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FUTURE TRENDS

ISSUE Dec 17 www.pcr-online.biz

FUTURE TRENDS ISSUE #171 December 2017

PCR Women of the Year 2017 Meet the women changing the face of tech


TheEditor Season’s greetings ahead of a hectic holiday WITH THE DAYS drawing in and the woolly jumpers being pulled on the holiday season is approaching – along with the busiest shopping period of the year. I am currently writing this ahead of Black Friday 2017, but I am sure that it is bound to break all of the records under the sun for sales. That single-day event has now evolved into a huge phenomenon, with Amazon even starting Black Friday deals a week and a half ahead of the day of the 24th. But by the time you read this, the dust will just about have settled on Black Friday with pre-Christmas panic buying on the horizon. And of course after that comes the Boxing Day sales, January sales and beyond. Suffice to say we are set for an absolutely mammoth sales period. After a great year of product releases, everything from smart speakers and games consoles to graphics cards and CPUs are set to fly off the shelves as savvy, bargain-hunting consumers look for the best deals around and biggest bang for their buck. I’d also like to briefly mention the PCR Women of the Year awards to congratulate the winners and thank you all for being in attendance. It was a great day that celebrated the roles and achievements of women in the industry, but more than that it prompted me to reflect on the more positive aspects of this business we work in and gave me renewed hope heading into the new year. So from all of us a PCR I’d like to wish you a very happy holidays and hope that 2018 brings all the best to you and your business.

“We are set for an absolutely mammoth sales period”

Jonathan Easton, Editor jeaston@nbmedia.com

THE TEAM

Editorial: 0207 354 6002 Advertising: 0207 354 6000

Rob Horgan

Deputy Editor rhorgan@nbmedia.com

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Gurpreet Purewal Sales Manager gpurewal@nbmedia.com

Dan Bennett

Design dbennett@nbmedia.com

Jason Dowie

Production Executive jdowie@nbmedia.com

James Mckeown

Content Director jmckeown@nbmedia.com

December 2017 | 3


THE BIG INTERVIEW CTA

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Contents December 2017 PCR WOTY 2017

06

Action and reaction from the annual PCR WOTY awards

Making predictions

28

GfK directors talk PCR through the process of making predictions

2017 in review

23

Comparing Channel predictions to the reality of 2017

CES 2018 preview

30

Looking at the trends expected to be on show at CES 2018

At a glance 26 YEAR IN PICTURES A month-by-month recap of the biggest Channel news and products to come out of 2017 33 LOOKING FORWARD Gazing into the crystal ball, PCR rounds up the biggest expected moves to impact the Channel in the year to come

Regulars 10 Life in the Channel 12 Industry opinion 36 Products 48 In my team 50 Logging off

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@pcr_online

pcr_online

December 2017 | 5


And the award goes to… PCR Women of the Year 2017 award winners are revealed THE RESULTS are in! PCR’s annual Women of the Year awards took place at the end of November, with beers, cheers and even one or two tears (of joy, we promise). Recognising outstanding individuals working within the technology industry, the awards celebrated women who flourish in what is still a very maledominated industry. With awards ranging from PR Powerhouse to Technical Excellence, all areas on the Channel were recognised at the event at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. Likewise newcomers and stalwarts of the industry were celebrated alike with an award for emerging talent and Lifetime Achievement. Northamber’s Louise Honeywill claimed the gong for PCR Woman of the Year 2017, while Code Club co-founder Clare Sutcliffe was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award for her work at Raspberry Pi. During the ceremony itself, Nicole Dezen, general manager for Microsoft’s Consumer Sales and Device UK and Ireland delivered a speech about the importance of awards such as the PCR WOTY, as well as the need to encourage young women and children to get involved in technology from an early age. It was a message echoed throughout the ceremony, with CompTIA’s Leanne Johnson also taking to the stage to present the Rising Star award. For more photos of the event, visit www. facebook.com/PCRMAG. Headline Partner:

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Rising Star Partner:

PCR WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2017 Louise Honeywill Northamber

PR Powerhouse Emma Lattimer TP-Link UK

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“It is an absolute honour to be named PCR Woman of the Year. More awards like this are needed to recognise women who are working hard to overcome the male dominance in the industry” Louise Honeywill, Northamber

BUSINESS MENTOR Heidi Woodhouse Dixons Travel and Concessions

RISING STAR Melissa Rambridge Sweethaven www.pcrwomenoftheyear.com | @PCR_Online | #PCRWOTY www.pcr-online.biz

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TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE Emma Crawford Tech Data

SALES BRILLIANCE Angela Townsend Sharp

“It is really important for women to have role models and to celebrate and support other women in the industry” Heidi Woodhouse, Dixons Travel and Concessions

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Clare Sutcliffe Co-founder of Code Club, Raspberry Pi Foundation CREATIVE MARKETEER Yvonne Hobden HP Inc UK www.pcrwomenoftheyear.com | @PCR_Online | #PCRWOTY 6

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“The competitive nature of sales also appeals to me due to my sporting hobbies�

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Tech Talk

LIFE IN THE CHANNEL

Will Waters GNR’s mild-mannered account manager may be a whizz at the books by day, but he also leads a secret double-life as an international sports star

What is your role at GNR and how long have you been in the job? At GNR I am part of the Account Management team and I look after our strategic accounts. These are a varied mix often with demanding requirements. I was part of the founding team at GNR Tech when it first set up, prior to working with GNR I held account management positions with Entatech UK and Volkswagen UK. What does an average day look like to you? From another person’s perspective it may look like most other desk jobs but that is far from it. Every day brings new challenges and another offer to share with my clients. Most days start by working on a plan of action and collaborating offers before hitting the phones to spread the word of the great business GNR has on offer that day. As well as generating lots of business through outbound calls and emails, there is plenty of quotes to put together for regular customers, and orders to process off the back of that which come flooding in throughout the day. The fast paced sales environment means that there is not a lot of time free in the day. How long have you been working in the Channel and what is the best thing about it? I joined the Channel after a career in the motor trade with VW but coming from a sales background means that it didn’t take long to get stuck in. The competitive nature of sales also appeals to me due to my sporting hobbies as well. I would say the best thing about the job is the people that I get to deal with. It feels really good to get a big order every now and again too!

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Do you remember any role models or people who helped you out in particular when you were getting started in your career? Since I have been working in this industry, I have been lucky enough to be part of a team that was always willing to help. I work in Craig Pearce’s team and his knowledge and drive is always appreciated – he always pushes us to improve. What is your funniest office Christmas party memory? The funniest Christmas party memory I have was when I first got into sales for a ski holiday operator. They had hired out a bar and some slalom ski machines to keep us entertained. After a few too many group shots off of a wooden ski, I was challenged to a race by one of my colleagues. However she was unable to complete it, due to her completely losing her balance on the skis before she was subsequently flung from the machine into a heap on the floor. Not only did she make an impression on the floor but also on me as I ended up marrying her a few years later. We’ve been told that you are a keen Tchoukball player. What exactly is it? Tchoukball is one of the fastest handball sports in the world. This fast-paced sport is now approaching 50 years since it was first played and has origins that can be traced back to a Swiss doctor. It is still growing in popularity in the UK for more information on the sport you can visit the official UK site via www.tchoukball.org.uk How can people best contact you? Via email, ww@gnr.co.uk, or on 0333 101 1000.

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industryopinion

Carl Oxley - managing director, Westcoast Retail

Big tech trends of 2018 After a big 2017, the internet of things is set to permeate even more of the market over the coming 12 months and beyond camera that is able to remember faces and take photos at WITH THE PREVALENCE of Google Home, Alexakey moments, was a huge step forward in promoting the powered speakers and Nest home security devices, the benefits of this technology to the average consumer, and internet of things was undoubtedly centre stage for the is indicative of the ways in which it can be used moving majority of 2017. Offering an unparalleled ease of use and forward to 2018 and beyond. taking the connected and automated home to the next The other trend that will become a big name over the level, the products allowed users to hook up everything course of 2018 is that of edge computing. Not to be put from their kettle to their lamp. Going beyond a gimmick, off by the name, edge computing is a fairly simple the success of such products means that consumers are concept, referring to the inputting of internet of increasingly becoming used to the concept that things capabilities into a product itself. The their lives could be made significantly easier likes of smart drones and autonomous by the inclusion of such tech. vehicles are a couple examples of items that As we move into 2018, it’s this ease of “The internet of would benefit from it most obviously, use that will continue to prevail and drive things was allowing them to communicate instantly the next series of tech trends to dominate undoubtedly centre without the need to send data to the conversation. As users become more and stage for the Cloud. Having such capabilities on board more used to the concept of the cuts down on the amount of time spent on connected home and aware of its benefits, majority of 2017” the process, resulting in tech that’s much the more relevant the internet of things will more responsive and versatile than what’s become, and it’s this theme that will drive the currently on the market. key tech trends of next year. Given the various avenues both AI and edge One form of tech that buys into this concept and computing are capable of going down over the next year, has increasingly found its way into conversation, partly the potential for them is huge. The key will be in how on the back of the internet of things, is artificial successful those involved are at educating consumers, not intelligence. Developing the intuitive and connected just in understanding the tech itself but also the benefits it nature of the internet of things, AI consists of learning can bring to their lives. If this is carried out effectively, capabilities that allow it to adapt depending on its user’s then there’s no reason why they can’t lead the needs, meaning its potential for use in a wide variety of conversation in 2018. tech is immense. Google announcing its Google Clips, a

12 | December 2017

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industryopinion

Chris Walsh - sales director at Alpha Generation Distribution

What makes a true VAD? Distributors in 2017 have to go beyond the old task of bringing a product to market, they have to work with resellers to provide unbeatable services many products as possible to the reseller. Distributing IN TODAY’S IT Channel, there are plenty of 50-60 products makes it impossible to add real value, distributors that claim to fully service resellers. support, marketing, and sales expertise to a huge vendor However, few completely understand their resellers’ portfolio. Quality should always trump quantity. challenges and offer value-add services to match – they The same applies when selecting resellers. Many US simply distribute products using their network of vendors expect 50 partners but our market doesn’t have partners like they always have. the capacity to deliver enough sales to fulfil halfway A value added distributor (VAD), on the other hand, decent margins to all partners involved. It’s far better if takes distribution to a deeper level. It delivers what a VAD starts with five resellers, and helps them resellers expect by stepping into their shoes and make a good profit before helping another five acting as the trusted intermediary between partners get to the same level. them and the vendor. It enables resellers to “The bottom Differentiation is just as important as package carefully selected products and line is that a true quality. Resellers don’t want to invest in services to end-users, providing ongoing getting to know a product only to find sales and technical support. VAD is emphatic, everyone is selling the same as them. A A true VAD offers everything resellers patient and VAD will therefore work with vendors that need and more to succeed as end-users collaborative” offer something unique and overcomes increase their digital footprint. It offers objections from end-users. choice, without saturating the market, and Finally, a reseller might offer four or five helps resellers to understand how a particular technologies to develop a solution stack, but they product can immediately benefit their existing might not all be offered by a single distributor. A VAD product line-up. will be open to collaborating with other distributors to This means offering partners the products and services provide resellers with a complete solution for their their end-users are asking for. After all, end-users will end-users’ wants and needs. prioritise the must-have technology – not the ‘nice-toThe bottom line is that a true VAD is emphatic, patient have’ – so, even if a product is pegged as ‘the next big and collaborative. It might take longer to build a strong thing’, it needs to be relevant. and ethical partner network but it will be worth it in A VAD will also evolve the way it works with resellers. today’s crowded IT Channel. It won’t team up with every single vendor just to offer as

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December 2017 | 13


industryopinion

Lorna Crowley - head of Marketing, Engage Hub

Is your business ready for the rise of Alexa? The rise of voice-activated assistants has taken the world by storm and there is plenty businesses need to do to adapt As a simple step to help with the transition to voiceCONSUMERS are increasingly likely to want less human interaction when communicating with businesses, thanks to activated technology, businesses can make sure websites and apps account for voice-enabled searches. But be warned, voice-activated assistants like Alexa. Amazon’s Alexa is this is only a small step in what is to come. For the next available in the UK, US and Germany and is becoming a steps, businesses should start to think about integrating data vital part of households, with an estimated 11 million being from Alexa to deliver targeted messaging by SMS, email or sold before January 2017. push notifications to reach your consumers. The pace of life is increasing. As a result, consumers are Voice-activated technology is here and as much as you incredibly pushed for time and are looking to communicate try, you won’t be able to avoid it. Implementing with businesses in the quickest, most convenient voice-activated assistants into the office could way possible. have a hugely positive impact on how The rise of Amazon’s Echo and its Alexa AI “Voice activated businesses operate. Forget calling various have encouraged consumer demand of suppliers for office stationery or manually voice-activated assistants. In May 2017, a technology is here scheduling a meeting, you’ll be able to ask report from eMarketer claimed that the and as much as you Alexa to do this for you. total number of Americans using voicetry, you won’t be Implementing technology like voiceactivated assistant devices will reach 35.6 able to avoid it” activated assistants doesn’t come stress free. million in 2017, up a whopping 129 per cent Data privacy breaches are a sensitive topic for year-on-year. While that figure is not close to 2017, but trust needs to be a key consideration matching smartphone levels yet, it is not when implementing this technology in your insignificant and is signalling the demonstrable rise business. However, Amazon is beginning to develop voice in the popularity that voice-activated assistants are recognition features which they hope will eradicate experiencing and the dramatic shift in consumer trend. concerns over security and privacy. So what does this mean for businesses? As consumers Despite Alexa being restricted to the home at the gradually move away from their screens and keyboards and moment, it is clear that the technology is developing at a towards voice-activated communication, businesses will rapid rate and it won’t be long before it becomes an have to adapt their communication channels to meet their integrated part of everyday life. Your business will need to customers’ expectations. If the prediction from eMarketer is adapt to voice-activated assistants in order to stay relevant to tell us anything, it’s that voice-activated technology is and convenient to your customers. here to stay – for the next three years at least.

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thebiginterview

‘Innovation can come from anywhere in the world. And it’s our job to foster it’

16 | December 2017

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From Paris to Las Vegas CES is the world’s largest consumer tech trade show and effectively defines the agenda for the comming year. Ahead of the event in Las Vegas next month, we sent Marguerite Clark – editor-in-chief of PCR’s sister publication Radio World – along to CES Unveiled Paris to chat with Consumer Technology Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro about ensuring a successful event and what tech is going to be on everyone’s lips in 2018 This is your fifth Unveiled Paris event and you have an Unveiled Amsterdam event as well. How important are these events abroad in the promotion of the main CES event in Las Vegas? They do two things. They definitely promote CES, the ‘mother show’, as they are appetisers for the main event. But second, they are events in their own right. They help us to build relationships. For any one of them, we can grow these events bigger and bigger. We are looking for further growth. We launched Unveiled Amsterdam this year and preliminary pre-registration numbers show that it is our most successful non-trade show launch outside of the United States, with nearly 500 attendees coming from all over Europe. We’ve also had other events around the world, that we move around. We’ve had them in the United Kingdom, Sweden, China, Israel, Japan and Poland. Plus we have the annual CES Asia, which is a fully-fledged trade show, attracting nearly 40,000 attendees in Shanghai. Next year will be our fourth year and it’s grown dramatically. Paris is the biggest of your Unveiled events outside the US. Why do you think that it has been particularly successful? I think the French have taken the concept of entrepreneurism very seriously. There is also strong

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government support. Emmanuel Macron has been to both this event in Paris and CES in Las Vegas twice. The French not only talk about entrepreneurialism, they are well positioned for and are investing in it. The Station F campus inaugurated in July in Paris can house some 1,000 startups, and there is a sense all around the country that startups are a good thing. In general, it’s easier than before to start a company today, since the level of capital required is not what it used to be. So if somebody has an idea, they can make use of 3D printing and maybe get things manufactured elsewhere if necessary. The amount of entrepreneurship around the world has greatly increased in recent years. According to CTA, France is the second largest startup exhibitor after the US in Eureka Park at CES in Las Vegas. Why do you think that is? We’ll have 800 companies in the startup area there in January. That’s 200 more than the previous year. We started a few years ago with about 100 firms. It’s growing quickly and it’s a very low-cost way for companies to expose themselves. Certainly the French government, through La French Tech initiative, provides some of that, and compared to many other countries the French have been very aggressive. The French have visible government leadership promoting

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thebiginterview

French innovation and the result is a culture of startups and French entrepreneurs vying to be in Eureka Park within CES. It’s not easy to get in there. It’s curated, so the companies must fit within certain criteria, and the French have responded to it. It’s a combination of many good things hitting at the same time. Are you planning on introducing the Unveiled event to other countries? We do press events in various countries but the Unveiled events allow for exhibitors to show their products and this year we are doing that in Paris and Amsterdam, in addition to CES Asia. We keep moving them around the world. The fact that we are having our fifth one in a row in France makes it much more significant. The first Paris event in 2013 attracted some 277 participants, followed by 345 in 2014, 592 in 2015 and 704 in 2016. For this year’s show, we have a 20 per cent growth with more than 800 people attending. In general, what percentage of CES exhibitors (and visitors) come from abroad? For CES in Las Vegas, one third (both exhibitors and visitors) are non-US citizens. In 2017, we had roughly one third (60,000 out of the 180,000) attendees coming from outside the US.

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There have been headlines about how a few tech firms are becoming so big that innovation elsewhere is stifled. Some people have labelled them as the ‘Frightful Five’. Is this something we should be worried about? Well, there are many issues there. For a long time, the EU strategy has been to establish ambiguous laws to attack major US tech firms and extort huge fines. Europe has produced few major tech firms in the last 20 years, while America has produced over 150 of them. So we think that Europe needs to look at why they aren’t producing major firms and I think a lot of that has to do with government regulation, which explains Brexit in part. I also think Macron recognises that bureaucracy is not positive for tech firm creation. But also the reality is that the US is better situated. We have a common market while Europe has many different markets with different languages, standards and regulations so there is an advantage the US has. In terms of those firms themselves which are undergoing scrutiny, part of it is that they are very big, very successful, and they have been disruptive and have affected traditional media like broadcast and the motion picture industry. There are some industries that have not fared as well with new technology and they are piling on at this point, which is not helpful. The reality is that innovation and technology is a core US strength, and it has fundamentally changed lives around the world for the better. But like any tool there are good and some bad things. Because of technology, the human condition is rapidly improving — we are living longer and healthier lives, we are detecting disease earlier. Soon with self-driving vehicles, we’ll be avoiding car accidents and death and we’ll be empowering disabled and elderly people. We’ll be doing all sorts of things with education, healthcare and transportation that we have never been able to do until now. That innovation is positive, which is something as an organisation we are very much passionate about protecting. But we have to recognise there are also issues involved in privacy, cyber security and that the tools can also be used by bad players just like any great invention of mankind. With technology in general I think there are so many positive aspects that we have to talk with policymakers about how we can have the guardrails up to protect us from the negative. That is what governments are discussing, but they need to do so in a way that encourages innovation and not just use it as a tool to protect their own domestic industries. The CTA is promoting policies that will encourage innovation in countries around the world and make sure that every global citizen can benefit from them. Why is there so much interest from abroad about what goes on at CES? CES is the top business event for innovation. It attracts

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“If you want to see the future, CES is there” people from many different lines of business to see the future, to get inspired and to do business deals. Europe often does better than the US on international events because it’s easy to get around and there is vast support from the governments. There are a few events where the US is dominant. Certainly CES is one of them regarding innovation and technology. The business focus of the administration in office also plays an important part of the show’s success. We are seeing positive economic outcomes from Trump’s time in office. You previously stated that ‘CES has become the world’s foremost hub for international business at large, regardless of industry’. The advantage of CES is that it’s not just focused on consumer technologies. It’s focused on all innovation and gathers leaders from all over the world. We have a whole portion of the show we started, which focuses on marketing in a digital world. It’s called ‘C Space’ and it brings together almost 10,000 people, the chief marketing officers and CEOs from major worldwide companies and a lot of different industries. Today innovation often starts with consumer products and goes to business; it used to be the other way around 20 years ago. Basically if you want to see the future, CES is there. Another important aspect is the convergence at CES. To be successful today in the business world, one has to go across different industries (it’s no longer vertical); you must be aware and partner with the others. Also, many larger companies are looking to smaller startup companies to innovate, so that is how we position CES as well. Visitors to CES want to be inspired. Serendipity is very valuable. The internet is good but you do need the experience of seeing things first hand, have unexpected meetings and take in all the information you can gather. What do you consider the main tech trends in consumer electronics to be heading into CES? Smart cities, sports tech, robotics, drones, as well as a major focus on artificial intelligence and healthcare. Going forwards for the next three years I foresee the continued growth in robotics, smart cities, AI and selfdriving cars. What are a few of the main challenges as CTA president in continually making sure success of each annual show? We always try to make it fresh so it’s not the same show. So we continually bring in new items to make 20 | December 2017

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thebiginterview it different. The average attendee has 33 meetings during the show, we know it’s an efficient event for them. We try to look forward technologically so that they can plan ahead but also leave time for welcome surprises along the way. We spend a lot of time on logistics – the bus routes, the show app, the signage, different ways of getting people together so that they can see other industries, but also feel vertical so they are comfortable in their own common element. We have more than 1,000 speakers and choose our keynotes very carefully. How participants rate their CES experience is very important to us. At the same time, we are pretty tight on not allowing consumers to come to the show. This is a business event, and we want to make sure it’s comfortable, because Las Vegas can only comfortably handle so many people. Having said that, the city is expanding the airport, the number of hotel rooms and the convention centre. CES, the NAB and other big organisations support Las Vegas so we can improve the shows for everyone. What I worry about is providing a great experience for our attendees. Last year, a CES exhibitor claimed to have had two prototypes stolen from its stand during the show. What steps are you taking to keep exhibitors’ intellectual and physical property safe? For intellectual property, we work with the FBI and others. There are steps we take that are public and nonpublic. We also have a way of dealing with the exhibitors and educating them about what they should do immediately to protect their valuables, and we cooperate with the authorities as much as we can. But physical safety is an even higher priority for us, and we spend a lot of time concentrating on that. We have always focused on ways we can improve physical security for our attendees in visible and nonvisible ways; and our organisation continues to make ongoing improvements. One example is that we are going to have picture IDs. This is something we have been putting in place for a year now. What keeps you up at night? I think we are heading towards a much better world where technology will enhance human existence and relieve a lot of suffering, pain and misery. I think it’s a wonderful thing, but it won’t happen unless we do everything we can to get innovators – both big and small – together to allow innovation to flourish and make sure there are policies around the world that encourage this. Innovation can come from anywhere in the world, and it’s our job to foster it. www.pcr-online.biz

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2017 in review

Progression and consolidation: technology in 2017 A year ago we asked the Channel what tech would look like in 2017. Now at the end of the year, Jonathan Easton looks back at that future-gazing to see just how accurate our industry insiders were

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N TERMS OF the Channel, 2017 was quite a dramatic year, punctuated by the shocking shuttering of firms such as Entatech, Mad Catz and Misco. But while the industry was changing from a business point of view, it too was evolving in terms of sales and products. In order to look back, we’ve taken the three big talking points from last year’s predictions to see where we stand now at the end of 2017.

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The rise of the machines One area that almost everyone we spoke to a year ago agreed on was that 2017 would see a drastic rise in the prevalence of AI assistants. “I expect AI to take the tech world by storm in 2017,” said Gekko MD Dan Todaro, and he wasn’t wrong. Amazon’s Echo range did gangbusters, as its Alexa AI became one of the most hotly discussed technological talking points of the year. Amazon launched new Echo ranges,

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2017 in review while a bevy of vendors employed Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana into their speakers; and even Apple got in on the act with its Homepod to be released in December. In the realm of phones, Samsung even dedicated an entire button to its new Bixby assistant in its flagship Galaxy S8 handset. Not only was Alexa, along with Google’s Assistant, the subject of a lampooning on South Park (a sign if ever there was one of something having a cultural impact), but they both became vital ecommerce tools. In August it emerged that almost half of Alexa users were making purchases using their voice – a figure that is likely to have grown even greater in the months since. At the time of writing, the holiday shopping period is just around the corner, and, according to Salmon, 45 per cent of consumers already use or plan to soon use digital assistants in making their Christmas purchases. Our industry cohorts didn’t quite predict the impact of smart assistants in consumer sales, but they did anticipate them having a huge year. One such prediction came from Vanti CEO and CompTIA executive council member Mike Brooman. “I think we’re going see AI taking a more central role in the industry,” he said. “We’ve already started to see glimpses of it coming through this year but what we’ll see in 2017 is it becoming more mainstream.”

“Alexa dominated, VR fluctuated, the PC bounced back and the iPhone lost its home button”

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VR’s faltering start Virtual reality was all the rage in 2016. It was all anyone wanted to talk about. From the high-profile (and highbudget) ad campaigns around Sony’s PlayStation VR, to the use of HTC Vive headsets in a ride at Thorpe Park, VR dominated the conversation of ‘future tech today’ way back in 2016. Now however if you read any article about VR devices on the market, the words ‘problem’ and ‘disappointment’ are likely to appear towards the top of the story. Headlines such as ‘This VR cycle is dead’ and ‘VR sales numbers are wet blanket on adoption hopes’ show that the enthusiasm for the technology has wavered to say the least. In terms of sales figures, it got off to a flying start. Sony sold 745,000 PSVR units within the first three months of going on sale, but it wasn’t until June that it hit the one million milestone and the company hasn’t updated us on numbers since. However, the company in October – one year on from launch – revealed a new, slightly modified, version of the headset and reinforced its commitment to the platform (though it must be noted that a large criticism of VR – in particular for gaming – isn’t so much of the hardware, but that there has been a lack of compelling software titles to keep users engaged). In a similar vein, Oculus made a Summer price cut to its Rift headset permanent in the Autumn and announced a new PC-less headset to counter what some perceived to be a poor year for the company (following disappointing sales figures and the PR nightmare of exboss Palmer Luckey). Some 12 months ago however, the Channel hadn’t www.pcr-online.biz


bought into VR quite as much as the blogosphere. Many of the industry figures we spoke to said that it was augmented reality that was set to have a breakout year in 2017. “I think AR will be a bigger focus this year than VR,” ruminated Maximity director and CompTIA executive council member Tracy Pound. And indeed, at both Apple and Google the conversation did shift a lot of the excitement towards AR. Apple launched ARKit for developers to create apps for iOS and Google’s own ARCore platform launched on a few phones to do the same for Android. Right now it certainly seems like the momentum is with AR. Still though there is much optimism around VR, with it entering the ‘Slope of Enlightenment’ phase of Gartner’s oft-cited Hype Cycle meaning that, going forward, things should be on the up. AR however is, according to the research firm, set to enter the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ – i.e. expect a lot of the doomladen rhetoric from 2017 about VR to move towards AR during 2018.

mindset, notebooks were undoubtedly the drivers for the EMEA PC market,” IDC stated. “Although desktops continued to erode, growing interest in gaming contributed towards keeping the desktop market afloat.” A contributing factor towards this as well was the resurgence of AMD with its Ryzen, Threadripper and Vega component ranges. The growth in competition drove sales and helped the better-than-expected PC sales. Tick tock goes the clock 2017 didn’t really see the release of any massively innovative products. What we got, by and large, were developments and iterations of technology and categories that had been introduced in previous years. Alexa dominated, VR fluctuated, the PC bounced back and the iPhone lost its home button. But the main takeaway from all this is that the Channel was pretty spot on with its predictions. With 2017 largely being a year of consolidation for emerging tech, we can only hope that 2018 will build upon the successes of the past 12 months and introduce even more exciting innovations and opportunities.

The PC problem While people had varying opinions on the state of VR 12 months ago, one universally held belief was that the desktop PC would continue its struggle to remain relevant in an increasingly mobile world. Brooman even went so far as to make the absolute claim that ‘the desktop will definitely continue its decline in 2017’. However, contrary to popular belief, 2017 actually saw something of a stable year for PC sales, according to IDC. It had previously been projected that sales of PCs (including notebooks, desktops and workstations) would decline by 1.4 per cent year-on-year, but the analyst announced in October that sales had slowed to a decline of only 0.5 per cent. “With customers increasingly adopting a mobility www.pcr-online.biz

December 2017 | 25


2017

The year in pictures January Q Online to eliminate half of the high street by 2030, says ParcelHero Q Bitcoin surpasses $1,000 Q Microsoft launches digital skills programme for the UK

February

March

Q CMS Distribution announces acquisition of rival distie TNS Connect

Q AMD launches Ryzen 7

Q Return of the Nokia 3310 at MWC 2017

Q Nintendo launches Switch hybrid console

Q PC set for decade of decline, says IDC

Q The 2017 PCR Awards take place, Nvidia picks up the Company of the Year award

July

August

Q Ex-Enta boss Jason Tsai jailed for 18 months

Q New-look PCR launches

Q Mike Ashley acquires 26.2 per cent controlling stake in GAME

Q Samsung chairman Jay Y Lee jailed for five years in corruption scandal

Q Meg Whitman steps down from HP Inc board

Q Intel unveils 8th gen processors

Q Beta Distribution: Entatech deal ‘did not sit well with us’

Q Consumer Reports removes Surface recommendation, citing estimated two-year breakage rates of 25 per cent

Q Amazon breaks records with fourth annual Prime Day

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Q BT fined record £42m

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December 2017

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2017

PCR takes a look at the year gone by and identifies the defining moments of each month April Q IT job roles up 12 per cent in UK Q Tech firms warn of post-brexit mass exit

June Q Dixons Carphone announces annual operating profits of over half a billion pounds Q E3 2017 – Xbox One X revealed

May Q Entatech goes bust, after Beta Distribution cancels its buyout at the 11th hour

Q Gigabyte smashes records with 7.5GHz overclocked i7

Q FBI opens investigation into Kaspersky following claims it helped the Kremlin hack into the US Q Snapchat founders lose $2 billion Q The Wannacry malware spreads to millions of PCs

October Q Misco lays off 300 staff Q PlayStation boss Andrew House leaves Sony after 27 years Q The Game of Thrones inspired Bad Rabbit malware hits headlines Q AMD reports revenue rise amid comeback year

September

November

Q Toshiba signs $18 billion deal with Bain-Apple consortium

Q The iPhone X and Xbox One X both launch and are celebrated by fans and critics alike

Q iPhone 8 launches Q Revealed that record 1.9 billion data records compromised by breaches in first half of 2017

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Q PCR Women of The Year 2017 Q Bitcoin surpasses $6,000

Decvember 2017 | 27


Report

Tracking tomorrow With industry forecasts and d market m reports pushed out 10 to the dozen, do en it is sometimes easy to overlook what goes on behind the numbers. Rob b b Horgan caught up with GfK directors ectors Imran Choudhary and Neel Bhalsod sod to find out exactly how the market et analysts keep pace with the future

“We can already see where trends are beginning to develop and where areas are dropping off” Neel Bhalsod, Director of client insight

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KEEPING on top of the present se is a big enough task for most of us. So when it comes to predicting predicctin ng the future, you have to take your hat off to the the llikes ikes of GfK. Yet the countless hours of hard work ork and and dedication put in by the industry analysts can sometimes be overlooked. As a journalist, a neatly so packaged set of statistics from an analyst’s press p pack releasee iss pretty relea pre much a freebee to turning around good, go od d, in iinteresting ntere ti g and relevant content. Likewise a retailer, ret ai er, vendor vendo or distie could be forgiven for ignoring work tha thatt goes into the numbers that are then used thee w tto shape h p their th future business models. In rreality, eality, as technology director Imran Choudhary explains, of consumer surveys are exp plains, ‘thousands tho conducted… co nducted d mountains of market data is sifted tthrough’ hroug and ‘a six-month old A.I. called Betty’ are all working w rki together to look into the future at GfK. “There are four main components to creating a “T market report, or future trends outlook,” Choudhary m says. “How we get the ball rolling is by looking at the sales data. Going through it and finding out what is selling right now and how that compares to before.” Director of client insight POS Neel Bhalsod adds: “By looking at consumer data we can shape which way to take the research. From the data we can already see where h trends are beginning to develop and where areas are dropping off.” After gathering the data – which is an ongoing process – the team at GfK draws on its industry knowledge. edg dg As Choudhary explains, one of the most important rttant n steps is to talk with clients, understand what thee iindustry is excited about and then see if that nd d sphere. rreflects effleeccts in the the consumer c

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Report

From left: Imran Choudhary and Neel Bhalsod

“Between us

“Between us we have many, many years of experience so we usually have our finger on the pulse and know what to look for,” he says. “That is a great advantage for us as we can refine the data to look for what we think is important. Once we have established a trend from the point of sales data, we will then conduct our consumer research surveys. However, that is not the only way of going about it. Sometimes we start with a blank slate and ask consumers what they are likely to buy in the year ahead, it is a different way of doing it but it can generate some different areas that we may not have thought of.” And at GfK, the surveys are conducting in a more scientific manner than say the election polls. For each market, or country, involved in a survey GfK surveys at least 1,000 people. After conducting their initial research, they then carry out a further round of surveys with ‘leading edge consumers’. These are people that GfK considers to be ‘influencers in their peer groups’; people who self identify as being ahead of the curve and who are vocal with their opinions. “Talking with leading edge consumers is a great way at predicting future trends,” Choudhary adds. “From what a leading edge consumer is saying, or more importantly buying, today we can assume that the market will catch on in say two or three, or four years time. These are the people who are doing things first. They come from a range of backgrounds but they all self-identify as being vocal, holding influence over their peer group.” The fourth and final – and newest – step in GfK’s forecasting process is its A.I. named Betty. Launched just six months ago, Betty is already making a

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difference to the way GfK operates by keeping a close look on the social airways. Programmed to analyse social media Betty allows GfK to see what products consumers are talking about on social media. But Betty is not just about quantity, as Choudhary explains: “The great thing about Betty is that she can tell us if people are talking positively or negatively about a product. When Apple launched the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X for the first time we were able to make predictions on their success in under 24 hours. This would not have been possible without Betty. For example we were able to see that the feature everyone was talking about was the new face ID technology. However, as the demonstration didn’t work we were able to see that more than 50 per cent of chatter online was negative. We were able to take this data to make future predictions about consumer concerns which we then relayed to clients all within 24 hours of the product launch.” In terms of the future, GfK expects Betty to grow and be more influential in the way they conduct their forecasts. Major growth is expected in the smart home and VR markets in 2018, with wearables also set to be boosted by the likes of Apple’s latest watch. Midmarket mobiles are also set to be a hit, with the likes of Apple and Samsung alienating the mid-price market with their sky-high costs, paving the way for Huawei and Nokia to come to the fore. GDPR, data concerns and security scares are likely to be the major challenges to the Channel over the next 12 months but looking further forward GfK expects 5G to ‘revolutionise the way we do everything’. Here’s to the future gazers!

we have many, many years of experience so we usually h have our finger g on the pulse e and w what to know look for” Imran Choudhary, Technology og director

December 2017 | 29


CES 2018

Viva Las Vegas ‘AR gets real’ Speaking at CES Unveiled in Paris, CTA’s senior director of market research Steve Koenig said that augmented reality will have a big showing in Las Vegas. “‘AR Gets Real’ will be the real narrative at CES when we talk about AR moving from B to C,” declared Koenig. “We’ll see a tidal wave of AR applications.” It’s easy to see why. With both Apple and Google jumping on the AR train in a big way during 2017, we’re sure to see plenty of vendors and developers offering apps to either build upon pre-existing services or brand new solutions.

Affordable 4K 2017’s CES saw 4K take over our screens, with a whole host of different formats and standards of the ultra-HD screen resolution being touted by manufacturers. The big problem though was that it was all – and still is – largely inaccessible to the majority of consumers, with eyewatering price points making 4K an unrealistic aspiration for most. With the tech now firmly in place, the emphasis at the 2018 show will be ensuring that as many TV buyers as possible are able to get their hands on it. Prices aren’t likely to be touted at the event, but rest assured that the major players are taking their places for the next race to the bottom. But let’s not even start to think about the cost of the 8K screens that will inevitably show up.

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CES 2018

Ahead of the biggest tech trade show of the calendar, Jonathan Easton previews CES 2018 and picks out what he expects to be the biggest trends at the show

Smart assistants and AI continue to dominate Last year, Alexa and Google Assistant stole the show. If a new bit of tech didn’t involve some sort of smart assistant then it seemed like it was missing a core feature. Everything from speakers to fridges had a voice-activated assistant, and that trend looks set to continue in a big way. It is also expected that Microsoft will also look to get in on the party, as it is set to launch its own smart speaker powered by – you guessed it – Cortana. What is likely to be even bigger than ever at CES is machine learning. It’s one of those buzzwords that has been doing the rounds for a while, but with vendors like Huawei already showing how it works in a user-friendly way with the photo recognition of its latest Mate 10 Pro smartphone, we can expect to see even more of the tech and what it can do to improve products. Maybe a couple more smartphones will be shown off with some fancy machine learning business going on.

Lapping it up One last trend that’ll probably show up is vendors following the lead of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga and incorporating OLED screens into their laptops. While it’s unlikely that any laptops will bring many major innovations like the ostentatius Acer Predator 21X did in 2017, it will also be interesting to see how many vendors start to include the newly announced laptop chip designed by Intel and AMD. Launching a full-scale attack on Nvidia’s vice-like grip on the gaming market, the pair (partnering for the first time since the 1980s) are producing a laptop chip with an Intel processor and an AMD graphics unit. Will many vendors buy in? CES may give us an idea.

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December 2017 | 31


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Report

Microsoft’s Panos Panay takes to the stage at Future Decoded 2017

Throwing out the wooden rackets Looking towards 2018 and beyond, Rob Horgan headed to Microsoft Future Decoded to get a glimpse at the technology that is going to drive the world of tomorrow “I’M HERE to talk about the future.” It may have been an obvious start from Panos Panay, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Surface Computing, but it struck a chord and made the audience sit up in anticipation. Because if there is one uniting factor in this industry it is that we are all excited by what the future – and in particular, the future of technology – has in store. And more than that, we want to be the first ones to see it, touch it and develop it. It is the desire to see tomorrow today that drew some 24,000 people to the ExCel Centre in London for

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the fourth edition of Microsoft’s two day showcase. And while the speakers ranged from the founding fathers of cloud technology to comedians and footballers (David Walliams and Gary Neville, in case you were wondering), there was one core question that ran through the entire show: How can I make my business better by using the latest technology? This question was no more apparent than during the opening keynote speeches featuring Azure VP Julia White, president of Microsoft International JeanPhilippe Courtois and Panay himself. All three

December 2017 | 33


Report

“It doesn’t matter if you are the best tennis player of all time, you can’t turn up with a wooden racket anymore” Panos Panay, Microsoft corporate VP for Surface Computing

Microsoft heavyweights repeatedly talked about putting the people, or the workforce, at the forefront while technology slips into the background. Panay described it as a ‘seemless flow’ in terms of moving from your phone, to your tablet, to your desktop. And it was equally relevant later in the day when Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth demonstrated how to use Ubuntu and Azure to develop in the cloud. (The key element to both the hardware and the software is letting the technology in place do the work so that you – or your workforce – can be as creative as possible). Panay demonstrated this through a picture of John McEnroe during a Wimbledon final against Bjorn Borg. Although at first Panay’s trip down memory lane may have seemed a little off-piste, its finale brought the message home to something of a conclusion: “It doesn’t matter if you are the best tennis player of all time, you can’t turn up with a wooden racket anymore.” So what technology is going to replace the wooden rackets? Well Panay reckons it’s the Surface Pro with LTE Advance which he gushed over while demonstrating its capabilities. The next day Lorraine Bardeen, general manager at Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experience claimed that it was the power of mixed reality that was going to ‘empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more’. And maybe she is right. According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global mixed reality market was valued at $72 million in 2016, and is projected to reach $3,109 million by 2023, growing by 71.3 per cent from 2017 to 2023. Meanwhile, during his moment on stage, Courtois said that there are three ‘major shifts’ that will unlock the future of technology. Firstly, the use of multidevice and multi-sense – i.e. the growth of voiceassistants coupled with the ‘seemless flow’ that Panay described when he moves from his phone to his

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Surface Pro. Second, Artificial Intelligence working alongside data. And thirdly, operating on the intelligent edge. The power of voice has been well documented and 2017 has witnessed the meteoric rise of the smart speaker driven by the likes of Amazon and Google. In fact the VPA-enabled wireless speaker market alone is expected to generate some $3.52 billion in global revenue by 2021, so Courtois would appear to be well supported in his claim that ‘multi-sense’ devices will be at the forefront of future technology. In terms of AI, the global retail market size is expected to grow from $993.6 million in 2017 to $5,034.0 million by 2022, at a growth rate of 38.3 per cent. And the intelligent edge? Well, that is less easy to quantify. To try and put it simply, it is a process where data is analysed and aggregated in a spot close to where it is captured in a network. It is deployed in everything from the internet of things to cloud computing so putting a figure or throwing a stat at its market worth, is not only incredibly difficult, but is also pretty meaningless. It could also be used in the rollout of smart cities, self-driving cars and robotics – all areas which Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association has pointed to as future trends (see full interview, P16). Needless to say the intelligent edge, as Courtois said, is going to be key to the development of new major technologies. Be it cloud computing, AI, the internet of things or machine learning, the technology of tomorrow appears to be geared towards increasing productivity and saving time. Rather than showing off futuristic hardware, Future Decoded presented an ideology empowered by the technology being developed right now. If we are to buy into Panoy’s vision of tomorrow we will soon see a world where people are connected to their virtual world at all times. How to capitalise on that is where the Channel should sit up and take note.

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New Products

LTE Surface Pro SRP: £1,130 OUT: December 1

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For the first time on the Surface Pro, Microsoft will also offer a model with LTE connectivity. The LTE version will support micro SIM and eSIM, and will be priced slightly higher than models without LTE support. The Surface Pro with LTE will only be available with a Core i5 processor to begin with, although a Core i7 model has been mooted for the future. It will also come with 8GB of system memory and 256GB of SSD storage. The Surface Pro will also include a Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem - the very same that’s in the Snapdragon 835 chipset.

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December 2017

HomePod SRP: £349 OUT: December 4 Apple has released a smart speaker ready to take on the Amazon Echo, and Google Home. Controlled through natural voice interaction with Siri, the HomePod comes with seven tweeters, and 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 realtime modeling of the woofer mechanics and buffering that’s even faster than real time. Upmixing of both direct and ambient audio is also available and advanced echo cancellation is built in. Available in black or white the HomePod is just seven inches tall and weighs in at just 2.5kg.

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New Products

HANNSapple

Retro Receiver

SRP: £89 OUT: December 1

SRP: £19.99 OUT: December 10

Display specialists HANNspree has announced that the HANNSapple, the most popular design from its original novelty tech range over a decade ago, is back. A celebration of HANNspree’s origins, the HANNSapple monitor means to shake-up bland modern design by offering a fun, vibrant alternative-choice for design conscious and educational spaces.

8bitdo has partnered with Analogue to bring retro gamers a wireless controller for their SNES device. The Retro Receiver is a Bluetooth receiver that you plug into your original SNES. It allows you to play your SNES wirelessly with any original SNES or SFC model and even other aftermarket SNES/SFC systems.

Audio Technica ADX5000 SRP: £1,999 OUT: December 11 The ADX5000 headphones are Audio Technica’s new flagship model in the brand’s high-end Air Dynamic series. With 58mm integrated driver units the ADX5000 also comes with tungsten coated diaphragms in a honeycomb punched design. The new design takes comfort into consideration, offering high quality in a lightweight form factor.

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Switch 7 Black Edition SRP: £1,320 OUT: December 11 Acer’s Switch 7 Black Edition has a 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 display that detaches from the keyboard. To differentiate itself from other 2-in-1 devices, the Switch 7 comes with dedicated Nvidia MX150 graphics and Intel’s 8th-generation Core CPU. Dual Liquid Loop thermal pipes around the chassis ensure that users never burn their laps.

December 2017 | 37


Smartphone accessories As the world turns to its smartphones to do more and more, PCR rounds up the latest accessories helping users to achieve as much as they can from their handsets

38 | December 2017

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Sector Guide

LMS DATA 3-in-1 Nano SIM card adaptor kit

LMS DATA secure finger-loop smartphone holder

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £1.99 Specs: : Snap and fit design, impact and scratch resistant, compatible with smartphones and tablets

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £1.99 Specs: Secure 1, 2 or 3 adjustable finger-loop design, built-in flip-out bipod

The new LMS DATA 3-in-1 Nano SIM card adaptor kit will convert current Nano SIM cards to work with larger SIM slots seen in the latest mobile devices, tablets, 3G or 4G routers. The kit includes both scratch and impact resistant materials and the adapter is designed to fit popular devices.

Using a finger loop design which quickly and securely adheres to the rear of a phone, phone case or other phone cases, the finger loop is easily adjustable to all hand sizes and is ideal for all ages and industrial applications. Moreover the self-contained, built-in bipod can be folded out to allow the phone to be angled on a desk or flat surface.

SpeedLink Taylor M Electronics Toolkit Plus

Urban Factory universal rechargeable battery

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £15.99 Specs: 10 bits including: 2x torx (T3, T4), 3x phillips (PH00, PH0, PH1), 4x slotted (1.5mm, 1.7mm, 2.0mm, 2.5mm), 1x pentalobe (TS1)

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £89.90 Specs: Capacity: 8000mAh, output: 1A/2.1A, two USB ports

The Taylor M Electronics Toolkit is designed specifically for precision work on smartphones, mobile games consoles and many other devices. The bit holder has a swivel head with 10 different bits, making one-handed work much easier.

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Urban Factory’s universal battery is suitable for all smartphones and tablets. A universal charger with 8000mAh capacity, the battery can be used with an iPhone, Android or Windows smartphone, tablet or even a sat nav device or an action camera.

December 2017 | 39


Smartphone accessories

Sector Guide

40 | December 2017

JBL Flip 4 Distributor: EET Europarts SRP: £119.99 Specs: Bluetooth connectivity, waterproof, 12 hours playtime, 3000mAh Li-on battery The JBL Flip 4 waterproof Bluetooth speaker is ideal for taking on holiday and using outdoors. It allows users to wirelessly connect up to two smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns playing impressive stereo sound. For greater sound users can link more than 100 JBL Connect+ enabled speakers together to amplify the sound.

Lume Cube smartphone clip Distributor: CMS Distribution SRP: £19.99 Specs: 10 manual brightness settings, 1.5-inches, 3.5grams The Lume Cube smartphone clip is compatible with all mobile devices and gives you a fully adjustable 1,500 lumen light source right in your pocket. As smartphones get thinner and thinner, the sensors in their cameras become smaller and smaller, which gives us poor results in low light situations.

1byone Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard

PNY QI wireless charging base

Distributor: EET Europarts SRP: £16.99 Specs: Built-in QWERTY keypad, 500 mAh lithium battery, four hours charge time

Distributor: Ingram Micro, Tech Data SRP: £35.99 Specs: Input to QI wall charger: AC 100 – 240V, Micro-USB cable included

Ultra slim and lightweight, the 1byone keyboard is only 8mm thick and weighs just 0.43kg itself. Its dimensions are less than an A4 piece of paper so that you can easily put it into your backpack or briefcase for travel and work or use it in your house without care about the messy connection wire.

The portable PNY QI wireless charging base provides clean and fast charging to any QIcompatible device, including the new iPhone. Simply place the device on the lightweight base and the induction interaction starts charging it immediately. The base is perfect for use at home or to be taken on the move.

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Printers and accessories 42 | December 2017

ActiveJet replacement for Canon CL-541XL cartridge

ActiveJet replacement for Epson T0711 cartridge

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £32.87 Specs: For use with Canon, colour (cyan, magenta, yellow), ink type: pigment

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £5.88 Specs: For use with Epson, colour: black, ink type: pigment

Premium inkjet cartridge compatible with Canon printers. The cartridge contains an increased volume of 18 ml of three colours dyebased ink and comes with a 5-year warranty. Most Activejet inkjet printing heads, as well as ink and some other parts, are made of European components.

Premium inkjet cartridge compatible with Epson printers as a replacement for its T0711. The product contains an increased volume of 9 ml of black dye-based ink and comes with a 5-year warranty. Activejet inkjet cartridges are a perfect choice for customers who require the best quality of printout.

ActiveJet replacement for HP CE278A No. 78A cartridge Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £32.91 Specs: For use with Hewlett Packard, colour: black, ink type: premium, laser toner cartridge This premium laser toner cartridge is compatible with HP printers, and is a replacement for its CE278A No. 78A. Product contains a high density black laser toner with a page yield/capacity of 2100 pages and 5 per cent coverage. It also comes with a 5-year warranty. Black toner products give extremely high density of black and the colour toner cartridges amaze with accurate colour.

ActiveJet replacement for Samsung CLT-C6092S cartridge Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £123.41 Specs: For use with Samsung, colour: cyan, ink type: premium Premium laser toner cartridge compatible with Samsung printers, replacement for its CLTC6092S. Product contains a high density cyan colour laser toner with a page yield/capacity of 7000 pages and 5 per cent coverage. It also comes with a 5-year warranty.

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Sector Guide

HP ENVY Photo 7830

Epson EcoTank ET-3600

Distributor: Westcoast SRP: £149.00 Specs: HP Auto-Off technology, 1.2GHz processor

Distributor: Ingram Micro, Tech Data SRP: £278.00 Specs: PrecisionCore print head, 400 nozzles black, 128 nozzles per colour

The ENVY Photo 7830 is an all-in-one printer that produces authentic colours, and can be set up, connected to, and printed from right from a user’s mobile device. A dynamic security enabled printer, the 7830 is intended to be used with cartridges using an HP original chip.

The ideal choice for any busy home or home office, this 3-in-1 inkjet printer can print up to 11,000 pages without the need for cartridges. It achieves an ultra-low cost per page, printing up to 11,000 pages both in black and colour2 at just a fraction of a penny per page. Doublesided printing can also cut paper usage in half.

Brother MFC-J4620DW

Canon Pixma TS8050

Distributor: Exertis, Ingram Micro, Northamber, Midwich SRP: £190.80 Specs: Up to 6,000 x 1,200 dpi print resolution, 9.3cm TouchScreen, 128MB memory

Distributor: Midwich, Tech Data SRP: £199.99 Specs: Print speeds between 10-15 ipm, 6-ink system

The Brother MFC-J4620DW is able to print, copy, scan and fax. It also offers A3 printing using a rear manual feed. Boasting a large 9.3cm colour touchscreen to directly print and scan to/from popular cloud services, users can also connect a wireless NFC-enabled device from their smartphone or tablet.

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The Pixma TS8050 prints fast with 15 ipm mono and 10 ipm colour print speed. It allows users quick and easy access to print, copy and scan functions and supports printing from social network images with support for 5x5inch square prints. Superior print quality and economy is guaranteed from the six-ink system.

December 2017 | 43


Mac accessories 44 | December 2017

Urban Factory Jeremyville Seaside Spirit 13.3 inch laptop sleeve

Urban Factory genuine leather 13.3 Inch laptop sleeve

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £34.90 Specs: 335 x 235 x 30 mm, for 13-inch MacBook

Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £89.90 Specs: 355 x 270 x 25 mm, for 13.3-inch MacBook Air

Well known New-Yorker on the international graphique scene, Jeremyville exposes its art all over the world and realises artistic creations for the greatest brands. After having realised mural paintings, skateboards and sneakers designs his designs are now brought to life on this laptop sleeve.

Protective case made from genuine leather designed to carry the ultra-thin Apple MacBook Air 13.3 inch laptop. This elegant case protects against scratches and knocks.

HyperDrive USB Type-C 5-in-1 Hub Distributor: Hyper SRP: £87.89 Specs: 2.5 x 9 x 17.5 cm, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, SD, MicroSD, 2 x USB 3.1 The Hyperdrive precision milled USB-C Hub is perfectly made to expand the two ports of the 2016 MacBook into seven ports. It allows the user to utilise an HDMI connection to a 4k display, read from SD cards, charge the computer, and then also has ports to spare.

Griffin BreakSafe Distributor: Exertis, Tech Data, Westcoast SRP: £29.99 Specs: 0.3 m, quick-release magnetic connector, 59g BreakSafe brings back a magnetic breakaway power cable to your USB-C compatible laptop, keeping it safe from drops and damage. BreakSafe brings the safety and convenience of MagSafe back to newer MacBooks and other laptops with USB-C type connectors.

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Sector Guide

Aukey USB-C Hub VGA Distributor: Aukey Direct SRP: £53.99 Specs: 2 x USB 3.0 Gen 1 ports support data transfer rates up to 5Gbps, 1 x USB-C Power Delivery port, 1 x HDMI

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD Distributor: Exertis SRP: £69.99 Specs: 26800mAh battery, outputs: 1 x USB-C (30W), 2 x USB (5V/3A), 0.58 kg

Turn a single USB-C port into HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, SD and micro SD card slots, USB-C PD port, and 2 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports with one adapter. Built-in safeguards protect your device from overcurrent, overvoltage and short circuits. Advanced shielding prevents interference with your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

The Anker PowerCore+ charges USB-C devices – like the Apple MacBook, Nintendo Switch or Google Pixel phone – at their fastest possible speed. Carrying enough capacity to charge a 13-inch MacBook 1.2 times, the huge 26800mAh battery is big enough to make sure that even the heaviest users will be covered.

Herschel Supply Company Retreat Backpack

Griffin Elevator computer laptop stand

Distributor: ICC Distribution SRP: £70.00 Specs: 12 x 36 x 50 cm, 200g

Distributor: Exertis, Tech Data, Westcoast SRP: £39.99 Specs: 19 x 14 x 12 cm, 399g

Safely carry your MacBook in style and comfort with the iconic Herschel design. Available in five different colours, this backpack features all the necessary compartments for carrying gadgets without sacrificing the traditional look and feel that made the company famous.

Elevator holds your laptop computer safely and securely at just the right height to match external monitors and save your aching neck. Lift your laptop to a comfortable viewing height and reclaim your desktop. Elevator conforms to health and safety standards, making your laptop safer and more comfortable to use all day long.

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December 2017 | 45


Far Cry 5

gamesupdate

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC Released: February 27, 2018 After a four year gap between mainline games in the series, Far Cry 5 abandons the exotic locales of the previous titles in favour of the Montana country where a religious cult

has taken over. In spite of the dark premise, expect ostentatious explosions, Far Cry’s trademark humour and a gun-fetching dog companion.

2018’s gaming calendar With 2017 coming to a close, PCR takes a look at the most anicipated games of the next 12 months

Sea of Thieves Platforms: Xbox One, PC Released: Q1/Q2 2018 Take to the seas in this co-operative multiplayer action-adventure game. Players will embarks on

quests, collect loot and engage in combat with other players, all the while manning their own pirate ship.

God of War Platforms: PlayStation 4 Released: Q1 2018 Kratos, the titular God of War, is back, and this time he’s traded in fighting the gods of Ancient Greece to looking after his son in the Norse world. While it looks like it’s

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going to take a more serious and mature tone than the originals, this reimagining is sure to contain the fast paced and frenetic action that made it iconic in its PS2 days.

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Metro Exodus Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC Released: TBA 2018

Red Dead Redemption 2

Set in 2036, Metro Exodus takes place in a Russia torn apart by nuclear war with protagonist Artyom returning to the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Following on from

2010’s Metro 2033 and 2013’s Metro Last Light, the game will give players an arsenal of hand-made weaponry that can be customised through scavenging and crafting.

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 Released: June 2018 Perhaps not just the most hotly anticipated game of 2018, but of the entire generation. Red Dead Redemption 2 has been eight years in the making, and

gamers are just a few short months away from strapping up their boots, donning their stetsons once more and exploring the turn-of-thecentury Wild West.

Anthem Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC Released: Q4 2018 The latest game from Mass Effect-makers Bioware is a brand new sci-fi action RPG in the vein of the vastly popular Destiny series. During the game, players will

take on the role of a freelancer, donning fully customisable exosuits called Javelins as they explore a massive, lush – and dangerous – world.

Crackdown 3 Platforms: Xbox One, PC Released: TBA 2018 After being announced what feels like an eternity ago in 2014, the third iteration of Crackdown is set to finally make its mark. Looking to

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harness the extra horsepower of the new Xbox One X, Crackdown 3 will let players leap around and destroy a huge playground of a city.

December 2017 | 47


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IN MY TEAM

PCR chats with marketing manager Joanne Plummer to find out all about the Milton Keynes security vendor’s new office and its plans for Christmas

Synology clients to our new UK office. This is definitely the nicest office we Who’s in your team? have had by a mile! There are only three of us in the marketing department and we are a very busy little team however at Synology UK we do all Is there anyone in the team who has had a standout 12 months? work together for various projects such as events (especially our We have been so busy it’s hard to pinpoint one individual as we annual launch events). In marketing we have myself, Joanne do so much. However I would always give credit to Billy Knowles Plummer (marketing manager), Emma Smith (marketing (sales manager) and Jeremie Francois (sales administrator) for the assistant) and Keith King (design assistant), but we also have a amount of travelling they both do around UK, Ireland and the sales team, RMA team, finance, technical support and of course Nordics visiting customers, attending events and presenting at our lovely managing director. Synology has grown over the years our launch events. They both do a superb job. Also our from two staff back in 2008 to 22 today and we are now in marketing assistant Emma who joined in May has been our fifth office (having started out in the MD’s garage!) amazing. She’s such a hard worker, dedicated, You can see half of us in this picture – apologies, the “Synology is enthusiastic and gets on very well with everyone other half are camera shy. she works with. In just her third week here my now in its fifth one-year-old daughter contracted meningitis Who’s been here for the longest/shortest? office having and I had to have some time off to be in hospital Mathew Fuller, our finance and operations started out in the with her. Emma was completely thrown in at the manager has been here since the beginning in deep end but not once complained, supported me 2008 and Gareth joined us in the RMA team MD’s garage!” through it all, kept the department running and shortly before our office move. I’ve been here just was just amazing! So i’d like to publically say: Thank over six years and currently sat in my forth Synology you Emma very, very much. office. When I started there were only six staff so I have I’d also like to say hi, well done and thanks to the RMA team as seen the company grow a lot and it’s been great to be a part of it. well; Lewis, Matthew, David, Maggs and Gareth as they all work really hard and they never get a mention in these things, and You’ve recently moved a much bigger office. Tell us about that rarely get to see what goes on with Synology outside of the and the move. warehouse so just to let them know, we do alwauys appreciate all We’ve grown so much in each department that we have had to their hard work! acquire much bigger premises. Both the office and warehouse space are almost twice the size. We are still based in Milton Who will be the last man/woman standing at the Christmas Keynes (on a much nicer estate might I add, closer to home too), party this year? and there is plenty of room to recruit in the future. We have a Apparently we are going skiing and sledging this year at Xscape meeting room again (we grew so much last time I ended up in Milton Keynes so who knows, we may all break a leg! having my desk in the last one) so we look forward to inviting

Contact: Joanne Plummer Marketing Manager (UK, Ireland & Nordics) email: joanneplummer@synology.com tel: +44 (0) 1908 048029

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December 2017 | 49


<Logging off>\\

Who’s who?

<Sleeping rough>

Jonathan Easton Editor jeaston@nbmedia.com

The team at CMS rolled out their sleeping bags and took to the streets to raise money for charity. Part of the Channel-wide Byte Night event, seven people from CMS Distribution joined the event for the first time, with staff members from both the Stevenage and Old Street sites raising just under £5,000. Set up 20 years ago, Ken Deeks decided to raise money for Action for Children by persuading 30 of his friends from the IT industry to sleep rough for one night. This action grew into Byte Night, an event which this year has raised over £1m and involved hundreds of people across the country.

Rob Horgan Deputy Editor rhorgan@nbmedia.com Dan Bennett Designer dbennett@nbmedia.com Jason Dowie Production Executive jdowie@nbmedia.com Gurpreet Purewal Sales Manager gpurewal@nbmedia.com James McKeown Content Director jmckeown@nbmedia.com Stuart Moody Head of Operations smoody@nbmedia.com Caroline Hicks Events Director chicks@nbmedia.com

<Step on it> Staff at Onecom have stepped up to a new challenge as the company has partnered with Fitbit as part of its ongoing commitment to staff wellbeing. Employees across the business have been competing in a threeweek ‘Workplace Race’ which will see teams compete to be the most active by racking up the largest number of steps. The team with the largest collective step count, will be named champions, with prizes on offer.

Send stories to Rob Horgan rhorgan@nbmedia.com

Mark Burton Managing Director mburton@nbmedia.com

NewBay Subscriptions: The Emerson Building 4-8 Emerson Street London - SE1 9DU e: subs@pcr-online.biz www.pcr-online.biz NewBay Media Europe Ltd is a member of the Periodical Publishers Association

ISSN: 1742-8440 Copyright 2017

NEXT MONTH

PCR is published 12 times a year by NewBay Media Europe Ltd, The Emerson Building, 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU

The Cloud Issue Next month, PCR takes a closer look at the Cloud. Focussing on all aspects of cloud technology, PCR will be looking at how to sell storage as a service (SaaS), as well as taking a closer look inside a cloud server farm. We will also provide coverage of the storage and networking products currently on the market.

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The Emerson Building, 4th Floor 4-8 Emerson Street. London, SE1 9DU 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


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