EDUCATION ISSUE #178
Safe Learning BullGuardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pete Morley on why security in education reaches far beyond the classroom July 2018
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TheEditor The Future of PCR I WON’T BE sentimental about this – these 52 pages will be my last working as the Editor of PCR. Sentiment aside, these past two years have been an incredible opportunity for me to see a side of the industry I essentially had no clue about before, and to grow as a professional. In my time at PCR I’ve met countless new faces and been to many amazing places (and Warrington) in pursuit of creating the best magazine I could. I hope that effort was reflected in what you have read and learned and (hopefully) not chucked in your recycling bin. The Channel is a unique proposition which could otherwise be an impenetrable, and difficult one to get a grip in, but I have often remarked to my colleagues about the openness with which many industry stalwarts act. Rather than treating an inexperienced me with condescension, I lose track of the amount of times an eager manager or director has shaken my hand and waxed lyrical about the amount they drank at the last PCR Awards. I’d also like to briefly say a few words of thanks to Andrew Wooden and Dominic Sacco who were the Content Director and Editor of PCR respectively when I joined the then-NewBay Media. They took a chance in hiring me. I like to think their faith paid off. It’ll be strange to pick up PCR next month and not see my mugshot in there, but I’ll be watching on eagerly to see where it heads next. Good luck to the new PCR, good luck to your business and good luck to my next employers. They don’t know what they’ve got coming.
“I lose track of the amount of times someone has shaken my hand and waxed lyrical about the amount they drank at the last PCR Awards.”
Jonathan Easton, Editor
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Contents July 2018 STEM education
We ask the Channel about the necessity to get more kids involved
An inside look at the company's first ever conference
Tech Data's CTG
Director Mark Glasspool on the group's success
Kitting a classroom
What are the wants and needs of educators in 2018?
At a glance 06 RETAIL AT RISK From Maplin's shuttering to Dixon Carphone's restructuring and M&S store closures, is retail in more trouble than previously thought? 46 E3 2018 We break down what happened at the world's biggest and most important game expo
Regulars 10 Life in the Channel 12 Industry opinion 36 Sector guides 49 In my team 50 Logging off
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sys t Are we in the middle of a retail-pocalypse? Jonathan Easton sums up recent events and asks whether this shot in the arm is just what retail needs
HERE IS NO brief and witty way the succinctly intro this piece. Compounding several high-profile announcements, it is difficult to pick one as the defining story of the past couple of months. One might argue that the obvious lede should go to Marks & Spencer. As an iconic retailer with 134 years of history, the fact that it announced a ‘radical’ plan (a word not usually associated with the brand, asides from the audacious launch of vegan Percy Pigs a few years back) to close 100-plus stores by 2022, with 14 more in addition to the 22 already shut this year should be an apt sign of the times. “Yet another dagger in the heart of the British high-street,” as Astound Commerce’s Terry Hunter melodramatically puts it. Or should that title go to the even older House of Fraser (launched in 1849, making it an elder statesman compared
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with the sprightly M&S) which declared its intentions to close 31 of its 59 shops as part of a rescue deal. The decision, described by chief executive Alex Williamson as ‘brutal’ and ‘very emotional’, will see 6,000 people out of work. But as established as those two stores are, they aren’t as relevant to PCR as Dixons Carphone. Sniping at ex-boss Seb James, recently instated CEO Alex Baldock announced plans to close 92 of its 650 Currys PC World stores in the wake of a profit warning. In concert with the news came an internal prediction that profits will fall to £300 million in 2018/19 – compared to £382 million in 2017/18 and £501 million in 2016/17. As related to us as that story is, it is perhaps not quite as impactful as the others with the news being spun in a more positive fashion. The company is investing £30 million to ‘correct recent underinvestment’ in its ‘colleague
c k the
s tem and customer proposition’, which also means that there won’t be any redundancies. That’s not it though. Elsewhere on the high street, Poundworld appointed administrators, putting 5,100 jobs at risk. What was particularly illuminating about the news wasn’t so much that it happened, but the company’s reaction to it: “Like many high street retailers, Poundworld has suffered from high product cost inflation, decreasing footfall, weaker consumer confidence and an increasingly competitive discount retail market,” read a statement from Poundworld. So it comes as absolutely no surprise that a report emerged from the Centre for Retail Research showing that this year is expected to be the worst year for store closure on the UK high street since 2008. Outside of the big names mentioned above, more than 10,000 stores are expected to cease being used for retail. Basically, it would seem that everyone is buggered. It doesn’t seem as though (save for Baldock blaming Dixons Carphone’s failures on – among other things – the defunct
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“This isn’t the survival of the fittest, this is the survival of the most digitally-savvy” Adrian West, Fujitsu UK HoneyBee software arm, the company’s joint venture with mobile provider Sprint and mobile phones) much of this is to do with companies one-upping each other on the high street. Adrian West, director for commercial sector at Fujitsu UK, thinks as much, stating: “This isn’t the survival of the fittest, this is the survival of the most digitally-savvy. Internet sales are expected to accelerate and consumers increasingly expect both their in-store and online experience to be boosted by technology. The consequence is bricks-and-mortar retailers
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have now involuntarily joined the race to reinvent their business or accept defeat.” And the cherry on top of all this? New stores aren’t opening either. The Local Data Company, which studied the top 500 British town centres, found there were 4,083 new store openings in 2017, the lowest since 2010. Responding to that reveal, West argues that stores should consider their unique proposition and what they can do to stand out. “Retailers need to rethink what the in-store experience means to them and their customers. It’s becoming more intrinsically linked with the customer experience; in fact, retailers need to think of them as one and the same, as that is how customers see it. “The quality of in-store technology can indeed impact the loyalty of consumers and we’ve found 58 per cent have even chosen to buy a product from a store because of a better in-store experience. Retailers can enhance the store by ensuring that they are thinking digitally with one holistic view over their entire operations, from the shop floor to the back-end systems through to the online store. The high street isn’t dead, it’s just growing up and retailers need to grow alongside it.” It seems a cruel irony to say that the high street is growing up while it is literally doing anything but growing. However, what is a defininite theme is that
“Retailers must become more tech-savvy to improve customer experience” Andy Tow, Retail Marketing Group
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the retailers that are big enough to afford to are repositioning themselves. M&S, notes Hunter, ‘plans to move a third of its sales online, and intends to instead have fewer, larger clothing and homeware stores in better locations’. Despite what the doom and gloom of the news might suggest, consumers still want physical stores and view it as an essential part of retail. “81 per cent of UK consumers identify the physical store as vital to the shopping experience,” points out Retail Marketing Group managing director Andy Tow. “70 per cent still enjoy the full encounter. Traditional retail shopping remains a steadfast British pastime. But there’s a catch, retailers must become more tech-savvy to improve customer experience.” There we go again, that recurring theme: become more tech savvy or suffer. Taking a more digital approach to real world retail ‘offers the best of both worlds,’ states Tow. “The irreplaceable emotional connection and the convenience of a seamless, interactive and digitally intelligent shopping experience that modern-day customers demand. This unique human/tech interface is the future of high street retail.” So are we currently witnessing the death of the high street, or is this just an awkward phase of transition? The truth likely lies somewhere in between. The high street in its current guise (or what it was a few years ago before all the hoarding went up to mask the empty retail units) is on its way out, and as a part of that some household names will go the way of the dodo. But bricks and mortar isn’t disappearing. It is clear that people still want to go into a shop and see products – whether they go on to make their purchases in store or online. The retailers who make their way through this transition will be the ones who are acutely aware of their USP, and those who fully embrace the expectations and technologies of the digital age.
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19/06/2018 11:02:05 10/01/2018 16:11
“I don’t see the death of hardcopy print happening any time soon!”
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LIFE IN THE CHANNEL
Carlo Longhi Not many people can say they’ve been at the same company for 30 years, but the director for channels at Xerox is one – and he still loves it What is your role? I head up the Indirect Channel business for Xerox UK. What does an average day look like for you? Typically, I’ll leave home by 6.30am and either spend the day meeting partners around the UK or in meetings with my team – often it’s a combination of both! I normally return home between 8-9pm via the gym. You’ve been at Xerox for 30 years. How has the company evolved in that time? I’ve spent over half of my life at Xerox and seen significant change in that time. I started my career as an office systems salesman in our Birmingham office which was part of a geographic coverage model. The company has moved through industry sectors, centralised models, services, and back to geographic coverage. In that time, we’ve launched so many fantastic products, solutions and services – our focus on innovation and helping customers to improve the way they interact with documents is as strong today as it was on the day I joined. What’s kept you at Xerox for so long? Have you ever been tempted to see what the channel is like at another company? I enjoy the variety at Xerox. I have worked across many different parts of the business including sales, marketing, product management, leasing, direct, channels, UK and European roles. I genuinely haven’t had the time – or desire – to think about working for another company. It’s also helped that half my time with Xerox has been spent
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working with channel partners and alliances so I’ve had the privilege of working with some great organisations and entrepreneurs in the UK and across Europe. I have learned so much from them along the way. What projects are you working on? Right now I’m focused on driving further growth in the Channel through Channel Expansion – we’re doing more with our existing partners in addition to recruiting new ones to Xerox. Channels are central to our growth strategy and will continue to be a key priority for the Xerox business. What’s going to be the next big thing in tech? The acceleration to digitisation will be the next big thing for our customers. We know 86 per cent of decision makers feel they have just two years to make significant inroads on their digital transformation before suffering competitive or financial consequences. We expect to see an acceleration of artificial intelligence and augmented reality to support the interaction between physical and digital and help knowledge workers make decisions, improve productivity, agility and competitiveness. It’s interesting that 60 per cent of businesses state that automation is their number 1 priority in the next 12 months. However, I don’t see the death of hardcopy print happening any time soon! How can people get in touch with you? Email me at email@example.com, call me at 01895 842866 or get in touch via Twitter @CarloLonghi1 or LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/carlolonghi
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David Feakins – CEO and founder, Modus Brands
Bridging the gap between Chinese brands and western resellers Brands from China are often perceived in the west as being of inferior quality but in 2018 that isn’t necessarily the case penetrated western markets, not all Chinese brands have THE CHINESE MARKET has had a long-standing role had the same success. Many manufacturers lack the within global tech. However, this largely remained as a experience or expertise to create an effective sales strategy supplier of tech components and hardware for consumer for western countries and this can mean that western tech devices. Nowadays, China is increasingly bringing its resellers don’t know of the company and its products. own consumer brands to market which are winning. Similarly, the manufacturer has no route to market. The growth of these brands is fuelled by China’s own In an attempt to overcome this barrier, many domestic market which is larger than Europe and Chinese brands employ the help of western North America combined. Yet, the increasing resellers with specific expertise within that popularity of China’s tech brands goes market. But while they may have beyond its own borders as the country has “The country has unparalleled experience in the west, these become the largest tech exporter in Asia. demonstrated resellers may have limited or non-existent Mobile is a key area where China ability to go headexperience of the Chinese market. continues to invest and develop. The to-head with Having direct experience of working country has demonstrated ability to go with Chinese brands will ultimately enable head-to-head with western giants, with western giants” western resellers a clear advantage. This brands like Huawei and Xiaomi each means they can they pinpoint innovative producing handsets that can compete with products in the pipeline, gauge which products Apple’s iPhone. sell well among eastern consumers and which brands The continued success of the Chinese tech means have the highest standards. that there are an abundance of opportunities that retailers In order for them to work in harmony, there needs to and resellers can take advantage of. However, it is at this be a clear understanding of each market from both parties. point where resellers and manufacturers hit a wall. Not only do eastern brands need to understand consumer There is a clear interest in Chinese brands from western habits of those within the west, but resellers need to have consumers. Huawei saw European sales jump by 38 per insight on the technologies coming from China and how cent to place itself as the third biggest manufacturer. these brands could soon become household names. Yet, while brands such as Huawei and Xiaomi have
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Jennifer Warawa – EVP - Partners, Accountants and Alliances, Sage
Making the most of partnerships for long-term growth Partnerships that are beneficial to everyone involved will undoubtedly lead to success rhythm of checking-in on the status of the partnership at WHILE TRADITIONAL strategies of acquisition and regular intervals. harnessing capital can help keep a company in the black, While a contract might be signed and sealed, a my personal experiences have taught me that today’s partnership has a lot more scope to grow if all parties enterprises are more likely to find success in the longinvolved provide feedback and share the what aspects of term by establishing partnerships, rather than attempting the partnership are doing well, and where there are areas to forge ahead alone. for improvement. To get the most out of partnerships there are several With this in mind, it is also worth considering areas to consider. From finding your partner, to signing partnerships built around flexible contracts. This on the dotted line and beyond. gives both sides the opportunity for adjustment The success or failure of any business of parameters set, enabling innovation which relationship depends heavily on how well delivers more value out of a partnership. the partnership works. Particular effort The benefits of such a partnership usually should be directed towards ensuring the “Companies can no outweigh any disadvantage. right relationships are formed. Businesses longer afford to Whatever the size of business, and need to establish precisely what they are work in isolation” however lofty the ambition, partnerships seeking to achieve from these can be strengthened and boosted by relationships, whether it be territory gaining executive sponsorship, as having expansion, providing new services, or the right support can bring experience, discovering a new route to market. knowledge and authority to the forging of Amazon Web Services is a good example long-lasting partnerships. where businesses don’t have to build their own Scratch beneath the surface of any of today’s prominent hosting infrastructure. Instead of buying, owning and companies and you are likely to find a handful of maintaining their own data centres and servers, partnerships helping fuel their success. Companies can no organisations can now have access to these resources and longer afford to work in isolation. In the ever more other services on an as-needed basis. As a result, competitive business world, successful long-term businesses are freed to focus their time on other activities. partnerships are likely to be the difference between a Once you have a partnership in place with defined and company blazing a trail or fading into obscurity. shared goals, it is important to foster growth and set up a
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Phil Brown – sales and commercial director, Exertis
Education relies on the Channel Resellers can play a vital role in getting emerging tech into the classroom challenging and aiding traditional teaching methods. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT for educational establishments to With tighter budgets, educational establishments, keep up with the rate of development and demand when students and teachers are increasingly reliant on IT. it comes to technology. As more tech savvy students enter There are some really fascinating products for the early higher education, they demand the same level of years and SEN spaces. Interestingly what have previously connectivity that they experience in their daily lives. been seen as ‘consumer’ products are now making their Students expect their learning to be conducted both in way into the classroom, with VR being an example. and out of a classroom environment as they have been As more use cases are being found, VR and AR also brought up using on-line, mobile, video and social tools. bring new dimensions to teaching and learning, tackling a Increased collaboration, immersive learning (VR/AR), range of subjects and providing the opportunity for AI and big data analytics are all impacting how students virtual field trips around the globe. Both VR and AR in learn and are evaluated. Education is no longer bound by educational establishments enable students to time or place; personalised learning is gathering experience and collaborate on a topic as if they pace. The range of technology that can be used were actually present in that environment. in teaching and learning continues to grow, With new educational apps being made all requiring new products to be introduced. the time and prices falling for the gear, However, every new technology, product “Education is no the opportunity for educational resellers or IoT widget that’s installed puts more longer bound by is growing in this area. pressure on their IT infrastructure, which time or place” The next few years will certainly see schools and universities can’t necessarily these and other technologies like AI upgrade at the same rate. becoming more mainstream. Collaboration There has been a move to the cloud and will also become more important with lower cost solutions. For example, the cost, conferencing becoming the vehicle to bring provision and support required for Chromebooks subject matter experts into the classroom. are much less and provide access to a range of Resellers can play a vital role not only in introducing Google’s educational software. There’s also a growing use new technology and products but also in ensuring that of BYOD in education which moves the onus of provision their educational customer’s infrastructure remains fit for and support to the owner. Typically, schools still require purpose. Things like switching, wireless, network security computing devices, server solutions, software, printers, and even basic cabling may struggle to cope with the networking equipment, interactive classroom technology added demand. With limited budgets, long-term and including whiteboards, projectors and other AV equipment. effective planning to cope with the rate of change is key, However, everybody is expected to do more with less. and many schools rely on channel partners for this. In education, new and emerging technologies are both
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14 PCR178 OpinionLEFT-Phil Brown_V2.indd 1
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Start them young With the classroom getting more tech-focused, it is more important than ever that children are protected and aware of security. Pete Morley, UK and Ireland country manager at BullGuard, speaks to Jonathan Easton about the importance a robust solution for schools and the need to make sure that teachers are up to speed with the latest tech
T MIGHT BE an odd proposition to suggest that a school’s cybersecurity system should be as robust as any business. It’s not like any hackers would have a vested interest in stealing 15 year old James’ poorly thought out close-reading of Under Milk Wood, after all. But there is heaps and heaps of personal data that a malicious actor can be after. And that’s not even mentioning the malware and ransomware which have the capacity to tank the entire digital infrastructure of a school that keeps students and faculty alike safe.
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“It is vitally important that an education institution has a thorough security solution,” says BullGuard’s UK and Ireland country manager Pete Morley. “Schools face the same cybersecurity threats as other organisations.” “The Information Commissioner has advised schools to be particularly vigilant around information security, warning that unauthorised access to personal information would be particularly harmful to pupils, parents and staff. Schools also understand that people have a right to seek compensation if the loss of personal data causes them
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“Security starts at primary school level” damage and are therefore acutely aware that they need to fully comply with legislative requirements around safeguarding personal data.” Personal data and its misuse in 2018 is the conversation du jour, that is to say everyone is talking about it with the recent implementation of the GDPR rules. Like with most things, that rings doubly true when discussing children. It’s one thing if an adult’s information is stolen, but it’s a whole other when it’s their kids. Any organisation that a parent trusts with their children’s personal – whether it’s an online game, a kids club or a school – is under an extraordinary level of pressure. That’s why schools need to be extra cautious. Spelling out the new rules, the International Commissioners Office (ICO) explains that “children need particular protection when you are collecting and processing their personal data because they may be less aware of the risks involved”. Child protection is key, and systems should be designed ‘to protect them from the outset’. When it comes to advertising – the area which has seen the largest real-world effect from GDPR – children “merit specific protection when you use their personal data for marketing purposes or creating personality or user profiles”. In addition, the ICO points out that ‘an individual’s right to erasure is particularly relevant if they gave their consent to processing when they were a child’, and that children ‘have the same rights as adults over their personal data,’ including ‘the rights to access their personal data; request rectification; object to processing and have their personal data erased’. All of this is to say that the legality of children’s data in a post-GDPR world is tighter than it ever has been. There is no suggestion that schools have ever been in the business of selling the data of their students to third parties, unlike the social media sites that those students might frequent, but rather, anything that might happen to that data because of a lapse in security will come down on the school like a crash of thunder. However, it’s not just data getting out of a school that’s of a concern, it’s data getting in. A 2017 study
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carried out by BullGuard found that a majority of parents have serious concerns about their children being exposed to inappropriate content online, with 92 per cent considering the ability to block inappropriate content as the most important and valuable feature of internet security software. “Today’s children are true digital natives, growing up with technology as a natural feature of their environment,” said company CEO Paul Lipman. “The internet opens up endless opportunities for children and it’s positive to see from our research that parents are becoming even more savvy when it comes to doing all they can to protect children from the negative aspects of the online world.” Parents can’t be shielding and protecting their children from online threats forever though, and cybersecurity education is becoming an increasingly important part of the curriculum.
“Security starts at primary school level, with lessons about online stranger danger, the importance of not bullying online and the need to password protect personal things,” Morley points out. “Children at this age are not likely to be aware of other threats like malware in pop-ups, rather the focus is about online protection from others. However, after moving into secondary school, awareness certainly increases. “Some children may have had their online games hacked, like Club Penguin after telling their password to a friend. They soon learn from their mistakes and it’s not at all unusual for a young teen to have 18 character length passwords. However, cyber security could go much deeper than it currently does. Ideally, young teens should learn about phishing attempts, ransomware, banking Trojans, to name a few examples, to give them an in
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depth understanding of the scale of dangers. It does no harm for children to also learn about the devastating consequences of identity theft and how easily identity details are stolen. Furthermore, it would be useful for children to have an education about the dark web, organised crime groups and the many cyber-fraud activities that take place out of sight. Many children will discover this for themselves, but wouldn’t it be better if they already understood just how pervasive and malicious these threats can be ranging from identity theft to potentially undermining legitimate economies. Armed with this level of education, today’s youngsters can be tomorrow’s cyber defenders.” Suffice to say then that the days are long gone where IT lessons were made up of making presentations in powerpoint and playing the racing game that was hidden in row 2000 of Excel.
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“From a pupil’s perspective, technology can make all the difference”
“IT education has changed massively,” Morley asserts. “Essential applications like Microsoft Office are still taught but now at the primary school level, with the exception of Excel. In fact, primary school pupils are sometimes expected to submit homework through Word or PowerPoint. Schools also have to consider that technology is now very much part of our everyday lives, especially for the current secondary school age generations.” Instead of trying to teach them what they already know, today’s educators are empowering their pupils
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by letting them utilise the tools they already use on a daily basis but or school work. “Through using social media, creating YouTube videos etc, they are already practising technology skills, so schools must ensure that classes challenge their pre-existing abilities. The higher up the school yearly grading systems pupils go the more important technology becomes.” Devices are also being used to make education more engaging for students who might not be so interested in the subject being taught. “From a pupil’s perspective, technology can make all the difference. For instance, the maths around 3D modelling, important for engineering and science, can be deadly dull on paper but computing programmes bring it to life by rendering the maths into virtual models that can be played with and reshaped on screen. When students are specifically studying tech, they are being taught with high-level tools, helping them create virtual servers, use VPN’s, learn about open source coding, compile directories and so on.” But children aren’t the only ones with opportunities to progress in the tech world. With many schools being under equipped to deal with rigours of the modern day, there exists a great selling opportunity, though the financial restrictions can also be a significant factor at play, notes Morley. July 2018 | 21
“Commonly school computers are old and well past their shelf life, and teachers are well aware of this because technology often takes centre stage in many curricula. But the reality is that many schools are battling with budget cuts. The result is that schools need to feel that they are getting value for money, not only today, but stretching into the coming years. From their perspective, shrinking budgets means that the cost benefits within their budget are hugely important.” But Morley also argues that schools shouldn’t be entirely gung-ho in overhauling an outdated system and bringing tech into currently tech-less situations. “Some teachers are fearful that computers create more work, which is often true during a transition process, and some may not even be completely comfortable in their ability to use technology. People tend to be much
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happier when expectations are set. For instance, understanding how long it will take to add computers to the school’s network or the required training following the introduction of new software. Certainly, making sure that teachers know how to use the tech they’re given and that they are comfortable of doing so is vitally important. A survey from 2015 found that nearly half of teachers rarely use the technology in their classrooms, with a lack of training holding many of those surveyed back. Of the 500 primary and secondary school teachers surveyed, 49.3 per cent of state school educators said that they weren’t effectively trained, compared with 43.9 per cent in independent schools. Obviously these figures are a few years old at this point and the numbers are likely to have gone down in
“Schools need to feel that they are getting value for money” recent years, but the area of ‘educating the educators’ as far as utilising tech goes is still an ongoing discussion, suggests Morley. “This is also a key concern when a school needs to explore the adoption of new technologies. In short they need to know what is involved in terms of training, how long training will take and is the technology easy to use.” Technology is not just something that be avoided by educators in the modern day. “Technology is central to teaching,” States Morley. “In the younger classrooms, tablets are universal. “Though emphasis is still given to the basics, like handwriting, the interactive learning tools available nowadays undoubtedly help equip young minds with basic computer skills and are more visually stimulating than traditional teaching methods. As students develop, technology becomes increasingly important and can be applied to a huge variety of subjects. In some schools it even becomes a collaboration tool between students and teachers, with teachers setting tasks and students then working on, asking questions and submitting work via cloud-based apps.” Teachers are not the only ones who need to be appropriately equipped to utilise technology in education. The resellers selling into schools play a vital role, and can give key advice to students and parents at the point of sale, Morley argues. “Many students are actually savvy about basic cyber security such as the need for strong passwords and the importance of two factor authentication. In fact they might have a better grasp of this than their parents. Where their knowledge tends to fall down is phishing attacks and fake websites that specifically target them. Clever hackers understand that different age demographics have different lexicons therefore they will target them with short witty, sarcastic and funny messages. They’ll also try and exploit the fact that most students are perpetually cash-strapped. Parents tend to have awareness of this and also concerned about their teenagers doing senseless things and posting pictures
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online. Where they both converge is on price. A good price and good deal is everything to students, and parents, who are mindful of tight budgets. “This is a starting point for resellers and from there they can talk about the important benefits of malware detection such as the need for behavioural-based and layered protection. It’s also useful to provide insight into just how prolific malware is and how many new versions appear each day. Some estimates put it at 360,000 new malware samples a day. A brief dive into threat trends can also be helpful without over selling. For instance, ransomware is still a deadly threat while cryptocurrency mining malware is big in 2018. This helps paint a picture of just how dangerous it is to go online without protection. Even if parents and students are already aware of this, delivering the message in such a detailed manner can really hammer it home.” We’ve become accustomed to parents being taught about tech by their kids. From getting the right input on the TV to telling mum that she hasn’t actually won a new TV from the pop up ad, younger generations have consistently been the ones educating their elders on how modern technology works. Now that those kids are starting to have their own children, it’s becoming a much more level playing field. Resellers and security vendors like BullGuard can speak to both parties by providing supplemental information. Regardless of age, we are all learning with and about tech. Perhaps the most important stage of IT education is realising that it doesn’t just exist in the classroom.
July 2018 |
It all STEMs from somewhere
Britain’s future economic growth largely rest on its computing prowess. Rob Horgan finds out what is being done to ensure the conveyor belt of talent remains in full swing
EGARDLESS OF whether you are an IT system builder in the far reaches of Scotland or a multi-national software provider in the hustle of London, STEM is most likely to be on your radar. For the past two years, the government has been ramming the importance of STEM subjects down the nation’s throat… and rightly so. If there are not enough children gaining STEM qualifications, Britain will face a severe shortage of science, technology and engineering professionals in the years to come. This shortfall is estimated at 1.8
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million people by 2025, according to Engineering UK. But the government’s plan is starting to make inroads. While uptake in Arts subjects such as English have plummeted, youngsters are increasingly turning to STEM subjects for their A Levels. The number of entries in computing – one of the government’s flagship subjects – jumped by 26 per cent from 7,710 in 2017 to 9,685 this year. And uptake of the maths A-level rose by 3 per cent. All of which is music to the ears of Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton.
“From the perspective of society as a whole we have an under-supply of people with STEM skills, so fostering those skills can contribute to economic growth,” he says. “Getting children involved in STEM subjects is a complicated issue, and obviously the answer varies from child to child. “One common theme is to place STEM subjects in context: not just promoting computing for its own sake (which would have been enough to get me excited as a kid), but computing as a way to solve a problem which is meaningful for the child. “This is why we get excited when we see art and geography teachers signing up for our training: because for children who are passionate about those subjects they can act as gateways into STEM.” The Raspberry Pi Foundation has long been associated with encouraging children into STEM subjects, in particular computing. Schemes such as the Foundation’s Coding Clubs have proved extremely successful at encouraging children as young as nine years old to get excited about computing. Getting children excited about STEM subjects from a young age is key to unlocking the potential of the UK’s future. As Microsoft general manager for Consumer Devices and Sales in the UK and Ireland Nicole Dezen points out: encouraging young people into STEM subjects ‘is the only way that we can build a talent pipeline in the tech industry’. “The growing demand for digital skills requires that we have a steady influx of new talent that are learning the newest technology,” she added. “We must encourage these young people to pursue careers in STEM industries and fulfil their potential. “The technology industry will continue to evolve and unless we innovate, inspire and motivate the next generation to take an interest in STEM subjects, there is a real risk that they will get left behind, and the tech industry will be faced with a serious talent shortage.” One thing that Dezen believes is integral to maintaining positive STEM uptake is by ramping up the interest among girls by removing the outdated stigma that ‘STEM subjects are for boys’. Last year, Microsoft conducted extensive research into attitudes to STEM in young people across Europe. The study interviewed 11,500 women aged between 11 and 30 and the results underline exactly why making STEM appealing at a young age is so important. However, once concern the study highlighted is that most young girls become interested in STEM at the age of 11-and-a-half, but their interest starts to wane by the age of 15. However, 57 per cent of the young European women surveyed said that having a teacher who
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“As a whole we have an under-supply of people with STEM skills” Eben Upton CBE, Raspberry Pi Foundation
encouraged them to pursue STEM would make it more likely for them to follow that career path. Dezen added: “It’s really important for tech companies to be diverse and inclusive, to represent the entire world that we provide our solutions to and that we have an authentic voice with customers of all ages. “For me, the key to getting more children into STEM subjects, particularly more young girls, is mentorship and visible role models. As children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman articulated so well: ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’ Children need to be inspired by those accomplishing great feats in STEM fields and encouraged to set their own sights on achieving similarly ambitious goals. “We need to give girls role models, teach them the skills they will need, encourage them, and show them that careers in technology will help change the world for the better. “Those in leadership positions in STEM fields, should be creating platforms to encourage mentoring and foster enthusiasm for these subjects in order to spark that inspiration to pursue STEM.” Equally Aine Denn, Founder of Altify, believes that ‘developing the next generation of female leaders in technology we should start with education’. She adds: “Currently, girls are put off from taking STEM subjects in schools and universities as they can’t imagine a career in STEM. Traditionally they have not seen enough female role models in STEM subjects. “We all need to actively encourage the next generation of female leaders to pursue STEM subjects.” As well as breaking down the gender constraints which are suffocating STEM uptake, Ellie Bradley, COO at Nominet believes that children need to be shown where subjects can take them in the future. “There is a lack of understanding about what career paths are open to young people with different qualifications in STEM subjects, which is compounded by a lack of availability of teachers and other role models in the community,” she said.
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Happy faces at the Raspberry Pi-run Code Club
“If the UK wants to continue to be a leader on a global market then we need our kids to learn the skills” Craig Hume, Utopia Computers “Just like a business recruiting for roles where candidates need to see themselves in a business to work there, children need similar role models and positive influencers to encourage them into STEM subjects, which will hopefully whet their appetite for jobs in the sector further down the line.” Bradley believes that it is the role of teachers, parents and the industry itself to make STEM subjects more appealing. She believes that industry leaders should ‘be targeting the children more directly with information
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that promotes STEM subjects’. Thinking - and already acting - very much along the same lines is Craig Hume, director of the award-winning retailer and system builder Utopia Computers. Outside of running the business, Hume has taken time out to head into classrooms around the Kilmarnock area to help inspire the next generation. “At Utopia we try and help out with schools as often as possible, just last week I was in a primary school sharing with the students a glimpse of the jobs of the future, how does being a Mars Colony Architect sound?” Hume says. “In reality, engineers are working on these problems today and at Utopia we feel that it is important for us to do our part to inspire kids to get into the industry.” Hume also points out that the country has been enourmously successful in tech, despite its size: “The UK has punched well above its weight in the creation and design of new technology. If we want to continue to be a leader on a global market then we need our kids to learn the skills. “While we currently attract the best researchers from around the world, it’s important that we continue to cultivate our own homegrown talent in order to hit our growth targets.”
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The importance of being adjacent One year (well, 15 months) on from its launch, Mark Glasspool, director of product marketing and sales at Tech Dataâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Consumer Technology Group, speaks to Jonathan Easton about how important the group has become and how splitting the business up has benefited everyone
Above: Mark Glasspool, Tech Data Consumer Technology Group director of marketing and sales
Give us a brief background to the Consumer Technology Group. What was the thinking going in? Rewind about three years where we separated our commercial and consumer PC business. That was with a view of getting the focus on our consumer side of that portfolio because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always been a weaker cousin so to speak. What happened as a result was that we saw significant year-on-year revenue and profitability growth from that separation. So that was three years ago. The creation of the Consumer Technology Group was an extension of that. It contained the aforementioned consumer PC business which subsequently has continued on from strength to strength, but it also combined other www.pcr-online.biz
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consumer tech areas of our business that had been separated into more official business units in the past. Things like components which would include all of the traditional consumer electronics products, along with things like networking, segmenting or enterprise networking and the more consumer side of that. It also included the consumer focus on print and supplies. It drew a line through all of our different business units with a view that the increased focus on the second part of the split with the retail sales team in the same area. What we were doing was increasing the focus on the consumer side more generally with an acceptance that there are a lot of different ways of working in the consumer world to the B2B world but July 2018 |
“The days where consumer tech only works in a retail environment are long gone” also the importance of the adjacency between the product and the customer. In that sense, the Consumer Technology Group was created and I took responsibility for both the product and the sales side of that group again because that adjacency is absolutely critical. So have you found that the re-framing of things has had a positive reaction from your partners? Yeah, hugely positive. It’s been a great 15 months and we have seen significant revenue growth in that period. I think we, depending on the technology type, get anything from 20 per cent to good triple digits on some of the more emerging tech areas like Smarthome. The breadth of customer we’re supplying has also significantly increased. It’s probably fair to say we’ve nearly doubled our retail partners we’re working with in the UK Channel since the creation of the Consumer Technology Group. We now work with practically all of the household names in terms of our traditional IT and CE retail. Before, there were some big gaps, so it’s enabled us to close those gaps with products and services that those customers have wanted. It’s
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been an equal measure of customers wanting to work with us as us proactively driving into those customers. So you mentioned Smarthome and networking. What are the areas which are seeing the most amount of demand in? It’s probably no surprise that Smarthome and gaming for us have been the two largest growth areas. And both of those would be in triple digit growth. Consumer PC has also gone really well. In the last 12 months alone we’re circa 50 per cent year-on-year revenue growth. That’s some pretty significant growth on a on a larger product area as well. Some areas of networking are relatively flat, but in the Smarthome world we’ve seen good solid double digits going up to 50 per cent depending on the vendor. Which do you think are going to be the big areas of growth over the next 18 months to two years? For me the focus remains on the areas we view as tried and trusted. The only addition I would have is virtual and augmented reality. Now that obviously overlaps into the gaming world, but also that moves in to more vertical solutions as well. It’s not just about consumer traditional retail
“There’s being a massive blurring of the lines – the market is changing dramatically” market, it’s also about consumer tech proliferating B2B. We’re starting to see SMB customers in the prosumer world using smartphone solutions as we’re starting to see some of our corporate enterprise customers using virtual reality and augmented reality as part of their go to market. I think the days where consumer tech only works in a retail environment are long gone. There’s being a massive blurring of the lines – the market is changing dramatically. We work really closely with Google and the Google product is certainly starting to have an impact on the B2B world as well. Some other distributors in consumer tech space have started to move more in to white goods. Is this an area of interest to you? It’s an area we’ve looked at a couple of times and it’s an area we continue to have an eye on. As you move into MDA and LBA products, the logistics model dramatically changes. And before we would consider going into that market we would want to have a solution that was cost objective for our partners. Today that model would need to be different from the one we operate. That’s not say we couldn’t do it, but it’s certainly a model that we would need to build in a very different way to the one we currently operate. How has the team developed since its inception? So we start the year probably with around just under 30 people. The CTG team now would see it closer to 40, so a 30 per cent growth. And then if you start to include the
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mobile and retail sales teams you can mean near on double that. It’s a serious part of our business now, it’s no longer just a little bit that sits on the side; it’s becoming relevant within our own business as well. How does tech as a service play a role in the CTG? Going back to that idea of consumer tech into a B2B world, that tech as a service solution fits nicely to enable partners to offer something different in to their customers. Today that is more of a B2B proposition, but the likes of Apple, HP, Lenovo are all looking at it as a best in class solution into that B2B world. What’s next for the Consumer Technology Group? We’re continuing to look at the products and solutions that our customers – and the market – are asking us for. We have some very specific vendor acquisitions we’d like to make. We are looking to come to market very soon with some nice solutions that our customers will be able to offer to their end users It’s a little early for me to talk specifically, but our services world is going to change. One we have announced very recently is our partnership with Citrus which is an online personalisation and merchandising solution. It’s something that’s gone really well in the States and Australia that we’re really pleased to have partnered with in Europe. We’re not looking to make a lot of acquisitions in terms of vendors, but there are some very specific key vendors that we’re very keen to get on the books and we’re hopeful we’ll be announcing one or two of those in the near future.
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A first for everything Big conferences like Computex and CES get all the plaudits, but your event doesn’t have to be massive to get business done WE ALL remember our first time, and for one growing tech firm its first partner conference is one it won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Rapidly expanding supply chain specialist Transalis welcomed like-minded businesses from across the UK to the invite-only event in London. The company, whose expanding digital solutions underpin billions of pounds’ worth of global trade, hosted the conference in an effort to showcase developments in cloud-based electronic data interchange (EDI) and discuss market opportunities. Among those attending were system integrators, value-added resellers and consultancies specialising in business process improvement and digital transformation. Roy Garlick, Transalis Global Channel Manager, presented a synopsis of the company’s history from its roots to becoming an awardwinning player with global reach. He said: “We work closely with our partners to transform the ways organisations large and small communicate and transact business with their suppliers and customers. Our inaugural channel partner event was an ideal chance to discuss areas of common interest with our partners including supply chain trends, customer experience, technology challenges and opportunities, and upcoming products.” In his presentation, Transalis co-founder and joint Managing Director Aniello Sabatino unveiled details of a forthcoming ePost solution that will enable further exchange of information through the cloud. The event was held at the Bishopgate headquarters of GS1 UK, the British arm of the 32
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not-for-profit body that develops and maintains global standards for all kinds of business communication including the barcode. Transalis was the first GS1 UK partner to achieve the organisation’s EDI procurement-topayment accreditation. Other Transalis partners represented at the conference included two Dorset specialists in process automation software, iGx Solutions and Codeless Platforms, and the Portsmouth-based business transformation company Skore. Sharing their expertise in mobile stocktaking and inventory data capture were members of the team from iStockTake, based in Reigate, Surrey. Speaking of the conference, Hugh Chambers, CEO of The Cyber Authority said that the event was ‘extremely relevant and motivating’. “It provided insight into a mix of market trends and opportunities for sales success, combined with informed predictions about the future of supply chains and their security.” Transalis, which employs 27 staff at the innovation hub Portsmouth Technopole, provides cloud-based EDI applications across 32 countries. There are more than 5,000 global users of Transalis’ EDI platforms including start-ups, small to medium-size enterprises and retail brands such as John Lewis, Argos, Superdrug and Neal’s Yard Remedies. More than 100,000 documents are exchanged every day using Transalis services, supporting in excess of £3 billion worth of invoice transactions a year. Transalis was named Portsmouth Business of the Year in 2017 and Medium Business of the Year at the JP South Business Awards in Brighton. www.pcr-online.biz
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Back to school
TEACHING WITH TECH Technology keeps rapidly progressing, but are classrooms managingto keep up? Jonathan Easton looks at what education needs and the selling opportunities therein
EPENDING ON YOUR age, your memory of the classroom will vary. Some of you may remember whiteboards with pens that invariably ended up being too dry to work, while others might get nostalgic for the scrape of the chalkboard. The classroom of 2018 is far more technologically advanced than it ever has been, with interactive technology being the norm. “Classrooms in the UK and Ireland are saturated with interactive display technology, but the age, quality and capability of products varies greatly from school to school, and even room to room,” notes Paul Wilson, business manager, Visual Instruments, Epson UK. “We see a whole range of AV tech in schools, from dated interactive whiteboard systems, through to modern interactive projectors and flat panel displays.” There are concerns though that this dependence on projectors and displays can be detrimental if the tech is not up to date. “A lot of classrooms now use flat panel displays that are arguably too small to give students optimum readability, as research shows that 58 per cent of students can’t read content on a 70-inch flat panel,” says Wilson. “With an increase in classroom sizes, it can be difficult for those students towards the back of the classroom to read the content, especially in secondary and colleges where teaching styles remain more traditional.” About 15 years ago, all the focus of the classroom was on smart whiteboards. They were the next big thing. What looked like the traditional front of the classroom was in fact a fully fledged computer. But while they showed promise, they were never adopted with the same vigour as expected – whether due to cost
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or implementation – and are now, according to Wilson, passé. “Interactive whiteboards have had their day. Many institutions are now looking to replace these former classroom staples with slicker modern technology. Whilst projectors once thrived in classrooms as an element of these clunky systems, they can now deliver the same interactive benefits without the need for a smart board at all. Interactive projectors provide great flexibility – they can be used directly onto walls or paired with dry erase boards to deliver a single large canvas for either digital or physical media. This enables teachers to deliver impactful materials to the whole class, without sacrificing the comfort of board markers or the features of software.” These sorts of projectors and flat panels are devices which were designed with the classroom in mind, but one category that has found its home in education after the fact is the tablet. “Educational establishments are increasingly using tablets to engage students – knowing that, at home, they have almost constant access to devices such as tablets and smartphones, often from a very early age. Schools constantly face the challenge of being able to effectively engage pupils throughout the day, and in-classroom tech can help with this. Teachers can ask students to engage and provide their own content at any time, either from their desk or as they move about the room. Schools are now recognising the positive impacts,” suggests Wilson. Educational apps and games are now a standard practice in primary education, with many teachers using the tech as an incentive for good behaviour and performance. The growth of tablets in the classroom isn’t necessarily much of a choice for schools, Wilson
Back to school
points out. “Students’ increasing access to tech at home is forcing educational outlets to modernise – but outdated equipment is presenting a bigger problem when it comes to classroom tech. Whether a school is using old tech with low resolution or poor-quality images – or not using their tech at all, leading to poor pupil engagement – an inadequate tech-set up has a substantial negative impact on students’ learning and teachers’ educational methods. “Schools constantly face the challenge of being able to effectively engage pupils throughout the day, and in-classroom tech can help with this.” With tablets, projectors and flat panels being the norm, the next step for many in revolutionising the equipmentclassroom is the implementation of virtual reality. “Incorporating VR technology into the classroom learning environment may seem like the stuff of futuristic dreams, but it’s already becoming a reality in some institutions,” Wilson points out.
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The promise of VR certainly is great, providing students with the ability to have close-up experiences across all fields. But right now VR is only really being used in specialised institutions, Wilson says. “The cost of widespread implementation is still holding education outlets back, especially primary and secondary public schools, which rely on local funding. Dwindling budgets will continue to have a knock-on effect until classroom tech becomes top of the agenda. Turning augmented reality (AR) and VR devices into practical and affordable mass market products that genuinely enhance user experience will be the key to future successes.” Education is evolving, it would be naive to think otherwise. And as the ways that people learn evolve so too is the technology they are using. Many education institutions are underequipped – and this is a great selling opportunity for resellers to capitalise upon.
“Schools are now recognising the positive impacts of technology” Paul Wilson, Epson
July 2018 | 35
Back to school hardware
SMART Technologies 0184 439 3023 SMART is changing the world by changing the way knowledge can be shared. The company’s software and hardware solutions empower everyone – from primary school students to innovators in Fortune 500 companies – to come together to explore and expand on ideas, bringing them to life without geographical or technological limitations. The company has found its products in 3 million classrooms worldwide, with five million software downloads annually and over 300,000 SMART lab users. SMART also caters to 200 Fortune 1000 customers and boasts a 100 per cent year-over-year revenue growth in interactive displays. SMART Board 7000 series is 25 years in the making and all new. The 7000 series is the digital heart of your interactive classroom experience, connecting SMART Boards and software, devices and vibrant imaginations. It helps students discover talents and passions, and teachers to promote student achievement in exciting new ways. Featured product: SMART Board 7000 series
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Lockncharge 0208 441 4107 LocknCharge is a company dedicated to the design, manufacture and distribution of the highest quality and most functional security, charging and transport solutions for storing Laptop, Tablet, Chromebook, iPad and other mobile devices. Mobile technology is deployed for a reason. It is used to teach, to train, to inform, to enable and to entertain. To be effective, and to serve its intended purpose, the technology must be fully operational and accessible at all times. LocknCharge exists to make life easier for the users of the technology by creating solutions that ensure accessibility and usability of the technology at any time. The Carrier 40 Cart is designed to make life easier for Chromebook, Tablet, Laptop and iPad deployments and can charge, store, secure and transport up to 40 devices. This makes it a perfect solution for a school or college that is catering to large classrooms. It even has an external power outlet so users can easily charge devices like a projector or other peripherals. Featured product: Carrier 40 Cart
STM Goods 0796 773 3263 The biggest threat to the well-being of school-owned laptops and tablets is students, as the carefree mind often comes with careless hands. You need a dependable way to protect your substantial financial investment, which is where STM Goods comes in. Founded in 1998, just outside Sydney, Australia, the company’s mission statement is to provide the world with Stuff That Matters. The Dux Plus provides best-in-class protection for a 2nd Gen iPad Pro 12.9-inch or 10.5-inch device. Along with integrated Apple Pencil Storage, the dux plus features a patented magnetic closure, reinforced corners and transparent back panel to protect your iPad from inadvertent drops. Tested to exceed U.S. Department of Defense Standard 810F/G durability tests. Designed with input from educators and IT professionals, The dux plus can withstand the unique rigours of the classroom, work or everyday environment. 12.9-inch will fit both 1st and 2nd Gen iPad Pro models. Featured product: Dux Plus
Epson 0871 4237766 With a storied history in print and projection, Epson has long been at the heart of the classroom with a range of products to fit everything from the smallest classroom to a large art lab. Today’s technology needs to work seamlessly and continuously, from screen sharing and flexible learning to collaboration across locations, as well as empowering educators and students with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. Epson’s technology supports this dynamic learning environment. One optimal product is the EB-710UI laser classroom solution. This bulbless projector allows educators to teach without disruption and ensure that their students can read everything on the screen with this interactive ultra-short-throw laser display solution. The EB-710UI delivers collaborative lessons on a large scalable display to promote greater sharing and participation in the classroom. Featured product: EB-710UI
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Back to school hardware
Novatech 0239 232 2500 Since 1987 Novatech has provided business, public sector, schools, colleges and universities nationwide and overseas with high-performance, adaptable computing solutions. Our Long lasting partnerships have been based on outstanding customer service and our continued commitment to quality and innovation. Novatech has been providing hardware and support to schools, colleges and universities of all sizes for over 29 years. Because the company owns the entire process - from design, assembly and distribution, to sales, support and repair – the firm promises that it can and will look after its customers better than anyone else. The built to order Novatech Tower Server E3-1220V5 is an excellent example of the company’s care to attention that creates a solution that is affordable and perfectly suited to an education institution. Featured product: Novatech Tower Server E3-1220V5
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HTC Vive 0845 890 0079 There are few experiences that are as jawdropping as virtual reality, and in terms of quality HTC Vive is still at the top of the pile. Virtual reality provides unique opportunities for schools and universities with an increasing number educational apps being released every day. Whether it’s giving students a view of an ancient civilisation or letting them see inside the human body, VR creates an amazing an unforgettable way to learn. The recently launched Vive Pro is on paper the best VR option out there, with two 1440 x 1600 pixel screens per eye and support for SteamVR 2.0 Room-Scale Tracking up to 20’x20’. Featured product: Vive Pro
Interactive Education Solutions 01902 422 300 Established in 1999, Interactive Education has worked with schools and colleges for over 16 years. Set up by an ICT Curriculum Director and a Child Care professional, the team has now expanded to include experts in audio visual, ex-teachers and specialists from the education industry. The company believes in a teacher friendly process from beginning to end, keeping the company ethos at its core; by teachers for teachers. The Genee Powerboard is an infrared interactive whiteboard, which works as a virtual aid for teachers and presenters to directly present information displayed on a computer screen to their audience. The Genee Powerboard range enlivens your lesson, business presentation or training session. Designed to provide a platform to boost interactivity, the Genee Powerboard is available in a wide range of configurations and sizes, enabling you to tailor the right solution to accommodate your needs. Featured product: Genee Powerboard
HANNspree firstname.lastname@example.org HANNspree Education Solutions, including; monitors, tablet PCs and Android computers, are designed to enable students and teachers to enjoy a completely paperless environment in which pupils can engage with interactive content. Demonstrating its commitment to engaging students in a new learning experience, HANNspree’s large screen tablets, featuring high-end touch technology, allow teachers and students to connect, communicate and collaborate. Available in different sizes up to 13.3”, HANNspree’s HANNSpad Tablet PCs enable students and educators to work faster, smarter and discover limitless possibilities on the go. Dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n ensures that all students in a classroom are able to get on the Internet at once. Front and rear-facing cameras encourage creative learning possibilities, and Bluetooth 4.0 allows the convenient use of wireless accessories. Transforming the education experience HANNspree Tablet PCs and Displays are tools to trigger creativity, promote dexterity and encourage modern learning. Featured product: HT273HPB Touch Screen Monitor
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Adobe 0800 585 0774 Adobe has long been the go to name for creatives, whether they be in audio editing, graphic or web design. With iconic programs like InDesign, Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe is the leading brand for content creation. Rather than making customers buy an expensive licence to Adobeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suite of 20-plus creative applications, the company made the shift to the Creative Cloud subscription model several years ago. As such, a greater number of people are now able to get access to the suite than every before with a low monthly cost. The company also offers a variety of plans for education institutions, ranging from individual students, teachers and faculty to entire institutions. Creative Cloud includes everything they need to create graphics, videos, web content, online portfolios and more.
Featured product: Creative Cloud For Education
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Acronis 033 0808 2080 Acronis is a global leader in hybrid cloud data protection and storage. Founded in Singapore in 2003, the company now operates from local offices in 18 different countries, including the International Headquarters in Singapore and Corporate Headquarters in Switzerland. Education and Research institutions need to preserve their data and enable students and faculty to easily access and share data with both internal and external colleagues. If any data is lost or compromised, it can interrupt your institutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s business, damage the brand, and put the institution out of compliance with a variety of regulations and funding mandates - all which can result in financial losses. Acronis delivers easy, complete, and safe solutions to protect your data and manage safe and secure access. With Acronis, your students, faculty, and administrative staff can always find the data they need when they need it from any location using any device they choose. Featured product: Acronis Backup 12.5 Standard and Advanced
Lightspeed Systems 01277 240 630 Education is undergoing a technology revolution. New devices and new tools are being added to the classroom every day. The IT department is responsible for keeping all this technology managed, safe, and working. Lightspeed Systems partners with schools to make learning safe, managed, and mobile. Through its portfolio of products, Lightspeed Systems aims to transform education by empowering IT departments in schools around the world – and making it easy for them to empower their users. Classroom offers several key features to make education more secure and seamless for both teachers and students. Automated Teacher Assistance helps teachers keep an eye on unusual student device activity, giving teachers an insight into where and when students are going off-task. The software also features the ability to isolate student access to specific websites and screen viewing. Featured product: Classroom
Microsoft 0344 800 2400 The defining name in productivity software, Microsoft’s suite of programs are the de facto way in getting work done, whether it be producing presentations in PowerPoint or writing essays in Word. One of the best things about Office 365 for students and teachers is that it’s actually free. So that they can keep connected with their work, students and teachers are eligible for Office 365 Education, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools. But when it comes to equipping the entire institution, the top-of-the-line offering for schools is Office 365 A5. Along with the expected applications like Outlook, Excel and Word, Office 365 A5 comes with a variety of services like OneDrive and Exchange. Exclusive to this option is Microsoft’s best-in-class intelligent security management, advanced compliance, and analytics systems. Featured product: Office 365 A5
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ASUS 0871 220 3227 Dedicated to creating products for today’s and tomorrow’s smart life, ASUS is the world’s No. 1 motherboard brand as well as a top-three consumer notebook vendor.Today, the company is pioneering new mobile trends with the ASUS ZenFone series, and rapidly developing VR and AR products. The company is also leading the pack when it comes to gaming, as a key name in the space with award winning notebooks, peripherals and monitors under the ASUS ROG banner. ASUS ROG Swift PG248Q is definitely a gamer’s monitor, with a mind-blowing 180Hz refresh rate capability, tripling the 60fps standard for gaming and tripling it. Specifically designed with esports in mind, this 24-inch monitor is competition grade and was the exclusive monitor of ESL ONE and The International. It’s also one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market,
Featured product: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
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Dell 0800 085 4878 Based in Round Rock, Texas, Dell is a household name and one of the largest technology organisations on the planet. Dell sells everything from PCs and servers to network switches and printers, and is currently the number one shipper of PC monitors in the world. In the monitor space, Dell is truly ahead of the curve with the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K – the world’s first 31.5-inch 8K monitor. But it doesn’t just rely on a stunning resolution, Dell has ensured that build quality and colour reproduction are top of the class. With a lofty RRP, this monitor is more for professionals and very specialised education institutions, but if price isn’t an issue there are few better options than the Dell UltraSharp UP3218K. But should price be a sticking point, Dell delivers a wide range of monitors to suit every need and budget. These encompass everything from budget to premium gaming options. Featured product: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K
HANNspree 0871 666 0850 HANNspree is a global consumer electronics manufacturer specialising in visual technology. The company is a part of the HannStar Display Corporation, one of the largest glass panel manufacturers in the world, consequently both the HANNspree and HannsG brands benefit from a rich heritage and world-class technological process in display technology. HANNspree offers a complete portfolio of monitors, each carefully crafted to focus on a blend of design, performance and practicality. The range enables you to select the right monitor for your individual requirements, no matter how specific they may be. One such product is the distinct HANNSapple. Originally launching over a decade ago, HANNspree brought back the HANNSapple as a celebration of the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s origins and to shake-up bland modern design by offering a fun, vibrant alternative-choice for design conscious and educational spaces. A favourite with Nurseries, childrensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; hairdressers, kitchen designers and hoteliers, the original apple designed tech from HANNspree inspired digital learning, offered playful distraction for children in daunting adult surroundings and injected energy into bold, modern culinary environments. Featured product: HANNSapple
Acer 020 8759 0620 A renowned name in the tech world for its business, consumer and gaming solutions, a particular area of expertise for the 42-year old Taiwanese organisation is its monitors. The company has all bases covered, categorising its offerings as design and performance, with thin, elegant design and high-performance display technology; entertainment; touch; gaming; basic and; prosumer. Within its Predator gaming brand, the standout is the Predator X34, a gaming monitor that promises ultimate immersion. UltraWide QHD, (or 3440 x 1440) and a deep, 1900R curve help to deliver on that promise, complemented by Nvidia G-Sync and a 120Hz overclockable refresh rate. But the Predator X34 is much more than the display, with a statement polygonal stand and an attractive aluminium bezel. Featured product: Acer Predator X34
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BenQ 0870 850 4417 BenQ operates and maintains an active presents in the local markets it serves in more than 100 countries across the globe. Though the brand has only been around for 17 years, BenQ has built up a solid portfolio of quality products that have received a good critical and commercial reaction. Solely focusing on display solutions, BenQ creates a wide range of projectors, monitors, interactive flat panels and digital signage along with Jamboard by Google – a cloud-based collaborative digital whiteboard.
One particular stand out product that is designed to meet the rising demands for large-sized viewing and ultra-high definition, is the PD3200U. This monitor boasts a 32”W 4K display built with BenQ’s advanced IPS technology, providing creative professionals over 300 per cent working space to work confidently in 100 per cent sRGB and Rec.709 colour spaces.
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Featured product: BenQ PD3200U
AOC 0120 639 0400 When it comes to monitors, there are few brands as iconic as AOC. Founded in 1967, the company has continued its focus on display technology and has continued to innovate in the field with the goal of delivering a great experience with its products, no matter the purpose of use. For demanding professionals, the company provides computer displays with high resolutions, high colour accuracy and an impressive set of advanced features. For style-conscious home users, it offers highperformance monitors with unique, eye-catching designs. For standard office purposes, AOC fulfils important energy efficiency standards with its broad range of business monitors, many of which come with comprehensive ergonomic adjustment options. The company’s latest offering is a new, portable monitor with USB-C connection. Designed for the person who lives on the go, but who needs more display than a single laptop screen, the I1601FWUX is the solution with a 15.6-inch IPS display in FHD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). The smart cover added to the monitor set acts as the panel holder in portrait and landscape modes and the built-in auto-pivot feature rotates the display into the correct orientation. Its stylish design with 8.5 mm thickness and only 800 g weight ensures, that the monitor comfortably fits in any bag. Featured product: AOC I1601FWUX
LG 0344 847 5454 Synonymous with tech in South Korea, LG is a leading brand in all forms of displays ranging from TVs to desktop monitors. Flagship among the latter is the LG 34UC79G-B, which is 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. Thanks to the high refresh rate, gaming is smoother and clearer when compared to monitors with refresh rates of 60Hz or 75Hz. Combine the smooth action with the curved screen, and gamers will love the optimised and immersive gaming experience. The company also stocks a wide range of highend 4K and 5K monitors for enthusiasts and professionals, along with cheaper options that don’t skimp on quality. Whatever you need, whether it be for gaming, content creation or general use, LG has you covered. Featured product: LG 34UC79G-B
Samsung 01932 455 000 It might be more well known for its TVs and smartphones, but all the display tech that Samsung has pioneered for its other devices also can be found in a wide range of desktop monitors. If you’re in the market for a conversation starting set piece that will make anyone envious, you don’t have to go much further than the absolutely breathtaking Samsung CHG90. What you’re getting is a groundbreaking 49-inch super ultra-wide 32:9 curved screen that entirely fills your field of view. With a 3840 X 1080 resolution, HDR, Quantum Dot technology and support for AMD’s new Radeon FreeSync 2 technology along with blue light-eliminating eye saver mode the Samsung CHG90 is as eye catching to use as it is to look at. Featured product: Samsung CHG90
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The Electronic Entertainment Expo is basically Christmas for gamers, giving a peek at the big releases – and trends – for the coming years
You know what they call a shooter in 2018? A battle royale with cheese Following the runaway success of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite (the latter of which was announced to have $100M invested for its first year of esports tournaments), it was clear from even before the conference that everyone wanted a slice of the action. Battle Royale, for the uninitiated, is the game mode that sees 100 players thrown on a map where the winner is the last one standing. It’s taken over the world with the aforementioned titles becoming household names in under a year. Ahead of time we knew that Activision is introducing a mode called Blackout into the upcoming Call Of Duty, but EA duly responded by chucking Battle Royale into Battlefield V. Elsewhere, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developer GSC Game World announced its own attempt at the formula in Fear The Wolves. There is little doubt that the battle royale formula is printing money.
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Microsoft making a comeback? What is the point in having the world’s most advanced games console if you don’t have any games to play on it? That has been the question facing Microsoft since it launched the Xbox One X. The company will hope that its conference went some way to allay some of those concerns with exclusives like Gears of War 5 and Halo Infinite being revealed. The biggest roar from the crowd came when the company listed off a slew of studios that it had recently acquired. These include Forza Horizon developer PlayGround Games, State of Decay developer Undead Labs and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice developer Ninja Theory.
All quiet on the VR front By contrast to previous years, there was an unnerving lack of buzz surrounding VR. Sony glossed over the topic in favour of focusing on the flashy The Last of Us Part 2 and Death Stranding, only revealing Déraciné made by Dark Souls franchise developer FromSoftware. Bethesda, which last year brought both Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, made no progress in virtual reality. Even Microsoft didn’t so much as breathe the word Hololens during its briefing. For advocates of the tech, E3 would not have made for pretty viewing.
Sony does something… but not a lot It was familiar ground for Sony’s E3. Asides from an experimental press conference that largely missed the mark, the PlayStation-maker primarily focused on five big titles: Marvel’s Spider-Man, Death Stranding, Kingdom Hearts 3, Ghost of Tsushima and The Last of Us Part 2. There were a couple of surprises, such as Nioh 2 and Control from Alan Wake devs Remedy, but the company largely stuck to its guns. CEO, Tsuyoshi “John” Kodera as much as admitted recently that the PlayStation 4 is winding down – and that much was evident from the reserved display on show.
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ISE 2019 SAVE THE DATES
S TAY C O N N E C T E D
IN MY TEAM
Irving Shillingford, QBS Distribution’s head of sales reveals all on his team – and his own claim to fame
QBS Distribution Who is in your team and what do they do? John Pochettino heads the added value services to our Publisher partners by understanding their market drivers and ensuring QBS are positioned to help them execute across EMEA. Shuan runs our Graduate programme and Vendor Management team, they focus on delivering the agreed sales and marketing plans l.
challenges is always refreshing and give us that “millennial” view that sometime old guns like me could miss, much to our amusement – but I guess evaluate you just have to be here to appreciate it.
“We opportunities to ensure we can deliver great products”
What are you currently working on? We have numerous Publishers wanting to partner with QBS because of our dominant position in the Software market; we have to carefully evaluate the opportunities to ensure we can deliver great products to the Channel that delivers value to their clients across the board. Who is the ‘team joker’ and why? That would be young Zoe who looks after our Software Development Tools portfolio; her alternative outlook on business
Who is the best team player and why? Shuan, for one so young he really has an old head on his shoulders and manages effortlessly to ensure we are all pulling in the same direction. He is always on hand to dive in and get his hands dirty. Shaun really has been invaluable to me as a great sounding board. Who has the best claim to fame? Well that could be JP for obvious connections to his family connection at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. I could put myself forward not quite ‘15 minutes of fame’ but I’m still convinced to this day that I ‘starred’ alongside Hugh Grant in a Persil advert back in the ‘80s.
Contact: email: email@example.com Tel: 0208 733 7103 www.pcr-online.biz
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<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry
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<Cycling around Europe for charity> Synology’s Ryan Perry must be feeling a bit sore after his four day, 300 mile cycle from London to Amsterdam, but it’s for a good cause as he’s raised £2,500 for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
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<Simmply the best > The team at Simms International is feeling very proud after bing ranked at 91 in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200. The list ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales, measured over their latest two years of available accounts. An awards event will be held in September, which CEO Andrew Henderson (pictured) plans to attend. The firm has also ranked among the fastest-growing companies in Kent for the past two years.
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