PCR March 2019

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DISTIE

ISSUE March 19

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DISTRIBUTION ISSUE #185

It’s back, bigger and even better! 16th May 2019 - Silverstone Circuit exertis.co.uk/plugin

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The channel event of the year is back! Technology never stops evolving and organisations of all sizes need everyday products and solutions that increase efficiency, productivity and provide better communication. When it comes to consumer technology, there’s no need to shop around. From gaming to Smart Tech; premium audio and TV to mobile and accessories, we are the leading consumer distributor for a reason. We specialise in each of those areas. That’s why retailers of all types and sizes work with us and why our retail services are regarded as best in the business. What to expect: 120+ of our leading vendors showcasing best in category products & solutions Keynotes from our UK MD Paul Bryan and a VIP guest speaker Technology suites with seminars on key topics from industry experts Champagne reception in the pit lane

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TheEditor The times they are a-changin’ IF YOU’RE READING the March edition of PCR as soon as it hits desks, you’ll be just days away from the 2019 PCR Awards. With the planning of this event starting mid-2018, entries opening in November, our esteemed judging panel deciding on the winners throughout January, and PCR being acquired by specialist B2B publisher Biz Media in that same month, to say it’s been a busy time would indeed be an understatement. But here we are, just days away from the Awards, and I can tell you that it’s shaping up to be a fantastic event. We’ve got a great list of Award Partners, including Tenda as Headline Partner, AOC and Distribution Category Partner, HANNspree as Event Partner, Exertis as After Party Host, CMS Distribution as Retail Category Partner, ASUS as Photo Booth Partner, Ci Distribution as Dining Room Partner, and Ortial Technologies as Event Partner. All of which I would like to thank for making this year’s show possible. Good luck to every company nominated throughout our retailer, reseller, channel services, vendor and distributor categories. For those that are picking this issue up after the festivities on 6th March, I hope you had a great night! Returning to the magazine you’re currently reading, this is our Distribution Special, which means you’ll find an array of content about how the landscape has changed and how distributors are evolving to offer more services to their partners. Within this issue you’ll also find a guide to the who’s who of tech distribution, which features 12 of the biggest and brightest companies in the channel.

“Good luck to every company nominated throughout our retailer, reseller, channel services, vendor and distributor awards”

Laura Barnes, Editor

laura.barnes@biz-media.co.uk

THE TEAM

Editorial: 0203 143 8783 Advertising: 0203 143 8778

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Rob Baker

Advertising & Commercial Partnerships rob.baker@biz-media.co.uk

Tom Carpenter

Graphic Designer tom.carpenter@biz-media.co.uk

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Market leaders in emerging technology

We take emerging technologies to market whilst growing established brands using a range of value added services.

www.cmsdistribution.com |

@CMSConsumerTech


AMD

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Contents March 2019 Distributor profiles

20

We round up the biggest and brightest distributors

Desktop PCs

32

The latest desktop machines on the market

Distie services

28

A look at how distributors are diversifying

Networking products

38

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Consumer and business networking gear

@pcr_online

Regulars 6 Retail Analysis: Logistics services for indies 10 Industry opinion 13 Number Crunching 15 Appointments 31 In My Team: Shuttle Computer 36 Crowdfunding Corner 44 Life in the Channel: Tech Data's Matt Child 47 Events 49 Logging Off

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Retail Analysis

The total package Whether it’s upgrading packaging options or making the most from returned goods, there are an increasing number of services aimed at helping independent retailers compete with ecommerce giants. Laura Barnes looks at two that are making waves in the channel...

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veryone that works within the retail channel is in agreement that customer satisfaction is crucial when it comes to standing out from the crowd. And in a world where consumers are looking towards the fast turnaround times of ecommerce giants as the basic standard when it comes to package deliveries, how are smaller online stores able to compete? Once you look at the shear volume of employees within the logistics side of a company like Amazon, it’s not hard to see how a much smaller retailer would write off being able to compete on delivery times and postal costs. However, an increasing number of platforms are popping up to offer services that can help indie retailers boost the turnaround times of orders, and help upgrade their parcels so they not only look more professional than a standard box, but also offer better packaging options to ensure that when a parcel does arrive, its contents is in perfect condition. One of these is Weengs, a platform which promises to “simplify the order fulfilment process, from collection to customer service”. Created specifically for small businesses, Weengs uses custom packaging and bespoke boxes to minimise the cost of shipping, reduce damages to orders in transit, reduce carrying cost of stock related to material, and removes the need to have space specifically devoted to packing materials. All of which CEO Pier Ronzi says helps to “free up business time, hassle and money, and allow retail business owners to get back to what matters most in their lives and businesses”.

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The Weengs packaging service boasts the ability to handle two key and time-consuming elements of the whole process for retailers who need to get their products to customers. “Firstly, the experienced Weengs full-time packing team are professionally trained to pack items and so know how to pack in a way that will get orders to customers safely, without damaging whatever is inside the box,” explains Ronzi. “We pack hundreds of thousands of items each and every year, there’s almost nothing we haven’t packed before. This lowers the risk of damaged items reaching the consumer, which is a huge pain point for ecommerce retailers, who often have to absorb this cost. The financial consequence of reduced damages in transit results in lower costs as there’s no need to re-ship items and no need to pay for replacements.” Secondly, the Weengs warehouse uses “the right box for the job”, which Ronzi says ensures minimum shipping costs for businesses. “Shipping cost often corresponds to the size and weight of the box. We’ve got every permutation of box we need and

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Retail Analysis

where it matters most, so for fragile or international packaging, we use a machine that can print custom boxes as big or small as needed,” he says. “It also means you don’t have to buy a bunch of different shaped and sized boxes without knowing what exactly you’ll end up using and when – the carrying cost of this stock is often underestimated. Custom packaging also has the added benefit of not having to store packing materials or have a packing space in your store or location, which can take up precious space that could be used in more efficient ways.” Streamlining the process So how does custom packaging actually boost the consumer opinions of a brand or retailer? Ronzi says the company is increasingly seeing a trend towards customers having higher expectations around the delivery experience, including packaging from ecommerce retailers. “We streamline the whole process and create a great experience for customers because our mission is to increase

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consumer confidence in buying from smaller retailers so they can continue to thrive. “We know customers hate receiving an oversized box for small items or packaging that uses an unnecessary amount of materials,” he says, pointing out that customers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious on this front. “A box of the right size, professionally packaged by our experts reaches the expectations customers have today. A positive experience of taking their purchases out the box and unwrapping them makes consumers feel good about their whole buying experience with that particular retailer and so they are keen to return to them again,” says Ronzi. While all this sounds like a no-brainer for smaller businesses, aside from customer satisfaction, are there other business benefits? Ronzi believes so, especially when it comes to freeing up staff time. “For most businesses, there’s no one who can take this part of their businesses on for them. Most businesses have to DIY the process, which is time-consuming and expensive. Often,

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Retail Analysis

they’ll either have to pack themselves or divert precious staff time to it, either of which is time-consuming and expensive. And then, have a raft of different carriers they need to use for different types of shipments,” he explains. “We’re the only service in the UK for small businesses that will collect, pack and ship without needing a whole warehouse full of stock. For small businesses this is perfect, it means they can keep stock in store, meaning no duplication of stock or storage fees either of which is very expensive. Whilst at the same time, freeing up all of the time and effort that goes into fulfilment and allowing retail business owners to get back to what matters most in their company and their lives.” Ronzi concludes: “With Weengs, you have small businesses providing a big business delivery experience. And because our partner retailers save so much time with our service, they can re-focus their efforts on growing and sustaining their business. A lot of our retailers are creatives and entrepreneur types. They know that the time spent on logistics is not time well spent for their success in a competitive space.” Recouping the costs With the best efforts possible put into the parcel delivery side of the business, even the most diligent of retailers will still encounter returns – whether that’s the increasing trend of serial returners (those that buy multiple products with the intention of returning most of them), or those that have simply brought the wrong product, or perhaps participated in a spot of drunken shopping and ended up with a surprise parcel on their doorstep two days later. CBRE recently reported that 30% of online purchases were sent back last year, with ecommerce returns expected to rise 15% year-on-year. The sheer volume of returns can be overwhelming for many in the channel and cost the UK retailer sector billions a year. “Returns are a cost of doing business, especially if you sell online or offer relaxed return policies to remain competitive. While independent retailers will likely have stricter return policies (shorter return windows, exchange or store credit only, for example), it doesn’t mean the strain of returns is any less time consuming or costly,” warns Ben Whitaker, EMEA director of B-Stock – an auction platform for returned, excess and other liquidation inventory. “Typically, only 10% of returned items will end up going back on shelves. This is due to a few reasons: the product has been visibly used; it’s now obsolete; the retailer not wanting to offer a heavy discount and set unrealistic consumer expectations; the time/cost involved with inspecting and processing back on shelf. “In many cases, obsolete stock will end up sitting in a back room, taking up space and viewed as a total loss. Eventually, the stock may be destroyed (which these days is socially unacceptable) or perhaps the retailer will find a jobber to take the stock for dramatically reduced prices,” he says. Given extremely the tight margins retailers are facing and that return rates are bound to increase, Whitaker outlines the importance for independent retailers to think about an

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ongoing solution for their returns, one that allows for higher pricing and shifts the stock out of the backroom faster. “B-Stock operates B-Stock Supply, a marketplace specifically for independent retailers, based in the EU to sell bulk quantities of their returned and excess stock directly to business buyers (who will then likely resell it in their own second-hand shop),” he explains. “The marketplace is auction-based, so you can list inventory across any category, condition, or lot size and have thousands of buyers bid for it (it’s like eBay, but for business-to-business transactions).” Whitaker says the benefits of selling returned and excess stock on a platform like B-Stock Supply include higher prices, getting inventory out of your backroom faster, access to a built-in buyer base and a customer service boost. “By setting up an online auction dynamic where buyers compete to buy your merchandise, pricing goes up. Increased competition drives velocity, creates a sense of urgency and excitement. Auctions also mean no offline negotiating, so you’ll be able to extract buyers’ highest willingness to pay and have real data on secondary market prices,” explains Whitaker, who warns retailers to avoid letting inventory pile up in the back of their warehouse.

“Obsolete stock will end up sitting in a back room, taking up space and viewed as a total loss” Ben Whitaker, B-Stock “By listing it on an online auction platform like B-Stock Supply it allows for thousands of buyers to see and compete to buy your stock. You can move inventory as needed – regardless of volume, time of year, or product category. “A service like B-Stock also offers a global base of buyers specifically interested in returned and excess stock across all categories, conditions, and quantities, giving retailers access to a built-in buyer network.” Lastly, Whitaker notes that quality customer service increases repeat buyer rate and pricing. “With B-Stock Supply, you’ll have access to a customer service team that handles all buyer inquiries, payment collection, education, disputes, and other correspondence.” So whether you’re looking to improve your delivery times, upgrade your packaging or claw back more money from returns, it’s clear that retailer services are ramping up their offerings specifically for independent businesses, enabling them to change the way they think about competing with the ecommerce giants.

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industryopinion

Digital transformation is the key to customer engagement Dan Power, UK regional manager at OneLogin, looks at how technology can be used to improve customer engagement as well as employee retention...

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etail is one of the most challenging sectors in the UK right now, particularly with the collapse of the British high street regularly splashed across the front pages. No matter whether a shop front is online or a physical store, all retailers are finding themselves facing the challenge of digital transformation and effective use of technology has become a key differentiator for those that will thrive. Many retailers are harnessing the power of technology to deliver improved employee user engagement and training. The challenge for IT is to deliver these services through an old school Framework that has not needed to address these employees as computer users in the traditional sense. Employee engagement Gone are the days of notice boards for company updates, with shop assistants being treated as a separate entity to the rest of the business. Traditionally, staff based in the headquarters and those on the shop floor or in the warehouse have been treated in separate silos. Creating a unified workforce and ensuring all employees are recognised can be challenging for many retailers. Clever use of tools such as Identity and Access Management (IAM) can be pivotal in organising different teams in line with the wider business goals through portals that can be used to communicate with employees in all divisions. From internal communications, to sales updates and educational portals, this technology can effectively inform and educate workers at all points across a business – helping create a more engaged, skilled and valued workforce in tune with the company’s business objectives. Currently, retailers that are early on in their digital transformation journey tend to use generic end-user-based systems and should be looking to cloud-based services to integrate, educate and inform staff, no matter where they are based. By using cloud-based Identity and Access Management systems retailers can simplify internal process, such as rolling out company-wide incentive schemes, and provide

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individuals with simplified access – requiring just a single password – to their pay slips and holiday booking management programmes. Not only does using such systems make this process more efficient, it maximises the value of investment into such systems. Onboarding and offboarding To add another challenge, retailers currently see a high turnover rate and are constantly recruiting to help manage day-to-day footfall on top of the annual peak periods for shopping. However, this constant influx of employees can present headaches for the IT teams, needing to on-board a high volume of new starters in a short space of time and ensuring they have access to everything they need to work efficiently from day one. No matter if an employee is temporary or permanent, it is important the right person has access to the right application from the right device and location – all at the right time. To tackle this head-on, retailers must integrate all employee applications with the HR system to ensure seamless onboarding. This also streamlines off-boarding processes. Inevitably, some employees will eventually leave the company and will then need to be seamlessly and securely removed from the system as quickly as they were added. By using automated tools, retail IT teams can onboard and offboard employees from all portals, applications and systems in one click, ensuring they can no longer access the corporate network once they walk out the door. With the future of the British high street at risk, not only must technology be used to improve customer engagement, but it is vital to employee engagement and retention. At the end of the day, the people are a company’s most important asset as they are the face of the business. To keep pace with technology and put employees at the centre of business, retailers must now move to a more holistic approach and connect all corners of the business to ensure all employees are aligned and feel valued.

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industryopinion

Why retailers need to embrace constant change

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Kevin Murray, Managing Director at Greenlight Commerce, offers up his tips for future proofing your retail business...

n today’s competitive landscape, modern businesses thrive or fail due to their reputations. Poor customer experience is enough to make a shopper abandon their cart and move directly to that retailer’s closest rival, without ever returning. There is no doubt customer expectations and habits have changed considerably due to the rise in digital technology. The modern customer wants a quick, easy and streamlined process with minimal hassle, and today’s digital disruption is giving shoppers more power and control over how they interact with brands. As a result of this, retailers must ensure they are more customer-centric than ever before. The ‘next big thing’ Retailers are experimenting with myriad of new ways to try and meet customer demands and bridge together digital and physical shopping experiences to transform the overall retail experience. But, in their quest to meet customer expectations and remain competitive, retailers are investing huge amounts of time and money into implementing new technology in a bid to find the ‘next big thing’ that will help them grow revenue or reduce costs. It is projected that the retail industry’s investment in AR/VR will touch around $30 billion by 2020. However, many retailers would be better placed getting the basics of customer service right before adding these additions. Getting the basics absolutely right Retailers often have ambitions to make a leap that is too big and too fast. They should instead focus on smaller improvements to the customer journey that can be rolled out quickly and the results evaluated immediately. An example of this would be to increase page load speeds by 2%, then improving the average time spent on a page by 5%, and then increasing checkout transactions by 1%.

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These small, but immediate improvements lead to upward shifts in KPI performance, and as a result, each gain rapidly multiples to give a more consistent manner that isn’t disruptive or risky to the company. The modern customer is impatient, and the main goal for retailers should be to make shopping online as easy and as customer-centric as possible. Test, evaluate and build For businesses already on their transformation journey and looking to deploy a new platform, it’s crucial for retailers to focus on getting a minimum viable product live as quickly as possible, so it can then be tested, evaluated and then built on. If a retailer has already made an investment in a new platform or technology in the last couple of years, typically the business will be in a good position to push forward, unless the project has failed. However, it’s imperative to evaluate whether the company is making the most of its investment and must also continue to make incremental changes. Retailers need to ensure their core digital offerings are continuing to perform and are not neglected in favour of initiatives that do not have an immediate impact on results. Future proofing your business A common misconception is that once a business has launched a new platform their work is done. In fact, one thing to remember about digital transformation is that it’s a constantly moving target and needs steady evaluation and updating to remain viable as a strategy – digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. Whilst it may be impossible to stay ahead of customers and their ever-evolving needs, it’s important that the decisions and processes that you invest in and implement today, future proof your business for many years to come. Retailers should build a culture where they embrace constant change and are willing to try, win and fail in quick succession.

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industryopinion

Being relevant in UK tech distribution in 2019 and beyond Dave Stevinson, Managing Director of QBS Software and GNR:Tech, looks at the UK tech distribution channel consolidation and shares four insightful observations...

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here are less distributors than ever before and the channel is exhibiting all the signs of a mature market. The old adage of “get big, get niche or get out” is exemplified by the UK tech distribution channel. Here are four observations and a takeaway for your consideration. One: The big get bigger Sharp-eyed observers will have noticed the oligopoly emerging in UK distribution. This is far from surprising and happens in every market – particularly large and valuable ones; think the big four accountancy firms and the big six energy companies. Viewed through my lens – the big four in UK distribution are Tech Data, Exertis, Westcoast and Ingram Micro. These companies have revenues far in excess of £1 billion and are gaining share through a blend or organic growth and some sizeable acquisitions. These are the default source for almost every reseller and dominate the market. Two: Specialist disties are gaining a laser focus As an undergraduate back in the early nineties, I can still recall being taught that the holy grail of success in business is becoming the noun/ verb for your product. Notable examples were given – Hoover for vacuum cleaner, BandAid for a sticking plaster. I will hasten to add for the younger readers that the best example today is to use the term Google for search. If I relate this to distribution, we have – Midwich for AV, Brightstar for mobile, Arrow for enterprise, QBS for software, Infinigate for security solutions, VIP for PC components, and M2M for memory. Each of these companies should have a laser focus on what they do and, if management execute correctly, should significantly outperform the market in growth and sustainable profitability. A failure to specialise for a sub scale distributor will ultimately lead to a decline in growth and a lack of relevance. Three: Corporate resellers are getting bigger too There are many success stories out there with the likes of Computacenter and Softcat firmly established in the 1 billion club for UK revenues. Recent press speculation put CDW in that category too. I was privileged to attend the recent Insight Connect event and witness the upbeat presentation from management. Mutterings were overheard from some of their suppliers that it will not be long until they are in the club too. Growth from the large consultants and SIs is also impressive with the likes of Atos, Deloitte, Cap Gemini and DXC growing heavily and leveraging distribution more and more. Amazon for Business is steadily scaling up too and cannot be overlooked. I think we will see 10 resellers in the billion-pound club by 2022.

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Four: Consumer-focused resellers are evolving The last few years have seen a complete, rapid and not unpredicted decline in bricks and mortar retail. With notable high profile failures such as Maplin and HMV (again). The last bastion of retail Dixons Carphone still remains the optimum channel, yet even the best of the best have suffered with their market cap declining to roughly 25% of the value of 2016’s high. Agile and focused “ecommerce first” etailers such as Ebuyer, LaptopsDirect, CCL and Scan are demonstrating attractive returns and are capable of surviving and even thriving from the Amazon effect, choosing a blend of fulfilment direct from the manufacturer or via distribution. Yet the opportunity that is most valuable for the smaller independent retailer is to get out of consumer by becoming a fully fledged MSP with monthly recurring revenues, long contracts and managing their client’s entire IT problem opposed to focusing on break fix or margins from pure product fulfilment. The consumer retailer must co-exist with Amazon and/or evolve into a business-focused MSP to continue to thrive with the majority of profits derived from software renewals. In conclusion, the consumer market is uncertain, and challenging. Experts assure us all it is only going to get tougher and channel players who are sub scale in size or demonstrate a lack of focus in the eyes of their customers will become irrelevant. I refer back to the old adage raised in my second sentence. My advice for resellers is to choose your distribution partners very wisely, move to a business model with a significant component of recurring revenues and keep a laser focus on business software as it is the gift that keeps on giving.

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Number

Here are some of the most interesting stats and facts from the tech channel‌

CRUNCHING 52%

New research by Aspect Software has revealed that over half of consumers (52%) would be comfortable communicating with a customer service robot that closely mimics human behaviour over the phone.

4 in 10

A recent report from Symantec found that many parents feel guilty about the amount of time they spend online in front of their children, with four in ten (42%) admitting they have been told off by their own children for excessive device use.

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2021

By the year 2021, mobile is expected to account for 54% of all ecommerce sales, according to Contentsquare’s Mobile Optimisation report.

6.7%

CONTEXT has predicted another year of growth for IT distribution after the past 12 months saw year-on-year growth of 6.7%.

9.5 million According to eMarketer, in 2018, 9.5 million people in the UK used a smart speaker, up 98.6% over 2017.

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APPOINTMENTS Network Group

UK technology community Network Group has appointed David Tulip as its new chairman. A 15-year veteran of Network Group, Tulip has been responsible for the success and growth of the group’s Managed Print Programme as well as a contributing member of the community. “To say I am excited, honoured and humbled to be at the helm of the UK’s leading technology community is an understatement,” commented Tulip. “It truly is the place where forward-looking tech people come together, to improve themselves and their businesses.” This latest appointment follows the recent addition of a new MD, Hugh Furness, who brings ambitious plans to double Network Group’s member number over the next three years as its becomes a “more commercial community”.

NEC

NEC Display Solutions has appointed Chris Brzostowski to further boost the strength of its UK sales team. Brzostowski joins the NEC channel sales team as account manager, supporting the company’s channel partners based in the south of England. He has worked within the AV industry since 2011, gaining experience in solutions sales with strong technical knowledge. “I’m extremely happy to have the opportunity to work with such an experienced team at NEC, a leading global manufacturer of high-end installation projection, LFD and LED solutions,” commented Brzostowski. “My sales background includes AV and IT signal distribution and connectivity solutions which perfectly complements NEC’s drive to provide total solution sales and support to its customers.”

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This month’s movers and shakers in the tech industry...

Epsilon

Communications service provider Epsilon has appointed Colin Whitbread as its new managing director of service and operations. The company says the latest appointment marks a “new phase of growth for Epsilon as it accelerates its expansion into new market segments and delivers customer service excellence to a growing number of networkcentric businesses”. Whitbread will lead the global technology, service and operations teams from Epsilon’s London office. He will be responsible for driving the transformation of the company’s technology innovation and brings with him over two decades of experience from the industry, having held a number of executive positions, most recently as COO of technology at TalkTalk. “Epsilon is one of the most exciting businesses in global networking. It has been on an incredible journey and I see tremendous opportunity to serve more customer segments across the globe,” said Whitbread. “I’m excited to be part of Epsilon’s next phase of growth and help enable it to seamlessly scale its operations; offering network-centric businesses the best possible end-to-end customer experience.”

AO

John Roberts, founder of online retailing group AO World, is set to resume the role of CEO after Steve Caunce steps down with immediate effect. Caunce will remain involved as a part-time adviser to the board and Roberts. He was appointed CEO two years ago, taking over from Roberts at the time. “Steve has played a vital part in AO’s development and in the last two years has created the foundations for our future success,” Roberts said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him, as I have over the last 13 years. “I am fully committed to the business and the execution of our focused strategy and can’t wait to get stuck in again as CEO.”

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“We made big bets to accelerate the pace of innovation for high-performance computing�

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thebiginterview

Accelerating change A year on from winning the coveted Company of the Year title at the 2018 PCR Awards, Laura Barnes catches up with Neil Spicer, AMD’s Vice President of Global Channel Sales, to find out about the manufacturer’s latest technological achievements... AS IS THE nature of the products that it makes, AMD is one of those companies that has managed to embed itself into the tech industry. From its Ryzen processors to its Radeon graphics cards, you’d struggle to find a technology-focused news site or publication that doesn’t bring up a gazillion results when typing “AMD” into the search bar. The company’s vision reads: “Immersive and instinctive computing will transform our lives”. While this might sound somewhat extravagant, with AMD’s technology powering products made by such a vast number of brands – Acer, ASUS, HP, OcUK, Lenovo, SCAN, PCSpecialist, Zoostorm and Zotact to name just a few – it looks like the company is well on its way to realising that vision. And AMD’s latest revenue report further strengthens this case. The company reported revenues of $6.48 billion for the fiscal year 2018 – up 23% year-over-year, which AMD says was primarily driven by higher revenue in the computing and graphics segment. “In 2018 we delivered our second straight year of significant revenue growth, market share gains, expanded gross margin and improved profitability based on our high-performance products. Importantly, we more than doubled our EPYC processor shipments sequentially and delivered record GPU datacenter revenue in the quarter,” said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO, commenting on the results. “Despite nearterm graphics headwinds, 2019 is shaping up to be another exciting year, driven by the launch of our broadest and most competitive product portfolio ever with our next-generation 7nm Ryzen, Radeon, and EPYC products.” Already, AMD has seen success in 2019, with the company delivering its first CES keynote where it announced the world’s first 7nm gaming GPU, the AMD Radeon VII. The tech world lapped this up, and numerous machine makers are already

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urging their product designers to crack on with solutions that will make the most of AMD’s latest innovations. With over 18 years’ experience in the IT channel business, AMD’s vice president of global channel sales, Neil Spicer, has been involved in many successful product launches from the company, including Ryzen processors and Radeon RX series graphics cards.

“Recognition is hugely important to AMD, as it expresses the impact our products are having in the market” Many of you may recognise him from 2018’s PCR Awards, where Spicer accepted AMD’s Company of the Year award. A year on from winning the coveted title, we caught up with him to find out what the manufacturer has been up to since its PCR Awards win: What did it mean to AMD to win the Company of the Year award at last year’s ceremony? We’re thrilled at the overwhelmingly positive response received from the PCR editorial team and the channel who have recognised AMD for delivering industry-changing products for businesses, enthusiasts, creators and gamers.

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thebiginterview

AMD’s 2nd Gen Ryzen Threadripper processor

One of the reasons AMD was picked for the PCR Award was how its Ryzen processors brought choice back to the market. How has this brand evolved since this time last year? We’ve been focused on developing Ryzen to improve a wide range of user experiences. 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors are driving a transformation of HEDT and the overall PC market by offering customers up to 32-cores and 64-threads, purpose built for prosumers who crave raw computational compute power. We’ve also added new games bundles to our range of AMD Ryzen processors and Radeon RX graphics cards which we think our customers will love. In general, how important are accolades and recognition from the channel to AMD? Recognition is hugely important to AMD, as it expresses the impact our products are having in the market, and the appreciation for the industry-leading innovation AMD brings, as well as our leading-edge technologies for highperformance computing. AMD had a lot to show at this year’s CES. Can you talk us through some of the biggest announcement and products? CES was a very exciting event for us and it’s the first time AMD has given a keynote at the show. Our President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su announced the world’s first 7nm gaming GPU, AMD Radeon VII, designed to give exceptional performance and amazing experiences in the latest AAA games and VR titles. We also revealed our 3rd Generation Ryzen Processors that will be built using world-leading 7nm process technology. We expect it to be the first CPU to support PCIe 4.0 connectivity and will offer better gaming, creating, and streaming experiences than ever before. Finally, we showed the world’s first 7nm datacenter CPU,

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codenamed “Rome” based on our “Zen 2” x86 core. We showed a single pre-production EPYC “Rome” processor go against two high-end Intel Xeon processors, with the EPYC processor delivering about 15% higher performance. EPYC “Rome” is very exciting for us as EPYC-based systems will help scientists to advance their research and get closer to finding out the next big solutions. The company was recently selected for the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index. Can you tell us why this is important and how AMD is promoting gender equality throughout the business? We believe that empowering our employees to bring their unique perspective, voice and passion to work every day makes AMD a more innovative, productive and effective company. What advancements are you looking forward to most in the processor space in the near future? The leading-edge 7nm technology is incredibly exciting for us and for the industry. We made big bets several years ago to accelerate the pace of innovation for high-performance computing, and 2019 will be an inflection point in the industry as we bring these new 7nm products to market including our 7nm Radeon Graphics, 7nm AMD Ryzen processors, and AMD EPYC processors. What can we expect to see from AMD in 2019 and beyond? You can expect us to continue executing in computing, gaming and visualisation technologies in 2019 with AMD’s advanced computing and graphics designs and 7nm technology. From our 7nm Radeon graphics chips to our nextgeneration 7nm AMD Ryzen and AMD EPYC processors, it’s going to be an exciting year for AMD and the industry.

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Distie profiles

THE WHO’S WHO OF T It wouldn’t be a distribution special without a guide to the biggest and brightest companies in the channel that bridge the gap between vendor and retailer/reseller. From software specialists to hardware heroes, PCR profiles the IT and tech distributors everyone should know about...

CMS DISTRIBUTION What products/services do you specialise in? CMS Distribution prides itself in building partnerships with market-leading vendors offering innovative new tech and being first to market in new categories shaping our industry. Our service proposition offers value to our etail and retail customers right across all elements of the supply chain, from product sourcing, marketing, PR to promotional planning, in store merchandising, product rework and direct customer despatch. We are constantly growing and enhancing the list of services we offer our customers in an evolving retail landscape, ensuring we stay ahead of market trends and capitalising on growth opportunities for both our vendors and customers. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? At CMS Distribution we understand that each customer is unique, and we need to offer flexibility by designing bespoke and profile specific approaches to their businesses. We make sure to connect the most appropriate vendors with our customers and support them in every step of the supply chain and sales process. We understand technology continually evolves, and pride ourselves in the wide range of established, best-of-breed products

GNR:TECHNOLOGY What products/services do you specialise in? GNR specialises in two areas: consumer and small business cybersecurity software and small form factor computing. We are primary distribution partner for Kaspersky Lab, F-Secure and Panda Security. The systems division, we distribute Shuttle, iStorage, Intel NUC, HANNspree, Gigabyte, ADATA and many more. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? GNR blend knowledgeable, experienced experts with an extensive digital footprint including a user-friendly, fully-

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and emerging technology we make available to our customers. Our partners have access to our awardwinning in-house marketing agency, providing them with services such as product design and packaging, POS materials from design to production, instore merchandising, digital marketing, product photography, video production and animation. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? For 2019, our focus is to further strengthen our relationships with all our existing customers and grow our network of new partners to provide them with exciting, emerging technology. The continued innovation we see around product means we have an ever-evolving portfolio and can always offer new and exciting propositions. Be it in robotics, drones, smart home or AI, CMS Distribution has an offering and we will be working hard to exceed our customers and vendors expectations. Get in touch with us today: Tel.: 020 8962 2500, Email: consumer@cmsdistribution.com, Website: www. cmsdistribution.com, Twitter: @CMSConsumerTech

functional 100% trade only website. This gives our customers the best of both worlds – we pride ourselves on our great service, competitive prices and product expertise. We have a long heritage and a mission of being easy to do business with. How can they get in touch? Call our Sales team on 0333 101 1000 and speak to one of the team managers – Paul, Craig or Pete. Alternatively, email salesteam@gnr.co.uk

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Distie profiles

F TECH DISTRIBUTION EXERTIS What products/services do you specialise in? Exertis provides a wide range of consumer technology products and solutions. We are the only distributor with specialist teams focused on gaming and entertainment, smart tech, consumer electronics, premium audio and TV, core electricals, accessories, commodity IT products (computing and print), representing established and emerging brands across these categories. We offer a range of retail services that includes in-store merchandising, category management, retail display, logistical and digital solutions. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? With over 30 years’ experience, no-one knows the retail market better than Exertis. With dedicated sales, account management, business development and commercial teams, plus an unrivalled range of specialist retail services, we add real value to any size and any type of retail outlet or e-comm store. Our drop ship services are widely used by our customers and our innovative approach to design, production and delivery of stunning retail executions; smarter product sourcing,

HAMA UK What products/services do you specialise in? Branching out from our German-based Hama HQ in 1990, Hama UK originally operated as a photo accessories specialist. Then followed the dramatic year-on-year expansion of our product range over the next three decades, now offering a onestop trade solution with 9,500+ lines across a range of categories, including photo, automotive, mobile communication, computer, gaming and home and living. Customer service and putting people first has also always been a hot topic on the Hama UK agenda, with a regional on-the-road sales team, training sessions, marketing support and user-friendly webshop and logistics service just a few examples of our customer-centric approach. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? At Hama UK, we believe in nurturing good old-fashioned customer service values, whilst evolving alongside current technological advancements and consumer demands. At lot has changed in the world since Hama Germany first opened its doors back in 1923, yet Hama has continued to grow – mostly

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packaging and exclusive bundling opportunities make Exertis the go-todistributor. Our aim is to build long-term relationships with our customers irrespective of their type or size. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? We already work with a wide variety of retailers and the leading vendors serving the consumer market. We see opportunities for retailers, whether they are large multi-nationals or independent stores. Our aim is always to provide more products, solutions and services to more customers in order to enable mutual profitable growth. We look for vendors that can drive consumer growth in any of the technologies in which we operate. Web: www.exertis.co.uk Our Plug In to Exertis event on May 16th at Silverstone Circuit also provides an opportunity for retailers to get in touch with us. We will have a designated area for consumer technology that will showcase the best in gaming, CE, smart tech, premium audio and computing/mobile accessories. www.exertis.co.uk/plugin

due to the faith our customers place in our brand. They know that at Hama they can always find fairly-priced, quality products alongside a wealth of experience, technical know-how and dedication, and that’s why they have come back to us time and time again. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? Independent retailers remain a key focus for 2019. Often underestimated, we believe independent stores still form an integral part of the British retail industry, in addition to fitting readily with our own strong customer service background. With this in mind, Hama UK continues to invest heavily in its regional sales team and regular store visits, allowing us to take a more tailored approach to this type of retailer that recognises their unique needs and customer base. To find out more please visit https://uk.hama.com or contact our friendly sales team at email: info.uk@hama.com tel: 0333 123 4262. Euronics members can also find us at the 2019 Euronics Showcase, stand 170.

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Distie profiles

MENTOR DISTRIBUTION What products/services do you specialise in? Since 1991, Mentor Distribution has been a trade-only distributor of IT and AV equipment. We are an authorised distributor for some of the world’s leading brands including NEC, Iiyama, AG Neovo, ASUS, Chief, Humanscale and Metalicon. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? We are an innovative company that is at the forefront of the latest technologies. Our team has a wealth of experience, enabling us to offer an exceptional service. Our current portfolio of products include display screens – desktop monitors, public display products, spectraview (colour correction) display products, medical DICOM display products,

MERONCOURT What products/services do you specialise in? We offer retailers, ecommerce, shopping channels, buying groups and corporate companies who choose Meroncourt as their preferred supply partner with a wide range of products across various industry sectors, from high-end PC gaming peripherals to licensed merchandise and everything in-between. Meroncourt provides focused, proactive storage and fulfilment services of customers’ own products, and Meroncourt also empowers our loyal retail customers with the ability to use our dropship services which not only adds our products to their product range immediately, but also means they can utilise our experienced and professional logistics services to get our products to their customers much more quickly. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? Meroncourt has been representing premier brands in the UK for over 25 years, and our friendly, customer focused, dedicated professional staff continue to bring innovative ideas for increased sales to the market to grow the presence of the brands we represent.

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4K displays, CCTV monitors, touch screen monitors, privacy monitors and hard glass monitors, as well as servers, motherboards, monitor arms, mounting solutions and other interactive products. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? In recent years, we are proud to have expanded into manufacturing our own touchscreens and fully integrated privacy monitors to ensure we can continue to satisfy our customers’ needs for the very latest technology. We see 2019 as a big year for our fully integrated privacy monitors. Contact Mentor on email at sales@mentor-distribution.com, tel on 01462 814000, and visit us at www.mentor-distribution.com

We build long-standing vendor partnerships so that our retail customers have access to an extensive range of premium quality brands and products. We have no minimum order value and most orders are shipped same day. Meroncourt continues to invest in facilities, people and technology to ensure that we can be flexible to manage the needs of our clients, so that we meet and exceed client expectations year on year. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? We wish to continue in 2019 as we have done since the business was founded, dealing with those customers who see value for service, if from our distribution business or from our fulfilment operation. We have a flexible approach to treating all customers individually you do not have to work through the corporate procedures here. Clients and customers can phone our head office on 01462 680060, visit our website www.meroncourt.co.uk or email Steve Walsh on steve.walsh@meroncourt.com.

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Distie profiles

QBS DISTRIBUTION What products/services do you specialise in? QBS is the leading software delivery platform representing over 7,800 software publishers in EMEA. Since 1987 we have delivered enterprise software to over 240,000 enterprises through our 4,000 reseller partners. We focus on tier 2, 3 and 4 software and are known as the weirdware specialists. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? We are the software experts with a laser focus. Our 60 strong team of licensing specialists take huge pride in delivering a fast, reliable

TARGET COMPONENTS What products/services do you specialise in? As a broad-based distributor, it’s always been our aim to provide everything IT resellers could want. Over the last 20 years our range has consistently evolved to better support our customers and continues to do so as we’ve seen with the number of recent brand acquisitions. So, in simple terms, everything from components to servers, networking to gaming peripherals, mobile phone screens to custom PCs and pretty much most things in between. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? Wide range, attractive brands, great prices and fantastic service. Of course we would say that, and so would every other distributor. What really sets apart is our core belief – our ethos – that we only succeed if our customers succeed. This drives every aspect of the business to be more collaborative and supportive of our customers’ success, and is reflected in everything we do, whoever you deal with at Target.

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and responsive service. We are constantly praised by the biggest resellers in the channel for our platform, employee expertise and quality of service. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? We want to invite resellers and MSPs who are keen to join our platform, and make the long tail of software an important part of their business. Software is the gift that keeps on giving with recurring revenues. Call: John Pochettino on 0208 733 7103 or 07889 211205, email at jp@qbs.co.uk

It’s also encapsulated in our Vision statement: “Seeing the world through our partners’ eyes, and making it a better, simpler and more profitable place for them”. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? Our traditional customer base is largely made up of independent retail, but we’ve also seen tremendous growth in etail, system integrator, VAR and MSP business over the years, and now we support resellers of all shapes and sizes. That evolution has worked well for us – the same principles of collaboration, support and customer service that are vital when supporting indies translate equally well to all resellers. Our only criteria as a trade-only distributor is that our customers are genuine IT trade resellers – beyond that, all customers are welcome. We’d be delighted to chat about how we can help on 1977 739 300, or drop us an email on sales@targetcomponents. co.uk or visit www.targetcomponents.co.uk

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Distie profiles

SPIRE TECHNOLOGY What products/services do you specialise in? Spire Technology is a trade-only specialist distributor of highperformance PC components, peripherals and systems. Our vendor portfolio includes some of the industry’s leading names including, Adata, AMD, Antec, Arctic, ASRock, Asus, Bequiet, Buffalo, BullGuard, Corsair, Intel, Lenovo, Palit, Riotoro, Seagate, Toshiba and TP-Link. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? First, because we are specialists in what we do. Second, because we are trade only, easy to work with, reliable, flexible and proactive. We like to keep things simple. Our customers are assigned a dedicated account manager, a single point of contact, to take care of the relationship. They will also keep you informed of new product releases, promotions, stock

TECH DATA What products/services do you specialise in? Tech Data’s portfolio covers the entire technology spectrum from mobile devices, gaming and smart home to largeformat TVs. We provide specialist support and processes for retailers and webstores. We work with all the leading brands in business, entertainment and accessories, providing firstclass stock management and logistics services, tools and resources, including: • • • • • •

Dedicated category stores – make it easy to find products fast Unified Bid Portal – 40-plus vendor schemes in one place Tech-as-a-Service – innovative device-as-a-service programme Protect, Connect, Extend – supporting add-on and accessory sales Online Configurators – over 40 tools for specifying and quoting Apple Eden & Samsung Cosmos – dedicated pages for key vendors

Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? Tech Data is the trusted advisor to the channel. We enable resellers, retailers, systems builders and MSPs to deliver and support the solutions and services their end-user customers need. Everything we do is aimed at enabling our partners to grow their sales, enhance profitability, reduce costs and increase

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availability, industry news, price changes as well as assist in matters of finance, support and logistics. Spire has built excellent relationships with customers and suppliers alike over many years; they have confidence in us and trust us to be their distributor of choice. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? 2019 is a difficult year to forecast but we certainly wish to expand our reach within the channel which means trying even harder in all areas. Growing our vendor portfolio will broaden our appeal and we are always looking for complementary partners. For those who are interested in forming a new partnership with Spire, please feel free to get in touch via our website, email or telephone 01202 828 444.

customer satisfaction. As part of a $36.8 billion global organisation, we can offer unrivalled resources, market reach and financial stability. We are always innovating and looking to grow in new areas of opportunity. We have specialist practices or dedicated teams for smart home, gaming, IoT, accessories and other emerging technologies. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? We work closely with retailers to optimise availability and opportunity. In 2019 we want to broaden and deepen our relationships with both national chains and with independents and specialists. Our strong pedigree in SMB means we can help partners grow their business sales and we offer comprehensive product supply and services to systems builders, gaming and entertainment-focused retailers and webstores. We’re continuing to add new and complementary vendors to our portfolio who can bring new opportunities to our customers. We can be contacted on 01256 788 000 or by emailing customerwelcome@techdata.co.uk. Our website can be found at www.techdata.co.uk

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Distie profiles

VIP UK What products/services do you specialise in? VIP has long since been the go-to distribution partner for PC gaming brands such as Razer, Cooler Master and ZOWIE. Our extended portfolio includes hardware components, with VIP UK being the number one distributor of brands such as ASUS, MSI VGA, Gigabyte Aorus, EVGA PSU, EVGA VGA, Sapphire and Vertagear to name a few. In line with the recent smart home and security markets booming, VIP is seeing strong sales and have an increased focus in this space with the recent addition of the HomeGuard range which delivers resellers an impressive margin with a competitive price point. 2019 is going to be another exciting year for VIP – look out for more announcements on the way. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? If you’re looking for a partner who will go above and beyond for you, VIP should be your distributor of choice. We attribute our

WESTCOAST What products/services do you specialise in? The technology market is evolving rapidly, creating exciting new opportunities for resellers in areas including hybrid cloud, big data, security, analytics and IoT. At Westcoast, we provide our partners with access to all the technical support, training and marketing needed to exploit these opportunities. As a privatelyowned company, our agility is one of our greatest strengths. This flexibility, combined with innovation and a desire to help our customers, was perfectly exhibited with Westcoast closing the first HPE Greenlake deal in Western Europe late last month. At the time of writing, the deal remains HPE’s largest global consumption-based IT solution through the channel. HPE Greenlake is the future and we are delighted to be leading the way. Why should businesses pick you as their distributor of choice? As market trends shift, our team is well-positioned to help our partners and their customers identify the best market-leading solutions to meet their business objectives and stay ahead of the competition. We offer an end-to-end opportunity management

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success to our ability to offer flexible terms and levels of support backed up by our dedication to our customer values. One of the key values is helping your business to grow and we take a back to basics approach to ensure we do everything we can to help you achieve this. With a product portfolio that extends over 1,200 SKUs and over 30 vendors, choice and availability is at your fingertips. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? Independent retailers receive dedicated account manager focus at VIP UK which is backed up by our exclusive independent programme, VIP Club, offering exclusive benefits and rewards to the heroes of the high street. If you’re a seller of PC hardware, components or smart home and security solutions, make sure you contact VIP UK on sales@vip-computers.co.uk, 01925 286 900 or www.vip-computers.com/uk

to support from day one of deal qualification right through to installation and startup all reported back in real time through our partnerfacing analytics platform. We also have the ability to demonstrate almost every product from within the HPE portfolio through our team of trainers and evangelists. The stats don’t lie, we have been the largest HPE distributor for the last five years straight, and we keep getting better. Who do you want to work with more in 2019 and how can they get in touch? Resellers benefit from our supreme product expertise and our competitive pricing. They can rely on us for availability of stock, speed of delivery, attractive commercial terms and, of course, total reliability. We provide all the above throughout our everexpanding product and service portfolio which ranges from PCs, tablets, mobile, print supplies and accessories – through to infrastructure, cloud and software solutions. Find out more at www.westcoast.co.uk

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Distie services

Diversifying distribution Laura Barnes takes a look at how the distribution landscape is changing, and what new opportunities are out their for those looking to diversify their revenue streams...

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hether it’s for better or for worse, the truth is that the way consumers and businesses shop for, and buy, tech products is different now from how it may have been when many distributors first started trading. As retailers and resellers try their best to keep up with the latest trends, the support they need from those further up the channel also continues to evolve. But what does this mean for the distribution industry and how should companies be diversifying their services? PCR speaks to a channel service provider, a warehouse AI assistant manufacturer, and one of the biggest distributors in the UK tech channel to find out what opportunities they’ve found in the changing distribution landscape from their respective positions.

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Changes in the channel It seems that not a week goes by without hearing about a new acquisition in the distribution space. Whether businesses are moving into new markets such as VR, gaming and the smart home, or adding additional strings to their bow and taking on channel services and marketing, the distributors making waves in today’s climate are savvy enough to know that it’s no longer as simple as throwing a few posters in with product shipments and leaving it at that. Retailers, resellers and the like want and need more, and those most attuned to the needs of their partners are the ones that will seek out the new opportunities in this space. “As the end user increasingly looks for business outcomes from their investment in technology, distributors and the

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Distie services

billing solution that delivers a recurring revenue stream for reseller customers. “Distributors’ expertise as an aggregator of products is now being utilised through delivering that same model across a number of multi-vendor services. Reseller customers are demanding that distributors add more value by providing an endto-end solution. This is where we are experiencing much more collaboration with channel services firms to deliver that solution through a partner ecosystem,” says Lynn.

“Resellers are demanding that distributors add more value by providing an end-to-end solution” Scott Lynn, Agilitas wider channel need to innovate in order to remain relevant,” says Scott Lynn, services director at global channel services provider Agilitas. “Distributors need to support their reseller partners by providing a broader range of specialist products that can be bundled together to deliver complete packages. Recent examples of this approach include solutions such as a ‘Device-as-a-Service’ that not only includes the technology but also the commercial models to support a flexible, on-demand subscription-based

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Warehouse robotics Fulfilment warehouses are one area in which the industry is seeing a lot of innovation. Constant evaluation, along with the adoption of crucial technologies, is critical when it comes to improving profitability and staying competitive. Although it might still seem like science fiction to most, robotics has become one of the most sought after technologies for warehouse management. One company making waves in this space is 6 River Systems – the creators of a warehouse robot called Chuck. “Chuck is a turn-key, drop-in replacement for cart picking that uses powerful cloud-based software, machine learning, and AI to get smarter and more efficient as it works,” explains Fergal Glynn, VP of marketing at 6 River Systems. Chuck is purpose-built for busy fulfillment centers that serve split case picking operations and promises to double and triple the productivity of warehouse workers, or associates as 6 River calls them – at half the cost of traditional automation and without requiring any new infrastructure or changing the warehouse layout. Rather than manually assigning orders to Chuck, workers are guided through a cart-build process at induction. Advanced algorithms work together to minimise walking and maximise operator and equipment utilisation. “Depending on daily volumes and order profiles, Chuck can support batch, discrete, zone, and cluster picking – simultaneously. Once badged in, Chuck leads the associate, displaying important task information – item image, description, quantity, location, etc. – ahead of time,” explains Glynn. “Onboard lights indicate which side of the aisle to pick from and which order container to place the item into. And Chuck’s high powered mounted scanner captures all necessary product information, including lot and serial number, in a single scan – allowing the operator to pick hands-free. As associates complete jobs on one Chuck, the next Chuck is already in position and ready to tag in, keeping productivity up, and associates on task.” Services, services, services Aside from warehouses, many in the industry have come to realise that retailer and reseller services are key when it comes to finding new revenue streams and bolstering business. “The technology market is continually evolving and, as a result, distributors are used to change. It’s important to always remain relevant to customers and be able to respond to the revolution in retail,” says tech distributor Exertis.

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Distie services

“Besides offering the products that consumers want, distributors need to add value and complementary services which retailers can take advantage of to serve their customers better. For instance, drop ship services are now seen as a key service and software has moved predominately to a digital delivery solution. “Distributors still need to provide the core competencies expected such as product supply, credit, logistics, sales and marketing alongside providing innovation in services. The channel may have evolved but it still remains relevant.” Agilitas provides its distributor partners with international services across a multi-vendor server, storage, networking, desktop, laptop and print product portfolio, including maintenance and professional services. Agilitas’s Lynn agrees with the distributor that remaining relevant to customers is a big factor when looking to enhance revenue streams.

6 River Systems’s Chuck is purpose-built for busy fulfillment centres that serve split case picking operations. It promises to at least double the productivity of warehouse workers.

“Besides offering the products that consumers want, distributors need to add complementary services which retailers can take advantage of” Exertis “Adopting innovative and up-and-coming technologies, exploring new markets, and going where the customer is going are all creating new opportunities for distributors and allowing them to enhance their revenue streams,” he says. “Our recent research into the channel in 2020 revealed that the appetite of those who are ready to expand into international markets has never been stronger. In order to create new revenue streams and increase opportunities, distributors need to ensure that they are staying relevant for their customers and embracing ‘the customer is always right’ concept. “As today’s buyers are more informed on products and services than ever before, distributors need to be consistently reviewing their products and value propositions in order to remain aligned to the needs of their target market.” Lynn concludes: “With every industry now more competitive than ever before, the need for companies to innovate and stay ahead of the competition has never been higher. If companies want new revenue streams and opportunities to be created, they need to be innovative for their customers.”

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IN MY TEAM

Shuttle Computer Computer manufacturer Shuttle reveals how it is setting trends in the desktop PC market... Who makes up the Shuttle team? The Shuttle Computer Germany team currently comprises of around 50 colleagues. We cover the entire European market directly out of Germany, whilst our head offices are based in Taipei. Sales, accounting, technical support, servicing and stocking of our XPC Mini PCs happens in Germany, with each department headed by a team leader. For marketing, this is Tom Seiffert, who is an old hand in the industry and has been at Shuttle for close to 20 years now. Alongside him, works Christian Scheibel on UK PR and marketing and five more people for PR/marketing, media design and product management. Sonja Robatzek is at the helm of UK sales. Shuttle has a long history, with 25 years in the business. We have managed to keep most of the core team together over the years, while hiring new, reckless crew where necessary. What does the company have planned for 2019? We pride ourselves on our Mini PC brand “XPC” and are confident that we have a couple of aces up our sleeves for this year. With two product launches already, the XPC slim DH370 being the most recent one, we strive to keep the desktop PC business moving forward, while also looking to diversify the company and stretch out to vertical markets even more. In particular, this means launching highly-durable Mini PCs that can drive multiple high-res displays in digital signage. Besides, we are keen to extend and fortify our line-up of all-in-one PCs that target shop

owners and bars as POS systems. With IoT in mind, we are also working on a solution for edge computing. What UK distributors do Shuttle work with and how does the company support them? In alphabetical order our current three UK disties and long-term partners are Ci Distribution, GNR Technology and Terra Computer. We work very closely with our customers which means they can always chat to us directly whether it be a technical problem, advice on products, technical modifications to existing products in terms of a project-based purchase, or different kinds of marketing support. We also grant extended warranty periods, a long availability of products and spare parts where possible. What’s the best thing about working in the tech industry? It is ever-changing, keeps evolving and never gets dull. It is always around us, affects our daily life, and it is thrilling to follow new trends and even set those ourselves with products likes the first XPC – the SV24 – launched back in 2001. If you were all stranded on a desert island who would last the longest and why? We would try to make sure the whole team survives, as we are strongest together. Ideally we would send one or two to dig deep enough for water, and one more to set up WiFi – and then we’d be about sorted.

More information at www.shuttle.eu www.pcr-online.biz

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Sector Guide

Desktops From monster gaming machines to compact mini computers, distributors and vendors offer up their best desktop PCs...

Zoostorm Elite SFF Specs: Zoostorm Elite chassis, Intel i7-8700 running up to 4.6GHz, Intel H310 chipset, UHD 630 graphics, 16GB Crucial 2400MHz RAM, 480GB SSD, Windows 10 Home. “The Zoostorm Elite is a compact, durable and scratch resistant small form factor PC with a minimum eight year design life, 85% PSU efficiency and cooling fans rated for over 50,000 hours. Equipped with a powerful 6 core, 12 thread i7 CPU, 480GB SSD storage and Windows 10 Home, the Zoostorm Elite will deliver outstanding performance and reliability for many years to come.” Contact: CMS Distribution

ASUS ESC700 G4 Specs: Intel Xeon W processor, ECC memory, comprehensive IT infrastructure management software, multiple graphics card support, ultrafast storage and I/O options, dual Intel server-class Gigabit LAN, independent software vendor (ISV) certification, tool-less case design. “With support for the Intel Xeon W series processors and server class dual Intel Gigabit LAN, the ESC700 G4 is the latest workstation from ASUS. With Autodesk and Adobe verification, and expansion support for multiple graphics cards, it’s the perfect solution for your workstation needs, be they graphic design and editing or healthcare and science laboratory uses.” Contact: ASUS UK

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Sector Guide Shuttle DH370 Specs: 19 x 16.5 x 4.3cm dimensions, space for a 2.5-inch drive and an M.2 NVMe SSD, additional M.2 slot in 2230 format can be fitted with a WLAN module, 8x USB, audio, HDMI 2.0b, 2x DisplayPort 1.2, 2x COM, remote power-on connection. “With the DH370, Intel’s H370 chipset makes its debut in Shuttle’s range of 1.3-litre PCs. These not only support Intel processors of the “Coffee Lake” generation with up to 65 Watt TDP and up to 32GB of DDR4 SO-DIMM memory, but it is also possible to control three monitors at once in 4K resolution. An HDMI 2.0b and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports are available to facilitate this. If required, one analog VGA port can be provided optionally, then three of the four monitor ports could be used simultaneously.” Contact: Ci Distribution, GNR:Tech, Terra Computer

ASUS Chromebox 3 Specs: 8th generation Intel Core processor, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, DisplayPort, automatic system updates, VESA-mount compatible. “The ASUS Chromebox 3 is our most powerful Chromebox, featuring 8th Generation Intel Core Processors in i3, i5 and i7 variants, allowing you to have the choice of power for your needs. With full Android app support on Google Play and support for 4K streaming and UHD displays, the Chromebox 3 is the MiniPC with mighty power.” Contact: ASUS UK

Lenovo ThinkCentre M710S Specs: Intel Core i5-7400 processor, Intel HD graphics 630, 8GB memory, 1TB hard drive, Windows 10 Professional 64-bit, Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 316, Bluetooth 4.1. “Extremely powerful, easy to manage, and configurable, ThinkCentre M710 SFF can be tailored to meet your computing needs today and tomorrow. Boasting the latest performance and storage technology, this PC is super-fast, responsive, and efficient. As well as being able to empower you and your business, it comes with robust security features to safeguard your critical data and the built-in reliability your organisation can count on.” Contact: Spire Technology

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Sector Guide

Thermaltake Resident Evil 2 Custom PC Specs: Gigabyte Aorus GTX1080Ti liquid-cooled graphics card, Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming WiFi motherboard, 16GB Gigabyte Aorus RGB memory, Samsung 500GB NVMe M.2 SSD. “Created using Target’s Custom PC Builder, this one-off Resident Evil 2-themed PC features Thermaltake’s CA-1H1-00F6WN-00 Tower 900 E-ATX Case, Gigabyte Aorus GTX1080Ti liquid-cooled graphics card, Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming WiFi motherboard, 16GB (4 module kit) Gigabyte Aorus RGB memory, two Thermaltake Pacific 360 RGB hard-tube watercooling kits, Samsung 500GB NVMe M.2 SSD, with Thermaltake Commander F6 digital fan controller, and Thermaltake TT Premium concentrate colour kit for watercooling. (Umbrella Corporation/hazardous waste decals bought online).” Contact: Target Components

HP ProDesk 400 Specs: Intel i3-8100 processor, 8GB memory, 256GB SSD, DVDRW, Windows 10 Pro, Bluetooth, 2W internal speaker. “The HP ProDesk 400 SFF has two bays and two half-height slots, and optional ports to connect up to three HP displays. The reliable HP ProDesk 400 SFF experienced 120,000 hours of the HP Total Test Process and now has an optional dust filter to help extend the life of your PC by reducing airborne particulate intake in the most demanding work environments.” Contact: Spire Technology

ASUS PB60 MiniPC Specs: Windows 10 Pro, Intel Pentium Gold or Core T Series processors, dual-storage design with one M.2 PCIe 3.0 four SSD and one 2.5-inch HDD for high storage capacity, one-litre size metal chassis, vertical stand and VESA mount compatibility, comprehensive I/O ports including a configurable port to fit a wide range of business uses. “Slim, stylish and customisable, the PB60 MiniPC gives you multiple options for your computing needs. From 4K/UHD graphics support, additional modules for optical drives, low noise, expandable storage and Intel Pentium Core processors, the PB60 is perfect for everything, from point of sale and digital signage to office desktops and corporate workstations.” Contact: ASUS UK

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US:E smart lock with facial recognition US:E allows you to open your doors in a variety of ways: smartphone, fingerprint scanning, password, physical key, key fob, or facial recognition. With built-in infrared 3D recognition technology and innovative 4-level AI recognition, the US:E recognises the user in daylight or at night time. US:E can store up to 100 faces and ensures photos and videos cannot bypass the system. “We believe the lock is an important part of our home, and it should be intelligent. Our goal is to make a lock that is truly safe and smart,” said makers Elecpro Group. “With its zinc alloy body and German B-grade lock cylinder, US:E passes the ANSI\BHMA Grade 3 safety test with flying colors. To provide your house with bank-level protection, we ensure our smart locks can withstand no fewer than 350,000 open/close cycles. Its durability guarantees your safety 100% of the time.” For more information visit http://kck.st/2UTkCf3

Cybershoes VR accessory Cybershoes allow gamers to “literally walk and run through virtual reality”. They strap directly onto your feet, and when seated on a swivel bar stool, you can run and walk in-game. Cybershoes are compatible with many VR games and their makers say they are the first treadmill-style accessory integrated into SteamVR. “You want to be in the game and become one with your game character but you are limited to the joystick and the couch. Our idea is simple, you need a swivel chair and your Cybershoes, then full immersion can start,” says Cybershoes. The gadget is compatible with any VR game that supports free locomotion, including Arizona Sunshine, Doom VFR, Fallout, Minecraft and Skyrim, just to name a few. For more information visit https://igg.me/at/cybershoes/x

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TAIHE Gemini on-the-go monitor Many working professionals can enjoy the convenience of using multiple screens at their desks in the office or at home. However, UNICK believes that there are few options to do this when working in coffee shops, hotel rooms, or any other on-the-go situation. That’s why it made the TAIHE Gemini, which it claims is the most affordable 15.6-inch monitor with kickstand and on-board battery on the market. Gemini comes in two versions: One has 1080p (FHD) resolution and touchscreen features, while the other offers up 4K resolution. The monitor weighs only 2lbs and has a built-in battery life of five hours. It also works with any brand of laptop. No matter if it is HDMI, Mini DP/DP or Type C, you just need to plug and play. As well as laptops, the TAIHE Gemini monitor works with compatible smartphones as well as gaming devices such as Xbox, PS4 and Switch. For more information visit http://kck.st/2Dgf1c0

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…

Huma-i portable air quality detection Huma-i is a portable personal air quality detection device promising the “highest quality in-house designed sensor modules for high accuracy readings”. It measures fine and ultra-fine particulate matter in the air (PM10, PM2.5), CO2 levels, and other gases and volatile organic compounds. Its user-friendly ICON MODE means you don’t have to be familiar with fine dust levels, and its portability and design sensibility means you can carry it with you anywhere you go. The makers say this device is especially useful for mother who may be concerned about the air quality around their young children. “Huma-i has thought about the major concerns of the mothers over and over, especially moms with small children, whose immune systems are weak. One of their concerns is their kids’ safety and health,” said Huma-i. For more information visit https://igg.me/at/huma-i/x

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Sector Guide

Networking Whether you’re looking to provide home-users with more Wi-Fi coverage, or offer cloud-managed solutions to SMBs, take a look at our roundup of the best networking gear on the market… Tenda Nova MW3 Mesh Wi-Fi System Specs: AC1200 dual-band router (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Gigabit speed for smooth 4K videos, plug and play with pre-configuration out of the box, up to 300 square metre coverage, Tenda app, three year warranty. “The Tenda Nova MW3 is a 1200 Mbps dual-band distribution mesh Wi-Fi system designed to extend the reach of Wi-Fi in homes. The MW3 provides a fast and stable internet connection for smart home devices and eliminates dead spots, buffering and drop offs. Designed for small and medium-sized homes – the pack of three delivers up to 300 square metre Wi-Fi range; while the pack of two delivers up to 200 square metre Wi-Fi range. With MU-MIMO technology, the MW3 offers data rates up to 1200 Mbps and prioritises 5GHz network access for lag-free 4K HD video and game streaming. The network comprises of two or three stylish nodes (depending on pack size), which are pre-configured for plug and play setup.” Contact: VIP UK

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Specs: 1.8GHz quad-core CPU, 2.5GBase-T port, front-line network security, compatible with ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi system for seamless whole-home coverage. “Futureproofed with the newest Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi 6, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is the perfect router for your gaming needs. Helping your performance with the ROG Gaming Centre, dedicated Wi-Fi bands for gaming and with fast performance, gamers can expect and get the best Wi-Fi gaming solution. There’s also ASUS’s Aura Sync RGB lighting to give you that personal touch.” Contact: VIP UK, Spire Technology

LMS DATA Pocket-Sized Cable Tester Specs: Pocket-sized, instant LED cable verifier, verifies wiring for RJ45 and RJ11, easyview LED verification panel. “An essential tool for both pre and post-networking installation or maintenance, the Tool-Cabtester is a very effective cable tester designed to check that your Cat5/Ca6 UTP or STP cables are made correctly. This pocket-sized device provides LED-displayed verification info, perfect for installers, IT managers and telecom engineers when they are troubleshooting network issues or installations.” Contact: Meroncourt

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Sector Guide

Ubiquiti UniFi Cloud Key Hybrid Controller Specs: 2GB DDR memory, 110g in weight, 21.7 x 43.4 x 121.9mm dimensions. “Manage your entire UniFi system from anywhere in the world – simply connect to an Ethernet port and the Cloud Key will run the UniFi Controller software and allow access from anywhere.” Contact: Target Components

D-Link COVR-2202 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System Specs: 989g in weight, 9x10x20cm dimensions, 801.11 AC, two Covr Points, covers 550 square metres. “Welcome to the next generation of Wi-Fi in your home. Covr blankets every square inch of your home with seamless, reliable, super-fast Wi-Fi. With two Covr Points, you can bring Wi-Fi access to a massive 550 square metres. Covr keeps you seamlessly connected automatically as you move around your home. No connection drop-offs, no interruptions, just one seamless network.” Contact: Exteris, Ingram Micro, Tech Data

TP-Link Archer C5400X Gaming Router Specs: GE WAN, 8x GE LAN and 2x USB3.0 ports, 8x external and detachable antennas, LED panel. “TP-Link’s first gaming router, Archer C5400X, conquers lag, immediately eradicating it from your gaming experience. With a 1.8GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU, three co-processors and 1GB RAM, the Archer C5400X delivers the raw power required to perfectly execute every service, thread and application to eradicate latency and deliver smooth gameplay.” Contact: Exertis, Tech Data, Spire Technology, CMS Distribution

DrayTek Vigor 2862Ln 4G Router Specs: Load-balancing VPN Firewall, simultaneous 4 WAN: VDSL/ ADSL, Ethernet and 2x 4G, compatible with all UK/IE ISPs, SMSinitiated reboot, reports and alerts, 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet LAN switch, centrally managed by VigorACS. “This fantastic product has received numerous industry awards and is DrayTek’s flagship router. Packed with an excellent range of security features and a versatile firewall. The single embedded 4G/LTE SIM slot provides a self-contained solution as opposed to having to add external/USB modems. Full SMS message operation provides additional functionality and control.” Contact: CMS Distribution

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Sector Guide

ASUS Lyra Trio Wi-Fi System Specs: Dual band, tri-hub mesh Wi-Fi system, 3x3 MIMO technology, free cloud-based security powered by Trend Micro, parental controls, mix and match Lyra Trio with AiMesh-compatible routers to form a powerful and flexible whole-home Wi-Fi system. “ASUS Lyra Trio is the perfect solution for your smart home. Whatever your needs, whatever your living situation, the ASUS Lyra Trio Wi-Fi system will deliver a superfast, reliable and secure wireless signal to every corner of your home.” Contact: VIP UK, Spire Technology

Tenda TEF1118P 16 port Gigabit PoE switch Specs: 16 10/100 Mbps Base-TX RJ45 port, 135W PoE power supply with each port offering a maximum power output of 30W, 13-inch desktop size, rack mountable. “The TEF1118P-16-150W Tenda 16 port Gigabit uplink unmanaged PoE switch offers impeccable security power supply transmission and 6KV lightning protection. Designed for maximum versatility with 16 10/100 Mbps Base-TX RJ45 ports, 1 10/100/1000 Mbps Base-T RJ45 ports, and 1 1000 Mbps Base-X SFP port. Ports 1-16 comply with the IEEE 802.3af standard (maximum PoE power output: 15.4 W) and 802.3at standard (maximum PoE power output: 30W). The network switch offers a maximum PoE power output of 135W and can supply power to and exchange data with APs, IP cameras, and IP phones through CAT5 cables. It also provides simple management modes such as CCTV, VLAN, and Extend to help reduce the cabling costs of IP terminals for APs and IP cameras.” Contact: VIP UK

Tenda A9 Wireless N300 Universal Range Extender Specs: 111 x 56 x 47.7mm dimensions, operating temperature: 0ºC~40ºC, DHCP Server support, 2x 3dBi external non-detachable antennas. “A9 is a wireless N300 universal range extender, specially designed to extend the existing Wi-Fi coverage and improve the signal strength. With one button extension, smart signal LED, wall-mount design and universal compatibility, it is easy for users to boost wireless networking. A9 is an ideal choice for you to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones and optimise your networking.”

DYNAMODE Wireless Dual-Band USB Adapter Specs: Dual-band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi, super-speed 600Mbps Wi-Fi performance, Plug ‘n’ Play USB 2.0 interface, wireless encryption, compatible with Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7/8.1/10 and Mac OS X or Higher. “For a fast and fluid online experience we need a wireless adapter that will deliver high-quality wireless performance at home, in the office or wherever we connect our device. The WL-AC-600M is an stylish, nanosized dual-band wireless adapter that will automatically select 5GHz to enjoy premium multimedia experience when connecting to a compatible wireless router or AP.” Contact: Meroncourt

Contact: Target Components

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Sector Guide DrayTek Vigor AP-910c Access Point Specs: Dual Band 802.11ac, ceiling or wall installation, 4 SSIDs (for VLANs) for each frequency band, 802.3af PoE or powered using supplied 12V PSU, centrally managed by VigorACS or DrayTek router. “The Vigor AP-910c is a high specification professional access point that ensures reliable and flexible coverage to all manner of applications. A vast array of security and management features helps the AP-910c improve and protect the integrity of your wireless LAN and VLAN support allows isolation of guest Wi-Fi. The VigorAP-910c provides unobstructed coverage and blends aesthetically into any home or office environment thanks to its shape, size and hidden cable entry. It is ideal for adding wireless connectivity to an existing LAN, or for expanding the range of an existing wireless LAN by using the WDS repeater features.” Contact: CMS Distribution

NETGEAR BR500 Business Router Specs: 1 WAN and 4 LAN gigabit Ethernet ports, 924Mbps LAN-to-WAN throughput, remote/cloud management and monitoring, one-step VPN through mobile app and web portal, Firewall capabilities. “NETGEAR’s first Insight Managed Security router, the Insight Instant VPN Business Router (BR500), enables small businesses or remote office/branch office (ROBO) installations to offer instant access to their office intranet through a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) from anywhere in the world.” Contact: NETGEAR

NUCLIAS by D-Link Specs: Designed for SMBs, dedicated app, Intuitive web-based interface with multilingual support, role-based administration, advanced traffic report and data analysis, over-the-web firmware upgrades. “The complete cloud-managed networking solution for small to medium-sized organisations with one or more sites. Resellers can now enjoy a new source of revenue. Our Nuclias cloud solution allows you to quickly and easily set up, configure, monitor, troubleshoot, and manage network deployments remotely through a single web browser interface, or the dedicated Nuclias iPad app.” Contact: Exteris, Ingram Micro, Tech Data

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Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-ACLITE WLAN Access Point

TP-Link Deco P7 Hybrid Mesh Wi-Fi System

Specs: 168g in weight, 16 x 16 x 3.1cm dimensions, ARM processor, DDR3 SDRAM, Ethernet.

Specs: 2 LAN/WAN Gigabit Ethernet Ports, 1 USB Type-C Port, 32MB flash, 256MB SDRAM, 4x internal antennas per Deco unit.

“A highly configurable and reliable wireless access point, suitable for home and office environments. Part of the UniFi ecosystem, allowing operation, management and configuration from anywhere in the world (requires Cloud Key or Device running UniFi Controller).” Contact: Target Components

“Deco P7 is a mesh router that supports powerline networking – the hybrid network boosts bandwidth effectively. It combines dual-band Wi-Fi and powerline connections to transmit data between Deco units, which work together to form one unified Wi-Fi network with faster speed and seamless coverage throughout the home.” Contact: Exertis, Tech Data, Spire Technology, CMS Distribution

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Interview

“We do our best to delight our vendors every step of the way”

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Interview

LIFE IN THE CHANNEL

Tech Data’s Matt Child The distributor’s UK and Ireland managing director for Endpoint Solutions discusses its new Tech-as-a-Service platform and how Tech Data has bolstered its gaming and smart home ranges...

Tell us a bit about your background and your role at Tech Data... My background is predominantly in private equitybacked tech companies – within both distribution and retail. Prior to joining Tech Data in July 2015, I spent eight months working outside of the industry as CEO at Leeds United Football Club and working in football club acquisitions and disposals; a very different experience in many ways but fabulous in terms of life skills and pressure management – you don’t want too many Leeds fans knocking on your door! In my role as UK and Ireland managing director for Endpoint Solutions at Tech Data, I lead the PC, mobile, print, supplies, peripherals and Apple business units, alongside creation and development of our lifecycle services business. Fundamentally, my commitment to the business is to grow profitably, keep ahead of the market and identify potential growth segments to deliver great value to our vendors and customers. We have a real customer obsession culture here, which is central to lots of key initiatives within Tech Data.

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What is your team working on at the moment? We have built a really strong and successful retail business over the last three years and developed some strategically important relationships with both premium high street retailers and major European etailers in areas such as the creation of physical warehousing/ infrastructure, integrated platforms, new services and exclusive propositions. We’ve worked with forward-looking retailers at a truly deep level and we’ve seen that our most considered and thoughtful partnerships are also the ones that are the most profitable. Services are also a focus. We have spent a couple of years and invested a significant amount of money to build our Tech-as-a-Service platform, which is part of our end-to-end lifecycle services proposition. This is a real statement of intent that will give resellers a fullyintegrated, multi-vendor proposition with rapid credit checking that gives them the opportunity to win bigger deals, add services revenue and therefore enhance margins and provide a more secure and predictable source of income.

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Interview

It also gives customers the opportunity to invest in the latest technologies under an affordable payment plan. Vendor side, it gives them increased volume and breaks down barriers to technology adoption, so everyone in the value chain benefits. To build on our Tech-as-a-Service credentials, we have invested in a buy-back and trade-in business and we are building that capability out across the whole spectrum of technology that Tech Data offers. This means retailers can give customers great value on their existing equipment and access to affordable new technology and leave them in a cash-positive position. It’s important to understand there are strict rules governing buy-back and trade-in and Tech Data will only work with best-in-class and authorised partners, so that all legislation is strictly adhered to.

What challenges have Tech Data faced on the retail and consumer sides of the business over the past year and how has it addressed them? Retail and consumer are a really challenging part of the market right now. What’s clear from a distribution point of view is that you can’t continue to have a simple transactional relationship with retailers. You have to look at unlocking the inherent value and opportunity within retailer business. They have a very demanding set of stakeholders and you have got to work closely with them to understand what both parties want. Not all retailers are up for that – some still just want the lowest price and highest return opportunities and they tend to be short-term. With the best-in-class companies we work with, you have to invest, but you get the return back in the form of

“There is no shortcut to success in retail – it’s about considered investment and placing bets with retailers that understand the value you can bring.” Tech Data recently added a number of gaming systems to its portfolio. Is that an area that the company is focusing more on? Both MEDION and ROCCAT have been significant additions for us in the gaming segment. Our PC gaming business has seen significant growth over the past year, and we will certainly be increasing our focus there. We will be adding more complimentary vendors when the time is right. We’re also expanding our smart home portfolio with ranges such as Honeywell Home, LIFX and Lifeprint, so that’s very exciting. We are looking at key segments of growth to bring on well-established brands and also some newer, younger brands that have real potential for the future. We will back what we know is good business today and also look to work with the brands of the future – it’s not just about the big brands, but the embryonic players as well.

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predictable income and new opportunities and propositions. There is no shortcut to success in retail – it’s about considered investment and placing bets with retailers that understand the value that you can bring – it’s not just about lowest price. What does Tech Data have planned for the year ahead? We will continue to build on the foundations we have laid in retail and work to develop those thoughtful and considered relationships. We’ll also double-down on the Lifecycle Services propositions and bring new services to market. We will maintain the momentum with our enterprise and SMB customers and ensure they receive a high level of attention as we further transform our business digitally and bring better solutions and education more quickly to market… and of course, we’ll do our very best to delight our vendors every step of the way!

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EVENTS PCR AWARDS 2019

6th March 2019, The Brewery, London

The PCR Awards are back once again in 2019 to celebrate the very best in the tech channel. Returning to The Brewery on 6th March, the awards boast a mix of networking, partying and recognition of achievements in the UK PC and tech industry. Distributors, vendors, retailers, resellers and service providers will all be recognised through a variety of awards. Guests will also have the chance to network with 500+ members of the industry. Event partners include: Tenda, AOC, HANNspree, Exertis, CMS Distribution, ASUS, Ci Distribution and Ortial Technologies. There are only a few tables left, so if you haven’t got your tickets yet, head over to pcr-awards.com now!

MCV AWARDS 2019

7th March 2019, The Brewery, London

Now in their 17th year, the MCV Awards are the UK’s only computer and video games awards that recognise games publishing, retail, distribution, marketing, PR, events and media – all integral parts of this vast industry. Firmly established as the unrivalled badge of excellence, these prestigious awards represent the best in class of the games business.

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY SHOW 2019 12th-13th March, The Business Design Centre, London

The Wearable Technology Show promises to be the biggest event for wearables, AR, VR, IoT and connected technology. Now in its sixth year, the show is back once again to showcase everything from across these tech landscapes. Over 6,000 delegates, 200 speakers and 300 press attended last year’s event.

NETWORK GROUP AWARDS 2019 21st March, Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Network Group, which is also celebrating its 10th awards show. Open to vendors, distributors and VARs who partner and work with the group, the 10th Annual Network Group Awards

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Find out what tech and retail events you should be attending in the coming months…

recognise the commitment to collaboration, the pursuit of excellence and the outstanding contributions made over the last 12 months.

CLOUDFEST

23rd-29th March, Europa-Park, Germany

CloudFest is a series of conferences geared toward cloud, hosting, and internet service provider professionals. Focusing on three distinctive pillars – growth, connectivity, and learning – the events offer attendees access to the latest technologies, innovations and trends that make modern, digital online communication possible. CloudFest takes place at Europa-Park, Germany’s largest-scale theme park. It draws people from all over the industry – from hardware and data center companies, to application developers and content creators.

LONDON GAMES FESTIVAL 2019 2nd-14th April, various venues, London

London Games Festival features 12 days of activity including the Games Finance Market, EGX Rezzed, the Now Play This exhibition, BAFTA Games Awards, industry talks, cosplay parade and more. The event will run across various London venues and is delivered by Games London, the three-year initiative from Film London, the capital’s screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie. Over 65,000 people attended 40 different events across 20 different venues during the 2018 festival.

PLUG IN TO EXERTIS 2019

16th May, Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire

Plug In To Exertis offers up the opportunity for resellers and retailers to spend a day immersed in technology with four dedicated exhibition areas focused on business, AV, enterprise and consumer solutions. Plug In To Exertis will also offer a seminar programme, guest speakers and a host of show-floor features designed to inform, educate and provide opportunities for customers to increase their sales into existing clients or start conversations with prospective ones.

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CELEBRATING THE PC AND TECH INDUSTRY

LAST E CHANC K TO BOO

AWARDS

2019

BOOK YOUR TABLES NOW AT WWW.PCR-AWARDS.COM WEDNESDAY 6TH MARCH THE BREWERY, LONDON @PCRMag

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<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry

<NewTech success for Target> Back in January, Target Components hosted its free NewTech event, comprising of an exhibition, a series of vendor presentations, and networking opportunities for resellers. The event offered up the chance for over 100 resellers to see products from Target’s latest brand acquisitions including Ubiquiti Networks, ECS EliteGroup, Thermaltake, Transcend, Linksys, F-Secure, QNAP and AVerMedia. It also gave attendees the chance to see product ranges ‘in the flesh’ for the first time, including the distributor’s own Evo Labs dashcams, QI compatible wireless chargers and hard drive caddies, as well as first-looks at imminent ranges of docking stations, hard drive replicators and disk enclosures. Exhibition highlights included pro streamer Brin ‘Wooly’ Woolhead demonstrating AVerMedia’s range of capture and streaming devices on the newly launched Resident Evil 2 remake, streaming gameplay in 4K to both YouTube and Twitch. Thermaltake offered advice and demonstrations on PC modding and liquid cooling, courtesy of professional modder Adam Faulkner, whilst the ECS EliteGroup stand demonstrated digital signage using the manufacturer’s flagship mini-PC the Liva Q2 – the world’s smallest 4K PC. Target also held a range of auctions where attendees could pick up products at hugely discounted prices, including Microsoft Surfaces, motherboards, networking devices and gadgets.

<ROG the builder> Here at PCR we love getting surprise parcels. What we love even more is when those surprise parcels contain a little dollop of nostalgia. So, you can imagine our glee when ASUS Republic of Gamers sent us a building blocks figurine of its logo. After two lunchtimes of instruction-following fun, the final construction is now in its rightful place on the PCR team desk, sitting alongside all our other important trinkets – a 3D-printed Doge, a Sonic the Hedgehog figuring, and a plastic cactus. If you have anything for us to build, play with and display, feel free to send it to us and it might just make it into the PCR back pages next month. Our address is: PCR, Biz Media Ltd, Axe & Bottle Court, 70 Newcomen Street, SE1 1YT.

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<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry

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PCRmag

CONTENT

<Biggest tech news from… March 2010> 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… Gordon Brown makes super-fast broadband pledge Back in March 2010, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown made the provision of high speed broadband an election issue after pledging to bring it to every household in Britain. Brown stated that he felt that Britain was “uniquely equipped to lead the digital age” citing the presence of the most lucrative ecommerce market in Europe and that a quarter of UK jobs were in the ICT sector. He also said that the provision of superfast broadband was like the electricity of the digital age – “a vital component for modern life”. He pledged to make the creation of a digital infrastructure a priority, supported by the 50p broadband tax.

HP faces more industrial action Hewlett Packard faced another round of UK strikes in March 2010, as the row between management and union employees continued over jobs and pay cuts. “Staff have worked hard to help the company deliver billions of pounds in revenues and feel betrayed by HP’s refusal to address concerns on jobs and pay,” said the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, Mark Serwotka.

“The company needs to start valuing its own workforce and negotiate a settlement that addresses the concerns of the workforce.”

Web users warned away from Firefox German authorities warned internet surfers against using the Firefox browser because of a security risk. The Federal Office for Information Security warned that the browser’s vulnerability, which has been confirmed by maker Mozilla, could allow hackers to run malware on users’ machines. The BergerCERT team of the FOIS recommended that users stopped using Firefox until a new version of the browser was released.

Dell unveils smartphone in US Dell launched its Aero smartphone in the United States in 2010. The device featured a five megapixel camera, a 3.5-inch HD display, Flash Lite web browser and onboard GPS. It also included a variety of social networking apps, including Facebook, integrated in to the device which synced with the phonebook and calendar. The Aero was the first of a number of smartphones from Dell, which released numerous devices over the years. However, there hasn’t been any more since the Venue 10 7000, which came out in 2015.

Send stories to Laura Barnes at laura.barnes@biz-media.co.uk CELEBRATING THE PC AND TECH INDUSTRY

NEXT MONTH

PCR Awards 2019

AWARDS

2019

The April edition of PCR will be packed with a roundup of all the winners and snaps from our annual awards show. We’ll also be interviewing 2019’s Company of the Year winner. Along with our usual mix of opinions, retail analysis and company profiles, the next issue of PCR will feature two sector guides, one focused on storage products, and the other showcasing the latest printers and print accessories. As always, get in touch via the email address above if you’d like to be involved.

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