FOR THE UK’S PC & TECH COMMUNITYFEBRUARY 2015
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8 The best of CES Read our review on page eight and product roundup on page 57
32 Kaspersky Lab Senior UK execs on the future of the ‘brutal’ security software sector
38 Ingram’s new look PCR gets a tour of the distributor’s new techfocused UK office
/ 9FEBRUARY 2015 COMPUTER & IT RESELLERS z RETAILERS z SYSTEM BUILDERS z DISTRIBUTORS z VENDORS
FLYING THE FLAG
We throw a spotlight on the British manufacturing scene and highlight the country’s top tech execs COULD Britain ever challenge China’s mighty PC manufacturing sector? In this special issue we speak to some of the biggest system builders and retailers to find out what could be holding Britain back (page 20), and if it could become a force in the future. We also publish our 2015 Brit List (page 25), featuring the top executives based in the UK and the 30 up and coming stars aged under 30 years old (page 35).
WWW.PCR-ONLINE.BIZ z WWW.TWITTER.COM/PCR_ONLINE z WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/PCRMAG
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CONTENTS & COMMENT
Follow us @pcr_online
CONTENTS Dominic Sacco Editor
07 Analysis: Windows 10
08 Analysis: CES 2015
What’s the catch?
13 Number crunching Laura Barnes Deputy Editor
14 Appointments 16 Events
Jade Burke Staff Writer
20 Best of British
manufacturing 25 The Brit List 32 Kaspersky interview
Phil Tottman Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
35 30 Under 30 38 Ingram: Behind the scenes
40 PCR Awards 2015 ﬁnalists Andrew Wooden Publisher
43 Wireless charging at retail 45 Store of the Month: GHI Computers
Jennie Lane Senior Account Manager
46 Retail Advisory Board on
Amazon’s haggling tool
66 The Last Word: IDC ISSN: 1742-8440
Dominic Sacco, editor email@example.com
Security software 50 Counter Insurgent
Sarah Goldhawk Account Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
50 Synaxon Member Proﬁle
PRODUCTS Elizabeth Parker Production Executive email@example.com
52 Security software 54 Networking 57 CES 2015 product special including HP Zvr display
Dan Bennett Designer firstname.lastname@example.org
OUT OF OFFICE 64 In The Hot Seat: WD’s
NewBay Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations
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“Microsoft says it now thinks of Windows ‘as a service’ – does this mean it will introduce subscriptions in the future?” Reaction from the sellers and distributors I spoke to after the announcement was mixed. Some suggested the free upgrade will be a good way to sell new systems, while others are unsure how the deal will affect pre-installed devices and the OEM side, and believe it could greatly affect retail sales. See our full report on page seven for more views on the news. When asked about speciﬁc revenue opportunities for retail, reseller and distribution partners around Windows 10, at the time of going to press Microsoft told us they could not currently comment on this. So it looks like we’re going to have to play the waiting game. In the meantime, get your thinking caps on – Microsoft is changing the way it provides Windows to its customers, and it looks like you’re going to have to too.
48 Mystery Shopper:
Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647
AS WE were going to press this month Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for 7 and 8.1 users. While this deal only applies within the ﬁrst 12 months of the new operating system’s launch, Microsoft has promised to keep each upgraded copy of Windows 10 up to date for the supported lifetime of the device – at no extra cost. While this is undoubtedly a great deal for consumers, and the Enterprise versions of Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and RT 8.1 are excluded from the offer, I still cannot believe that Microsoft will willingly throw away a potential revenue stream – surely there must be some kind of catch? The company says it now thinks of Windows ‘as a service’ – does this mean it will introduce subscriptions or microtransactions for premium support or extra features in the future? It’s a possibility. However, the news poses another big question: How on Earth are retailers and resellers going to make money selling Windows 10 to consumers if it’s going to be free in its ﬁrst year for millions of users?
Yemi Elegunde 64 Celebs at CES 2015
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Windows 10 goes free, but how will this affect sales? by Phil Tottman and Dominic Sacco THE MAIN revelation from the Windows 10 event in late January was that an upgrade to the OS will be free for a year for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 users. Microsoft has promised that once a device has been upgraded to Windows 10, it will receive free updates throughout its lifetime – at no additional charge. The firm said in a statement: “We think of Windows as a service – one could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest internet services on the planet. “With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time. We’ll deliver new features when they’re ready, not waiting for the next major release.” But what does this mean for Microsoft’s distribution, retail and reseller partners? Will they lose a potential revenue stream in selling the Windows 10 licence, as many users will be able to upgrade for free? Entatech’s Microsoft product specialist, Ellie Farley, told PCR: “This could be a concern. I think for system builders it will be okay as they will still be building machines, but it may have a big impact on retailers’ business. “After upgrading within the first 12 months, Microsoft is giving full support for the lifetime of the device. We want to check the upgrade is
The Windows 10 announcement has been hailed a ‘defining moment’ for CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft announced a couple of intriguing new devices as part of the Windows 10 news – HoloLens wearable tech glasses and the Surface Hub digital whiteboard. The former lets users interact with holograms in their surroundings, or even design and create physical objects from scratch using a 3D printer and HoloStudio software, while the latter allows multiple users to edit documents and add notes to images using the touchscreen, as well as access Skype for Business. not just free on devices preinstalled, but on the OEM side as well. I don’t know until I speak to Microsoft, but I think it will have a big impact on sales initially.” Target Components’ ShopTalk business advisor John Coulter added: “It’s a great way to sell new systems, and equally a fantastic reason to assist existing customers who can get the upgrade. “It’s a reason to contact customers and alert them that it should be avoided if you don’t like it (and isn’t it about time they had a computer health check).” Microsoft consultant and OEM partner sales specialist Triston Brade told PCR: “Unfortunately I cannot offer
Resellers missing out on cloud www.pcr-online.biz
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New Surface and HoloLens
“The tide could be slowly turning for Windows. This is a defining moment for Satya Nadella early in his tenure as CEO.” Geoff Blaber, CCS Insight
AROUND half of tech retailers and resellers still do not sell cloud services to their customers, a PCR survey has found. In a survey of 50 resellers, 53 per cent said they had not sold any cloud products. However,
you any official statements concerning the release of Windows 10.” Windows 10 will run across all Windows devices. For example, actions a user makes on a PC will register on their mobile, thanks to the cloud. The main new features of Windows 10 include crossplatform capabilities, allowing users to create, edit and share Office documents with other users and devices, built-in apps, content synching across devices through OneDrive, the ability to stream games from an Xbox One to a Windows 10 PC, and virtual assistant Cortana (the new Microsoft Office Paperclip?). A fresh web browser, codenamed Project Spartan,
69 per cent of those who aren’t selling cloud said they would consider doing so in the next 12 months (predominantly to SMBs and consumers). 86 per cent of respondents also said that subscription services can be profitable.
allows users to annotate directly onto a page either with a keyboard or a pen, before sharing it, plus it has a distraction-free reading mode and Cortana integration. Geoff Blaber from analyst CCS Insight, commented: “The tide could be slowly turning for Windows. The official unveiling of Windows 10 is a defining moment for Satya Nadella early in his tenure as CEO. Microsoft has reevaluated its approach to software releases by adopting a web mentality that dovetails with its ‘cloud first, mobile first’ vision. This open approach is critical if Microsoft is to overcome the negative sentiment that has plagued Windows 8 since launch.” Read the full findings in the next issue of PCR, and stay tuned for a special webinar with PCR and Microsoft in March. Visit www.pcr-online.biz/email to receive the latest details and news. PCR February 2015 | 7
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Tech gets smart at CES 2015 Vegas housed some of the most innovative products at CES 2015, from virtual reality displays to seflie-taking flying drones. Jade Burke picks out some of the highlights from the biggest – and wackiest – tech show in the industry… THE INTERNET of things (IoT) stole the show at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year. More than 3,200 exhibitors attended CES in Las Vegas, with 150,000 industry professionals coming along to get a glimpse of the latest product innovations at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Samsung’s president and CEO, BK Yoon, took to the stage delivering the opening keynote speech, where he outlined the potential of IoT and connected devices. “The Internet of Things is not about ‘things.’ Instead, it is about people. Each person is at the center of their own technology universe, and the Internet of Things universe will constantly adapt and change shape as people move through their world,” says Yoon. He emphasized how IoT isn’t something to come in the distant future, but something that is already happening now, bringing the physical and digital world together. Dr. Skott Ahn, LG’s chief technology officer, explained how IoT is transforming the way consumers live and work. During his keynote speech at CES, Dr. Ahn outlined the benefits of products like LG’s HomeChat and webOS, which are driving the IoT ecosystem to make consumers’ lives more convenient. Dr. Ahn comments: “The Internet of Things isn’t just about some devices and the apps that control them. “It’s what connects everything we value with the innovations that are centered around our lives.” Intel dabbled with wearables this year, launching a small wearable chip called the Curie. The tiny piece of hardware is the first to feature Intel’s purpose-built system-on-chip (SoC) for 8 | PCR February 2015
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RETAILERS’ TOP TECH Key UK executives and buyers give PCR their picks from CES 2015 “The core themes were ultra 4K TVs and I even saw an 8K TV that LG had made, a rather amazing machine. Maybe that’s the future. Also, of course the Internet of Things.” Sebastian James, CEO, Dixons Carphone
wearable devices and includes battery charging. Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich also delivered one of the keynote speeches at this year’s trade show, where 3D experiences were discussed. “The rise of new personal computing experiences, intelligent and connected devices, and the wearable revolution are redefining the relationship between consumers and technology,” said Krzanich. 4K TVs took centre stage this year, with Samsung showcasing its latest range of displays running on the Tizen OS, for the first time. The displays promise four times higher pixels than HD, with a picture resolution of 3840x2160, something many other vendors expanded their portfolio with. AMD’s FreeSync monitor technology also made its way to the floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which can help to reduce screen tearing while gaming.
“CES 2015 showed the next step in the journey of the Internet of Things.” Will Jones, John Lewis
AMD teamed up with various partners, including LG and Samsung, who showcased the range of displays featuring the tech. 3D printing and drones were also popular at this year’s show. One of the flying machines, DJI’s Inspire 1, was even capable of taking the ‘perfect selfie’ with its 4K camera. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that 3D printing was continuing to increase in popularity, with exhibitors doubling from the 2014 show. “This CES vastly exceeded our expectations. The show inspired and likely gave almost every attendee a sense that innovation will provide solutions,” said CEA’s CEO and president Gary Shapiro. Additionally, HP revealed the Zvr, a new 23.6-inch virtual reality display that works in conjunction with a pair of 3D glasses (find out more about the Zvr and PCR’s top picks from CES on page 57).
“Everyone was talking about the current proliferation and development of the Internet of Things this year, including the smart home and how connected devices can help improve people’s lives.” Paul McGovern, product manager, Ebuyer.com “For me a great highlight was Musaic, an Innovation Award Honouree at CES for bringing together multiroom audio and combining with smart lighting and home automation.” Will Fletcher, technology buyer, Toys ‘R’ Us “CES 2015 showed the next step in the journey of the Internet of Things, and the breakthrough categories of wearables and connected home from CES 2014 have matured.” Will Jones, tech buyer, John Lewis “I loved watching the Virtual Reality products progress and I look forward to trying out some of the newcomers to this space including Razer’s new OSVR Hacker.” Craig Hume, director, Utopia Computers
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PROTECT CONNECT EXTEND The programme has been designed to help simplify the choices on attaching accessories to, tablet, phone and laptop opportunities. With the rise in tablet sales and the inevitable squeeze on margin, attaching accessories that typically carry a higher margin helps to increase proﬁt and also adds value to the end user. Rather than tagging the accessory at the end of the hardware deal, the Protect, Connect, Extend program is designed to bring the accessory into the sales conversation earlier.
Asking the right questions… Really understanding how the end user will be using their device will help determine the best possible solution. Finding out the type of environment or type of user will be invaluable when selecting the correct offering, below are few simple examples to assist.
+ Who is using the device? Home/ofﬁce/ business user? Age?
+ Does the device need to be paired with a monitor?
+ Do you need to charge? On the go/ ofﬁce based?
+ What is the main purpose of the device? Education/applications/social?
+ Do you need improved audio?
+ Is extra memory/storage required?
+ How is the device being used? Presenting/Music/Finance etc
+ Is the device being used as main device or secondary?
+ What environment will the device be used in? Indoors/outdoors? + Where is the device kept when not in use?
Built to give you access to all the resources you need to develop business in this sector. Tech Data UK’s Public Sector Website is accessible from ‘services and support’ on InTouch – or go to techdata.co.uk/publicsector. This contains resources to help you understand the scale and nature of opportunities in the public sector – and how we can help you address the massive potential that lies within it.
For further information on the Protect, Connect, Extend programme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com For product information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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A round-up of the most important stats and facts in the tech channelâ€Ś
18.8% Sales of digital games, including online, mobile and tablet, rose by 18.8 per cent to ÂŁ1.5 billion in the UK during 2014. (ERA)
30% In a poll conducted by Currys/PC World, 30 per cent believe wearable technology will turn people into cyborgs. (Currys/PC World)
$1.2BN By 2019, the global market for services based on gesture and biometric interface technologies will be worth an estimated $1.2 billion. (Juniper Research)
233m Worldwide tablet sales are estimated to reach 233 million units in 2015. (Gartner)
19% John Lewis reported a 19 per cent increase in online sales over Christmas 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. (John Lewis)
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The average UK household will have 15 connected devices by 2019. (CCS Insight)
PCR February 2015 | 13
Acer announces new country manager
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…
A One Distribution welcomes new buyer and marketing manager z Prestigio hires new head of marketing z Synaxon bolsters team ACER: The company’s consumer and B2B business unit director GAVIN PARRISH has been promoted to country manager for Acer UK and Ireland. Parrish first joined Acer in 2011, and was Acer’s consumer and B2B business unit director. In his new role, Parrish will be responsible for SYNAXON: MIKE BARRON joined the group last April as channel manager, and Synaxon has now announced that Barron is being promoted to channel director. He will be responsible for supplier partnerships as well as relationship development. DEREK JONES, MD at Synaxon, said: “We’re delighted that Mike has taken A ONE DISTRIBUTION: The distributor has revealed DEAN SHAW has joined the team as oversees buyer and marketing manager. Shaw has more than 14 years of experience within the tech industry, having worked for GAME, SteelSeries and AMD in the past. TOM NAUGHTON, MD at A One, said: “We are delighted to PRESTIGIO: SIMON BUCKINGHAM joins the team at vendor Prestigio. He has left his previous role at Hama as UK marketing manager to take on his new position, heading the marketing department in the UK for Prestigio, which is part of the Asbis group that is headed in Cyprus. Over the past 10 years Buckingham has worked within a variety of industries,
maintaining and growing the brand in the UK and Ireland. Prior to joining Acer, Parrish also held various management positions at HP and Kimberly-Clark. MARCO ANDRESEN, Acer’s previous UK country manager, has since been promoted to vice president of the EMEA PBU division.
on added responsibility for developing our supplier partnerships. He’ll play a pivotal role in our development.” Other members are also returning to the company, including SARA PLUNKETT and ROB HAWCROFT, while BEN APPLETON takes on a permanent position in the marketing department.
welcome Dean into the A One family and bring his wealth of gaming and technology experience with him to be a part of our continued investment into the partner brands we work alongside.” Shaw added: “I am very excited to work with such a committed team that is working hard to make a difference in the industry.”
including events, hospitality and consumer electronics. Buckingham said: “I will be responsible for the Marcomms strategy within the UK and Ireland, building the brand within our retail partners and other communication channels.” Previously, Buckingham has also worked for Penguins Events as marketing manager and Everything Everywhere in senior sales.
MICHAEL GROOM, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ZF ELECTRONICS UK THERE’S NO such thing as a typical day, but my day starts around 6.30am with breakfast at home, where I open my emails from the previous evening. I generally close my PC after the 10pm news. I also check my work text messages in case of notiﬁcation of staff shortages, sickness or others. Depending upon what has arrived from around the world dictates certain actions and activities. Cherry was acquired by ZF in 2008 and we are now part of the Global ZF Automotive Organisation based in Friedrichshafen, Germany, employing 70,000 staff with a turnover of around €20 billion. A further acquisition will bring ZF to around €30 billion and 130,000 employees. I arrive at my Luton ofﬁce for 8am, where we all reside in an open-plan ofﬁce and there will be general banter as everyone settles into the day. What will we talk about now Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice have ﬁnished? I have no idea, but I guess back to football.
“Working for ZF is varied, challenging and rewarding, we all have to multi-task and that’s what keeps me motivated.” Each and every day brings new challenges, and looking at my previous week, apart from my daily duties of running the UK operation, I had a plant tour of a global UK tractor facility, a visit to a global electronics distributor, business reviews, communications over a legal situation, agreeing a supplier contract with a global company tying us together until 2017, two evening dinners with customers, conducted interviews for a new sales position for 2017 and a visit to the London Institute of Directors (IoD). I also travel to Europe, the USA and India, and the previous week I was in Germany for a board meeting. Working for ZF is varied, challenging and rewarding, we all have to multi-task and that’s what keeps me motivated. Away from work, I enjoy walking, holidays and relaxing with my family. Having recently become a grandfather, with a second due in February, my life continues to be even more busy than normal.
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The UK’s channel calendar is full of important events. Here are some highlights for upcoming dates…
FEBRUARY 2015 DISTREE EMEA 2015 FEBRUARY 24TH – 27TH, GRIMALDI FORUM, MONACO Distree offers an opportunity for channel leaders across EMEA to meet and do business with their existing and prospective vendors. The event brings together leading technology distributors, tier one retailers and inﬂuential etailers from more than 75 countries as well as leading technology vendors in the industry.
MARCH 12TH – ROYAL GARDEN HOTEL, KENSINGTON The PCR Awards returns this year to recognise distributors, vendors and retailers for their achievements within the UK PC and tech industry. The ceremony will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, where guests will get the chance to network, enjoy a party, as well as an evening dinner. Awards include Distributor of the Year, Software Publisher, Independent Retailer, System Builder, National Retailer and more.
MARCH 2015 CEBIT 2015
MARCH 16TH – 20TH, HANNOVER EXHIBITION GROUNDS CeBIT is back for another year. Boasting an IT show and a conference programme for professionals, CeBIT aims to deﬁne the latest IT trends. There will be talks by high-calibre speakers as well as forwardlooking panel discussions and product innovations from all over the world. Those attending will get the chance to look at some of the new devices on show and network with other members from the industry.
PCR BOOT CAMP MAY 14TH – WHITTLEBURY HALL, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE Free for retailers and resellers to attend, PCR Boot Camp will provide a day of conference sessions, as well as an exhibition where retailers can see the new product lines on offer from vendors. There will also be networking opportunities throughout the day and during the after party, giving dealers the chance to meet others in the industry.
Distree (top) will take place in Monaco this year, while the PCR Awards (above) will recognise exceptional companies in the UK tech industry
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Why coding for kids is vital Mark Thomas, CEO at Coderus, looks at why coding is changing lives and how schools should be fitting it into the curriculum… Teaching coding from the age of THE YEAR of code has come to its five may sound a little early. But conclusion, and from September last today’s children are picking up the year, schools in the UK started skills they need almost intuitively. It’s including coding on their curriculums fast becoming an expectation – for children as young as five. second nature and a lot of fun, much There’s been some debate over the same as it was for the kids of the whether starting coding so young will ‘80s who enjoyed listening to the make a great deal of difference, and drone of the cassette recorder as their whether coding is something code loaded up a patiently created everyone needs to understand, but it game. Out of school today, could be said that children in nursery sophisticated games such as Minecraft already start learning the and Lego Mindstorms are enjoyed by fundamentals of coding when they thousands of children, almost start stacking bricks, and now games surreptitiously educating them in such as Robot Turtles introduce basic simple coding. programming to pre-schoolers too. Learning coding also delivers good In business and day-to-day life, life lessons – taking computers and the problems and creating way we use them are solutions. Using this changing rapidly from logic, it can be taught smartphones, tablets “For kids, coding to support almost any and desktops, the use is cool. For allowing it to of video and rich business, coding subject, fit into the curriculum content in social without significant media, through to will be the impact on other smart solutions for foundation for studies. And when you home automation. As consider that the people rely on more our future.” and more technology, Mark Thomas, psycho social being tech savvy (or at Coderus developmental stage for children between least a little bit) is the ages of five and six suggests a much more the norm, if not a change from environmental necessity these days. connections to making logical In fact, over the next ten years, connections, the question isn’t why programming is set to become one of should we teach coding in schools, it’s the fastest growing occupations with why not? a staggering 1.4 million programming As the world becomes more jobs to fill, and the vast majority of connected, so the need to support these will be outside of the IT sector this through code will become ever in other industries. more dominant. For kids, coding is Certainly, here at Coderus, even for cool. For business, coding will be the our designers, up to date coding and foundation for our future, and in tool knowledge is important, allowing order for the UK to stay in the game, them more control over the final look we need to get with the programme and feel of the software solution and up our coding game. they’re creating. Mark Thomas is CEO of software development and consultancy company Coderus. www.coderus.com
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Industry needs more UK products The PC Surgeon’s David Stroud explains how the UK’s manufacturing industry needs to crack down on its cowboys, and highlights the importance of homegrown products… our respect for local manufacturing. LARGE international manufacturers The days of cheap, cheap, cheap have sewn up the lower and mid and now, now, now, are long gone. end of the marketplace. This has You would never buy an Aston forced independents to evolve and Martin, or respect it if it cost £1.99, to diversify into the high end/ so why does this rule not apply to specialist market. This is perfectly our tech purchases? The UK fine, however, with the success of consumer needs to be educated. some independents like Utopia, However, due to all the current noise larger manufacturers are getting and confusion in the retail scene, jealous of their success and are now price has taken priority before unfairly muscling into this market customers’ part with any money, with their tin can tech (Ford engines and this is the core of the problem. wrapped up in a Jaguar shell). Planned obsolescence is the Building tech like Aston Martin unseen corruption that is so cars is not viable yet for small prevalent in this industry independents, as they don’t have (incidentally not a British idea) and the investment, infrastructure nor is deeply rooted into customer base to the core of the support this customers’ perception venture en masse. “Obsolescence when purchasing But with the right tech. Therefore it’s in focus and talent, has completely my opinion that we independents destroyed the planned obsolescence can rise to the top. has completely We need local destroyed the local independents to manufacturing manufacturing focus and industry. We just can’t specialise in their industry.” field of expertise, David Stroud, keep up. The UK is highly for distributors and The PC Surgeon reliant on foreign component imports, often where the product is manufacturers to be more adapted for the UK and not supportive, and for large retailers to designed for the UK. This means call it a day. Remember we are a that our market is directly affected proud nation of shopkeepers who by other countries’ economic prefer to offer a local and conditions, with their own goals and personalised service; we are not a objectives in mind. faceless corporate. Traditionally we are a make-doWe need to crack down on the and-mend society and our cowboys (both big and small) in production philosophy is to use retail, distribution and high quality components and manufacturing and completely produce low volume, where today remove them from the market. We we are importing a philosophy of need to bring into account a pricing low quality and high volume and philosophy that allows us to be a becoming a throwaway society. sustainable industry that also shows David Stroud works as a tech advisor at repairs and servicing specialist The PC Surgeon. www.thepcsurgeon.co.uk
PCR February 2015 | 19
BRITISH PC MANUFACTURING
Best of British
ith its everchanging landscape, trends that come and go in the blink of an eye, and the abundance of cheaper products from China, it’s safe to say that the PC manufacturing industry is a competitive one.
20 | PCR February 2015
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We’ve heard many times over the past few years that the desktop is dead, laptops are being taken over by tablets, and consumers only buy their products from etailer Amazon. On the face of it, one would wonder how British manufacturers are still
able to survive in the current tech market. The past 15 years have seen the PC industry hit with two recessions, the first in the year 2000 and the second beginning in 2007. But dig a little deeper, and not only will you find that the economic
tide has started turning – with UK PC sales increasing by 10.7 per cent between January and November last year, but there are numerous desktop, gaming system and laptop builders in the UK that are still keeping British PC manufacturing alive.
BRITISH PC MANUFACTURING
Laura Barnes speaks to vendors, system builders and retailers to find out about the state of British PC manufacturing and how much the channel and consumers are supporting them…
THE STATE OF THE MARKET So what is the current state of the market? We spoke to some of the prominent manufacturers and system builders in the UK and the overall feeling was generally quite positive. Centerprise has one of the UK’s largest manufacturing plants in Wales at 50,000sq ft, while CMS Computers is a leading UK Local Original Equipment Manufacturer (LOEM) of build-to-order desktops, notebooks and tablets. Its commercial marketing manager, Dave Ayling, tells PCR: “We feel that the recession had a positive side effect on British PC manufacturing. Local brands and configuration services started to be considered, when previously only the multinational brands were either shortlisted for tender or were able to break through in consumer advertising. “This sits hand in hand with our conviction that until you find a way to do without desks, then desktops are still an important form factor. So far both of these statements have held true in our year-onyear trading growth. Innovation in form factors is still key, but we must not forget to support the IT departments and hobbyists that require systems they can customise and repair themselves,” he adds. Novatech has been providing IT solutions to professionals, enthusiasts, businesses, education and the public sector for over 27 years. The firm’s managing director David Furby agrees that British manufacturing has taken a bit of a battering over the past few years, but the firm has held out and believes times are getting better: www.pcr-online.biz
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“Recent reports from CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI and Boston Consulting Group have shown that this is on the turn, with UK manufacturing growth speeding up in the latter half of 2014. Novatech are proud to be part of that trend.” Peter George, director at Dorking-based gaming and simulation PC builder Wired2Fire, believes that current PC manufacturing is actually extremely
“We feel that the recession had a positive effect on British PC manufacturing. Local brands are starting to be considered, not just multinational brands.” Dave Ayling, CMS Computers competitive and consumers should be careful about what companies they choose to buy products from. “Margins are incredibly low which is a barrier to new companies entering the market,” he says. “Low pricing is great for the consumer, but they need to be very careful that they do not choose a company that increases their margin by reducing service. “Also, looking into a company’s history isn’t a bad idea. One or two companies out there ‘reset’ every few years, which means they go bust and dump their debt, leaving warranties worthless before setting up under the
same name with different directors,” warns George. Speaking to Jon Silvera, founder and managing director of programming and electronics workstation manufacturer Fuze, we can see how British companies are not only building products in the UK, but sourcing parts here too: “Since conception we have tried to keep as much of our manufacturing in the UK and certainly as much as possible sourced locally. “We do assemble here in Aylesbury, we source a great many of the components in the UK, even the nuts and screws are and all our packaging is from Aylesbury. All our content is written here and our programmers live here,” adds Silvera. Craig Hume, director at Utopia Computers, which has been building high performance PCs in Kilmarnock, Scotland for almost 20 years, tells PCR that system builders are far too tame: “I think that most system builders out there are simply looking to what the guys at the top are doing and just replicating that model. At Utopia, we aim to raise the bar, set new standards of customisation and really push the boundaries. “I would like to think that in a few years the UK SIs will be more like their US counterparts when it comes to product and service innovation,” he says. It’s not just system builders that are keeping the British flag flying. There are also consumer electronics manufacturers like Veho who design and engineer all their products in the UK. “Formed in 2006, we now have products in just about every big retailer, including
Top to bottom: Veho’s Muvi K2 camera, a laptop from Utopia Computers, and a PC system in a BitFenix case from Wired2fire
PCR February 2015 | 21
BEST OF BRITISH Dixons, Harrods, Maplin, Tesco, Asda and more,” Veho’s CEO and founder, Steven Lewis, tells PCR. WHY BUY BRITISH? So we know there are products out there designed, manufactured and sold in Britain, but how does that really benefit consumers? “This isn’t rocket science. Workers living in the UK pay tax, VAT, mortgages and duty,” says Fuze’s Jon Silvera. Rakesh Selarka from retailer and service provider PC Surgeon, believes UK manufacturing will help Britain regain its industrial identity: “The UK is highly reliant on foreign imports, often where the product is adapted for the UK and not designed for the UK. This means that our market is directly affected by economic conditions in other countries. For the UK to regain its industrial identity and any economic stability it is important for homegrown products to be encouraged on a daily basis.” Nick Lidington, chairman of kiosk system manufacturer Olancha Group, concurs: “The only way the UK will rise out of its financial situation is by not only designing things, but by manufacturing the designs in enough volume for sale in the UK and ROW. The world wants quality looking and well made products at a good price point – it’s what the UK has done well in the past and has the capability of doing now and in the future.” As well as helping the UK economy, buying Britishmade technology should also mean much better standards and customer services for consumers. “For the end user it should mean they are getting great service alongside an outstanding quality product. Britain has always been proud of its manufacturers and the PC industry should be no different,” says Utopia Computer’s Craig Hume. “For the design and configuration of PCs a local build-to-order system provides you with the exact
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Novatech employs over 250 people, providing customers with new machines
PC you want and need, not what was planned into distribution six months ago by a multinational manufacturer,” adds CMS Computers’ Dave Ayling. “Take this and combine it with the UK based technical support and customer services, and you get a service that is local where it needs to be, and global where it makes a real difference.” Novatech’s David Furby agrees that consumers benefit when it comes to customer
room from the people who pick up the phone when you give us a ring. We have a real level of integration and unrivalled support, which we believe non-British manufacturers can’t match, and we know our customers value us for it,” he adds. THE FUTURE OF UK TECH While it’s clear that there’s a lot going on in the UK manufacturing market, the industry can only keep evolving if more and more
“Our customers can order a custom build PC or 200 servers, and we can support them better than a supplier who outsources their builds can.” David Furby, Novatech services: “We’ve always believed in keeping things inhouse. Our customers can order a custom build PC, a mouse mat or 200 servers and we can deliver them faster, and support them better than a supplier who outsources their builds can. “Over 250 people work at Novatech and each one of them is involved in giving our customers amazing machines. The people who build our machines sit less than 100 metres from our after sales team, who are just across the
retailers and resellers get on board with stocking British products and relaying the benefits of buying British to their customers. PC Surgeon’s Rakesh Selarka calls for support from distes and other firms in the channel: “We need independents to focus and specialise in their field of expertise, for distributors and component manufacturers to be more supportive and for large retailers to call it a day. Remember we are a proud nation of shopkeepers who
prefer to offer a local and personalised service, we are not a faceless corporation.” Selarka also stresses that educating the industry is just as important. “It does not help that when I speak to industry colleagues, their usual stance on training and educating youngsters to become the next tech gurus is ‘Why do you want to train them? They will only go and put you out of a job’. This is only true if you’re hopeless at your job.”
Gary Stonehouse, owner of retailer GBiz IT, urges UK manufacturers to shout about themselves a little bit more: “I think if somebody started shouting about the fact that they were British we’d probably be more inclined to consider their products, perhaps stock them, and we’d probably shout about them as well and make it a prominent feature of our retail displays that they were British. “I would certainly like to support British manufacturers.”
THE UK TRADE: 7 FACTS Here are some impressive facts about the British system builders and manufacturers that have taken part in this feature… FUZE recently made a special
NOVATECH is partnered
edition of its device, paying tribute to the 8 BIT micros from the 1980s.
with Microsoft and Intel, is CHAS accredited, and also gained an ISO 9001 and 14001 certification.
CMS COMPUTERS has grown to hold a market share of over 20 per cent in the last 20 years.
ORCHLANDA GROUP started life as a distributor of other companies’ products, but has now refashioned the business to becoming a design and manufacturing firm over the last five years.
UTOPIA was the very first independent computer manufacturer to have its products listed on Argos’ site.
WIRED2FIRE has won best buy awards from a number of major magazines. VEHO currently has distribution in over 120 different countries around the world.
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THE BRIT LIST
THE BRIT LIST Directors, CEOs and MDs have all made their mark over the last year, contributing and inspiring the tech industry. Jade Burke rounds up the top 50 movers based within the UK…
GAVIN PARRISH, COUNTRY MANAGER, ACER UK AND IRELAND After joining Acer in 2011, Parrish has gone on to become the company’s country manager to lead Acer’s UK business forward. Before this, he held a position as consumer and B2B business unit director at Acer. Prior to joining Acer, Parrish held management positions at HP and Kimberly-Clark.
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JON ATHERTON, DIRECTOR, ENTATECH
PATRICK BLIEMER, MD, INTEL NORTHERN EUROPE
Entatech continues to grow, while Atherton remains a key part of the team having worked for the distributor since 1992. Away from work Atherton enjoys golﬁng and spending time with his family, plus Atherton has also won a host of industry awards and collected several PCR Awards on behalf of the distributor.
Bliemer is responsible for all sales development, marketing and branding undertaken by Intel across the UK, making him the man in charge of ensuring Intel continues to look good. He is an Intel veteran, having worked there since 1996. During his spare time, Bliemer loves biking and is a collector of ﬁne wines.
PAUL BUTLER, UK AND IRELAND REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR, AOC/MMD Butler has been working in the IT channel for over 20 years, bringing his technical knowledge of the monitor and TFT industry to each of his brands. He currently looks after two separate brands in the UK, which have enjoyed a large growth throughout 2014. Prior to this, he worked at Meko as analyst director.
STUART CARLSILE, MD, EBUYER.COM Having worked within various ﬁelds, including marketing and sales, Carlisle has been in the industry spanning 12 years. He has had his current role as MD with Ebuyer.com for over a year and previously worked at Wilkinson, where he increased the turnover of multi-channel from £3 million per year to £38 million.
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THE BRIT LIST
MIKE CHEN, MD, SYNOLOGY UK
JOHN CLELAND, CEO, MAPLIN
WILL FLETCHER, TECHNOLOGY BUYER, TOYS ‘R’ US
DAVID FURBY, DIRECTOR, NOVATECH
Responsible for the growth and development of the team in Synology’s Milton Keynes ofﬁce, Chen ﬁrst joined the company in 2012. A highly respected member of the team, he ﬁrst started working for Synology over 10 years ago in the technical support team in Taiwan and then worked his way up to European sales manager.
JOHN CHURCH, HEAD OF BUYING (TECHNOLOGY), SHOP DIRECT As a senior manager at Shop Direct, Church has over 20 years of experience in buying, sourcing, negotiating and new product development in the CE and FMCG arena. His expansive career has seen him take on various roles including senior buying manager at Dixons Retail.
A former grocery veteran responsible for the sale of Somerﬁeld to The Cooperative Group, Cleland took control of Maplin in 2012, where he quickly announced major plans for a three-year £40 million investment in new stores and multi-channel schemes to boost the retailer’s presence on the UK High Street.
Fletcher specialises in television, tablet, audio and mobile purchases for the global retailer Toys ‘R’ Us, as well as evaluation and planning of the range and selection of technology products. In his role, he directly inﬂuences the output of one of the foremost childfocused retailers in the UK.
Developing strategy, leading the senior management team and managing ﬁnancial and physical resources are some of the key responsibilities for Furby. Before taking on the role as director at Novatech, he was the director of Fred and Ginger London and studied for his Bsc(Hons) at the University of Portsmouth.
ANDY GASS, MD, TECH DATA UK AND IRELAND As head of an organisation with almost 1,000 employees, Gass leads one of the largest distributor businesses in the UK and Ireland. He ﬁrst joined the company in 1993 and has occupied various senior positions since. He also played a key role in the acquisition of the SDG business and its integration into the Tech Data Group.
MARC GODIN, VP AND GENERAL MANAGER, LENOVO UK AND IRELAND Godin started his career at Lenovo in 2005 within the company’s marketing team. He has since worked in various roles within the IT industry, including sales manager, account executive and in IBM’s PC division. Godin also gained his Masters in Mangement at Rouen Business School.
DARREN GRASBY, CORPORATE VP GLOBAL SALES AND GM EMEA, AMD Grasby is responsible for driving growth in the EMEA region and managing all regional sales and marketing activities, including the successful launch of the Radeon R9 290X graphics card. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry, including the creation of several other companies.
TIM GRIFFIN, VP AND MD, DELL UK With over 22 years of experience across a range of industries including media, communications, and technology, Grifﬁn brings a broad spectrum of expertise to his role. He is responsible for driving growth across all of Dell’s end-to-end products and services, as well as managing a team of over 2,500 members.
ANDY GRIFFITHS, MD, SAMSUNG UK AND IRELAND Grifﬁths is in charge of overseeing Samsung’s portfolio of devices, and has driven some of the ﬁrm’s biggest campaigns including sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics and the launch of the Galaxy smartphone range. He is involved in many initiatives, giving opportunities to youth.
MICHAEL GROOM, MD, ZF ELECTRONICS UK
STEVEN HASTINGS, IT DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL DIRECTOR, RICOH UK
ANDY ISHERWOOD, MD AND SVP, HP UK
SEBASTIAN JAMES, CEO, DIXONS CARPHONE
DEREK JONES, MD, SYNAXON UK
Isherwood became the UK MD in October 2013, having previously managed HP’s enterprise business in EMEA, holding responsibility for the sale of HP’s products and services into the company’s top 5,000 accounts. He worked in HP’s worldwide sales team and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
James has been the CEO and director of the UK’s largest High Street electrical retailer since February 2012, following several years helping to guide it to its successful position today. James, who is an Oxford graduate and obtained an MBA from INSEAD, has also held board directorships of three start-up companies.
Working at the German parent company of Synaxon during 2008, before helping to launch it in the UK in 2009, Jones has since directed the UK business and established it as one of the biggest dealer groups within its ﬁeld. In the spare time that he has, Jones says that he is an avid reader as well as an enthusiastic golfer.
Starting out as Cherry’s general manger in 2005, Groom has since gone on to become the UK MD for ZF Electronics. He is responsible for developing new business, coaching and mentoring, marketing and sales strategies and restructuring. The keyboard brand Cherry was acquired by ZF Electronics in 2008.
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Hastings is responsible for overseeing the strategy, development and growth of Ricoh’s printer range, through the IT distribution channel in the UK. He has worked at the company for more than ﬁve years within different roles, including priport business development manager Europe.
PCR February 2015 | 27
THE BRIT LIST
MARTIN KENT, UK TERRITORY MANAGER, HANNSPREE Appointed in 2006, Kent set up and heads Hannspree’s operations in the UK. Kent has established sales channels, brand placement, and the company’s marketing activities for both the HannsG and Hannspree brands, and continues to develop winning strategies for the company.
Matt Leeser joined John Lewis in March 2010 and is now head of buying for communication technology categories. He is responsible for the leadership of the buying teams. Prior to this, Leeser was the buyer for John Lewis’ computing business having joined from Tesco, where he was a senior buying manager.
STEVE LING, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CASEKING/ OVERCLOCKERS UK Ling has worked with distribution, reseller, retail, etail and system builders throughout Western Europe and is currently the executive director at Overclockers and distributor Caseking. He used to work at The Computer Center as operations manger and Foxconn as sales and marketing director.
CLIVE MURPHY, MD, TROJAN ELECTRONICS LTD
CHRISTOPHER NORTH, MD, AMAZON.CO.UK
GERRY O’KEEFFE, MD, EXERTIS UK AND IRELAND
Murphy has 25 years of experience within the tech industry, having worked at Reeves PLC and Pixel. In 2000 Murphy left his position as managing director at Pixel to form Trojan, which has since extended its services to include managed ecommerce solutions, from the likes of eBay, Amazon and Rakuten.
North took control of the online retail giant at the start of 2011, and has overseen the investment of over £1 billion into the UK, massive expansion and a continuing popularity among consumers, including being voted the UK’s favourite brand in a 2012 survey. Before joining Amazon, he worked in book publishing.
Exertis’ managing director O’Keeffe has remained at his current role since 2013, where he is based in the company’s Basingstoke ofﬁce. Prior to this, O’Keeffe also worked as managing director at Micro Peripherals, at Dextra Solutions as ﬁnance and operations director, and as ﬁnance director at Ecommercell Limited.
JAMIE PLUMRIDGE, DIRECTOR, THE TECH CROWD/CHANNEL DRAGONS Plumridge is responsible for launching the Channel Dragons, a service designed to help new or emerging vendors enter the UK market. He has worked alongside various distributors, system builders and vendors and founded The Tech Crowd Limited in 2009.
NELSON QIAO, GENERAL MANAGER, TP-LINK UK
ELAN RAJA III, DIRECTOR, SCAN COMPUTERS
After studying for his bachelor’s degree in Applied Biology Technology at Zhejiany University, Qiao began his career within the tech industry at TP-LINK. He ﬁrst started out as a management trainee, and soon grew within the company taking on other roles such as e-commerce and retail manager assistant.
Raja has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, having started up his own company Scan Computers. After studying accounting and ﬁnance at Leeds University, Raja has been able to secure Scan’s place in the IT market as an independent retailer. Scan is a family run business which started out in 1987.
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MATT LEESER, HEAD OF BUYING, JOHN LEWIS
Morgan has worked as MD at Network Group since 2010, and is responsible for delivering results for the company’s stakeholders and delivering winning results for the Board of Directors. He was also the director of the West Wales Development Trust and co-founded Morgan and Morgan Business and Technology.
PETE MORLEY, COUNTRY MANAGER, BULLGUARD UK AND IRELAND 25 years of successful sales and marketing experience have propelled Morley within the industry. He has worked at BullGuard for over a year, and previously worked as sales director for UK and Ireland at G-Form. Away from work, Morley enjoys cycling and walking his dog along the nearby beach.
RAJ PANDYA, HEAD OF PRO AV AND DIGITAL SINAGE, INGRAM MICRO EUROPE Pandya was formally promoted to this role earlier in 2014, after taking on the job in addition to his head of category role for Pro AV in the UK. Pandya is also responsible for developing Ingram Micro Europe’s Pro AV strategy and overseeing its execution, as well as developing the business.
ALEXANDER PHILLIPS, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY, NORTHAMBER Phillips has worked at the distributor since 2013, helping to lead Northamber back to growth. The company ﬁrst emerged 35 years ago, while Phillips is the current director of strategy. He also worked as a consultant at Monitor Group where he was responsible for B2B electronics.
RAFI RAZZAK, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, CENTERPRISE Razzak has led Centerprise to become one of the biggest IT service providers in the UK, with its success apparent in its place as the longest-standing provider to the Ministry of Defence. He is also the son of a former Prime Minister of Iraq, and was honoured with the Basingstoke Ambassador award in 2012.
JATTI SAHNI, CHAIRMAN, VIP GROUP Sahni was responsible for the start-up of VIP Computers in 1990. His long-term strategic focus secured strong yearon-year growth for the VIP Group. He then followed 16 years of growth with two major acquisitions – PC gaming specialist Realtime Distribution in 2006 and system builder CMS Computers in 2011.
PHYLIP MORGAN, MD, NETWORK GROUP
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ÂŠ Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2015. Information correct at time of publication E&OE.
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THE BRIT LIST
IAIN SHAW, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, BRIGANTIA
VAUGHAN SHAYLER, DIRECTOR OF CHANNEL STRATEGY, COMPTIA UK
KIRILL SLAVIN, MD, KASPERSKY LAB UK
HELEN SLINGER, CEO, DABS.CO.UK
PHIL SMITH, CEO, CISCO UK AND IRELAND
After a brief spell as a director and shareholder in the Computer Ofﬁce Group, Shaw formed the Brigantia Group as a group for small to medium-size computer solution providers in 1998. Brigantia has since developed over the years and now offers a wide portfolio of services and products for its members.
Before joining CompTIA, Shayler spent seven years leading the design, development and implementation of a specialist ICT certiﬁcation scheme for SMEs in the UK. Shayler now runs the membership service in the UK, ensuring it engages with partners in the IT channel.
Russian, French, English, German and Spanish are among some of the languages Slavin can speak. He ﬁrst joined Kaspersky in 2013, where he secured his role as MD for the UK side of the company. Before this, Slavin was the director of Slavin and Associates Limited and gained an MBA at the University of Cambridge.
After studying at the University of Central Lancashire, Slinger has gone on to work at various tech organisations. She ﬁrst started out as the head of product marketing at Dabs. com and then moved on to Ebuyer.com in marketing. In 2012, Slinger worked for BT Business Direct as sales and marketing director.
Smith has been working at Cisco Systems for more than 20 years, having started in 1994. In addition to his UK and Ireland CEO role at Cisco, Smith also became the chairman for the IT and Telecoms board for E-skills UK in 2011. He has since gone on to become the chairman for the Technology Strategy Board, also in 2011.
ALEX TATHAM, MD, WESTCOAST With 17 years of experience in the IT industry, Tatham has a breadth of knowledge. He has worked within the component, software and electronic markets in the industry, and was appointed MD of Westcoast last year. He has also taken a chartered accountancy course and supports the RNLI Bembridge lifeboat station.
GEMMA TELFORD, MD, THE IT MARKETING AGENCY A strategic marketer and consummate networker with 20 years experience, Telford has been focused on marketing for the IT channel for many years. In 2013 she set up The IT Marketing Agency, which has gone from strength to strength, helping vendors, distributors and MSPs alike maximise the return on their investment.
PAUL TOMLINSON, MD, MIRUS IT SOLUTIONS Tomlinson has been involved in IT support for SMEs since 1994, having started his ﬁrst business in 1996, which grew to nearly 20 staff members. He developed his second business in 2002, which has now grown into a large IT provider supporting various SMEs. As well as this, he also worked at CompTIA as the company’s vice chair.
PAUL TURNER, SALES DIRECTOR, SPIRE TECHNOLOGY Distributor Spire Technology was ﬁrst established in 1990, and Turner started his career at the company in 2006 as sales manager. He has since been promoted to sales director this year. The company currently employs over 60 members of staff contributing to its sales and marketing teams.
MICHEL VAN DER BEL, MD, MICROSOFT UK, VP, MICROSOFT INTERNATIONAL
JULIET WARD, TECH TRADING MANAGER, ARGOS Large computing, tablets and mobile tech fall under the responsibility of Juliet Ward at Argos. She plays a key role in developing the retailer’s technology business, as well as enjoying life as a mum of two. Prior to this role, Ward was also trading manager for jewellery and watches at the retailer.
MARK WILLIAMS, CEO, PENSAR
MATT WRIGHT, CHANNEL SALES MANAGER, NVIDIA NORTHERN EUROPE Wright has been at Nvidia since January 2011, playing a pivotal role in expanding distribution networks and sits at the forefront of Nvidia’s channel business. Overseeing the development of Nvidia’s European business sales strategy, he ended 2013 with recordbreaking success.
RENE WRIGHT, HEAD OF BUYING AND CATEGORY MANAGEMENT, TESCO
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Well regarded by members of the industry for his contribution to the IT community through his role as the chair of the CompTIA UK Community Group, Williams joined Pensar in 1996. Having also served in the British Army, Williams has a wealth of experience in the IT industry spanning over 29 years.
A commercial retailer with around 15 years’ buying, marketing and trading experience gained within the consumer electronics retail environment, Wright has previously worked as head of trading for PC World, head of computing at Best Buy as well as head of tablets at Carphone Warehouse.
A 13-year Microsoft veteran, Van der Bel holds a track record of building diverse teams, developing relationships, improving sales and operational excellence. Van der Bel has a MBA and background in electronics. In his free time, he enjoys playing the piano.
BENJAMIN YEH, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, UK AND NORDIC, ASUS An Asus veteran, Yeh has overseen the operations of the popular PC maker in the UK during several signiﬁcant product launches and the ﬁrm’s rise to become the third biggest tablet maker in Europe during 2013. Yeh has a degree in International Business from the National Taiwan University.
PCR February 2015 | 31
THE BIG INTERVIEW
‘It’s a brutal market but we’re leading the way’ LEFT TO RIGHT: Kaspersky UK’s MD Kirill Slavin, sales director Lee Sharrocks and security expert David Emm
S From the Sony Pictures hack last year to the rise of downloadable software and connected homes, it’s clear that security is vital – and the way we secure our data is changing. Dominic Sacco sits down with senior execs from security software vendor Kaspersky Lab to discuss its big retail push, revenue share scheme, ﬁerce competition and how the ‘Internet of Things’ is shaping the sector…
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ecurity software is shifting, with more customers looking for protection for their tablets and smartphones. What kind of uptake are you seeing there? Lee Sharrocks, UK and Ireland consumer and SMB sales director: We’re paving the way for people to use multi-device software across PC, Mac and Android. I think the really interesting question for this year that none of us can answer is whether we reach the tipping point on Android outbreaks. There’s lots of discussion about the mobile threat, and actually if you look at the corporate mobile threat – so BYOD and all the rest of it – it’s taken very seriously. But the uptake on mobile security software from members of the public is
low. Part of our main emphasis over the past year has been educating people about why it’s important. Have you seen more retailers offer digital software downloads? Lee Sharrocks: Retailers have a mixed pot of stuff now – people coming into stores for physical goods, people ordering online but really buying physical or using click and collect, then you have the pure download business. Dixons Carphone and John Lewis are good examples of retailers that have gone over to POSA in terms of how they’re offering software, but other firms are almost so busy doing their day job, it’s a big shift for them. So uptake is a lot slower than I thought it would be. What we’re being
asked to do is provide ESD (electronic software download) for certain partners. If you look at PXS – a new distribution partner for us – we are piloting a project with them to look at ESD for our resellers. Do you currently offer revenue share outside of this new scheme? Lee Sharrocks: No. We constantly review the distribution network we have for the consumer products in the UK (B2C disties Entatech, Exertis, PXS and TechData; B2B disties Arrow, Wick Hill and Ingram Micro). With PXS we’re endorsing their renewal share programme for Kaspersky products, and it’s a pilot, because I’m very keen to understand if that gives us www.pcr-online.biz
THE BIG INTERVIEW more value into the marketplace for those resellers, and a longer term relationship with them. It has a lot of advantages in terms of cash flow, and if you’re a sole trader or smaller company, then being able to pull a licence down the wire and just sell it in real time is convenient. We’re not trying to suddenly spike our volumes with those resellers, we’re trying to build loyalty so that over a number of years they continually come back to Kaspersky. As it’s a pilot, my guess is we won’t know what the uptake looks like until three to six month at least. If it works, would you look at introducing a broader renewal programme across your distribution partners? Lee Sharrocks: Yes – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t. But we need to get a proof of concept on it at the moment. What I envisage happening is if it works via PXS, we’ll probably take the whole thing in-house and offer it out to all of our partners on the same terms. Once you start discussing digital, the fear for the channel is that all of that business will be taken direct. But we’ve got no intention of doing that. Will we continue to grow our own online business? Yes, but actually growing the channel business is also key to what we do. How have your new 2015 branded products been received so far? Lee Sharrocks: Multi-Device has seen good uptake in terms of selling it across all of the channels. Pure anti-virus has probably had its day now in that standalone format. We still offer it via our online channel but not through our physical channel now. At the moment Internet Security is still our most popular title. What we’re seeing with Total Security is we’re starting to gain some traction. We’ve renamed it so people understand what it is. We launched in WHSmith just prior to Christmas, and we’re doing other stuff with www.pcr-online.biz
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other retailers including Argos which will come out over the next few weeks. Unlike some of our competitors, we’ve been in retail all the way through, and we will continue to be because fundamentally that’s how we grew our consumer business. 2014 was a big year for Kaspersky – you moved offices, upped your focus on enterprise and launched new products. How was 2014 for the balance sheet? Kirill Slavin, UK and Ireland MD: The year hasn’t been closed just yet, but roughly I’ve been told growth was the same as it was in 2012 and 2013 – around six or seven per cent growth, give or take. It’s definitely more than market growth. Last year was also awash with big security stories from the Apple iCloud breach to the Sony Pictures hack. Why do you think there were so many? David Emm, principal security researcher: What we’re seeing is computing becoming much more mainstream, and as we’re more reliant on it I think the use of computers for nefarious ends is no longer a novelty. With the Sony Pictures hack, it’s more personal data being exposed and it’s quite scary that they’re still not encrypting stuff they should be. The most worrying aspect about it is we had a group threatening to take physical terrorist action. How do you expect the threat landscape to evolve? David Emm: I think we’re likely to see a convergence of the APT (advanced persistent threat) side with commercial type attacks. I think we’ll see more point of sale and ATM attacks. Do you plan to protect IoT devices and connected homes in the future? David Emm: Absolutely. Developing solutions that third parties can integrate is really important. I think as connectivity grows, it will always be something that
Kaspersky’s latest boxed software: Total Security Multi-Device and Internet Security Multi-Device
“You’ll be seeing a big retail push from us. Unlike some of our competitors we’ve been in retail all the way through, and we will continue to be, because fundamentally that’s how we grew our consumer business.” Lee Sharrocks, Kaspersky Lab
we as a business look at and try and work out where we can be of use, and where we can create something that solves some of the issues that spring up. And while some of the protection of connected devices and the Internet of Things is going to involve back-end protection, there’s still going to be an end-point element. If it’s an app controlling my door or the locks on my car, there’s still going to be an aspect of people being involved and actually securing that device. Making people aware of the dangers is important too. Imagine a fault with smart smoke alarms. And there may be other things we’re not conscious of, especially as they become part of the fabric of our life. The security software sector is fierce. Has it been more competitive dealing with your rivals this past year? Lee Sharrocks: I think it’s fairly brutal. It’s one of the most competitive marketplaces in IT because there’s a very high standard of product. We have seen some changes in some of our competitors’ strategies, but I think that’s all noise; you’ve got to focus on your core business model – and ours is channel. It’s now paying off for us, because whereas other companies have been deciding what their strategy
is, we are now starting to get long-term relationships paying off and that’s why we are winning new business. What are your hopes and ambitions for 2015? How do you expect the security sector to change? Kirill Slavin, UK and Ireland MD: First, some regulatory changes in this country are long overdue. Banks should report breaches – full stop. In terms of changes in philosophy, the bigger the perimeter you want to protect, the harder it is to protect. So if I want to protect my cat’s pictures on Facebook, that makes the perimeter very wide. If you compare bathing suits in the ‘20s to the bikinis – and I’m afraid to say mankinis – of today, they’re very different. I think a sort of depth change in our understanding of privacy is long overdue. Thirdly, insurance firms are realising premiums must depend somehow on the degree of protection, including cyber protection. Most research ﬁrms forecast slow growth of maybe two or three per cent. But we have pockets of high growth like DLP (Data Leakage Protection) for example, which is predicted to grow at say 30 per cent. And we are trying to adjust our business, so that means more emphasis on enterprise. There are pockets of market growth there. PCR February 2015 | 33
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30 UNDER 30
PCR celebrates 30 of the most innovative figures in the PC and tech industry aged under 30. Whether they’re a hotshot exec, PR/marketer or a retail master, here are the young guns…
HARRY BOUGHTON, 26, TABLETS AND COMPUTING JUNIOR BUYER, JOHN LEWIS Two years into his time at John Lewis, following a career which has taken him from Intel to Dixons Retail, Boughton is quickly establishing himself as a titan within the computing industry.
IAIN BRISTOW, 28, PR MANAGER, AMD Bristow joined AMD in 2011 as the marketing and PR manager for the UK and the Netherlands. Since then he has risen to the role of PR Manager, EMEA for AMD. This role has seen him own and maintain key technical relationships across his region.
SIMON BUCKINGHAM, 27, UK MARKETING MANAGER, PRESTIGIO Buckingham joined Prestigio UK in December 2014 as head of marketing, joining from Hama where he held the position of marketing manager, in which he grew brand awareness and communications in the UK.
DAVID CHORLTON, 24, CATEGORY BUYER, MAPLIN Since Chorlton has been at Maplin, he has led the development of PC gaming online and in-store. He has worked with the industry’s leading hardware manufacturers with significant results.
MATT CLAYDEN, 26, BUYER, TESCO Since Clayden has held the position of PC buyer at Tesco, he has driven volume and share growth in the UK market and forged great relationships with suppliers. “He’s a credit to his team and his company,” said one account manager.
JOE COWELL, 23, PR, TEXT 100 Since joining, Cowell has worked with AMD to increase its brand and performance within the UK. During the last few months he has met with all key media for AMD and secured feature opportunities in publications that wouldn’t normally focus on the channel side of things.
MICHELLE CROSS, 29, PR ACCOUNT MANAGER, THE PR ROOM Having joined The PR Room just two years ago, Cross has secured coverage in key UK trade and specialist sectors, plus she has played a vital role in developing successful campaigns for key clients.
EMILY DANCE, 26, ACCOUNT MANAGER, SPIRE TECHNOLOGY Dance has been at Spire since June 2011 and has since been the only girl in the sales team. She has developed excellent relationships with her accounts and ensures she understands her customers’ needs.
ALEX PHILLIPS, 28, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY, NORTHAMBER Phillips began working with Northamber in late 2013, helping lead the IT distributor back to growth. Prior to that, Alex worked in real estate development, consumer healthcare and B2B electronics.
HAL GREENWOOD, 24, CHANNEL MARKETING EXECUTIVE, COOLER MASTER Greenwood joined Cooler Master in February this year. He is knowledgeable and brings a charisma that makes talking about cases, power supplies and peripherals exciting.
WESLEY JOYCE, 29, CONSUMER PC BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE, TECH DATA Joyce joined Tech Data’s sales team in 2011, quickly making an impact on a number of areas, and helping to manage the relationships of a number of key customers.
BILLY KNOWLES, 29, SALES MANAGER, SYNOLOGY Knowles joined Synology in June 2013 as a technical support consultant. He spends most of his time travelling back and forth from UK and Scandinavia and presenting for Synology at launch events and exhibitions.
? GEORGINA GROVES, 23, HEAD OF CUSTOMER SERVICE, PANDA SECURITY Groves has worked in a number of roles at Panda Security, and now works with the retail product development and technical teams to ensure maximum customer satisfaction now and moving forwards.
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NABIL HADI, 26, BUSINESS MANAGER, INGRAM MICRO Hadi was one of the ﬁrst recruits for the newly formed ProAV division at Ingram Micro, initially as a product manager. Within a year he quickly moved to become one of the youngest business managers at Ingram Micro UK.
LAUREN WHITE, 23, PR ACCOUNT MANAGER, BERKELEY PR White joined as a trainee account executive and quickly proved that she had a talent for technology PR, swiftly getting promoted to account executive and then to senior account executive within a year.
PCR February 2015 | 35
30 UNDER 30
STEVEN LIGHTFOOT JR, 28, PARTNER, PUDSEY COMPUTERS Lightfoot Jr has been with Pudsey Computers since 2002. He manages all retail sales and purchasing through a single retail store as well as multiple e-commerce sites. He also cofounded the Inventory Hub Limited – a supplier platform used to drop ship products direct to consumers.
STEVEN LEVITT, 27, MARKETING SPECIALIST, CASEKING Levitt joined the business in 2008 as sales advisor. He quickly started to become recognised on the UK forums via his alias “5UB”, providing excellent customer support, dealing with matters in the most effective manner and building a strong positive reputation for Caseking.
BEN MACINTYRE, 25, DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER, THE IT MARKETING AGENCY Macintyre has always been very committed and loyal to The IT Marketing Agency and has gone out of his way to ensure he delivers great results. He is determined to constantly better himself and works hard at his own personal development as well.
SUZANNE MCNICHOLAS, 27, MARKETING EXECUTIVE, ENTATECH McNicholas goes the extra mile for the marketing department, working with the different channel teams and departments to help develop sales and marketing incentives. She adopts the channel knowledge gained to develop marketing collateral for vendors and Entatech initiatives.
JOHN MEDLEY, 27, SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER, PC SPECIALIST Medley has done a fantastic job developing PC Specialist into a strong retail brand. He has worked diligently to differentiate the channel through a range of exclusive products. Based on this success, PC Specialist now has products listed in 187 Maplin stores nationwide.
DANNY GASKIN, 24, ACCOUNT MANAGER, TARGET COMPONENTS Gaskin joined Target in August 2013, bringing extensive experience from working at PC World for ﬁve years. He soon shone not only in developing relationships with his customers, but also in his strong work ethic at Target. He is apparently a walking phone book and doesn’t need a CRM system.
MARK PURDY, 24, MARKETING MANAGER, OVERCLOCKERS UK As an avid PC gamer, Purdy joined Overclockers UK in 2010 as its ﬁrst dedicated graphic designer. With a thirst for learning, he took on various roles at the company including purchasing and marketing, with the latter enabling him to combine his design and product knowledge.
ANDREW ROBINSON, 21, CREATIVE ENGINEER, UTOPIA Robinson started working for Utopia Computers two years ago. He joined the team from a creative background in product design, 3D modeling and graphic design, bringing an array of skills with him to help further Utopia’s growth. He is now working on strengthening the Utopia brand and image.
STUART SAW, 28, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, TWITCH TV, Saw has been a staple in the gaming industry and has led the massive growth of Twitch across the UK and EMEA. He’s been inﬂuential in its expansion, engaging with big brands in the gaming space, but also in parallel markets and industries that beneﬁt from the 55 million-plus captive audience.
SAAD SULTAN, 25, SUPPLY CHAIN EXECUTIVE, GFK Sultan joined GfK in April 2013 as a reporting executive. He learnt his role very quickly and showed great commercial promise, analysing trends and building insightful reports. Only a month into the new team he helped build a solid reporting base and signed new clients to the GfK catalogue.
JESS TYLER, 28, ACCOUNT MANAGER, WESTCOAST Tyler has worked incredibly hard over the last six months to re-brand Westcoast in its entirety. She has worked tirelessly to encompass company values and given incredible support and resources to her team, which in turn has allowed the marketing team to deliver ever-better service to Westcoast customers.
KIERAN VINEER, 26, DISTRIBUTION ACCOUNT MANAGER, TP-LINK Since joining TP-LINK in 2013, Vineer has demonstrated his commitment and professionalism in every sales and business review meeting with key accounts. His professional nature ensures great relationships with sales teams, meaning he is the ﬁrst port of call for queries.
NICKI WELLS, 29, CORPORATE MARKETING MANAGER, F-SECURE Wells is one of the top marketers in F-Secure globally. She has been involved in campaigns including F-Secure’s SAFE and the “Switched on Families” campaign with Virgin Media, and managed qualitative consumer and corporate studies for global use throughout the company.
DANNY YOUNG, 25, FEATURES EDITOR/ CONTENT MARKETING MANAGER, EBUYER Since joining Ebuyer.com in 2013 as the features editor for its blog, Young has progressed to content marketing manager. He is now in charge of working with buyers, manufacturers and agencies to create new articles, videos and features for the Ebuyer.com blog.
PAUL YUNG, 28, UK OPERATIONS AND PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, HANNSPREE Yung joined Hannspree UK headquarters in July 2012 as operations assistant. He quickly proved himself an invaluable asset for Hannspree. Paul was recently promoted to the product management team, which sees him involved with market research and the testing of new products.
36 | PCR February 2015
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BEHIND THE SCENES
Creating a winning culture Ingram Micro UK has just opened a new office, but it’s much more than snazzy meeting rooms and impressive workstations – it marks a shift in the way the world’s largest tech distributor works with its partners and attracts talent. UK and Ireland MD Brent McCarty and marketing execs Maria Jackson and Victoria New give Dominic Sacco a tour…
TEPPING into the reception area of Ingram Micro UK’s second floor, I’m immediately impressed. There’s no sign-in folders or pens needed here – I tap a mounted touch-screen on the right of the reception desk and a visitor badge is automatically printed off for my colleague and I. As we head to the waiting area, I have a strange sensation as I look up to see myself staring back at me. But it’s not a mirror – it’s a giant screen. “Welcome to Ingram Micro,” reads the text next to my Twitter picture and name, along with my colleague Jennie Lane’s, as well as the time, date and a couple of TV news reports. A neat touch. Before I know it, Ingram Micro’s UK and Ireland MD Brent McCarty, head of marketing Maria Jackson and senior marketing specialist Victoria New have arrived to welcome us and give us a tour of the new office. As we step into the large, open-plan finance department what strikes me first is the lack of typical whiteboards. Instead, there are pillars that can be written on and wiped clean when needed. Essentially this creates four slim whiteboards in one – and there are several of them dotted around the entire office. Each employee has a dual monitor on their desks. The decor is clean and crisp with an Ingram Micro blue adorning the walls. The creativity also stretches beyond the little things (I’m told the entire office was designed completely from scratch). As I look to my right through the long window, I can see across the atrium and into the other two floors and
Ingram Micro UK’s Brent McCarty and Maria Jackson
the department opposite me. This means you can see other departments at work, creating a communal feel; there’s clearly a buzz about the place, and seeing everyone working and moving around validates that. “The feedback from customers, vendors and associates on the building itself has been unanimously positive,” Brent tells me as he leads us to a selection of meeting rooms on the left. “Our associates feel like they have a new job. You want to be able to bring people into something you’re proud of. We didn’t really bring customers to the old office, but now
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“For us, 2015 is our year of coming of age in marketing.” Maria Jackson, Ingram Micro UK
we have something we can be proud of, and can showcase and fulfil our role in the channel. “It’s almost like it’s elevated everything in our organisation – the perspective, the marketing, the people. If we give our staff a place they enjoy working in and want to be in, they have a bit more bounce in their step and a bit more engagement, and the passion level for the business goes up. People are instead talking about something they believe in, rather than something they have to do. It’s great. “The vendors have also been blown away,” he adds, as we walk past the firm’s swish new kitchen area and tea room.
“Linda Rendleman [Microsoft UK’s partner business and development director] was previously critical of us, the fact that we’re a huge global distributor but in the UK there was need for improvement. She recently came in and we showed her the building, how we’re evolving to the cloud, our marketing strategy, and her jaw was on the floor – she couldn’t believe the amount of change that had happened in 12 months. She was super complimentary. “When people start walking around they see the energy and the buzz, and when you experience that, you want to work with us.” www.pcr-online.biz
BEHIND THE SCENES It’s clear that Microsoft was impressed. There are several Office 365 tables with screens on them dotted around all the office, as well as a separate seating area complete with Microsoft-branded cushions in a Windows-style colour scheme. I begin to notice other brands around the building. Canon’s logo is at the top of each pillar. Dell has a promotional wall in the tea area (also known as ‘The Delli’), and later on we pass a relaxation area complete with an Xbox, TVs and Crucial-branded cushions. Brother has even sponsored a cupboard. “This is an initiative that Maria brought forward,” Brent explains. “We bring customers and vendors together so you’ll see sponsorship from vendors throughout the office. It’s such a different experience for them and allows vendors to drive engagement with our customers.” We walk into a training room. “How’s it going guys?” says Brent. “Oh I’m sorry – they’re doing their financials test!” he says before closing the door. “We have an iBoard Touch up there, so when you’re doing presentations, you can touch the panel and it moves things around. “It’s important that when we bring new employees into the company they have a positive experience from day one. We want to attract the right people and create a great winning culture in the marketplace.” Brent isn’t just talking about Ingram’s working environment. Milton Keynes is becoming a modern, thriving area. Young people apply for jobs at Ingram (there’s a technology school across the road) and there are plenty of bars, hotels and restaurants nearby, including All Bar One which is just next door. “On our first day here, I found 30 people in there after work having a pint. Having staff that work hard and then go out and play hard afterwards so
easily is great. As a leader, you just can’t buy that.” ‘TRAINED KILLERS’ We head upstairs to the third floor where sales staff are situated. “There’s always a ton of activity here and usually all kinds of crazy stuff going on,” Brent says. “At the end of the day we’re going 100 miles an hour. “This is where we sell enterprise products to our customers,” he points to a group of staff. “This can be complex to sell – but these guys are trained killers,” he jokes.
“We’ve got to take our level of game up in everything that we do and the new office is just one part of that overall formula.” Brent McCarty, Ingram Micro UK
The new office in Milton Keynes has many different areas sponsored by Ingram’s various vendor partners
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We pass Brent’s office on the left. There’s a picture in the corner of the room of his face superimposed onto an ice hockey player wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey – a prior leaving gift for him. As a Canadian and former senior director of sales for Ingram Micro Canada, has Brent stamped a bit of Canada into Ingram UK? “Well I made sure we have the NHL ice hockey game for the Xbox here at lunch,” he smiles, “but I’m the only one that plays it!” We head up to the quieter fourth floor, which boasts a mix of meeting spaces for business reviews, partner gatherings and rooms that can be tailored to a specific vendor. We enter an HP branded room complete with the latest computers, as well as blue lighting, an HP desk in the middle and a wall on the right running through the vendor’s history. Another room is currently Lenovo-branded, while the one next to it is empty. But the wall panels between them can be unfolded to create one bigger room, which can sit 110 people. Screens pop out of the ceiling in both rooms to create a theatre presentation environment. Each meeting room has a tablet screen panel on the wall outside – indicating when the room is free. “Many of our customers want to do events but don’t have the capabilities to do that, so we’ll also offer this space up as a service, where our customers can bring their customers in. For example, if Softcat wanted to host an event, it can be branded as Softcat,” explains Brent. Maria adds: “We can change the branding and signage at the flip of a switch as there’s AV built into everything.” We step into the large Apple-branded boardroom, and Maria tells me about Ingram Micro UK’s marketing developments. “We’ve gone back to basics and looked at every single area of marketing,” she says.
“In 2015 our vendors will have a whole programme of activities. Everything is about value and real ROI. So for us 2015 is our year of coming of age in marketing. “We created a dedicated group in October 2014 within marketing – Agency Ingram Micro – working on resellers’ marketing programmes for them.” Brent adds: “We understand our vendors better than any other third party agency will understand. And if we can help our customers be more successful, that means we will be more successful. Our customers need distribution to do more than pricing and availability, and we want to do more than that.” THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT So what’s next for Ingram Micro UK? “In 2014 we formalised the Venture Tech Network, launched our SMB Alliance, we hired 37 people, we grew in the SMB space, we moved new offices and we changed our marketing strategy,” Brent explains. “We added Dell so we have all the top brands, giving us a unique position in the marketplace. On a pan Euro level we’ve been restructuring the business. “We also have a goodsized retail business that’s growing significantly but it’s been primarily focused on a smaller set of customers that have large buying power. There’s still work to be done but there’s an increased focus going into this area. “There’s still a lot of work for us to do in the UK,” he adds. “After making those changes we want to carry that momentum into 2015 and focus on our enterprise side of the business. 2015 is about getting a bigger return on our investments. “The new office is an investment and we’re advertising that over ten years. It was long overdue for us. We’ve got to take our level of game up in everything that we do and this is just one part of the overall formula.” PCR February 2015 | 39
PCR AWARDS 2015
Who will win this year? Who will come out on top at this year’s awards ceremony? See who you think is worthy of a prestigious PCR award from the list of IT and tech companies in the running this year… THE PCR AWARDS celebrate the best of the best in the UK tech industry. Technology evolves and improves at a rate of knots, as does the companies within that space, so each year it’s a greater challenge for ﬁrms to pick up an award. The event will boast a similar mix of networking, partying as well as recognition of achievements in the UK PC and tech industry, with a drinks reception, evening dinner and aftershow party. There are now 20 awards in total across three categories: 19 in the Frontline, Vendor and Distribution categories, plus the top Grand Prix award chosen by PCR. Here is the ﬁnal list of hopefuls up for a PCR Award at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington on Thursday March 12th.
FRONTLINE System Builder YoYoTech Utopia Computers Falcon Computers Chillblast Overclockers PC Specialist PCs Made Simple Independent Retailer Airedale Computers Utopia Computers The Laptop Fixers Chips PC Pal GHI Computers PCs Made Simple
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VENDOR National Retailer Argos Toys ‘R’ Us Currys/PC World Tesco Maplin John Lewis
Software Publisher Microsoft Nuance Communications Panda Security Kaspersky BullGuard Symantec
Computing Vendor KD UK Lenovo Dell HP Acer Hannspree
Reseller Novatech Stone Softcat Midland Computers Bubble IT CCL Computers
Peripherals Vendor AOC Microsoft Turtle Beach Veho Mad Catz HannsG
Networking Vendor TP-Link Dell Cyberoam NetGenie Synology Cisco Belkin
Online only Shop Direct Ebuyer.com Scan Computers Amazon Dabs.com Overclockers
Components Vendor Kingston Technology AMD Intel BitFenix Nvidia Samsung SSD
Service and support BullGuard Synology Microsoft Sennheiser Kaspersky Lab AMD www.pcr-online.biz
PCR AWARDS 2015
DISTRIBUTION Software Distributor Entatech Tech Data Exertis Ingram Micro PXS Distribution Westcoast PC Gaming & Hardware Distributor Spire Technology Entatech VIP Computers Exertis Caseking Components Distributor Spire Technology Entatech Northamber Tech Data VIP Computers Exertis Caseking Ingram Micro Peripherals Distributor Ingram Micro Entatech Northamber Tech Data Exertis
Consumer Electronics Distributor Entatech Widget Tech Data Exertis Westcoast Hama Marketing & PR Spire Technology Entatech Northamber Tech Data VIP Computers Exertis Ingram Micro Service and support Entatech Ingram Micro Exertis Westcoast VIP Computers Distributor of the Year Entatech Ingram Micro Northamber Tech Data VIP Computers Caseking Exertis Westcoast
GOT YOUR TICKET? Have you got your tickets yet? If not then please contact Jess Farnan on email@example.com or call 020 7354 6001. Alternatively you can book tickets from the PCR Awards website at www.pcr-awards.com.
VOTING A judging panel consisting of 100 industry experts will be choosing the winners of each category, which will be revealed at the event itself. The Grand Prix Award will be chosen by the PCR editorial team. You can keep up to date with the PCR Awards 2015 by bookmarking www.pcr-awards.com.
SPONSORS Entatech is on board as Headline Partner for the PCR Awards, while VIP Computers is Drinks Reception Host, Acer is Photobooth Partner and Exertis is After-Show Party Host. Gold Sponsors include Intel, Northamber, AOC, PXS and The PR Room. BullGuard is Frontline Category Partner, while Symantec is Vendor Category Partner. A number of additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Jennie Lane on firstname.lastname@example.org to ďŹ nd out more.
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PCR February 2015| 41
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Mystery Shopper Comment Store of the Month Counter Insurgent
THAT (BLACK) FRIDAY FEELING WHILE 2014 was not the first year Black Friday came to the UK, it appears to be the first time we’ve seen the frenzy that usually appears in news images from mega shopping events in the US. Ebuyer.com received one order every second, John Lewis sold a tablet every second, Currys’ and Argos’ websites crashed, and Tesco customers actually had physical in-store fights while trying to take advantage of the price cuts. Despite Black Friday helping Tesco’s online service enjoy a record sales week, the grocer’s overall like-forlike sales for the last 19 weeks of 2014 fell 2.9 per cent. Tesco has now announced that it will close 43 unprofitable stores, set lower prices and consolidate head office locations.
“A record sales week can’t always make up for a bad year.” So while Black Friday may have been a success for some, it seems that a record sales week can’t always make up for a bad year. I spoke to some independent retailers about this news, and the response was that they were not really surprised. “I don’t think this news will impact indie retailers in the short term. My advice is still the same. Don’t chase low prices, instead add value, and as always, aim to increase your gross margins,” said one. “You must be offering complementary services alongside hardware to make a success in today’s retail climate. Services are something Tesco has struggled to make work, but where independents have a distinct advantage,” added another. Laura Barnes email@example.com
I’M CHARGIN’ IT McDonald’s is set to offer customers wireless charging in more than 50 of its UK restaurants, with Aircharge providing more than 600 of its chargers to the fast food chain. With rumours that Starbucks is already planning a similar service in the US, PCR wonders how long it will be until wireless charging ports are commonplace amongst the High Street. What do you think of the wireless charging service? Would you install one? Email PCR’s deputy editor at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how it could benefit your business.
PCR takes soundings from its Retail Advisory Board on the biggest issues in the industry. The current members are: RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
Ben Miles, Chillblast
Craig Hume, Utopia Computers
Jason Eccles, SimplyFixIT
Lorelei Gibb, Dolphin Upgrades
Mike Barron, Synaxon
Iain Shaw, Brigantia
Duncan Rutherford, Dabs.com
Steve Ling, Overclockers UK
Jonpaul Warren, Ebuyer.com
Tim LeRoy, Novatech
Dean Kramer, Dixons Carphone
Jat Mann, PC Pal
Phil Browes, HMV
Phylip Morgan, Network Group
Vaughan Shayler, CompTIA
Juliet Ward, Argos
Gavin Holder, GHI Computers
Chris Innes, Micro Plus
James Gorbold, Scan Computers
John Church, Shop Direct
Will Fletcher, Toys “R” Us
David Chorlton, Maplin
William Jones, John Lewis
Vladimir Kuznetsov, Steven Lightfoot, Pudsey Computers DinoPC
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PCR February 2015 | 43
STORE OF THE MONTH
FACT FILE Year established: 2001 Number of stores: 2 Number of staff: 13 Address: 14 Viking Precinct, Jarrow, Tyne and Wear, NE32 3LQ Telephone: 0191 4890500
Email: email@example.com Website: www.ghi.uk.com
Hair straighteners are just one of the products GHI Computers repairs – honestly – while the firm also has plans to offer a localised drop-off service for customers. Jade Burke asks director Gavin Holder for more about the business… How did GHI Computers first begin? We first started working from home selling inks and then eventually progressed onto computer sales. Me and Kevin Stevenson made the plunge, left our full-time jobs, and opened our first store in 2001. What products and services do you offer? We offer different brands such as Apple, AMD and Epson, and we repair tablets, mobile phones, Apple products, hair straighteners and headsets. We also sell manufactured branded laptops, but we don’t make any ourselves. We offer build-to-order PCs, so everything is bespoke. How can indie retailers make a name for themselves against larger retail chains?
We always pride ourselves on offering an independent service whilst competing with the nationals. I think we still have that quality that you expect but at a local price. We’ve had the same staff now for the best part of 10 years, so we have a strong relationship with customers, they know that they can come in and see a familiar face and get an honest answer. What’s your best-selling product in-store? Our best selling products are still USB pen drives in terms of volume. In terms of margin, we are staring to see an uptake in gaming PCs and high-end peripherals. Generally, people are purchasing on quality now, right down to accessories like mice and keyboards. They all want to pay £40 or £50 for
one. So, although you sell less, the margins are still there, it’s swings and roundabouts and it benefits us.
“We’ve had the same staff for around 10 years; we have a strong relationship with customers.” Gavin Holder, GHI Computers Will you be stocking any new products this year? I am looking at wearable technology. I don’t think there is any market for it this year, but once the B-brands start to get on board and flood the market, that’s when it’s time
to start stocking them. I would like to see 3D printers come to the consumer market, but on a level playing field so that they’re all using the same consumables so you don’t have to buy that specific brand. I will also probably expand our gaming range. Currently we offer Razer and Cooler Master, so we could possibly take on another. Will the new small business rates help your business on the High Street? I pay more in business rates than I do in rent, for each store it’s roughly £1,200 a month. So generally it will benefit us. How important is your online presence to you? We don’t have e-commerce, and we’ve looked at it and believe that it’s pointless
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having an e-commerce website, unless you are unique and have cornered a part of the market. I feel that if you have an e-commerce website you’re competing with the big boys and you will never compete with the big boys. I believe that because we’re a local company, people will use it as a point of reference and then come into the store and buy it anyway, rather than pay a delivery charge. Where do you see your business going? I’m planning on offering a national but localised dropoff, like a myHermes parcel set up so that we partner with people all around the country. This would act as a drop-off centre, where people could send items to us, actually making us a national repairer.
Delivering Value in Distribution Sales Hotline 0871 622 7500 www.vip-computers.co.uk © Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2015. Information correct at time of publication E&OE.
PCR RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD
Is Amazon’s ‘Make An Offer’ tool a good move for tech etail? Amazon has launched a new feature allowing customers to haggle prices over hard-to-ﬁnd items. Will this be an opportunity for etailers to attract more business, or will people spend less? We ask the PCR Retail Advisory Board… ”Amazon’s new ‘make an offer’ feature is certainly a bold new step forward for the retail giant. I can see this being a great tool in the B2B space, although to be honest most etailers already allow their business customers to pick up the phone or email requests for volume discounts. It makes sense to offer a discount on a multiple product sale to win any volume business. Lowering a rock bottom price to a consumer on a one-off purchase could prove to be more problematic, though. “That said, I would not bet against the success of this new feature from Peter Faricy and the Amazon Marketplace team. I shall be watching closely and will be having a conversation with them about how Brigantia might benefit from this new functionality.” IAIN SHAW, Director, Brigantia ”As a consumer, the idea of haggling down the price of a 46 | PCR February 2015
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product is pretty interesting, as everyone wants to get the best deal. “However, the financial mark-up on tech is essentially quite low, which limits the threshold to haggle on products like laptops, tablets and computers. As Ebuyer work closely with our partners and manufacturers to get the best price, I think it would be challenging to make the haggling tool worthwhile.” SUE PICKERING, Head of Brand and Customer Experience, Ebuyer.com ”In my view, both Amazon and eBay are trying to pinch ground from each other, and this is their latest in a move to replicate the best bits from their competitors. “eBay also do this on a regular basis, most recently with their updates to their seller metrics, which replicated some of the Amazon metrics that they have been using for a while. I personally think it’s great for the customer, which can only be a good thing.
“I guess it opens the door to a conversation about a sale, which for any retailer can only improve matters.” STEVEN LIGHTFOOT JR, Partner, Pudsey Computers “We can foresee the new Amazon haggle tool being very useful for sellers looking to clear aged inventory or for those that specialise in items that are niche. “This is quite similar to the ‘make an offer’ feature of eBay, a site model that Amazon clearly has in its sights with Marketplace. I can see a haggle feature becoming quite commonplace on sites that allow for third party resellers such as Play and other portals, however, for suppliers selling only new IT hardware, I cannot imagine the margins involved make it feasible. We might consider such functionality for older hardware we need to clear, which as an SI we accumulate from warranty returns on a periodic basis. “We don’t currently have an Amazon store as we prefer
to concentrate on providing the best possible shopping experience via our platform.” BEN MILES, Buyer, Chillblast ”Obviously as a buyer it’s good news but for sellers it’s a totally different ball game. eBay has for many years offered sellers the option to include ‘our best offer’ on their listings, this is essentially the same as Amazon’s haggle feature. “The trouble with this feature is that the offers received from buyers were almost always laughable and insulting, which is why I see this feature as a waste of time. We found that buyers would just try it on by submitting an offer of say £40 for a £100 product, we would then counter offer at £95 only for the buyer’s second offer to come through at £45. This was just annoying and a
waste of our valuable time. Now we don’t offer this option at all as we found that customers would then message us asking us to accept their insulting offer or even call the store. “This haggle feature is only good for one thing for buyers: to clear out end of line products that you would normally right off.” GAVIN HOLDER, Director, GHI Computers “From what I understand the ‘make an offer tool’ is only available on oneoff items such as collectables, which would surely command a premium anyway and drive the price up rather than down? “Either way the consumers may pay more as the seller will artificially inflate prices to allow for negotiation.” MIKE BARRON UK Channel Director, Synaxon
PCR RETAIL ADVISORY BOARD PCR asks its Retail Advisory Panel – formed of buyers and experts – about the biggest industry trends and issues each month. To join email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Bromley One of the busiest town centres in Kent for pubs, restaurants and shops, Bromley covers all your High Street needs including a half decent tech scene – so we sent our Mystery Shopper off hunting for PC security software…
6/10 MAPLIN THE SHOP that delivers everything tech-related from PC hardware and software, to specialist equipment for Ibiza’s next top DJ. Maplin is like a tidy filing cabinet. Everything is where it is supposed to be. The staff knew their way around the shop like it was their own bedroom, however, when it came to advise on an individual product, their knowledge was not as impressive. When I asked which security software they would recommend, I was informed 48 | PCR February 2015
48 49 PCR137 MysteryShoppa_final.indd 1
that Norton was the best for value, protection and ease of use – they carried on to say that this was not something they stocked… Upon embarking on my own hunt of the store, I found Kaspersky Pure, McAfee Internet and McAfee Total Protection, which I thought was a pretty slim selection.
ARGOS knows how to best help their customers find exactly what they are looking for… Put a load of catalogues around the store and let them find it themselves. Naturally it took me seconds to find their selection of security software, and for the first time on my shopping trip I was actually given a number of options. There was a huge choice of McAfee packages, Kaspersky multi-device options and loads of Norton antivirus for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, Microsoft office and more.
The range of products was priced between £19.99 for the basic packs, and up to £79.99 for full coverage of multiple devices and users. When I checked each item’s availability I discovered that they were all there, which was a pleasant surprise.
8/10 CURRYS/PC WORLD
AS SOON as I walked through the door I was greeted by both of the store’s employees, so I decided to ask for some assistance for security software straight away. They only had one option for internet security software in the form of Norton, but I had my hands on it within minutes of being in the store. The staff offered personal reviews on the product, and if I was to purchase it I could’ve been out the door in no time. Obviously I didn’t purchase it and felt bad about wasting their time, but so far this was
the best retail experience I had in Bromley. I decided to check the Ryman website as well, but only the Norton Internet Security software was available on there as well.
WHEN entering one of these monster stores it can be rather intimidating to say the least. There are different types of tech packed to the rafters, and if you come here not knowing exactly what you want you may find yourself running for the exit. This is not always necessary however, as those employed here tend to be impressively knowledgeable on the products they sell. The individual I spoke to listed the range of security software the shop sold off the top of his head.
The selection here was more or less exactly the same as in Argos, except with AVG Antivirus in the line-up as well, plus there were some really good deals on Kaspersky with £12 off the Mobile Security software, as well as £10 off the PC and Mac version.
6/10 BROMLEY COMPUTER & LAPTOP REPAIRS I ALMOST walked straight past this store due to it being well hidden next to an O’Neil’s, and when walking up to the store it looked like nothing more than an abandoned room with a few concealed computers inside. As I cautiously entered, a man hidden around the back jumped out at me. It turned out that Bromley Computer and Laptop Repairs did not sell any security software at all, but the guy working there did ask what I was looking for. Far from being the sinister ruffian he www.pcr-online.biz
48 49 PCR137 MysteryShoppa_final.indd 2
first appeared to be, his knowledge on security software for PC, Mac, iOS and Android was huge. He asked me what I needed it for, how many devices and people it would be covering, what my budget was and which shops I had been to and recommended a few for me to search for. He then said I’d be better off searching online – sorry High Street retailers, we still love you.
5/10 WHSMITH WHSMITH is a jack of all trades, selling everything from newspapers and magazines to software security for PCs. Thanks to the competition from online etailers, WHSmith has incorporated this product range into its portfolio. The tech section was rather minimal here, so it didn’t take me long to find the sole piece of security software in the store. I was a little disappointed so I decided to ask the staff member at the till if they had a wider choice. They asked if I had checked
online, to which I said I hadn’t. This was met with a puzzled look, and a suggestion that I should do so if I required a larger selection of products.
YOU’D imagine that the majority of people would shop for something like security software online, however, that doesn’t mean that High Street shops need not worry about their knowledge of such products. If online competition is pulling customers away from these stores, then they should be aiming to try and coax those customers back through their own doors. I would have liked to have seen more members of staff know the basics. That said, others I met knew far more than I would have expected them to – and helped me on my search immensely. I was most impressed with general customer service in Ryman, however, I felt most confident buying from Argos as the catalogue contained information on each product, meaning I could make an informed decision on which product I would buy.
PCR February 2015 | 49
THE GREAT UK TECH TRAGEDY This month our anonymous retailer ponders why the UK may never be able to create a business such as Google, Apple or Microsoft… THE UK has a huge cultural problem, affecting education, government and industry. It’s not just about creating big businesses like Google, we can’t even serve these businesses in an appropriate manner. Firstly our schools do not teach STEM based subjects properly, especially ICT, and are usually taught by teachers who specialise in other subjects. With a lack of material, imagination and skills, pupils are left behind,
resulting in a struggle to find young talent to work in technology. In business, government backing and aid is nonexistent, and its attempt at Silicon roundabout (AKA Tech City) is as technologically advanced as a horse drawn cart. There is no core investment or positive attitude in creating a UK tech industry. It is believed that others abroad can offer much better solutions, so why should we bother?
However, this is not the end of our great Greek tech tragedy. Whenever we show any ray of talent, any innovation or any attempt at being inspirational, the old rhetoric of lack of faith remerges, with the inventor usually being ignored, sidelined or worse being led up the garden path. This has cost us dearly in recent years and you only need to read the stories of Jonathon Fletcher and Andrew Fentem to see what could have been
Furthermore, the Government needs to learn quickly from China, who clearly understands the potential threats to national security and the economy when relying on tech from others. Without knowing the core ideas behind the technology you are using, a nation will always be reliant on others to keep their promises.
possible for the UK and UK Tech PLC. Sadly, it may be too late for the UK to compete with the world or to be independent like China, you only have to see all the tech disasters the Government has had in the past 15-years. We sadly have become slaves to other people’s technology and they are too ingrained into our infrastructure.
Got a gripe you’d like to share with the industry? Contact email@example.com
SYNAXON MEMBER PROFILE
Simtech-IT We chat to managing director Karl Wood to find out why the telephone is more important than Twitter and why free software platforms can cause problems for businesses… What products and services does your company offer? Simtech-IT is a provider of managed IT services to small and medium-sized businesses across the UK and internationally. Our service portfolio includes IT technical support, cloud technologies, network and data connectivity, managed security and 24/7 system monitoring, data backup and disaster recovery solutions. What’s been your biggest growth area recently? Without doubt our cloud services. During 2014 we saw a rapid expansion of our cloud services platforms, in particular our hosted exchange, managed security, disaster recovery and file access anywhere solutions. 50 | PCR February 2015
50 PCR137 CounterInsurgent&Synaxon_final.indd 1
How important is social media to the business? At Simtech-IT we teach our apprentices how incredible the telephone is. You pick it up, dial a number and directly engage with your end user. Social media has its place but it’s important to remember that it’s not a magic solution which is going to gain you vast numbers of new clients. Social media has not played a pivotal role in the growth of Simtech-IT and we currently see less than 0.3 per cent of enquires and sales coming from this area. What are the biggest issues you face with today’s market? The biggest issue we face with today’s market is the range of applications and services available that are
“We teach our apprentices how incredible the telephone is. Social media has not played a pivotal role in our growth,” Karl Wood, Simtech-IT
being advertised as selfmanageable. Many individuals in organisations are signing up to free software, storage and communications systems. Free software platforms are not generally as reliable as business class systems, and very often not licensed for business use.
on our own cloud platforms, and the expansion of our office complex.
What do you have planned for 2015? We have a number of exciting projects in development for 2015, working with humanitarian groups in Africa, the design and deployment of bespoke software aimed at specific industries managed
What are the benefits of working with Synaxon? The range of industry professionals inside the Synaxon distribution channel who we can get advice and assistance from is an excellent resource. The Synaxon ‘EGIS’ procurement platform is a tool that ensures our sales team is purchasing the best products for the best prices.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org www.completeitservices.co.uk
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Security Software After the Christmas season, New Year sales and various product launches at CES, now is the time consumers should be thinking about device security, and retailers should be stocking a range of software to meet their needs. Laura Barnes takes a look at the latest products on the market…
KASPERSKY TOTAL SECURITY 2015 MULTI DEVICE
BULLGUARD PREMIUM PROTECTION
SYMANTEC ENDPOINT PROTECTION 12.1
Distributors: Entatech, Exertis, PXS Distribution
Distributor: Spire Technology
Kaspersky Total Security Multi-Device delivers a comprehensive security solution for your privacy, money, identity, photos, files and family. A single licence gives the freedom to mix protection across three different devices, which can be a combination of PC, Mac and Android.
BullGuard Premium Protection is a complete security suite that protects you against malware, identity theft, financial fraud and online data leaks. It also helps keep children safe on social networks. It comes with free 25GB of online backup space, free PC tune-ups and free 24/7 customer support. The software also includes ‘game mode’, which turns off alerts, updates and pop-up messages when gaming.
This software offers protection across both physical and virtual machines, safeguarding them from mass malware, targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats. Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1 has support for Windows, Macs and Linux, and boasts a quick set up time and automated updates.
MCAFEE TOTAL PROTECTION 2015
SYMANTEC ENDPOINT PROTECTION SMALL BUSINESS
BULLGUARD INTERNET SECURITY
Distributor: Spire Technology
McAfee Total Protection helps users stay safe from Trojans, viruses, spyware, rootkits, and more, with its anti-malware protection. It can detect, quarantine and block viruses and malware to prevent damage to PCs and keep zero-day threats and botnets at bay.
This software protects against viruses, worms, Trojans and spyware. It comes with Symantec Insight and SONAR technologies to detect new and rapidly mutating malware, stopping malicious behaviour, including new and previously unknown threats.
With multiple protection layers, BullGuard’s Internet Security software comes with 5GB of advanced backup as well as parental controls. Key features include antivirus, advanced backup, firewall, spam filter, safe browsing, PC tune-up, a Game On mode, vulnerability scanner and free support. This version includes three PC licences.
52 | PCR February 2015
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KAPSERSKY INTERNET SECURITY MULTI DEVICE 2015
BITDEFENDER TOTAL SECURITY 2015
BULLGUARD IDENTITY PROTECTION
Distributor: PXS Distribution
Distributors: Northamber, Spire Technology
The internet has the same dangers whether you’re using a computer or a mobile device. Kaspersky Internet Security Multi-Device is a one-licence solution that protects your digital identity, finances and children on your PC or Mac as well as on your Android phone or tablet.
This software detects when you are working, playing, or watching movies, and prevents apps from popping up or slowing down your system. Bitdefender Total Security 2015 features OneClick Optimizer to free up the hard disk space as well as Bitdefender Wallet, which shortens the buying process by autocompleting credit card details.
BullGuard Identity Protection continually monitors the web, social networks and dark web. It can also search for private information such as debit cards, bank account numbers and driving licences. Users can keep an eye on their children’s Facebook profiles with parent controls, which will flag any social activities that pose risks, including links to malicious websites or inappropriate content.
MCAFEE INTERNET SECURITY 2015
BULLGUARD MOBILE SECURITY
MCAFEE ANTIVIRUS PLUS
Users can optimise their PC for top performance, prevent others from stealing Wi-Fi bandwidth, and set usage limits for children with McAfee Internet Security 2015. This software can detect, quarantine and block viruses and malware, and if it finds something malicious, it becomes isolated so it can’t cause damage to the PC.
BullGuard Mobile Security protects your Android phone data with real time detection and removal of viruses and spyware delivered via direct download, SMS, MMS, email, Bluetooth or Infrared. It comes with a web interface for monitoring your child’s Android phone including text messages and photos, as well as the ability to lock your device if it is lost or stolen.
McAfee Antivirus Plus helps users stay safe from Trojans, viruses, spyware and rootkits. It can detect, quarantine and block viruses and malware to prevent damage to PCs. It features McAfee Active Protection and Global Threat Intelligence technology.
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Entatech ...................... 0333 101 1000
Exertis (Harlow) ...........01279 822822
PXS Distribution ......... 0844 879 4212
Exertis (Basingstoke) ...01256 707070
Northamber ................ 020 8296 7000
Spire Technology ........ 01202 828 444
PCR February 2015 | 53
Networking With customers’ demands for faster download speeds and Wi-Fi, now’s the time to stock some of the latest routers, extenders and adapters on the market. Jade Burke rounds up a selection of new products…
DYNAMODE PCIXGI NETWORK CARD
ASUS RT-AC87U WIRELESS DUAL-BAND ROUTER
TP-LINK AC750 ROUTER AND RANGE EXTENDER
EDIMAX EW-7438RPN AIR
Distributors: VIP Computers, Spire Technology
This adapter features SNMP management, IP checksum off loading and Wake-on-LAN (WOL) support. Operating systems, including Windows 7, 8 and Server, are all compatible with the adapter.
Built-in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports provide users with 10-times faster data transfers to USB storage devices. It also provides wireless signal coverage up to 465 meters.
This bundle from TP-Link features the AC750 Wi-Fi router as well as a wallmounted range extender. The extender boosts the wireless signal to hard-towire areas, while its dual band can reach speeds of up to 750Mbps.
This Wi-Fi extender packs a CPU that boosts wireless performance and comes with a guest network feature. It comes with support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi standards, speeds of up to 300Mbps and a frequency band of 2.4GHz.
Specs: 1000/100/10Mbps, lifetime warranty, 32-bit PCIa with up to 2.5Gbps, low power consumption.
Specs: Asus AiCloud app, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, 4x4 MU-MIMO antenna.
Specs: 2.4GHz and 5GHz, compatible with IEEE 802.11ac/n/g/b, dual band speeds up to 750Mbps.
Specs: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi support, 2.4GHz frequency, 49g, wireless, guest network feature, good night mode.
GIGABIT RACKMOUNT ETHERNET SWITCH
TP-LINK ARCHER D9 ADSL2+ MODEM ROUTER
OUTREACH MAX POE LAN & POE EXTENDER
ASUS RP-AC52 WALL PLUG RANGE EXTENDER
Distributor: VIP Computers
Designed for small to medium sized businesses, Dynamode’s SWG240010-R 24-Port Gigabit Rackmount Ethernet Switch is compatible with existing cat5e and cat6 cabling and comes with an advanced ASIC processor.
TP-LINK’s Archer D9 comes with next generation Wi-Fi standard 802.11ac, which is backward compatible with 802.11n. A 1GHz dual-core processor is included, along with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, and three detachable antennas.
Connecting the Outreach Max with a network cable boosts its range from 100 to 200 metres, while its Power over Ethernet (PoE) simplifies the deployment of IP cameras and wireless access points.
Users can stream music wirelessly with the Asus AiPlayer, which is included with the extender. The 802.11ac concurrent dual-band wireless range extender has speeds of up to 433Mbps (2.4GHz) and 300Mbps (5GHz).
Specs: 24-port Gigabit, 1000, 100, 10Mbps, lifetime warranty, 1U form factor with integral PSU.
Specs: 1GHz dual-core processor, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, ethernet WAN, parental controls.
Specs: IEEE 802.3af and 802.3at compliant, up to 60 watts, extends up to 800 metres with multiple units.
Specs: 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal strength, 802.11ac concurrent dualband wireless range, Asus AiPlayer app.
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D-LINK DIR-850L/B GIGABIT CLOUD ROUTER
ASUS DSL-AC68U DUALBAND ROUTER
DLAN 1200+ WIFI STARTER KIT
TP-LINK 600MBPS VDSL2/ ADSL2+ MODEM ROUTER
Distributors: VIP Computers, Spire Technology
Distributor: Spire Technology
This router from D-Link can reach speeds of up to 867Mbps and 5GHz. The router also operates on both the 2.4GHz band and 5GHz wireless bands at the same time.
A DSL WAN port and switchable ethernet WAN/LAN ports are included with this wireless router, which is also compatible with ADSL2/2+, ADSL, VDSL2, fiber and cable services.
Integrated WLAN provides connection to wireless devices such as a smartphone or laptop with the dLan. By using the integrated electrical socket, up to 16 amps can be connected, while its two extra antennas ensure better Wi-Fi.
Two USB ports are included with this router for storage, printer sharing, FTP server and Media Server. It also features broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps over VDSL2 and is backwards compatible with ADSL.
Specs: Internal antenna, four gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, one gigabit Ethernet WAN port.
Specs: USB 3.0 ports, dual CPUs for wired and wireless connections, DSL WN port and ethernet WAN/LAN ports.
Specs: 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity, 1200Mbps speeds, two gigabit LAN, integrated electrical socket.
Specs: Two USB 2.0 ports, connectivity speeds of 2.4GHz and 5GHz, compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n.
SRP: £51.67 ex VAT
LONGSPAN BASE AND END UNIT
TP LINK TL-WR843ND
NETGEAR AC600 WI-FI USB MINI ADAPTER
TP-LINK 24-PORT GIGABIT SMART POE SWITCH
Distributors: Tech Data, Exertis, Spire Technology, Entatech
This base and end unit extends the network cable distance by up to 600 metres, which can provide a connection to IP cameras and other remote network devices.
Designed specifically for wireless ISP users, this router can enable wireless access to the internet in areas with no wired ISP infrastructure. It comes with a wireless speed of up to 300Mbps.
Beamforming+ technology within this adapter boosts speeds, range and reliability. The adapter can be plugged into a USB slot, which will provide users with 802.11ac (150-Mbps/433Mbps).
24 10/100/1000Mbps ports are included with this switch from TP-LINK. It supports 802.3at/af-compliant PoE, with a total PoE power supply up to 180W, and it also comes equipped with four combo SFP slots.
Specs: Long range point-to-point ethernet, unrestricted 100Base-T, smart power, diagnostic display.
Specs: 2.4GHz frequency, 300Mbps transfer rate, IEEE 802.11b/g/n compliant, wireless.
Specs: Works with 802.11a/b/g/n and ac Wi-Fi routers, beamforming+ technology, dual band.
Specs: 48Gbps, 10240 Bytes, support 802.1p CoS/DSCP priority, supports up to 512 VLANs simultaneously.
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Dynamode .................. 0845 375 2023
Exertis (Harlow) ...........01279 822822
Spire Technology ....... 01202 828 444
Entatech ...................... 0333 101 1000
Midwich ...................... 01379 649 200
Tech Data ...................... 01256 788 00
Exertis (Basingstoke) ..01256 707070
Northamber ................ 020 8296 7000
VIP Computers ........... 0871 622 7500
PCR February 2015 | 55
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Four mounted cameras along the top of the HP Zvr track the user’s head and eye movements
PRODUCT SPECIAL The included stylus enables users to move and rotate 3D objects
HP brings virtual reality to work HP HAS expanded its portfolio of computer monitors with a new interactive virtual reality display for the business marketplace. The firm showcased the Zvr at CES 2015, which is able to rotate, manipulate and navigate 3D images from its 23.6-inch diagonal display. Powered by zSpace technology, HP’s ‘blended reality’ helps to provide a virtual experience through its 3D concept.
Users can interact with an HD 3D stereoscopic display combined with a full-motion parallax and direct interaction. A stylus is included with the Zvr, which allows users to move and rotate objects, and it also works in conjunction with a pair of 3D glasses. Jun Kim, VP and general manager of PC displays and accessories at HP, said: “HP’s new displays complement our goal of delivering new technologies that maximise
the visual experience and change the way people work and create.” The monitor comes with four cameras mounted along the top of the display, which detects eye and head movement. The company expects it will be used within schools, and engineering labs as well as design studios. The display comes with an optional HP zView solution allowing real-time sharing of 3D models on a 2D big screen.
Plus, it comes equipped with a dual-link DVI or DisplayPort connections to an HP Z Workstation. Kim added: “HP displays feature performance, innovation, reliability and outstanding image accuracy that we believe will transform how customers connect and interact using technology.” The expected availability of the Zvr is spring, and that’s also when pricing is expected to be announced.
HP also unveiled a range of curved displays, including the HP Z34c, HP ENVY 34c, HP EliteDisplay S270c and HP Pavilion 27c. The new monitors offer 3000:1 CR and low-haze enhancement technology. A range of 5K and 4K HP displays also made their debut at CES this year. The new ranges enable users to watch content in either 3840x2160 or 5120x2880 resolution.
Contact: HP | 0845 270 4567 | Price: TBC
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Clearer displays from Dell THE XPS 13 was the latest device showcased by Dell at CES this year. The 13-inch laptop weighs 1.18kgs, making it one of the smallest 13-inch laptops currently on the market. A borderless infinity display and Windows 8.1 also comes with
“The products announced at CES raise the bar in every category.” Sam Burd, Dell
the XPS. A battery life of 15 hours is available, which can be supplied on one single charge. The laptop has an optional UltraSharp Quad
HD+ infinity display with 5.2mm bezels, featuring 5.7 million pixels for a much clearer display. 5th Generation Intel Core processors are available with the XPS 13, along with an SSD for faster performance speeds. Dell also unveiled its latest all-in-one desktop, the Inspiron 23. Embedded within the new device is an Intel RealSense 3D camera front F200, offering users the option to interact with gaming and content creation. In addition, an Intel Core i74700MQ chip, 2GB of GDDR5 memory and an optional 32GB SSD is included. Plus, a whole host of ports are available, including four USB 3.0, and an HDMI in and out. Sam Burd, VP of client solutions product group at Dell, said: “The new products announced at CES raise the
The Inspiron 23 features a 23.8-inch display
bar in every category, with style, substance and software solutions customers can only get from Dell.” The Inspiron 23 comes with a 23.8-inch 1920x1080
TrueLife LED screen with IPS and touch control, and touts 3D scanning features. Burd added: “Whether you are a gamer, always on the go or buying a laptop or desktop
for everyday use, Dell is building in the features and functionality customers care about.” Both models will be available during late January.
Contact: Dell | 01344 860456 | XPS 13 price: £1,099 | Inspiron 23 price: £929
Intel expands product portfolio PRE-INSTALLED with Windows 8.1 or Linux, users have the choice to choose between their preferred operating system with Intel’s new Compute Stick. It is four-inches long and packs a quad-core Intel Atom processor and on-board storage. Built-in wireless technology has also been included, along with a micro SD card slot. The Compute Stick allows users to surf the web, stream media including games and videos, and network online. It also enables thin-client solutions for small to medium sized businesses, with Windows Remote Desktop and plug-and-play. Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, said: “The rise of new personal computing experiences, intelligent and connected devices, and the wearable revolution are redefining the
The Compute Stick packs a quad-core Intel Atom processor
“Intel will continue to push the envelope of what’s possible.” Mike Bell, Intel relationship between consumers and technology.” Intel also introduced its 5th Generation Intel Core processors family at CES, featuring new Broadwell
chips. The firm unveiled 14 brand new processors for both its consumer and business customers. 10 were 15W processors with Intel HD graphics and
four others were 28W products with Iris Graphics. The new processors promise battery life improvements of up to 30 per cent compared to current
Haswell chips. 3D graphics are also up to 22 per cent better, with 50 per cent faster video conversion and up to 1.5 hours longer battery life. The size has also shrunken by 37 per cent and now fits 35 per cent more transistors. Intel also unveiled the Curie, a hardware product based on the company’s fistbuilt SoC for wearable devices – the Intel Quark SE SoC. It also comes with 38kB flash memory and 80kB SRAM, Bluetooth low energy and a 32-bit Intel Quark microcontroller. Mike Bell, VP and general manager of Intel’s New Devices Group, added: “With the Intel Curie module, Intel will continue to push the envelope of what’s possible and enable companies to quickly and effectively build low-power wearables in various form factors.”
Contact: Intel | www.intel.co.uk | Price: TBA
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Practical portability from Samsung Unsoo Kim, senior vice president of branded product marketing and memory at Samsung, said: “The Portable SSD T1 allows people to store their entire digital portfolio
250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities are available
“The SSD T1 allows people to store their entire digital portfolio in one place.” Unsoo Kim, Samsung DESIGNED for speed and security, Samsung’s new portable SSD T1 can provide local storage to users on the go. Available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB storage capacities, the SSD is powered by
Samsung’s own proprietary 3D Vertical NAND (V-NAND) technology. The drive has read and write speeds of up to 450MBs with a USB 3.0 super speed interface and random read of up to 8,000 IOPS and write
speeds of up to 21,000 IOPS. Depending on the file size, the SSD can transfer data at up to four times faster than an external HDD, plus it takes eight seconds to transfer 3GB movie files and 27 seconds for a 10GB movie file.
locally in one place, take it with them anywhere and have blazing fast access to their data, all without worrying about reliability or security.” With one password, the drive is safe from unwanted
access due to its AES 256-bit hardware encryption, plus it has no moving parts allowing it to withstand drops. It is also shock resistant by up to 1500G/0.5ms and features Dynamic Thermal Guard, which will activate in extreme temperature conditions, protecting saved data. It is smaller than the average business card and weighs about 30 grams, featuring a black chrome metal coating and laser pattern design. Kim added: “The Portable SSD T1 overcomes the drawbacks of alternative options on every major pain point, making it the next external storage device of choice.” The Portable SSD T1 will launch globally in 15 countries including the UK, the US, European and Asian markets, in January.
Contact: Samsung | 0330 726 7864 | Price: From £154.79
AMD Syncs with new vendors AMD HAS unveiled its first full line-up of FreeSync monitors with new technology partners, including BenQ, LG, Nixeus, Samsung and Viewsonic. FreeSync technology, developed by AMD, is designed to reduce or eliminate screen tears in games and videos by allowing the monitor’s refresh rate to be controlled by the Radeon R-series graphics card or APU Radeon R-series graphics. This new line-up of monitors helps users to achieve this, with the displays ranging between 24 and 34-inches, supporting refresh rates of 30 to 144Hz. The monitors also come with
The monitors come with resolutions of 1080p
resolutions of 1080p as well as Ultra HD. Roy Taylor, corporate VP of the ISV/IHV partner group at AMD, said: “The broad adoption of FreeSync technology from our partners
shows how the industry strongly values the same open ecosystem and quality that AMD strives for.” Viewsonic, Nixeus and BenQ’s display has the highest refresh rate of 144Hz, while
LG’s monitors have a refresh rate of 75Hz and Samsung’s have a rate of 60Hz. Taylor added: “Gamers who use FreeSync technology with AMD Radeon R-Series graphics and AMD’s latest
generation of APUs can rest assured that they’re enjoying the best possible experience.” The displays are expected to market this January with additional models set to launch in early 2015.
Contact: BenQ (benq.co.uk), LG (lg.com/uk), Nixeus (nixeus.com), Samsung (samsung.com/uk), Viewsonic (viewsoniceurope.com/uk) | Price: Varies
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Delivering Value in Distribution Sales Hotline 0871 622 7500 PCR Xxxxxx 2015 | xx www.vip-computers.co.uk © Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2015. Information correct at time of publication E&OE.
Lenovo shows off AnyPen tablet tech THE YOGA 2 tablet was unveiled at CES 2015. It looks a bit different from your everyday tablet, with a battery cylinder and kickstand down one side of the device allowing users to hold, tilt or stand it and enjoy media content and games in numerous ways. A unique feature on the YOGA tablet 2 is the AnyPen technology, which converts any item into a stylus pen. From pencils to cutlery, users can control what is on the screen with any metal object, or anything with a graphite point. Lenovo has said that its tempered glass is a serious rival for Gorilla Glass (used by Apple), so there will be no worries about scratching the screen, as long as it isn’t used too aggressively. The downfall of many a tablet is its battery life, a problem Lenovo claims to
have tackled with an ‘off-thecharts’ lifespan of up to 18 hours from one charge. Its secret to this being the cylinder-shaped side chamber down the side allowing for more battery storage room. YOGA tablet users can choose between an eightinch, ten-inch, or 13-inch screen size, or they can choose a ten-inch screen with Windows included, all LED, LCD touch (1920x1200). Two front-facing, large-chamber stereo speakers are included with Wolfson Master Hi-Fi audio processing and Dolby surround sound. An 8MP camera is built into the back of the device boasting an f2.2 wideaperture lens, advanced glarereducing glass and a BSI 2 sensor. The YOGA tablet 2 also comes with premium Lenovo applications such as SHAREit making sharing files
quick and easy, while up to 8GB DDR3L memory and 1600 MHz is included. Lenovo also presented its Thinkpad X1 Carbon Ultrabook. This lightweight yet durable device comes with a number of premium features including a touchscreen, adaptive keyboard, RapidCharge battery tech, plus voice and gestures. Its 10-point multitouch screen increases accuracy and responsiveness, plus the voice and hand gestures allow users to give a multimedia presentation without having to touch the device at all, by speaking or using one of ten different hand movements. An adaptive keyboard
AnyPen technology allows any device to ‘become’ a stylus
automatically changes the function of keys depending on what application is being used, and users can feel safe in the knowledge that the X1
Carbon uses biometrics for login, unlocking the device with the swipe of a finger. Plus, it benefits from a Trusted Platform Module chip, which further encrypts any sensitive information.
Contact: Exertis | 01256 707070 (Basingstoke), 01279 822822 (Harlow) | Price: Around £1,299.99 (YOGA 2 tablet price may vary)
The L.Y.N.X effect NO LONGER do you need a gaming console to get an authentic gaming experience. Using the Mad Catz L.Y.N.X, gamers can enjoy a highquality gaming experience from their Android smart devices. Users can connect a device to the controller to play wherever they are, or on an HDTV using a full-sized gamepad that folds down to a comfortable pocket size. There are three ways to game using the L.Y.N.X: by connecting your smartphone to a removable clip leaving the screen completely free from obstruction, or by connecting the controller to a tablet by splitting it in two and re-attaching the separate parts to each side of the tablet, resulting in a mobile games console with a seven-
inch screen. Alternatively, users can connect the smart device to their TV using the PlayBig cables, streaming content directly to the big screen. Plus, using an OnLive or Steam account, players can use Cloud-Lift-enabled PC games in the living room.
Using the companion app allows the device to be completely personalised to any gamer, adjusting the controls, altering the trigger buttons or analog sticks and programming the device to change depending on what game is being used.
“Using the Mad Catz L.Y.N.X, gamers can enjoy a high-quality gaming experience from their smart devices.” Mad Catz’ controller also comes with a full QWERTY keyboard meaning its use goes beyond gaming, allowing users to type messages, update social media, and control music.
The controller can be folded into different sizes
Darren Richardson, CEO at Mad Catz, said: “We believe the L.Y.N.X. 9 represents a generational leap in mobile game controllers.” A release date for the L.Y.N.X has not been revealed.
Contact: Entatech | 0333 101 1000 | Price: TBA
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Acer’s bold new book ACER’S NEW Chromebook 15 is currently the biggest one on the market. It features a fifth generation Intel Core i3, all built into either a 2GB or 4GB Celeron chip and a choice of a 16GB or 32GB SSD. The Chromebook comes with a number of connectivity features including dual-band MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also offers a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, with HDMI plus an SD card reader. It weighs in at just under five pounds and measures 15.4x10.08x0.95 inches, boasting a 1360x768 screen plus a compact keyboard lined with stereo speakers. Thanks to the device being lightweight, the battery life has been extended to last all day on a single charge, and using the latest in wireless technology, web content is delivered quickly and in high-resolution.
A 16GB or 32GB SSD is available
“It weighs in at just under five pounds and measures 15.4x10.08x0.95 inches, boasting a 1360x768 screen.”
Contact: Acer | www.acer.co.uk | Price: TBA
Roccat reinvents the Ryos “When concepting Phobo, we knew we had a strong vision.” Smartphones can connect via Bluetooth
THE RYOS Phobo enables users to connect their smartphone with their gaming keyboard using a specially designed smartphone port. Now, if a gamer’s phone rings or if they receive a message, they can engage with their device via the
keyboard without losing focus on what they are doing at that time. Smartphones can connect via Bluetooth using the Roccat Power-Grid app, merging the capabilities of both devices into one easy to use dock. Calls can be answered at the touch of a
button on the keyboard, and using the gaming headset to speak and listen, messages and emails can be brought up on the PC screen and replied to without having to touch the phone. The Phobo can also charge the mobile device while it is connected. Using the
Bluetooth connection means the smartphone can be placed anywhere on the surface. The app allows users to keep an eye on the PC:CPU load, memory, network, storage usage and even the GPU temperature, which can all be checked at a glance. Plus a touch-centric interface
René Korte, Roccat
means quick access to media controls and other shortcuts such as web search and email. René Korte, chief executive and founder of Roccat, said: “When concepting Phobo, we knew we had a strong vision.” The Ryos Phobo is set for a Q3 2015 release, with prices to be confirmed.
Contact: Roccat | www.roccat.org | Price: TBA
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Transformers: tablets in disguise ASUS HAS announced the razor-thin detachable Transformer Book Chi series, featuring some of the world’s slimmest Windows tablets with the T100 Chi at 7.2mm, the T90 at 7.5mm and the T300 Chi measuring in at 1.65cm when docked. It has been built with an all-aluminum unibody design, and diamond-cut chamfering, resulting in attractive highlights to the metallic body. The transformation between laptop and tablet is made possible using a magnetic hinge mechanism and a neodymium, which is the world’s most powerful magnetic material. The ergonomic keyboard is then connected using Bluetooth, and with a working range of up to 20m. Each model of the Transformer Book Chi has an
“Each model in the series comes with an Active Stylus pen.”
IPS display with up to WQHD 2560x1440 resolution plus a pixel density of 235ppi in the T300 Chi. Users can enjoy highresolution colour thanks to the sRGB colour gamut, delivering a more vivid
and accurate colour reproduction. ASUS’ SonicMaster audio technology is designed and engineered to deliver distortion-free sound, with clear vocals and full-range frequency response.
The device also comes with an Active Stylus pen allowing users to write, draw or annotate items anywhere on the display with the feel of a real pen and a charge life of up to two months.
Contact: Asus | www.asus.com/uk | Price: TBA
Track your gaming reactions with Mionix THE NAOS QG smart gaming mouse is the first of its kind, tracking the user’s body reactions and providing insights into performance. Using built-in sensors, the quantified mouse delivers information on how an individual reacts whilst using the device monitoring heart rate, galvanic skin response and actions per minute. It is built using the highest quality materials, boasting outstanding ergonomics, state of the art sensors and quantified gaming software that completes the gadget. Using software provided, gamers can see their stress
levels in real-time, keep track of changes to their body and set new goals. Feedback can be seen on screen whilst using the mouse, meaning if a player is getting too stressed, they can take a well needed break. The NAOS QG works with third-party game recording software such as NVIDIA ShadowPlay, Rapt, XSplit and more, plus users can share their stats and snapshots anytime, anywhere via social media. The mouse is set for worldwide release in August this year.
“Gamers can see their stress levels in real-time, keep track of changes to their body and set new goals.”
Contact: Entatech | 0333 101 1000 | Price: $129 SRP (around £90)
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Razer’s new gaming gadgets RAZER HAS shown off a new mini PC console, the Forge TV, which the company believes will bring in hardcore PC gaming to the living room. The TV has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core Krait 450 3.5GHz CPU, Adreno 420 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built-in storage. It has access to other apps that enable users to interact with the console through mobile devices running iOS, Android, Windows and Chromebook. Plus, it works as an Android TV entertainment center, allowing users to access apps including Netflix and Spotify. Speaking at CES 2015, Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and CEO of Razer, said: “Razer Forge TV is a device that is able to bring together
“The Razer Forge TV is able to bring together the most popular elements of an entertainment centre.” Min-Liang Tan, Razer
the most popular elements of an entertainment centre. “It powers popular music and movie apps and plays Android TV games that an entire family can enjoy. For the hardcore gaming audience, it will bring PC gaming to the couch.”
The latest gaming keyboard from Razer is the Turret, a ‘lapboard’ that features a fully-fledged PC gaming keyboard with anti-ghosting capabilities and a mouse with a 3500 DPI sensor. It comes with dual wireless connectivity and built-in
lithium polymer batteries. Razer has also released its Nabu X, the one-size fits all smart wristband that vibrates and lights up in LED customisable colours when the user receives an incoming alert. The band can count how many steps the user has
walked, the distance travelled, hours slept, as well as how many calories the user has burnt. One of the features of the band allows users to exchange data, such as contact numbers or social network details, via a hi-five.
Contact: VIP Computers | 0871 622 7500 | Price: Forge TV – TBA, Nabu X – £49.99, Turret – TBA
A look at the biggest features coming up in PCR over the next few months…
BOOT CAMP SPECIAL
PCR’s Retail Special will focus on our annual retail survey and retail buyers guide. We will also be looking at the world of managed services.
This month we cover some of the highlights from the 2015 PCR Awards, where retailers, distributors and vendors are recognised for their contribution to the tech industry.
We preview the next PCR Boot Camp, where those attending will be able to take a look around the exhibition, sit in on the conference sessions and network with other members of the industry.
Sector Guides: Laptops and accessories, tablets and accessories.
Sector Guides: Speakers, docks and headphones, music software, memory.
Sector Guides: Keyboards, mice and mats, outdoor tech, wearable tech.
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OUT OF OFFICE
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS… DEFINITELY doesn’t stay in Vegas – if you’re a vendor at CES, that is. The mammoth trade show again took place in early January complete with the latest computers, consumer electronics and celebrities on show – and the world was watching. From robots to connected cars, smartwatches to smart tablet styli and other gadgets, fresh new products were in abundance (check out our picks of the show in our CES special on page 57). The likes of singer Stevie Wonder (sporting a pair of 3D printed glasses), rapper and SMS Audio developer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and DJ Tiesto (showing off his own brand headphones) were on hand, as were musician will.i.am with 3D Systems and NBA giant Shaquille O’Neal at Monster’s press conference. Of course, Ashton Kutcher also made an appearance. The actor, sorry, Lenovo ‘product engineer’, was spotted at Ignition Factory’s cocktail party. Here are some snaps from the show.
HOT SEAT WD’s UK sales manager and author Yemi Elegunde tells PCR why the Sega Mega Drive was his favourite childhood console… What is your favourite gadget? My Sonos wireless music speakers. It makes listening to music around the house a doddle. The sound quality and ease of use is excellent. The competition is catching on at last, but Sonos has it all figured out – perfect with IOS, Android or Windows. Do you use social media? Yes, being a writer in my spare time, I have to. I have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and more. I struggle to manage them all, but I know the benefits. What is your current smartphone? The Sony Xperia Z2 Compact but I also have an iPhone 5S for business. What would you like to see more of in the industry? Better mobile phone signals, they seem to be getting worse. And free and good wireless access everywhere. What was your first gaming console? The Sega Mega Drive. I used to love playing Alex the Kid. What’s next for you? Complete writing my next book, continue to grow our UK market share at WD and to stick around long enough to witness Liverpool FC win the Premier League outside of my Xbox.
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FROM THE ARCHIVE PC Retail February 2007 PHILIPS AMBX gaming technology is unveiled at CES 07… Microsoft unveils channel programme for Vista launch… The future of MP3s and iPods is discussed… Research reveals strong demand for PC budget software… Microsoft’s DirectX10 enters the market… The Sims 2 Pets takes top spot in software charts… Razer launches DeathAdder gaming mouse… Plus: Hulk Hogan makes a questionable appearance at the Kodak CES stand… PC Retail’s Andrew Wooden lets off a few rounds at a worryingly admin free CES shooting range…
OUT OF OFFICE
VIP’S FESTIVE HAMPERS
140 CHARACTERS OF NEWS AND VIEWS
A FESTIVE ‘Spot the difference’ campaign was run over the Christmas season by distributor VIP Computers, where those customers who entered were given the chance to get their hands on one of three Harvey Nichols hampers. All they had to do was spot the difference in six different e-shots. Those who were successful had the chance to win either the ‘Tea Party’ or the ‘Say Cheese’ hamper. Adrian Mundy from SpecialTech (pictured), Darren Falkner from Falcon Computers and Christian Schwarz from Huelin Trading were the three hawk-eyed winners who we’re lucky enough to try out the tasty treats.
It came from…
What the industry’s been tweeting about this month… Min-Liang Tan, Razer @minliangtan It isn’t just VR we’re doing with OSVR but democratizing it for everyone. And with an open source $199 HDK too. Sarah Shields, Dell @sarahshields2 It’s back to work today and I’m ready! Two weeks of mummy bliss and now back for an amazing 2015! Happy new year!!! Exertis IT @ExertisIT We’re absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for 8 x @pcr_online Distributor of the Year 2015 awards #humbled #passionate #loveretail
A COMPANY in Osaka, Japan, programmes robots for all types of scenarios, including painting nails. Yes that’s right, and the robot has even undergone 10 days worth of programming to allow it to paint nails with 0.05mm precision. The robot’s movements are controlled by something called systems integration in the trade, which allows it to
paint nails carefully, plus under different programming it can even create a Japanese dish called okonomiyaki, a type of savoury pancake. Right now, due to regulations the robot isn’t cleared to work on humans, so until then we will just have to prep our nails and dish up delicious treats all by ourselves.
CROWDFUNDING CORNER THE KEYMOUSE combines both a keyboard and a mouse in one futuristic looking gadget. The device comes in two separate parts, one for each hand with a QWERTY keyboard split between the two. It also has a number of programmable buttons and a high-resolution laser mouse senor under each part so the user can choose what feels most comfortable. The KeyMouse has been designed to boost efficiency
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Network Group @nbgltd Congratulations to @GHIcomputers @PCsMadeSimple and @TheRealUtopia on making the @pcr_online #PCRawards shortlist.. Dean Shaw, A One Distribution @deanshaw2000 I’m Back check this out http://t.co/bbj3IlnyHz Widget UK Ltd @widget Thx RT @GarethWong: Brilliant! Congrat! @ widget: RT @pcr_online: .@widget takes stake in Swedish tech distributor http://t.co/21BCYdNB8A XeroxUK @xeroxuk In the new era of big data are we right in placing our trust in the Internet of Things? http://xerox.bz/1w3sFkc via @pcr_online Joe Cowell, Text100 @JoeWritesStuff @Dom_Sacco @pcr_online @MIONIX [mouse] Tracking heart rate :O Can’t believe I missed this! Tim Grifﬁn, Dell @TimGAtDell Congrats to @DellUK for being shortlisted for @PCR_online Awards for Best Computing and Networking Vendors! http://bit.ly/1AfmW2j
when working, gaming, surfing the web, writing and designing. Users can connect their KeyMouse to their
computer via Bluetooth or USB, and the device also comes complete with rechargeable batteries.
Acision @Acision Thanks @pcr_online we agree! Our Maria Hudson, VP Marketing named in Top 30 Women in UK Mobile http://bit.ly/1zO8pp4
PCR February 2015 | 65
THE LAST WORD
The Last Word: UK manufacturing getting back on track IDC’s senior research analyst Lorenzo Veronesi says the UK is now taking hold of the tech manufacturing industry, employing around 2.5 million. Here he explains why it is the best time to be a part of the industry… THE manufacturing industry, particularly production processes, is back on track as a key driver of economic growth, especially in developed economies. Manufacturing has been ignored over the past 10 to 15 years and has taken a back seat to industries such as finance and services. Now with manufacturing becoming an essential driver of wealth, global economies are focusing on driving high-end manufacturing capabilities in industries such as aerospace and industrial machinery.
The UK is also taking a leading role in manufacturing. Employing around 2.5 million people, accounting for more than half of the country’s exports, and contributing to around 70 per cent of business research and development, the manufacturing sector is not only part of the economic history of the country but one that still makes a significant contribution to the economy. Today, however, with the UK’s heavy dependence on services, especially financial services, the manufacturing sector accounts
“UK manufacturers are under the spotlight, but it is a good time to be in the business with the industry at the top of the Government agenda.” Lorenzo Veronesi, IDC The European Commission has introduced a number of policies to increase manufacturing’s share of GDP from today’s historic low of 16 per cent to 20 per cent. With 21 per cent of its GDP from manufacturing, Germany is taking the lead in Europe with its Industry 4.0 project – defining the fourth industrial revolution as highly computerised and based on the use of cyber-physical systems. China has become the world’s largest market for robots and production automation, which will help it manage its growing wages and guarantee higher product quality.
for only 10 per cent of UK GDP. To redress this, the UK Government has set out a huge reindustrialisation program, together with a number of activities such as the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain initiative – a grant competition planned to improve the global competitiveness of UK advanced manufacturing supply chains. UK manufacturers are under the spotlight, but it is a good time to be in the business with the industry at the top of the Government agenda and manufacturing operation processes back at the heart of the industry’s value proposition.
Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647 Website: www.pcr-online.biz Twitter: @pcr_online PCR is published 12 times a year by NewBay Media - Saxon House, 6a St. Andrew Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 1JA. Fax: +44 (0)1992 535648. © NewBay Media 2015 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. The contents of PCR are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. Printed by Pensord.
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