphone port and direct mixing control for incorporation into a full gaming set-up if desired.” Contact: Hama UK
AVerMedia Live Streamer Mic 133 Specs: Unidirectional condenser microphone, 3.5mm jack, 20Hz – 16kHz frequency response, 80g in weight. “The Live Streamer Mic 133 (AM133) is a compact, lightweight, unidirectional microphone. It’s designed specifically for live streamers, YouTubers and content creators who demand quality voice recording. The ultra lightweight design is easy to carry and suitable for outdoor use. It is compatible with smartphones, cameras and computer devices through the 3.5mm audio-in jack. It also works on a wide range of smart devices on Android, iOS and Windows. With the Live Streamer MIC 133, you can record rich, full-bodied audio that takes your videos to the next level. Simply attach it to your DSLR or camcorder using the hot-shoe mount and you’re ready to record high-quality sound.” Contact: Target Components
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Genius FaceCam 1000X Webcam Specs: 720p HD resolution, 3X digital zoom, built-in sensitive microphone, manual focus, universal clip fits LCD panel and notebook or standalone. “Genius presents a new plug and play 720p HD webcam, the FaceCam 1000X, which is perfect for use on a PC or notebook for video chatting. The 720p HD image quality and 3x digital zoom provides a clear and wide screen experience. The FaceCam 1000X has a mic built in that makes your voice distinct with HD video. In addition, it includes Arcsoft software MiVE which you can use on Skype for face tracking and image effects.” Contact: Target Components
Razer Kiyo Steaming Webcam Specs: Desktop streaming camera with multi-step ring light, high fps HD video (720p 60fps/1080p 30fps), compatible with Open Broadcaster Software and Xsplit, USB2.0, 4MP image resolution, video resolution: 1080p @ 30fps / 720p @ 60fps / 480p @ 30fps / 360p @ 30fps. “Designed and tested by top streamers and Steamlabs certified, the Razer Kiyo is a desktop streaming camera with a powerful, multi-step ring light that you can dim or brighten on command, with the ability to stream at 60fps for full gaming fidelity. It’s the perfect camera for professional streaming. Enjoy full customisation by toggling between auto and manual focus, and adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation and white balance. You can also choose between different image presets. Create multiple profiles and save different looks on Razer Synapse 3 to suit your streaming needs. Forget setting up several lights just to get decent on-camera illumination. The Razer Kiyo maintains even and flattering lighting, and eliminates harsh shadows. Plus, with adjustable brightness levels, getting the right amount is a breeze. With 720p resolution at 60fps, the Razer Kiyo maintains visual fidelity when you stream. This means that viewers can be completely immersed the way you are, with footage just the way you see it in-game.” Contact: VIP UK
Yeti Nano by BlueMic Specs: 5V 150mA, 48kHz sample rate, 24-bit sound quality, 2 Blueproprietary 14mm condenser capsules, 20Hz – 20kHz frequency response, 1.39lbs (0.63 kg) in weight, 4.5mV/Pa (1kHz) sensitivity. “Yeti Nano is a premium USB microphone designed for broadcastquality podcasting, YouTube productions, game streaming, Skype/VoIP and voiceover work. Inspired by the #1-selling Blue Yeti microphone, Yeti Nano features 24-bit sound quality, a compact design, and plug ’n play operation for instant streaming with your PC or Mac. The premium finish looks great on camera and on any desktop. With a no-latency headphone output and controls for headphone volume, mic mute and pickup pattern, Yeti Nano is the essential mic for today’s broadcasters.” Contact: CMS Distribution
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Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam Specs: Full HD, Carl Zeiss lens, 8ft cable, remote control, 3MP camera, 1080p video resolution, 30fps capture speed, noise-cancelling microphone, 78-degree field of view. “Combines HD 1080p 30fps video with high-quality full-duplex speakerphone clarity for professional video conferencing. Now groups can collaborate over video from conference rooms, offices and collaboration spaces – no more competing for those overbooked conference room systems or huddling around a single PC just to have a video meeting. UVC H.264 onboard technology helps ensure quick plug-and-play functionality on both PCs and Macs – no software to install.” Contact: Spire Technology
AVerMedia Live Streamer Cam 313 Specs: 360-degree swivel design, plug and play, 2 builtin microphones. “The Live Streamer Cam 313 (PW313) is a plug-andplay USB webcam that records in 1080p for podcasting, streaming, and gaming. Designed for streamers and video creators, the PW313 comes with two built-in microphones (mono) and a flexible, 360-degree swivel design. It also has a privacy shutter to protect your security. When the camera is coupled with RECentral 4 – AVerMedia’s new recording and streaming software – you can access exclusive features such as fair skin/wrinkle reduction camera effects, portrait filters (using facial recognition) as well as other filters.” Contact: Target Components
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UNO Cross Device USB-C Magnetic Cable
The UNO Cable is asap Technologies’ latest innovation in magnetic cables, and the company claims this new product is the world’s first “cross-compatible USB-C magnetic USB cable”. The UNO Cable has a USB-C connector end, which is an upgrade from the current USB Type A. This allows a higher power input and output and enables the UNO to be compatible with QC4.0 and Apple Fast charge. The introduction of an innovative locking mechanism gives your cable a stronger connection and longer lifespan of up to 40,000 connections. The cable has three connectors (Lightning, Micro USB and Type C) to fit all your modern devices from headphones to speakers, Nintendo Switch to E-cigarettes. The UNO Cable is capable of 2-way full speed USB 2.0 data transfer at 480 Mbps between any USB devices. For more information visit http://kck.st/2D6OnSb
Kilopods Waterproof Earpods
Phyiloron Audio has introduced the Kilopods earbuds with Bluetooth 5.0, completely waterproof IPX-7 and ultra fast wireless charging. After a simple one-tap setup, Kilopods are automatically on and always connected. Using them is just as easy. They sense when they’re in your ears and pause when you take them out. Kilopods deliver a whopping 24 hours of listening time, and up to 20 hours of talk time, all on one charge. And they come with a charging case that holds multiple charges for more than 96 hours of listening time. Need a quick charge? Just put Kilopods back in the case for 15 minutes to get up to 12 hours of listening time and nine hours of talk time. Other specs include powerful noise cancellation, adjustable extreme bass, APTX-HD Codex, one-tap setup for all your Apple and Android devices, and seamless switching between devices. For more information visit https://www.indiegogo.com/ project/kilopods-worlds-most-advanced-earbuds/
STAR 2.0 Portable Safe
The STAR 2.0 is a smart portable safe, which you can unlock by a fingerprint or via an app. Designed to be used for personal home use, business or travel, NebulaeS claims that the STAR 2.0 is the world’s first safe combined with biometric scanner, smartphone app, and alarm system. The safe has an alarm system that will let you know when it has been opened or an unexpected move is detected. The alarm system is both local and remote, so you’ll be notified by sound and light, as well as a notification on your phone. The STAR app connects via Bluetooth allowing you to remotely unlock the safe when needed. NebulaeS has employed a sophisticated encryption algorithm to ensure the communication between your phone and the STAR safe are completely secure. You are also able to add/remove fingerprints and adjust the colour of the LED band through the app, which is available for Android and iOS devices. For more information visit http://kck.st/2uUiW9a
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…
Pilot Era 8K 360 VR Camera
Pilot Era promises to be the most compact 8K 360-degree camera on the market. “The problem with most current 360-degree cameras is the image quality is too low and the video produced is blurry when viewed in VR headsets. Or, the camera is too big and has a cumbersome workflow which requires a powerful and expensive computer to process files, with long wait times. With Pilot Era, these problems are solved,” boasts makers Pisofttech Team. By packing a touchscreen and Android OS into a compact body no bigger than your hand, Pilot Era is an all-in-one solution 8K 360-degree VR camera. 100% in-camera stitching means you can produce beautiful 8K videos or images ready to upload without any computer processing. Balanced colours with frame and exposure synchronisation bring razor sharp details for your content. For more information visit https://igg.me/at/pilot-era/x#/
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Colour printing your customers can rely on New L3000 colour laser range brotherzone.co.uk/soho-print-zone
Keep your customerâ€™s office running efficiently by recommending the L3000 colour laser range. Perfectly designed for the small office or as part of a balanced deployment fleet, this quick and colourful range combines print, copy, scan and fax functionalities into a single cost-efficient device.
Order today from your usual Brother distributor *Until 30/06/2019 **Until 30/06/2019 Whilst stocks last.
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Multifunction colour laser printer
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Cashback** OR 3 year warranty 24/05/2019 13:13
IN MY TEAM
Agent42 The London-based marketing agency reveals how it stands out from the crowd with a flexible and trustworthy approach to its staff as well as its clients... Who makes up the Agent42 team? From the core team based in the UK, Linda Hassall and Lauren Tauben are the company directors. Linda has over 20 years’ experience in the UK tech and gaming industry and has a strong vision on what success looks like delivering rich marketing campaigns for commercial success. Lauren brings TTL agency experience, producing global marketing campaigns for big brand clients with a commitment on delivering on client briefs with passion, creativity and strong ROI. Senior supports for PR and marketing are Karen Cheslett and Sonika Sharma. Karen has a gaming and tech background and comes with a positive and dynamic approach to all campaigns. Sonika has recently joined the team from PR B2B in the UK and India. The core team also includes two creative directors, a digital director, designers and two senior executives. The beauty of Agent42 is that as well as the core team it also has a network of well-established retained partners. The team is often scaled up and down dependant on projects and requirements. From 10 in the core team to 20 or more – workload depending. Between our retained talent and the core team, we have over 100 years of marketing experience. What services do you offer? At Agent42, our services include PR and influencers, creative and branding, events and experiential, digital and social media, film creation and staffing. With most clients, once we start working with them in one area we soon find that they will recruit our expertise across a number of other disciplines.
What projects are the team currently working on? Agent42 are continuing to work with our long-established clients driving the business forward in the UK retail sector and continuing to expand into EMEA. We have retained our accredited status as an approved agency for the Dixons Carphone Warehouse Group and are looking forward to working with some great brands to create stand-out and excitement in-stores. We are currently producing a film for Herbalife, working with Acer as their retained PR and influencer agency and running many other big brand events and developing TTL creative campaigns. What makes Agent42 stand out from the rest? Since its inception in 2012, Agent42 does things differently. The company operates a truly flexible, office-free working model, which empowers staff to work in a way that’s best for them. From private members’ clubs and collaborative meeting spaces, networking opportunities and creative inspiration inject a unique dimension into Agent42’s work and company culture. Cloud-based servers, the latest mobile technology and integrated IT ensure that staff can be their most productive and connected no matter where they are physically. Trust is the foundation of our business; internally and with our clients. And finally, who in the team makes the best cuppa? Probably have to say the baristas at Soho House in London! Due to the virtual working model of our business we get to experience some great cafes and bars.
More information at https://agent42.co.uk/ www.pcr-online.biz
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Distributed by Tel: 01282 776776
Wearables We take a look at the latest fitness trackers, smartwatches and enterprise-grade wearables…
Apple Watch 4 Specs: GPS, water resistant, barometric altimeter, electrical heart sensor, 16GB capacity, S4 chip with 64-bit dual-core processor, up to 18 hours battery life, Bluetooth 5.0. “Gorgeous curved corners and a large selection of beautiful wristbands give your Apple Watch Series 4 a touch of class that goes with any outfit. This model is bigger and better than the previous series. Apple have increased the size of the screen without sacrificing battery time, so you can stay up-to-date on your diary and fire questions at Siri all day, all on a single charge. It features Smart Coaching (like having your own personal trainer around your wrist, with three simple activity rings to let you track your progress throughout the day, with reminders to move, exercise, and stand), voice calling, voice commands, smartphone notifications, contactless payments (via Apple Pay), health and fitness tracking with heart rate monitor and GPS, and a battery life of up to 18 hours.” Contact: Target Components
Hama Fitness Tracker Specs: Bluetooth 4.0 smartphone pairing, high-quality OLED display, step and calorie counter, distance tracker, integrated heart rate monitor and sleep monitor, GPS tracking via smartphone app, precise 3D motion detection, alarm, 4 modes (daily, sleep, sport, nap), rechargeable Li-polymer battery, up to 10-day battery life, adjustable silicone strap, IPX7 waterproof. “Hama Fitness Tracker provides an affordable solution for those looking to take control of their fitness, track training, monitor daily steps and sleep patterns, or simply receive notification of messages, emails and social media more accessibly at the wrist. Packed full of essential features, the Hama Fitness Tracker features four unique, interchangeable modes – daily, sleep, sport and nap – where core stats (heart rate, distance, pace etc.), GPS location and performance can be accurately recorded and fed through to the i-gotU Life smartphone app via wireless Bluetooth 4.0 connection.” Contact: Hama UK
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dynaEdge DE-100 with AR100 Viewer Specs: dynaEdge: Intel HD Graphics 515, up to 16GB LPDDR3 on board memory, up to 512GB storage, Bluetooth 4.2, Intel dual-band wireless, USB 3.0 port, USB 3.1 Type-C port, mic/headphone jack. AR100 Viewer: 5MP camera, auto focus, 1080p 30fps video capture, flash LED, built-in speaker, dual microphones. “dynaEdge DE-100 is a lightweight and fully portable intelligent and mobile edge computing device which offers the power of a full performance PC through its 6th Generation Intel Core vPro processor. Running on Windows 10, the solution can be easily integrated into the existing IT infrastructure, while simultaneously benefitting from the support and security delivered through Microsoft updates to the platform. A rechargeable battery provides life of up to 6.5 hours (depending on configuration and usage conditions) with a single charge. This is also removable, enabling workers to achieve all-day operation whether on the move or in the field by simply switching it with a replacement if required.” Maki Yamashita, Senior Vice President, PC & Solutions EMEA, Toshiba Europe GmbH, commented: “We are proud to be at the forefront of the wearable-enterprise space, introducing the first monocular assisted reality solution to combine the power of a Windows 10 Pro PC, the robust feature set of industrial-grade smart glasses, and industryspecific workflow efficiency provided through our partnership with Ubimax. This blend enables us to deliver next-level workflow and efficiency optimisation to frontline workers.” Contact: Toshiba
Withings Move Specs: GPS, Health Mate app, 18 months battery life, sleep score, sleep cycles, smart wake-up, design customisation. “Withings Move is an advanced activity tracker housed in a classic watch designed for simplicity: it has no screen but shows your activity directly on the dial with its third hand. Withings Move seamlessly tracks walking, running, sleeping, swimming and much more. It also features connected GPS to map your path. It syncs with the free Health Mate app so you can view your trends and improve over time. With up to 18 months of use with no charging, Withings Move has the longest battery life in the market so you can enjoy hassle-free activity and go the extra mile for your health.” Contact: Withings
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Fitbit Versa Specs: On-screen workouts, connected GPS, bluetooth headphones, 4+ day battery life, purepulse continuous heart rate, wallet-free payments, personalised reminders, sleep tracking, waterresistant, cardio fitness level, guided breathing sessions, clock faces, dashboard. “This lightweight, water-resistant smartwatch empowers you to reach health and fitness goals with actionable insights, personalised guidance, on-screen workouts and more. Run your day with notifications, quick replies, apps, music and 4+ day battery life. Plus, wear it your way with fresh accessories and clock faces.” Contact: CMS Distribution
Moov Now Specs: 15.1g in weight, Omni Motion sensor, real-time coaching, bluetooth, Moov app, motion tracking for running, walking, cycling, swimming, cardio boxing and weight training. “Moov Now has an Omni Motion sensor that features three times the sensors used in basic fitness trackers, providing real-time accuracy. The most advanced fitness wearable out there, Moov Now analyses and coaches your form, measures your motion and landing impact, counts your reps, has real-time coaching, is wireless, water and dust proof, and comes with a battery life of up to six months.” Contact: Moov
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Garmin Forerunner 945 Specs: Corning Gorilla Glass DX, QuickFit watch band compatible, silicone strap, 240 x 240 pixels display. “Forerunner 945 is the GPS smartwatch that’s designed for the driven, the qualifiers, the elite. We made this watch for you: the up-at-dawn runners and the conditioned-for-pain triathletes. While you chase your next victory, make sure you’ve got the right tool for the job. Sync music from select premium streaming services or store up to 1,000 songs on your watch, and connect with headphones (sold separately) enabled with Bluetooth technology for phone-free listening. Performance monitoring features include VO2 max and training status with adjustments for heat, altitude acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects. Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you make convenient payments with your watch so you can leave your cash and cards at home. Full-colour, onboard maps guide you on your run so you never get lost during your workout.” Contact: Garmin
Misfit Vapor 2 Specs: Phone-free music player, smart notifications and alarms, swimproof in shallow water, all day battery life, compatible with iPhone and Android, powered by Wear OS by Google. “The Misfit Vapor 2 comes with a newly redesigned built-in heart rate tracking, standalone GPS to display run and activity routes, metrics and stats, and the ability to pay with your watch using Google Pay. Now available in two sizes (41mm and 46mm case sizes), the Misfit Vapor 2 features a thinner case for a more streamlined design and has a textured sport strap option that looks and feels like leather but is waterproof and sweatproof like silicone.” Contact: Misfit
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EVENTS INFOSECURITY EUROPE 2019
Find out what tech and retail events you should be attending in the coming months…
4th-6th June, Olympia, London
COMPTIA EMEA MEMBER AND PARTNER CONFERENCE 2019
LONDON TECH WEEK 2019
Technology is transforming our lives – making everything newer, faster, better – and to thrive in the IT industry, both staying current and seeing what’s ahead are essential. That’s why attending the EMEA Conference is a must for anyone in the business of technology; whether it’s selling solutions anywhere they’re needed or training and teaching tech skills. Don’t miss this fantastic, annual learning and networking opportunity. This two-day event welcomes all organisations building, selling or influencing the adoption of technology to collaborate, partner and share best practices to prosper in this expanding ecosystem.
Over three days the infosec industry comes together as more than 400 international exhibitors of security solutions meet with over 19,500 industry professionals looking to learn about and buy state-of-the-art products. This interactive event offers visitors a unique opportunity to touch and test brand new products, and attend an extensive range of free educational sessions. Shaping future global industry trends, Infosecurity Europe offers the most cost-effective business and networking opportunities for the world’s information security community.
10th – 14th June, various venues, London
The 4th Industrial Revolution is happening now and is transforming society and business alike. The UK continues to innovate as a worldwide cutting-edge tech hub. As one of the world’s most open and welcoming markets, the UK is positioned to lead the global conversation in designing and scaling tech, with talent at its heart. Tech Week connects international communities from across the spectrum to address how access to tech for all can have a profoundly positive impact in society and business.
SYNAXON UK MEMBER CONFERENCE 20th and 21st June, Jury’s Inn hotel, Hinckley
All Synaxon member companies are invited to the annual two-day Member Conference. This takes place every summer at a prestigious venue, providing members with an exclusive opportunity to meet and network with leading suppliers and Synaxon UK personnel, and to hear from leading industry figures and motivational speakers.
CHANNEL LIVE 2019
11th-12th September, NEC, Birmingham
Channel Live one of the UK’s leading ICT trade specific conference, exhibition, thought leadership and networking events rolled into one. At Channel Live, resellers, VARS and other channel partners openly discuss margin opportunities with vendors and solution providers.
7th-8th October, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London
IP EXPO EUROPE 2019
9th-10th October, ExCeL, London
IP Expo is back for its 14th year and promises to be “better, bigger and cooler”. If you’re in IT or cyber security, this is the show for you. IP Expo Europe has built a reputation as the best event for cloud, infrastructure and cyber security pros in Europe. It has now extended to include data analytics, AI and software development as well as IoT and Blockchain.
PCR AWARDS 2020
4th March, The Brewery, London
Save the date for the 2020 PCR Awards! We’ll be back at The Brewery in Central London on 4th March to once again celebrate the very best of the UK tech and IT industry. On the night, we will recognise those that have made the biggest impact in the channel. Vendors, distributors, channel services, resellers and retailers will all be celebrated in front of a room of 500+ industry members. Guests will enjoy an unmissable night of networking and hospitality as we reflect on the achievements of the channel over the past year.
If you would like to find out more information about being a PCR Awards 2020 Partner, get in touch with Beccy Barr on 0203 143 8778 or at Beccy.Barr@biz-media.co.uk.
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“The quality and reliability of our products are always front of mind”
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LIFE IN THE CHANNEL
Dynabook’s Nick Offin The company’s Head of Sales, Marketing and Operation for Northern Europe talks about his experiences working in the channel and explains the reasons behind the recent company name rebranding... Tell us a bit about your work history and your current role... I’ve spent most of my career working in the IT channel for various vendors. For the last five years I have been at Toshiba, rebranded in April 2019 to dynabook. Since 2013, my career at Toshiba has evolved from head of platinum partners and head of managed partner business to head of sales, marketing and operations for Northern Europe. Before this, I was with Compaq for 10 years, going from managing partner sales to channel director, and I also spent four years working at Dell directing all channel related activity in their emerging markets. In my role, I deal with the UK and Ireland, as well as all the Nordic countries, and managing our channel partners is a huge part of my job as they are so vital to our business. There’s a skill to harnessing the power of the channel to drive business growth, done collaboratively it will put you on the right path for achieving your business goals. Almost two decades of experience has taught me that no two channel partners are alike. You need to work
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together to build a consensus around achievable and relatable goals with the right milestones. Only then can you create a win-win environment that strengthens the relationship between vendor and partner. What was the idea behind the Toshiba Client Solutions Europe rebrand to dynabook Europe? In October last year the Toshiba Client Solutions global business was acquired by Sharp. We saw this as a chance to take Toshiba’s heritage and Sharp’s scale and start fresh. The dynabook brand has existed for 30 years in Japan, but it has been fairly unknown outside of the region. As an industry leader, Toshiba launched the world’s first laptop computer –T1100 in 1985 and followed it up with the world’s first notebook computer – the dynabook J-3100 SS001 in 1989. By rebranding to dynabook Europe, we mark the beginning of our existence as an exciting autonomous business, whilst also bringing together the joint value propositions of our parent companies, epitomising our rich heritage while representing renewed innovation, investment and scale.
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What interesting projects are your team working on at the moment? We’re committed to growing the business, following the rebrand, my main focus is implementing a new partner programme for our channel in Northern Europe. We’re reaching out to a much wider channel base than we have done in the last few years and this also means investing in more resource for our channel sales teams. A key part of this under the rebrand is looking at how we invest more money into various channel programmes. Further to this, I’m keen to drive forward the impetus on the team to regain and expand our education channel programmes as well as the SMB space. These have been key vertical markets for us in the past and as we look to grow now, we’re working with new and longstanding partners to reinvigorate our approach with them.
to do our own evaluation testing. We implement military grade MIL testing which looks at variables beyond what normal PC manufacturers account for, including shock and drop tests and various temperature and humidity levels increased or decreased at different speeds. This is a guarantee to our customers, one which removes the risk of third-party interference that could leave a device more vulnerable to attack. We’re invested in keeping our channel partners well supplied with product innovations like this. What are dynabook’s plans for the rest of the year and beyond? It will come as no surprise that at dynabook Europe, establishing dynabook as a premier brand in the market is our core objective. We’re looking to substantially grow the business in the next year, something I’m confident we’ll be able to do as we have some really
“By rebranding to dynabook Europe, we mark the beginning of our existence as an exciting autonomous business, whilst also bringing together the joint value propositions of our parent companies” How does dynabook stand out from other laptop manufacturers in the market? Well, we have such a rich heritage. dynabook Europe has evolved out of the previous Toshiba business, which is of course, the organisation that invented the laptop. So we can build on this engineering excellence tradition, and as a consequence we still produce the best fit-for-purpose B2B laptop in the marketplace. For us, the quality and reliability of our products are always front of mind. We have the advantage of an R&D facility that has been built up over a number of years, as well as our own factory where we build all our products. It means we can produce innovative laptops that serve all of our customer’s needs. For example, we are the only laptop manufacturer that has its own builtin BIOS firmware, which provides an added layer of security because it, like the rest of the hardware, which has been created entirely in-house. This also enables us
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exciting new products due to land in the second half of the year (watch this space!). We’re utilising ours and our partner’s heritage to keep this pipeline flowing. Beyond that we have plans to continue to expand our product offering beyond laptops. Our solutions business explores assisted reality with our dynaEdge smart glasses, as well as developing an IoT strand of the business. We’re working with channel partners and third party organisations to explore assisted reality applications for security, logistics, and healthcare to develop solutions that will change the way businesses work. In the next five years I’m looking to not only grow our traditional channel, but also use what we’re hearing from customers and partners, as well as innovations from our team and our parent companies (like Sharp’s developments in 8K cameras and display) to ensure our products stay at the cutting edge.
<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry
<intY superheroes tackle the treadmill>
Staff at cloud services distributor intY recently joined in with the Superhero Foundation’s attempts to break the world record for ‘the greatest distance covered on a treadmill within one week’. Jamie McDonald is the co-founder of the Superhero Foundation and author of Adventureman. He spent the first nine years of his life in and out of hospital with a rare spinal condition called syringomyelia. As he grew up his symptoms eased, allowing him to slowly become more active. Jamie now raises money for various children’s hospitals. Having recently finished a 5,500-mile, 210 marathon coast-to-coast run across the United States, Jamie embarked on a new world record.
Craig Joseph, intY’s CEO, along with a number of other members of staff, joined Jamie on his treadmill quest in a bid to boost donations. The distributor also pledged to donate £50 to the Superhero Foundation for every hour run per member of staff. “Since meeting Jamie at a talk at intY HQ in 2017, we have raised more than £15,000 for the Superhero Foundation, supported Jamie throughout his American Adventure and facilitated several talks to raise awareness and promote fundraising along the way,” said Joseph. You can still donate to the cause at https://www. superherofoundation.org/donate/
<A royal visit for UKFast> Manchester technology business UKFast greeted HRH Princess Anne as a guest at its campus in April during a royal visit to the city. The Princess Royal, who takes a keen interest in training and development within UK businesses, visited UKFast after the firm was honoured with a prestigious Princess Royal Training Award in 2018. The tech firm was recognised with the award for continuous outstanding dedication to bridging the digital skills gap and encouraging professional development, particularly through its apprenticeship programme. “We are all incredibly proud of this accolade and that the Princess Royal has chosen to visit our campus. It’s a huge honour that only makes us more determined to continue to invest in the personal development of our team,” said UKFast CEO Lawrence Jones. “Training and education play a hugely important role in the growth of our business. We’ve learned that the opportunity to grow and develop is the single biggest factor that motivates people in their careers. Our apprenticeship scheme is testament to this and many of the apprentices that came through our programme are now running departments and looking after important parts of our network.” www.pcr-online.biz
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<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry
<Biggest tech news from… June 2012> Now you’re up-to-date with the latest issues in tech retail, let’s take a trip down memory lane to some interesting stories from yesteryear… US court bans Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Back in June 2012, Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales were banned in the US while a court decided the outcome of a patent dispute between Apple and Samsung. Apple claimed that Samsung had infringed its design patent for the iPad. Sporting a very similar design, the Galaxy Tab was considered to be the biggest rival to Apple’s tablet. Although sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 were banned, Samsung’s newer version, Galaxy Tab 10.1 II, was not affected.
WD warns of fake hard drives in UK UK retailers were told to be on the lookout for ‘too good to be true’ deals involving Western Digital hard drives back in 2012. The vendor acknowledged the presence of fake internal and external hard drives in the UK channel and talking to PCR, one WD executive revealed that the vendor had first become aware of the issue when some faulty devices were returned. When the serial numbers were checked, they were found to have been fake and therefore ineligible for warranty – leaving the retailers out of pocket.
Hitachi warns retailers to adopt a multi-channel approach
Hitachi Consulting issued a strong warning to retailers that adopting a strategic multi-channel approach is the only way to survive. Although many retailers were already offering online retailing, Hitachi believed that integrating all available customer propositions, such as email, telephone, catalogues, direct mail, advertising and social media, as well as improving the in-store customer experience, would take retailers far beyond the high street. The company recommended that retailers make sure they understand how customers engage with the products and services on offer. Once this is established, “all other aspects of the business will be affected in the pursuit of delivering a seamless customer experience”.
Olympus to axe 2,700 jobs over the next five years On the very same day in June 2012 that Hitachi was warning retailers about mixing up their strategy, Japanese camera manufacturer Olympus announced a five-year plan that would include the axing of 2,700 jobs. The firm, which had almost 40,000 employees worldwide, lost 49 billion yen ($618 million) in fiscal year through March, and admitted hiding losses of $1.7 billion in 2011 after accounting irregularities were revealed.
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