At CONTEXT we’re constantly striving to bring insight and actionable market intelligence to the IT channel. Over the past three decades that central mission has seen us expand into 16 Western European countries, and even further afield: to Russia, Dubai, Japan and Brazil. We’re delighted to be taking the next step of our journey in South America by launching the first ever distributor panel in Argentina. It’s been a tough year for the channel there so far, but this is an opportune moment to offer CONTEXT’s unique market analysis, so that channel organisations can make crucial business decisions with greater confidence going forward. Continue reading
Category Archives: Uncategorized
On 18th July a new forum for the channel in Italy called #DISTRICT was inaugurated in the trendy and recently renovated tech district of Milan – the initiator was G11 Media and Channel City, who invited CONTEXT to present our reseller and channel research and use the occasion to announce the distributor of the year awards for 2018.
Italy is the country, from our recent research, where resellers most like coming together at events. So in the Italian business culture it is clearly important for people to engage with each other, and keep up to date with the latest trends. The brains behind this new format, Marco Maria Lorusso, made it clear that the topics would be current, relevant, presented by experts, short in duration and long on exchange.
With that as the set-up, there was a clear hunger at the evening’s session to learn about what resellers are thinking through the results of the ChannelWatch survey. Italy is a model of engagement between distributors and resellers – it is the major European country where the participating distributors managed to achieve the highest number of reseller responses to the ChannelWatch survey – an impressive 1,610 responses. The distributors emphasised their interest in resellers expressing their voice. In a world as fragmented as the reseller community, it is important to have such opportunities, and in CONTEXT we are keen to develop the involvement of both distributor and reseller communities in all countries in this process of articulating what resellers are doing and thinking.
The results of the survey have been sent to the Italian distributors who participated in the survey – without their support it would not be possible to gain such powerful traction in the market, and we are grateful to them for this. The full ChannelWatch report will be published in early September and will be available for sale to all those interested in using this process to understand and engage with resellers in the technology industry.
Here is a link to the keynote given by Adam Simon, Global Managing Director of CONTEXT, at the evening on 18th July for those who want to have a sneak preview of the results!
The smart home is gaining momentum across Europe, but there’s still much to do. That’s why the work of the Smart Homes & Buildings Association (SH&BA) is so important. We provide a place for business to showcase their systems, devices, products and services, and a much-needed forum for all smart home stakeholders to share their experiences and discuss ways to overcome the hurdles facing us.
At the heart of these challenges lies interoperability, which to an extent is still proving a stubborn barrier to the kind of integrated smart home experience we all want to see.
A unified experience
At our fourth bi-annual retail and manufacturer panel meeting recently, stakeholders from across the smart home landscape converged on the offices of Avensys, where we were shown around the IoT specialist’s impressive facilities. The firm’s several showrooms, open to all members of the public, really demonstrate the potential in the smart home to change the way we live. The largest space combines kitchen, living-room, bathroom, dining-room and second living-room, each showing off different technologies but giving a sense of a unified smart home.
We agreed that a model which works together efficiently holds most potential for the mass market, rather than the kind of plug-and-play mix of individual products which meet very specific needs but can fail to resonate overall.
However, the problem still remains that many products don’t talk to each other, making the unified smart home experience a pipe dream for most consumers.
Starting from scratch
One cause for optimism for the future comes from the new build space. Mark Swift, founder of Home Hub installations, told us his firm has gone from cabling two houses per month to 200, and is about to sign a deal for 14,000 houses in the next year. Many of these are integrating the open SmartThings platform, promising a unified experience for the buildings once completed.
Partnerships are of course key to driving this vision of the integrated smart home. On a bigger scale, Amazon’s recent tie-up with Lennar Homes, the second largest housebuilder in the US, also offers grounds for optimism. We also heard how the IET is currently producing guidance for electricians on smart home installation, which will help drive progress in this space.
While interoperability is a big success factor for the smart home, there are others. Consumers also need to trust in the retailers and brands they’re investing in, and be assured that the tech they buy will last long into the future. As an industry, we also need to ensure that consumers are informed about the potential cyber-related risks associated with the smart home and how to manage them. SH&BA produced guidance around this in November 2015 and we’re looking to the industry to get proactive in this area.
Helping us to shape the future of the smart home going forward will be a new SH&BA initiative: the Smart Home Young Leaders’ Forum. This cross-industry group will seek to better understand the different ways that young professionals under 35 years of age who work in the smart home industry are engaging with technology in order to help companies transition from old to new smart home technologies. We’re looking forward to seeing what it can achieve, because the smart home will only succeed if we continue to build out these networks, partnerships and interconnections. The first meeting of the Young Leaders’ Forum will take place at IFA in Berlin on 3rd September at 4pm. All details can be found in the link to the event – To find out more click SH&BA YOUNG LEADERS’ FORUM @ IFA – REGISTRATION LINK
Following Microsoft’s exit from the mobile OS market, Google and Apple are clearly dominating this space but for how long?
We have seen various attempts to break this duopole already: Tyzen, Salefish, Ubuntu – to name just a few. All of these attempts failed. However, it may be possible that Huawei or Tencent will change this. Tencent owns WeChat, a Chinese analogue of Telegram and Whatsapp and the company is now expanding to Russia.
WeChat in China has many features unknown to users outside of China. For example, while in Europe operators, Apple and Google are making first steps in the mobile payment systems, WeChat in China has had this feature for a number of years now. WeChat also features many other OS functions and, as announced last year, Tencent plans to expand these even more, which could be a concern for Facebook and Google. Essentially, WeChat could substitute Android by taking over all of its functions and apps. So this makes WeChat nearly an OS but Tencent is missing the hardware platform.
Now to Huawei. In recent years Huawei became a globally recognised Smartphone vendor. The key feature is Kirin – Huawei’s own processor. The only missing jigsaw piece is the OS. With nearly 2 billion users alone in China, Huawei can afford to have its own operating system. Add to this the fact that Google Store doesn’t work in China which makes for a unique experience of managing apps without Google.
Finally, Tencent and Huawei could join forces to enter the mobile OS battle. And if they do – we will be monitoring this space closely.
At CONTEXT we’ve seen consumer awareness of smart home products across Europe slowly start to take off over the past 18 months. That’s why the launch into the market of Wi-Fi Mesh systems last year seemed like a smart move, designed as they are to enhance Wi-Fi coverage for internet-connected gadgets around the home.
However, this hasn’t quite proven to be the case. It’s not the consumer but the corporate space which appears to be showing most interest. Continue reading
There’s a certain amount of buzz around 3D printers again at the moment, and with some justification. The global market reached $5.6bn in 2017, an increase of 16% from the previous year with the market now seeing household company names like HP and GE driving sales, competition and innovation. But what is the next major step for this technology and for its paradigm-changing potential? Is the much-touted move into mass production a reality yet, or is it a classic example of hype and speculation masking reality? Continue reading
Distribution is dead? The provocative catch phrase spoken by CEO of the GTDC – Tim Curran in his opening speech at the recent inaugural GTDC APAC meeting in Singapore.
It was clear by the end of Tim’s presentation that the state of distribution is quite the contrary and that distribution is thriving more than ever before. He spoke of the continued acceleration in the advancement of technology, the shift towards Cloud and the as-a-service model bringing with it annuity income and a host of different opportunities; that value-added services now define distribution and simple box moving is not enough anymore. It was like a group of paparazzi had descended on the room when Tim presented his slide on over 42 value added services that distributors can and should have in their repertoire.
The event was attended by senior executives from major regional distributors including: SiS, Innovix, Ingram Micro, Westcon-Comstor, TechData, Arrow ECS, Synnex & Compuage Infocom with many of the top Vendor brands present there too. There was no shortage of discussions, interest and a willingness to learn and share information and experiences.
I think that most attending would agree that the panel discussion hosted by Peter van den Berg (GM GTDC EMEA & APAC) was a highlight, senior executives from Compuage Infocom, Huawei, Ingram Micro, Red Hat and Westcon-Comstor commented on the most common misunderstandings between distributors and vendors and how to minimize pain points.
The group’s agreement covered the following important points:
- The Enterprise space is growing at a rapid rate and vendors are asking distribution to do more,
- End point device distribution is still important but more so the pre-sales, post-sales and training offerings provided,
- The 2-tier distribution model is under immense pressure and traditional IT resellers need to adapt to survive – therefore enablement & training is key whilst also looking to new partners and how to better serve them.
It was the first GTDC APAC summit – CONTEXT is proud to have been associated with the event, and we look forward to many more, and to the growth of the GTDC presence in this region.