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ISSUE 203 // november 2013 WWW.RESELLERME.COM

no looking back With plans to venture into e-commerce and its 40th year just around the corner, jumbo electronics has a lot in store

PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ


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CONTENTS

ISSUE 203 // november 2013

Highlights 6

cover feature

News We help you catch up on all the major news and announcements in the regional channel community.

feature 33 Top SIs to watch out for

We profile the top systems integrators in the region and discuss their business focus for 2014.

49 Profiting on IPv6

How the channel can play the role of catalysts in the adoption of IPv6 in the region and how to go about convincing customers.

Opinion 53 The road to Big Data

discovery

The introduction of new analytics technology in Big Data projects will without fail create a learning curve.

Analysis 57 Ten times the power

Organisations world over are ready to adopt cloud computing solutions despite security concerns according to Powering the Cloud conference

30

Jumbo prospects Reseller ME catches up with Vishesh Bhatia, CEO, Jumbo Electronics and finds out how the company plans to expand in the coming year.

Interview 60 All the right noises

Reseller ME meets up with Anthony Wilkinson, MD, Edifier, to understand how the international audio company plans to tap the Middle East and Africa markets.

Hot products Acer’s new 8-inch Iconia W4 Tablet

Lenovo launched multi-mode Yoga tablet

69 Ready for the storm

Robert Crisp, VP of Worldwide System Engineering, Meru Networks speaks to Reseller ME on how it plans to acquire a large market share of the emerging 5th generation Wi-Fi network.

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Anticipating customer needs isn’t always easy. Just essential.

Avaya helps you stay a step ahead of your customers, any way they want to connect. As the global leader in contact centers, we help your business provide fast, expert service via phone, email, chat, social media and even video — often before customers even realize they need it. Find out how it all works at avaya.com/CustomerExperience.

© 2013 Avaya Inc. All rights reserved.


editorial Publisher Dominic De Sousa Group COO Nadeem Hood

Editorial Group Editor Jeevan Thankappan jeevan.thankappan@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 4409109

The quest for value

Assistant Editor Janees Reghelini Contributing Editor Ben Rossi Online Editor Tom Paye

Advertising Commercial Director Rajashree R Kumar raj.ram@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9131 Key Account Manager Merle Carrasco merle.carrasco@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9134 Sales Manager Nasir Bazaz nasir.bazaz@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9144

Jeevan Thankappan Group Editor

Circulation Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M rajeesh.nair@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9147 Production and Design Production Manager James P Tharian james.tharian@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9146 Designer Analou Balbero analou.balbero@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9104 Digital www.resellerme.com

Talk to us: E-mail: jeevan.thankappan@ cpimediagroup.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/ ResellerME Twitter: @ResellerME

Over the last couple of months, a slew of broadliners has announced plans to foray into the value business. This is not very surprising given the fact that the volume business has seen a steady erosion in margins over the years. Faced with rising operation costs and sagging bottom lines, many disties are left with no choice but to turn to avenues that can fetch them healthy margins. In fact, many of them argue that a value-added distribution unit within a broadline set-up is actually a sweetspot. And it actually makes sense, too. Being part of a broadline distributor, the VAD arm can leverage the infrastructure, geographical reach and economies of scale, something that pure-play VADs often lack. However, while it has worked for some, a few have faltered while walking the tightrope. The reasons are simple enough—it takes a completely different mind-set to run a value business and it has to be treated as a complete entity with its own unique dynamics. Value, of course, means different things to different people. Whatever the definition might be, it goes beyond just pre- and post-sales support. It takes deep technical expertise that partners can leverage to create compelling IT solutions for their customers. Besides, a VAD must provide access to demo equipment and PoC environments, and act as an extended marketing arm of vendors to undertake lead-gen activities to benefit their partners. And all of this calls for massive investments in infrastructure, resources and, most importantly, a complete rethinking of the existing business model. On a different note, the 33rd edition of GITEX Technology Week was a resounding success and all the major disties had a presence either at the show or along its sidelines. Among the most notable channel announcements made at the show were the launch of Aptec—an Ingram Micro Company’s launch of cloud services and Mindware’s partnership with EMC. Flip the pages to find out more about all the GITEX-related news.

DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Photographer and Social Media Co-ordinator Jay Colina webmaster@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9100 Published by

Registered at IMPZ PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Printed by Printwell Printing Press © Copyright 2013 CPI All rights reserved While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

november 2013

Reseller Middle East

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highlights

News

HP enjoys networking success, predicts the same for Big Data

Ali Hyder, CEO, Focus Softnet

Eyad Shihabi, MD & Enterprise Business Lead, Middle East, HP

Focus Softnet goes mobile Focus Softnet has launched a host of mobile apps for its ERP and vertical solutions. The mobile ERP apps launched at GITEX to provide companies with business solution dashboards on mobile phones. “Our focus this year will be on mobile apps in a big way. We have developed separate mobile apps for our ERP and vertical solutions including healthcare, property management, POS, and restaurant solutions,” said Aly Hyder, CEO of the company. Along with its mobile offerings, the vendor has also placed much focus on its flagship Focus i solution. The company described the product as a “revolutionary” mid-tier ERP solution with fully integrated with business intelligence (BI) tools. The company has also showcased Focus RT, an ERP solution designed to manage finances, supply chain payroll, point of sale and customer offices.

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Hewlett-Packard has transformed its position in the networking space from a year ago and is now ready to do the same with Big Data, according to the head of the company’s Middle East operations. The vendor has now reached a market share of around 11 percent in the networking business, which places it at number two in the market, miles ahead of those below it, according to Eyad Shihabi, MD & Enterprise Business Lead, Middle East, HP “The advantage this year over last year is that customers are now taking HP very seriously when it comes to software defined networks,” Shihabi said. “I think networking will continue to be very strong for HP.” This success can be attributed to the vendor pioneering the rise of softwaredefined networking (SDN), according to Ernest Sales, VP & MD, Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa, HP. “In storage and networking, this year we bring equipment which is better than our competitors in any way you want to compare them, and that was not the case a year ago,” Sales said. “SDN has been a very big standard for us in the networking space. We are the only company today that has a controller

in SDN that can allow us to program the network in one single place. We are very unique in the SDN arena.” From a situation of holding a lot of discussions on the new technology, CIOs in the region are now fully aware of the benefits and opportunities it creates. “There had been a lot educational discussions, but now we just say here is the offering and opportunity, and many are interested in doing a pilot,” Sales said. “We are the number two in the market, and then everybody else has either 1 or 2 percent market share. I think next year we’ll be in an even better position. We’ve just launched a new full portfolio for Wi-Fi and we will for sure be very strong.” HP is now expecting to see the same interest in Big Data, which until now has seen more hype than adoption. The vendor has launching its Big Data platform, HP HAVEn, and believes it has the solution to take a lead in this field. “Next year, I think we’ll be having a very similar discussion to this one on HP HAVEn, our Big Data platform,” Shihabi said. “It uses Vertica technology, which all the big players in the market of Big Data are using today. It’s 100,000 times faster than the competition. The speed is just fantastic.“

www.resellerme.com


highlights

News

Logicom Dubai names Sajith Raj as new GM

Sajith Raj, General Manager, Logicom Dubai

Logicom has announced the appointment of Sajith Raj as the new General Manager of Logicom Dubai. With over 15 years of experience in IT distribution, Raj will be responsible for the management of the company’s business operation strategies in Dubai and expanding Logicom’s distribution business in the UAE and the GCC. Michael Papaeracleous, Executive Director of Distribution, Logicom said, “Raj has a proven track record for successfully driving revenue growth and regional expansion. His leadership skills and wealth of experience in Logicom’s business strategies make him well-suited to lead Logicom Dubai’s operations alongside the distribution management and head office teams. Demetris Demetriou & Richard Lee, Chairman of Qnap We wish him every success in his new endeavour.” Raj’s stint with Logicom began in 2001, when he first joined the company as Product Manager for Logicom Dubai. Since then, he has progressed to the position of a Corporate Business Manager and most recently, Regional Distribution Manager—a position he held for the last two years.

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Avaya bolsters smart government initiative Avaya used its presence at the 2013 GITEX Technology Week to educate visitors about its innovations for collaboration, video, customer experience and networking, all of which support the UAE’s Smart Government initiative that aims to provide access to government services on almost any device. For the first time in the region, Avaya also showcased the power of its software-defined data centres, which feature its Fabric Connect technology. Unlike other vendors, Avaya IP Multicast protocols are able to support up to tens of thousands of video streams versus just hundreds, with sub-second failover times rather than seconds or minutes. And the Avaya Collaboration Pod, a preconfigured ”all-in-one” solution that offers networking, storage, virtualisation and communications infrastructure enables customers to reduce time of deploying applications and building a cloud environment. “The region is growing, the business community is growing, and small and medium-sized businesses are growing, and everyone will be looking for mobile, efficient, secure, and strategic communications. We realise that it’s a new world, and Avaya

Nidal Abou-Ltaif, VP of Middle East, Africa India and Turkey, Avaya has developed the right solutions that can equip organizations to cope with these emerging trends. Our major focus is supporting mGovernment and Smart Government Initiatives, supporting the Expo 2020 Initiatives, and supporting the success of the SME business sector in the Middle East. We believe that the innovations we’re demonstrating at GITEX will power businesses throughout the region for years to come,” said Nidal Abou-Ltaif, VP of Middle East, Africa India and Turkey, Avaya.

ESET launches updates to security product line-up

Neo Neophytou, Managing Director, ESET Middle East ESET launched version seven of its flagship consumer products—ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESETSmart Security recently. The new products come equipped with new technology features such as Exploit Blocker,

Advanced Memory Scanner, Vulnerability Shield and ESET Social Media Scanner, which provide security without compromising system performance, the company said.  “We have introduced the live products and we are also paying more attention to our whole product portfolio including mobile securities for android smartphones and tablets. Also the business products we have in stock such as end point security solutions and fire service security solutions,” said Neo Neophytou, Managing Director, ESET Middle East. Version-seven products monitor and maintain users’ social network accounts against threats, allowing the user to choose from on-demand and automatic scans for malware detection. Apart from better scanning of Facebook, it also extends protection to users’ Twitter accounts.

www.resellerme.com


highlights

News

Laserfiche launches new ECM version and Android app Laserfiche launched version 9 of its enterprise content management (ECM) software at GITEX Technology Week 2013, and also showcased its new Android application, which is expected to be released at the end of the year. “In the past, people have been talking about business process management but it has never been linked in many different areas within the organisation. Business process management is already included in ECM, but what we did was to add an extra layer into it where we allow people to decide when they want to start a business process management at any given point in their utilisation of the technology. This is what we have been emphasising, where we add value to the user experience,” said Sean Tang, Vice President, International Business, Laserfiche. The company also showcased the Android application after launching its iOS application. “The Android application will be released at the end of this year but we have introduced it at GITEX 2013,” said Tang.

The Middle East region is an important one for the company. It has risen to be the top international market for the company about two years ago. This is because, Tang said, companies in this market have a straightforward vision on what they want to accomplish. “They also realise that content management is not to do with only electronic content management but also paper based content. And where Laserfiche has had immense success with companies in the Middle East is by providing a solution that taps into this large variety of content - both electronic and content based. We have a solution that provides a natural transition from paper based to full electronic based content management. This provides organic growth,” he explained. He added that the channel can expect the company to invest in additional resources in the region. “We have a lot of exciting products coming up and we have a lot of successful experiences with customers in other markets and want to highlight that with customers here in this region on how the technology can be deployed.”

Sean Tang, Vice President, International Business, Laserfiche

Aptec—an Ingram Micro Company rolls out cloud services

Ali Baghdadi, President, Ingram Micro Middle East, Africa & Turkey region

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Aptec—an Ingram Micro Company has recently launched a number of cloud services with a new cloud vendor portfolio and website. “We plan to lead the way in the adoption of cloud computing practices. We aim to do this by educating and showcasing how value added resellers (VARs), managed service providers (MSPs) and solution providers (SPs) can monetise the cloud using innovative go-to-market strategies, solutions and services,” said Ali Baghdadi, President, Ingram Micro Middle East, Africa & Turkey region In addition, Aptec will demonstrate its highly anticipated cloud website, an online platform where solution

providers and resellers can obtain detailed product information, access marketing and sales collateral and get up-to-date on the new cloud business reality. “Ingram Micro stands alone as the IT industry’s leading services aggregator and strives to ensure our channel partners are leading the market and driving positive change for their customers by offering best-inclass technology solutions and cloud services,” he further explained. “We will focus on optimising channel partners’ ability to shape and refine cloud service strategies, as well as generate new ideas and adopt proven business practices that will enhance sales performance and profitability potential,” said Baghdadi.

www.resellerme.com


144 Hz /1 ms GtG

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Innovative height adjust stand (130mm)

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3 years warranty


highlights

News

Mindware partners with EMC

Mindware has been selected to distribute the portfolio of storage giant EMC across all of the Gulf countries, excluding the UAE and Saudi Arabia. EMC started its selection process a little under a year ago when it decided it needed a second distributor for its entire portfolio, excluding its security and VMware products, which have their own channel and distribution. “It’s been a challenge to arrive to the end of a process of selection,” said Mario Gay, GM of Mindware. “They’ve been very demanding. At the end we are extremely happy because

it is a portfolio we have been looking for to build and forge a new partnership for a long time. It’s a new beginning.” Mindware has been appointed for the countries of Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Bahrain and Yemen. “All these countries already had a Mindware presence,” Gay said, “but for us it means a new boost in the business.” The distributor has appointed a team of seven people, who will have the objective of developing the business from the channel, whilst also, with the help of EMC, working towards the end-user.

“For us as EMC, distribution is very key,” said Havier Haddad, Channel & Alliances Director, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Turkey & NW Africa. “When we sign a distribution, we don’t do it every day. It’s about success. Every year we decide distribution for the next year, and almost one year ago we decided we needed a second distributor for all the Gulf countries, excluding the UAE and Saudi.” EMC conducted the selection process with more than 10 interested distributors before finally deciding upon Mindware. Haddad spoke of EMC’s preference of quality over quantity when it comes to the vendor’s distribution channel. “We cover a huge territory and we don’t have more than 10 or 12 distributors, so we don’t have many,” he said. “However, we have long-term distribution agreements in place, and it’s all about being strategic and relevant to each other.” Summarising EMC’s decision, Haddad said the decision came down to value add. “We treat the distributor as an extended force for us,” he said. “We invest in channel and have all types of specialists in place, and we expect the same from our distribution. “They need to have the sales expertise, pre-sales expertise, how to build the indirect model and engine, the after-sales, and all types of value adds. This is why it took a bit long, to make sure we got the decision right.”

Riverbed eyes KSA and African markets Riverbed Technology has experienced a massive restructuring in terms of go-tomarket strategy and its channel play in 2013. And now the company is all set to venture into newer regions such as KSA, North Africa and West East Africa, said Taj El Khayat, General Manager, MENA, Riverbed.  “The UAE will remain to be an important platform for us and is our headquarters in MENA. We will be investing in KSA’s local markets in due course and one of the things I’m proud about is that I’ll be leveraging Saudi nationals to drive and expand the business in the market,” said Khayat.

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In the course of the next 18 to 24 months, the company will be looking at expansion in these new regions. In 2014, the most important thing for the company is its customers. “I would like to engage and amplify my focus and intimacy with some of the major customers in the key verticals that we support including government, financial sector and telecom. The second big bet for us is the strengthening and alignment of our channel strategy.  The third area that we will be focusing on in 2014 will be supporting the growth of our emerging technologies,” said Khayat.

Taj El Khayat, General Manager, MENA, Riverbed Technology

www.resellerme.com


highlights

News

Despec aims at profitable growth

Jaison Korath, CEO, Despec One of the most important things in the channel is profitability, which will be a key focus for after-market supplies distributor Despec. “We need to maintain our growth and want to focus on the profitability aspect. Business is there and sales will come but at the end of the day, our shareholders’ profitability is an important factor. We will focus on quality sales rather than quantity,” said Jaison Korath, CEO of the company. Over the last year, Despec has got more organised in terms of regional presence. It has a solid presence in Lebanon and Jordan in the Levant region and boasts of a wide reach within these areas. And now the company is also focusing on Africa, where it has been present for the last four years and has had 50 to 60 percent growth yearon-year. “We are present in five countries in the African region and are in the process of adding new ones. We are growing in phases in this region,” said Korath. By the end of the current year, we will see the company opening up in Oman and Qatar in the Middle East region.

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Bulwark to focus on mobile solutions Bulwark Technologies displayed its new products at the GITEX Technology Week 2013. As the mobile space is growing at an extremely high pace, mobile file sharing is a concern that is growing with customers by the day. According to reports, at least 1.2 million smartphones were sold this year resulting in a larger business within the enterprise network. Accessing data safely through these devices gain primary focus. And confidentiality is also a concern. “Our solutions will help in moving the files securely and restricting the users from sending to other locations. If one opens a file on a cloud based solution, there will be a duplicate somewhere on cloud which is beyond our control. With Accellion, we have a solution, which will help with this problem,” says Jose Thomas, Managing Director, Bulwark Technologies. Having seen a growth of about 30 to 40 percent this year, Thomas said that the company’s business focus will be promoting

Jose Thomas, Managing Director, Bulwark Technologies new mobile solutions, going forward. In terms of regions, the distributor will continue to focus mainly on Gulf countries. “Also on case to case, we operate in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Libya. We are looking at strengthening our presence in these regions.”

Emerson launches Innovation Partnership programme Emerson Network Power is launching its Innovation Partnership programme across the Middle East, starting with the UAE and in partnership with Mindware. The programme will then extend to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon. The announcement builds on last year’s strategic alliance with regional distributor Mindware in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) which bolstered its capability to deliver world-class critical infrastructure products and solutions to the region’s fast-growing small- to medium-sized business market. Peter Lambrecht, VP of Sales for Emerson Network Power in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “The launch of the programme in the region is a leap forward for Emerson and shows the commitment we have as a company for our partners in the Middle East. “Working with Mindware also means that our partners can greatly benefit from world-class training, information and tools,

enabling them to address key customer challenges while maximising their revenue and opportunity potential. The implementation of the program across EMEA means that the Middle East will be one of the first regions to join Emerson Network Power’s strategic Innovation Partnership Program initiative.” Emerson’s Innovation Partnership Program has been an established program in the United States for a number of years, proving greatly successful for both Emerson and partners, being selected as the best partner program for the third consecutive year. In the Middle East, Emerson Network Power and Mindware will run a number of promotions and initiatives to benefit the local reseller base, including dedicated resources for product training and education across a comprehensive portfolio of products and services, such as new interactive material, a new unique online configurator and a wealth of additional marketing promotional tools.

www.resellerme.com


highlights

News

Cambium ramps up channel play

Secureway to focus on security, virtualisation and cloud

Graham Owen, MEA Regional Sales Director, Cambium Networks Cambium Networks aims at recruiting heavily into the channel market by looking at new partners and customers with the launch of its ePMP platform. “We are focused on a completely different market set where we have traditionally played in the high end pointto-point and point-to-multipoint space. We will be launching some new products in November. The channel needs to keep an eye on that. That’s going to bring in some new point-to-point products which we believe will really revolutionise the pointto-point market,” said Graham Owen, MEA Regional Sales Director, Cambium Networks. The company is currently focused on developing new products and at the weeklong ICT event, it showcased the new ePMP platform, which is the new low cost point-tomultipoint solution from the company. Owen says it is an innovative product because it uses GPS synchronisation on its play station “This is key when you are doing multipoint deployment in high interference environment. Spectrum is a major commodity in the world in the wireless space and to be able to reuse Spectrum utilizing the GPS technology is very important to our customers,” added Owen. The company is excited about 2014 as it sees a huge growth potential in the Middle East and Africa region. “We will also be launching an additional point-to-multipoint platform, which will be focused into the service provider market. We are launching a new 3.5 Ghz product, at the end of the year,” said Owen.

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Fari Boustantchi, CEO, Secureway Secureway aims at focusing on security, virtualisation and cloud computing in 2014, according the company’s CEO Fari Boustantchi. Being in the space for the last eight years, the distributor has noticed the increased attention over security in the market, over the last two years. “With organisations experiencing security threats over the last few years, they are more aware of the necessity of having a secure network. But what is challenging is the fact that people move frequently in this region. Our job is to train more partners because we are in a leveraging business and that is done through one’s partners. The more partners we have, the more awareness we create in the market and are able to manage and execute projects,” said Boustantchi. The company displayed its entire range of products at GITEX, and has also introduced the executive security training programme, Mile2, in the region, which is in line with the distributor’s focus for next year. “What is new from us at GITEX 2013 is our executive security training called

Mile2. It is a well-known programme globally, and we are more than happy to bring Mile2 in the region. We have got good traction for this training solution at the event. We are glad to see an increased trend in security which is a direct result of previous issues that were seen in the market,” said Yannick Bourque, Sales Director, Secureway. Apart from security, the company will also be focusing on virtualisation and cloud computing. Boustantchi said, “Many of these businesses depend on each other, for example, cloud without security and virtualisation does not exist. We want to operate in the same area for another two years.” 2014 will also see the exit of certain brands along with some additions as well. This is because, according to Boustantchi, as a value added distributor, it cannot handle 30 brands. “You need to have expertise on the products and that is only possible with an active team in relevant areas, which we have in our major brands showcased today. So, there will be some exits but will also have more products next year.”

www.resellerme.com


highlights

News

EMT unveils new solutions

Mohammad Mobasseri, CEO, EMT Distribution Security solutions newcomer EMT Distribution used GITEX to market a series of new products. The one-year-old company showcased its portfolio that includes Secunia, 2X, Altaro, and also conducted a special event aimed at its

channel community. “If we look at the technology trends across the Middle East and Africa region, we see that IT security and virtualisation solutions are in high demand,” said Mohammad Mobasseri, CEO, EMT Distribution. “We’ve noticed a growing market here for security vendors over the last five or six years, and that’s why we’ve come here. Most of them don’t use the up-todate technologies, and as a result have encountered problems. Specifically, there is huge potential for growth in endpoint security, as companies look to transfer from anti-wires. “In many countries in the region, due to use of state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, certain areas of security such as encryption, DLP, web and application security, and so on, are also on the rise. The demand from end users is mainly focused towards solutions related to cloud computing and SaaS.”

According to Mobasseri, there hasn’t been a major shift in what consumers want in ICT products today. “SMBs however seem to have become more flexible when it comes to solutions such as cloud computing. However, we see more and more SMBs now opting for solutions such as end point security, next-generation firewall, and core network security—areas that once used to be restricted to large enterprises,” he added. “With increasing awareness for information security and the increase in cyber security attacks in our region, demand for securing customer environments and centrally managing it to give visibility of who did what on the network has become a priority. “We are delighted to present our world-leading suite of IT security products and solutions in GITEX, where thousands of IT decision makers will no doubt be on the look-out for top-notch security products.”

Barracuda launches new ADC model Barracuda Networks launched its new Application Delivery Controller 540 at GITEX Technology Week 2013. “We are launching our new ADC 540 to a wide audience that includes SMB and enterprise customers. We try to give great enterprise features but at the right prices in the market. So we fit into the demands of both the categories. Other than that we are talking about the entire range of portfolio here, at GITEX,” said David Lomax, Director of Sales Engineering, EMEA, Barracuda Networks. The company has been around for the last ten years and has recently seen a large growth in the storage market, it is now about 40 percent of its business. “We have been in the Middle East region for seven years now. The company has grown on security products and now we have grown into many other products such as back-up devices,” added Lomax. Lomax said that the company has had a huge growth in the region and

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attributes it largely to its application delivery market, which has risen by 450 percent in last year alone, according to Lomax. There are large enterprise organisations that are now becoming internet-enabled and have e-commerce versions of everything, and these services need to be secure. From the channel perspective, the company is clear on its goals—growth and only growth. From Barracuda’s perspective, it aims to be more visible to the channel. “We need to be more available in emerging markets within the UAE and GCC. For the moment, the growth has been successful and we want to maintain that. We want to ensure that we have the right people in the right areas at the right time. The Middle East is a big market and what we have expanded our bandwidth and increased our availability resulting in continuous growth through the channel and local presence as well,” said Lomax.

David Lomax, Director of Sales Engineering, EMEA, Barracuda Networks

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Powered by Intel® © Copyright 2013 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.


highlights

News

EMC, Computerlinks honour top-performing partners

Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President for Turkey, Africa and the Middle East, EMC EMC and Computerlinks honoured two of their top-performing partners in the Middle East. Computerlinks is EMC’s largest distributor in the region, hence the jointly held event, said Mohammed Amin,

Senior Vice President, Turkey, Africa and the Middle East, EMC, as he delivered a welcome note to the large gathering of partners. A statement by Computerlinks CEO Stefan Link also made a statement thanking partners for their support. Awards were then dished out to two of the region’s top-performing partners. Firstly, Mideast Data Systems (MDS) Oman was called up—the solutions provider had secured the top spot for highest revenue earned this year, and was presented with an award and a gift. “We’ve worked hard to reach this stage, and we’ve shown great commitment to reach this level of growth, and we’re feeling great today because we’re being recognised,” said Said Al-Mandhari, Deputy General Manager, MDS, who accepted the award. Next to be called up was STS, which had been recognised as the Middle East partner that showed the highest level of

incremental growth over the past year. The Jordan-based reseller had impressed by securing a large number of new EMC customers, and spreading its widening customer base across the region. Ajman Mazahreh, Co-Founder and CEO, STS, accepted the award as well as a gift of a Rolex watch on behalf of his firm. “Though it’s an expensive gift, I think the value behind its sentiment is even better,” he said after receiving the award. “And I love that we’ve been awarded for incremental growth – we’re spreading our base, which means ongoing business. Guys who have begun a relationship with us can come back in a year and get upgrades.” While Jordan is surrounded by a number of politically unstable countries, Mazahreh said that he believed the situation in Jordan was promising. He said that he foresees a bright year ahead for EMC and STS, and that he’d be hoping to come back next year to pick up another Rolex.

Brams plans to add ERP to its portfolio Cloud service provider Brams is looking at growing and adding enterprise resource planning (ERP) to its portfolio by early next year, the company said at this year’s GITEX Technology Week. “We are expecting at least 100-percent growth from next year onwards, this is our core plan. We also want to add some more cloud services into the portfolio. And we are looking at adding ERP by early next year and hope to partner with a cloud-based ERP vendor as there is a lot of interest in the market,” explained Prramhod Shetty, Regional Sales Director, Brams. The company, which is growing at a fast rate, sees significant interest in the Middle East region on cloud services and has educated the market on its benefits. The company considers bringing confidence towards cloud as a part of its business. “We see a lot of enterprises that are more than 500 users and below

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2,000 users taking active interest in cloud-based applications such as project management and work flow. We are looking at going to the mid-market and also the enterprise customer, though our major focus is on enterprise. We also hope to add more partners in each existing region and newer markets,” Shetty added. According to Shetty, there is a lot of interest for Google Chrome books, a cloud-enabled product from Google that is targeted at the dducation vertical. “A lot of universities are showing interest. They are connecting that with their BYOD strategy. Chrome book allows them to bring BYOD technology at a low cost. At GITEX, we are showcasing all the products such as Google apps, Google maps, Google Search appliance, Chrome books and BI tool among others,” Shetty said. Brams currently operates out of Zurich, Paris, Morocco, Ivory Coast and

Prramhod Shetty, Regional Sales Director, Brams Dubai. It does messaging, collaboration and security for its major vendor at the moment, Google Enterprise. The company’s 90 percent of business comes from cloud and the other 10 percent comes from Google’s Search Enterprise business, Shetty explained.

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highlights

News

Mitsumi expands value business The Africa-centric Mitsumi Distribution is expanding its value business, with a focus on technology areas such as networking, unified communications and security. “We have diversified into value business last year as the margins from volume products are shrinking. We already have HP Networking, Riverbed, and Polycom in the portfolio and we are looking to sign up more vendors to bolster our value business,” said Jagat Shah, Chairman and CEO of Mitsumi. The distributor, which participated in GITEX for the second time in a row, says it has been able to meet potential partners from the North Africa. “We already have a strong presence in East and West and we have been able to meet with the North African visitors this time,” said Shah. Mitusmi has a sprawling presence in Africa with local presence in around

Jagat Shah, Chairman and CEO of Mitsum

19 countries in the continent. “Our strength is that we have local stocking, local resources and we even bill in local currency. The African market is a highgrowth market, which hasn’t been tapped properly and we have the early mover advantage,” said Shah. Mobility is also a big focus area for the distributor. “It’s the fastest growing market and we already have brands such as Samsung, Acer and Asus in our portfolio. As we have a distribution house in Africa, we are also looking to diversify into even non-IT related areas such as solar solutions,” said Shah. Mitsumi has recently set up an office in Dubai to serve as the logistics hub. “We are not looking to start anything from the scratch in the Middle East. However, we are looking at possible acquisition opportunities,” said Shah.

Dell’s global solution centre to open in Dubai Dell is launching its newest global solution centre in Dubai within a month. The company currently has around 16 solutions world-wide. “The decision to set up a solution centre in Dubai was driven primarily for two reasons. Dell is going private and one of the key pillars of our future growth strategy hinges on the Middle East. The growth in this region is unparalleled and needs more focus and attention. Another reason is that though we have solutions centres in countries such as Ireland, France, Germany and Singapore, the customers there want to come here,” said Basil Ayass, Marketing Director at Dell. He added the solutions centre, which boasts of a data centre, will allow customers to come in with their own code, and test the solutions before they buy it. “It is like a test drive when you buy a new car. Earlier, we used to take customers in the region to either US or Europe. But, given the visa and cost related issues, we could only do five to six trips a year. Now, we are giving this

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opportunity to all our customers in the region.” Dell’s presence at GITEX Technology Week this year was under the theme “Transform, Protect, Connect and Inform,” which reflects the company’s solution portfolio. “We took a conscious decision not to showcase products. So our booth at GITEX this year is built around solutions for verticals such as oil & gas, banking and finance, and education,” said Ayass. As part of this global strategy to focus more on the Middle East region, Dell has ramped up its operations and moved to a new office within Dubai Internet City. “We have consolidated all our different offices and acquisitions which include Quest, Wyse, Sonicwall and Perrot,” said Ayass. Dell has also recently launched a range of Venue tablets, signaling its commitment to the PC business. “It is a critical aspect of our end-to-end to strategy—from device to the data centre to the cloud. In fact, we had recorded a 50-percent growth in the

Basil Ayass, Marketing Director at Dell recently held GITEX Shopper. Even though we are not the price leaders, customers prefer to buy the Dell brand,” said Ayass.

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highlights

News

FVC highlights new vendors

Dharmendra Parmar, General Manager, Marketing, FVC FVC ramped up its annual participation at GITEX this year, thanks to the addition of four new vendor-partners to its portfolio. Along with new solutions from its already known usual vendor-partners,

the Middle East-based distributor was showcasing products from Watchful Software, Barco, Datwyler, and Cyan. The new vendor-partners are spread across a range of various technology areas. For instance, Watchful Software deals with data security and data leakage prevention (DLP), while Barco supplies imaging solutions. Dharmendra Parmar, General Manager, Marketing, FVC, explained that the distributor was going big on some of its new vendors this week. “Barco is already known for its largeformat screens, video walls and projection systems, but Barco is also moving into the meeting room solutions as well, so that’s what we’re representing,” he said about one of them. Meanwhile, Darwyler provides cabling solutions for the enterprise as well as data centres—right from cables, racks and even air conditioning, Parmar said, adding that the vendor also provides tools to lay out fibre in a city-wide infrastructure. The last of FVC’s new vendors, Cyan, provides solutions for software-defined networking (SDN). “With Cyan, we’re mainly targeting service providers, as well as people with their own large networks— large enterprises and such,” said Parmar. FVC didn’t only relying on its new vendor-partners to turn heads at GITEX,

though—the distributor also showed off a new, purpose-built solution it calls the Cylex kiosk. Targeted at banking, retail and education environments, the kiosk is fully interactive and promises to provide the kiosk format with much more functionality, Parmar said. “For example, in a banking environment, next to an ATM machine, you could use one of these. You could be browsing through some offerings and you could talk, face to face, with an agent, who can help you on video chat to complete formalities,” he explained. One of the more impressive features of the kiosk comes with its ability to produce original signatures. A printout of a digitally signed document is not recognised as original by most authorities, meaning people still need to physically sign a form with a pen. At the other side of FVC’s kiosk, however, features a piece of equipment that gets around the problem. “The equipment on the other side is actually a pen, so when you sign on the screen, the pen on the side signs in exactly the way you sign it. That makes it an official document, and this is already recognised by the government of Canada, and it’s used in the US,” Parmar said.

Meru launches ‘industry’s fastest’ 802.11ac access point

Zakir Lokare, Regional Director –MEA, Meru Networks

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Meru Networks used GITEX as a platform to regionally launch the new AP832, which it says is the market’s fastest 802.11ac access point. The AP832 delivers up to three times the performance of competing 802.11n access points, Meru said in a statement. “We have put two 11ac radios into the product, whereas most of our competitors just put one 11ac in. It’s future-proofing our customers because, today, most of the devices are 11n but, three years from now, everything will be 11ac,” said Zakir Lokare, Regional Director, MEA, Meru Networks.

Adoptions of the 802.11ac standard is being driven by the quickly growing number of mobile devices, the BYOD trend and high-bandwidth applications such as HD video, video conferencing and cloud-based services and storage. Consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets are already available with 802.11ac support. The speed of the device can also be attributable to the vendor’s Virtual Cell, a single-channel option provided by the MobileFlex architecture, Lokare said. This also makes the device far more useful in large-event environments, such as GITEX, he added.

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opinion

Condo Protego

Virtual reality Virtualisation is picking up pace across the world but the Middle East still has some catching up to do, says Condo Protego CEO Andrew Calthrope.

Much has been said this year about virtualisation, but it is important that the IT community steps up its efforts to ensure that it takes off in a way that really benefits businesses in the region. As ever, the goal is that musthave combination of cost-savings and flexibility that enables forward-looking companies to expand and better

Andrew Calthrope, CEO, Condo Protego

cope with increasing enterprise data and larger application workloads. Apart from the obvious savings for hardware platforms, as well as all of the environmental bonuses unlocked by virtualisation, the major benefits are the ease of management and the ease of provisioning new systems. We have customers that can provision a new system in minutes. Such obvious plus points have prompted IDC to predict that 69 percent of enterprise data centre workloads globally will be virtualised. The game is changing, and the data centre is becoming software-defined. Even so, the region has some catching up to do. According to a recent study by Kaspersky Lab, companies in the GCC currently mostly apply virtualisation technologies to their databases, email and financial management applications. Seventy-one percent of the services that have been virtualised were deemed businesscritical. However, 21 percent of the GCC IT specialists surveyed claimed to only have basic virtualisation knowledge. Seven percent of respondents said they regarded themselves as experts with extensive knowledge, compared to 38 percent in the USA. Clearly, the virtualisation transition is not without its challenges, particularly for those hanging on to conventional storage systems installed by legacy

“A strong storage strategy is key to a successful virtualisation strategy. We have consistently seen our customer storage requirements grow as they proceed with their virtualisation plans.” 26

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vendors. Retrofitting can only go so far, and storage solutions that have been explicitly built for virtual environments have to come into play in a far more influential way. In many cases, organisations have completed the virtualisation of their less critical applications—often a high percentage of their overall systems. They then reach a situation where the remaining systems are far more critical and there can be a reluctance to virtualise these. Often these systems are configured as highly available systems, sometimes with local or global clustering. We are now increasingly working with our customers to push on and complete their virtualisation journeys, as the latest versions of Symantec’s high availability solutions support virtualised environments. This enables customers to have the best of both worlds.  A strong storage strategy is key to a successful virtualisation strategy. We have consistently seen our customer storage requirements grow as they proceed with their virtualisation plans. The two go hand in hand. The best way forward is a storage solution, such as those offered by EMC, which enables ease of management and strong expansion capabilities, as well as tight integration to the virtualisation solution. This can, and indeed should, incorporate a strong virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) component. Thanks to storage efficiency derived from flashbased storage with virtualisation-aware management capability VDI has finally become economically feasible. But while the benefits can be exciting, it is important to proceed in a sensible, business-appropriate manner. Avoid blindly virtualising left and right. In some cases, it might not be necessary and you can open yourself up to unexpected costs and risks. A brandspanking new virtualised environment also required a fair bit of knowledge. Mismanagement through lack of understanding can be a real banana skin, so proceed with due caution and expert guidance. //

www.resellerme.com


feature

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Jumbo Electronics

november 2013

www.resellerme.com


Jumbo prospects Jumbo Electronics CEO Vishesh Bhatia speaks with Janees Reghelini about the company’s debut in the online retail space and its bright expansion plans. Sporting a broad smile and a firm hand shake, Vishesh Bhatia, CEO, Jumbo Electronics, seems to fill the room with his presence. He reflects the qualities of a good CEO—strategic decision-maker, observant and approachable—surely a result of his 35-plus years of experience in various industries. Joining the company around a year ago, Bhatia has a lot to be proud of, such as going “multi-choice”, bagging distribution for Lenovo smartphones and Daiken, an air conditioning company, and expanding the business to fresh locations and mediums. That said, Jumbo shoppers were always presented with a wide range of brands such as Acer, Dyson, Gorenje, Brother, Compaq, HP, Blackberry, LG, Dell, Ricoh,

Epson and HTC. But due to a new arrangement with Sony, which Jumbo has traditionally worked very closely with, customers will now be able to choose from an even wider range within the same product categories, says Bhatia. “Due to our deliverables to Sony, our stores ensured that only products that did not compete with the brand were sold. But that has now changed, so I can now go multichoice, and not necessarily multibrand,” he explains. With 30-plus stores and nine service centres spread across the UAE, Bhatia animatedly speaks about venturing into the online space. “We have just finalised the plans for launching the online business, after spending eight months studying the market and researching on which platform to use, what the USP will be and so on. We hope to go

“We have just finalised the plans for launching the online business, after spending eight months studying the market and researching on which platform to use, what the USP will be and so on. We hope to go live by the first of April next year.”

live by the first of April next year,” reveals Bhatia, adding that the final executive business summary and investment plan has been prepared. E-commerce, an emerging concept in this part of the world, is not an easy place to break even or to understand how to effectively reach out to customers. The advantages and disadvantages will always echo in customers’ minds, so how does Bhatia plan to penetrate this space? He agrees it is difficult to make money in the online space but he is committed to not creating a “plain vanilla e-commerce site that simply sells electronic devices.” Instead, the company plans to roll out differentiators every month so that it stays ahead of the competition. Bhatia says, “The advantage for us is that we already have strong logistics in place, so not much added cost there. We deliver to customers’ homes and do the set-up. People could also buy online and collect it from the store. Or they could browse at the store, and then buy online.” But won’t this create an opportunity for show-rooming, a quandary global retailers are grappling with, where customers browse in brick-and-mortar stores and buy online from a competitor at a lower price?

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feature

Jumbo Electronics

To this, Bhatia says, “If I’m not good with the way I handle my customers, I deserve for people to go away from me. I have to earn the right to serve customers. We are driven by service demos. We have a sophisticated call centre, where we get monthly metrics on how many calls were dropped but every one of them is called back and spoken to. Everything is tracked and monitored by metrics so we are aware of all the complaints and good points.” Knowing your customers insideout is definitely one of the tricks of the trade and Jumbo seems to be doing a fine job as it expands to other regions while simultaneously growing its existing presence in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. Bhatia further explains, “We are about to start operations in Northern Iraq, in a place called Erbil. We have started the process of setting up a company for the electronics and IT space. We will also do distribution and some retailing out there. And we will also be planning other businesses as well, in due course of time, in this location.” With plans to increase its current brand portfolio in the consumer electronic space, the company is also known as a robust IT distributor, one of its many verticals. “We have distribution with HP and Acer, and have rich engagements with both. IT is a great and important business for us. We are talking about deepening our relationship with HP even further.

And we distribute Acer not only in this region but other geographies as well,” says Bhatia. The challenge in the IT space, he adds, is that when you are in a multi-distributor environment in the same channels, there are always issues that rise, and these need to be tackled. “Those operating issues remain but we have a good financial resource. Jumbo is blessed with an unleveraged balance sheet - I do not have any borrowings. We are careful

“Jumbo is blessed with an unleveraged balance sheet—I do not have any borrowings. We are careful on our working capital management and this gives us strength in the market. In the IT space, after all, it is all about the volume.” 30

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on our working capital management and this gives us strength in the market. In the IT space, after all, it is all about the volume,” Bhatia explains. Bhatia is “cautiously bullish” up to December this year, talking about the outlook for the next couple of months. “Although, there is a lot of promise in the market with the real estate up but there aren’t any significant movements upwardly, notwithstanding all this bullishness. The fall of the rupee put a little bit of a dampener in the market. True, it is not directly related but it is a sentiments-driven market,” he says. But sentiments seem to go handin-hand with good business sense when it comes to Bhatia. Indeed, this is what has driven Bhatia to lead Jumbo Electronics to unexplored territories as it completes its 40th anniversary in 2014. //

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Systems integrators

feature

SI Signature Series In the market for complex technology integration, no one company can do everything alone. Partnerships and alliances are standard features of the channel landscape, whether they are between integrator and vendor, or integrator and distributor. Never easy, these fundamental, symbiotic relationships are what allow the IT-supplier community and its vanguard of systems integrators to build the technology-based business solutions that enable customers to run their mid-size and large organisations more efficiently and profitably. In this SI Signature Series report, we turn the spotlight on 15 companies that represent some of the very best success stories in the industry.

november 2013

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feature

Systems integrators

Al Rostamani Communications Al Rostamani Communications has executed one of the key security consultancy projects with a major oil company earlier this year and counts it as one of its achievements along with others, in the last one year. The well-known systems integrator in the region has recently completed two major hospitality projects covering complete end-to-end solutions such as cabling, Wi-Fi networks, Data and voice networks, BMS system and ICT Infrastructure. It also successfully migrated 28 Production Domain Controllers spread across multiple international locations for a major transportation infrastructure company with zero downtime. It is also credited with executing virtualisation project for major local group of companies. Executing a Network Management System for a leading telecom operator in UAE also added on to its other highlights of the year. With a focus on existing system integration business, the company plans to strengthen the services revenue and eventually progress towards the OPEX model of business propositions to clients, which it believes is the way forward. Knowing that the top three vendors take almost 80 per cent of the potential technology business, the company ensures to partner with only these top vendors in terms of market share and branding. The company believes the way ahead will be by focusing on system integration and by investing on services. It is convinced that services in health, education and hospitality will prosper as there is a lot of focus in these verticals in the Middle East region. Mohammed Zameer, GM, Al Rostamani communications

Al-Futtaim Technologies

Venkat Raghavan, GM, Al-Futtaim Technologies

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Al-Futtaim Technologies provides comprehensive business solutions for large, medium and small enterprises. Its offerings range from networking solution, IP telephony, infrastructure to professional audio visual and broadcasting, business applications and managed services in sectors such as government, hospitality, finance, services and transportation. Known for its skilled and professional workforce, world-class products and services, the systems integrator considers understanding customer needs and providing workable business solutions as the key to its success. This principle has resulted in a large customer base for the company. Staying close to vendors and technology partners and understanding their roadmap helps in offering the right solutions that fits the timeframe and maturity of the client. In the last two years, Al-Futtaim has deployed a variety of services, major ones being a contact centre solution for a leading government organisation, a converged multimedia collaborative solution for users in a high-end corporate office and a massive ICT plus low-current systems deployment for an entertainment theme park. According to the organisation, it is crucial to recognise the constant need to innovate and evolve in order to maintain its position in the region. Today, for a systems integrator, it is not enough to only cover the whole range of ICT systems but also needs to include the low current systems including security or surveillance, building automation and audio-visual. The company believes this has been its forte for the last few years with several large deployments covering converged solutions deployment. Another area, where it has made an impact is in application integration and development. It believes that a true systems integrator should not be seen associated with only a specific brand, product or technology but offer complete services.

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Almoayyed Computers

S. M. Hussaini, General Manager, Almoayyed Computers

Almoayyed Computers, headquartered in Bahrain, has been at the forefront of ICT solutions by implementing quality driven solutions that meet the demands of its clients. The company expects 2014 to be a crucial year with many business transformations estimated to take place. Partners are trying to stay aligned with the paradigm shift in business, be it product packaging or product delivery. With mobile devices being adopted at a high rate among other reasons, application business is expected to accelerate in the coming year. Keeping these trends in mind, Almoayyed Computers will focus on alignment with the partners in order to offer solutions and services around cloud. Its major efforts will go in making its services current in the context of the cloud business. The company has a strong eco-system of partners. And this is thanks to high selection standards. On the infrastructure front, the company goes for partnerships that allow it to offer extended customer relationship through annual maintenance. And on the applications front, it scans the global scenario and endeavours to bring the solutions that can deliver a major business and productivity value. The company believes the Middle East region will continue to be a lucrative destination for IT vendors even in the future as opportunities for classic infrastructure deployment to cloud services and mobile application exists and is still in a nascent stage. The systems integrator plans to stay current and differentiate itself from other players in the market by evolving its product positioning, enhancing new offerings on cloud. Services will be a major differentiator and staying current in service deliverables will itself differentiate the company from others, it says.

Alrowad IT Solutions

Col. Anwar, CEO, AlRowad

AlRowad IT Solutions specialises in various facets of the ICT space, from raising the awareness and usage of e-commerce and remote interaction in the fields of G2B and G2G to providing expert IT consulting and technical training and developing electronic systems designed to support e-government projects. With a vision to support e-government, the focus for the company has been employing unified processes across the UAE without complication. And apart from this, it has been expanding its solutions to other regions, which helps in continuance of IT operation, and plans to focus more on security and infrastructure in the coming year. In the last one year, the company has been busy unifying the platforms for all the e-service of Abu Dhabi Police and has also installed Speed Enforcement Camera systems in Abu Dhabi. Another of its highlights has been introducing a system where translators in Abu Dhabi police stations are now accessible from one point through video conferencing solution, making them available 24/7, from any part of the country, and helps the process as UAE has residents from all over the world. It is also integrated with all police systems. This has helped to reduce the cost up to 80 percent, according to the company. It has implemented ERP solutions for Abu Dhabi police and other private organisations. The company expects to grow further by focusing on delivering best quality and services to all its projects. Customer satisfaction is the most important priority. And being a military company, delivering successfully a high security project is of utmost importance. Today, the government is not just an e-government but is known as a smart government and supporting this is also crucial for AlRowad, and it urges clients to face their increasing challenges in the global market from a national perspective.


feature

Systems integrators

Azimuth Azimuth has just completed its first major RFID project in the oil and gas industry and has a lot in store for the coming year. Although it was a challenging project, from a technology and business analysis perspective, it won the approval of one of the largest upstream consumers in the region, making the company confident that it will grow into a new business vertical in the next 12 months. It also successfully deployed its in-house developed solution, Symphony to a number of new customers last year, for which it was recognised with the Healthcare Deployment of the Year award. The deployment provides real time operational visibility in healthcare and other markets. In 2014, the company plans to expand across the region. After investing time to put in place a solid platform and developing robust solutions and consolidating other services in the last two years, now the company aims to grow exponentially and also increase the scale of its client offerings to expand the scale of projects that it undertakes. And it also is focused on growing its own solutions and products. The company says, the coming year will see increased investment in technology and believes that this trend will continue for some years with the rapidly developing infrastructure in healthcare, transport and retail markets. With increasing stream of opportunities in the Middle East region, the company predicts a market for system integrators that have not had a strong presence in the region; and is bullish about the future. Hugh Haskell-Thomas, Principal Consultant, Azimuth

CNS

Ihab Al Saheli, General Manager, Computer Network Systems, CNS

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CNS, a leading IT solutions provider and managed service company in the region, offers a host of solutions to help its clients improve IT processes, optimise data centre and infrastructure costs. Along with an innovative enterprise approach, the systems integrator is known for delivering quality and professional services. Innovative methods of deploying technologies and ensuring that the company remains progressive and dynamic have helped it to become successful. With offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat, its offerings focus mainly on optimisation through innovation and it keeps itself updated by monitoring trends. Over the last one year, CNS has been a part of many disaster recovery projects and helped companies protect their IT environment in the event of a system failure or downtime. Also to make sure that IT operations function smoothly and facilitate higher tolerance, it has implemented numerous replication and data management projects, as well as virtualisation projects. For any successful IT model, a deep understanding of the end user’s expectations and needs are required along with understanding their current structure. This has been possible for the company through CNS! Select, where it takes the time to understand these requirements before creating a solution. CNS believes the way forward will be by continuing to invest in human resources, identifying talent, retaining them, and training staff to keep them updated on the latest trends. It also looks forward to continue partnering with more leading-edge technology companies and vendors, and improving project management, along with implementing measures to enable management flexibility and the correct methodology changes.

www.resellerme.com


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Systems integrators

Emitac Enterprise Solutions Emitac Enterprise Solutions, part of Emitac Group, is one of the leading systems integrators in the UAE since its inception in 1976. EES designs, builds and provides solutions for business applications and core infrastructure including systems and storage, data centres and enterprise wide communication and networking. The SI offers a comprehensive portfolio of implementation, support and consulting services through a combination of technically skilled people, process excellence and flexible delivery models, helping customers to optimise their technology operations and drive business outcomes. EES, which has successfully implemented a range of business continuity projects for large enterprise clients, was also selected as a sub-contractor for MCS Gulf to deliver Microsoft professional services locally on behalf of the company. EES, which boasts of highest level of accreditations from Microsoft, implemented the first Azure project in the UAE, which is Microsoft’s cloud platform. Known for its range of solutions and technology alliances, EES will focus on information security in 2014. The company is planning to develop a framework that can govern the security aspects across the enterprise and protect information assets. Another key focus for the systems integrator will be Big Data, where it will further hone its existing offerings. According to EES, cloud-based services are a huge opportunity in the Middle East region. Although it is growing and widely-accepted in the developed markets it is yet to be adopted on a large scale in this region. As the market matures, EES is exploring the options to move to a cloud-based service delivery platform and leverage its technical excellence to build a services portfolio.

Miguel Villalonga, CEO, EES

EMW

Serjios EL-Hage MIS, CEO, EMW ME

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EMW provides excellence in systems integration and technical services in the fields of information technology, networks and telecommunications to commercial, government, and international organisations using a customer-first attitude. Established ten years ago, EMW has grown by making the most of the opportunities in the region. By focusing on niche market segments, the systems integrator has had an edge over competition. It also attributes its success to understanding that servicing customers is the most important element to maintain its reputation in the market place. It believes that all announcements must have the infrastructure and support to be able to execute on time and successfully. Over the last one year, the company has pushed towards cloud based solutions in the areas of BYOD, management, content security, web security and geofencing. Besides this, it also offers RFID solutions in the active and passive forms to track assets when not powered and to help in tedious tasks that can save time and improve bottom line. EMW will continue to focus in the mobility and call center domains with emphasis on providing complete turnkey solutions around them, in 2014. According to the systems integrator, SDN is inevitable and therefore it has aligned with technologies that can be deployed quickly with clear and determined upgrade path from the legacy systems. At the forefront of initiatives such as M-government and Smart City, EMW’s solutions are easily deployable and efficient. Their approach of ensuring customers are satisfied has helped achieve the status it has today. For EMW, the way forward is clear—stick to fundamentals and be disruptive in innovation. It plans to capitalise on the success of having satisfied customers for over a decade, by introducing new and more efficient solutions that help these businesses service their customers better.

www.resellerme.com


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Systems integrators

GBM Gulf Business Machines (GBM) has been providing solutions and expertise across multiple sectors such as e-Government, banking and finance, telecommunications, retail and oil, for more than twenty years. It is the sole distributor for IBM except for selected IBM products and services throughout the GCC excluding KSA. It also has the Cisco portfolio, which has fasttracked its business over the years. With offices in the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Pakistan, the company follows the principle of being present where the customers are. And also strongly believes in training of its employees to ensure they are equipped to address the constantly changing IT demands in the market. GBM’s priorities have been hardware, software and infrastructure. The company has been able to continue its leadership position and get maximum share out of the capex from customers over the last year, helping them keep the momentum in the space. Another area where it has excelled in the last year is in After Sales relationship, where it has brought together all its separate offerings under one single contact—not an easy task considering the variety of customer requirements and also it is a major investment. However, the company is confident that it will deliver successfully. It has also been investing in security solutions within the company. It offers end-to-end security solutions ranging from consulting to implementation. Believing the key play in 2014 to be software and services, it is investing in all the emerging technologies such as cloud, mobility, Big Data, analytics, security and IT service management. The industry is undergoing dramatic changes but GBM believes it is ready, armed with the benefits of having a regional presence, wide reach and large customer base.

Cesare Cardone, CEO, GBM

Intertec

Nikhil Kothari, Director, Intertec Systems

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Having grown by 30 percent in the last year only goes to show how Intertec has been enjoying a strong market stand over the last two decades. And it continues to grow, with plans to move into a larger office space to accommodate the 60 new hires of this year. The company being positive on the market outlook for 2014, expects close to 40 percent growth in the upcoming year. The systems integrator had increased business with some of its alliances in enterprise technology and is expecting this momentum to continue. Other key focus areas will be managed services, infrastructure solutions, security, mobility solutions and enterprise asset management among others. And it is also looking at growing its regional focus. With offices in UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi, the company says each market in the region is different in terms of its style of doing business. Today, the next big thing for system integrators is managed services – an area where the company has been successful in having large contracts covering end user support, contact centers, applications and networks. Virtualisation and mobility are becoming prime focus areas because customers are now on this platform and applications have to be compatible. In tune with these market trends, Intertec has been investing on mobile development on popular platforms and social media. 50 percent of Intertec’s revenues come from the corporate sector, 35 percent from government and the rest 15 percent from the finance industry. Taking this into account, the company is looking at improving its banking portfolio besides venturing into new verticals and geographies. According to the company, banks haven’t been spending on the levels they should be, especially on the risk side of the business and that is expected to happen this year. The company is also investing in the hospitality sector with new solutions and alliances.

www.resellerme.com


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Systems integrators

MDS MDS has been one of the major players since 1981 in the Middle East region. Having grown by 24 percent in the last two years in the Gulf region, the systems integrator specialises in solutions for medium and large enterprise customers. Its offerings can be categorised into three main lines of business—systems integration, data centre infrastructure, and software applications. Catering to all verticals, its main business comes from the region’s leading telcos, oil and gas governments, and government entities. Although a veteran in this space, it believes constant change is important. Keeping this in mind, the company moved from being mainly a box-mover to being mainly a service-oriented company, ten years ago. This transition was necessary to get around the big vendors which have increasingly established presences in the region over the years. With an ability to adapt to ever-changing technology trends, which is crucial for success, the company will focus more on services, Big Data and cloud infrastructure, including virtualisation and security in 2014. It hopes to achieve growth of 15 percent in the coming year. The company strongly believes that there are immense growth opportunities in education, health and government spending, especially in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and UAE. It is looking at growing within the region through organic expansion and acquisitions with focus on new technology trends in mobility, Big Data and cloud; and by constantly adapting to changing technology. Sami Abi Esber, President, MDS UAE Holdings

SBM Saudi Business Machines (SBM) provides integrated solutions in technology and helps customers in optimising business processes. Representative of IBM World Trade Corporation in KSA, it provides end-to-end enterprise information technology solutions across industries and its portfolio of services ranges from networking, systems integration, consultation and implementation, business recovery and operations support. SBM’s self-service kiosk; designed to create faster, reliable and more flexible self-checkout process; has been one of the key highlights for the company in the last year or so. Also the SBM Network division has performed large investment in engineers skills and technology that resulted in company’s major strength in the telecommunication and network field over the last few years. SBM’s services portfolio provides information systems solutions to small, medium and large customers in all business areas, this includes a wide range of technology platforms. According to company, delivering intelligent network infrastructure is crucial because it then allows companies, irrespective of size, to manage its IT investments and support its business objectives. The systems integrator continues to deliver next generation e-business solutions anywhere in the networking life cycle—from network consulting and integration to total network outsourcing. The company is focused on revolutionising the customer experience and aims at influencing decisions in real time. Ali Dulaim, President and CEO, SBM

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Systems integrators

Seven Seas Computers

Nayagam Pillai,The Chief Executive Officer of Seven Seas Computers, UAE

Having helped customers to install and deploy services in various sectors such as enterprise, retail sector, BFSI and hospitality, Seven Seas has done major turnkey projects in the region, ranging into a multi-million value. Consistent engagement with the customers has helped Seven Seas to reach this level. And now in 2014, the company will emphasise its offerings in virtualisation, data security, infrastructure and services and cloud based solutions. An emerging market, UAE is home to many startups and new organisations, leading to opportunities for Seven Seas to address the growing needs. While also being prepared to meet the demands of existing companies as they expand and consolidate their entire IT into the virtual environment. This growing virtual environment has made data security, the most imperative need of the day. The key question organisations are looking at is, how secure is their data and network? According to the company, customers are far more data intensive and hence, want to implement solutions that will protect the organisations’ information and data at all levels. The traditional means of deploying security solutions is changing to have more rigid deployment involving different technologies at different levels of security. The company believes the way forward is by reaching out to each customer and educating them about new technology and trends, best practices and frameworks and showing them the way to make their IT as a business enabler and in some case as a profit center for their organisation. Stating that the market is maturing and M-government and E-government will play a major role in the future, Seven Seas is looking at reinforcing the customer’s decision-making ability on proving IT as a business enabler, since in the new scenarios, close to 30 percent ROI comes from within the business itself.

STME Systems integrator and solutions provider, STME’s goal for 2014 is to expand its offering and be ready for the mega and big data projects. As a company, it believes that both existing and new customers are equally important, therefore it plans to capitalise its clientele, by offering the optimum system integrator solutions and technology consultancy for the end user. The company accomplished a breakthrough in the major accounts and telco grade customers last year, and this was only possible because of the feedback received from its professional specialists. The result was immediately seen when its market share increased and when the company witnessed the significant sales growth in the last one year. At STME, partners are selected based on the products and solutions that they provide, the sole criteria is that it should fit into the company’s portfolio and offering. It also sees huge opportunities in this space with more companies and governmental entities shifting to a paperless environment. Also, telecommunication companies are expanding their data bundles, which increase the demand for the data centre solutions, security and backup solutions, creating opportunities for the systems integrator. The company is convinced that the way forward is only through investing in the right technology and hiring the right resources. Also by working closer to end users and by understanding their needs. A business will further have success if it has regular technology updates and invest in continuous training and certifications, it says. Ayman Al Bayaa, CEO, STME

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www.resellerme.com


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feature

Systems integrators

Visionaire

Aneeta Gupta, President and CEO, Visionaire

Visionaire, follows the technomics business model, which is a proven singleintegrated-system (SIS) approach, and has been able to penetrate into new market segments over the last year. With the focus on enterprise, education and hospitality, the company has provided solutions in these segments; examples being UAEU Campus and Zayed University Khalifa City campus projects. According to the company, the four Cs for CIO success are cloud, connectivity, communication and converged services, which essentially is data centre, cloud computing, BYOD, Big Data, extreme collaboration and telepresence. The company has been devising solutions around these technologies. Due to its experience of working across different industries, it has the advantage of knowing and understanding the operational and business challenges that enterprises face today. Reducing operational costs and investing smartly are the key issues that enterprises are grappling with, to make their businesses profitable. Here, a professional systems integrator can make a difference by supporting the customer’s strategic objectives, says the company. Visionaire, today, is able to implement and support all the requirements of its customers in the ICT environment and offers a complete portfolio of professional and managed services helping customers to optimise and extend their investments. According to the company, by building close working relationships with its strategic partners, it has become leading experts in achieving business transformation through ICT. In the coming year, Visionaire aims at establishing itself as the ICT partner of choice for customers in education, hospitality, enterprise and government. It continues to seek and adopt innovative technologies and services that will transform the organisations of today into the organisations of tomorrow.


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IPv6

feature

Although the new Internet Protocol version was launched over a year ago, alarmingly, its adoption is still quite low in the Middle East. Reseller ME finds out how this could be an opportunity for the channel, if partners play their cards right. IPv6 is no longer an unknown subject. Launched officially last year, the 128-bit IPv6 became necessary as the supply of 32-bit internet addresses on IPv4 began to run out. As more than 2 billion internet users are present globally and the number of devices connected to the web are increasing at a rapid rate, the newer version was designed to provide infinitely times more addresses compared to IPv4. However, the challenge today is the adoption of IPv6. The Middle East region has seen a significant increase in the number of IPv6-capable fixed and mobile devices, however the adoption levels are very low. “It is important to note that at this stage only half of web pages are currently IPv6-capable, which is having an impact on usage in the region. While service providers are gearing up different parts of their networks to be ready for IPv6, we do not expect high usage of it until these updates have been deployed. This indicates that there are still some gaps in the

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IPv6

end-to-end IPv6 adoption,” says Fady Younes, Client Director, Cisco. According to the latest data on the public Cisco tool, which was created to monitor the IPv6 adoption around the world, the highest IPv6 adoption is currently in European countries such as Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and France, followed by the US with Asia and the Middle East lagging behind. Identifying opportunities Enterprises are cautious to tread on this new path because of the security and other concerns around it. For example, the lack of IPv6 security training, will there be bugs in the new code, who to approach for the deployment, and so on. But this can be turned into an opportunity for the channel players, says Younes. “The channel and service providers have an opportunity to bridge the gap between the number of capable devices and the actual adoption of IPv6,” he says. The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2012-2017) highlights the potential in the Middle East region with an expected CAGR growth of 48 percent for fixed devices and 36 percent for mobile devices. “This growth is higher than any other market expected growth,” Younes points out. Agreeing with Younes, Sakkeer Hussain, Sales and Marketing Manager, D-Link Middle East & Africa, explains that now technology vendors, resellers and managed service providers may

“The channel and service providers have an opportunity to bridge the gap between the number of capable devices and the actual adoption of IPv6.” Fady Younes, Client Director, Cisco

have opportunities to engage their customers not only for hardware and software sales, but “also for education and consultation on how to navigate the transition.” One way to go about this is to have an IPv6 plan in place, the channel and service providers should be working relentlessly on educating their customers and putting their concerns to rest. One of the key fears that leads to sleepless nights is how can it be deployed without disrupting business? Younes says, “It is important to address these concerns by setting up meetings with customers and taking the time to make them understand its importance and convince them.” Convincing customers The best way to convince a reluctant customer is by presenting the complete potential and benefits of the new protocol. With two significant benefits, more address space and

“It is important to note that, at this stage, only half of web pages are IPv6-capable, which is having an impact on usage in the region. While service providers are gearing up different parts of their networks to be ready for IPv6, we do not expect high usage of it until these updates have been deployed.” 50

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better mobility, the adoption to IPv6 should be immediate. But if that is not enough, Hussain adds, “It also boasts an enhanced quality of service that is required for several new applications such as IP telephony, video/audio, interactive games or e-commerce. Technically, IPv6 also allows for more efficient routing, improved methods to change ISPs, a surplus in security, multi-homing abilities and reduced management requirements.” Although the benefits are clear, the channel can also make a point by enlightening the customers about what they would miss out if adoption does not increase. “Organisations that choose to react to address exhaustion will find their customer base shrinking. It will be more difficult to innovate and more resources will be needed to sustain IPv4 investments. Proactivity is essential,” Younes cautions. Another point to be aware of is that, in the move from IPv4 to IPv6, there are profits to be made. Channel players need to understand the infrastructure of the client and make their networks IPv6-compatible and this analysis, along with the services offered, is valuable to the customers The channel could take up the role of consultants and lead customers into the transition to IPv6, which is definitely the future. But it is up to channel players to make the most of these opportunities in the most profitable way. //

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Can you tell us a bit about your training facilities and labs? Global Knowledge provides its clients with the broadest geographic coverage. The company operates in 15 countries and has affiliate offices spanned across the world making it the only learning partner who can deliver quality training across the whole North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia PAC. Through a nationwide network of dedicated training centers and on client site, we provide a flexible, value for money service. All of our training centers are equipped to the highest standards and have continuous refurbishment to ensure our delegates are comfortable and at ease for the duration of their course. Global Knowledge has been in the UAE market for 15 years now, previously operating under the name Synergy Professional Services, in 2006 we have built one of the largest Remote Lab facilities in the world in Knowledge Village with over $4M investment in the latest Cisco equipment. This facility provides the capacity of running more than 30 advanced Cisco Labs/courses in parallel each week, serving all Global Knowledge’s branches and affiliates all over the world, allowing students to gain extensive hands-on experience in addition to reinforcing the skills already acquired. In November 2013, we have expanded our coverage in the UAE with a new investment in Abu Dhabi operations to become the largest privately held provider of IT Training and Enterprise Learning Services in the United Arab of Emirates.

Why should IT professionals come to Global Knowledge? With over 20 years training experience, Global Knowledge has a wealth of knowledge and skills unsurpassed by other professional training companies. Our focus is on delivering the best customer support and advice in our industry, placing the customer at the heart of the business. Thousands of businesses rely on Global Knowledge to identify the skills they need to support the technologies and systems they utilize. Individual professionals rely on us to keep them in the forefront of the skills needed tomorrow. Global Knowledge recognizes that learning is not just attending training courses but is critical to an organizations success. Today business is fast moving, competitive and demands a highly skilled workforce. Our Learning Services Offerings are designed to support our customers in achieving these goals and together we develop learning programs that fit in with their strategies. Global Knowledge partners with the world’s leading technology leaders, including Cisco, Microsoft, VMware, IBM, HP, Avaya, Juniper, Bluecoat, Riverbed and others to ensure that we’re not only delivering authorized training content, but adhere to their quality commitments. Added to that, we work together with leading testing providers, such as VUE and Prometric, enabling us to test and verify the acquired knowledge of participants on our programs. Global Knowledge provides a vendor neutral approach to information technology, a key component in preparing students for successful implementations. Building our courses with individual learning objects allows us to easily customize a solution that meets the needs of the organizations. From editing standard course curriculum to creating a custom course that complements the best practices of your organization’s project management methodology, we have the experience and expertise to deliver exactly what you need. //


Teradata

opinion

The road to Big Data discovery Kevin Long, Business Development Director, Teradata UK, talks us through the realworld uses for Big Data, and which industries could benefit the most from it.

Khaled Kamel, Territory Channel Manager, MENA, Brocade

The promise of unlocking competitive value from big data assets continues to provoke excitement and apprehension for directors and IT teams. If successful, the combination of new data sources together with advanced analytics capabilities can indeed unleash untold opportunities. Yet, no matter what the industry, creating the type of intelligent discovery environment required to generate competitive advantage from big data is often less than straightforward. While in most instances, traditional analytics and methodologies are fairly robust, in big data projects, the introduction of new analytics technologies will inevitably create a learning curve. In many cases, this is compounded by the use of previously unfamiliar open source data storage tools like Hadoop that historically have never existed in the organisation. For IT, creating a discovery-led environment also tends to require a shift in mind set. Traditionally, IT culture has always been very requirements-led, making traditional BI, analytics and data warehousing a tough juggling act. Indeed, simply retrieving the data and working out what to do with it required a high degree of flexibility. Big Data discovery projects take this tough equation even further—and therefore away from the IT department’s comfort zone. No longer is there a pre-defined ‘need’.

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opinion

Teradata

Rather, the challenge now lies in identifying ‘the question’. And there are many more new and in-depth questions being asked than ever before. Despite the potential challenges, the continuing hype around big data has been a major catalyst for new big data projects, securing buy-in from the organisation as well as prompting IT workers to begin their own individual or ‘skunkwork’ experiments that are outside the usual rules of IT. Often, because these technologies are seen as being time-consuming or disruptive, they tend not to get immediately passed to the BI department, who in turn cannot inform IT of existing challenges in the traditional environment that could be solved using the new capabilities. In industries where individuals and departments work to produce their own analysis of data sets, it can also be harder to ‘stitch together’ pools of information and explore trends or changes over time. This lack of collaboration also means it takes much longer to reach a common solution and understanding of the potential opportunities. Crucially, the process of pooling together data sets can help to make it possible to realise this value. Indeed, some of the best opportunities are extensions of existing opportunities that were previously prevented by cost and processing limitations. In retail, for instance, basket analysis is a well-recognised tool for cross-

“A successful big data discovery environment can also enable retailers to understand customer behaviour better because it allows them to look for changes in an individual’s basket over a period of years, rather than weeks or months.” promotions and marketing. Yet, very little is known about external events ‘outside’ of the basket. For example, there are many cases when a customer will return to a site to get an item they did not purchase originally, such as matching shoes to accompany a dress or handbag, or an HDMI cable needed for an electrical item. Using sequential affinity analysis, the retailer can capitalise on this increased intelligence to send specific and timely email marketing that’s more likely to drive traffic and increase revenue. A successful big data discovery environment can also enable retailers to understand customer behaviour better because it allows them to look for changes in an individual’s basket over a period of years, rather than weeks or months. This then enables the retailer to assess the impact, for instance, that becoming a family can have on the purchasing patterns of a previously single customer. Increasing the scope for discovery also presents countless opportunities for other industries to identify previously unrecognised insight and process this information

“In industries where individuals and departments work to produce their own analysis of data sets, it can also be harder to ‘stitch together’ pools of information and explore trends or changes over time.” 54

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to improve quality and efficiency, as well as drive sales. For example, the use of path analysis can enable cable or satellite broadcasters to use set top box data to look for common sequences of events that have led to different users having to restart their machines. When combined with other information, such as the specific model of machine, the type and version of the software running on it, as well as other variables such as existing complaints about other boxes and the region it is located, it is possible to proactively identify that a customer will either currently be encountering problems or that they may do so in the near future. This ‘cross-checking’ capability also helps to rule in or rule out certain variables that don’t have an impact. One of the many practical benefits is that the exercise can enable the cable or satellite broadcaster to ‘push’ software upgrades to affected customers’ hardware before they have to deal with mass complaints. Ultimately, the underlying business challenges for IT projects tend to be around increasing profitability, reducing costs, improving process efficiencies or finding previously untapped opportunities. Likewise, the objectives of discovery-led big data projects also have parallels with traditional analytics: Namely, the chance to increase granularity of information and uncover important new patterns and trends. //

www.resellerme.com


Powering the Cloud

analysis

Ten times the power James Dartnell reports back from Frankfurt, Germany, where the tenth edition of the Powering the Cloud conference suggested a bigger-than-ever drive to adopt cloud computing, despite continuing security concerns. Nowadays, most would be hard-pushed to argue that technology trade shows are nothing more than a shop window for shameless self-promotion from industry top dogs. They’re all there; those who can provide ‘market-leading innovations’, ‘first-of-its-kind technology’ and products that are ‘like nothing seen before’. But for event organiser and CEO of Angel Business Communications, Bill Dunlop Uprichard, this is not what Powering The Cloud’s tenth anniversary offering in Frankfurt is about. He believes that the show’s impartiality is certified by its neutral management and informative speakers, “The main advantage of

Powering The Cloud is that it is a vendor-independent invent. I find that vendor-based events tend to become an exercise in self-promotion, whereas this one is endorsed by industry associations like SNIA [Storage Networking Industry Association],” he told Reseller ME. “One of the things we do is help build trust and security between businesses. We do a lot of work with independent analyst houses, and the majority of their research tells us that security and reliability remain pressing issues. First and foremost we hope that the event can educate people, and give them an increased understanding of how their businesses could improve with emerging technologies.”

Consisting of SNW Europe, which is in its tenth year in Frankfurt, along with the Data Centre Technologies and Virtualisation World events, both in their fifth year, Powering The Cloud is a gathering and forum for Europe’s CIOs, IT Managers and Senior IT professionals. The agenda was packed with breakout sessions and keynote speeches from some of the industry’s most highly regarded speakers and thinkers. There were also two debates—on Big Data and Managed Services—featuring a series of speakers and analysts who aimed, above all, to bring sensible conversation to the two topics. Boasting over 130 conference sessions, and with over 1,500 delegates

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from around the globe, there could be little doubt that the event served as the seminar that Dunlop Uprichard intended. The speeches covered such diverse themes of cloud, Big Data, data security, IT management, data centere technologies and application delivery. Both Dunlop Uprichard and Bob Plumridge, Chairman of the Board of SNIA, said that Powering The Cloud has come a long way since its inception 10 years ago, and through its evolution, the event can now provide a concise, educational show for IT professionals, “It is completely different now than when it started. In its inception, it was a purely hardware-based show—disk drives, cash memories, that sort of thing. People weren’t too bothered with security back then,” Plumridge said. “Those shows were showing comparatively basic things. Now we focus largely on things like cloud and Big Data, which were not even dreamt of then. From our point of view, it can offer a huge amount of vendor-neutral information on these topics. The show provides a great opportunity for vendors to speak directly with one another and see what’s going on.” Yes, the show was vendor-agnostic, but this did not mean that vendor representatives could not take part, so long as what they were putting forward to the audience was informative—not promotional. The keynote speeches, then, featured speakers from a variety of high-profile companies. As Plumridge explained, topics of discussion had moved far past what new pieces of kit can do for organisations. And this year, arguably the most focus was put on privacy and data security. For example, Robin Kuepers, Storage Marketing Director, EMEA, Dell, focused his speech on overcoming a paranoia that can so easily engulf an organisation. “People have to live with the reality that having your data hacked on a public cloud is always a possibility. Privacy and security are important things,

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“I think people accept that whatever data you put online in any form there is always a risk that it might be hacked, whether it is an online bank account, or the use of PRISM to stalk individuals’ information. It is just a question of reducing that risk so that it is unlikely to happen.” but to what level can you guarantee them?” he asked. “I think people accept that whatever data you put online in any form there is always a risk that it might be hacked, whether it is an online bank account, or the use of PRISM to stalk individuals’ information. It is just a question of reducing that risk so that it is unlikely to happen.” Plumridge reinforced this view. “Through education people can be made confident that property is secure, and they may double-check decisions and assess what their partners can offer,” he said. “I do think PRISM will affect the uptake of cloud. Not necessarily the private cloud, but certainly in terms of the public and hybrid clouds.” Elsewhere, Shaun Walsh, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corp Development, Emulex, used his window to home in on the issue of networking advancement. “We are entering the age where we become the mobile device. By 2016, network traffic will have multiplied five times, and by 2020, 40 percent of all servers will be deployed within the cloud. We will witness a variety of system migrations across the industry, and these are exciting times.” Dunlop Uprichard had some final words of wisdom to all at the event: “The most important thing is that companies do their due diligence as to who they’re leaving their data with. They will always be in control of large parts of their data, but fortunately cloud is flexible in its delivery

of how companies manage their data, so people always have choice.” The channel’s role Where does the channel fit into this desire for cloud computing that guarantees data security? Well, for one thing, regional distributors are beginning to find that providing cloud services can open up new revenue streams as their margins on boxed products continue to shrink. And as cloud uptake in the Middle East has been stymied by concerns over data privacy and security, those now looking to provide cloud services are turning to data security as a key differentiator. Private clouds will play a key role in the years to come, according to industry experts. Banks and financial institutions have already experimented with private clouds to streamline business processes, and other verticals are following suit. It is on the channel to ensure that these organisations are well educated about both the possibilities and limitations of private clouds, adopting a more consultative role. Channel players have already begun partnering with cloud providers, and these early birds will be the ones to cash in once cloud uptake begins to skyrocket, as analysts believe it will. The channel, however, must ensure that it can provide safe and secure cloud services. Any damaged reputation this early on could prove catastrophic later on in the game. Make no mistake—security is currently the biggest talking point when it comes to cloud. //

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INTERVIEW

Edifier

All the right noises On the GITEX show floor, we caught up Anthony Wilkinson, Managing Director of Edifier, the first international audio brand to emerge out of China. He talks about the company’s plans to tap the MEA market. move head, which is the case for us. We are not showcasing any particular products but building brand awareness. It is more of a coming out and saying here we are. There are many people in the channel landscape who haven’t heard of us. We are trying to showcase out capabilities and talk to dealers as to who we are and what our goals are. We operate on an individual country basis and we don’t play the game of having multiple dealers.

Anthony Wilkinson, MD of the Edifier

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Was this the first time you have participated at GITEX? And what was the theme of your presence? This is the first time we have had a booth at GITEX. We have participated as a booth within a booth with Graphic International in the past but not to the extent where we have had a stand-alone booth of our own. We are a new brand that is entering into the international market. It’s a sort of chicken and egg scenario; you got to start to grow, gain some steam and

Reseller Middle East

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How strategic is this region for Edifier? It is very important for us to be in this part of the world. This region has the technology understanding and affluence of course. Just look at what is happening in this region and it’s going to permeate down to Africa. It’s not that we didn’t want to be here before. When we started taking the brand to international markets eight years ago, our priority was to get into Asia, North America and Europe. The timing wasn’t right for us to be here four to five years ago. As in life, timing is everything and you can’t push time. What is distribution strategy in the region? We have an end-to-end agreement with Graphic, which is developing the whole Middle East and Africa business for us. We are looking at individual countries and finding what relationships are going to work for

us. We are looking for distribution partners and what we typically find is that when you have multiple partners it gets messy and starts price wars. Also, each market is different in terms of dynamics and nuances. Some markets are more developed and some are not and affordability is also a key factor. However, the philosophy of the company remains the same throughout. Our individual country go to market strategy may differ because of the make-up of the country. Can you tell us a bit about your portfolio? Our portfolio is categorized into three segments. Multimedia, which is all about affordability. But, within this segment, we have high-end gaming products where performance matters more than affordability. Then we have studio products comprising the retro style bookshelf speakers and lifestyle, which is driven by design. The philosophy of our company is to design an audio evolution. Design is very important for us as it permeated into every aspect. Next year, we are starting home audio division by foraying into headphones. We are purely an audio company, and we have our own factory with 3500 employees in China. We also have an industry design centre with 15-16 designers working on products. We have our headquarters in Beijing with offices in Australia, Canada, UK and Argentina. We are not here to be seen as just another Chinese company; we are here to be seen as a brand that is respected alongside the likes of JBL, Bose and Altec Lansing. In multimedia, we can compete head to head with Logitech. What makes us unique is that audio is the only thing we do and I am product to say Edifier is fast becoming a globally recognized brand. //

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INTERVIEW

Linksys

Back to the roots Linksys used GITEX for the soft launch of its smart business products, signaling its re-entry into the SMB market. The networking company has also announced a new global SMB reseller programme called Linksys Partner Rewards, which provides benefits such as education, marketing tools and incentives to help resellers grow their business. We spoke to Amanulla Khan, Director, Emerging Markets, Linksys, to find out what the company has in store.

Are you keeping the Linksys brand alive? Belkin has decided to continue with the brand as the brand equity is really high in terms of recognition. We are ahead of any of our competition in double digits, globally not just in specific region. If you remember our lineage, Linksys start off with the SMB products and went into home network after being acquired by Cisco. So we were part of the Cisco fold as part of their consumer business till we got acquired by Belkin.

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So, we have been in the business space to start with and 5-99 user space has always been our core strength. Though we will continue to focus on the home networking space, we are going back to our SMB roots. Today, it is a great achievement and testimonial to the commitment to this region that we have chosen Middle East for the soft launch of our smart business products globally. On the home networking front, we are continuing to make investments by rolling out top of the range products, which include our Wi-Fi routers, range expanders and powerline products.

Amanulla Khan, Director, Emerging Markets, Linksys

What can the channel expect from Linksys in terms of product roadmap? What the channel can expect us is a whole range of new products and you will see that most of these products are first to the market. In addition to the hardware investments, we are investing in smart Wi-Fi cloud based home network management solution that gives the control of home network in the hands of the consumer while on the move. With this, users can manage the whole network, see what devices are connected to it and define the bandwidth each device should get and see the Internet applications these devices are accessing. Very soon, we are adding a network map to this solution so users can actually get into their devices, see what is happening, and troubleshoot. What kind of business solutions have you launched now? It is being done in three phases. The first phase is about connectivity products, rolled out from now until February next year. This includes routers, switches (both managed and unmanaged), VPN routers and physical monitoring solutions. We will also launch a NVR to compliment the IP surveillance cameras so that users can record everything and view it remotely from wherever they are. Under phase two, we will bring could management capabilities to our smart business solutions. SMEs typically don’t have IT managers and they don’t want to outsource IT services. So we are going to make it very simple for business owners to manage their networks, decide what kind of application should be given to which employee and when. We will bring automation products under phase three. Through Belkin we already have WeMo technology, which is the platform for home automation. This will be extended to business solution so users can control their office from anywhere, turn things on and off, and even put them on a schedule. //

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INTERVIEW

Seagate

Taking retail seriously Seagate’s external hard drive unit was separated from the internal business earlier this year in an attempt to bring more focus to both sides. We speak with Motaz Khalil, Retail Marketing Manager, Seagate, and Ayman Al-Ajouz, Sales Manager, MENA, Seagate Branded Solutions, to find out how the new push into the retail business has gone. buy the same capacity but with more options so that you can access it and others can access it.

Ayman Al-Ajouz & Motaz Khalil, Seagate Retail Team MEA What’s Seagate’s approach to retail in the Middle East? AAA: We have the go-to-market strategy, so we engage with all the retailers through campaigns and through marketing. We do have some rebate programmes for certain retailers just to enhance our sales with them, and to give them an incentive for doing business with Seagate. What we’re looking at is targeting the high-end product, which is an added value to the customers. MK: Since the beginning of this year, Seagate has been taking retail seriously. Before it used to be internal and external storage as one. Now it’s split, and now we have a retail team focused on the direct consumer. Are you retail partners happier about this new way of doing things? MK: They’re seeing more of the team now. We used to have a team that does everything, but now the team has focused on the retail side.

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AAA: As retailers, they don’t usually do the core business. With the channel market, it was a little bit, “Okay, who should I talk to now?” but it’s been three or four quarters now and it’s well observed. You mentioned you were going after the high end. What challenges have you faced with this? AAA: One obstacle that we faced with high-end products is explaining it to the customer. When you’re going to buy a laptop, you know you need so many specs, you know that an i5 processor does this for you, and an i7 does that for you. But for a hard drive, people a hard drive is just something you plug into a USB port. But it’s not that anymore – it’s connected storage, it’s the experience, the software, the ease of use and accessibility. If you have a hard drive plugged into a USB, okay, it can serve you, but it cannot serve the rest of the guys in the office. You can

Presumably you’re going for the high end because it offers better margins? AAA: Yes, it provides better margins for retailers and better margins for us, but we want to deliver technology. We are a technology company and our bread and butter is hard drives. It’s not like hard drives make up one section of a huge portfolio. We want to show the customer the added value that they’re getting, and the experience of the technology. If you want to keep on pushing on the low end, that’s easy to sell. Everybody knows that, if you want a backup, you buy a hard drive. MK: When you go into the technology, actually we have a better way to compete. When it comes to just the box, as Ayman is saying, you’ll find that it’s just about the hard drive. Are customers starting to accept the higher-end technology? AAA: You’d be amazed that usually, in the retail shops now, as I said, it’s a bit of a challenge selling the product. But in GITEX, we had a line called Seagate Central, which we call the personal cloud, and we experienced very, very good sales on this just because the customer was standing there, and there was a salesman telling him what the product does. MK: This is a product that you have to connect to your router at home for even doing a demonstration. You can show them a video or something but it’s not as easy when you do it in retail stores.

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Dell

Eyeing the future Tom Kendra, VP and GM, Systems Management Software, Dell Software Group, talks about how the company is sorting through all the software it has acquired and efforts to become a more profitable, software- and services-driven company. How does Dell plan to change its perception in the market as a PC company and become a software-and services-driven company? We are more than a PC company, our customers and partners demand it of us, so we have to be. We’ve got a very robust server business, we’ve got a storage business, we’ve got a networking business, we have acquired services businesses. In April 2012, we added the next piece of the strategy— Dell Software Group. If you’re a CIO and you can get more of your solution components from a single provider, like Dell, it will give you more of a sense of security. CIOs want to minimise procurement costs within the company, why would they want to deal with more companies than is necessary? They want to know who to talk to in the event of something going wrong. What differentiates Dell is the support it offers of its products. Every single customer we’ve met with over the last few days in the Middle East has mentioned the quality of our support. We aim to take storage, servers and the network, and put the whole thing together. That’s what Dell Software Group is all about. Dell has acquired many companies in the recent past including Quest, Soniwall and Wyse. How do you plan to organise all these into a coherent offering? The structure has Quest and Sonicwall and a number of our other acquisitions including Kace, AppAssure and Boomi, who does cloud integration. All of these companies are part of the Dell Software Group.

Tom Kendra, VP&GM, Systems Management Software, Dell

There’s also Wyse, which is a very important technology around virtual desktop infrastructure and thin client, and it actually reports into our end user computing group. Between Dell Software Group and the end user computing group there’s a very tight collaborative and synergistic relationship. There are three major groups within Dell Software Group. One is focused on business intelligence and data management, they solve problems like Big Data and the accessibility of data warehousing for midmarket size customers. What impact has Michael Dell’s battle to take the company private had on your efforts to build its software business? Michael Dell’s decision to take the company private can only be viewed as a positive one. We will continue to

INTERVIEW

expand and make acquisitions, and the decision will only serve to increase our ability to innovate and progress quicker. What is Dell’s applications strategy? Applications was one of the four focus areas you talked about last year, along with systems management, security and data analytics. We want to look into an application and say, where was the problem? With which web server? Which data base? Then, once we’ve found the source of the problem the most important thing is to fix it and ensure it doesn’t occur again. If a consumer gets stuck half way through a transaction and they’re not sure of the next step, or, in a worst case scenario they are brought to a halt, they’re not going to be happy. From a consumer’s point of view it’s all about having the best experience you can. If you’re working internally it’s all about productivity and being able to serve customers better. Is small and medium-sized enterprise an area of focus for the company? The SMB market is a huge one for us. As Dell was growing, it was always mindful of SMBs as things you can learn here are also often applicable to larger companies. People want products that are intuitive, easy-to-use, scalable and deliver value quickly; all things that a larger company also wants. Nobody wants the most complex product available, no one wants to struggle for a long time to get anything up-andrunning and for it to return value. People have talked about Quest as the glue that binds your other software acquisitions together. How do you view Quest? Quest was a very important acquisition for a number of reasons. They had great products, great technology, great people, and great systems. You need systems that allow software to be co-terminus, you need to think about ways of billing, maybe selling software on a subscription basis. Quest had very advanced systems for this, and has become the foundation of much of the systems work we’re doing. //

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INTERVIEW

Meru Networks

Ready for the storm Wireless infrastructure vendor Meru Networks is planning to grab a larger pie of the emerging fifth-generation Wi-Fi network by launching what it says is the fastest 802.11ac access point. We speak to Robert Crisp, Vice President of Worldwide System Engineering, Meru Networks, to find out what the product means for users and the company’s game plan for the region. If you look at hospitality, this region is leading the world. We have teams, offices and engineering resources in the area. We spend a lot of time here understanding the market. A lot of our products and verticals come out from requirements of this territory. Is the competition fiercer in this region? Competition is the same world over but what is different is that we have been around for the last 11 years. We were founded as a company to solve the RF issues at Wi-Fi. Our philosophy of what we do from an architectural perspective to each generation of Wi-Fi has been proven because of the faster speeds now and the RF challenges that go along with it. From a competitor differentiator perspective, we are focused on RF. Our architecture is unique in terms of how it is deployed and the restrictions that go along with that, because fundamentally what we want to provide is a good RF experience with a reliable Wi-Fi that works well all the time. Robert Crisp, VP of Worldwide System Engineering, Meru Networks

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How strategic is the region for you on a global scheme of things? It is one of the most strategic regions we have. Instead of focusing on a product perspective, we are now looking at it from a vertical perspective. So our three main verticals are education, healthcare and hospitality.

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Is there a compelling reason for users to migrate from 802.11n to 802.11ac Wi-Fi now? There was a slower approach to N but we are not seeing that with AC. Whether we want it or not, the market is already moving towards AC. New projects are moving towards AC

and customers who are on N, and now looking at refreshing or adding capacity, are going for AC. One of the reasons for this is the price differentiator. When N was released, it was priced much higher to its predecessor, a/g. You don’t have that cost increase with AC. So at a minimal cost, you have a brand new standard, which is significantly faster and you are not paying an excessive premium to get to that point. Who do you think will be the early adopters of AC? Education certainly seems to have taken charge. You have a generation of students now that have only known Wi-Fi. You could give them an ethernet cable and they wouldn’t know what to do with it as they have connected only over Wi-Fi.  This has created an expectation. And six or seven years ago, you would budget for one device every five users but now you budget for five devices for every user. So education jumps into new technologies because they have major bandwidth challenges with Wi-Fi. The majority of connectivity is now over Wi-Fi and the demands are only increasing. Are you looking at putting the intelligence back into access points? We have always had the intelligence in the access points (AP). It has been the most key about our architecture. The way our architecture is that it has the controller and the AP. The controller is used to establish policy but the AP implements the policy. The AP controls the clients who are associated to it, for us it has always been a distributed environment, which is why we have always been able to hit the scales. We have highly intelligent access points. Exactly, how much intelligence you can put in there, you will start seeing in the next two years as we make strategic announcements about software that enables AP functionality, //

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Review

Hot products

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 A decent tablet that costs just a little bit too much. Since it was introduced earlier this year, Wi-Fi-only versions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 have come way down in price. You can pick one up for a little over Dh1,000 now, which makes it a seriously attractive contender to the first-generation iPad Mini. However, when it comes to the 3G version of the Note 8.0, prices are still relatively high, hovering round the Dh1,600 mark for 16GB of onboard storage. So with most of the features of a top-end Galaxy device, and 3G connectivity, is the price for this version justified?

On the face of it, the specs seem pretty impressive. You get a 1.6 GHz, quad-core Exynos processor and 2GB of RAM, meaning speed is no issue. You also get a 1,280 x 800 TFT touchscreen that delivers 189 pixels per inch. That might not sound a lot, and it’s nowhere near the Retina display quality that the new iPad Mini will offer, but it still bests the first-generation iPad Mini with ease. The Note 8.0 actually disappoints early on with its mid-range camera—a 5-megapixel unit on the back that’s nowhere near as good as what you get on the Galaxy S4 or the new Galaxy Note 3. What’s more, it won’t

record in Full HD. That said, on the front is a 1.3-megapixel camera, which is about standard for a tablet in this price bracket, so no complaints there. In terms of software, the Note 8.0 offers Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on top of Android Jelly Bean 4.1, and presumably there’ll be an update to the newest version of Android, Kit Kat, available soon. You also get a horde of pre-installed Samsung apps, some of which are more useful than others, but we’ll come to that later. And naturally, with this being a Galaxy Note device, you also get Samsung’s S Pen

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Review

stylus, which is easy to use, practical and responsive, and could actually be the main draw for Note 8.0 over its competitors. Those are the headlines, so let’s get into how the tablet performs. Design and build quality The Galaxy Note 8.0 is instantly recognisable as a Samsung device—it sports a physical home button at the bottom, plus two touch-sensitive buttons either side of it. In white, the device conveys an air of quality, thanks in no small part to the thick, plastic bezel around the screen. However, on the back, any presumptions of good build quality are lost. Yes, the rear cover is fixed in place, but it feels thin, tinny and plasticky, which is sort of unacceptable for a tablet in this price bracket—the original iPad Mini feels much better put together. That said, what the Note 8.0 lacks in quality it does make up for in convenience. This device is thin and light, and is the perfect size for reading e-books or long articles online. However, the screen isn’t quite big enough to provide an immersive video viewing experience, and because of all those plastics, the device is a little bit too slippery—it’s all too easy to accidently press the back or home buttons when browsing the Web, and that often results in having to reload the page all over again. That becomes frustrating, but no doubt a decent thirdparty protective cover would help in that department. On this version, you get 3G connectivity— there’s a slot for the SIM card in the back, and you can even make phone calls with the device. You’ll look completely idiotic if you do, though, so best stick to a handsfree set if you are planning to make calls with the Note 8.0. Be warned, though, the combination of on-the-go surfing and keeping the screen going drains the battery like no-one’s business. With heavy use, you’ll be lucky to get five hours out of one charge. Performance The Note 8.0’s performance specs fit nicely into the premium price bracket that it’s a part of. Benchmarking tests reveal altogether acceptable numbers, but put the device

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slightly below the Sony Xperia Tablet Z and the Google Nexus 10. Unfortunatley, our framerate test showed that the Note 8.0 delivers about half the framerate of a topend smartphone, again suggesting that this device isn’t a great option for consuming video content. Meanwhile, our SunSpider web browsing test returned a time of just 610 milliseconds, which is faster than pretty much anything out there—even the top-end iPad 4. This again makes the case for the Note 8.0 as more of a device for reading and browsing. Software Any newcomers to Android might be scared off by Samsung’s busy TouchWiz interface, but seasoned Samsung buyers should be happy enough with what they’re given. That said, as fans of Samsung products in general, we were still annoyed by the way that the apps are arranged on the home screens. With six columns available, it’s impossible to put widgets at the centre of the screen, meaning you have to position them slightly to one side. For anyone who likes a clean, organised home screen, it’s almost intolerable. Your only option to keep things symmetrical is to go down the iOS route and simply have all your apps sitting in rows—but then why wouldn’t you have an iPad? In terms of the apps that Samsung bundles with the Note 8.0, you might be unpleasantly surprised to find out that they

actually eat up 7GB of the available 16GB of storage—and that’s before you start downloading your own stuff. This makes it essential to expand the device’s storage with a microSD card, which seems like a lot to ask of a customer buying a premium device. That said, some of these pre-loaded apps do come in very handy, particularly ones that are linked with the S Pen stylus. Apps such as S Note, Paper Artist and S Planner turn the Note 8.0 into a reasonably productive interactive notepad, and the handwriting recognition function is actually pretty good. What’s also pretty good is the Multiwindow feature, which isn’t actually an app but it’s still very useful as it allows proper multi-tasking by showing you two apps on the screen. The 8-inch display is just about big enough to accommodate this, and you’ll be surprised by how much you use it. //

Verdict There doesn’t seem to be much of an argument for the 3G version of the Galaxy Note 8.0 over the Wi-Fi version, simply because it’s so much more expensive. At that price, you’d expect something much more closely aligned with the iPad Mini, but but that’s not what you get. Instead, you get a decent tablet that costs about Dh400 too much. The Wi-Fi version, however, is priced just right.

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lets create, disrupt & re-imagine together

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR SEE YOU NEXT YEAR 12-16 october 2014 lets create, disrupt & re-imagine together

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Hot products

Acer’s new 8-inch Iconia W4 Tablet R&M unveils Venus SCM Solution The Swiss structured cabling company, R&M, has introduced a range of highly versatile distributor boxes for fine distribution of fiber optics in the final meters to the customer’s cabling infrastructure. The Venus SCM boxes expand the R&Mfoxs FTTH range, which consists of standard cabling solutions for all network levels up to Fiber to the Home (FTTH). Easily fitted or retrofitted on site, the Venus SCM boxes can serve as platforms for splice and splitter cabling and for patch and CWDM cabling. Available in three sizes with packing density ranges from 144 to 864 splice connections or twelve to 192 patch connections, the splice area is equipped with the different SCM trays for fiber management. According to the company, this can be easily installed and removed. It says by using the Venus SCM boxes, network operators can easily multiply the utility of their networks. They can also build up seamless point-to-multipoint infrastructures (P2MP) or quickly increase the density of connections in a building or supply area. They are also suitable for loop cabling. Providing a minimum bending radius of 40 millimeters, it minimises attenuation losses in the fibers and facilitates easier handling during installation. That has a decisive effect on loss-free signal transmission over the long term, says the company.

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The new 8-inch Iconia W4 tablet from Acer is incorporated with IPS and Zero Air Gap. This provides consistent colours and reduces reflection and makes reading under sunlight easier. Equipped with Windows 8.1 and the fourth-generation Intel Atom processor, it performs faster and has a battery life up to 10 hours for web browsing and up to eight hours for video play back. Targeting active and professional users, it is compact to handle and large enough to view comfortably. It comes with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 pre-installed. The Iconia W4 features a 16:10 ratio with 1280 x 800 pixel resolutions, a 2MP 1080P front camera, and a 5MP rear camera with autofocus that supports 720p/1080p at 60 FPS/30 FPS respectively for great photos and videos. With the HDMI Micro port, it provides easy audio-video connections to an external display

for sharing content. It also has Micro USB for connecting to devices such as phones. The device comes with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, and also supports an additional 32GB of storage capacity through the microSD. Customers can also opt for accessories such as crunch keyboard, crunch cover, keyboard cover, protection film, responsive passive stylus, power bank, adaptor kit with bag, and Micro USB cable.

Lenovo launches multimode Yoga tablet Lenovo identified that users faced three challenges while using tablets—fatigue when holding and using the tablet, no self-supporting mechanism when laid on a flat surface and an inadequate viewing angle when set on a table. The answer to these came in the form of its latest launch, the Yoga tablet. Its three unique modes—hold, tilt and stand—gives users an improved way of using a tablet. This way the company says, the tablet adapts to the way people use it instead of vice versa. With 18 hours of battery life, the tablet is now easier to hold, just like holding magazines while reading and offers more control over the device. To convert it into the stand mode, rotate the side cylinder 90° so that the tablet stand deploys, allowing the tablet to stand by itself on a desk or table. Users can change the viewing angle to fit what’s comfortable for them from 110° to 135°. In tilt mode, the tablet can be laid down to type directly on it, play games or surf the net with

a better viewing angle. Other features include ability to charge other devices such as smartphones via its USB. The 10inch and 8-inch models run on MT8125 for WiFi models and MT8389 Quad Core processors for 3G models with 16 or 32 GB capacity and feature Android 4.2. Yoga tablet features high definition 1280 x 800 displays, a 5 MP auto focus rear camera plus an additional front camera, a micro SD expansion slot, allowing up to 64 GB of total storage, WiFi and optional 3G in select countries and a micro USB connection and Dolby DS1 for enhanced audio. Lenovo offers an optional bluetooth keyboard for the 10-in model that functions as a cover.

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HTC One max now in stores

HTC announced the launch of HTC One max—a 5.9-inch smartphone that reflects the design, functionality and performance of the HTC One for those who prefers big handsets. Debuting with HTC Sense 5.5, features such as fingerprint scan, HTC BlinkFeed,

HTC Zoe and HTC BoomSound, deliver a complete smartphone experience to the user. Powered with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor featuring a quad-core 1.7 GHz CPU, the full HD1080p display enhances the viewing quality. With the help of a microSD card slot, the 16GB or 32GB onboard memory can be expanded. And it also has an additional 50GB of free Google Drive online storage offered only to HTC One max. Available in glacial silver, the smartphone can undertake the highest level of performance thanks to the optional HTC Power Flip Case and 1150mAh battery expansion, which protects the phone. With 4MP Ultrapixel camera and a 2.1MP front-facing camera, the smartphone is apt for those customers looking at demanding performance on a large screen.

Canon introduces four new imageRunner Advance MFDs With the launch of the imageRunner Advance 4200 series, Canon Middle East concludes its line-up of second generation black-and-white imageRunner Advance multi-functional devices (MFD) Organisations can now address document handling challenges through the latest four A3 devices, which brings together fast, reliable output along with second generation imageRunner Advance capabilities. The key features of the series include universal login manager, mobile print and scan, access management system, searchable scan file formats and secure hard disk erase.

 Offering smarter integration, it provides a reliable output management and capture workflows. Document capture processes are further streamlined with the help of imageRunner Advance and uniFlow. It also provides a range of security solutions to address organisation’s data protection concerns. The option for sophisticated Data Loss Prevention (DLP) provides larger organisations and IT managers with control of document output and capture across their print fleet. Also it now has a large capacity of around 4,980 sheets, supporting large workloads.

Sony launches dual-SIM Xperia C in MEA Sony Mobile launched Xperia C—a dual SIM android smartphone designed to create better entertainment and imaging experience with a 1.2 GHz quadcore processor. It has 1GB RAM with 4GB internal storage, expandable by up to 32GB and functions on the Android 4.2, jelly bean operating system. The 5” HD display with a 540x960 pixel screen resolution offers crisp and sharp images. Equipped with an 8 MP camera with Exmor R, it allows one to take quality pictures even in poor light conditions. Its dedicated camera function can be used even from a locked screen and the HDR feature for photos captures natural colours in light condition. The self-portrait engine and intelligent voice-guide helps you to click a well-focused selfie. The dual SIM cards enable the users to keep professional and personal calls separate in a costefficient way and can easily switch between the two with just a touch. Other features include the intuitive scaling mechanism where it becomes easy to find a particular picture in the album, walkman app and one can also ‘throw’ content from a bluetooth smartphone to a WiFi-enabled TV through screen mirroring or DLNA.

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Sony Professional presents new projectors

Sony Professional launched three of its projectors—the 3LCD Laser Light Source Projector VPL-FHZ55, the 4k Home Cinema projector VPL-VW500ES and the Ultra-Short Throw projector VPL-SW536C recently. The new model, VPL-FHZ55 is a WUXGA-class (1920 x 1200) installation projector based on a blue laser light source. Capable of achieving 4,000 lumens, it delivers a range of performance capabilities that eliminate many issues associated with conventional lamp-based projection,

according to the company. The absence of a conventional lamp and mercury also makes 3LCD laser projectors maintenance-free and eco-friendly. The company’s 4K Home Cinema Projector, VPL-VW500ES is the latest edition to its existing line up of home cinema projectors. The company says, it demonstrates new levels of picture quality and perfection for home cinema viewing. And the third projector, the Interactive Ultra Short Throw S Series projectors incorporate new integration capabilities such as auto calibration, teaching features, video capture and video conferencing abilities, providing teachers and presenters the tool to deliver more engaging interactive presentations. The VPL-SW536C Ultra Short Throw Projector is ideal for small to medium-sized classrooms as well as meeting rooms.

Wacom showcases latest pressuresensitive stylus Wacom, a sensitive-pen provider in the global marketplace, showcased its latest innovation—the Intuos Creative Stylus. Ideal for those in creative industries, the pen offers a unique pressure-sensitive tip with 2048 pressure levels and is compatible with iPad 3, iPad 4, and iPad mini. The pen enables users to easily draw and visualise ideas. The company also showcased its Intuos Pro pen tablets, which encompass high-tech capabilities including intuitive multi-touch and fine precision. With professional software, the tablet is available in three sizes—Intuos PRO S,

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Intuos Pro M, and Intuos Pro L—leaving users spoilt for choice. Other general specifications of the Intuos Pro pen tablets include: USB, Wireless RF, Wacom Touch Technology—capable of detecting up to 10 fingers, and Pen Technology—cordless, battery-free pen.

Jean-Paul Gaultier mobile accessories arrive Bigben Interactive has signed a worldwide licence agreement with the Maison Jean-Paul Gaultier for the design and distribution of accessories for smartphones and tablets. The worldwide commercial launch of this Jean Paul Gaultier collection of accessories, announced at the IFA trade fair in Berlin, took place recently. The collection is comprised of five ranges of specific and universal protective cases, inspired by the brand’s iconic codes: the sailor stripe and the tin can. Through this new agreement, the Licensing Studio have added another name to its list of licences and cooperation, which already in particular includes the brands Swarovski Elements, Kenzo and QuicksilverRoxy. The objective is to pursue the development of partnerships with major international brands, said Bigben.

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Second-quarter results

Reseller Middle East’s assistant editor offers her thoughts on the Middle Eastern technology channel.

Channel surfing

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GITEX reminiscences I’d only spent three weeks in the UAE, and suddenly I’d come face-to-face with the magnitude GITEX, the only event I’ve been to that can wear out your walking shoes in five days. Despite being as ready as I could be, the pre-GITEX counsel and caution doesn’t really prepare you for this mad hatter of an event some things you simply have to experience to know. But all said and done, it was as enlightening as it was entertaining. I imagine that most of you must be in the post-GITEX, laid-back frame of mind. If you’re not, never mind – the holiday season is just around the corner! Either way, it is a good time to sit back and take a few minutes out to reflect on some GITEX take-aways. What I found most interesting about the ICT event is the sense of how the market was ready to gear up and march ahead. But the two underlying themes that really stuck with me after the show were security solutions and education. Enterprise customers are now more conscious of the risks it is susceptible to, when it comes to information and data. As the threats have increased in the different parts of the region

over the last few years, a prevention-is-betterthan-cure approach is being taken by most organisations. This in turn has created immense opportunities for the channel players. However, the major challenge the channel faces is people movement. A lot of time and investment goes into training partners because the business can be leveraged only through them. But the only answer to this might be ensuring all the stakeholders of the business are satisfied, being a step ahead and foreseeing the challenges. This way, there is time to implement contingency measures. Today, customers are willing to make that added investment just on security because, as businesses grow into large conglomerates, the need for secure networks will be greater. Security solutions will need to be easily deployable and designed in a manner that requires minimum time to understand but a maximum time to be effective. When it comes to education, today, a few major players offer solutions to provide education in a safe environment, or else to deliver quality education in interactive ways or to enable learning even when on the go. These solutions could be of big support to teachers and students alike. It is definitely a nascent market and something that the channel should be looking at cashing in on. Identifying newer market segments like healthcare could also be a way to go ahead. Creating opportunities in spaces where there was none is the call of tomorrow. And I must admit, after GITEX, normal life just doesn’t seem to have the same kind of dynamism to it. But I am looking forward to being in touch with you as I begin this exciting journey into the world of the channel.

Janees Reghelini, Assistant Editor, Reseller ME

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Reseller Middle East November 2013