PCR November 2019

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ISSUE November 19


DIVERSITY ISSUE #193 November 2019

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Editor Laura Barnes laura.barnes@biz-media.co.uk +44 (0)203 143 8783 Graphic Designer Nikki Hargreaves nikki.hargreaves@biz-media.co.uk

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Media Director Colin Wilkinson colin.wilkinson@biz-media.co.uk

Printed by Buxton Press Ltd ISSN: 1742-8440 Copyright 2019

Biz Media Ltd, Axe & Bottle Court, 70 Newcomen St, London SE1 1YT All contents © 2019 Biz Media Ltd. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Biz Media Ltd. cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/ permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Biz Media Ltd. and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Biz Media Ltd. nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions.


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TheEditor The evolving industry WITHIN THIS month’s mag you’ll find our 2019 Top 25 Women in Tech list. As is always the case with this popular feature, I received lots of excellent entries. It was hard cutting the list down to just 25, and I really wish we could showcase everyone who took the time to enter. Congratulations to those who did make it into this year’s list, and if you didn’t, please do enter again next year, as we want to make sure we highlight as many people as possible with these types of features. For this year, you can find out if you, or one of your colleagues, made it into the 2019 list over on page 17. In this issue, we also delve deeper into the importance of a diverse workforce and the benefits of hiring people from different backgrounds in our feature over on page 24. This issue has been a real eye opener to how much the industry has evolved since I joined it in 2011. With Black Friday on the horizon, we also look at the state of the retail channel, and how it’s preparing for the mega shopping season. In our retail analysis on page 6, we look at how retailers can make sure their websites are able to handle online shopping sprees, and on page 26, Gekko’s Dan Todaro discusses how shoppers are becoming more mindful with their purchases, providing an opportunity for high street retailers to appeal to consumers who are thinking more about the impact their online impulse buys are having on the environment.

“This issue has been a real eye opener to how much the industry has evolved since I joined it in 2011”

Laura Barnes, Editor


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Beccy Barr

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Stop The Mucky Pup messing up your customers’ printing If you’ve sold your customers non-genuine supplies, this little critter will likely turn up and leak everywhere. In Buyers Lab testing, 80% of one non-genuine brand’s cartridges were leaking on arrival.* That causes ruined documents, stained clothes and inconvenient cleaning and disruption. All of which costs your customers and could cost you in the long run. Recommend Brother Genuine Supplies instead, and they’re less likely to find leaks and more likely to enjoy better print quality and reliability.

Avoid The Mucky Pup Order your Brother Genuine Supplies today. *Buyers Laboratory LLC (BLI) Brother Genuine toner cartridges for the HL-L8360CDW vs. Ten compatible brands report July 2018.

17 Nov 2019 06 Retail Analysis: Homepage improvements 10 Industry opinions 17 PCR's Top 25 Women in Tech 2019 24 Diversity in the channel 26 Click and Regret: Gekko on mindful shopping 30 Dealer Discussion: What plans do you have for your business in 2020? 32 Top 5 Tech: Okta's Stevie Dennis 34 Crowdfunding Corner 38 Sector Guide: Gift-worthy tech 46 Life in the Channel: Acer's Nick Walter 49 Logging Off


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Retail Analysis

Homepage Improvements



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Retail Analysis With Black Friday on the horizon, Laura Barnes looks at last year’s sales stats, and how retailers can make sure they’re making the most of online sales by ensuring their websites are up to scratch...


ast year, Black Friday was yet another record-breaking shopping event. Barclaycard reported that transactions were up 10% year-on-year by 3pm on Black Friday itself, and Springboard reported that online sales had reached a 46% year-on-year increase by just 4pm. However, sales started way before then, with retailers disclosing deals over a week in advance, and 1.2 billion retail website visits occurring from 19th to the 25th of November, according to Retail Assist. The report also found that 67% of all discounts offered were introduced between the Monday and Thursday leading up to Black Friday. This was a 17% increase from 2017, and indicates that the lead up to the day is just as important as the Friday itself. With IMRG revealing that UK spend on online retail sites on Black Friday 2018 reached £1.49 billion – a 7.3% increase from 2017 – it’s clear that having a well-functioning retail website is becoming more and more imperative if retailers are to take full advantage of the week (or even weeks) long shopping event. Despite this, recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that retail sales for September reveal the amount of goods bought by shoppers fell by 0.2% compared to August, with online sales falling slightly compared to the same period last year. “We have grown used to e-commerce saving the day for retail, but online sales actually fell by -2% against August. Online sales as a proportion of all retailing was just 19.1% in September 2019, compared with 19.5% reported in September 2018,” comments ParcelCompare’s head of consumer research, David Jinks MILT, who says there’s “little doubt” Brexit battles made consumers wary in September, as the nation held its breath waiting to see if there would be a no-deal Brexit. “Normally consumers turn to Amazon and eBay for a little retail therapy in times of trouble. But in September non-store retailing fell back -2.9% and online department stores a

“The very heartbeat of retail is now driven by customer demand.” Deri Jones, Tribe

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Retail Analysis

whopping -4.3% as shoppers tightened their wallets and their PayPal accounts,” he reveals. “If even e-commerce growth is faltering amid the general Brexit gloom, UK retail looks to be in a perilous position. October is likely to be similarly disappointing. “Some kind of Brexit resolution in the run up to the peak Christmas season is the best hope for high street and now even online retailers.” Online performance Are the disappointing online retail sales just down to Brexit uncertainty. Or could it be that many businesses need some serious help when it comes to their website functionality? With a report that UK retailers face £10.6 billion of lost sales due to poor website experience, Tribe is urging retail businesses to make some much-needed home improvements if they want to make the most of the Black Friday sales. After researching 2,000 UK consumers in the ‘Preparing for perma-peak: the changing face of the trading calendar’ report, Tribe revealed on average, UK shoppers abandon 10% of their total online shopping spend due to poor website performance, leaving UK retailers facing £10.6 billion in lost sales. With 83% of consumers saying they would simply shop elsewhere if they experienced poor website performance, the biggest pain-point causing UK consumers to abandon a purchase was slow loading webpages, said 37% of shoppers. This was followed by experiencing pages errors, such as receiving an Error 404 notification, and broken links for a further third (35%) and 28%, respectively. Tribe also found that 79% of UK shoppers felt retailers could do more to make their websites easier to shop, with fast loading webpages (54%), smoother online checkout processes (52%) and better site navigation (48%) among the top improvements. This, the report suggests, demonstrates the need for retailers and brands to adopt a nuanced approach to website load testing and site optimisation to ensure they maintain the loyalty of their customers, especially in the new retail trading environment of ‘perma-peak’. “In the era of digitally transformed retail, the highlypredictable calendar of predefined trading peaks of yesteryear looks increasingly antiquated. The very heartbeat of retail is now driven by customer demand, facilitated by real-time data analytics, low-latency digital networks and algorithm-driven micro-trends that can sweep a social network in nanoseconds,” explains Deri Jones, CEO at Tribe. “The first challenge when preparing your website for the new era of perma-peak is to adopt a regime of always-on testing. “Trading peaks can happen at any time, so websites need to be in a state of permanent readiness to ensure customer experience is upheld, customer loyalty remains uncompromised, and sales opportunities aren’t lost.”



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“For any retailer with an online presence, ensuring their tech is fighting fit is essential for Black Friday success.” Andy Burton, Shop Direct Remember, investing in your website isn’t just for Black Friday. It will not only help with sales across Cyber Monday and Christmas, but into the New Year and beyond. But it’s all very well me saying that. What are other retailers suggesting? Well, Shop Direct CTO Andy Burton recently wrote an article for Business Cloud, which delved into the company’s online strategy. “We constantly test the front and back end of our websites and native apps by simulating Black Friday traffic, so we can be certain that changes made at any time are capable of handling the busiest day of the year,” reveals Burton. “In fact, our testing system ensures that all of our tech platforms are capable of sustaining at least twice the expected volume of Black Friday traffic. We want to know what our limits are and then push them even further to identify bottlenecks before they impact customer experience.” As Black Friday approaches, Burton says that Shop Direct scales up the number of servers running its websites, meaning more traffic can be handled and at a faster pace. “By learning lessons from previous years, we’ve developed defensive layers to protect website stability. These include the ability to reduce pressure on systems by temporarily switching off some features in the event of particularly high traffic spikes, for example after email marketing drops or promotional notifications on our apps,” he explains. “For any retailer with an online presence, ensuring their tech is fighting fit is essential for Black Friday success. This means taking a year-round approach to planning and testing, collaborating with other teams in the business and analysing customer behaviour and performance from previous years to identify and prioritise improvements.” Burton concludes: “Our experience shows that there will almost always be unexpected issues, but in-depth preparation means you’re in great shape to tackle them head on.” Black Friday 2019 looks set to be yet another busy sales event for the industry. Are you prepared for 29th November?


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Why a happy, healthy workforce is good for business Nick Foster, HR Director at Exertis, discusses the benefits of promoting positive mental health and why the wellbeing of the distributor’s employees is at the top of its agenda...


he importance of mental wellbeing both in and out of the workplace is rightly gaining more attention. The Department of Health estimates that one in four of us will experience some form of mental ill health during our lives. That could range from anxiety, stress and depression to more serious conditions. These can occur as a reaction to events or experiences at home or at work or perhaps a combination of both. It’s important to recognise that from time to time employees will go through some stressful periods in their life. As an employer, it’s important to ensure that conditions in the workplace reduce the incidence and negative impact of mental ill health, and to take steps to promote positive mental health and provide the necessary support. This has clear benefits in terms of staff performance and productivity, attendance levels, recruitment and retention as well as helping to provide customer satisfaction. The government-commissioned Thriving at Work report estimated that the cost of poor mental health to UK business is between £33 billion and £42 billion a year. It set out the following six “Core Standards” designed to help employers of all sizes to improve the mental wellbeing of employees: 1. Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan that promotes good mental health of all employees and outlines the support available for those who may need it. 2. Develop mental health awareness among employees by making information, tools and support accessible. 3. Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling, during the recruitment process and at regular intervals throughout employment, offer appropriate workplace adjustments to employees. 4. Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development. 5. Promote effective people management to ensure all employees have a regular conversation about their health and wellbeing with their line manager, supervisor or organisational leader. Train and support line managers and supervisors in effective management practices. 6. Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing by

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understanding available data, talking to employees, and understanding risk factors. In addition, a Howden Employee Wellbeing Research 2018 report highlighted that mental wellbeing was the number one concern for UK employers with 60% of UK chief executives stating that mental health is the area of wellbeing they are most concerned about. At Exertis, the wellbeing of our employees is at the top of our agenda. We want Exertis to be a great place for our employees to work and we also want to realise the value of our talented people by helping them to reach their full potential. A happy, healthy workforce is clearly good for our employees as well as our business. It’s also great to see that mental health is being spoken about more openly. We have trained 25 Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) around the business as part of our initiative to improve mental health awareness and to encourage conversation about the support available. It is something close to my heart and, as an employer, we want to be supportive and enable any employees suffering from mental health to get them back to good health as soon as possible. The MHFA initiative is part of a wider programme of support in the workplace for Exertis employees. We also offer a complimentary Employee Assistance Programme through MetLife who provide an early intervention and rehabilitation service, which aims to help employees stay at work or return to work after a period of absence due to illness or injury, and also through Health Assured who provide a number of wellbeing services. We have also enhanced our maternity, paternity and shared parental leave policy, provided our employees with the option to purchase additional holiday and promoted the government’s Cycle to Work Scheme. We believe that promoting a caring culture, striking the right balance between work and home life and supporting our employees when needed are great investments that can also provide tangible results. It’s no coincidence that we have been able to reduce mental health absence by 11% and overall absence by 26%. Our employees are a key differentiator and they deserve the best support we can provide throughout their careers.


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Tackling the employee diversity gap While employing the right range of people is the first step in creating a more diverse industry, Maggie Zaboura, Managing Director of Zaboura, explains why the right framework needs to be in place to support them...


s a female immigrant myself, born in Africa to a Palestinian father and Armenian mother, I think I hit most business’s diversity goals. But in my opinion, diversity is overused and misunderstood. Diversity in the workplace is an underrated and easily misplaced buzzword. As is the case with most trends within the workplace, there is a lot of talk but not a lot of application. There are good examples however, such as businesses that are actively seeking female engineers in their development teams. Green Energy Options, for example, are developing for diverse consumers and understand that input must be diverse, too. Aside from employing the right range of people, the framework needs to be in place to support them. Every organisation across the globe is facing the same challenges that come with the huge numbers of millennial talent entering the workforce – and reshaping it as they do so. PwC recently found that 85% of employees feel that a brand’s policy on diversity, equality and workforce inclusion is important when deciding whether or not to take a job. However, 71% feel that while organisations talk about diversity, the reality is that opportunities are not actually equal for everyone. The inclusion framework Companies looking to address the gender gap need to look beyond the boardroom and address the issue head-on throughout their entire workforce. It needs to be an organisation-wide initiative. But in order to do so, organisations need to first better understand the people they wish to attract, and once they attract them, have the right framework in place to support and develop them. Female millennials, for example – entering the workforce in larger numbers than any previous generation – behave differently. They want real-time feedback and a clear development framework. Businesses are definitely starting to realise the devastating impact that such a lack of diversity can have on their bottom line and their reputation – in both employee and consumer eyes. Appealing to a wide cross section of the population has to be authentic and a brand cannot be authentic unless it authentically has diverse input. How we


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feel about a brand is more than just figures on a graph – it’s down to emotion. We love a brand because of how it makes us feel. The value of emotion Clarabridge is an organisation that understands the true value of determining feeling. Its CX platform, Engage, provides brands with real-time access to customer feedback, across all channels and stages of the customer journey. Engage’s text analytics track the sentiment and meaning behind every comment, so that brands can strategise more effectively, utilising truly insight-led dashboards and reports to aid their vision. Considering the growth of women in customer experience and customer journey positions, perhaps it has something to do with female propensity for these softer skills; an agility in adapting to consumer happiness. It occurred to me at a recent seminar hosted by Clarabridge, in which most of the speakers were female, that one of the biggest problems that the retail sector is facing currently is a lack of loyalty (especially online). Understanding customers, and developing empathy and these softer skills, is central to the processes and brand development of the customer journey. In turn, it impacts brand equity, which is all about loyalty and trust. Every organisation needs to be designing its marketing and communications strategies with this in mind. Kokoro is another interesting agency, one that uses emotion as a ranking for customer happiness, making 80% of its decisions based on feelings. It is a brand that understands that creating the best products, the best experiences, becoming the best brand and attracting the best talent, is all down to connecting with people on an emotional level and knowing what really motivates them. It uses innovative quantitative tools to measure the true feeling that a brand creates over time, highlighting opportunities to create more of those positive, emotional moments that will engage customers throughout their journey. And this is how businesses must tackle the employee diversity gap; the same thinking we must all use to create the best pool of talent.

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What resellers should know about protecting data in the channel Luke Horton-Walker, Operations Director at Cameo, discusses why it’s critical that VARs evaluate the data protection needs of every end user...


ata security is now the crux of many concerns for modern businesses and the IT channel is no exception. As reliance on data grows, IT resellers must provide the essential support end users need to both manage and dispose of equipment in which business critical data is held. A requirement which is also now heavily underpinned by regulation. 2018 saw the introduction of the GDPR by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in efforts to establish clear data protection guidelines – placing further focus on data and specifically on businesses maintaining good practices to meet minimum legal requirements. Yet, for many end users, visibility over exactly where and how their information is being dealt with – and by which third parties – remains extremely low. According to research conducted on behalf of RSM Group, only 57% of businesses are confident that they are GDPR compliant – even though the regulation was passed over a year ago. Considering the potential to be faced with huge fines, this is a big problem for companies. However, it offers up an opportunity for those operating within the channel to become the GDPR expert for their customers. Businesses should be looking to help manage data as part of their value-add services, adding another string to their bow when looking to gain an advantage over competitors. IT resellers must first understand the fundamental processes for maintaining business critical data security within customer systems. However, these concerns aren’t exclusive to data storage within current systems, but also extend across the disposal of any old hardware or devices used to store, manage and process data. Processes such as Secure Data Sanitisation (SDS) have become extremely important for resellers as a result, not only protecting the end user data held within assets after disposal, but safeguarding them with transparent audit trails to demonstrate their compliance with legislation. Data can be a minefield, and managing it is certainly a task that can’t be half done. Handling end user data is a process of huge

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importance, but there are steps that VARs can take in order to manage data securely, confidently, and reliably. Treating it almost as a checklist, it is important to evaluate processes when it comes to GDPR compliance. Not only is it important to comply to GDPR, but VARs also have to prove compliance, and it should be a key consideration for every reseller. From here, they can identify any weak spots within their own processes and iron them out to align properly with regulations. Once these processes are water tight, and a reseller is in a position to roll out support, a proactive approach to data management is important for two reasons; not only does it ensure that end user confidence is maintained, but it also stops outdated devices, and the data held within them, from becoming compromised. That’s why it’s integral to offer regular hardware checks, and – when necessary – to complete any repairs or updates as soon as possible. Further to this, data management also extends beyond a device’s lifecycle. The final step for every piece of hardware comes through SDS, and ensuring that every device is properly wiped of data and dealt with appropriately – whether that means being refurbished, recycled or destroyed. For resellers, the need to show value-adds is incredibly important in such a fast paced and demanding industry. Customers come with different hardware security needs, and it’s critical that VARs evaluate the data protection needs of every end user, tailoring support to fit seamlessly around them. Customer service has become a big part of the channel and when it comes to something as crucial as data security, resellers need to be able to offer a service that is reliable and efficient. There are many ways that resellers can deliver these services to end users, and if necessary work alongside industry experts to do so. Either way, they need to be able to trust that the support they are delivering to their customers is based on vast practical experience and expertise in managing data security on a business-wide scale. Only then can resellers provide the true level of support and maintenance that modern businesses now require for their hardware.


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Addressing the talent shortfall in technology Anthony Webb, Vice President EMEA at A10 Networks, looks at how the modern talent pool is changing, and why building and nurturing talent is a vital part of creating a resilient industry...


egardless of Brexit, it seems certain that the shortage of talent in the UK’s technology industry is set to continue. 89% of employers in our sector expect to struggle with a talent shortage this year and by 2022 there is a predicted Europe-wide shortfall of 350,000 skilled staff in cybersecurity alone. As we face unprecedented disruption, every sector needs to start building resilience for the future. It’s said that the most important resource in a business is its people, and futureproofing our workforce means attracting and nurturing the best possible talent. The modern talent pool is changing. Gone are the days where you fell into a role and stayed for life. Today’s candidates are more demanding of employers, careers and future happiness. Our sector therefore needs to look at how we present ourselves. As well as the technical skills required in engineering, programming and cybersecurity roles, the industry requires a strong cohort of business-focused candidates who are skilled at creating long-term relationships that add value for customers. Embracing changing priorities for career entrants Historically, we’ve recruited our sales teams from a wide pool of graduates across all disciplines, with a focus on identifying strong communication skills and the analytical ability that translates into strong account management. However, the evolution of the university sector is having an interesting effect on graduates. Having taken a major financial decision early in life, they are sharply focused on achieving a return on their career investment. The introduction of tuition fees is increasing the number of young people deciding to leap straight into work to avoid debt and get a head-start on their careers. These candidates are a rich source of talent for employers if they can be tempted to apply. Our sector is rich in innovation – with technologies such as 5G coming on stream and the constant challenge of countering cybersecurity threats, there is no danger of career dead-end. Attracting talent is one thing, retaining it is another Talent retention is key if looking to build a talent pipeline, and this is where companies need to look at the shifting working styles that


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now exist in the workplace. Companies need to ensure they create an environment that new entrants want to be in and stay in. The fact is that today’s workplace is multi-generational, and the industry needs to recognise and adapt to that. It’s not surprising that Generation Z employees feel little in common with their baby boomer and even millennial colleagues – the worlds that they grew up in are vastly different. This has led to some distinct generational variations in preferred forms of communication and working styles. Take for example this recent article looking at preferences around using phones for voice calls. Workers from younger generations show a distinct bias towards text or visual-based communications – a far cry from the “hitting the phones” sales tactics of the past. We also need to consider that, if we’re selling to customers that prefer communications through different channels, the phone might not be the best way to reach them. As employers we need to help the generations coexist, embracing the attitude that everyone can learn from each other. This means genuinely flexible working practices enabling employees to work effectively while remote, as well as office spaces that give options supporting diverse working styles – quiet and focused, open and consultative - and hybrids of the two. The end of the linear career The days of the linear career are over. It’s predicted that those entering the workforce today will change careers multiple times and learn new skills throughout their working lives. As the current workforce will work for longer than any previous generation, it is important they are looking for job roles that offer a sense of purpose, not just a salary. As employers within the technology industry, it is important to share a vision of a career that is rewarding in all senses and that means looking beyond financial benefits to the wider ecosystem we want our employees to thrive in. Therefore, building and nurturing talent is a vital part of creating a resilient industry and all organisations should look to make this a priority for 2019 and beyond.

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PCR is read throughout the channel, from store managers to leading executives. Put simply, PCR is the trade publication that everybody in the industry reads. Print is still the most effective way to target an audience engaged with the content they’re consuming. Find out more about advertising in PCR by contacting Beccy Barr at Beccy.Barr@Biz-Media.co.uk

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@PCR_Online 29/05/2019 14:14


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

CRUNCHING 41% Kaspersky research has found that 41% of consumers still use unsupported and near endof-life operating systems.


In Zenzic’s UK Connected and Automated Roadmap, the company says that by 2030, it expects to see self-driving car services beginning to be available across the UK.


Across nine UK regions, more than one in five small business owners (22%) are looking to expand into new markets overseas in order to achieve business growth, according to Hitachi Capital Business Finance.

61% The latest Hiscox Cyber Readiness report revealed that 61% of firms have suffered one or more cyber-attacks in the past year.


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1 in 4 1 in 4 households are turning to smart tech to protect their homes from thieves and burglars, uncovered a recent survey by CoCompare.

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Each year, our diversity-themed issue features a Top 25 Women in Tech list, with people nominating inspirational and influential women working in the UK IT and tech channel. We have once again had an abundance of high-quality entries from across the distribution, vendor, retail, reseller and channel services arenas. It was tough whittling the list down to just 25 people, and we really wish we could list everyone that was nominated. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter, and good luck for 2020’s list! Back to this year, in alphabetical order by company name, here are your Top 25 Women in Tech for 2019: www.pcr-online.biz

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“With a highly successful 25-year career in international management positions in IT and financing, Carmen has led the technology lifecycle management company 3 Step IT as CEO since 2015. Since joining the company, Carmen has changed its attitudes towards sustainability, ensuring it’s a consistent theme driving change throughout the business. As a result, she has shaped a sustainable business model which has become 3 Step IT’s competitive differentiator. Carmen is a mentor to others and involved in the UK Leasing Foundation’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.”


Global Marketing Director – AddOn Networks “Assuming her role as global marketing director, Haley devised a plan which resulted in the successful launch of AddOn in the EMEA region. Through a new brand strategy, she has disrupted the market and brought understanding around third-party optics. The focus was on differentiating the value and creating brand personality with a plan to grow and lead the market. By implementing the tried and tested strategy that worked so well in the US, AddOn saw significant growth in the EMEA region. Haley’s messaging has added a touch of personality in a product-lead industry and as a result, AddOn has become well established in EMEA.”


Managing Director – Agent42 EMEA “Linda is the managing director of Agent42 EMEA, a marketing agency which specialises in PR, creative content, staffing and events, with experiential marketing at the heart of every they do. She has a wealth of experience in the technology and entertainment verticals with stints at Warner Bros, Nintendo and Acer UK. Agent42 operate virtually and she empowers her team to work remotely and achieve a great work life balance with flexible working locations and hours. The team embraces the latest technology and cloud solutions to help make this happen and drive success in all they do.”


UK Retail Sales Manager for AOC and Philips monitors – AOC / MMD “Before joining AOC / MMD, Cheryl spent most of her career as business development for displays at distributor Exertis, covering desktop monitors, large format displays, and projectors sales in B2B as well as retail channels. In her position as UK retail sales manager for AOC and Philips monitors, she is working with UK customers in both online and storefront sales, including companies such as Dixons Retail, Amazon, John Lewis, Shop Direct, and ao.com. Having held managerial positions at Exertis for over two decades, Cheryl brought a strong sales background to AOC / MMD.”


“Jekaterina is an authority in business development and strategy, in particular in setting up early-stage tech companies for success. Following ten years at Skype and Microsoft, Jekaterina worked as a senior technology consultant at Deloitte, specialising in cloud services, connectivity and digital workplace transformation within the financial services industry. Following this, she advised and scaled a number of tech start-ups and SMEs. In 2018 Jekaterina joined Augnet, where her boundless energy and focus have moved the company at a fast pace towards its goals, and have enabled it to push past every milestone ahead of target.” 18 | November 2019

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Senior Sales Manager – BenQ “As senior sales manager for BenQ’s corporate product ranges, Lisa is the highest performing sales person across all products, creating £3.4 million revenue in 2018, managing relationships with three accounts in BenQ’s top ten resellers. As a mother and woman, operating in a heavily male industry, she both manages her role in sales as well as developing a team with a supportive and high performing culture. She commands respect from her direct team as well as the wider operational management of the business and is recognised as a vital part of the business as it continues ambitious growth plans in 2020.”


Senior Business Manager for Desktops and Monitors – Box “Antonia has an incredible drive and passion for what she does at Box, which rubs off on everybody who meets her, and she is always last in the office to go home due to her dedication in the role. She has successfully grown the monitor category at Box by 30% year-on-year and developed outstanding vendor and supplier relationships. Antonia has also taken on the desktop category, which is already on track to over achieve on 2019 company targets with high expectations for 2020. She has also taken time out of her role to help develop and mentor junior members of the team.”


Head of Operations – BT Shop “Alex is a machine. She is a force of nature and a huge reason for BT Shop’s success. Her level of knowledge, passion and commitment to BT and her team is unwavering. She’s been the driving force to support all the CX and logistics for the hugely-successful Gift with Purchase campaigns – where hundreds of thousands of new or retained BT customers have received gifts when taking or keeping a service (such as broadband, TV, Sport and mobile). Alex does all this without shouting from the rooftops, just a head down and ‘get stuff done’ attitude, leading her team in a passionate and enthusiastic way.”


Senior Channel Marketing Manager – BullGuard “Having joined BullGuard in 2013, Lucy is 100% responsible for BullGuard’s global channel marketing. She has built the channel marketing strategy from the ground up, implemented a successful solid tiered partner program, defined and enhanced BullGuard’s channel partnership offering and has actively sought and recruited new partners to deliver incremental revenue to the business. Lucy has a personable, hands-on relationship with BullGuard’s partners, making frequent visits to understand their key business objectives in the current market climate.”

EMMA­BETH ANTHONY Head of Sales – Cameo

“Emma-Beth is a highly experienced sales professional with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Joining Cameo as sales manager in September 2018, in just a year she has already made a transformational impact on the business, with her efforts contributing to a 32% increase in total revenue and driving customer renewal rate to 82%. She has continuously shown her dedication to building and cementing a strong sales arm for the business, and delivering an astounding service as a channel partner to form truly valuable relationships with both new and existing customers.” www.pcr-online.biz

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HR Director – Centerprise International “Sam Lailey is a dynamic board executive and a first-class HR professional who stands out as an exemplar on how to drive effective organisational and cultural change. As the appointed board member responsible for the ‘People’ change programme within the company’s strategic growth plan, Sam has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities in the way she has inspired, mentored and developed her all-female HR team to effect a positive change in culture across the company. She has leveraged her strong network of fellow female professionals across industry to provide specialist input into this extensive change programme.”


Senior Sales Manager – CMS Distribution “Tanith’s team has delivered constantly against the targets set, with 22% YoY growth – £13 million more than the previous year. Having a motivated team is what delivers success and Tanith is a manager who works at gaining her team’s trust and not demanding it. She encourages them to have a voice and get them involved in making a difference. She is a believer in training people and giving them the skills to be awesome. Coaching on a daily basis is a core part of her role.”


Founder and Managing Partner – Collabsco “Over the past year, Collabsco’s founder and managing partner Valerie Vacante has evolved its groundbreaking Connected Play Landscape – now featuring over 250+ companies. She launched TechUp alongside Peter Jenkinson, featured at Wired Live, CES and SXSW. She engineered a partnership with SoSound and Firebolt Games to design revolutionary technology to transform physical and digital connected product experiences, as well as architecting a collaboration between a traditional UK-based gaming company and an immersive technology company to create a new gaming experience (to be announced late autumn 2019).”


Consumer Commercial Director – Exertis “Caroline has recently been promoted to consumer commercial director, which is a testament to the hard work, dedication and ability she has shown in her career. She has played an instrumental role in establishing Exertis as the industry leader in the smart tech category as well as significantly growing the consumer and commodity networking business units. Caroline brings a positive and collaborative approach to her role by maintaining long-lasting and high-value relationships with her vendors, customers and colleagues. She leads from the front, setting an example for her team and inspiring individuals to be the best that they can be.”


Event Manager – Hikvision UK / EZVIZ UK “The amount of events involved with Hikvision and EZVIZ are forever increasing and Hannah has demonstrated an amazing ability to show excellent project management skills across the two brands and deliver exceptional events, which are delivering outstanding results for the business. Seeing a project that can last over six months is a hard thing to do when there are several occurring simultaneously, and Hannah seems to take this in her stride and show so much passion and drive to never drop the quality of experience and results to any event no matter how big or small.” 20 | November 2019

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Director of Marketing – Ingram Micro “Maria is an inspirational leader. As an exceptional forwarding-thinking marketeer, her direction leads the team to transformative marketing initiatives. She advocates data driven marketing, leading the team to both successful and tangible results, pushing them to think outside the box. The dedication that Maria commits to her team is truly incredible. Individual support, growth and development are a priority for Maria, and her colleagues say it is a joy to work with her and both her positive energy and smile are infectious, making her a true role model.”


Regional Director for UK & Ireland – Kingston Technology “Ann is responsible for driving the business for Kingston Technology and HyperX, for all product lines within the corporate and public sectors. This year, Ann has been working closely with her team to drive the strategy for the UK and Ireland. 2019 started with a bang – in Q1, Kingston won the PCR Components Vendor of the Year award, and her continued efforts have seen Kingston evolve over the course of the year. There have been several major product launches, enabling the brand to increase its presence in growing market sectors including server, datacenter, encryption and gaming, adding further value to its channel partners.”


Head of Marketing – Network Group “Tirene says that creating and delivering the marketing and engagement strategy for Network Group can be a balancing act between ensuring that the members have access to the best opportunities ahead of the curve, and making sure vendor partners achieve the best possible traction and buy in. In what has been a year of transformational change for the Group, she and her team have created and delivered over 250 partner campaigns, five large-scale conferences and 22 engagement strategies for some of the channel’s preeminent brands, resulting in an average of 30% growth.”


Vendor Marketing Manager – SCC “There is no denying that Nicola goes above and beyond in her role as vendor marketing manager at SCC. She sets a fine example to the team on how effort and perseverance pays off in the form of high achievement. In 2017/18, the product revenue for SCC was £572 million (incl services) and this increased the following year by £100 million. This was partly due to the range of new marketing materials introduced by Nicola, and the way in which she improved collaboration between vendor and services business.”


Channel Marketing Manager – Seagate “Samehra Malik is the manager of Seagate’s channel marketing. She has coordinated product launches for Northern Europe, and has been a leading figure in creative professional focused LaCie marketing. She has also launched official sponsorship with BFI for LaCie in the UK. Furthermore, Samehra has managed the Seagate exhibit at BVE2019, Media Production Show and TPS.”


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Managing Director of UK, Ireland and Nordics – Synology “Over the past 12 months and beyond, Nicole has continued to inspire her staff towards self-improvement in both a professional and personal capacity. This has been achieved via a combination of her exceptional leadership qualities alongside her driven determination. Whilst keeping the team focused on increasing the brand awareness, driving sales, and maintaining a high level of customer service she ensures that all staff members are looked after with her recently introducing well-being sessions, massages and cycle to work scheme to help staff maintain a healthy work/life balance.”


Business Development Lead – Technology To Go “Vicky is the entrepreneurial spirit behind the success of Technology To Go. Established to capitalise on the collaborative advantage of The Network Group’s vendor partnerships and deliver a purchasing service to its members, TTG has now become an essential part of many of its member companies, turning over £1.3 million with a YoY growth of over 20%. With margins tight, fighting for single points at times, creating what is essentially a VAD from the ground up could be considered a daunting challenge – one Vicky meets head on every day.”


Security Engineer EMEA – Tenable “Jennifer has 14 years of experience in tech and works with customers across EMEA in enabling best practices and cyber exposure prevention. She has worked hard over the years to grow from a junior tech role of primarily admin nature in a company with only males in technical roles, to exceeding the expectations of her management and colleagues. Jennifer is an active member of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, is an advisory board member of the Leaders in Tech Ireland, Women in Technology and Science Ireland, and works hard to ensure diversity and inclusion within her industry.”

ALICIA SHEPHERD Sales Director – Terra

“Since joining Terra, Alicia has rebuilt the sales team, delivered 300% growth with Network Group, on track to achieve 40% YoY UK company growth in 2019. The UK is now the 2nd largest server territory within the Wortmann Group, driven by the relationship she brokered with Continuum and the BDR offering that they have. As sales director, she is responsible for the sales and admin teams, in conjunction, she also manages a number of reseller accounts so she can lead by example with her team, who know that she will always go the extra mile.”

EMMA LATTIMER Marketing Manager – TP-Link

“Demand generation for brands with a 100% channel sales model is complex. Using data and insights from social platforms, Emma recently built a business case for a demand generation campaign. For the duration of the campaign, Google Ads drove traffic to a bespoke landing page where visitors were captured by the Facebook Pixel and nurtured through a funnel, driving prospects to participating partners. In the first two weeks there were 21 successful free gift claims demonstrating that with a clearly thought through CTA and targeting, TP-Link can run its own cost effective demand gen activity to support its partners.” 22 | November 2019

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30/10/2019 15:46



@PCR_Online #PCRAwards

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Beccy Barr beccy.barr@biz-media.co.uk PCR Awards 2020 Save the Date House ad 210x265mm_v1 new logo.indd 1

25/09/2019 10:48

Diversity in tech

Creating a winning workforce Laura Barnes speak to BullGuard, Terra and Brother UK about the importance and benefits of hiring a diverse workforce, and what more can be done to ensure the channel continues to evolve...


ver the years, the industry we work in has often been criticised for its lack of diversity. Traditionally, tech and IT was seen as a boys’ club. But we have seen a shift over the past decade, where more women are taking up managerial and exec roles, companies are understanding the benefits of hiring people with more diverse backgrounds and experiences, and there has been a big focus on getting more girls into STEM subjects at school. Many businesses in the channel are discovering the benefits of a truly diverse workforce, and here, we ask three tech companies about their diversity initiatives and what they think needs to be done in the industry to keep us all moving in the right direction. “Terra was a 100% male workforce two years ago and now boasts 21% female workforce,” Alicia Shepherd, Terra’s sales director, tells PCR. “We didn’t set out with a goal to increase the female quota but set out looking for the best candidates and how they would fit into the culture and the workplace we were trying to build, this has not changed. “It’s not just in the workplace where roles are changing with women moving into senior and technical roles where historically this was a man’s world, it is also in the home,” she explains. “With all our hires we appreciate that in the same way the main child carer can be either male or female and therefore as a business we have been careful in supporting all our employees and offering flexibility allowing them to be parents and do their role at Terra – no one should have to choose between work or their children.”



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Shepherd says that Terra is “open and honest” in all its interviews with candidates, highlighting how it is a flexible company that recognises that a happy home life leads to happy work life and vice versa. “With stress in the workplace, it’s hugely important to myself as company director to ensure all our employees are supported and know we have an open door policy. When they join Terra, it is like an extension of their own family and to only focus on women in the workplace at Terra would be a mistake as, in my opinion, it’s about having the right leadership team and ensuring that everyone – women or men – can approach us and share concerns they may have, or introduce ideas that would improve the culture at Terra,” she says. “At Terra, we take fitness very seriously, running half marathons, 10ks, five a side football and playing squash. But we also appreciate that mental fitness is as important as physical fitness and offer through our healthcare scheme counselling and a hotline anyone can call to discuss issues they may have.” Lucy Lincoln, senior channel marketing manager at BullGuard, says the software vendor recognises just how important gender diversity is. “It’s a fact that tech businesses with women in executive positions do incredibly well. Both Facebook and Google have women in prominent positions on their boards. Female executives also make up nearly half of Google’s management team,” she tells PCR.


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Diversity in tech “The success of these companies isn’t a coincidence. Numerous studies have revealed the economic benefits of diversity. According to a McKinsey study, Why Diversity Matters, companies in the top quarter for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have better financial returns.” At BullGuard, the gender ratio breakdown is 70% male and 30% female. Women are represented in every department from finance, marketing, R&D and sales, to customer support, project management, product management and HR. At the management level, almost 42% of leaders within BullGuard are women. “Why is this? Well-managed gender diversity brings together varied perspectives and produces a more holistic analysis of the issues a company faces. It spurs greater effort and leads to improved decision-making,” explains Lincoln. “We understand that diversity generates wider thinking, which translates into greater innovation and improved company performance irrespective of which industry a company is in. Within BullGuard, workforce diversity leads to more insight, more innovation and better products.” Sam Johnson, community engagement manager at Brother UK, says diversity is at the heart of the organisation. “We’ve launched a Diversity and Inclusion Programme to promote the discussion of gender equality and accelerate diversity in the workplace,” she tells PCR. “As a global business, we’re also aligned with the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs), a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Among the important targets they set out – gender equality is a key commitment that’s close to our business.” The future workforce As we move into 2020, we ask our industry experts if they have seen improvements in diversity over the past few years, and what more can be done to ensure the channel continues to evolve? “Wow that’s a big question and I guess I have to say yes, it has improved. I started out in tech 24 years ago in a male dominated environment and got raised eyebrows when I made it clear I wanted to progress into a managerial role,” says Shepherd. “I raised more eyebrows when I came out as gay and whilst this didn’t hinder my career progression it was not an easy step for me to take. 20 years ago people were not quite so liberal in their views,” she reveals. “I have seen over the years many individuals be brave to say ‘I’m different’, whether that’s through their sexuality, or how they identify in terms of race, religion or gender and it’s great to see these individuals progressing – not because they are different, but because they can do the job better than anyone else. Shepherd continues: “Whilst it’s great to be a women in tech, it’s also important that the balance does not swing too far and that we recognise both women and men in tech, based on what they are capable of doing and not based on gender and ticking a box.” Lincoln points out that all the evidence suggests that women want to go into tech but they encounter barriers that put them off. “If we don’t encourage women to take up digital and management roles, we’re missing out on an enormous pool of talent,” she explains. “The trick is to encourage and attract women into tech by showing them it’s not an exclusively male and geeky environment.


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L-R: Terra’s Alicia Shepherd, BullGuard’s Lucy Lincoln and Brother UK’s Sam Johnson

They can carry out roles that are cutting edge and innovative and roles that make a real-world difference.” Lincoln continues: “We encourage participation in conferences as speakers, such as DefCamp and Girls Who Code. DefCamp, for instance, is the most important annual conference on hacking and information security in Central Eastern Europe. Every year it brings together the world’s leading cybersecurity practitioners and experts to share the latest research and knowledge and it’s a great profile booster for our female employees. “In this fast-paced digital age we all need a strategy for achieving competitive advantage and an important driver is encouraging greater diversity in the workplace. It’s important for other companies to recognise the value of workplace diversity. It’s certainly not about paying lip service or meeting diversity quotas; it’s far more than that,” stresses Lincoln. “It’s about acknowledging there is an enormous pool of untapped potential out there, recognising the real value of workplace diversity and doing what you can to break down gender barriers in order to drive the business forward.” Johnson points out that, despite nearly 50% of senior management positions across Brother UK being held by women, this isn’t reflective of the industry-wide picture, where women account for just 17% of UK tech workers overall. “Clearly, only a small proportion of girls are choosing to take STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses or enter technical careers. This means the IT channel could be missing out on attracting key talent,” she says. “This is something we’re addressing as part of our work within the community. We have a programme aimed at promoting STEM careers to local school students. Our product management team support at local exhibitions to promote these disciplines and opportunities through our apprenticeship programme – interacting with more than 1,000 students from a variety of backgrounds. “If vendors and channel companies each engage with school students, and encourage a wider base of people to take up careers in STEM, it could pay dividends in safeguarding the industry’s future talent pipeline.” In association with:

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30/10/2019 14:22

Mindful shopping

Click and Regret With Brits wasting over half a billion pounds every year online on unwanted goods, Gekko’s Daniel Todaro looks at why shoppers should be more mindful before they buy online, and support their local businesses offline...


ince it really took off in 2014, the success of Black Friday in the UK has very much focused on bricks and mortar retail, with only 33% of all Black Friday sales being transacted online. Fast forward four years and in 2018 online sales accounted for 61% of all Black Friday sales, increasing on average 8% year-on-year. The focus for retailers to take an

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omnichannel approach, in this time-dependent shopping event, is obvious for those looking to make Black Friday a success. The need for an effective online solution that entices customers to make immediate decisions, convincing consumers that they ‘need’ a certain item, is part of the strategy some adopt and execute very effectively. Interestingly, there are no recorded


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Mindful shopping

figures for all those items returned and refunded immediately after the event, impacting on the December Christmas trading figures. To pre-empt the online frenzy that has now become Black Friday, in October, my agency Gekko conducted research to ascertain shopper motivations towards online spending and in particular the immediate fix online shopping offers, which usually results in a euphoric retail therapy high leading – for some – to immediate regret and guilt. Not surprisingly for me, it revealed the shocking waste now involved with online shopping. According to the survey, an estimated £641 million is the astonishing figure consumers are wasting online every year buying goods they don’t want and which they subsequently fail to return. The survey of 2,000 UK adults conducted by One Poll on behalf of Gekko reveals that 27% of respondents (equating to 12.4 million UK adults) order goods online they regret buying but never get round to returning. The average amount wasted every year is £51.90 per person equating to £641 million overall. Nearly a third of UK adults (31%) also confess to being lured into buying items they don’t want or need and 70% regularly regret buying things online so send them back. Despite people seemingly unable to resist the temptation of spending money online, nearly half felt that the ease of shopping online fuels extensive shopping habits, and 43% said they also spend more money online than they originally intended. Although internet shopping is meant to be time efficient, a whopping 65% said they spent more time shopping online than they expected because there’s too much choice, they want to hunt for the best prices (54%) and they feel compelled to shop around (34%). Now that all sounds great and from a retailer’s perspective makes online retailing seem the only strategy. However, respondents also claim to be concerned about the environmental impact of online shopping with 75% worried about the excessive use of packaging and single use plastics. Meanwhile, 70% said they were concerned about the societal impact on the high street and local economy of increasing online shopping. The moral dilemma online shopping creates for many, and not just on Black Friday, is multi-layered. There’s the environmental impact of all that unnecessary transport, packaging and a notorious gig economy verses the speed of delivery, and the convenience that online shopping offers, particularly for those with busy lives. The media exposure Extinction Rebellion have successfully achieved in raising the issues surrounding the environment will only become more prevalent with consumers who will consciously begin to favour brands, manufacturers and retailers that adopt sustainable measures, from the basic recyclable packaging to carbon neutral manufacturing and distribution. This is truer of younger generations who might choose to invest, not necessarily spend, their budget more sparingly with brands that speak to them. Many invest in brands that resonate with the zeitgeist rather than profit at the expense of the planet, and demonstrate a social conscience in manufacturing, the environment, sustainability and how they give back a proportion of their vast profits to society. Realistically though, in the case of ‘considered’ purchases such as CE and IT, physical retail is the only place that offers consumers an experience the reflects the significance of the budget a consumer


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wishes to spend. Presence in-store, as measured by Kantar, proved that whilst ranging in retail may deliver an average reach due to it being index linked to footfall, its impact when experienced is effective as the last chance to stand out against competition in the path to purchase. Combine this with a clear environmental policy, articulate staff in a welcoming environment and the experience is heightened, enabling a more conducive manner to close a sale and perhaps increase average basket values through selling up through a range or making a connection sale.

“For CE and IT purchases, physical retail is the only place that offers consumers an experience that reflects the significance of the budget shoppers wish to spend.” It’s also interesting to note that for brand loyal consumers, they make purchasing decisions confidently and quickly in favour of their preferred brand, however to drive consideration for less well known or experienced brands, the need to gain presence in-store is essential for success. During Black Friday, clever and coherent placement of products, coupled with messaging to increase visibility, is essential to catch the eye of consumers and close those Black Friday sales in-store that online may never, or be less able to, achieve. Despite online shopping increasing year-on-year, the research shows the 62% of consumers still love shopping in physical stores. What is clear from this research is that online shopping can be a false economy. Although in theory we can return the goods we buy, many of us are too busy to bother, so what starts as convenience soon becomes costly and inconvenient. This results in unwanted goods cluttering cupboards, gathering dust in wardrobes or heading for landfill at an alarming rate. Despite our high street suffering, many people still enjoying the benefits of physical retail, to “try before you buy”, for excellent customer service and also the immediate purchasing experience. People should be more mindful before they click, and get out and support their local businesses as well as helping the environment and their pockets. Gekko is a full service field marketing agency, specialising in connecting brands with consumers in retail throughout the UK and Ireland. Find our more at www.gekko-uk.com

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West Midlands 5G Limited (WM5G), a new organisation setup to deliver the UK’s first regionwide 5G testbed, has appointed Ninder Johal as one of its new non-executive directors. The next generation of mobile technology recently arrived in the UK following the launch of 5G services from leading mobile network operators. WM5G’s mission is to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks and test, prove and scale new 5G services across the West Midlands. The company is part of the DCMS 5G Test Beds and Trials Programme. Johal is the owner of The Nachural Group, a Midlands-based organisation specialising in B2B events and media production. He is an experienced managing director and board level director with an MBA in finance and marketing from Aston University. He sits on the board of both the West Midlands Growth Company and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.


Print solutions provider Epson has appointed Darren Phelps as vice president of business sales within Europe. Phelps will lead the business unit and oversee the expansion of business inkjet and scan products. His appointment bolsters Epson’s continued focus on driving the shift from laser to business inkjet printing, as well as its commitment to a 100% indirect business sales model. Phelps, who led Epson’s recent revamp and expansion of its channel partner programme to offer additional value to resellers of Epson business printers, scanners and displays, is credited with driving a 62% increase in partners working alongside the brand. Simplifying the sales model for business print remains a key priority for Epson as it seeks to grow across the EMEA region. “Our 100% commitment to the channel and simplified sales model, along with the cost-saving and environmental benefits of our technologies make us a reliable partner for the channel, able to add value and offer support. My aim is to further strengthen these relationships, to drive growth for both us and our partners,” said Phelps.

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


Nutanix has appointed Cyril VanAgt to lead its channel and OEM activities in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. VanAgt will oversee all of Nutanix’s go-to-market relationships with resellers, distributors, regional system integrators and technology partners in the EMEA region, providing them with the capabilities needed to apply the company’s cutting-edge technologies. In particular, he will be responsible for driving the Nutanix Channel Charter, a strategic initiative to strengthen the company’s relationships with the reseller community by empowering them to succeed throughout both the sales cycle and their own customers’ technology lifecycles. VanAgt joined Nutanix in October 2014 and has been responsible for channel sales in the Southern European territories of the EMEA region since then. In four years he structured the Nutanix distribution network and built a strong channel ecosystem in this part of EMEA.


Exertis has announced the appointment of Caroline Hope as commercial director for consumer products. Hope will be reporting to Mike Buley, Exertis’ consumer managing director.. Hope has worked at Exertis for the past seven years, initially as the general manager responsible for the consumer division but, most recently, also setting up and managing the commodity network and smart tech areas. Prior to that, she spent nearly five years at Tech Data in sales and business development roles and a further five years in account management roles with resellers. “I’m incredibly excited to take on the role of commercial director for the consumer IT pillar. I truly believe in the value of partnerships with our brands and customers. I’m looking forward to continuing this and building upon these over the coming years in my new role. It’s a challenging time in retail but we have opportunities to exploit, particularly in helping our customers to take advantage of the connected home and enabling them to use our specialist retail services to enhance their business,” said Hope.

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4th-7th November, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona

VMworld 2019 will capture the momentum of today’s rapidly changing IT environment and put it within your grasp so you can accelerate your cloud journey to support your business. Transform networking and security for speed and flexibility. Deliver digital workspaces for amazing mobile experiences. Whatever you need to know, you’ll find the best information, tools, and partnerships to take IT – and your power to shape it – to the next level

CES 2020

7th-10th January, various venues, Las Vegas

CES is the largest and most influential technology event on the planet. Every major and emerging industry is represented, the entire technology ecosystem gathered together in one place to conduct business. It’s the proving ground for transformative tech such as 5G, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart cities, sports, vehicle technology, digital health and more.


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

conference featuring prominent executives representing global mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors, and content owners.


4th March, The Brewery, London

Save the date for the 2020 PCR Awards! We’ll be back at The Brewery in Central London on 4th March to once again celebrate the very best of the UK tech and IT industry. On the night, we will recognise those that have made the biggest impact in the channel. Vendors, distributors, channel services, resellers and retailers will all be celebrated in front of a room of 500+ industry members. Guests will enjoy an unmissable night of networking and hospitality as we reflect on the achievements of the channel over the past year. Entries are now open for the PCR Awards 2020. Head over to www.pcr-awards.com to get involved. Entries close on November 22nd 2019. If you would like to find out more information about being a PCR Awards 2020 Partner, get in touch with Beccy Barr on 07703 503 101 or at Beccy.Barr@biz-media.co.uk.

22nd-25th January, ExCeL, London

BETT is the first industry show of the year in the education technology landscape, bringing together 800+ leading companies, 103 exciting new edtech start ups and over 34,000 attendees from the global education community. They come together to celebrate, find inspiration and discuss the future of education, as well as the role technology and innovation plays in enabling all educators and learners to thrive.


24th-27th February, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona

The GSMA MWC series (formerly known as Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, and incorporates a thought-leadership


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10th-11th March, The Business Design Centre, London

Now in its seventh year, WTS2020 is the biggest forum for forming partnerships and developing new business across the wearable, smart device and IoT landscape. Over 3,000 delegates, 200 speakers and 150 press will come together to exchange views, network and do business. The show floor will feature cutting edge technology attracting prosumers, distributors and buyers. Boasting eight conference tracks – in conjunction with the AVR360 Show, and Digital Healthcare Show – WTS2020 offers an unrivalled breadth and depth of content.

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WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN 2020? In this month’s Dealer Discussion, Tech For Techs asks its retailer, reseller and service provider members whether they are planning to expand their offerings, become more specialised or introduce new service in 2020…

CAROLINE HOWELL – PUTERTUTOR COMPUTER SERVICES www.putertutor.co.uk “My aim for 2020 is that I want my business to shift from 70/30 residential/business, to a 50/50 split.” ◆◆◆

KEVIN PRICE – CAMBRIDGE PC SUPPORT www.cambridge-pc-support.com “I want to expand on what I already do and get out of my comfort zone more. Maybe upselling and migrating to Exchange Cloud, local/cloud backups, spam filtering and AV. I need to look at doing managed services, but



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first need to work out what the real-world benefits are to the customer.” ◆◆◆

MACAULEY STEPHENSON – STEPHENSONS IT SUPPORT SOLUTIONS www.stephensons-consultants.co.uk “I want to continue to grow as an MSP, offering more cloud-based solutions such as Office 365, disaster recovery, hosted VoIP and end point protection. I also want to build my client base more towards small businesses rather than residential users or walk-ins.”


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Retail Talk ◆◆◆

RICHARD FORTH – PHASE 4 COMPUTERS www.p4com.com “What don’t we want to do in 2020?! We’ve got plans to expand our business offerings, so not just doing Office 365 and Remote Monitoring services, but also VoIP services too. As for residential customers, we want to expand further into other device repairs (tablets, phones, consoles etc). Currently we are undergoing a rebrand, so most of that will be implemented shortly, with a full relaunch in the new year.” ◆◆◆

MICHAEL JAMES DEAN – COLLIEDOG COMPUTERS www.colliedogcomputers.co.uk “In 2020 I am looking forward to offering a few more services such as digital signage solutions, photo restoration, and videography/photography, whilst expanding on the core services that I already deliver. In particular the web/email hosting side of things and reselling line rental and broadband (ADSL/FTTC/ FTTP). As well as that, I’m starting to focus on marketing myself more effectively, which I think is often a side battle in this line of work.” ◆◆◆

IAN HARDEN – IPC SOLUTIONS www.ipcsolutions.org.uk “In 2020 I aim to go full time and finally take the ‘big step’. Currently, I work four days for an employer and one day for myself. This has been a good year since dropping a day at work and I have focused on developing new supplier links and selling more online, bulk sales have worked well. I intend to grow, mainly buying and selling and will also aim to learn networking and installations and expand into local business. I want to also do more cloud product sales and learn how to do this successfully. I am also considering a rebrand to represent what we are and what we do from the off. My Google presence has always been good, but I’d like to see whether using more paid for ad services will be beneficial.” ◆◆◆

PHILIP GRIFFITHS – TECH FOR TECHS www.TechForTechs.co.uk “With 2020 just around the corner now is an ideal time to plan ahead for next year. With so many directions to go in at the moment for independent stores and traders, plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need from a reliable and helpful distributor and vendor to help you with these sales and promotions. If a vendor


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really wants your trade and help, they should supply you with plenty of marketing materials and an easy point of contact in case you have issues. Just remember when expanding your business not to solely focus on the new products and services, if you do you could find you start to suffer in areas you normally do well in. Now is not only a good time to look at expanding, it’s also a good time at looking into dropping services and products that no longer fit with your plans. It’s better to focus on what you need to rather than having to spend precious time on redundant parts of your business. Even specialising your business to focus on one or two areas – rather than being the store that repairs and sells phones, desktops, laptops, tablets, windows and mac computers like most of your local competitors, you could specialise on one aspect. For example, only do Apple-based products and then recommend any Windows-based customers to a competitor who does not do Apple products, and in turn they will send Apple repairs your way. In our own repair store (Chips Computers) we are focusing more and more on computers and products for creators. Creators are normally people who use their computers for video editing, Photoshop, and CAD work. These computers are normally very high spec and you can’t just go to PC World or Tesco to pick one up. What’s even better is that in most cases, content creators have very similar machines to what gamers have, but without the bling. Whatever you do in 2020 make sure you think it through. Research the services and products as well as local competition, and if local competition do offer the same products and services come up with a way you could improve on what they offer, from better warranty or even value.”

TECH FOR TECHS Launched in January 2018, Tech for Techs (TFT) is a new community for technicians of all kinds, including on-site call out services, retailers, resellers, managed service providers, vendors and distributors. Free to join, TFT is run by the team behind retailer Chips Computers and offers up insight and information on the industry, as well as product reviews, price comparisons, free directory listings and more. Visit www.techfortechs.co.uk for more information.

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29/10/2019 11:56

Top 5 Tech

Okta’s Stevie Dennis Stevie Dennis, the UK Channel Manager at identity and access management company Okta, reveals five pieces of tech that have shaped her life, from her early obsession with communication, through to the latest smart assistant technology‌ 32


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1 Top 5 Tech


In its many forms, the speed at which we communicate has been so important to me throughout my life. My obsession with communication started with MSN in my bedroom after school. This evolved to the concept of video chat with my family when I was at university, who lived far from where I studied. But as I’ve gotten older, this communication has still played an important part in adult life, as I am obsessed with people and love to be connected all the time. In particular, communication tools are now as big a part of business life as they are in our personal lives. Tools such as WhatsApp, Zoom, and Slack are all making communication so much easier.


I love reading and went through a book a week as a teenager. Unfortunately, with a handbag full of heavy and unnecessary rubbish, when I moved to London and started commuting, I stopped reading. Technology has been a good way around this as my Kindle travels everywhere with me now and I read for at least an hour a day. Reading on my morning commute is my ‘me time’ and puts me in a great mood for whatever the day is going to throw my way. I can load multiple books on this, all while keeping the weight of my handbag down!


Alexa might just be my best friend. I have a thousand things spinning around my head at any one time and it’s impossible to remember them all and organise my thoughts. Alexa is my very own PA full of to-do lists and reminders from my brainstorming shower sessions. She answers all of my silly questions and plays my favourite podcasts every morning. Hard to imagine a morning without her now.


It may come across as a cliché answer, but surely the iPhone has shaped everyone’s life in one way or another. It has, in its broadest sense, it brought to life the very meaning of a smartphone and changed the way we engage with handheld devices. Work is now constantly on-the-go, and being able to do my job anywhere through my phone has been a massive enabler of this. Having my calendar, emails, and all of my collaboration tools on my phone with me at all times is amazing. It’s also ideal that I have maps on my phone – making it very difficult to get lost these days.


The more I think about it, being able to do everything on an app has changed my life more than I thought. Whether it’s paying bills, booking trains, planes and hotels, shopping, communicating, reading, writing or buying a house, there’s an app that powers everything. I do everything now from a phone or a laptop, rather than having to pick up the phone to speak to a customer rep or going through painful long-winded forms. That doesn’t mean I sit behind my screen all the time, but having the option means I haven’t missed a bill payment for years.


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PrinCube – The World’s Smallest Mobile Colour Printer PrinCube is a handheld, portable printer that’s ultra-lightweight, fits in the palm of your hand and lets you create fast, vivid, colour printing anywhere. It works over Wi-Fi with your phone to easily upload any text, image or design and instantly print onto virtually any object or surface at the touch of a button. The biggest limitation of traditional printers is that they can only print on paper. Until now, expensive laser engravers and screenprinting were required for putting logos and lettering on everyday objects. The PrinCube can make precise prints on virtually any material, including paper, metal, textiles, plastics, wood, leather and other building and artistic materials. It works on any texture or shape – even on the skin – and can print over uneven surfaces. PrinCube says it is the world’s only portable full colour printer. It utilises the latest 3-Color Thermal Ink-jet Technology that provides vivid colour printing. For more information visit https://igg.me/at/princube/x#/

SNAP Mount Versatile Action Camera Mount Action cameras are great, but getting them mounted often isn’t. SNAP Mount is planning to change all that. The SNAP Mount comes with the mount (front and back), aluminium thumb screw and lanyard. It works with all models of GoPro and DJI Osmo Action cameras, plus any other camera that uses the three prong, quick release attachment (as found on the GoPro). No tools, screws or rigging are required, just snap it in place and go. The SNAP Back is an additional back plate plus lanyard. By purchasing an additional back plate, multiple users can pass their action camera back and forth with ease. When worn, the lanyard adds stability, keeps the mount in the optimal place and allows you to remove the front plate without dropping the back down your shirt. The Adapter works with almost any existing GoPro and DJI mounts. This accessory transforms any of your current mounts into a SNAP Mount. For more information visit http://kck.st/2Aup376



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28/10/2019 16:30

NuFlo Soundproof ANC Wireless Earbuds Hate distracting background noises while you’re on a business call, working out, or just trying to enjoy a little peace and quiet? NuFlo Wireless Earphones might be the thing for you. Active Noise Cancellation allows you to block any sounds created outside the earphones, so you can enjoy complete silence or listen to what you want uninterrupted. “NuFlo is a premium product that rivals the biggest titans in the audio tech industry because we have created the all-in-one solution for users’ audio needs at an affordable price,” said makers The Vibes Lab. NuFlo earphones use a custom-constructed microphone array and advanced algorithms for a hybrid noise-cancelling performance. It creates an average 30 dB active cancellation on top of the optimised isolation from the gel ear tips. The ANC feature can be activated and deactivated by one touch on either earphone, and within the range of 20Hz~20kHz, NuFlo adapts the ANC performance from 28~32 dB for an optimal audio experience. For more information visit https://igg.me/at/nuflo/x#/

With so much talent in the channel, it can be difficult to sift out the freshest gear and potential tech giants of tomorrow. Stay ahead of the curve with PCR’s Crowdfunding Corner…

ORBI Marine Waterproof, Hands-Free 360° Recording Eyewear Even with multiple mounts, straps, and grips designed for virtually any activity, capturing different photo and video angles isn’t the same as recording a 360-degree experience where the photos and videos give viewers an adrenaline rush too. That’s where ORBI comes in. The ORBI Marine is the hands-free and easy-to-use solution that allows adventure seekers to record high-quality, 360-degree footage, whether on land or in water, and then effortlessly share it with friends, family and followers like never before. Whether you’re surfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, snowboarding or skiing, ORBI Marine allows you to record firstperson, 360-degree 4K content to share your full experience from your point of view – whether you’re on land or in the water. What’s more, ORBI Marine’s video post-processing AI groups and tracks detected objects in order to find the most interesting and engaging scenes when filming. For more information visit http://kck.st/2Aup376


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28/10/2019 16:30

Fgs19 Future Games Summit

BRINGING TOGETHER C-LEVEL DECISION MAKERS FROM ACROSS THE INDUSTRY Returning for its third year but with a fresh format, FGS ’19 will be the UK’s premium gathering of executives, senior leaders, practitioners, and thinkers from within and around the interactive entertainment industry. Over the course of two inspirational days, attendees will be exploring the impact of future technologies, the business of games, and creative innovations. The programme will feature two tracks per day, with break out business zones, an evening networking drinks reception, and bespoke sponsorship packages also available. Make Altitude London your exclusive members club for a couple of days and be a part of the Future of Games.

www.futuregamessummit.com MCV FGS19 DPS Ad_Final.indd 1

@FutureGamesSMT 28/10/2019 14:07


PREVIOUS ATTENDEES Some of the most influential visitors who previously attended the summit include… 505 Games Amazon Appstore BBC Blizzard Entertainment Bossa British esports Association CAPCOM Cavalier Game Studios Channel 4 Creative Assembly Curve Digital Digital Cinema Media Dovetail Facebook

Failbetter Games Fnatic Green Man Gaming Hi-Rez Studios IMG Imaginarium ITV Jagex M&C Saatchi Sport & Ent. Microsoft Nintendo Osborne Clarke Prudential Revolution

Don’t just take our word for it, hear what our previous delegates said:

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SEGA Europe Sony Interactive Europe Ltd. Space Ape Games Supermassive games Team 17 Twitch Ubisoft Universal VR/AR Association Warner Music Xbox YouTube




of delegates said the content was good or excellent

of delegates said the speakers were good or excellent

of delegates said the Future Games Summit organisation was good or excellent

A Datateam Media Group Event

28/10/2019 14:07

Sector Guide

Christmas Gifts Here is this year’s bumper sector guide, featuring the most gift-worthy gadgets on the market, from gaming gear and audio products to smart home tech and more…

JBUDS Air True Wireless Earbuds Specs: 24 hours Bluetooth playtime, included charging case, Bluetooth 5 connection, IP55 sweat resistance, auto on and connect out of the case, 3 EQ sound settings: JLab Signature, Balanced, Bass Boost. “Grab your JBuds Air True Wireless Earbuds as you head to work, get to the gym, or jump on an airplane. A 6-hour battery life with Bluetooth 5 gives you just enough power to get through those music moments. Their innovative charging case provides 18 extra hours of use. Automatically turning on and connecting to each other right out of the case, they provide hassle-free technology. Perfect for on-the-go moments.” Contact: Exertis

HANNspree HANNSapple HA195HPR Monitor Spec: 19”, 16:9 LED, 1366 x 768, 50Mio:1, HDMI + VGA, stereo speakers, VESA, 3 year warranty. “The fun, vibrant HANNspree HANNSapple monitor inspires digital learning, offers playful distraction for children in daunting adult surroundings or can inject energy into a kitchen. A fusion of design and technology, the HANNSapple monitor is ideal for everyday computing (social media, homework, internet browsing) and multimedia (videos, photo editing, online TV), and includes an easy-to-use menu of intuitive pre-set picture modes providing quickselect settings for a variety of applications, such as Movie and Game. The standout 360° design incorporates speakers, alongside inputs providing seamless connectivity for both modern and traditional hardware.” Contact: HANNspree

AVITA LIBER laptop Specs: 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-8130U, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 4GB RAM, 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) screen, 128GB SSD. “With four designs available, the AVITA LIBER is both sleek and striking and allows users to express their individuality with an on-trend and fashionable option to suit all. Not only visually pleasing, the AVITA LIBER is made for the best work and entertainment experience. Using the latest 8th generation Intel Core i3-8130U 2.2GHz/3.4GHz processor with high-performance speed, the notebook is ideal for day-to-day computing tasks as well as more complicated operations. Featuring 4GB RAM along with 128GB SSD internal memory (MicroSD card slot supporting up to an additional 128GB) and Windows 10 Home, there is plenty of processing power and memory for work or study.” Contact: AVITA



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Sector Guide Hama Soldier Mobile Bluetooth Speakers Specs: On-trend military look, Bluetooth 5.0 connection, IPX7 waterproof, up to 12-14hrs Li-Ion battery, multi-connect function, integrated powerpack (Soldier-L only), remote function (pause/play/skip), hands-free phone calls, USB charging, camouflage retail packaging. “With its rugged, uniformed exterior, the Soldier is primed for maximum assault from the elements. Wind, rain and even complete immersion in water (IPX7), these solid little speakers will not fail in their mission of delivering outstanding portable sound through razor sharp Bluetooth 5.0 connection. Built to endure, both small and large speakers pack a powerful lithium battery, offering a respective 14-16 hours of raw, unadulterated audio playback, complete with multi-connect linking for enlistment of all in-range Soldiers into a supreme army of sound. Well provisioned for the life on the road, a toughened compact camo shell and carry strap keeps the Soldier constantly at your side, whether in hand, pocket or bag.” Contact: Hama UK

PNY Tripod Specs: Compact and flexible design, multiple modes for both portrait and landscape images, adjustable height from 15-22cm, stainless steel, PNY Universal Tripod ¼ screw for compatibility with smartphones and digital cameras. “For those who love to travel, this tripod is a must. Its compact nature means it can be neatly tucked in your backpack, allowing you to capture the full beauty of your surroundings wherever you are.” Contact: PNY EMEA

SPEEDLINK Draze Stereo PC Gaming Headset Specs: Triple-colour LED lighting, flexible headband, ultra-soft earcup and headband padding, flip-up multi-function microphone boom with auto-mute function, inline remote for volume adjustment and manual microphone muting. “As soon as you place the ultra-soft ear-cups of the SPEEDLINK DRAZE Stereo PC gaming headset over your ears you will discover that not only does this headset have comfortable, distinctive and impressive style, but also powerful, crystal-clear and breath-taking audio sound; delivered for great gaming. Improve your gaming sessions with this astounding gaming headset that boasts triple-colour LED lighting and a flexible, flip-up multifunctional microphone boom with auto-mute. So, if you are looking for a new gaming headset to deliver gorgeous stereo sound as well as stunning looks, then the SPEEDLINK DRAZE is the perfect addition to your gaming experience.” Contact: Meroncourt


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Sector Guide

Intel NUC BOXNUC8I7HVK3 PC Specs: 8th gen Intel Core i7-8809G, 3.1 GHz, 14 nm, 4.2 GHz, 100 W. “The Intel BOXNUC8I7HVK3 comes with 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor, 3.1GHz processor frequency, SO-DIMM memory slots type, and 32GB maximum internal memory. It supports memory clock speeds of 2400 MHz and SSD, M.2, PCI Express, and Serial ATA III. It is also compatible with SDXC memory cards.” Contact: GNR Tech

Netatmo Smart Home Weather Station Specs: Sensors: Indoor temperature ranges from: 0°C to 50°C, outdoor temperature ranges from: -40°C to 65°C, humidity ranges from: 0 to 100%, indoor CO2 meter ranges from: 0 to 5,000 ppm, sound meter ranges from: 35 dB to 120 dB. barometer ranges from 260 to 160mbar. “Netatmo’s Smart Home Weather Station measures ultra-local weather data making it a perfect gift for the gardeners in your life. With the Netatmo Weather Station, you can measure in real time the outdoor temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure and define customised alerts according to your needs. For example, you are warned when the temperature approaches 0°C and know when to protect your plants in case of spring frost. The accessories, the Wind Gauge and Rain Gauge, monitor the amount of rain and the speed and direction of the wind for the ultimate weather monitoring experience.” Contact: Netatmo

oBravo Cupid Basic Earphone Specs: 0.3kg in weight, metal enclosure, 20Hz~40kHz audio range, 105dB sensitivity. “The Cupid basic has been introduced as oBravo’s entry level offering, providing everything people love about oBravo at an economical price. Utilising oBravo’s patented 8mm planar tweeter alongside a neodymium dynamic driver, it offers best in class sonic performance and incredible levels of detail, generally unobtainable from alternative technologies. Cupid by oBravo is a result of patented planar technology, which is known worldwide for offering great sound and remarkable audio quality. It is an established fact that wired earphones offer better quality than Bluetooth devices, and the ergonomically designed Cupid takes that quality to the next Level. The oBravo Cupid basic earphones come with a high quality Ohno continuous casting (OCC) braided cable terminated with a gold plated 3.5mm jack.” Contact: Audio Concierge



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Sector Guide AOC CQ32G1 Monitor Specs: 31.5”, 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms MPRT, VA Panel, Quad HD, flicker free, AMD FreeSync, 119% sRGB coverage, 92% AdobeRGB coverage, 1800R curvature, 3-sides frameless, tilt-adjustable stand. “The AOC CQ32G1 of the popular G1 Series was designed for competitive and casual gamers. This display provides an immersive gaming experience thanks to its 1800R curvature, detail-rich QHD resolution with 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms MPRT response time. AMD FreeSync support provides smooth and tear-free gameplay. The 3-sides frameless design and VESA mount support makes the AOC CQ32G1 the perfect fit for a multimonitor battle station.” Contact: Tech Data, Exertis, VIP UK

Kingston KC600 SSD Specs: 2.5” Interface, 256GB – 2048GB capacity, XTS-AES 256-bit encryption, max 4K read/write: up to 90,000/80,000 IOPS. “The Kingston KC600 SSD is a fantastic upgrade for a laptop or desktop PC that’s running slowly because Windows and applications are stored on a mechanical hard disk. Available as a bundle kit for easy installation, the KC600 comes in a 2.5” form factor, and offers remarkable performance with incredible boot, loading and transfer times. It utilises the latest 3D TLC NAND technology, featuring read/write speeds of up to 550/520MB/s to efficiently store your data up to 2TB.” Contact: Kingston

Zyxel Multy X WiFi System Specs: Tri-band WiFi system, AC300 speed rating, coverage up to 7500 sq. ft./696 m2, wireless transfer rate of 1733Mbps for 5GHz (dedicated backhaul) or 400Mbps for 2.4GHz, WiFi features daisy chain, bridge mode, MU-MIMO, beamforming, auto path selection. “The Zyxel mesh WiFi system, Multy X, is the answer to poor connectivity in a large or multi-storey home. Multy provides a powerful wireless network with wider coverage, stronger signal strength and seamless security protection, allowing users to enjoy the full speed of their broadband. Powered with a Tri-Band wireless system, Multy X delivers maximum wireless speed through its dedicated 5 GHz connection (between nodes), and broadcasts with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi network. Multy mobile app easily gets the Multy’s WiFi and internet running without requiring the end user to have any networking knowledge. Contact: Zyxel


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Sector Guide

TP-Link Kasa Filament Smart Bulbs Specs: 290 degrees light beam angle, 2000K colour temperature, 450 lumens. “The Kasa Filament Smart Bulbs comes in two variations, the KL50, a soft white dimmable bulb perfect for any environment, and the KL60, a warm amber edition creating a softer, more intimate setting. Designed to combine the style and elegance of a sophisticated bar light with smart technology, the dimmable bulbs enable users to create multiple atmospheres throughout their homes; giving each room a unique, decorative feel that you can control with the Kasa smart app, Alexa or Google Assistant.” Contact: TP-Link

Acer Nitro 5 Specs: Windows 10 Home, Intel Core i7-9750H processor Hexa-core 2.60 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 up to GTX 1660ti, 39.6 cm (15.6”) Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS, 8GB, DDR4 SDRAM, 512GB SSD up to 1TB HDD, 256GB SSD. “Explore and enjoy a new level of gaming with the powerful Nitro 5. The solid, understated design houses a full HD screen and a line-up of impressive tech that enhances every aspect of gameplay and bringing you a more immersive experience.” Contact: Acer

Marvo Scorpion KG901 Gaming Keyboard Specs: Heavy duty design, macro keys, alloy front plate, mechanical switches. “With mechanical blue switches for tactile and clicky feedback, Marvo’s amazing-value KG901 compact mechanical keyboard has features well beyond its pricepoint. With heavy duty design, slim frame, alloy front plate, macro keys, anti-ghosting, and choice of lighting displays, its sub-£20 cost makes it perfect for resellers addressing the novice gamer wanting the real mechanical keyboard feel without the hefty price tag.” Contact: Target Components



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Sector Guide

Tado° Smart Thermostat Starter Kit Specs: Control your heating from anywhere, Geofencing to notify you to turn down your heating when no one is at home, can reduce your heating bill by up to 31%. “Tado° is your climate assistant that ensures a comfortable and healthy climate, whilst considerably reducing your energy consumption. The intuitive smartphone app and smart home integrations enable you to control your heating from anywhere and more efficiently than ever before. Compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and the Google Assistant as well as with 95% of central heating systems.” Contact: Exertis

uRage xStr3am Evolution Gaming Microphone Specs: Ideal for gaming, podcasts, voice-overs, vlogs, music recording or streaming on Twitch and YouTube, universal tripod mount, adjustable studio spider arm mount, dual-screen pop filter, USB-A, 2m cable length, omnidirectional, 50 Hz-16kHZ frequency range, 2200 Ohms impedance. “Robust metal housing completes the seductively raw industrial-techno design of the uRage xStr3eam Evolution – a worthy addition to any gaming set-up. And if that doesn’t put it top of the gamer’s wish-list this season, its sound recording capabilities certainly will, with versatile spider arm and tripod mounting options permitting quality, hands-free audio capture. Twitchers, vloggers and social gamers rejoice! The uRage xStr3eam Evolution features a flexible dual-screen pop filter, eliminating background interference with deadly precision to achieve exceptionally detailed audio. What’s more, USB-A cable connection means set-up is as simple as plug in and go, granting instantaneous in-game voice functionality.” Contact: Hama UK

Intel BOXNUC7I5BNH Workstation Specs: 7th gen Intel Core i5, i5-7260U, 2.2GHz, 14nm, 3.4GHz, 4MB. “The Intel BOXNUC7I5BNH comes with 7th gen Intel Core i5, i5-7260U processor model and 2.2GHz processor frequency. Memory slots type is SO-DIMM, maximum internal memory is 32GB, and supported memory clock speeds come in at 2133MHz. The workstation supports HDD and SSD storage types with storage drive size of 2.5”. In addition, maximum graphics adapter memory is 32000 MB.” Contact: GNR Tech


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Sector Guide

Philips 328E9FJAB Monitor Specst: 31.5”, 75Hz refresh rate, 4ms GtG, VA Panel, quad HD, flicker free, 122% sRGB coverage, 1800R curvature, tilt and swivel adjustable stand. “The 32” curved E Line monitor offers a truly immersive experience thanks to the 1800R curvature, high contrast of its VA panel with deep blacks and vivid colours, and its stunning crystalclear QHD image quality. Ultra Wide-Color delivers a colour quality that brings images to life. The monitor is an excellent all-rounder, thanks to its low 4ms response time and 75Hz refresh rate also suitable for games.” Contact: Tech Data, Midwich, Exertis, VIP UK

Netgear Meural Canvas II Specs: 1,920x1,080 TrueArt resolution, 2GB memory, 8GB storage, 1.8GHz quadcore ARM Cortex A17 processor, gesture detectors, ambient light sensor, power button sensor. “The Meural Canvas II brings an expansive library of the world’s most inspiring artworks to your wall. Now you can display paintings and photos from renowned and up-andcoming artists next to your own photography on an elegantly designed digital canvas. Every work of art looks as real and textured as it would on a traditional canvas or print, thanks to patented TrueArt technology. You can also easily customise and cycle through playlists of art with intuitive hand gesture controls, online, using the Meural app, or by asking your compatible smart assistant to find something new.” Contact: Netgear

PNY 10,000 mAh Power Pack Specs: Power delivery time of 30 minutes, charges devices 2.5 times faster than the standard packs, compact in size, compatible with Apple, Android, Windows and Blackberry mobile devices. “PNY’s brand new power pack is perfect for the commuter in your life who is always left without battery, so can’t listen to music or catch up on emails during their long journeys.” Contact: PNY EMEA



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Sector Guide ACER Predator Helios 300 Specs: Windows 10 Home, Intel Core i7-8750H processor Hexa-core 2.20 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB dedicated memory, 17.3” Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS, 16GB, DDR4 SDRAM, 512GB SSD. “Ready for battle and eager for a fight, the Helios 300 drops you into the game with everything you need. Only now we’ve armed it with NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics, the latest next-gen Intel Core processors and our custom-engineered 4th Gen AeroBlade 3D Fan technology.” Contact: Acer

Marvo Scorpion 4-in-1 Gaming Starter Kit Specs: LED anti-ghosting keyboard, 3200dpi optical gaming mouse, stereo gaming headset. “Exclusive to Target, Marvo’s gaming range is perfect for retailers thanks to its standout packaging, superb build-quality and enticing pricepoints. The Marvo Scorpion 4-in-1 Gaming Bundle features an LED anti-ghosting keyboard with wrist support, 3200dpi optical gaming mouse with 4-step sensitivity, stereo gaming headset with 40mm speakers, omnidirectional mic and soft pads, plus high-density gaming mousepad. Contact: Target Components

Philips In-ear true wireless headphones Specs: 6mm driver, auto on/off pairing, handsfree calls, secure wing tips, neodymium speaker drivers, passive noise isolation, 3 pairs of ear caps, bluetooth v5.0, charging case with powerbank, 3 + 70hrs Playtime. “These true wireless headphones bring you total freedom. Live unchained with rock solid connectivity and extra-long battery life, plus a compact charging case which doubles up as a powerbank for your mobile device.” Contact: Exertis


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“We recognise the value of equality and diversity in the workplace and the significant advantages it contributes� 46


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Acer’s Nick Walter The tech brand’s Head of Commercial and Education talks about his team’s core focus, how Acer encourages diversity in the workplace, and its pursuit to make a positive impact on our society and environment... Tell us about your career in the industry and your current role at Acer. I have over 20 years’ experience in the industry and have seen the channel evolve dramatically during this period. My experience has always been aligned to hardware, starting out in the storage industry when recording, sharing and storing data was shifting to CD. I’ve been lucky enough to work for some of the leading distributors and vendors globally and witnessed how devices add value to the IT ecosystem and ultimately the user outcome. Within my current role as head of commercial at Acer, I see the value that our devices provide to the end user. An integral part of my current role is the further development of our Synergy partner program and how we can create demand and value back for our partners. Our Synergy partner program has a dedicated portal which can be accessed simply and easily by our partners to release marketing tools, product information and pricing. There are four tiers of partners and each tier has a difference reward system available to them. We have other great programmes at Acer such as the ‘Upgrade Reward’ and ‘Reliability Promise’ that are offered to end users and partners to give them


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confidence in choosing and working with the Acer brand. We are continually updating and fine tuning our programmes to ensure it offers real value to our partners and provides the tools they need. What is your team focused on at the moment? Our core focus is to ensure our partners are fully equipped with the tools and support needed to deliver better outcomes for their customers. Assisting partners with lead generation, marketing and working with them to help grow their business. Whether it’s Windows or Chrome, our ethos is very simple and that’s to focus on our strengths and support the channel. We have some great opportunities at the moment within the education, SMB, mid-market and enterprise as the development of the edge, the cloud, AI and changes to the traditional IT departments take shape. Although this is creating challenges, it’s ultimately also creating some very exciting opportunities. Helping support our partners within these shifts is where we are at and what we strive to achieve excellence in. How does Acer encourage diversity in the workplace? We recognise the value of equality and diversity in the workplace and the significant advantages that our

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diverse workforce contributes. In recent years, our local office has begun a valued partnership with the leading local learning disability charity Ealing Mencap. For the last year, Acer has provided a group of Mencap trainees with ongoing work experience across all departments gaining training and support, with the aim of helping them develop new skills and helping them get into employment. We are also tackling diversity and inclusion by addressing the needs of SEN special education children in schools with our innovative school programmes, technology advances and utilisation of the assistive educational programmes that Google and Windows offer. Are there any upcoming plans or projects at Acer in education that you can tell us about? One of Acer’s historical heartlands has always been education. Currently, Acer has the best of both worlds

How important are shows like CES in the US and BETT in the UK to Acer? Both CES and BETT are important shows for us. They play a fundamental role in our overall channel communication strategy and a platform to bring our key product message to the commercial sector and generate media coverage on Acer’s innovative tech releases. In relation to BETT, we see this as an opportunity to also support our partners. Being able to provide a platform to showcase the collaborations with our partners and to demonstrate the benefits of our partnerships is invaluable. At this years BETT show we will have a host of guest speakers daily to offer insight and inspiration to the education sector. More details will follow on this nearer the time. Acer was recently celebrated for its sustainability efforts. Can you tell us a bit more about this? We have always been a green company, but Acer’s

“Our core focus is to ensure our partners are fully equipped with the tools and support needed to deliver better outcomes for their customers” within this space as we can support both Windows and Chrome. Later this year we will be preparing to showcase our ConceptD brand and esports proposition at BETT 2020. We are very excited about the opportunities these will bring, particularly as our leading position in gaming is now translating over into the education market as educational institutions start to see the benefit of how esports can promote teamwork and tech understanding. The ConceptD brand is a fresh approach to computing, created to specifically meet the needs of creators. It is not merely about making things different, but about setting new benchmarks and breaking new ground. Of course, we will also provide details of our other best in class PCs such as the Acer TravelMate B118 – a sturdy and reliable Windows notebook ideal for the education market, and the Chrome range with the Chromebook Spin 311, which comes with a convertible 360 degree design so it can be used in four different modes.



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pursuit to make a positive impact to our society and environment has made significant headway over the last year. There are several global initiatives in place to encourage employees and partners to take part in caring for the environment. One that we are focusing on with our education partners is ‘Project Humanity’ which is an initiative that is being run through the Acer Innovative Schools programme. The schools have been encouraged to put in place their own ‘green campaigns’ which can be focused around recycling, using public transport, walking to school, planting trees, or reducing plastic or water consumption. They then use their technology to produce videos, photos and presentations to report on their campaign and results. The winning school will be awarded 10 Acer devices to be donated to a local charity of their choice. This initiative is designed to encourage students to develop a positive community centred approach and understand the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.


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<Exertis reveals champion charity effort > Distributor Exertis recently announced that its employees have raised over £12,600 for a variety of local charities. During July and August, the distributor’s champion charity workers raised money through events organised by members of the Exertis UPGRADE trainee management programme and held by teams in Basingstoke, Harlow, Burnley and Elland. “This is a fantastic achievement by our employees who have organised events in their own time with local charities of their choice. From family fun days and casino nights to cake sales, raffles and auctions, I am immensely proud of our employees for their efforts for such worthy causes,” said Paul Bryan, Exertis UK&I managing director. “As a business, we place great importance in giving back to the communities, promoting the culture that we want at Exertis with a genuine desire to make a difference.” Exertis’ various teams have made the following donations: • Basingstoke: £2,487.30 for Naomi House & Jacksplace • Burnley: £1,320 for Derian House Children’s Hospice and £1,700 for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) • Elland: £3,477.76 for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice


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• Harlow: £3,672.80 for Accuro The total money raised for Naomi House & Jacksplace – hospices for children and young adults with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions – has now reached £141,587.22 since Exertis started to support the charity back in 2010. MRF is a leading UK and international charity working to defeat meningitis, raising awareness of the impact that meningitis can have on people of all ages, and the importance of vaccination for preventing the disease. Derian House Children’s Hospice provides respite and end-of-life care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions, across Lancashire and South Cumbria. Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice supports children with lifeshortening conditions – plus their families across West Yorkshire providing nursing care, days out, listening, respite care, therapy and a lot more. And Accuro is a small, vibrant local charity providing a range of specialist services for children, young people and adults with a disability across West Essex.

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<The biggest stories from...November 2013 > 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… Raspberry Pi passes two million unit mark Back in November 2013, the £20 mini PC Raspberry Pi was making a name for itself in the industry, surpassing two million unit sales. Following the news that one million Raspberry Pi computers had been produced in the UK, Eben Upton told PCR that the total number produced was actually double that figure. “We’ve actually passed the two million mark overall,” he said. “We used to build them in China, like everyone else, but a year ago we moved our manufacturing back to the UK, so we’ve now made over a million Raspberry Pis in the UK, in South Wales, and fully re-shored our manufacturing back in the UK. So it’s been maybe two to three times larger than we imagined.” The Raspberry Pi Foundation was formed as a charity in order to provide children with an affordable way to learn how to program and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

“There is nothing structural in our business that prevents us from achieving the kinds of margins of other companies in our peer group. We will continue to make investments [into Twitter] as long as we see tremendous growth.”

Lenovo sells four devices a second Lenovo was having a record-breaking time in 2013, revealing its best-ever Q2 results. The PC maker sold 29 million devices in total, which equals almost four sales every second. Driven by the record sales, incomes were, predictably, as recordbreaking, with $265 million (£165 million) in pre-tax income, $220 million (£137 million) in earnings and $9.8 billion (£6.12 billion) in revenue – which left the company with net cash reserves of $2.6 billion (£1.62 billion).

Sony patents ‘SmartWig’

Twitter begins trading on Stock Exchange 2013 was also the year Twitter officially launched its initial public offering with $1.82 billion worth of shares. Executives from the social media site rang the New York Stock Exchange bell on 7th November 2013 to mark an offering of 70 million shares worth $26 each. Twitter’s then CEO Dick Costolo told CNBC at the time: “We’ve had consistent tremendous growth across the world frankly for the last several years.

Last, but not least, we couldn’t resist reminding you all of this brilliant story from six years ago, when PCR discovered that Sony had patented a ‘SmartWig’ which could integrate tech such as GPS navigation, a computer mouse and a laser pointer into a hairpiece. Another proposed feature was sideburns that could be used to remotely control slideshow presentations. This wasn’t a joke by the way. Honestly. It didn’t occur on April Fools. Don’t believe us? The application is still visible over at the US Patent & Trademark office...

Send stories to Laura Barnes at laura.barnes@biz-media.co.uk

NEXT MONTH Audio / CES Preview Our next issue will be a December 2019 / January 2020 combined magazine, where we will be delving back into the audio arena and offering advice to the retail channel on how to sell these products. We will also feature top tech trends for the new year, and a big CES preview to give you an idea of what to expect from the show, and which exhibitors are not to be missed. In our sector guides we will be covering headphones and speakers, as well as laptops and hybrid devices. If you’d like to be involved in this bumper issue, get in touch via the email above.



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