Tag Archives: Samsung

Thoughts on HP Samsung acquisition

Last month, HP Inc. formally announced its acquisition of Samsung’s printer business in a deal valued at $1.05B – the largest in its history – bringing in 6,500 printing patents, over 1,300 engineers and researchers worldwide, as well as numerous channel partners. The acquisition is expected to be closed within a year, after which Samsung agreed to invest in HP through open market equity purchases of between $100m and $300m.

Their stated ambition? Disruption of the $55B Copier Segment.

But why now? To summarise, as the printed page continues to decline in an era of digitised private and professional communication, printer vendors are fighting it out to sustain revenues and market share. One major opportunity to do so resides in the contractual business space, which holds the promise of additional, ongoing revenues from the sale of supplies and services.

Will it work? Both Samsung and HP have failed in the past to make much headway in a market currently dominated by Xerox, Ricoh, Canon and Konica Minolta. With its acquisition however, HP appears to be in a particularly strong position to accelerate its efforts to crack the copier dealer channel, gain market share, and grow its contractual managed print business.

Indeed, combining Samsung’s A3 know how with its own proprietary technology, HP Inc. is confident that they have a strong value proposition and strategy in place to disturb the copier market space. Its new A3 LaserJet and Page Wide printers mount a comprehensive challenge to A3 incumbents: plugging the gaps in its portfolio, and offering reduced cost per page, affordable colour printing, as well as lower servicing costs for partners.

This being said, these are still early days. Certainly, HP Inc.’s strategy is appropriate, and their offering meets market demands. It is hard however to predict how the channel and HP Inc.’s competitors will respond, and the extent to which they will be able to effectively leverage Samsung’s technology, people, and channel partnerships – a space therefore to watch closely.

by ZB

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The future of the Smart Home is wearable

Smart watches are getting smarter. A second-generation swathe on display at IFA last month gracefully made the point. Swankily strapped, slimmed down and circular, they are starting to look less and less like their geeky forebears, and more like something I might wear one day. This of course is aided by slowly but surely lengthening battery lives and an increasingly diversified set of offerings and prices.

However, aesthetics, price and endurance – no matter how improved – will mean little to me and millions of other consumers until the IoT potential of smart watches is truly unlocked.

Devices and technologies exhibited at IFA didn’t disappoint on this front either. Walking into the LG Smart Home demonstration, our hostess brought her futuristic abode to life by informing her LG Watch Urbane that she was “coming home” which put on the lights, air con and speakers. “Going out” brought the house to a standstill again. Meanwhile, Withings demonstrated the integration of its Home IP Camera with the Apple Watch that allows you to track your household activities from your wrist.

Both of these use-case scenarios hint at the broader potential of smart watches – as the ideal nexus between the smart home and the smart person.

Although the smartphone has been touted as the hub of choice in an increasingly connected world, a case can be made for the smart watch as an ideal mediator in its own right; always body-borne, voice-command ready and motion-detection capable, the smart watch is potentially a much more intuitive and natural way to interact with the smart home.

No surprise then that in our Smart Home Survey, smart watch owners were the most likely to buy a smart home product in the near future – not just a reflection of their early adopter status, but also of the growing recognition that their existing purchases have more value integrated into their own Internet of Things (IoT).

Indeed, in the world of IoT, each individual object’s utility is a function of the network effects between dozens of other interacting things. Smart-home appliances will have more value thanks to the context provided by smart watches – and vice versa. Such a convergence will enable an ever-smarter smart home that pre-empts the needs of its occupants rather than passively responding to their commands.

This theme was highlighted in our very own CONTEXT Retail CEO Breakfast at IFA, where David Bailey, VP of Global Retail Development at SmartThings, argued that it is key to communicate not just what consumers can “do with” the new technology but, more importantly, what the technology can “do for” them.

by TG



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Filed under Connectivity, Home automation, IoT, Mobile technology, Retail in CONTEXT, Smart Home, Smart Technology, Wearables

Get Connected for the Smart Channels Summit, DISTREE EMEA, 26 February 2015

We have to win the hearts, the minds and budgets of consumers

Winning the hearts, the minds and budgets of consumers will be key for Retailers looking to succeed in Smart Channels. Currently only 5% of consumers know where to buy a Smart product, according to a study quoted by Hans Carpels at the CEO Retail breakfast in Las Vegas last month. Retailers will need to apply savvy strategies to capture consumers against a backdrop of a number of players looking to gain market share in a market increasingly targeted by home improvement companies, IT vendors, big-data driven insurance companies and smart home technologies.

The opportunities are huge: At the IFA last autumn, Jeremy Rifkin said that we are moving from a world of 13 billion sensors today to one that will use 100 trillion by 2030.

Hosted by CONTEXT, the Smart Channels Summit, held at DISTREE EMEA on 26 February,  will explore six themes to capture Wearables, Connected products and Internet of Things (IoT):

  • Educate the consumer: Stéphane Bohbot shares the role of LICK stores’ associates as coaches, helping consumers understand this new world of Smart possibilities
  • Make the ICT Retail channel attractiveJohn Olsen demonstrates EURONICS approach and Vincent Slevin will show ways that Samsung provides enhanced customer experience through its Retail solutions. After the recent launch of the first private-label 3D printer from Auchan, Flavien Dhellemmes asks if Retailers can go faster by investing in private label
  • Keep hold of your customers: with so many new forms of competition, a Smart hub solution like the Iris adopted by Lowe’s in the US, will be presented by Jean-Claude Kiessling from Qivicon (Deutsche Telekom)
  • Make service a differentiating factor: Join the discussion with three key Retail experts, and other panel speakers 
  • Pick winning products and categories: D-Link’s Smart portfolio from Luigi Salmoiraghi, and the collaborations he needs with Retailers to make Smart Homes a reality. Fred Brown, well-known to attendees of DISTREE conferences as the host of FRESH (an introduction to the latest, most innovative products), will share his expertise on identifying winning new technology products
  • Make it easy for consumers with a long-term and interoperable technology offering: expert guidance given by Benoit Van Den Bulcke, and we will hear about the AllSeen Alliance from EURONICS.

This rich panel of speakers has been brought together by CONTEXT as part of what we call #newretailthinking – the ability to find new models and new formats in the old world of ICT Retail. CONTEXT will provide insight into best practices from across the world, and will chair this summit. We look forward to connecting with you there!

Join us at the Smart Channels Summit DISTREE EMEA, Monaco on 26 February 2015.

Meet with fellow ICT Retail professionals to focus on how the Retail channel will evolve to deliver smart technologies, solutions and services to consumers.

The session, hosted by CONTEXT, is entitled: “Smart Channels: Retailing Connected Devices, Wearables and Internet of Things (IoT).”

To register your interest simply visit: http://www.contextworld.com/en/smart-channels-summit1 or contact me,  Adam Simon, Global Managing Director, Retail Business Development asimon@contextworld.com

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Apple results break world record for sales. So how did they do it? And what does it mean for the market?

On 27 January 2015, Apple made the most significant announcement in their history post-Steve Jobs: they are the most profitable company, EVER!

So how did they do it? And what does it mean for the market?

We have always assumed that when Apple launched a product, it created the market. But, in most cases, the markets already existed.

From the first computer to the iPod and the iPhone, there were a number of start-up companies, and some larger ones, already operating in these segments.  Apple’s typical business model is to set out to redefine the segment, regardless. Consequently, through clever marketing and positioning, consumers think that segment has always belonged to Apple. Take the iPod, for example.  At the start, household brands such as Sony owned the market for portable music players. For mobile phones, it was Nokia. The portable organiser market was more fragmented with no real leader. Seeing their opportunity, Apple introduced the iPad, securing dominance that would then strengthen their position over the other two markets.

The last 18 months have not been easy for Apple. Samsung have taken the lead in the smartphone segment and various Intellectual Property battles have taken the shine off their offering. But with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, they’ve set about redefining the large-screen smartphone market and have succeeded in an instant, as highlighted by the staggering results in the first quarter following the product launch.

So what might be in store over the next three years, particularly in the current hot area of wearables and Connected Home?

Before addressing this market, Apple needed a sales boost in their sweet-spot smartphone segment thanks to the iPhone 6; to regain share and show the world that they can and will own the market again when it comes to user experience and apps. This is particularly relevant as tablet and smartphone sales are posting a reduction whereas apps sales are seeing a significant growth and are an increasing source of profit. The iPhone 6 is laying the path for the Apple Watch, which is due for launch in April and will be a significant product for the company. Why? Because it allows Apple to remain close to their users, either in the pocket or now the wrist, and track key user behaviours, but more essentially provide the platform that will allow consumers to make payments and interact with technology, particularly home appliances and cars. They have already launched Apple Pay, a payments method which is now rolling out as more merchants embrace the new technology. On the B2B side, Apple is partnering with IBM, the latter very eager to focus on software around big data, social and mobile whilst at the same time shedding their server hardware business to Lenovo.

But what about the consumer interaction with “Things”?

The Internet Of Things is clearly an arena in which Apple will be a big player in the future amongst other such as Cisco, who are keen to justify their dominance in Networking. They are working on their Connected Home developer kit, HomeKit, which should launch in April, perhaps even at the same time as the Apple Watch. There are already plenty of players in those two segments, both start-ups and very big brands such as Google (via Nest/Revolve) and Samsung (SmartThings), but we should expect Apple to redefine the segments too. If this does not happen from launch, Apple will quickly correct it, making all their profit work towards success.

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New products, new formats, old world

This year CONTEXT is hosting a breakfast at the CES show in Las Vegas. Our objective is to give a voice at CES where senior players can examine the issues which retailers are facing in Europe as we go into 2015. We have ICT retailers from Dixons, Boulanger, Auchan, Mondadori as well as the CEO’s of Darty, Euronics, Lick and Bimeks, and senior representatives from vendors and distributors such as Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, AMD, Netgear, Webroot, the GTDC and Esprinet.

The old continent is divided – there are continued risks to euro integrity, the latest being the threat of Greece reneging on its agreements; UK growth vs Eurozone stagnation; the threat of deflation in France which has been recorded for the first time since modern records began; and the cutting off of Russia – not many Russians will be expected this year at CES. What does 2015 hold for ICT retailers and for the European economy as a whole? There are two encouraging macro-economic trends – the collapse in the oil price puts more money in consumers’ pockets and the QE being engaged by the ECB for the first time will stimulate growth. But overall economic prospects in Europe show a fragile recovery.

Against this environment traditional ICT retailers face well documented threats – the growth of etailers such as Amazon and Ebay, the development of ecosystems in which they play a small role, such as Apple and Google, and the new threat posed by vendors themselves as they engage directly with end customers in a world of connected products.

Régis Schultz, Darty CEO will address the CES breakfast and maintain that unless retailers step up and deliver high value service to their customers, they will no longer serve any useful purpose. Retailers must reclaim customer relationships which are their lifeblood and which are at risk.

The Darty solution has been to advance unique service solutions. Schultz will talk about the innovative Darty button – it is a physical button which links to your wifi and smartphone, and is only available if you have a service contract. You press it and are put in direct contact with Darty service engineers 24/7. “Unless a product has a service opportunity we are not interested in it, for example we only sell Nest thermostats in a bundle with the installation performed by our engineers.” A 100% attach rate is a decision which Darty has taken even if they may lose some deals to consumers who want to instal themselves.

Hans Carpels, the President of Euronics, the 2nd largest retailer in Europe with a consolidated turnover of 17.6 billion euros, will deliver a message about his view of the European technology market in 2015. He is uniquely placed being at the head of a retailer with a presence in 30 countries spread across North, South, East and West Europe.

The old world of Europe is coming up with innovative ways to sell new products in new formats, and which will be explored at the breakfast. If you are interested in attending the Retail CEO breakfast, please contact Adam Simon, Managing Director of Retail at CONTEXT on asimon@contextworld.com

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Fair weather for Dixons Carphone

First Comet went, then Carphone Warehouse and now Phones4U – the barometer looks set to “fair” for Dixons Carphone, who are the beneficiaries and possibly the causes of whatever is the opposite of a perfect storm.

The sun has been shining on the mobile phone industry with fat margins and plentiful growth opportunities but the Phones4U demise shows a new reality – of markets with less growth potential, and where the operators cannot afford to dilute their margins as they did before. Phones are being commoditised like PCs and so there are warning signs for all specialist retailers.

The merger logic for Dixons was always clear but never for Carphone Warehouse – were they aware of the operators’ intentions and is this why they opted to go with Dixons?

The current situation is good for Dixons Carphone but here are three things to think about in the longer term:

  • Firstly no retailer should be complacent about relying on the support of any telecom operator – their ability to go it alone is proven with their own retail stores.
  • Second, retailers should be wary of subcontracting out their space to powerful vendors – those who opt for store-in-store like Best Buy in the US and have given acres of space to Samsung and Apple, live with the risk of similar nasty endings to their relationships. Then they would have to find substitute and potentially B vendors to fill all the spaces.
  • Thirdly, the future lies in creating a full-service retail store, so it is vital that Dixons learns from Carphone and maintains a service oriented culture for mobile phone sales. As margins shrink on mobile phones, so the temptation will be to cut down service and that will be a costly error.

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Apple and IBM: clever move or desperation?

My grandmother always told me that if I couldn’t say anything nice about someone, then it was better to say nothing.

OK… so let’s talk about Apple and IBM’s announcement on July 15th. It was a surprise. Two completely different companies uniting behind a common goal, to bring mobile business applications into the enterprise. And at first sight it makes sense: IBM is big in enterprise, Apple is king of the mobile consumer and so far has shied away for mixing it with Microsoft to gain a foothold in the mobile office. Combine the two and, hey presto, the best of mobility is now acceptable to enterprise CIO’s who otherwise might have followed the inevitable Microsoft path.

That, as my grandmother would say, is neither a nice nor awful thing to say. But what do the numbers say? CONTEXT tracks sales through Distributors throughout Europe. Their customers are the resellers who serve businesses who are the primary target of the Apple and IBM alliance. In the second quarter of 2013, from the €10.4bn of total revenues tracked, Apple accounted for 7% and IBM 6%. By the second quarter of 2014, that had changed to 9% and 5% respectively. Not much in it, you could say. But look at what’s changing in the ecosystems. Over the same period, iOS share of the tablet business went from 38% to 29%, while Android share went from 60% to 68%. Even Microsoft’s Win 8.1 increased, albeit slightly. Samsung’s share of Distributor revenues over the same period went from 9% to 7%. And that’s the point. The relentless march of Android bolstered by a myriad of devices and a champion with deep pockets, and not yet conquered by Microsoft, is threatening Apple’s position and could scupper IBM’s Mobile First programme.

So it’s a great idea. Google, Microsoft: watch out. My grandmother would have been proud of me.

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Intel recruits Staples marketing manager – Jeremy Davies, CONTEXT CEO asks, so what will that mean?

I never really got on board with the “Intel Inside” campaign. I couldn’t understand why anyone would (a) worry and (b) least of all even want to know what was inside their PC, apart form die-hard techies with the same knowledge requirements as train-spotters or gaming nerds. Do I need to know that I have a Siemens electric motor inside my Bosch washing machine? Or that my Mini diesel engine is also used in a Peugot? (Are you sure?- ed) Did I ever care what powered my Nokia 6210? No. Provided it did the job, and did it well without breaking down, that was all that mattered.

Like many others, however, I went along with it, spell-bound by the amount of effort, money and energy that went into that famous da-da-da-dah jingle after every PC ad on the telly, and watched as Intel spent millions and millions of dollars on convincing us that to have a really useful PC, it had to have Intel bits and bobs inside it. However, I never figured out how to benefit financially from the promotion, unlike thousands and thousands of resellers, retailers and manufacturers all of who were quite willing to take Intel’s money if all it meant was a logo in a shop front or a sticker on your PC.

But, as the song says, times they are a-changing, and no matter how much Intel tries today to convince punters that having Intel guts is a good thing, it really just doesn’t resonate any more. In 2013, Intel was number nine on consulting firm Interbrand’s global ranking, down from number seven in 2011. And what more proof than recognition by Intel themselves that the Intel Inside story has run its course, with marketing VPs departing and marketing staff leaving in droves, and now a new marketing head. But you have to ask: what can a guy from Staples do? What is the thinking behind hiring a consumer IT marketing person to spearhead new thinking at a company that makes innards for computers, especially with the consumer PC market in the dumps and everyone buying Apple and Samsung tablets? Honestly, I don’t see why Intel has to do any marketing other than the occasional prestige ad in The Economist or Financial Times like GE does with its aero engines. Intel makes good bits for IT devices – full stop. It’s that simple.

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