ISSUE May 18
UK CHANNEL ISSUE #176
Booming Britain Take an inside look at the state of the Channel in 2018
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'We are delighted to have won the award for Best PC Vendor! We would like to thank all of our partners and everyone at PCR' â€“ Steve Hope, ASUS UK & Ireland Country Manager PCR_FP_210x265.indd 1
Ask not what your email can do for you… THE GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation for those of you not in the know), as I’m sure you’re well aware is getting unnervingly close. It is the reason why all those mailing lists that you forgot you signed up for years ago are sending you flattering emails asking to stay in touch and why your marketing teams are currently in a cold sweat. While a by-product for consumers is that it’ll effectively wipe the slate clean in terms of annoying bulk emails, it has proved to be quite the headache for many organisations that are trying to wrap their brains around what the ruling that comes into action on May 25th. But with the data reshuffle comes an opportunity for organisations to really reengage with their customers and ask themselves the simple question: why am I emailing my customers? Is it because of a sale, new products, new services, a general seasonal update? Any email campaign you launch has to serve the customer and, in subject alone, prove why it shouldn’t go straight into a spam folder. The frequency is just as important as well. Of course you want to build a relationship with customers so they’ll keep you at the front of their minds, but at the same time you don’t want them irritated at the sight of your address in their inbox. We all know someone who we used to like but now a glimpse of them annoys you. Don’t be that someone. Speaking of relentlessly pestering people, I sadly must announce the departure of PCR’s deputy editor Rob Horgan, who I had become accustomed to irritating on a daily basis over the past year. Anyone who has spoken to Rob knows just how professional a journalist he is and how vital a part of PCR he had become. He made a huge impression during his brief tenure with us and he will be missed.
“GDPR offers an opportunity for organisations to ask themselves the simple question: why am I emailing my customers?”
Jonathan Easton, Editor email@example.com
Editorial: 0207 354 6002 Advertising: 0207 354 6000
Deputy Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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Gurpreet Purewal Sales Manager email@example.com
Production Executive firstname.lastname@example.org
Content Director email@example.com
May 2018 | 3
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THE CHANNEL SPEAKS
Contents May 2018 Epson Interview
We speak to the vendor about the state of the print market
Plug-In to Exertis
Grab your crash helmets and join us as we head to Silverstone
Two years on from the vote, how has the Channel reacted?
Channel in numbers
Everything you wanted to know about UK tech in 2018
At a glance 06 THE PAY GAP A shining beacon or falling behind? We examine how IT firms stack up in the recently released gender pay gap figures 48 TRANSPUTEC The two-time PCR Award winning reseller gives us an inside look at how the MSP stays at the bleeding edge
Regulars 10 Life in the Channel 12 Industry opinion 36 New products 40 Sector guides 46 Gaming update 50 Logging off
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May 2018 | 5
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“The gender imbalance in technology roles is a key issue of our time” Parysa Hosseini-Sech, Onecom
based cloud distributor intY’s gender pay gap report shows that female staff are paid 3 per cent more than their male counterparts. In addition, 40 per cent of Board members at the cloud distributor are women, 57 per cent of the management team are female and 31 per cent of women at intY hold senior positions. When comparing like-for-like jobs, women and men at intY are found to be paid exactly the same. However, the government standard for gender pay gap reports was to take the median wage of all jobs. CPO of intY, Becky Hunt said that the salaries reflect the role, not gender. “At intY we remunerate people for the skills, knowledge and experience required for the role and gender bears no relevance. “We also provide a very generous package including enhanced maternity, paternity and shared parental leave. We do this because we understand and believe that equal pay and childcare flexibility is important for families to be empowered to decide what works best for them, and does not rely on a stereotypical breadwinner or primary caregiver role.” And intY is not alone in trying to level the playing field. Companies both within the Channel have been throwing their weight behind the Tech She Can Charter. Designed to boost the number of women pursuing tech careers, the charter has been backed by leading industry figures. The original signatories consisted of PwC, British Science Association, Business 3.0, Digital Jam, everywoman, FDisruptors, Girlguiding, InnovateHer, JP Morgan, Modern Muse, money.co.uk, NatWest Markets, Sophos, Smoothwall,
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MIND THE GAP
TechGirls, Tech Talent Charter, Tesco, T Systems, and Zoopla Property Group. Onecom is among the latest Channel partners to join the charter, with head of Human Resources Parysa HosseiniSech highlighting the need for greater initiatives to encourage women into the industry. “Onecom is committed to ensuring that all young people, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to pursue and progress in a rewarding career in communications technology,” she said. “We are delighted to be actively supporting the Tech She Can programme. The gender imbalance in technology roles is a key issue of our time that we need to work together to address head on.” Technology is disruptive, forward-thinking and before the curve. For there to be such a disparity in terms of pay and workforce makeup is not good enough. If the sector fails to reflect society then it runs the risk of missing out.
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16/04/2018 21:58 25/04/2018 08:50:39
“I just genuinely like meeting people and building relationships”
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LIFE IN THE CHANNEL
Jon Atherton PCR catches up with a true stalwart of the UK Channel What is your role at Ci Distribution and how long have you been at the company? Rafi Razzak (founder) and Jeremy Nash (Group CEO) convinced me to join as group commercial director over two years ago to help build their growth strategy and drive certain aspects of the business. My responsibilities are marketing, distribution and implementing a proactive approach to commercial aspects for the group. Myself and the wider group of directors have achieved this over the last two years, it has been hard work but fun! Our growth over that period has been impressive not just 25 per cent increase in revenue each year but the investment we have made in people, back office systems as well as our investments in 23 Tech and SAMcraft to further enhance our portfolio. Having spent many years in the Channel, what is your best memory? I have too many to list! I have been very fortunate my role takes me to countries around the world, exciting places, and meeting new and existing contacts. I just genuinely like meeting people and building relationships. I’m a shrinking violet really. What is the best way to get a deal over the line? For me it is important to show integrity and honesty, go that extra mile for the client, invest time in their business and their needs, prepare well and understand not just their requirements but the solution.
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Who are your best friends in the Channel and why? That’s a tough one as I have so many fantastic relationships borne from our industry. I joined the IT world back in 1988 (believe it or not). I have friends from back then I still see today. Since joining the Centerprise Group two years ago I have made some great friendships with so many people, met so many new vendors and customers. Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing? Less and less, it seems, as my working day gets longer, however I have not resorted to crown green bowls yet. I still enjoy playing golf with friends and taking part in other sporting activities, it’s just finding the time. Our undergraduates at Centerprise are arranging a charity ping-pong competition and I have my name down to compete and win that. I am confident, as it’s not a physical sport. Everyone knows I am a West Bromwich Albion fan and do enjoy going to the odd game, although we are not having the best season. What is the best way for people to contact you? You can find me on all social media platforms. In today’s age we are lucky (or unfortunate) to use so many different communication tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Skype. Where would we all be without a mobile device? Spending more time golfing, maybe. My twitter handle is @Jono_Boy, while you can find me on LinkedIn under jon-atherton.
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Manveer Mangat – chief technical officer, Sesui
The omnichannel dilemma Omnichannel has been a buzzword for a few years, but in asking agents to do it all are we asking for the impossible? shine is a great way to build those personalised, positive IN 2018, the reality is that contact centres need to evolve customer interactions. Skills-based routing means that into customer experience hubs where no single agent is calls are split so you can safeguard the experience. required to simultaneously work across all channels. The words contact centre make you think of a large, Instead, specialised agents should work together sharing centralised building, but that doesn’t have to be the case. data and insights, often remotely, to provide a more Virtual contact centres offer greater workforce flexibility personalised 24/7 customer experience. and greater flexibility in the operational design of your Pursuing omnichannel isn’t as simple as adding more organisation. With a distributed approach, agents can channels. You need to understand the profile of your deliver the same level of service remotely and securely. customers and their communications preference; this will By not tethering your people to a fixed location, you can change depending on the type of interaction. Too few, or operate in a more flexible 24/7 way, accessing digital only, and you risk isolating segments of specialist agents outside office hours. your customer base. Too many channels For omnichannel to work, you need a creates confusion, not just in the customer holistic view of the customer experience. journey, but for your teams trying to “For omnichannel While the customer journey might begin manage the varied interactions. It pays to to work, you need a on one channel, valuable insight and get the balance right. holistic view of feedback from the customer is likely But in addition to knowing your the customer taking place on a completely different customers you need to be acutely aware channel. Help your team to work better of your own business. This isn’t about experience” together using shared data and insights. offering the longest list of ‘contact us’ Contact centres that exist in the cloud, options – it’s about offering channels that are provide that holistic view. Channel tabs can a practical fit for the nature of your business. show the client/customer interaction for voice, email, Don’t feel pressured into introducing channels that SMS and video. Live reporting provides an up-to-theyou don’t need. For instance, in healthcare, patients aren’t minute view of what’s working well at any given moment. going to contact you over Facebook, but webchat or a Don’t force your team to be omniagents. Instead, match video call provide secure alternatives. your channels to the agent – your customers will thank Customer service agents are your brand representatives. you. And above all else, remember, if your customers are Their jobs revolve around that vital first contact. But that calling, it’s probably important. Make sure that call can doesn’t translate to getting the customer off the phone as get through. quickly as possible. Understanding where your agents
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Carl West – retail managing director, Westcoast Retail
A balanced approach to Big Data It might be in the news for nefarious reasons with social media sites, but Big Data has a huge role to play in the Channel. of the data collated in real time, all of which will improve LET’S TALK ABOUT Big Data for a moment. Certainly our efficiency and accuracy. In short, Big Data will allow not limited to the supply chain industry, its benefits for us to do a better job and improve the services we provide. businesses have resulted in mass adoption from In order to achieve this, it is crucial that we ensure we companies of all sectors and sizes. Allowing for an act as consultants and experts in our fields and apply Big unparalleled collecting and applying of data, it’s no Data as it best suits us and our clients. At Westcoast surprise that it has become such a phenomenon in recent Retail, we believe the value in such tech is in its years. Despite this, there are two questions that continue combination with the human experience and data to be asked; how well do we truly understand it, and what collected in-store. Our years of working in the industry is the best way to integrate it into the supply chain? has taught us to value the work and feedback of Big Data is generally defined as the massive our staff on the ground and apply this along volume of both structured and unstructured with new technology. We have found that data that requires extraordinary methods to this balanced approach has enabled us to process it properly. Despite this general deliver a second-to-none service. consensus, there is some debate as to “Big Data will prove As the supply chain becomes more what actually constitutes Big Data. It’s revolutionary for competent with using Big Data and still a relatively new entry in the world of our industry” applying it in the proper manner, there’s tech and distribution, and requires no doubt in our mind that its time will greater understanding before we start come. We need a clearer idea of what we applying it more comprehensively. There want from it, and until we are able to have also been a few problems that have maximise its potential for our line of work, its cropped up, such as technical issues, the need to benefits will always be somewhat restricted. invest in software and hardware and security risks, As a company, our whole proposition is built on value which have sewn some feelings of doubt among adopters. and the importance of the human experience in logistics Let’s not detract totally from the fact that Big Data and the supply chain. We will continue to combine this offers a number of benefits that will prove revolutionary with Big Data to continue to deliver the best service for our industry. Key among these are its ability to provide possible. The race to the bottom in terms of price cannot unique insights into market trends, customer buying negate the value of the service provided and, for now at patterns, and maintenance cycles, as well as ultimately least, we believe that a combination of experience and lowering costs. Such data allows for more accurate data is the most effective way of using Big Data. forecasting and a great bank of knowledge and application
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May 2018 | 13
Greg Day – VP & CSO, EMEA, Palo Alto Networks
Simulate before it’s too late How to proactively tackle the cyber security skills gap to collaborate, learn, and improve their skills and ADDRESSING CYBER THREATS is only possible by understanding of the anatomy of threats. combining innovative technology, skilled security Prevention is key to stopping successful cyberattacks, professionals and effective security best practices. The but how can you prevent what you don’t know? Cyber question facing Europe’s cyber security professionals is: security teams should be given the opportunity to apply how can you ensure your team have this combination their skills in a controlled simulation environment. This before it is too late? The answer is to get this practice in means they can practice defending against the latest threats before someone targets your business. – with simulation exercises continually updated to remain Businesses are used to running contingency plans or relevant – and give them training on the latest threats and fire drills for a number of different disaster scenarios but most advanced real-world malware, such as ransomware. are sometime not able to provide the correct environment As attackers use multiple vectors to carry out attacks, it to exercise or train in one of the most prevalent threats in is important that cyber security teams are put our digital age: cyber threats. through their paces. This doesn’t work, Today’s security professionals are dealing unless teams are training with real with a complex and rapidly evolving “Simulations help however, life threat intelligence, which is different environment. The falling cost of PC power teams get real world each time they go into training. They can means that cybercriminals are better come back to the organisation with a resourced today and don’t rely on one experience without muscle memory of how to respond in a vector to carry out attacks. If an IT team putting an situation, helping to reduce the likelihood is coming up against this for the first organisation in of confused and uncoordinated reactions time, in a real-world situation, the odds harm’s way” in a real-life incident. Simulations help will never be stacked in their favour unless teams get real world experience, without they have trained themselves to respond. putting an organisation in harm’s way. Humans learn by doing. In the same way that Communication is also a vital skill for cyber cyber security teams learnt to configure and update security teams, but the pressure of a real attack can their systems, they must learn to protect their systems change how teams operate together, and if it’s the first from a successful breach. On the job training is not the time they are being attacked, it can change how perfect answer as it comes with its fair share of risk, but individuals react and work as a team. Cyber security skills should be developed and honed within a businesssimulations counter this by putting teams under that kind specific environment. This is where cyber security of pressure. They can improve their collaboration and simulation ranges, like the one Palo Alto Networks has communication skills in realistic settings, spurred on by just launched in Amsterdam for its EMEA customers, can some friendly competition. provide the right secure environment for IT professionals
14 | May 2018
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PCRâ€™s 30 Under 30 is back, highlighting the brightest stars in the Channel. www.pcr-online.biz/30Under30 Nominations close 23:59 Monday May 14th www.pcr-onine.biz
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“We saw a challenging last year within retail. It’s across the board for the print vendors” 16
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Fighting for a smaller pie In a market that is scaling back, Epson is making plans for the future and has eyes on not only maintaining its position, but increasing it. Jonathan Easton speaks to Annika Fagerstrom, head of retail sales and distribution, about the company’s strategy to successfully change with the times
OLLOWING ON FROM the Brexit vote and subsequent ‘currency valuation changes’, many vendors upped their prices to compensate for the money they were losing. These range from HTC notoriously sticking an extra £70 on its Vive VR headset to Apple pretty much making its pound prices equal to the dollar (the iPhone X is £999 in the UK and $999 plus tax in the US, for example), but the print market somewhat surprisingly largely didn’t follow suit, not at least in the same fashion. “Currency changes have had quite a dramatic effect on the market,” says Epson head of retail sales and distribution Annika Fagerstrom. “Hardware didn’t go up in price with the different exchange rate situations that we had last year but the ink had to. I think it’s a really difficult one because the average
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household whose wages were squeezed and whose disposable income was less then having to pay £24 for an ink cartridge” Fagerstrom, who has been at Epson since March 2015 and who previously had spells at HP and Samsung, is well aware of the tough climate facing tech retail, despite the company’s success. “It’s been a good year for us so far. March is the end of our financial year and we are having a good year where hardware’s concerned but we did see a really challenging last year for ink within the retail sector. There’s a number of different issues there with the exchange rate going against us and some price increases we had to put in. It’s across the board for the print vendors. We saw a decline in genuine ink and that’s really concerning for us. And the other trends that we’re continuing to see is consolidation in bricks and mortar
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cmsdistribution.com @CMSDistribution CMS Distribution
“Amazon is so powerful that it’s useless fighting them, you might as well work with them and they are very good at what they do” retail with big players going out of business like Maplin earlier this year and Staples the year before that splitting up into Staples and Office Outlet. There’s real pressure on the high street.” But with that difficulty and change comes opportunity as the market evolves. “Online is growing and it is for us as well. 2017 was the year that Amazon actually took over and became our largest retail account,” she notes. Even over the three years that she has been with the company, Fagerstrom has seen a drastic shift to online – particularly towards Amazon. “I think that the biggest increase we’re seeing is online and the massive power of Amazon. That’s been huge in this last three years. “When I started, Amazon was probably our third largest customer; today it’s number one. They are so powerful that it’s useless fighting them, you might as well work with them and they are very good at what they do. Now that it wants to break into the B2B sector,
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it will be very interesting to see how Amazon’s going to get on with that.” As consumers move in their droves from the high street to the laptop, they are also increasingly focused on value and getting the best deal. The print market has been so affected by that price focus that Fagerstrom notes: “according to Gfk, 63 per cent of the market now is below £50 within print. And that’s incredible.” She continues, “the print vendors actually sell their hardware at that end of the market at a loss and they make their profit on ink. So in a year where ink is going down but actually that low end is becoming bigger and bigger part of the market it’s really really difficult.” That concern is something one which has caused the print market a considerable amount of reflection and strategies have shifted, perhaps more drastically than they ever have done in the space. HP, for example, has its HP Instant Ink scheme for consumers that the company brands as its ‘revolutionary ink replacement service’. In reality, users pay a subscription fee, their printer will then tell HP when they need new cartridges and then send them in the post. Epson is aware of these kinds of programmes and has come up with its own methods to ‘cover all the bases’. “We’re seeing the market going down the managed print subscription printing for the consumers with some of our competitors and when we’re going down
May 2018 | 19
that way as well,” Fagerstrom states. “We’ve got easy pay which is really for the resellers in to corporates at the low end. This is a small, cut down version of the Print & Save managed print service that we offer to larger businesses. We also have Ready Ink which is not subscription as such like HP Instant Ink, but it’s more what you pay as you need the product. You sign up to the Ready Ink programme and then as you run out of ink the retailer or the reseller will send you more, though it’s more a print as you go. And then we have an unlimited printing program which we will introduce later on this year and that will be a subscription for both the printer and for the ink.” The crown jewel for Epson right now however is its EcoTank range. Standing in stark contrast to the cheap to buy but expensive to run printers that Fagerstrom
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refers to from Gfk’s stats, EcoTank are ‘‘Cartridge-free’ printers. What this means in real-world terms is that users can fill up the tank of ink with bottles bought in bulk at a cheaper rate than their cartridge counterparts. EcoTank printers come with up to three years of ink, and Epson claims that they will save users ‘74 per cent on average on printing costs’. The shift in ethos is meant to eliminate ‘printer panic’ moments where users run out of ink when they most need it. A survey carried out by OnePoll, on behalf of Epson, says that 56 per cent of European parents have experienced this, and that 87 per cent of people have been unable to print because of a lack of ink. “Printing is a bit like loading your car with petrol. You hate doing it but you have to do it, and it’s the same with the printer. You might have bought for
“People today hate printing and that’s why we want to change that with our EcoTanks.”
£29.99, but a multi cartridge could be £25 or £30. The thing is that people today hate printing, and that’s why we want to change that with our EcoTanks where you don’t need to worry about how much ink is in the printer because for two years or so it’s hassle- free. “If you think that 63 per cent of the market are buying printers that at £50 and below, with a large portion at £29.99, and we managed to grow that eco tank segment we are really pleased. We think there’s more more value to that coming and we’ve got really big, aggressive plans for EcoTank for 2018. But obviously that value comes at a cost. The cheapest in the range – the ET-2600 – retails at £179.99 with the most expensive being closer to £1,000. Those might be eye watering numbers for consumer printing devices, but Fagerstrom argues that these are
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considered to be alternatives and the company has plenty of strings to its printing bow. “We’re really pleased that we’ve got the EcoTank as an alternative, but certainly for the consumer we see print in three different ways. You’ve got the low price printer which make the end user happy but then he hates the high price of the cartridges. You see the eco tank which is obviously highly priced to begin with, but then it makes the end user happy because the price of printing is much less. And then we’re looking now at different programmes such as finance programmes and so on to make eco tanks more accessible. “We’re not going to get out of the low priced printing market. We need to be in there as well because 63 per cent of the market after all it is in that area. So we’re going to cover all the needs, hopefully with the different ranges of printers that we have.” The big question with such an expensive product range is whether consumers want to outlay so much money in cost conscious Brexit Britain, and Brexit has had an effect on the business as a whole. “I think from the point of view that consumers have less money in their pocket and that inflation has gone up some of that must be attributable to Brexit. Yes certainly on the ink side of things as I said previously we’ve seen a big effect. On hardware it’s not so much, but then I think that’s because the hardware prices haven’t gone up. Saying that, the overall print market is declining; year on year we’re all we’re all fighting for a smaller pie.” So safe to say it’s not exactly an easy time in print, but Fagerstrom is optimistic that it will reach a sustainable size. “I think it will it will come to a point will have to stop shrinking because print is still needed. “But what I think will change is the way people
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Thanks to the Technology Channel for your valued support.
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“The overall print market is declining; we’re all we’re all fighting for a smaller pie” purchase print in the future. We’re already seeing that with the subscription models becoming stronger and people in the UK becoming more accustomed to it with phones and TV on subscription, that type of thing. I think more and more people will buy into subscription type of printing programmes rather than just buying the hardware.” The next step towards ensuring that Epson’s slice of the pie remains bountiful is by exploring different avenues of engagement, without the obvious dependence on ‘showrooming’ at retailers. “We’ve done pieces in the past on how parents can entertain their children by printing out colouring in sheets. All of that kind of thing. Another one is the health and fitness market. The number of these different programmes out there like Joe Wicks where you sign up for a 12 week programme and have to print out all the menus and training regimes. A lot of people go down and have that printed at their local print shop. That’s costing them fortunes especially if they keep on it and every 12 weeks they need to print more. That’s at least 30 to 100 pages. That must be a market that print probably hasn’t thought of before as well.” Fagerstrom also poses the elusive question that a lot of established vendors are asking themselves: “how do we get the
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younger generation, that awful word the Millennials? How do we attract them into printing? “They don’t go shopping anymore, they buy everything online. So how do we attract them with them with products that probably they don’t see that much use for anymore? That’s all about social media, getting influencers to promote your product and showing different ways to print and then there’s other ways that you can use printers. We’re currently doing some research into how much students spend on print at university, because not that many go to university with a printer. Well for the average page, a university charges between 10 and 15 pence. So you can imagine how much students have to fork out for printing their thesis and their reports that type of thing. I don’t think they even think about that when they go to university the parents might do. But certainly the students don’t.” For Epson between its different business models and aims to target different audiences, the main focus is navigating a market that is shrinking in size at an increasing rate at a difficult moment. One thing that’s for certain is that the company is unwavering in its commitment to the Channel. “We’re seeing a lot of changes in the B2B market with print manufacturers buying dealers and so on, but we at Epson are 100 per cent Channel focused,” Fagerstrom concludes. “We have no intention of going down that route of going direct. It’s the Channel that we will be working through for the foreseeable future and nothing is going to change about that.”
May 2018 | 23
Brace for Brexit Brexit
A year since Theresa May pulled the trigger on Article 50, Rob Horgan looks at how the UK Channel is preparing for the country’s departure from the European Union
KNOW WHAT you are thinking: ‘not another article on Brexit’ (and I would forgive you for thinking that – but bear with me). For almost three years now Brexit, and the subsequent discussions about Brexit, have been ever present in trade publications, mainstream media, social media streams and TV panel shows. The pros, the cons, the lies and the fallout of Brexit have been reported beyond death. However, with under a year until the ‘divorce’ proceedings come to an end, it is more important than ever not to overlook Brexit, not to be bogged down by the barrage of blabber and most importantly to ensure that you and your business are Brexit-proofed. Worryingly, a large number of Channel businesses are at a loss of what to do next. A ‘wait-and-see’ attitude seems to have crept in across the board, with many business owners admitting that they are doing little to nothing in response to Brexit, simply because they don’t know what they should be doing. As Robbie Herd, business owner at Sevenoaks Computers, puts it: “Brexit mainly feels like you are sitting on a beach waiting for a wave to wash over you, maybe it will wash us away.” Likewise, Stuart Smith, director at IBA UK, believes that exiting the EU could lead the UK into ‘another recession’ if the value of the pound and the uncertainty of markets continue. “If
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the pattern continues the Channel could be severely affected,” Smith adds. “In respect to post Brexit, we could boom or we could bust.” And yet, despite all the uncertainty and the inevitable doom and gloom, companies are starting to brace themselves for the eventuality of leaving the EU. Despite his pessimism, even Herd admits that his business has already started to adapt in response to the market changes. “Due to the increased costs to us and prices to customers and reducing margins, we have had to get more efficient. We’ve done this by ensuring less staff per transaction. We’ve also curbed expansion plans and changed our business model to chase recurring revenues, limiting availability of break fix model for consumers.” Of course, a large part of the uncertainty is par for the course. As Jon Harrison from Platinum Components states: “It’d be nice to have a glass ball to reads the future, but until the government announces specifics and how customs will impact that, I think we are all waiting with baited breath. In terms of how it will impact our business, I think it will very much depend on whether the UK can negotiate trade deals with it’s EU counter parts. Currently we are part of the single market anything bought within the EU market is relatively simple in terms of import to the UK, with low duties/ cheaper shipping costs. If we www.pcr-online.biz
feels like you are sitting on a beach waiting for a wave to wash over you, maybe it will wash us away” Robbie Herd, Sevenoaks Computers
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May 2018 | 25
businesses and distributors will always buy products, the economy will still drive ahead” Nick Beer, Dynamode
don’t have trade agreements set in place that reflect the current single market “set-up” then we may experience increased import and export duties, taxation, restrictions on what products we can buy from where and so forth. which in turn can push pricing up to the end consumer.” He adds: “Let’s face it no one wants to pay more, so this could really have a negative effect on sales. We already have trade agreements in place with Asia, USA, ME etc so unless the current government mean to remove clearance duties those will continue. Our focus has to be Europe for regularity of both import and export and speed of delivery.” And yet while Harrison, and the rest of us, wait for answers and ponder the endless plausible possibilities, there are contingency plans being put in place across all aspects and levels of the Channel. And – say it quietly – some companies are even seeing the positives out of Brexit. Nick Beer, technical director at Dynamode, is one who believes Brexit is just another challenge to be embraced. “As a company we have been around many years and seen many changes in market conditions,” he says. “A successful formulae for any company, especially retail is to adapt, offer products that customers want, be competitive in pricing and support. A lot of the Brexit phenomenon is hype, drawn by the media, it’s a good talking point. However customers, businesses and distributors will always buy products, the economy will still drive ahead.” Centerprise International CEO Jeremy Nash also believes that ‘going forward, and looking to the long26 | May 2018
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term, Brexit could be good for the UK tech industry as it will require us to invest in R&D and build up our intellectual capital’. Even more optimistic about Brexit, John Carter, managing director at DMSL, believes Brexit will actually drive growth within certain sectors. “If it turns out that Brexit has the effect of making life a bit harder for some businesses, that may drive them to look at cloud and hosted services even sooner, and any new start-ups will certainly be looking to run everything online from the word go,” Carter says. “UK SMBs are moving to fibre-based broadband and hosted voice as quickly as they can and as far as we are concerned, Openreach can’t move quickly enough to roll-out the infrastructure. If anything, we will see Brexit adding momentum to that. If global markets do open up for them, there may be some good opportunities – but the UK does need to get a move-on in terms of developing infrastructure and making faster bandwidth available to all businesses right across the country.” Despite the uncertainty that is permanently attached to Brexit, the likelihood of a wave washing us all away still seems far off. Ensuring that businesses are Brexit-ready is integral even for the companies that are struggling to see the light at the end of the drawn-out tunnel. If contingency plans are put in place, Brexit should be but a ripple in the ocean, not an economy-flattening tsunami. www.pcr-online.biz
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Our promise to you. VIP will always deal with you professionally and courteously | VIP will never leave you with a problem of our own making VIP will always be informative in our communications | VIP will look to support you and grow your business VIP will help educate you about our channel | VIP will always be fair to you & competitive on price Not kept our promise? Please tell us because your feedback will help us to deliver a better service. You can speak directly to our Managing Director, Rich Marsden on 07554 455 439 or firstname.lastname@example.org Untitled-1 1
2/15/2018 4:06:29 PM
Between Brexit, GDPR and the ongoing high street retail crisis, it is fair to say that the Channel is facing a few challenges right now. Rob Horgan talks to key players across the board to find out how they are tackling those challenges head on to ensure the Channel remains in rude health Jeremy Nash, Centerprise International, CEO: The Channel is healthy at this time but it is not without its challenges. The squeeze on margin is requiring vendors to be more innovative with their offerings, which in turn is creating further opportunities for distributors and resellers. No doubt, the driving down of reseller margin caused by customers seeking to commoditise the procurement of hardware will be one of the biggest challenges over the next year or so. However, there will be several drivers over the next 12 months. In particular, the shift towards service-based offerings, be it cloud or more traditional IT solutions. Offerings that enable efficiency in the workplace, such as enhanced end-user mobility and the streamlining of both customer-facing and internal processes, will also shape the market. These market drives, coupled with
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customers appetite to completely commoditise the procurement of hardware, will see traditional hardware resellers seek to move into becoming solutions providers. Value added distributors have a role to play in enabling smaller companies to succeed in the Channel. With the drive towards service-based offerings, small companies need support with selling services and not just products. It may seem a little obvious to state, but we would all benefit from carving out sufficient time to be able to talk to one another with the aim of sharing our respective goals and challenges. This would enable us to find any overlaps that exist and work together with common purpose for mutual benefit. We all run the risk in business of spending too much time on obsessing over internal issues at the expense of facing outwards.
Craig Hume, Utopia Computers, Managing Director:
Sarah Shields, Dell, Vice President and General Manager UK & Ireland: The UK channel is as strong now as I’ve ever seen it. From our perspective, we are seeing growth across all our key lines of business indicating that there are plenty of opportunities for our Channel partners looking to increase revenue and a hunger from customers looking at digital transformation. We all need to be focused on delivering the right solutions during this growth phase. Both vendors and partners need to be clear on how digital transformation should be delivered and help customers with their multi cloud/ hybrid cloud solutions and focus on longterm workload solutions that need to be addressed. Without a doubt, the biggest driver in the next 12 months is about making digital transformation a reality. With GDPR coming into force, it’s a perfect opportunity to address and assess how to futureproof customers’ businesses and make them secure. Anyone not talking security is making a big mistake. Disruptors are what the market is all about right now. New names, new brands, new technologies that change the way we work and play. The Channel is perfect for disruptors to gain momentum, traction and scale – but beware, big organisations such as Dell EMC are taking disruption very seriously too as we are investing $4.5b a year in innovation. I’ve never seen our Channel so exciting! Right now, the Channel is doing exceptionally well and growing every day, so things are looking good.
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While I think it would be wrong to say the UK IT Channel is strong, given the sad news around Maplin and the continuing political uncertainties that lie ahead, I would say that the overwhelming majority of the conversations I have are positive with strong desire to continue to grow and innovate. The skills gap is always going to be difficult, I take my hat off to the likes of VIP who are doing amazing work by investing in a young team to bring new people in to the Channel that could end up being some of the top talent in any one of our businesses. I worry GDPR is also going to hit some hard, possibly too hard to recover. I speak to resellers and many are not prepared and have decided it’s too confusing to be bothered with, this is not great news and I fear that those who have chosen to put their head in the sand have not only missed an opportunity to be seen as a leader in this area, but will possibly be on the wrong side of the ICO when something happens to their data. Over the next 12 months it will be particularly interesting to see where blockchain goes, the effect it has on the GPU and PSU markets and how vendors address it. Will the likes of Nvidia release mining specific cards as rumoured or just ride the wave? Also the battle between Intel and AMD continues, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens as AMD are now back in the game. For those looking to get started, I think that in many ways it is now easier for small startups to break into the Channel than ever before. I believe if a startup has a global mind-set, a killer idea and the right people on the bus, the sky’s the limit. The important thing is to always be open, honest and keep talking. Utopia has built outstanding relationships by always just telling our partners the way that it is, not trying to pretend we are something we are not.
“We would all benefit from carving out sufficient time to be able to talk to one another” Jeremy Nash, Centerprise International
May 2018 | 29
Talking heads Paul Routledge, D-Link, Country Manager UK & Ireland:
Steve Wilson, Norton by Symantec, Director, Field Sales and Marketing UK and Ireland In a declining market, the UK Channel needs to look at how it can innovate in order to retain its value. This has been the picture for the last few years. We’re yet to see the kind of market-wide disruption or innovation that could change this picture. One of the biggest challenges for the channel over the next 12 months is uncertainty. The forces of Brexit and the continued economic uncertainty is creating cautious consumers. Consumer behaviour is undoubtedly changing, with a focus on experience and the rise of the subscription economy, but it’s the effect of uncertainty on spending which is having the biggest impact. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the brands and technologies that will win big. The pace of change in technology means that there are no more ‘safe bets’. Big brands continue to diversify into apparently established spaces. But at the same time, even the biggest brands aren’t immune to failure with experimental new products and categories. I expect the Internet of Things will have a significant impact on the Channel over the next 12 months. It’s been talked about for a long time, but these devices are finally becoming visible in people’s homes through devices like Alexa, Nest and Google Home. More connected devices, not just display technology, are becoming part of our daily lives. There is more and more a drive towards a connected home - but unfortunately security of for most of these devices remains a step behind. New products and categories will continue to emerge with start-ups and big brands alike providing exciting new opportunities.
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The UK IT Channel is in a constant state of change, as we see the ever growing shift from a predominantly retailer driven environment to more of an e-tailer model. Adding to that is the number of companies rapidly leaving and joining the IT industry. Despite this, it is undoubtedly a strong Channel and will continue to be, as there are lots of new technologies being launched, along with many companies looking to innovate routes to market. The shift from a traditional retailer to an e-tailer model or incorporating both, as many vendors opt to move towards selling via online platforms such as Amazon, will continue to be a challenge. Another challenge will be the need to remain compliant with new initiatives, such as the introduction of GDPR. As ever, the channel will need to ensure it remains focused on security as new technology brings new security risks. Personally speaking I know this is always at the forefront of our business. I expect to see a rise in switching technology, particularly for D-Link, industrial switches, as this supports the growing development of smart cities and demand for more advanced technology. I also see the smart home as being a key driver that is yet to peak. Although there are now established players in this space, there is a lot of room for the development of more integrated products and devices, which opens up opportunities for vendors. For all Channel partners, fully understanding the chain of communication between the end user, reseller and vendor, and ensuring this runs smoothly is also essential. I think the Channel as a whole has a lot of room for improvement on the communication side so it’s definitely something we will be looking out for this year.”
“It is undoubtedly a strong Channel and will continue to be” Paul Routledge, D-Link
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Louise Honeywill, Northamber, Head of Audio Visual: At Northamber we are seeing steady growth in some key areas of the UK IT Channel. Recent focus on areas like GDPR and security are increasing demand for infrastructure, security and document management. One of the issues we are seeing is a tightening up of credit availability across the Channel. There is a new nervousness as some high profile resellers have hit financial difficulties and this has had a knock on effect. This can have a big impact on SMBs who are seeing limited reductions. However this does provide Northamber’s resellers with an opportunity as we can often provide flexible credit where others can’t. The challenges around security and GDPR are also driving good business. Not just in the short term but also into the future as firms constantly review their privacy and security needs. Changing working patterns and requirements are also driving interesting changes in audio visual, connectivity, mobility and security which offer resellers a real opportunity to sell a new vision to their customers and to supply the solutions they need. We’re seeing a lot of requests to help design collaboration solutions for SMBs which are driving good business for a lot of our resellers. There is a regular stream of new resellers starting up and coming to Northamber for support. Innovations in hardware, software, apps and working practices are creating niches for expertise that is driving start-ups to take advantage of these new opportunities. Northamber’s personalised account management approach, flexible credit offerings and expertise are definitely making it easy for new resellers to make a fast start.
“There is a new nervousness. Some high profile resellers have hit financial difficulties”
Phil Elford, Argos, Trading Manager Mobile Tech: We continue to see a decline in volumes across the Channel but an increase in value as customer demand continues in the higher price bands with some particularly bright spots in PC gaming and the continued adoption of Solid State Drives. The need for innovation and design to entice customers to upgrade their devices will be a big challenge over the next 12 months. As the cost of living continues to rise the IT market will need to fight hard for its share of wallet over the coming year across all price points. There are some stunning thin and light notebook designs coming through from partners such as HP, Acer and Lenovo and this coupled with the modern PC proposition means there is a tangible reason for customers to continue to buy-in to the category. I’m sure PC gaming will go from strength to strength as well, with the continued growth of esports globally and in the UK. We find the consumer channel generally has fantastic people who continue to build and develop strong strategic partnerships to drive growth. It’s going to be increasingly important for retailers and Channel partners to work together to fulfil customer demand in this ever increasingly dynamic and complex market.
Louise Honeywill, Northamber
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Plug in to Exertis
Ready, set, s Trade shows are ten a penny, but is the second Plug in to Exertis event ahead of the pack? Jonathan Easton heads to Silverstone to find out FOLLOWING ON FROM a successful launch in 2017, Plug in to Exertis zoomed back into the fastlane in May at the world famous Silverstone F1 Circuit. With over 100 exhibitors and in excess of 1,000 resellers in attendance, the day proved to be even more fruitful for the Channel. Exertis UK managing director Paul Bryan kicked off the day’s proceedings, talking through the massive market share the distributor has accumulated across the board and its latest acquisitions of Hypertec and MTR in the past 12 months. Attendees were then treated to a thought provoking motivational talk from senior F1 exec and well-known racing personality Mark Gallagher and British racing legend David Coulthard. In a lively chat, the pair spoke candidly about how the massive amounts of manpower and need to focus on the end user in Formula One is a lot like the world of tech, providing a vital insight into how incremental improvements better the whole. Following on from a spot of lunch, the conference kicked off in earnest with two large exhibition halls, several seminars from the likes of Microsoft, Nvidia and Gfk and plenty of breakout networking. “Days like this are really invaluable to us. It’s really important that our customers see where we’re moving when it comes to business and our brands. We want the brands and the vendors to grow closer and and understand what Exertis is all about,” added retail director Mike Buley. The focus of the day for the distributor on the exhibition floor were gaming and smart home – the latter being highlighted by a large multi-brand stand to show all the different selling opportunities that lie in connected smart tech. As the day approached its chequered flag, the resellers and vendors in attendance had all been set in pole position to carry on through the rest of 2018 at top selling speed. 34
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Plug in to Exertis
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May 2018 | 35
UK tech in numbers PCR teamed up with GfK to take a look at the numbers behind the UK technology sector
Independent technology retail outlets 2018
Independent technology retail outlets 2013
16,621 retail chain stores as of 2018, down from 17,585 in 2013 36
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■ Electrical ■ Photo ■ Computer ■ Mobile Phone Specialist ■ OES
IT IS NO secret that the number of physical retail stores has been on the slide with big name bricks-andmortar stores hit hard by the rise of online shopping. Maplin is the latest example of this and the figures back up the assumption that physical stores are struggling. In terms of retail chain stores, the number has fallen from 17,585 in 2013 to 16,621 in 2018, according to GfK’s latest statistics. Independent stores have also taken a hit over the last few years. In 2013, GfK recorded 7,891
technology-related independent retailers in the UK. That number has since fallen by almost 3,000 to 5,183 independent retailers in 2018. The composition of those retailers has also seen a change. In 2013, some 36 per cent of indie retailers were focused on selling electrical goods. That number has now risen to 43 per cent largely due to other markets decreasing. Standalone mobile phone shops have seen the sharpest decline, falling from 1,381 stores in 2013 to just 326 in 2018.
YoY decline for total PCs units sold, for 2017
YoY growth in value of the desktop PC market In terms of desktop PCs, the market witnessed a 7.8 per cent year-on-year decline, however managed to record an 11.4 per cent growth in terms of value. Likewise, mobile PCs witnessed a decline in terms of units sold, falling from 4,089,131 devices sold down to 3,240,957. However despite the drastic drop, the market value grew by 1.3 per cent.
The PC market has simultaneously seen growth and decline over the last year. While unit sales have dropped both in terms of desktop PCs and mobile PCs, the value of both markets has actually grown in the last 12 months. Total PC unit sales saw a 19.3 per cent year-on-year decline, however value grew by some 2.7 per cent.
PC unit sales (in millions)
Desktop PCs ■ Mobile PCs ■
Total PCs online/oﬄine
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Desktop PCs ■ Mobile PCs ■
PC value (in billions)
May 2018 | 37
New Products Microsoft Surface Pro with LTE Advanced SRP: £1,449.00 OUT: May 1
Microsoft is keeping its Surface Pro with LTE Advanced very much the same as the Surface Pro launched in the summer of 2017. Using an Intel Core i5-7300U with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM, the £1,449 price tag does not include the new surface pen (£99) nor does it include the Surface Signature Type Cover (£159). The top of the new Surface Pro is now polycarbonate merged with a magnesium chasis in order to incorporate the LTE antennas. The Surface Pro with LTE Advanced also has a theoretical data limit of pulling down 450 Mbps and uploading at 150 Mbps thanks to its powerful Snapdragon x16 modem. The Surface Pro with LTE also supports GPS to get the most out of the built-in Maps feature of Windows 10. You can even download maps for offline usage that means you can use the Surface Pro with LTE as a glorified navigation tool in your car.
Fitbit Ace SRP: £79.99 OUT: TBC Fitness trackers for kids are not anything new, however it is the first time that Fitbit has ventured into the younger market. The Fitbit Ace is aimed at children and has been designed to encourage children to up their step count. Offering a similar experience to a normal Fitbit, the Ace excludes some features to protect your child. Styled on the existing Fitbit Alta, the Ace is thin and small with children aged eight and above in mind. Launching in ‘electric blue’ and ‘powerful purple’, the Ace is also water resistant so that children can wear it at all times. The intention is your children will be able to wear this all day long and see their basic stats as well as the time. There’s a small vertical display on the front that shows basic things like the time and step count. There’s no GPS, heart rate tracker or top end tracking equipment in the Fitbit Ace. Instead it’s all about step count and the aim to encourage your children to move and get their active minutes up.
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AOC P1 series
SRP: £139.00-£309.00 OUT: May 1
SRP: £70.00 Out: May 9
AOC has announced the successor to its businessoriented 75 Series. The P1 Series combines the newest display technologies with a practical design. The series includes monitors ranging from 21.5-inch to 27-inch with IPS, TN or MVA panels, equipped with fully adjustable, ergonomic stands and a wide choice of connectivity, including current (HDMI, DisplayPort) and legacy (DVI, VGA) input standards.
Following in the footsteps of its rebooted 3310, Nokia has turned back the clock again. Revamping its iconic ‘Banana Phone’ that was made famous in the Matrix trilogy, the new 8110 inherits the distinctive curve and slider of the original. It has a microUSB port, headphone jack and a power/lock key. The keypad is hidden under the slider and features navigation and numerical keys. It comes in traditional black and banana yellow.
OneLink Safe & Sound
Lenovo Mirage VR180 camera
SRP: £ 249.99 Out: May 7
SRP: £299.99 Out: May 11
The OneLink Safe & Sound is a carbon monoxide monitor, a smart smoke alarm and a voice-controlled speaker all rolled into one. With built-in Alexa Voice Services, the Safe & Sound can play music and audio books, read news and control smart-home devices. With noise-cancellation technology, the Safe & Sound can hear you from any direction, even while playing music.
The Lenovo Mirage Camera simplifies creating VR content with easy video and the ability to wirelessly upload to Google Photos and YouTube. The VR180 eliminates the need for specialised videography skills and professional camera gear to shoot immersive 3D VR videos and photos. Everyday users and digital storytellers can now create immersive VR content.
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May 2018 | 39
Desktops From towers to all-in-ones, PCR rounds up the latest desktop PCs on the market
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Apple iMac Pro Distributor: Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Westcoast SRP: £4,899.00 Specs: 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W, 32GB, Radeon Pro Vega 56, 1TB SSD Configurable up to an astonishing 18 cores, iMac Pro is the ultimate solution for content creators and project managers. Putting the power of a workstation behind a stunning 5K display in an enclosure that is just 5mm wide at its edge, iMac Pro is the perfect choice for creatives who need their computer to do the heavy lifting.
Microsoft Surface Studio Distributor: Tech Data SRP: £3,549.00 Specs: Intel Core i7, 16GB, Nvidia GeForce GTX 965, 1TB Hybrid Drive Surface Studio is an entirely new device designed for the creative process. Its roomy and adjustable 28-inch PixelSense Display provides a huge canvas for all kinds of work. Position it upright to sketch, paint, and edit photos, or lay it flat to draw on it like a drafting table. With Surface Studio, the possibilities are limitless.
Corsair One Pro
Dell XPS 8930
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £2,199.99 Specs: Intel i7-7700K, 16GB, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 480GB M.2 NVME SSD + 2TB HDD
Distributor: Exertis SRP: ££919.00 Specs: 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8400, 8GB, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti, 1TB HDD
The award-winning PC from Corsair is customisable with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Intel i7 8th Generation processors. The Corsair One comes in a compact, aircraft grade aluminium chassis that is only 12 litres in volume to make it at home in any room.
The XPS Tower is a desktop that has been purposely built to grow as you do. The functional design features big power and an easy-open chassis for simple expandability, along with an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8400, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti processors.
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May 2018 | 41
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Dell Precision 5720
Alienware Aurora R7
Distributors: Ingram Micro, Tech Data SRP: £1,376.27 Specs: 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6500, 8GB, AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150, 500GB HDD
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £1,599.00 Specs: Intel Core i7-8700 Processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, 16GB, 1TB HDD
The Dell Precision 5720 is a 27-inch all-in-one designed for creators and powerful thinkers. Featuring Intel Core and Xeon processors, AMD Radeon Pro graphics and Dell Precision Optimizer.
The Aurora is a VR-ready Alienware PC, enabling you to experience the future of gaming. The new 8th Generation Intel processor helps provide amazing responsiveness to have incredibly smooth game play at virtually any framerate.
MSI Trident 3
Asus ROG GR8 II
Distributor: Exertis, Tech Data SRP: £749.99 Specs: Intel Core i5, 8GB, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 1TB HDD
Distributor: Tech Data SRP: £899.99 Specs: Intel Core i5-7400, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, 8GB, 1TB HDD
A compact design with a large engine, the Trident 3 PC has a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. What’s more, the Trident 3 is in fact the world’s smallest VR ready gaming PC.
Underestimate ROG GR8 II at your own peril. Despite its compact dimensions, this 4-litre gaming PC delivers performance levels that rival many established gaming desktops. The ROG GR8 II is armed with a custom ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card for fast and smooth gameplay, and highly detailed in-game visuals.
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ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP Extreme Core Edition
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £1,022.99 Specs: 1,759 MHz, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, 11 MB
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Intel Core i9-7980XE Distributor: Exertis, Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Terra SRP: £1,598.99 Specs:2.6GHz, 18 Cores, 36 Threads
The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the new flagship gaming graphics card, based on the award-winning Nvidia Pascal architecture. It is packed with an incredible amount of cores and buffed with 11GB of ultra-fast GDDR5X memory. The sheer force combines to deliver unprecedented gaming performance.
With up to 18 cores and 36 threads the Core X-series processor family is Intel’s most powerful ever. This is the ultimate tool for gaming and virtual reality experience with the power to do it all. The unlocked Intel Core X-series processors are designed to scale to your performance needs by using the two fastest cores at higher frequencies and up to 18 cores when extreme mega tasking is required.
Asus ROG Strix RX VEGA64
AMD Ryzen 7 1800x
Distributor: Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Terra, VIP SRP: £1,233.99 Specs: 1,590 MHz, Radeon HD 6450, 512 MB
Distributor: Caseking UK, GNR Technology, Platinum Components, Spire Technology, Tech Data, VIP SRP: £464.71 Specs: 3.6 GHz, 8 Cores, 16 Threads
ROG Strix RX VEGA64 gaming graphics cards are packed with exclusive ASUS technologies, including all-new MaxContact Technology that has two times the contact with GPU for improved thermal transfer, and Patented Wing-Blade IP5X-Certified Fans for maximum airflow and longer fan lifespan.
The pinnacle of desktop processing power, the top of the line AMD Ryzen 7 1800x boasts true machine intelligence featuring 16 threads and the highest 8 core-processor clock rates, all on the new Socket AM4 platform.
ASRock X370 TAICHI
be quiet! Pure Base 600 Window
Distributor: Ci Distribution, Mentor, Spire Technology, Target Components SRP: £229.99 Specs:ATX form factor, AM4 CPU socket, AMD X370 chipset
Distributor: Spire, Ingram Micro SRP: £94.99 Specs: 492 x 220 x 445 mm, 8.45kg
The Taichi is a stylish ASROCK motherboard that also packs considerable power. It is capable of supporting AM4 socket Ryzen Series CPUs and DDR4 (2667) memory, features both USB 3.1 Type-C and Type-A, plus it even has boosted audio output through Purity Sound 4 and DTS Connect.
Pure Base 600 offers many possibilities for system component selection. The three HDD slots can be repositioned to allow installation of the largest of graphics cards and the ODD cage is removable for maximum flexibility of water cooling and drives.
MSI Z170A Gaming M5
Corsair H100i V2 Liquid Cooler
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £162.95 Specs: ATX form factor, 1151 CPU socket, Intel Z170 chipset
Distributor: Exertis, Target Components SRP: £119.99 Specs: 276mm x 125mm x 30mm, 37.7 dBA, 2435 RPM
The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard is designed to provide gamers the best gaming experience through genuine GAMING design, best-in-class gaming features and the latest technology. MSI introduces DDR4 Boost technology with optimized traces and fully isolated memory circuitry to ensure the memory signals stay pure for optimal performance and stability.
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The Hydro Series H100i v2 is an extreme performance, all-in-one liquid CPU cooler for cases with 240mm radiator mounts. The 240mm radiator and dual SP120L PWM fans provide the excellent heat dissipation you need for highly overclocked CPUs. Corsair Link is built in, so you can monitor temperatures, adjust cooling performance and customize LED lighting directly from your desktop.
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With Red Dead Redemption being patched up to 4K on Xbox One X, PCR picks out some of our favourite Xbox 360 games that would look just as stunning if given the same update
Alan Wake Alan Wake, much like developer Remedy’s follow-up game on Xbox One Quantum Break, was perhaps unfairly maligned as a bit of a confusing mess that shows the game’s troubled development. Still, despite its foibles the title has garnered a strong cult following who would love to see the game’s Twin Peaks-esque world up-rezed to 4K in 2018.
DiRT 3 There have been racing games since with better fidelity and prettier cars, but when it comes to the DiRT series DiRT 3 on the Xbox 360 is many people’s choice pick. From having some of the best looking car models of the generation to more technical achievements like amazing lighting, weather, dust and smoke effects, DiRT 3 was a standout in a generation where photorealism genuinely started to feel attainable and it deserves to be revisited with even better visuals.
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Assassin’s Creed II We might be several games along in the series now, but for many the best entry into the Assassin’s Creed series has always been the second game. Assassin’s Creed II sees players take up the iconic cowl of renaissance man Ezio Auditore in 15th and early 16th century Italy. The painstakingly recreated nooks and crannies of cities like Florence and Venice would look better than ever when optimised for the new system.
Enslaved: Odyssey To The West In an age where single player story-driven games like Uncharted 4: A Thief ’s End are praised for their realism and sense of scale, one overlooked predecessor to them all is Enslaved: Odyssey To The West. Retelling the story of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, the game’s world was amazing and its characters super realistic thanks to the Andy Serkis-led motion capture performances. An underappreciated gem, the game could finally reach the audience it deserves with a patch.
Left 4 Dead 2 Sometimes overlooked in the catalogue of games made by Half Life developer Valve, Left 4 Dead 2 has quietly developed into one of the most beloved PVE (player versus environment) multiplayer games of all time. With a maniacal AI director stopping players from becoming too comfortable or ‘cheesing’ their way through the series of campaigns, the game’s hordes of zombies would look much clearer – and horrifying – in 4K.
Fallout: New Vegas While Fallout: New Vegas launched as a bit of a joke with bugs a-plenty (does anyone remember the rotating heads and floating humans?), the game is probably the most beloved of the three games in the series released by Bethesda and the one with the largest genuine cult following. With many hardcore fans being underwhelmed by 2015’s Fallout 4, plenty of gamers would happily jump right back into the Mojave wasteland if given the opportunity to do so with prettier graphics on the Xbox One X.
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IN MY TEAM
After picking up a PCR award in March, Transputec chief operating officer Mark Nightingale is looking to build on a successful start to 2018
Who is in your team and what are their roles? There are 12 of us in total and the size of the team reflects our growth over the last couple of years. We have two joint heads of Sales in Rishi Sehgal and Steve Curteis. Our hardworking business development managers are Mark Boulton, Zaran Bandrawala, Tej Thandi and Katriin Hunt. As our security sales specialists, Marlena Kubala and Stephanie Eybers practically live and breathe cybersecurity. Our account manager John Bennett works across all customer accounts, ensuring their needs are being met. They’re all supported by the highly organised and efficient Jyoti Bhundia, Jyoti Mistry and Marlena Rozentalaska.
What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of 2018? We’re looking forward to building on the success of our PCR award (MSP Specialist of the Year) and bringing in more customers into our managed services portfolio which covers service desk, IaaS, services management and SaaS. And of course we’re going to carry on providing a stellar service to our existing customers, without whom we wouldn’t have received this award. This year, we’re focusing on services in two key areas - our specialist security products and our award-winning hosting and managed TransCloud offering. With the ever evolving cybersecurity landscape, it’s vital that as an MSP, we ensure our customers have a fully rounded security strategy around
Contact details: email@example.com Tel: 07866 596 717 48
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“We’re a close knit team and work and play well together”
deep threat management. Virtual server recovery, cloud recovery, and other managed resources can prevent a data disaster becoming a corporate crisis.
plays off a 3 handicap. She also used to ski race competitively and made it to the Junior Olympic trials in the US.
What does it mean for the team to win a PCR award? The PCR Awards are very well respected within the industry so we’re completely chuffed to have our contribution to the UK tech industry recognised and validated in this way. We’re always striving to add extra value by providing managed services and customisations that boost the benefits of technology for our customers’ business.
If you were stuck on a desert island who would survive the longest/ shortest and why? The longest to survive would be Steve Curteis, hands down. He’s the most competitive person ever and will always find a way to win no matter how extreme the conditions! Rishi would not survive very long as he loves his bed too much. Of course, if he could take his bed with him, he might have a fighting chance! We’re a close knit team and work and play well together which would be a plus on a desert island. It would be like an extreme team away day! Now there’s an idea…
Who has the best claim to fame in the office? It would have to be Stephanie. She’s a former American College Golfer who
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May 2018 | 49
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<Fierce gaming bonanza brings in big bucks for charity> The team at Fierce PC were gaming for a solid 12 hours at GameBlast18, the UK’s largest video game fundraising weekend. This annual event raises vital funds for SpecialEffect, a UK-based charity that creates
custom gaming setups for people with physical disabilities. Taking two hour shifts, the team reached their goal of £500 which was added to £300 raised by Fierce PC and its staff.
<Sporting success> The sporting achievements of talented locals were recognised at the eighth annual Eastleigh Sports Awards with Michelle Cross, senior PR manager at The PR Room scooping the ‘sporting volunteer of the year’ gong for her generous contribution to netball. As Media manager, junior coordinator and vice-captain, Michelle spends many of her spare hours volunteering for Ravens Netball Club.
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Smart Home and connected tech Next month sees PCR take a close look at the booming smart home and connected tech market. Well established in consumer conciousness, we look at how to best sell the smart home dream. There will also be a roundup of the best smart home products on the market as well as a compairson of smart speakers. May also sees the unveiling of PCR’s 30 under 30, so if you are eligible or know someone worthy, then get your submissions in sharpish.
Managing Director, Mark Burton Financial Controller, Ranjit Dhadwal Events and Marketing Director, Caroline Hicks Head of Operations, Stuart Moody HR Director, Lianne Davey Audience Development, Lucy Wilkie Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, NP12 2YA ISSN: 1742-8440 © NewBay 2018 NewBay is a member of the Periodical Puslishers Association NewBay Media, The Emerson Building, 4th Floor, 4-8 Emerson Street, London SE1 9DU
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