Tag Archives: technology

IT Channel in Rude Health as Distribution Grows 5% YoY in 1H 2018

The IT Channel has had a strong start to the year with a combined H1 18 YoY growth rate in distribution of 5.1% and resellers in most countries more optimistic about the coming 12 months than they were a year ago, according to CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Our much-anticipated ChannelWatch 2018 report is compiled from interviews with a representative sample of over 7,000 resellers to provide key insight into market trends and channel priorities across 14 countries: Australia/New Zealand, Baltics, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.

It found that all countries are in growth this year following a slight decline in H2 2017 where year-on-year (YoY) growth was 4.6%. Some markets have expanded at a rapid double-digit YoY growth rate in 2018 including Russia (21.7%) and Portugal (10.2%).

The majority (63%) are optimistic about business in the next 12 months, with just 10% believing they’ll be worse off and less than a third believing things will stay the same. Only Germany, Poland, Slovakia and the UK are less positive about the next 12 months than when they were polled in 2017, with the latter’s pessimism likely to be linked to Brexit uncertainty.

Portugal, Spain, Australia/New Zealand and Baltics were the most optimistic countries.

The number of resellers has also stabilised: after a decline of 3% noted last year, the YoY drop this report was a near negligible 0.3%. It’s also a mature market, with nearly half (49%) of those companies surveyed being over 15-years-old and just 14% less than five years-old.

Business services was named by the largest number of resellers (14%) as accounting for over a quarter of sales and the vertical they expect most growth in this year. It’s number one in six out of 13 countries, although retail tops the list in Eastern Europe (Baltics, Poland, and Slovakia) and Turkey while manufacturing is the pre-eminent vertical in Germany, the UK and Russia.

by AS

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Listening to the voice of IT resellers – the latest annual ChannelWatch Report

Each year CONTEXT listens to IT resellers to learn where they are and what they are looking for – where they are investing for growth, what they look for from distributors and vendors, and what they are doing to assure their future role in the IT industry. This is a vital, but difficult exercise given the diffuse nature of the channel.

The work of analysing these multiple voices is translated into our annual ChannelWatch report, a much-anticipated online survey providing detailed insight into reseller behaviour, opinions and attitudes. Offering a “bottom-up” view of evolving market trends and insight into the business issues experienced at the IT coal face, it’s a must-read for suppliers and distributors looking to consolidate, optimise and improve their indirect selling strategies, and complements the highest quality sales and pricing data at every point in the supply chain.

The story so far
The big picture is that the IT distribution market in 2018 appears to be in relatively good health. All of the 13 countries covered in the study saw positive year-on-year (YoY) growth in the first half of 2018, with a combined YoY growth rate of 5.1%. This compares to the previous six months in which some countries including the UK and Turkey slipped into negative growth.

From a reseller perspective growth is dominated by services and more firms are looking to adoption of new technologies in categories like security software, 3D printing and Smart Home. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also loomed large in the first half of the year for many players as the channel scrabbled to recalibrate internal operations to comply with the strict new EU legislation. However, it also offered opportunities for growth in a related category – security software.

That’s not to say the IT channel isn’t without its share of challenges, and resellers have been candid in their responses throughout the report. The main message for distributors is that their partners would like to see more support and training. This is especially true of smaller resellers who feel like their distributors are focusing perhaps a little too much on their larger clients.

More insight to come
This is just a very small snapshot of the insight and trends you can find in CONTEXT ChannelWatch 2018. Our interview sample of over 7,000 resellers covers the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Turkey, and Australia/New Zealand.

New for this year is the addition of CONTEXT reseller metrics to complement and enhance the survey responses, in order to provide an even more accurate picture of what’s going on. You’ll also find insight into specific trends such as the emergence of etailers as distributors, granular detail into which cloud services are proving most popular, and vendor channel marketing programmes.

If you’re looking to deepen your understanding of the IT market to aid decision-making and improve performance and growth, stay tuned as we launch the report in the weeks to come.

by AS

 

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Validate – don’t just boast about – your customer or company credentials

Companies know that what customers, prospects and future employees trust most, is peer validation. But only leaders and innovators are using the latest technology and social media methods to obtain that validation. Continue reading

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Italy: a model of engagement between distributors and resellers

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!

by IA

 

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Plotting the Future of the Smart Home

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.

Looking ahead
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

by AS

 

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Filed under Connectivity, Market Analysis, Smart Home, Smart Technology, Uncategorized

Dubai Leads the Way as Middle East 5G Adoption Plans Grow

Like many regions encumbered with limited fixed broadband infrastructure, the Middle East is increasingly using mobile connectivity to drive adoption of advanced internet-based services. Among the many wealthy Gulf states looking to take the next step with 5G, the UAE and Dubai in particular stand out. Local provider du recently announced its first 5G network will land as early as this year. Continue reading

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The smart home opportunity in Spain – reflections from the AECOC TCG Congress

“We prefer to stay outdoors.” Some cultural norms will never change, and locking up a Spaniard in his own high-tech smart home, the new digital castle for an Englishman, is not intrinsically attractive. “You have to understand that we like to go out, socialise, see our friends, and do not invest so much in our homes as you do in the UK.”

So is there a future for smart home in Spain? Continue reading

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Filed under Connectivity, Market Analysis, Retail, Smart Home