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SPECIALISTS IN DISPLAY AND TOUCH TECHNOLOGY HannsG caters for the specialist needs of many customers. From monitors that are designed to survive and last longer in public environments, to ergonomic solutions that ensure personal comfort in hard working offices.

24 Educating the Educators Are teachers up to speed with tech?

31 The classroom of the future How tech will make education better

35 Computex 2017 PCR rounds up the big announcements and trends from the show


“WE WANTED TO MAKE A MACHINE TO REBOOT THE PIPELINE.” PCR speaks to Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton about the company’s role in saving British progamming


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MEET THE TEAM Jonathan Easton Editor




The human side of technology

06 Analysis 11 Appointments @jonman247

11 Events 13 Opinion

Rob Horgan Deputy Editor

FEATURES @robbiehorgs

16 A day at a school 19 The big interview: Raspberry Pi’s Eben Upton

Gurpreet Purewal Group Sales Manager

24 Educating the educators 31 The future of the classroom 36 Computex roundup

Sarah Goldhawk Senior Account Manager @sarzgoldhawk

FOR THIS month’s edition of PCR – our education special – I had the pleasure of speaking with Eben Upton, the cofounder of Raspberry Pi. Asides from being a lovely person who I could happily speak with for hours, he mentioned one thing that I think is worth raising again here. Speaking on the Foundation’s recent merger with like minded CoderDojo, Upton said that one often overlooked aspect of these sorts of deals is the people you’re going to be working with. The human element of business is one that we often forget about, but that is core to our success. Whether we are working to secure a huge distribution deal, sell a graphics card to a customer or even lock down a meeting with an elusive agent, the business of the channel might be in computers, but the work we do is with people and that’s something that’s always worth bearing in mind.

PRODUCTS 39 New products 44 Back to school hardware and software

“Now, Perhaps more than ever, togetherness is key to a fruitful future as individuals, businesses and as an industry.”

50 Monitors Dana Radu Sales Executive

OUT OF OFFICE 52 School kids on tech 53 Raspberry Pi inventions 54 Team of the month:

Dan Bennett Designer

Zoostorm’s sales team

Jason Dowie Production Executive

James McKeown Content Director

Another thing that got me thinking this month my trip to visit Microsoft at London Tech Week as they showed off their Surface range of PCs and HoloLens, and the big theme there was collaboration. I could have been thrown with half a dozen other journalists in a room with the shiny new devices and told to just have a go, but what was done was far more interesting. Being introduced to different companies who work with Microsoft’s technology to further their business, and having been talked through the potential of HoloLens by a software developer, it was clear that even a huge company like Microsoft needs to work and do business with other firms. We work in a very human industry. We work hard together, and celebrate together (need I remind you of the sore heads felt after the PCR Awards earlier this year or, more recently, the Synaxon National Conference). From the smallest start-up to the largest multinational corporation, now, perhaps more than ever given the strange times we live in, togetherness – internally and externally – is key to a fruitful future as individuals, businesses and as an industry.

Jonathan Easton, Deputy Editor

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‘A Storm in a teacup’ Alarm bells have been ringing since investors began dumping shares in tech companies across the globe, but there’s no need to panic just yet, writes Rob Horgan…

ALARM BELLS are ringing and red flags are being waved as technology-related share prices have taken a tumble. Stock markets across Europe, Asia and the US continue to wobble as investors off-load ‘overvalued’ (their words, not mine) shares in technology companies around the world. Kicked off in the middle of June, the so called ‘big five’ US technology firms – Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook – lost around $100 billion on the New York stock exchange as investors dramatically turned their back on a hugely inflated market. And with the technology bellwether Nasdaq Composite Index tumbling by -1.8 per cent in just 24 hours, the UK’s

6 | PCR July 2017

FTSE 100 was knocked by -0.3 per cent, the next day. But what does it really mean? Will it affect the Channel as a whole or is it a problem reserved for the ‘big five’ firms? The reality is that the selloff is a reflection of the top end of the market that grew too fast for its own good. As Westcoast MD Alex Tatham says, the technology sell-off is merely ‘a storm in a teacup’ reserved for the top five and unlikely to impact on the rest of the Channel. The scaremongering that technology has had its day is far from a reality. “The IT industry has defined the last 40 years and will define the next 40,” Tatham says. “Whether there are new

“Technology is THE area to invest in. The best businesses will contine to progress.” Alex Tatham, Westcoast

technologies on the horizon or in development by the existing behemoths, technology is THE area to invest in. The best businesses will continue to progress and any sell-off is more likely to be profit taking by brokers.” That is the sentiment running through the entire industry. In the past month, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Amazon both surpassed the $1,000-pershare mark as the top five all announced record figures for the year thus far. While many industry analysts hailed the achievement as reflective of a booming technology sector reaping the rewards of investment, some corners were sceptical, asserting that the growth was unsustainable.

TP-Link retail sales director Lino Notaro believes that the sell-off is in fact a good thing for the sector as a whole. “It’s fair to say that so far this year U.S. tech shares have seen ‘blisteringly’ good performance,” he says. “So I would say a ‘healthy correction’ was a little overdue and not necessarily a bad thing. By its nature the market is volatile and judging by the recent announcements from E3 and ADWC, there is still plenty of innovation. Consequently, I don’t believe there is anything to worry about in the mid-to-long term future.” Meanwhile, Notaro’s colleague, Ben Allcock (commercial director at TPLink) expects the market to


pick up after a brief blip. “For the last seven years, the US stock market, the NASDAQ in particular, has seen phenomenal growth, and history shows this isn’t sustainable without a few bumps along the way,” he comments. “It’s fair to say that the market was spooked by the outcomes of the latest FOMC meeting, which will result in some short-term volatility but I don’t think it’s a true reflection of market conditions or these particular organisations: it’s a reaction to the macro environment.” He adds: “Many factors affect the stock market, from the political climate to natural disasters, a healthy market correction wouldn’t surprise

Alex Tatham, Westcoast, managing director

Ben Allcock, TP-Link UK, commercial director

Jonathan Wagstaff, Context, UK and Ireland country manager

Lino Notaro, TP-Link UK, retail sales director

me based on historical cycles but it doesn’t concern me. Unless there is a sustained sell-off over a prolonged period, this short term volatility might just bring some opportunity to those playing the markets.” But is that as good as we can expect? If the market is to level out to ‘more realistic’ figures does that mean we will never see another $1,000-per-share company? Quite the opposite says Context UK and Ireland country manager Jonathan Wagstaff. Companies – and the tech sector as a whole – will continue to grow, no doubt about that. “The general response so far to the sell-off has been that it is due a pause and readjustment,

“On paper you would expect alarm bells to be loudly tolling.” Jonathan Wagstaff, Context

and that the sector will pick up again later in the year.” “On paper, if you compare, say, Amazon to other major listed companies, the fact is that its shares traded at over 180 times its earnings over the last 12 months. It’s never paid a dividend, and operating margins hover around two per cent, you would expect alarm bells to be loudly tolling. “The Amazon model however has been to continually reinvest in new sectors, and improve marketshare. Arguably, wherever Amazon has extended its services they have excelled and upped the ante - Amazon Web Services and Amazon Prime Video come to mind. The company’s valuation is

partly based upon future earnings; so long as their progress continues unabated there’s scant reason to think that such estimates are fantastical. For some of the other ‘big five’, their businesses are evolving – in the case of Apple, recent slugish hardware sales were brightened by a fast-growing services division which could soon be a Fortune 100 company in its own right.” So the big technology selloff is looking like more of a blip than anything to be majorly concerned about. The world isn’t crashing around us, investors will continue to pour money into tech firms and that is good for the industry as a whole.

PCR July 2017 | 7


Gaming galore at E3 2017 PCR takes a look at the big news and announcements from the year’s most talked about games conference…

Xbox One X gives system builders a run for their money WELL IT HAD been a year in the making, but Microsoft finally lifted the veil on ‘Project Scorpio’ to reveal Xbox One X – what it calls the ‘fastest console ever’. While there was an expected initial backlash from the price tag of £449.99 (a full £100 more than the RRP of Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro), the console is actually impressively specced and could see more companies than just Sony looking over their shoulders. Under the hood, you’ve got a custom CPU at 2.3 GHz with 8 cores, a custom GPU at 1.172 GHz, 40 CUs with Polaris features and 6.0 TFLOPs, along with 12 GBs of GDDR5 at 326 GB/s. What that means, Xbox says, is games fully rendered at 4K and running at 60 FPS. When you look at the specs and the promised performance, all of a sudden that price tag starts to look more reasonable. While we can only guess what the custom CPU and GPU are going to be comparable to, building a PC of a similar spec that can also run VR (which, don’t forget, Microsoft has promised the One X can) would generally set a consumer back just as much, if not more.

Intel gets virtual with ESL and Oculus ONE OF THE more unexpected announcements of the expo came during the PC Gaming Show as Intel, in collaboration with Oculus and ESL announced the launch of a brand new competitive VR gaming league called the VR Challenger League. The competitions, which are set to kick off with qualifiers on July 12th, will be based around two games specifically designed for the league. Firstly is The Unspoken, developed by Ratchet and Clank and Resistance-makers Insomniac. The Unspoken will pit players against each other as opposing spellcasting mages in 1v1 duels. The other game called Echo Arena, created by Ready At Dawn, looks like a sort of sci-fi Frisbee game involving robots. The whole announcement shows that Intel has doubled down on its commitment to both esports and virtual reality. This partnership will no doubt help raise the profile of the two fields, and should prove extremely exciting from a spectator perspective – if only to see players looking silly in headsets.

8 | PCR July 2017


Return of a classic

WHILE WE often will get caught up talking about the fancy hardware shown off at these grand trade expos, let’s not forget what most people are at E3 for: the games! And this year’s show gave PC gamers a healthy

dose of nostalgia with a brand new remaster of the classic title Age of Empires. PC games are all-too-often overlooked at E3, but this year saw a triumphant return of the original Age of Empires that left

console gamers green with envy over the game they won’t be able to play. This isn’t just a flashy visual overhaul (though a big part is having the game run in native 4K), the game has been

completely reworked for the modern age, featuring an “entirely re-orchestrated soundtrack, brand new narrative, major gameplay improvements, Xbox Live support for multiplayer, and achievements.”

Those hardcore fans among you will also be happy as the 16 civilizations from the Rise of Rome expansion will also be available in the game. You can sign up for the closed beta that will launch soon and we can’t wait!

Alienware all about accessories WHEN IT COMES to PC gaming, it’s normally the components – the graphics cards and processors – that get the most love, but this year’s E3 saw the peripherals and monitors hogging the spotlight. While it said that its flagship Area 51 desktop was being refreshed with some shiny new CPUs, the highlight of Alienware’s offerings was its new range of Alienware 25 Gaming Monitors as the company announced its return to peripherals with a flourish. Coming in two different versions (one supporting Nvidia G-Sync at $699 and the other supporting AMD FreeSync at a cheaper $499), both monitors are 24.5-inch Full HD screens with the selling point of an outrageous 240Hz refresh rate and a 1 millisecond response time – vital for gaming. It wasn’t just monitors on show from Alienware, as it also

announced a pair of new gaming mice and keyboards. The Alienware Advanced Gaming Mouse ($50) and Elite Gaming Mouse ($90) both feature on-the-fly DPI switching, with the Elite also offering some ergonomic enhancements including the ability to change the mouse’s weight. On the keyboard side of things, the company launched the similarly named Advanced and Pro keyboards that will run for $89 and $119 respectively. They both come with KaiHua brown mechanical switches, dedicated media keys and macro keys. The Pro also chucks in a volume wheel and 13 zone keyboard backlighting system. If Alienware’s expansion is indicative of anything, it’s that the PC gaming market is flourishing. The firm’s return to peripherals, along with its first ever gaming monitors, shows there’s money to be made.

PCR July 2017 | 9


Channel appointments EXERTIS: Leading distie Exertis has appointed Richard Ferguson as head of commercial for Exertis Mobile. Ferguson will be growing the business with the mobile division’s range of device and accessory vendors. He previously spent three years at mobile distributor Brightstar as VP OEM EMEA. TERRA: Terra Computer has announced Alicia Shepherd as senior business development manager while Colin Morris has been named business development manager. Both move to Terra from Entatech. Shepherd, a PCR women of the year award-winner, said: “I am thrilled to be joining the team and am looking forward DCS: Boston Spa-based Deans Computer Services has announced Barry Rankin as sales director. Rankin joined the firm’s sales team in 2000. Prior to that he worked in customer service, consultancy and sales management roles with various companies, including Action Data Systems, the Milk ENTANET: Voice and data communications provider Entanet has promoted Ryan Berrisford to customer relationship manager. Berrisford will be responsible for managing the Service Review Programme, developing long-term relationships with partners and helping them identify key MILLENNIUM BUSINESS SYSTEMS: Wokingham IT specialist Millennium Business Systems (MBS) has announced Steven Parker as its new marketing director. Parker joins from Centerprise where he held the position of the firm’s interactive AV manager. Prior to that, Parker worked as a

Richard Ferguson

Alicia Shepherd

“It is an exciting time at Exertis right now,” he said. “I was attracted by the ambition of the company to continue to grow and the quality of the management set up and in particular the mobile team. The creation of a new consumer business unit will add further opportunities for mobile in the retail arena.” to working with the reseller community and building on the success that the UK sales team already had.” Morris added: “I am excited by this new challenge. Terra Computer has a great product set with some excellent service offerings that will allow the reseller community to grow. “

EVENTS The UK’s channel calendar is full of important events. Here are some highlights for upcoming dates… THE CYBER SECURITY SUMMIT 1 America Square, London JULY 4TH Join over 250 cyber security experts and ICT professionals from across central government, local government, law enforcement, the NHS and the wider public sector, to tackle key issues at the heart of the UK’s cyber security sector at the fourth Annual Cyber Security Summit.

LONDON FINTECH WEEK Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London JULY 7TH-14TH Fintech Week is a series of conferences, workshops, hackathons, meetups and parties. The event will bring together and enhance the dialogue between established multi-nationals, innovation firms, disruptive start-ups, government oraganisations, media and investors.

Barry Rankin

Marketing Board and Hamilton Data Imaging. DCS managing director, Patrick Clayton, said: “We are delighted to welcome Barry to the board of directors. His commitment has always been exemplary and we value his dedication, tenacity and ability to come up with solutions to difficult situations.”


Ryan Berrisford

opportunities to continue their growth. He said: “I’m excited about working with our ambitious partners to find ways to serve them even better. I’ve been heavily involved in our Service Review Programme since its inception and I’m keen to see partners benefit from working closer with us.”


Steven Parker

marketing manager at Genee World, Entatech and NSP. MBS commercial director James Baxter said: “I have known Steven for many years and I have spent most of them slowly persuading him to join our team. He has already made a difference and we are looking forward to bolstering our offering’.

MOMENTUM – NETWORK GROUP EVENT DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Milton Keynes JULY 11TH-12TH Whether you want to grow your sales, promote your brand, launch a product, network with the best in the industry or all of the above, attendees are sure to find what you are looking for at the Momentum event at the DoubleTree in Milton Keynes.

Digital Catapult, London JULY 17TH IotUK is the national programme dedicated to accelerating the adoption of the Internet of Things throughout the UK. A growing partner community is working with the event on large scale IoT demonstrations for smart cities, NHS test beds and academic research.

JW Marriott, Austin, Texas JULY 31ST – AUGUST 2ND ChannelCon connects the industry’s leading solution providers, vendors, distributors, IT professionals and media outlets. Those attending ChannelCon can expect a range of services, including intensive industry training, peer-to-peer learning and exceptional networking opportunities.

PCR July 2017 | 11

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Parents want safety, Projections for schools need results Edtech market Steve Hicks, head of global sales at BullGuard outlines how parents’ needs to protect their children and schools’ needs to ensure good pupil results can dovetail and be leveraged to even greater sales… aimed at children every day. Social EVERY PARENT understands the media protection flags up stranger instinctive need to protect their danger and allows parents to step in. children balanced with letting them It also protects against online explore, learn and discover. It’s a bullying, and we all know how difficult enough task and is further damaging that can be. complicated by the online world. Most schools have a strong digital Today’s kids are true digital natives. element to their curriculum and an It’s important to encourage digital element in this is safety awareness. aptitude given that it is increasingly While many operate with tight essential as children get older and budgets they do understand the border on entering the workplace. importance of technology and But most parents are actively make use of tablets and understandably wary of the dangers devices like Kindles. they can be exposed to online. And These are not only used for everylet’s face it, there’s some pretty nasty day learning but are also given to stuff on the web. some pupils to take home. Schools Many parents are up to speed with today are results the dangers but there driven, and schools are also a lot who can lose out in Ofsted struggle to keep up. rankings if their Resellers are in a “Schools value students don’t hit the great position to help technology and mark. Within this these parents with context, schools value advice and guidance. understand that technology and And they’ll appreciate children readily understand that it too. A reseller can children readily help by pointing them engage with it.” engage with tech to things like devices. For instance, BullGuard’s free, if a primary school downloadable student is struggling document: A Parents’ with reading comprehension, they Guide to Protecting Children Online. might be given a Kindle to take home. This is not just about safeguarding This is s good opportunity to not against malware but also the use of only make ‘bulk’ device sales at features such as parental controls to discounted rates but also load keep a discreet eye on the children. security software onto the devices. Parental controls can help parents set In short, schools today make reasonable limits for the time children extensive use of technology across a spend online and also flag up range of subjects to help their pupils disturbing content which can have a to achieve good grades. damaging effect. Understanding that schools need to Some security software also ensure good pupil performance and includes social media protection. that technology is seen as an Recent research by the NSPCC reveals important component in this is a that in England and Wales there are great door opener. about 15 sexual grooming attempts Steve Hicks is the head of global sales at BullGuard

Projectors are the norm in the classroom, but there’s so much more that AV can do to enhance learning. Nick Price, territory manager at Optoma explains how tech is being used to improve the education experience… visualiser, DC554, which has a 13 TECHNOLOGY IN education has megapixel camera, 17x optical changed so much over the last few zoom and up to 30 frames-peryears and is a far cry from the dusty second video which can capture OHP acetates some of us remember detail often not visible to the from our schooldays. Nowadays, technology is being used in a variety human eye. Education venues still need large of ways to improve teaching to screen sizes to be able to share make the lives of teachers and content with the whole class or students better. lecture theatre – which lends itself Interactive projectors foster more to projector technology greater collaboration in a classroom. rather than flat screen displays due These can be pen or finger touch. to the lower cost and portability of Optoma’s TouchBeam 10-point smaller, more compact, projectors. finger-touch interactive technology, Flat screen displays, such as TVs, seen in its 320 range of ultra short would be incredibly expensive for throw projectors, enables several the same screen size. people to work simultaneously on Laser projectors the screen or the have now become a wall without the cost-effective, low need to use a pen. maintenance option It is easy to draw, “Laser projectors for schools and are annotate, zoom have now become becomming and rotate images increasingly popular on the projected a cost-effective, within the edtech screen and low maintenance market place. teachers, or Projections can be students, can open option for daylight visible and documents or schools.” maintenance costs browse the web for bulb replacement without touching a have been eradicated computer. Multiple through the laser technology which touch points also give a more provides around 20,000 hours of natural and intuitive way of impressive, virtually maintenanceinteracting with digital content. free operation. Visualisers (also known as All Optoma projectors use DLP document cameras) not only allow technology which has a filter–free teaching staff to share passages of design that prevents dirt and dust text, maps, detailed diagrams and affecting the system, meaning they 3D objects with the whole class, are likely to last much longer and but teachers and students can also work at a higher performance for annotate on an image captured by much longer than equivilant the visualiser and capture lessons devices in the past. This means they as video clips to use later. need very little maintenance (and This has made lessons more less downtime) as there are no engaging and interactive. Optoma filters to remove and clean. has just launched its 4K UHD Nick Price is territory manager at Optoma

PCR July 2017 | 13


Children need to start coding, and they need to do it now Coding used to be for geeks in their bedrooms but now it is firmly in the classroom. FUZE technologies founder Jon Silvera talks about how coding has been democratised and why it’s essential going forward… were added to the UK’s Shortage THERE HAS been a lot of emphasis Occupation List – many businesses placed on coding over the last few years. But why the sudden panic? What now outsource their software development requirement overseas happened that was so drastic that where they offer a high standard for a coding was added to the curriculum? lot less outlay. Schools across the nation now have to This is why we must teach our take ‘coding’ very seriously, and ‘digital children to code and properly. We skills’ and ‘computational thinking’ are need to make understanding now education buzzwords. technology second nature and explain In an ever evolving technological electronics and technology in the world, we’re all happy emailing away, classroom, and to teach them to learn, online shopping, reading digital news feeds, streaming TV shows, movies and explore and experiment fearlessly in the digital playground. This music and reading e-books. Why then understanding which will secure their should we care about what is behind future – and open opportunities. these online processes? And why do The UK digital economy depends on our children need to learn to code? it and coding has the Ask Intel, ARM, potential to make our Samsung, Apple and children’s future a lot Google what their “Coding has the more secure by silicon projections look potential to make providing them with like over the next few skills to help them years. Take a look at our children’s write the future, not where they are going: just be a part of it. phones, watches, cars, future a lot more But, changes are human embedded, secure.” needed. For example, silicon correctional if we are to take functions for physical teaching coding in defects like blindness, schools seriously, and, it is to be hearing, spinal injuries and so on. And considered as important as other of course robots. subjects, then we must invest in This future of computing provides training teachers to a high standard or exponential growth opportunities for train computing experts to teach. It tech companies of all sizes across all seems ridiculous that we can instruct markets. In the ‘60s there were outrageous claims suggesting that one our schools to teach coding without qualified resources. Fuze, as a day there would be a computer in company, is dedicated to making every office then in every home. Fast learning to code as easy as possible. forward 50 years and now we are By understanding technology and inundated with gaming consoles, not just using it, our future generations mobile phones, laptops, tablets, ‘smart will be able to shape the digital world home’ systems, etc. How many silicon around them. We have a responsibility powered devices do you own right to encourage the future generation to now, 10, 20 maybe? This will only get coding, both as a lifestyle and as a increase over the next decade. career choice. Last year digital tech sector roles Jon Silvera is the founder of FUZE Technologies

14 | PCR July 2017

The argument for healthier displays in schools Upgrading a school equipment might be expensive in the short term but, it is costeffective over the long haul. AOC regional sales director Paul Butler explains why it is important to keep monitors up to date… monitors, but it is also in the interest JUST AS many sectors are going of teachers or students to work with through a digitalisation process, the healthier and better monitors. education sector follows, or Children of primary school age sometimes leads this transition. The will benefit from new displays, old days, when the teacher used to which can deliver vibrant colours noisily scratch the blackboard to and high details to catch their lecture their students have changed attention. Similarly, bigger displays to smart and interactive boards. will create more screen real estate What a teacher or lecturer scribbles which can show multiple kinds of onto the blackboards nowadays is information on a single screen. no longer gone forever after the Universities suffer from the same class. All these educational materials issue. It is not unusual to can be archived and e-mailed to seecomputer-labs and libraries students later. Students, in return, stocked with old 4:3 displays. From can deliver their homework or researching to writing theses, the assignments via their tablets or time consumed behind a computer mobile computers. monitor is enormous. It therefore In such an interactive setting, makes perfect sense both teachers and to update monitors students are “It is not unusual alongside the spending more of computer hardware to their time either in to see computermeet current front of mobile labs and libraries standards. displays or PC Recent monitors monitors. As the stocked with old from AOC come computer use in equipped with every branch from 4:3 displays.” Flicker-Free maths to science technology and Low and even to Blue Light literature increases technology, which reduce the and programming becomes more harmful effects once produced by ubiquitous from primary school to legacy monitors. With the Flickerany kind of university program, the Free technology, reduced flicker need for better, healthier, more achieved by regulating the efficient and economical displays in backlight will help reduce educational is steadily increasing. headaches and eye-strain. These In underfunded public schools health features in new monitors are around the world, most equipment suited for teachers and students, is not updated regularly. It is still who both spend many hours in possible to see old, energy-hungry front of a PC on a daily basis. CRT monitors with low resolutions In the light of these recent in schools and even universities. It is therefore not only the interest of the improvements, it is now the perfect time for schools and universities to school administrations to reduce upgrade their monitors before the the energy costs of tens or even new semester starts. hundreds of computers and Paul Butler is the UK and Ireland regional sales director at AOC International

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Back to school When Rob Horgan was nine years old, Windows 1998 had just been released. To find out what technology the nine year olds of today use, he ventured back into the classroom‌ 16 | PCR July 2017



HAT DOES TECHNOLOGY MEAN?’ Within two minutes of handing out my perfectly crafted survey, nineyear-old Max revealed all I needed to know about technology in education in 2017. It turns out that kids are so acclimatised to tech – at home, school and everywhere in between – that they don’t even recognise when they are using it. The follow up question, from classmate Ciara, revealed even more. “Do you mean technology as in iPads, or technology as in apps and programmes?” Without knowing the terms for it, children as young as eight and nine now recognise the difference between hardware and software (as well as being able to highlight the flaws in the wording of my questions). Comparing the difference between now and my days at primary school – when I was happy just to make it through the once-a-week ICT lesson without the computer crashing – and it is clear to see which direction schooling is taking. The use of technology is no longer limited to the computer lab, with iPads and educational apps opening up an ever-growing gateway for technology to infiltrate the classroom. Most schools now teach youngsters how to code and some even have robotics clubs where kids as young as five or six can get their hands on drones. As Alex Waite, year four teacher at Christchurch Primary School in Shooters Hill, Greenwich, explains: “We use iPads for all subjects now. There is an app designed for everything from maths to literacy, art and music now to assist teachers’ lessons and improve children’s learning experience.” “Even in the short time that I have been a teacher [four years], the classroom has changed quite a lot. When I first started, iPads were not really present in most schools. Even two years ago, we had just seven iPads to share between a class of 30. Now we have one between two, and I’m sure over time – if the

budget allows for it – every child will have access to their own iPad in class.” And the introduction of the iPad in class has completely changed how lessons are conducted from the perspective of both teachers and pupils. During my afternoon visit, the year four class took part in a music lesson. Taught by their regular teacher Mr Waite, there was not an instrument in sight. Instead, the two iPad monitors (yes, that’s a thing now) dished out the tablets for the afternoon’s lesson. In place of drums and guitars, GarageBand allowed for all the youngsters to make music in a much more manageable environment. Not only did the class not need to ask how to use the iPads, nobody asked how to use Garage Band, despite it being the first time they had been introduced to it in class. While some admitted to using it at home, for the majority of them it was the first time that they had been exposed to the programme and they all managed to record at least 20 seconds of music without a demonstration of how to use the software. This is, from what I could see, where technology has really revolutionised the classroom. And the kids are seemingly happy about that. Of the 29 children in the class, 22 said they wanted to see more technology at school. More tellingly, all 29 identified the iPad among the top four most used items of technology at school (the smartboard, computer and laptop all identified by more than 20 of the class). And 15 of the 29 youngsters picked the iPad as their favourite piece of technology at school. As nine-year-old James, says: “iPads are very useful in school as you can do pretty much anything on them and they are fun to use. While books are good for finding information it is much quicker and easier to find the answers using technology.” The balance between using tech as an educational tool and using it is as an incentive is key as Waite explains: “I try

“Two years ago, we had just seven iPads to share between a class of 30. Now we have one between two.” Alex Waite, Christchurch Primary School

to use the iPad sparingly so that the kids see it as some form of reward for doing their other work. They will still be using the iPad’s apps to learn from but to them it seems like fun. It is important to keep it as a different format for them to learn.” He continues: “As much as it is important to let kids run wild on iPads and make the most of app-based products, it is still important to train them on the old productivity programmes that we were brought up on when we were at school. Kids are often going straight to iPads and risk not gaining the core skills that programmes such as Word and Excel provide. Finding a balance is important.” Nobody can deny that the use of technology in school has transformed the role of the teacher. But how do the teachers feel about it and are they given enough time and training to learn all about how to use their new digital teaching assistants?

“Sometimes I find that the kids are more clued up than me and show me certain things on the iPads,” Waite admits. “There are often times when the iPads will break and the kids will know what to do because they have seen the same problem at home.” He adds: “There is an increasing amount of training for teachers using technology in their lessons. There are now regular demonstrations on computing and computing training, put on internally and externally. The thinking is to have more promotion of technology in school to keep up with how technology is growing in the working world and at home as well. “Most primary schools will now have an IT expert who work closely with the kids and just as importantly, they work to keep the teachers informed on the latest technology. We have recently had training on drones and how to use them in subjects such as maths, by plotting co-ordinates.” PCR July 2017 | 17

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‘By any means necessary’ Since launching its first microcomputer in 2012, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has taken the world by storm. Jonathan Easton speaks to co-founder and Raspberry Pi Trading CEO Eben Upton about filling the skills gap and inspiring a new generations of coders…

PCR July 2017 | 19



et’s start with the recently announced partnership with CoderDojo. How did that come about and what’s the end goal? CoderDojo is one of a number of organisations that started off at the same sort of time as us in 2012 and we’ve been interacting with them since. We’ve grown up alongside each other and we’re trying to achieve similar things: trying to get people involved with STEM subjects and, in particular, coding. They are a group on a similar sort of mission, but there’s not a strong overlap as to where they’re geographically strong and in their funding sources so merging felt like a natural way to combine our experiences We’re not talking about coming together and then

20 | PCR July 2017

closing a load of things down And they’re lovely people. It might get overlooked sometimes, but ultimately if you’re going to merge two organisations together you’ve got to make sure the people on the other side are people who you have a good time with and you want to make sure they are decent people. The founders – Bill Liao and James Whelton – and the people who work for the organisation in Dublin are all extremely nice people and I’m looking forward to spending time with them. Going way back to the beginning, what were the biggest problems in education that you were looking to rectify? The problem was that we weren’t generating any 18 year olds who were excited about computing anymore. If

“What we’ve done is show kids how computing can be a tool to let them accomplish what they want to do.”

you look at the mid-1990s to the middle part of the 2000s you saw an appalling decline in the number of people who were applying to university to study computing. University applications are a proxy for how excited young people are about technology. And at Cambridge we saw a drop over 50 per cent in applicants between 1999 and 2005. It’s a massive threat to academia and a massive threat to industry. What we were trying to do was solve that. Reboot by any means necessary. We wanted to find out what had gone wrong with the pipeline and our idea was that the absence of a kind of device like Raspberry Pi was a big problem. We wanted to make a machine to reboot the pipeline. It’s one thing coming up with a mission statement,

but it’s another to actually do it. How do you appeal to kids? What gets them excited? We had this idea that the disappearance of those very programmable computers had led to this decline in numbers and that maybe if we gave people a programmable computer again then maybe those numbers would recover. Quite a lot of what we’ve done is trying to make it appear relevant to not just the quite small minority of children who are – like I was – just enthusiastic about computing for its own sake, but to try and show kids how computing can be a tool to let them accomplish other things they want to do. If you look we have the Weather Station programme that shows kids that computers can work with the

THE BIG INTERVIEW geography curriculum. We have the Astro Pi programme where we put Raspberry Pis on the International Space Station and they can interact with the physics and biology curriculum. We had a creative technologists programme that tried to relate computing to art and creativity. If you can position computing and demonstrate it as being relevant to kids accomplishing what they want to then that’s key to unlocking mass participation. While in an ideal world you’ve got a generation of kids that have been raised on coding, their teachers likely weren’t afforded the same education. Are you looking at the teachers, parents and adults in general or are you just focusing on kids? Over the last five years we’ve gone from having a computing curriculum which is focused on the likes of Excel and Powerpoint, to one which

“Unfortunately the government’s investment in teacher training to support that has been wholly inadequate.”

concentrates on programming. That’s fantastic, but unfortunately the government’s investment in teacher training to support that has been wholly inadequate. You’ve got a shiny new curriculum which is really fit for purpose, and you’re expecting people who don’t necessarily have quite the right skillset to go and deliver that in the classroom. That’s not fair on anyone. It’s not fair on the kids and it’s not fair on the teachers. It’s massively demoralising for teachers to be expected to just be thrown in at the deep end. A lot of what we do is about helping teachers. Whether that’s in our Picademy programme that trains teachers in person over a one or two day course that gives you that grounding in what we mean when we talk about the modern notion of computing. We also produce plenty of online material and a lot of that is targeted at

teachers in particular. Obviously the Code Club and the CoderDojo programmes have a massive emphasis on adult volunteers and that’s really important because what you get there often are people who work in the industry and already have that kind of skillset. What’s wonderful about the UK at the moment is that there is so much enthusiasm among professionals to share their knowledge. There’s finally a sense that this is an idea whose time has come. Raspberry Pi seems to have taken the onus in getting teachers educated. Do you feel that there’s more that the government can do? Yeah, the government can start by doing something. So you don’t think the government is doing anything at all? It’s appalling. It’s an embarrassment, just awful. We are doing this and we think we’re pretty good at doing this, but fundamentally this is not something we should be having to do. It’s a terrible failure. We advocate constantly to the government that they should step up in this area. Fundamentally, training teachers is a job for the government and we’ll do

it while we wait, but we’re not going to stop saying that the government should do it. We as an organisation don’t have a party political preference. Ultimately the side that’s in government is the side that can do something about it, and it’s up to them to step up to the plate and deliver. Tech has been fairly criticised as being notoriously difficult for women and girls to get involved with. What are you doing to make it more accessible to them? We’re very proud that 40 per cent of the attendees of Code Club (which is targeted at nine to 13 year olds) are girls, which is really important because society peddles the idea that STEM subjects aren’t for girls and that’s the age where the average girl is outperforming the average boy. And yet lots of girls are convinced to turn away from these subjects. An intervention at an early age can keep a nine year old girl excited about STEM subjects and it makes it more likely that our industry will keep going strong. CoderDojo, typically is about 30 per cent girls and is still a lot better than the industry where you’re down

PCR July 2017 | 21


A group of teachers and enthusiasts at a Picademy session.

in the 10-20 per cent range. I would expect if you look at the computing industry in 20 years time it will be much more representative. Not just in terms of gender, but also in ethnicity and social background. Another great Code Club statistic is that school districts that are classed as ‘deprived’ (which is based on the proportion of students that have a pupil premium), are now more likely to have Code Clubs than privileged school districts. This isn’t even a middle class thing anymore. There’s nothing more powerful for social mobility than STEM subjects. Engineering doesn’t care who your dad is. Your dad can get you a nice job in PR, but having good family connections isn’t going to help if the bridges that you’re building fall down or the programs that you run crash. It’s completely unacceptable how few women there are in

22 | PCR July 2017

computing, but the very fact that there are so few women in computing means that it’s the easiest, low-hanging fruit. If you can just bring the number of women in computing up to the same level as the number of men then you’ve basically doubled your computing workforce in no time at all.

“There’s nothing more powerful for social mobility than STEM subjects. Engineering doesn’t care who your dad is.”

How important is affordability with Raspberry Pi products? It’s really important. The goal with Raspberry Pi was to make a computer that cost the same as the price of a text book. Most kids can afford a textbook and the minority of who can’t can be subsidised by the school. It’s why we did Raspberry Pi Zero – the one we gave away on the front of a magazine in November 2015. It was the £5 computer, it’s the latte computer. Because there’s nothing that’s more important than making sure that there isn’t a barrier to


Educating the educators As the classroom evolves to include the latest technological innovations, teachers of all subjects must be able to keep up with the kids. Rob Horgan speaks to the Channel to find out about its relationship with the educators…


HATEVER THE subject, whatever the level, teachers have to be tech savvy nowadays. Computer skills are no longer a pre-requisite reserved solely for ICT teachers. Be it maths or geography, primary school or university, educators across the board need to know how to use the latest technology at their disposal. The role of vendors, retailers and distributors involved in educationtechnology is much more than simply transforming the classroom with the latest technological gizmos. It is about transforming the way in which children receive their education. And the biggest factor remains the teachers. Therefore it is integral that the educators behind the technology know what they have at they are using and how to get the most out of it. With everything from smartboards to drones now being used by schools on a daily basis, the edtech market has never been so ripe. Neither has it been so important for the Channel to build relationships with education bodies. As Paul Rambridge, founder of Sweethaven Computers, says: “There has never been a better time for education to embrace external supply and knowledge of IT as their own exposure is sometimes limited by the education channel. Outsourced and co-managed with inspirational direction and fully connected classrooms will have a very different feel.” It rests with Channel partners to push this message. School budgets are tight, there is no getting away from it. It is important for the Channel to not only stress the importance of technology but also to find the best option for 24 | PCR July 2017

each given school. As Mark Whitfield, head of schools and local authority business at Stone Group, says: “The Channel must play a part in relationship management to make sure schools get the most out of their investment over the lifetime of the products – it’s not just about the initial sale. “Of course the Channel has to produce great products and distribute them at the right price, but being a trusted advisor is really important within the education sector. It is the duty of the Channel to provide good and transparent advice that will benefit the school and provide return on investment over a long period of time. Budget restrictions will probably not ease for schools in the short term so its paramount that any technology supplied will continue to be functional, even outside of its warranty.” One way to gain the trust of

a school (and get them to spend) is to set out a plan of action. As Whitfield explains: “No school can afford to make costly mistakes when it comes to the procurement of technology. That’s why doing due diligence before any purchase is paramount.“ When working with the school you need to establish the desired end goal and benefits, whether that’s from students’ and/ or staff perspective before recommending the technology that best fits and meets these objectives. Whitfield adds: “You might demonstrate the product, provide training sessions once the technology is in situ and on the job training for technical infrastructure solutions. For instance, if they are looking at AV technology, we might take it into the school for a demonstration to show the staff how to use the product to get the most out of it, demonstrate how much

“There has never been a better time for education to embrace external supply and knowledge of IT.” Paul Rambridge, Sweethaven Computers

easier it is than the solution they currently have. It is also important to explain to the teachers how pupils will be able to engage with the tech.” Demonstrations are key to the edtech market. Schools are not going to fork out for equipment they don’t know how to use. And it is integral that all staff and students are able to use the technology. Now there are various ways to tackle this. As Chris Green, senior consultants, for Krome explains: “Informing teachers on how to use technology very much depends on the tech. Some products have a ‘whole school’ application which are typically promoted during an inset day where all teachers can be trained together. With more specific technologies, such as ones with a departmental relevance, it can be useful to identify an enthusiastic teacher who is keen to adopt the product. These teachers


are usually effective in promoting the product and providing internal training to their colleagues.” He adds: “As long as you can provide evidence that the technology will positively impact teaching, lessons and learning outcomes and results, then teachers are more than happy to embrace and integrate technology into their lesson planning and day to day working. “We find that resistance comes from either a lack of willingness to understand the technology or that there is a perception, whether right or wrong, that the technology will not enhance their ability to deliver educational outcomes.” As well as technology being

26 | PCR July 2017

rolled out across subjects, the curriculum has also been changed to match the times. Coding is now expected of schools. However, this poses its own problem with a major shortage of teachers qualified for the role. According to Raspberry Pi Trading CEO and co-founder Eben Upton, the change of IT syllabus has not been reflected in educating the educators themselves. And where the government has failed to provide the funding or training, companies such as Raspberry Pi have taken it upon themselves to pick up the mantel of responsibility. “Over the last five years we’ve gone from having a computing curriculum which is very focused on the likes of

“As long as you can provide evidence that the technology will positively impact learning, then teachers will embrace it.” Chris Green, Krome

Excel and Powerpoint, to one which is very focused on programming,” he said. “That’s fantastic, but unfortunately the government’s investment in teacher training to support that has been wholly inadequate. You’ve got a shiny brand new curriculum which is really fit for purpose, and you are expecting people who don’t necessarily have quite the right skillset to go and deliver that in the classroom. “That’s not fair on anyone. It’s not fair on the kids, it’s not fair on the teachers because they’re professionals and want to do their job. It’s massively demoralising for teachers to be expected to just be thrown in at the deep

end with this new curriculum.” As well as running Code Clubs and the recently merged-with CoderDojo sessions, Raspberry Pi also runs its Picademy program to ‘give teachers that grounding in what we mean when we talk about the modern notion of computing’. (see full interview with Upton on Page 19.) And that is the key: the role of the Channel is to provide relevant products – and explain why they are relevant – for teachers and students alike. Drones, VR and AR are all good fun, but if teachers don’t know how to use them or don’t see the point, then schools won’t ever invest their time or money in them.

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The classroom of the future could look dramatically different to what we’re accustomed to today. (Photo credit: ebuyer)

Lessons in futurology Jonathan Easton checks in with the Channel to see how the classroom is going to shape up in years to come…


HE CLASSROOM OF 2017 is far more techoriented than ever before. While ‘back in the day’ the most high-tech you’d be likely to see was a hulking CRT TV being wheeled out when your teacher had a hangover, nowadays (as you can read from our visit to a school on Page 16) it is not uncommon to see a classroom full of iPads. With the education space evolving in both content and delivery the classroom of the future could look radically different from how it does now. A big driving factor behind that change is virtual reality. The introduction of VR into the classroom has already started. “We have a headset for a whole class to use,” notes Ruth Gafson, headmaster at Moriah Jewish Day School, a primary school in Pinner, Middlesex. “These are incredibly useful tools to use when teaching children about historical or geographical facts.” Tech Data director of SMB and Public Sector Cathi Low believes that augmented

reality will play just as big a role: “AR and VR have a very big role to play in education. We’ve hardly scratched the surface so far.” Outside of those pure experiential aspects for pupils, the way that lessons are taught is just as likely to drastically change, believes Low. With the classroom being a ‘more fluid’ concept, lesson structures could see an overhaul. “More of the technology will be designed specifically for educational scenarios and as concepts like online learning, on-to-one remote tuition and flipped classrooms evolve.” But there are still remnants of the schools of old; legacy elements, if you like. And like those legacy elements of PCs– the floppy disk drive or, more recently, the USB-A port – there is a belief that they will be replaced by smarter technologies. The biggest culprit in schools: paper. Schools undoubtedly, like offices, could have a hugely positive impact by going paper-free. “From an environmental point of view,

“Within 5 years I would expect to see the majority of all classrooms to be paper-free.” Paul Hamilton, Westcoast

a paperless classroom is a win for the environment,” says Drew Dooler, managing director and founder of User Experience Global (UXG). While Westcoast client director Paul Hamilton makes the bold claim that ‘within 5 years I would expect to see the majority of all classrooms to be paper-free’, the general consensus is more reserved. Neil Colquhoun, executive director EMEAR of Professional Displays at Epson Europe thinks that paper-free classroom is less likely: “For many years, people have been talking about the paperless office, which hasn’t transpired. Recent research revealed that 83 per cent of British workers thought the concept was unrealistic, and we think it’s a similar case in the classroom.” Rather than being a wholesale replacement, smarter solutions will take the place of the more cumbersome practices we have today. “We often talk about the death of the red pen,” says Fujitsu director of Education Ash Merchant. “Whereby instead of marking

hundreds of pages of printed coursework, teachers will be marking online using cloud or hybrid IT services.” And that is ultimately what the classroom’s brave new world boils down to. Not changing things for the sake of it. Not buying a 70-inch flat panel to replace a white board because it looks good in a brochure, but bringing in smarter solutions to bring education institutions into the modern day. “Classrooms need to change,” states Gafson. “If you look at a Victorian classroom and a modern day one, there’s almost no difference. If you look at a Victorian office and a modern day office, they are totally different.” The classroom has gone mostly unchanged for over 150 years and tech is thankfully shaking things up. Schools and universities now have to make sure that what those changes are for the betterment of the students, pupils and educators. Let’s just hope that fidget spinners are a thing of the past by then. PCR July 2017 | 31


Evolution of the monitor Taking a trip down memory lane, PCR teamed up with AOC to retrace how the monitor was transformed…


HE DAYS OF the good old CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors, in their beige and bulky glory, are but a distant memory for most of us now. With new monitor innovations launched on almost a monthly basis, it is easy to remember their progression over time since the first displays were developed over a century ago. The monitor market continues to improve displays and introduce technologies to give consumers a greater experience. But with 4K resolutions and curved displays taking all the headlines, it is important to remember what transitions they have gone through.

‘The monitor market continues to improve displays and introduce technologies’

32 | PCR July 2017

> Where it all began DOMINATING THE market for many years, CRT monitors were groundbreaking for their time. Up until the early 2000s, the most commonly used displays across offices and private homes were CRT displays. Well known for their weighty and unspectacular appearance, the first CRT display actually dates back to 1897. Developed by German physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun, CRT monitors could take over entire desk spaces. For example, in the nineties, the AOC CT720G measured in at 41.9cm in order to accommodate the colour cathode ray tubes on its inside that used to generate the monitor image on a phosphorescent screen.

> A new era ALTHOUGH LCD monitors only became widely popular in the early millennium, the first display saw the light of the day in 1972. For a long time, LCD models were very expensive to produce and purchase, giving CRT displays an extended lifetime. Built from layers of filters, glass and liquid crystal, LCD displays did not require the same bulky cathode ray tubes anymore to function, enabling manufacturers to slim down monitors to suit the growing market needs. Suddenly, it became possible to build displays with sharper images and lower energy rates. The birth of the LCD freed up designers to create designs that looked better and were more ergonomically friendly. Display position adjustments became more easily available, allowing users to tilt the monitor. And with the disappearance of CRTs, health fears around radiation were disappeared with them.

> Award winner IN THE mid-2000s, monitor designs had changed so drastically that the times of bulky CRTs seemed long forgotten. In 2008, AOC for example launched the Red Dot Design Award winner Angelo, a 16:9 LCD display with touch keys and a threeway adjustable stand.


> Race for innovation OTHER DESIGNS came and went, such as the iF Product Design Award winning AOC Razor with foldable stand for easy wall-mount, or the also iF Award winning AOC 57 series with its super narrow frame and detachable stand. Models like this did not only mark the beginning of today’s race for design and innovation, but also for increasing customisation.

> Let the games begin THE RISE of esports and gaming, has forced monitors to evolve with the times. Users nowadays expect displays that not only provide shorter response times and higher refresh rates, but also come with designs for an immersive gaming experience. Throughout the market, curved screens – which surprisingly debuted in the TV sector in 1952 – have become popular in gaming communities. With its 21:9 format, 2000 mm curvature, 4 ms response time, 200 Hz refresh rate and Adaptive-Sync support, the AOC AGON AG352QCX exemplifies this development. Ergonomic adjustment options have gone a long way as well. The AG352QCX for example lets gamers maintain a healthy posture while playing, thanks to its stand’s height, tilt, and swivel adjustment options.

> Wider, thinner, faster THE MONITORS of today are wider, thinner and faster than ever before. As customer needs and wishes become more specific, monitor specs will adapt accordingly. Be it a style-conscious office user, competitive gamer, professional graphic designer or casual home user, niche markets have emerged and thus designs have evolved. Contemporary monitors have to appeal visually and functionally to different customer groups, who often have completely different needs and wishes. While graphic designers look for superior image quality and ergonomic functions, modern professionals appreciate functional monitors that work effectively while looking the part. As a result, innovative monitor designs such as the AOC PDS241

and the PDS271, conceptualised by the famous Studio F. A. Porsche, have been created. Their unique modular build separating the I/O connections from the display allows for an extremely slim 5.2 mm profile, which is thinner than most recent smartphones. By running the power and display cable through the twisted asymmetrical stand, it offers a particularly clean and sleek look. Even in office settings, business monitors shouldn’t look bulky and boring anymore. That is why AOC for example is updating their Pro Line with “3sided frameless” designs as well: The 90 series monitors let users focus entirely on the screen content and make multi-monitor setups with several displays next to each other much more seamless.

PCR July 2017 | 33

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Fighting against stagnant sales figures, leading vendors assembled in Taipei for Computex 2017. Rob Horgan rounds up the action by looking at the biggest trends and talking points…


HO SAID the PC market was struggling? Not anyone at this year’s Computex 2017, that’s for sure. A five-day furore into everything PC related, Computex – unlike CES or MWC – is unconditionally dedicated to the PC. And despite stagnating sales figures in the

mainstream PC market, fresh areas of interest and innovation are brining renewed enthusiasm to the market. Computer gamers and e-sports enthusiasts are driving up sales predictions of high-end traditional PCs. And all the big names seem to be latching on to this, with Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm all unveiling processors

designed for greater performance. Couple that with thinned-down gaming notebooks and it is clear to see where the PC market is focussing its attentions. Outside of the traditional marketplace, ‘IoT’ was a buzzword that you couldn’t escape, while virtual reality and artificial intelligence appear to have leapfrogged

smartphones in the eyes of innovators. AMD’s continued comeback was countered by Intel’s own announcements, while Nvidia revealed new technology that could revolutionise the gaming marketplace. With a whole host of products on display, here are some of the trends that stood out at Computex 2017.

PCR July 2017 | 35


PC bounces back… OVER THE last few years, Computex has felt somewhere between an nostalgia trip and a futile attempt to keep the struggling traditional PC market hanging on. Each year the focus has moved further away from the traditional PC, with the likes of VR, connected devices and artificial intelligence all rising in prominence. This year however, it was not sentimentality driving the traditional PC market, but a genuine optimism the marketplace. The high-end market powered by a generation of gamers was flagged up as an area where the traditional PC can still flourish. The likes of Nvidia, Intel and AMD all released ostentatious components that indicates an undoubted confidence in the high-end gaming market and that should give the market a bump in the right direction. That is exactly why Asus unveiled its slimmed down ROG Zephyrus notebook and Acer showed off its Predator Triton 700, which has a see-through window to let you peek at the parts inside. While the PC market no longer has the lustre it once did, a generation brought up on tablets and smartphones could hold the key to its resurgence.

…But the smartphone is stalling WHILE THE PC market is bouncing back to (somewhere near) its best, development in the smartphone market showed signs that it may be in decline. With the rise of driverless cars, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, chipmakers focus appears to have been shifted away from smartphones. Several of the big players appear to be stepping away from the crowded smartphone market, where intense competition has pushed down prices. Over its 36-year lifespan, the Computex event has historically been integral for manufacturers to show off components designed for the mobile market. This year however, attention appears to have been shifted. While core processing was as important as ever, it was aimed more squarely at the connected devices market, with everyone from Qualcomm and Nvidia to Foxconn and Goodix talking about IoT.

36 | PCR July 2017

“Computex seems to have shied away from mobility in favor of ‘internet of things’, which incorporates aspects of both cloud computing and artificial intelligence,” Anshel Sag, associate analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “While chipmakers have in past years geared their research and development to meet the demands of the global smartphone market, manufacturers are now putting this tech to other uses.” Meanwhile, Goodix founder David Zhang said the company was looking ‘beyond mobile phones’. “Right now we’re focused on things beyond the mobile phone, including PCs and automotives,” he said. “We’re seeing if there are opportunities for us in the IoT wearables and industrial space.” Smartphones have dominated the tech conversation for the best part of a decade, but if Computex is anything to go by, its days at the top are numbered.


Life after Moore’s Law FOR HALF A century, Moore’s Law was taken as gospel. However, 52 years after Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors on integrated

circuits would double every year (later changed to 18 months), and his theory appears to be dead. Hammering the nail in the coffin of the accepted truth was Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang who took centre stage at Computex to signal the dawn of life after Moore’s Law. It was the perfect harmony for both consumer and vendor, as PCs twice as powerful as their predecessors would keep the consumer happy, while OEMs enjoyed a built-in obsolescence. The reality is, is that it couldn’t go on forever.

Microsoft, for one, is embracing the change by promising that its educationoriented Windows 10 S OS will perform as well on day 1,000 as it does on day one. But, the companies that will be hit hardest live within the processor market. The likes of Intel, AMD and Qualcomm all have the most to lose from the end of Moore’s Law. However, each one showed off its future vision. For AMD and Intel, they are both relying even more on parallel processing – the idea that if they can’t make more

powerful processors then they will cram more cores onto same chip. AMD unveiled its 16-core Threadripper CPU, while Intel announced the new 18-core Core i9 range of processors. Sitting out the core battle, Qualcomm announced a collaboration with Microsoft and laptop manufacturers to transfer its Snapdragon 835 chip from smartphones to laptops. Moore’s Law may have had its day, but innovation won’t stop because of it. What’s the next rule to break?

Skinny dipping IF MACHINES are no longer going to be given a power boast each 18 months, then they better get more practical. Consigning awkward, cumbersome gaming notebooks to the past, Nvidia announced its new Max-Q technology, designed to allow gaming notebooks to be slimmed down. as a matter of fact, the latest technology allows for future notebooks to be a third of the thickness of their predecessors, while also weighing half as much. And with deals already tied up with Acer, Alienware, Asus, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, Maingear, MSI, and Origin PC, a whole raft of slimmed-down laptop are set to hit the market. And while the hardware will be slimmed down, Nvidia while simultanously managing to ramp up performance. The GeForce GTX with Max-Q design runs three times faster than the current GPUs. Based on Nvidia’s current Pascal architecture, the initiative allows for greater performance to be packed into thinner devices. “The results: a high-performance gaming platform, that is as small as 18mm thick—as thin as a MacBook Air —with up to 70 per cent more gaming performance than what is currently available,” the company said in its announcement of the new innovation.

Max-Q laptops will be available from June 27. How the GeForce GTX with Max-Q goes down remains to be seen. But making devices easier to transport and lighter to carry around, combined with even greater performance, sounds like a gamer’s ideal situation. Too good to be true? We’ll have to wait and see.

PCR July 2017 | 37

Address the topics that really matter in 2017

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New Products Dedicated monthly product coverage

„ The latest tech „ Editorial planner

Apple-designed A8 chip

High-excursion woofer

Six-microphone array

Seamless mesh fabric

Seven-tweeter array

Home from HomePod IT’S HERE at last. After months of teasing up the prospect of a Siri-powered speaker, Apple has unveiled the HomePod. Ready to take on the Amazon Echo, and Google Home, the Apple Homepod is unlike other smarthome speakers, in as much as it is a speaker first and a smart assistant second – something Apple wanted to stress during its unveiling at the WWDC conference. “We completely reimagined how a speaker should make music in the home. HomePod combines Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver

the highest-fidelity sound throughout the room, no matter where it is placed. “This elegantly designed, compact speaker totally rocks the house,” an Apple spokesperson said. “We built the highexcursion woofer with a custom amplifier to play a wide range of deep, rich bass. A powerful motor drives the diaphragm a full 20 mm — which really is remarkable for a speaker this size. “ Meanwhile, HomePod uses an advanced algorithm that continuously analyses the music and dynamically tunes

the low frequencies for smooth, distortion free sound. Controlled through natural voice interaction with Siri, the HomePod also helps with everyday household questions and tasks. And it’s a hub for controlling your smart home accessories too, from a single light bulb to the whole house, with voice alone. However its main strength is its speaker. With seven tweeters, the speaker also has built in sensors to project the sound 360 degrees around the room. A powerful Appledesigned A8 chip is the

brains behind the most complex audio innovations in HomePod. Like real-time modeling of the woofer mechanics. Buffering that’s even faster than real time. Upmixing of both direct and ambient audio. Beamforming so the microphone can hear you over the music. So you get amazing sound without even thinking about it. It automatically analyses the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, and steers the music in the optimal direction. Whether HomePod is against the wall, on a shelf, or in the

middle of the room, everyone is supposed to receive a complete ‘immersive listening experience’. Available in black or white the HomePod is just seven inches tall and weighs in at 2.5kg. How it stacks up against Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home remains to be seen. But with Microsoft expected to release a Cortana-powered speaker before the year is up, competition in the smarthome speaker market is hotting up nicely as the internet of things revolution marches on.

Contact: Apple | | Price: £349 | Out: December

PCR July 2017 | 39


AMD unveils ripper of a chip AMD HAS unveiled a monster CPU as part of its evergrowing Ryzen range of processors. With 16 cores and 32 threads the Ryzen Threadripper will officially launch this summer. Following in the footsteps of the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5, the Threadripper (previously rumoured to be called the Ryzen 9) will include increased bandwith from a quad-channel controller. For the most part, however, the core performance shouldn’t change much from its predecessors. While the 16 core processor is the only version formally announced, reports suggest that 14, 12 and 10core versions of the Threadripper will be dripped out over the next six to 12 months following the launch of the 16 core CPU. It will feature 44 PCIe lanes and

quad-channel RAM support on the X390 and X399 chipset and the SP3 socket using 4,094 pins. This CPU is designed primarily for users who edit video, render 3D and run other intensive

workstation-like tasks that benefit from more cores. It will also benefit gamers and increase the efficiency of multitasking. An official price has yet to be announced with some

rumours suggesting Threadripper may cost as much as $2,000 – which is unheard of for a CPU. With Intel launching its own i9 monster chip this summer, AMD has laid down

the gauntlet with this early announcement. In addition to Threadripper, AMD has also teased Ryzen APUs that pair four cores and eight threads with a Vegabased GPU.

Contact: AMD | | Price: TBA | Out: July

Forget the 3310 Listen up

NOKIA MAY have turned back the clock to re-release a ramped up version of the much-adored 3310, but it is still trying to break into the 21st century smartphone market. Its latest attempt is the Nokia 8. With a 5.7-inch touchscreen the 8 comes with a display resolution of 1440 pixels by 2560. Packing 64GB of internal storage the Android

7-powered device can be expanded to have a 256GB capacity via a microSD card. A 24 megapixel camera takes pride of place on the rear of the phone, while a 12 megapixel front shooter is fitted for selfies. In terms of gimmicks and gizmos, the Nokia 8 is packed with sensors from proximity sensors, an accelerometer, ambient light sensor and a gyroscope.

Contact: Nokia | | Price: TBA | Out: August

40 | PCR July 2017

HIGH-END headphone manufacturer Audeze has launched its latest in-ear product. The LCD-i4 is described as ‘an all-out assault’ on making the ‘absolute best in-ear headphones’. Scaling down the acclaimed LCD4, the i4 has been designed for music lovers on the go. Using the same 0.5 micron thick diaphragm as the 4, the i4 uses Audeze’s focused magnet technology Fluxor and Uniforce voice-call technology. Designed and assembled in

conjunction with BMW offshoot Deisgnworks, the i4 has been bulked up by using a magnesium outer half, to add real bass impact down to a 10Hz bass response. The magnesium also offers sound-deadening properties to help prevent ringing of mid-to-high frequencies. Completing the new LCD-i4 is a new premium, braided cable made of silver-plated OCC copper with Kevlar threads for additional strength, and which is then cryogenically treated.

Contact: Audeze | | Price: £2,399 | Out: Now


Ready, steadyâ&#x20AC;Ś Go! Brotherly love UK PRINTING manufacturer Brother has boosted its range of SMB printers with its latest range of colour laser units. The seven new products are part of the new L8000 and L9000 ranges, that have been designed to help Channel partners capitalise on a buoyant market that has grown by 28 per cent over the last 12 months. Heading up the line of printers is the L9570CDW wireless colour laser printer, which comes with its own personalised touchscreen. The flagship MFC-L9570CDW features a fully customizable 16.5cm LCD touchscreen, advanced paper handling, fast print speeds of up to 31 pages per minute (ppm) and scan

DESIGNED TO transform the work place, Prysm Go offers simple to advanced solutions for the meeting room. Turning meeting rooms into multi-purpose collaboration rooms, the Go platform is designed to connect colleagues around the world and improve their working experience. The Go platform includes a digital whiteboard, wired and wireless screen sharing (via HDMI, Apple AirPlay or Google Cast) and integration with video conference tools such as Skype, Polycom and Cisco for meeting rooms already kitted out with those systems. Prysm Go also allows for video integration to connect live video, audio and data feeds. Available in two versions, the Go platform can be added to existing displays and hardware or users can opt for an allin-one experience which comes with a 85-inch 4K LCD display and access to the Prysm Application Suite.

Contact: Prysm | | Price: $5,999-$19,999 Out: Now

speeds of up to 50 images per minute (ipm). It is also compatible with mobile cloud and connectivity services such as Google Cloud print and AirPrint.

Contact: Brother UK | | Price: ÂŁ1,078.80 Out: Now

Put the V in TV Green ease PART OF its KickStarter campaign, the latest innovation from Smartgolf sees the Smartgolf putter enter the sporting arena. Made to help golfers around the world practice in a very realistic way, the putter is fitted out with a full set of sensors that record every move the putter is doing, sending this information to the players phone via Wi-Fi. Via an App the player receives insight

and analysis of their putting technique. The application transports the player to a virtual golf practice field and helps them as they go by offering advice on technique. Additionally, the putter can be used without the need of a phone or tablet thanks to its On/ Off LED balance control system and laser pointer to practice literally anywhere.

Contact: Smartgolf | | Price: $450 Out: Now

COMBINING reliable performance with affordability Phillips latest V-line displays are designed with the home office market in mind. With full HD, IPS technology with crisp clear viewing the V-Line displays also feature SoftBlue and LowBlue back lighting. Connectivity ports include HDMI, a DisplayPort and optional USB hub plus speaker input. Its flagship V7 display comes in at 27 inches and is designed for public and private-sector

organisations ranging from call centres to schools and libraries, public and private offices. Frameless on three sides, the V7 display can be tilted, swivelled and height-adjusted exactly to the right angle. The V7 display comes with SoftBlue LED technology as standard. SoftBlue is a technology built in the hardware of the monitor, which aims to counter the damage staring at a screen can do to eyes.

Contact: Phillips | | Price: TBA | Out: August

PCR July 2017 | 41


Gamer’s paradise

AOC has presented its fastest NVIDIA G-SYNC enabled gaming monitor yet. The AOC AGON AG251FG boasts a refresh rate of 240Hz, a 1ms response time and NVIDIA ULMB for reduced motion blur. In addition to the high responsiveness provided by NVIDIA G-SYNC, the display comes with other premium gaming features such as AOC Shadow Control and the ergonomic AOC Ergo Dial Base. Designed to provide maximum smoothness for NVIDIA users, the AOC AGON AG251FG comes with a 24.5 inch full-HD TN panel (16:9 format, 1920 x 1080 pixels), which is slightly bigger than the common 24-inch size used in offical eSports competitions. With its 240Hz refresh rate and built-in NVIDIA G-SYNC module, it is the perfect choice for gamers who want the smoothest possible gameplay. G-SYNC technology synchronises the display’s refresh rate to the graphics card’s GPU in order to eliminate screen tearing and minimise display stuttering as well as input lag. The monitor’s 1ms response time and the NVIDIA ULMB feature also reduce motion blur and ghosting to a minimum, so that gamers can enjoy

razor-sharp graphics even in the most fast-paced of situations. “At AOC, we understand the importance of NVIDIA for all hardcore gamers and enthusiasts, improving the PC-gaming experience year on year with the most advanced graphics card technologies. For that reason, we are launching a G-SYNC enabled version of our award winning 240Hz monitor,” Alfonso Clemente, product manager at AOC said. Like all AGON monitors, the AG251FG comes with a range of premium features to boost players’ comfort and performance. These include the AOC Ergo Dial Base, with tilt, swivel and height adjustment (and a convenient height scale), a retractable headset holder and a carrying handle. To prevent eye fatigue during extended gaming sessions, AOC Flicker Free technology also minimises flickering, and AOC Low Blue Light mode reduces shortwavelength blue light. For an extra advantage in dark game environments, the AOC Shadow Control option empowers gamers to brighten extremely dark areas without affecting the rest of the screen.

Contact: AOC | | Price: £519 | Out: August

Mr Android builds the Essential Phone

Stand alone SONY’S first-ever OLED TV range is finally on sale. With a 65-inch screen, the Sony KD-65A1 is the big brother of the range and is on the market for a cool £5,000. The gimmick that sets Sony’s OLED’s apart from the field is the concept of a ‘stand-less’ screen. Although there is a stand that props the TV up (sort of like a tablet works), the TV does – more or less – appear to be standless from the front. And with an ultra thin silver bezel around the TV, the user literally only sees

what is happening on the 65-inch 4K screen in front of them. What it does mean is that the TV needs to be rested on a display unit at least as long as the screen. However, the stand doubles up as the wall-mount, too, by folding it in so it’s flat against the screen. All the connections (including four HDMI inputs, optical output, three USB ports, tuners, power) are cleverly housed in the bottom half of the stand, and you can cover the entire panel up with a fabric grille.

Contact: Sony | | Price: £5,000 | Out: Now

42 | PCR July 2017

HE’S ALREADY created the most widely used smartphone OS and now Andy Rubin has set about creating a phone of his own. On the back of creating Android, Rubin has brought the world his Essential Phone. A screen with bezels even thinner than the Galaxy S8, the Essential Phone is a high-end Android device that could see Rubin become a force in both the hardware and software arenas. The Essential Phone boasts 4GB of RAM with 128GB of storage and a Snapdragon 835 chip. The 5.71’-inch display spreads across the entire

screen, even seeping into where the front facing camera is placed, with a 2,560 x 1,312-pixel resolution. Both its front and back cameras can shoot in 4K video, with a 13-megapixel dual camera on the rear and an 8-megapixel camera on the screen. The Essential Phone also comes with Bluetooth 5.0, and there’s no headphone jack. A magnetic connector on the back of the phone, near the camera, allows users to connect modular attachments to the Essential Phone, using wireless data transfers on the port.

Contact: Essential | | Price: $699.00 | Out: Now


A Surface Pro to beat all others

MICROSOFT HAS launched a ‘faster, more powerful’ version of its Surface Pro tablet. Simply named the Surface Pro (with no numbers), more editions of the Pro are not expected in the future. With a battery

life of 13.5 hours, the device contains 800 new parts in a complete rebuild. The Surface Pro 4, which weighs 770g (1.69lb) and has a 31cm (12.3in) screen, will cost users upwards of £750 in the UK. Surface boss

Panos Panay said the company had to “completely redesign the Surface, inside out”, to make it more intuitive to use. “The Surface Pro is the most practical, computerlike tablet on the market,”

he said. Microsoft claims it is 2.5 times faster than the Surface Pro 3, and that its battery will last 50 per cent longer than its predecessors. The Surface Pro will go on sale alongside the Surface laptop, which was unveiled

by Microsoft at the beginning of May. But the first new Surface Pros sold will only have Wi-Fi connectivity; with a 4G-LTE version not available until the autumn. Targeting the Chinese market with a Shanghai launch, the 2-in-1 Windows tablet hybrid has been updated with 7thgeneration Intel Core processors and new rounded design. While a new kickstand hinge on the back will allow the tablet to adjust to an angle of 165 degrees to make writing or drawing on the screen with the stylus easier. The Surface Dial accessory, which was launched alongside the Surface Studio all-in-one PC in October 2016, will also work with the new Windows 10 tablet.

Contact: Microsoft | | Price: £750 | Out: Now

Editorial Planner

A look at the biggest features coming up in PCR over the next few months...

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017




In August we look into the pressing security issues that are affecting the Channel and what’s being done to solve them.

In September we look into eSports and how to make the most of gaming hardware.

This month we look into high-end and smart speakers, high-end headphones, microphones and top-of-the-range webcams.

We’ll look at the state of the security landscape and get tips from experts on how best to sell security soltions.

Elsewhere in September we preview the evolution of PC gaming market and the future.

Elsewhere in this issue, we carry out an IFA review to determine what the hottest new CE products are.

Advertising Deadline

Advertising Deadline

Advertising Deadline

July 13th

August 16th

September 15th

PCR July 2017 | 43


Kitting out the classroom Forget the days of blackboard and chalk, students now expect to see all the latest technology in their classrooms. PCR rounds up the latest hardware and software transforming the edtech market like never before…





Distributor: Midwich

Distributor: Exertis, Midwich, Tech Data

Distributor: Exertis, Midwich, Tech Data

Distributor: Tech Data

This bright HD projector uses a longlasting, low-maintenance, laser light source. Part of Optoma’s DuraCore range, it delivers consistent brightness of up to 20,000 hours uninterrupted operation.

Among the brightest ultra short throw projectors on the market, the 319 series is ideal for classrooms any time of day. Available in full HD, WXGA and XGA resolutions, the projector gives a 100inch image from just 55cm away.

Optoma Visualisers allow teaching staff to share passages of text, maps, detailed diagrams and 3D objects with the whole class, making lessons more engaging. Dual VGA and HDMI inputs and outputs connect to a PC or laptop.

Easy to set up, the Chromebox is powered by Intel processors, and has enough power to give ultrafast multitasking performance. It offers dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, along with extensive connectivity options.

Specs: Laser phosphor light source, resolution: 1080p 1920 x 1080, brightness: 4,000 ANSI lumens

Specs: Two HDMI inputs, powered USB port, powerful 16W built-in speaker, includes wall mount

Specs: Smart DC software, VGA and HDMI input, 5mp-13mp camera, 544X total zoom

Specs: Intel Celeron 3215U, 4GB RAM, wireless keyboard and mouse, VESA 100x100 mount, four USB 3.0 ports

SRP: £3,699.99

SRP: £929.99 - £1,249.99

SRP: £279.99 - £549.99

SRP: £229.99





Distributor: Exertis, Northamber

Distributor: Spire, Target, VIP, Centerprise

Distributor: Spire, Target, VIP, Centerprise

Distributor: Spire, Target, VIP, Centerprise

This entry level wired desktop set offers users an inexpensive, high-quality replacement for desktop PCs across the education sector. It comes with a laser etched keyboard with four programmable multimedia keys.

BullGuard Internet Security package protects PCs, Macs and Android devices with one single license. Powerful parental controls to monitor a child’s behaviour online are now even more flexible and intuitive.

BullGuard Premium Protection has a wide range of tools stretching from industry-leading antivirus protection and a powerful firewall to identity and social media protection, as well as parental controls.

BullGuard Identity Protection has a range of tools to help protect children against the dangers of browsing social media on smartphones. Social activity can be monitored remotely, allowing parents to take unobtrusive control.

Specs: Wired mouse with 3 keys and scroll wheel, resolution 1,200 dpi, four hotkeys (calculator, e-mail, browser)

Specs: Compatible OS systems include Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and Mac OS X 10.11 or later

Specs: Compatible OS systems include Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and Mac OS X 10.11 or later

Specs: Compatible with all Operating Systems and any Internet-connected device

SRP: £15.00

SRP: £49.95

SRP: £69.95

SRP: £34.95

44 | PCR July 2017






Distributor: Spire, Target, VIP, Centerprise

Distributor: Hama

Distributor: Hama

Distributor: Spire

Keeping smartphones safe is important for children’s safety and Bullguard Mobile Security does this by offering flexible parental controls that allow messages, calls and media content to be monitored or blocked remotely, with ease. Antivirus protection ensures that online bugs can’t find their way onto devices, and antitheft controls can help to lock or locate devices that have been lost or stolen.

With its lightweight, compact folddown design the WHP-6005BT Thomson headphones are ideal for use in the classroom. Complete with integrated microphone and remote, they also permit full control over playback while allowing instant switching between audio and calls through a smartphone or platform such as Skype. Connected via bluetooth, no wires are needed.

Innovative, accurate and precise, the Milano compact wirelss mouse can be used on any surface at home or in the classroom. Glass, wood or plastic, the blue wave sensor allows smooth navigation with adjustable sensitivity for faster or slower movements when necessary. Connecting wirelessly the mouse is perfectly suited for fitting in a school cupboard, locker or notebook bag.

The Approx APHM4W external USB port allows for increased connectivity of tablets or smartphones with Android 4.0 or higher. With four additional USB 2.0 ports, the device allows users to connect various devices such as smartphones and tablets to act as a host for flash drives, keyboards, drives, hard drives. The port allows for multiple devices to be operated at the same time.

Specs: Compatible with all operating systems and any internet-connected devices

Specs: 7hrs of talk time, weight: 80g, Bluetooth 3.0 + EDR, frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz

Specs: Wireless (USB-A Nano Plug), dimensions: 6.1 x 3.3 x 9.5cm, six buttons including scroll wheel

Specs: For smartphones and tablets with Android 4.0 or superior, 4-port USB, integrated voltage regulator

SRP: £16.95

SRP: £29.99

SRP: £19.99

SRP: £5.99





Distributor: Spire

Distributor: Spire

Distributor: Spire

Distributor: Spire

The Approx Pocket Power Bank external battery offers 2200 mAh high performance, specifically designed to charge any independent electronic device. The power bank has also been designed to be compact and transportable to be carried in a user’s pocket, purse, etc. It is ideal to charge any device, such as smartphones, tablets, eBooks, etc.

The Approx External Multi Card Reader has four input slots, supporting Micro SD, SD, MS, MS-PRO, MS Duo and M2 cards. Equipped with one LED blue light that functions as an indicator, the device is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10. The USB cable connector is collapsible and can be embedded and hidden in the base of the device when it is not in use.

The Approx basic backpack and mouse bundle is an unique laptop bag that fits devices with screens up to 15.6 inch. With durable coating quality and optical mouse with USB 2.0 cable, the mouse and bag combo provide includes a high-quality optical sensor (800 DPI) so you can work or enjoy your favourite games with the upmost accuracy.

With the Sandberg Sync and Charge Cable, you can sync with your computer and charge the battery from there directly or from a charger with a USB port. The white, one metre long Apple lightning cable connects lightening connections to USB 2.0 inputs. Apple approved, the lightning cable also comes with a five year warranty for peace of mind.

Specs: 600 load cycles, output 5 VDC/1A, capacity 2200 mAh

Specs: Four memory card slots, USB powered, dimensions70 x 25 x 16 mm

Specs: For 15.6 inch or less laptops, 800dpi

Specs: One metre long, Apple lightning cable, USB 2.0 connection

SRP: £9.99

SRP: £9.99

SRP: £13.99

SRP: £12.99

PCR July 2017 | 45






Distributor: Spire

Distributor: Spire

Distributor: Westcoast

Distributor: Westcoast

With five ports in total this 40W TP-link charger is perfect for traveling. The charger is able to identify the connected devices and delivers the possible max output, together with 5V/2.4A ultra fast charging speed, UP525 and UP540 can charge 65 per cent faster and save up to 40 per cent charging time compared to previous models.

Built for Non-Stop gaming Action, ASUS Expedition graphics cards are engineered with non-stop durability for double the lifespan and premium reliability. With 144 hours of disklesssystem tests and extensive checks for compatibility with top games, it also runs smoother, further improving card lifespan and cooling efficiency.

The Lenovo N42 notebook is purposely designed for the K-12 market with ruggedized features, combining reinforced ports, stronger hinges, a spill-proof keyboard, and anti-peel keys to protect the system in the classroom. For students that require a larger screen size, the 14-inch Lenovo N42 Chromebook is a great choice.

The N23 is tough enough to face the rigours of the school day. Its ports and 180-degree hinges are reinforced, its touchpad is sealed, and its waterresistant keyboard houses anti-peel keys, to prevent restless fingers from damaging them. Its non-slip texture hides wear and scratches, and improves a student’s grip.

Specs: Five USB charging ports, 40W, AC100-240V input

Specs: 1518 MHz Boost Clock in OC mode, Dual-ball Bearing 0dB Fan, Nvidia Ansel

Specs: Intel Celeron N3160, 4 GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC, 14-inch TN 1366 x 768 (HD), HD Graphics 400

Specs: Intel Celeron N3160, 4 GB RAM, 16 GB SSD, 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 (HD), Intel HD Graphics, Chrome OS

SRP: £29.99

SRP: £123.30

SRP: £270.00

SRP: £210.00





Distributor: Westcoast

Distributor: Westcoast

Distributor: Westcoast

Distributor: Westcoast

The Lenovo N23 WinBook is a semiruggedised Windows notebook for education, designed to endure the rigours of school and home life. Slim and strong, it can access all Windows apps and Office. With an 11.6-inch LED touchscreen, the WinBook is designed to be used for all ages.

Improve learning outcomes, save teacher time, and engage students like never before with the powerful, durable, flexible HP ProBook x360 11 G1 Education Edition. It converts easily from a notebook to a tablet to a stand to a tent and moves seamlessly between the classroom and home.

Inspire learning and help elevate productivity to the next level with HP Chromebook 11 G5. Affordable collaboration at school and work has never been so easy with Intel processors, long battery life, 4 GB of RAM and an optional HD IPS Touch panel.

Make the move to a cloud-based infrastructure with the HP Chromebook 14 G4. Get down to business with Intel Celeron processors, an optional Full HD IPS panel, Citrix-certified VDI compatibility, and access to Google Apps for Work. A 14-inch anti-glare screen allows the Chromebook to be used outdoors.

Specs: Intel Celeron N3060, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 11.6-inch HD 1366 x 768 LED Touch with Yoga hinge

Specs: Intel Pentium N4200, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 11.6-inch touchscreen 1366 x 768 (HD), HD Graphics 505

Specs: 4 GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC, 11.6inch touchscreen 1366 x 768 (HD), HD Graphics, Chrome OS

Specs: Intel Celeron N2940, Intel HD Graphics, 14-inch diagonal FHD SVA eDP WLED UWVA anti-glare

SRP: £375.00

SRP: £557.00

SRP: £243.00

SRP: £263.00

46 | PCR July 2017






Distributor: Exertis, Ingram Micro, Tech Data

Distributor: Exertis, Ingram Micro, Tech Data

Distributor: CMS Distribution

Distributor: CMS Distribution

Norton Security Deluxe provides protection for multiple on-the-go devices, protecting users when paying bills on smartphones, shopping via tablets, or storing important financial information on your laptop.

Users can pay bills and check email using public Wi-Fi without worrying about hackers and identity thieves stealing private data. With Norton WiFi Privacy, users can turn any public hotspot into a secure private network.

Quickly transfer files with SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and store up to 3 TB of data on Canvio Basics external hard drives. These devices are ready to use with Microsoft Windows and require no software installation.

The Canvio Premium’s high quality aluminium design with diamond-cut edges makes it stand out from the crowd, while highly-specified features make it easier than ever to store and protect your files.

Specs: 100 per cent Virus Protection Promise, malware detective, virus detectio

Specs: Bank-grade encryption, anonymous browsing technology

Specs: 2.5-inch external hard drive, Plug and play, up to 3TB capacity, USB 3.0

Specs: 2.5-inch external hard drive, up to 3TB capacity, USB 3.0, password lock, backup software, NFTS driver for Mac

SRP: £64.99

SRP: £59.99

SRP: £74.99

SRP: £129.99




ULTRA USB 3.0 (32GB)

Distributor: CMS Distribution

Distributor: CMS Distribution

Distributor: CMS Distribution

Distributor: CMS Distributors

Store the largest of digital libraries and access it quickly using the Canvio for Desktop, with up to 6 TB storage and super-fast USB 3.0 transfer speeds. Its compact piano black design has an internal shock sensor and ramp loading.

The Toshiba TransMemory U301 USB flash drive makes it simple to store media – with a design that’s small in size, but big on storage. With powerful USB 3.0 technology and up to 64 GB of space, you can save and organise more.

The 32 GB SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive is a storage device for those with an iPhone or iPad that need some extra storage. It also is a good addition for users who want to backup photos and videos of loved ones.

The SanDisk Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive combines faster data speeds and generous capacity in a compact, stylish package. Files transfer to the drive up to 10 times faster than with a standard USB 2.0 drive.

Specs: 3.5-inch external desktop hard drive, up to 6TB capacity, USB 3.0, backup software, security lock

Specs: Up to 64GB capacity, USB 3.0

Specs: Up to 256GB capacity, USB 3.0, automatic backup

Specs: Up to 256GB capacity, USB 3.0, read speeds of up to 100MB/s

SRP: £84.99

SRP: £16.99

SRP: £34.99

SRP: : £9.95

CMS Distribution........ 020 8805 1000


Exertis: ........................ 0208 200 8282

Tech Data: ................. 0125 678 8134

Ingram Micro:............ 0371 973 3000

Westcoast: .................. 0118 912 6000

Target Components:... 0208 296 7066

PCR July 2017 | 47


Monitoring the situation You can have the most powerful computer in the world but what use is it without a screen to show it off? PCR takes a look at some of the best monitors out there for everything from creating spreadsheets to hardcore gaming…





Distributor: Westcoast

Distributor: Westcoast

Distributor: Spire, VIP, Tech Data, Exertis

Distributor: Northamber

The Samsung S24D330H has sleek styling and a high-gloss finish that blends in beautifully with your entertainment center or workspace.

The Samsung SE310HSG Monitor can handle all the excitement of action movies, games and sports easily thanks to a faster response time of 1 millisecond. You can see the fastest onscreen motion clearly and smoothly.

The Asus VC239H features an In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology panel with a 178 degree wide-view angle that minimises colour shift on both horizontal and vertical planes to ensure quality visuals from any direction.

Thanks to a fast 5ms response time, you can see even fast on-screen motion clearly and smoothly with less motion blur, judder or ghosting.

Specs: 24-inch, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, 250cd/m2

Specs: 27-inch, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, 300 cd/m²

Specs: 23-inch, 1920 x 1080, 60Hz, 178 degree viewing angle

Specs: 23-inch, 1440 x 900, 60Hz, 250cd/m2

SRP: £109.99

SRP: £169.99

SRP: £159.99

SRP: £88.00





Distributor: Northamber

Distributor: Northamber

Distributor: Northamber

Distributor: Exertis, Tech Data

The ViewSonic VA2261-2-E3 is an eyecare and environmentally friendly 22inch widescreen monitor that features Flicker-Free and Blue Light technology, eliminating eye strain over extended viewing periods.

The S24E450B is a monitor designed for business and has a height adjustable stand to ensure optimal user comfort. With all of the essential ports including DVI, D-sub, DP and HDMI, this monitor is an affordable option for a workplace.

The ViewSonic VX2757-mhd is a 27-inch Full HD price-performance monitor built for gaming and entertainment. For a game winning competitive edge, a Game Mode hot key optimizes gameplay for FPS, RTS and MOBA.

UltraWide QHD resolution and thirtyfour inches of curved 21:9 aspect ratio widescreen give you a truly panoramic view. Adaptive-Sync technology offers stutter-free and tear-free gaming and DTS Sound speakers amp up the audio.

Specs: 22-inch, 1920x1080, 60Hz, 200cd/m2

Specs: 24-inch, 1920x1080, 60Hz, 200cd/m2

Specs: 27-inch, 1920x1080, 60Hz, 300cd/m2

Specs: 37.5-inch, 3840 x 1600, 75Hz, 300cd/m2

SRP: £96.93

SRP: £108.00

SRP: £141.00

SRP: £1198.98

50 | PCR July 2017


LG 38UC99-W




Distributor: CMS Distribution, Exertis, Ingram Micro

Distributor: Exertis, Caseking, Tech Data

Distributor: Ingram Micro

Distributor: Ingram Micro, Northamber

The world’s first 38-inch curved IPS monitor. The 21:9 curved UltraWide QHD+ IPS Display is ideal for designers, photographers, producers and other creative professionals who need more room for big ideas.

The Acer XB series of gaming monitors is part of their Predator gaming line. It holds powerful technologies to enhance your gaming such as G-Sync for smooth and seamless cinematics.

S2417DG, with its razor-sharp graphics capability and productivity boosting features, delivers an exhilarating gaming experience. The monitor also has preset modes for RPG, FPS or RTS to let you find the optimal visual setting.

With 3840x2160 resolution and SuperClear IPS panel technology, the ViewSonic XG2700-4K monitor provides incredibly sharp and detailed visuals across a visually striking 27-inch display.

Specs: 38-inch, 3840 x 1600, 60Hz, 300cd/m2

Specs: 27-inch, 3840X2160, 60Hz, 300cd/m2

Specs: 27-inch, 2560x1440, 60Hz, 350cd/m2

Specs: 27-inch, 3840x2160, 60Hz, 300cd/m2

SRP: £1,299.99

SRP: £699.98

SRP: £499.99

SRP: £552.00


LG 34UC79G-B



Distributor: Exertis, Tech Data

Distributor: Ingram Micro, Midwich

Distributor: Exertis

Distributor: Exertis, Midwich, Tech Data

This imposing 34-inch monitor stretches out in 21:9 format with 3440 x 1440 resolution for wider viewing and more room to multitask. IPS technology delivers extra-wide viewing angles of up to 178 degrees.

The world’s first 144Hz IPS UltraWide gaming monitor. The 21:9 curved UltraWide FHD IPS display with a 144Hz refresh rate offers fluid game play and dynamic field of view ideal for immersive gaming.

Designed by Studio F. A. Porsche, the AOC PDS241 boasts a 24-inch AH-IPS panel, a mere 5.2 mm thickness and a modular design, a sturdy stand with internal cable management.

The gentle curve of the Philips Brilliance Curved UltraWide display puts you at the centre of the desktop, for a truly immersive experience like never before across a stunning 34-inch UHD monitor.

Specs: 34-inch, 3840x1440, 60Hz, 320cd/m2

Specs: 34-inch, 2560 x 1080, 144Hz, 250cd/m2

Specs: 24-inch, 1920x1080, 60Hz, 250cd/m2

Specs: 34-inch, 3440 x 1440, 60Hz, 300cd/m2

SRP: £559.99

SRP: £479.98

SRP: £194.40

SRP: £698.40

Caseking ...................... 0178 244 4488


CMS Distribution ........ 0208 960 6000 Exertis .......................... 0208 200 8282 Ingram Micro............... 0371 973 3000

Midwich ....................... 0137 964 9200

Tech Data .................... 0125 678 8134

Northamber ................ 0208 296 7066

Westcoast .................... 0118 912 6000

Spire............................. 0120 282 8444

VIP ................................ 0192 528 6900

PCR July 2017 | 51



‘I don’t like cameras because they watch you all the time and can tell if you are in school or not. I also don’t really like pictures with me in them.’

PCR’s ROB HORGAN turned back the clock and headed to school for this issue (see Page 16). While talking all things tech, the kids provided an insightful glimpse into the edtech sector. They also offered up some lighter moments of comedy gold that only kids can. Here are some of the best responses to our questions:

Arthur, 9

‘Mr Waite is great at technology. He is very good at putting films on in the afternoons.’

‘The radiator is my least favourite piece of technology because it gets really hot and sometimes I overheat. I would like there to be a window opener to give you fresh air on particularly hot days.’

Jack, 9

Max, 9

‘Mr Waite is pretty good at technology but sometimes he gets things wrong and we have to show him how to do it.’ Red, 9

‘I like all the technology in school because the head teacher spent a lot of money on the items so I have to be grateful of that.’

‘I think that the photocopier is the most useful piece of technology. If there wasn’t a photocopier then everybody would have to share one worksheet and that would be a nightmare.’

Zima, 9

Jess, 9

‘I would like to see more technology in school. Even though books are good for information, the school can’t keep fitting more books in, so iPads are a better idea.’ James, 9

52 | PCR July 2017


EASY AS PI INSPIRED BY our chat with Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton for this month’s Big Interview, we thought we’d take a look at some of the wildest and wackiest uses of Raspberry Pi hardware…

The geeks over on the comedy series Silicon Valley used a Raspberry Pi Zero as a makeshift magnet

Ever the versatile device, some wrong-doers used Raspeberry Pi hardware to make bombs in the 2015 Point Break remake

One industrious modder even recreated the Fallout series’ Pip Boy. Talk about a wearable!

Raspberry Pis have appeared in all manner of shapes and sizes in the hacker drama series Mr Robot

A model of a Raspberry Pi unit appears on the workbench of whiz-kid Hiro in Disney film Big Hero 6

PCR July 2017 | 53


In our Team of the Month section, we highlight some of the important faces from across the industry who perhaps aren’t always in the public eye. This month, we speak to…

Zoostorm’s sales team What’s the hardest part of working in the tech industry? I think the hardest thing for us as a system integrator is the technology and how quickly it advances. Our partners are always announcing bigger and better revisions and pushing the boundaries from product to product. Trying to maintain our position at the forefront of this technology can be difficult but definitely exciting. What is the team working on at the moment? We have just launched our brand new range of StormForce premium gaming desktop’s which we think look amazing. We have an L1 solution launching next month in our B2B space which we are certain will be a huge hit for our educational customers. We also have a few aces up our sleeve but those are top secret for now.

Who’s in your team? Nick Barden, commercial manager. Tom Rudge, retail sales manager. Tom Tyler, retail sales. Kristian Walker, B2B sales. Mark Wallwork, B2B manager. Amy Knowles, B2B sales. Fran Webster, PCP. David Perry, PCP. John Brennan, PM and Greg Michele, PM. What have been your biggest successes of the past 12 months? Our biggest success has most definitely been the ongoing development of our products. Every single person in the team has

Editorial: 0207 354 6002

contributed to a brand and product line that we can now be proud of. Whether it be our best in class service or premium component partners we can confidently say we now have one of the best products on the market. What’s the funniest or most memorable moment of working in your team? We had a Christmas karaoke promo in the office last December. Watching Kristian (who likes to tell us about his acting degree) try to hit some of the high notes in Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want For Christmas is you’ was hilarious.


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PCR is published 12 times a year by NewBay Media Europe Ltd. The Emerson Building, 4-8 Emerson Street, London. SE1 9DU. © NewBay Media 2017 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 [brand] are subject to reproduction in information storage and retrieval systems. Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA

54 | PCR July 2017

What’s the best part of working in your team? As we are a relatively small team – and as cliché as it sounds – I would have to say that the people are the best part of the team. There is a genuine comradery among the team which is not easy to find. Every member has a genuine passion for the brand and believes in what we are trying to achieve at Zoostorm. Their positivity and proactive approach to everything they do makes working together a pleasure.



NEWBAY SUBSCRIPTIONS: The Emerson Building, 4-8 Emerson Street, London. SE1 9DU UK: £50 Europe: £60 Rest of World: £90. To subscribe to PCR please go to Should you have any questions please email FAQ’s can be found at Please note that this is a controlled circulation title and subscription criteria will be strictly adhered to.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the UK tech retail space right now? It has been a challenging 12 months with currency fluctuations affecting pricing. However, with our key partners (AMD, Intel, ASUS and Microsoft) all launching new products, and VR starting to take centre stage, it is a great time to be in the industry. Gaming continues to go from strength to strength for us, which will be a massive plus for brands such as ourselves who are synonymous with high performance devices. Who makes the best cuppa? I wouldn’t know as nobody has ever made me one!


Twitter: @pcr_online



THE SEARCH FOR OUR TOP WOMEN IN THE UK PC AND TECH INDUSTRY IS ONCE AGAIN UNDERWAY FOR 2017 Venue: Sway Bar, 61-65 Great Queen St, London, WC2B 5BZ Date: Wednesday, 18th October 2017

Our aim is to shine the spotlight on some of the most inspirational and influential female execs in the PC tech industry. And we aren’t just looking for Managing Directors or CEOs either – we want to showcase the full range of roles within the business. For more information contact Maeve Nicholson: For sponsorship opportunities contact Sarah Goldhawk:



11.6“ 13.3“ 10.1“ 7.0“

27.0“ 23.0“ 15.6“ 21.5“





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