Author: Andrea Petrou

Gartner predicts mobile payment will rocket

crystalWorldwide mobile payment transaction values will rocket this year according to Gartner, which predicts these transactions will hit $235.4 billion in 2013 – a 44 percent boost from $163.1 billion in 2012.

The number of mobile payment users worldwide will reach 245.2 million in 2013, up from 200.8 million in 2012, according to the research.

Sandy Shen, research director, Gartner, said the company expected global mobile transaction volume and value to average 35 percent annual growth between 2012 and 2017. He added the company was forecasting a market worth $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017.

Despite this, the company had lowered the forecast of total transaction value “due to lower-than-expected growth in 2012, especially in North America and Africa”.

Near Field Communications’ (NFC’s) transaction value has also been slashed with a reduction of 40 percent throughout the forecast period. Gartner said this is thanks to disappointing adoption of NFC technology in all markets in 2012, and the fact that some high-profile services, such as Google Wallet and Isis, struggled to gain traction.

Gartner predicts NFC will account for just two percent of total transaction value in 2013 and five percent of the total transaction value in 2017. However, growth is expected to increase from 2016 when the penetration of NFC mobile phones and contactless readers increases.

Money transfers and merchandise purchases will account for about 71 percent and 21 percent of total transaction value in 2013, respectively, making them by far the largest contributors. Worldwide, people are not purchasing as much because the buying experience on mobile devices has yet to be fully optimised, though the economic situation must count for something too.

People are spending less using mobile devices than through online e-commerce services and at retail outlets. Merchandise purchases account for about 23 percent of the total value forecast for 2017, Gartner said.

Bill payment value should grow 44 percent in 2013 and maintain consistent growth through the forecast period. Gartner said this is thanks to higher value per transaction figures, as more consumers in developed markets performed bill payments using mobile banking services – along with consumers in emerging markets who are transacting at higher values than originally forecast.

Western Europe’s transaction value is expected to reach $29 billion in 2013, up from $19 billion in 2012.

Avnet exits MEA market

avnettsAvnet has confirmed that it’s pulling its operations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

The distie has said that it made the decision after a review of the business concluded that it was  “unlikely to make the necessary returns needed to meet [its] strategic goals in the short- or mid-term.”

In a statement the company said the that the “difficult” decision would not impact the computer components and integrated solutions business which continue to support key partners in the region.

However it pointed out that it had to make the moves and take the action to realign resources from underperforming businesses to areas that can deliver strong performance for Avnet, its suppliers and partners.

Avnet also claimed its immediate priorities were to ensure that it provided the necessary support to its employees throughout this process and to fully assist its supplier and business partners as we manage our exit from this market.

“Our decision to exit this region will have no impact on the independently operating Avnet Electronics Marketing business in the region, specifically South Africa and Israel,” the statement said.

Ingram Micro signs Jabra deal Down Under

IMIngram Micro has had gained another client Down Under, signing on the dotted line with communications company Jabra.

As part of the partnership Ingram Micro will be responsible for distributing the company’s range of call centre and office products within the Australian and New Zealand market.

This includes the recently launched Jabra Motion, which is designed to suit mobile workers with an everyday need for audio conferencing or hands-free calls, in the car or at home using smart devices.

Jabra says that Asia-Pacific is one of its fastest growing markets for unified communications products. It said it was critical for it to establish strong relationships with distributors across A/NZ that could add significant value to its proposition.

The company believes that its collaboration with Ingram Micro will also be beneficial in reaching a larger reseller database and in particular Cisco channels.

The company has also extended its support to its partner network with a launch of the Jabra Business Tool, an iPad sales app, which provides information on Jabra’s business services.

Sato after more channel partners

SATO PPP logoSato has said it wants to expand its channel opportunities across Europe.

The barcode printing, labelling and EPC/RFID company has announced that it will be expanding and developing its Business Partner network across Europe.

It has launched a campaign called “Year of the Channel” which it says will focus on increasing its support for existing business partners and actively recruiting new VARS, complementing those already participating in its European Partner Programme.

The company boasts it has seen great success since initially introducing its Prestige Partner Programme in 2010 and has brought in more than 100 new VARs in its European programme.

SATO hopes the campaign will build on the achievements so far and continue the search for new complementary partners.

The Prestige Partner Programme comprises three tiers with SATO now focusing on building up the two upper tiers – Premier and Champion. Within this the company continues to look for partners with market specialisation, application specialisation, specific technical skills, value-added qualities within a target market segment.

These include the retail sector, food and quick service restaurants, manufacturing, transportation and logistics as well as healthcare and government.

Vendors enrolled in the programme, SATO promises, will benefit from comprehensive training and technical services packages as well as marketing tools and funds that help generate sales leads.

As part of the effort, SATO has redesigned and relaunched its Business Partner Portal, which provides access to a large variety of valuable marketing resources, moving it on to a new technology platform allowing for a more user friendly interface and more effective communication within the network.

Panasonic announces job cuts

seppuku-p1000701Panasonic has announced that 5,000 of its staff will be axed over the next three years.

The Japanese company has said those in its automotive and industrial units will fall on Panasonic’s sword as the company scales back its operations and tries to recoup huge annual losses of $7.5 billion, announced in March.

According to Channel News Asia, the company, which has already cut 20 percent of its workers will now move to slash its staff of around 111,000 people by March 2016. The move is part of an overall strategy to recover its business after a flagging year.

In March, rumours circulated that the company would further salvage its business by cutting its plasma business over the next three years.

It is thought Panasonic’s TV business, which generated sales of $10.5 billion during its peak in 2009 and 2010, accumulated less than half of that amount in 2015 and 2016.

It announced that it would end plasma TV panel production at its main plant in Amagaskai in western Japan around fiscal year 2014.

Huawei loses out on US contracts

huawei-liveHuawei, which sparked unwanted publicity yesterday when its chief security exec told reporters it was standard practice for governments to spy on each other, has apparently been pushed out in the planned acquisition of Sprint by SotfBank.

The £20.1 billion deal, which has been cleared by the US Committee on Foreign Investment, and is now awaiting the nod from one more US regulation body, has had a restriction on  third-party supplier over allegations of Chinese spying.

According to Bloomberg this means that the pair involved in the deal had to reassure those above that they would limit the use of telecommunications gear made by Huawei as well as ZTE.

They also had to agree that they would remove “certain equipment” by Huawei and allow all American vendors to provide the tech instead.

The US is fearful that Huawei and ZTE use their gear for snooping.

Yesterday Huawei’s head of security operations and ex British government CIO John Suffolk claimed that governments had always embarked on such practices.

His comments followed claims that the company had gained access to secret designs of US weapons, which it had managed to steal from Australia’s new intelligence agency headquarters.

High Street headed to gambling “ghetto”

highstreetBetting shops and payday lenders could rule the high street roost if new legislation comes into place.

The warnings from the Local Government Association (LGA) as new rules, which came into place yesterday, stipulate that some premises don’t have to apply for permission to change what they supply for up to two years.

It means that premises previously used as independent gift shops could be turned into payday loan companies while greengrocers could become betting shops, without the need for planning permission or public consultation.

The government said it had made the decision as it felt it would help boost economic growth and bring boarded-up shops back into use. However the LGA said that it felt it would do the opposite and instead lead to more high streets being over-run with clusters of betting shops and payday loan companies.

The association also pointed out that the new rules would  also allow almost any buildings to be temporarily turned into new free schools with no public consultation or planning permission. And in many parts of the country, developers will be given free rein to convert offices into flats without planning consent.

It said that the government had to rethink its plans and instead look at rejuvenating the highstreet by encouraging the opening of businesses that residents wanted there. It said the new rules would make this method harder.

Cllr Mike Jones, Chairman of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board, said people were “fed up” of having their local high streets filled with betting shops and payday loan companies. He warned that was a “very real danger that, in chasing a short-term boost, this panic measure could end up creating real problems” in highstreets and doing lasting damage to our town and cities.

“This could potentially drain the life from our highstreets,” he said in a report.

EMC and Eaton get friendly

cosyEaton has got chummy with EMC, with the diversified industrial manufacturer announcing it has joined the EMC Technology Partner Program.

It says it hopes to use the developmental resources provided in the program to design integrated power management services that help IT and data centre companies to enhance uptime and business continuity.

Primarily the company wants to develop the integrated capabilities of its Intelligent Power Manager software, which it says has VMware Ready and Citrix Ready certifications and lets users manage their power infrastructure remotely and directly through the VMware vSphere or Citrix XenCenter platforms.

It said that its customers could now build on EMC’s  integrated capabilities with VMware vCenter by using Eaton’s Intelligent Power Manager software to automate disaster recovery and business continuity processes directly from the VMware platform.

The announcement was accompanied with the standard quote from EMC, which said it was “pleased” that Eaton had joined its partner program.

Audi beats BMW on adultery front

beemerBMW owners may have to up their driving game, with research showing they’ve been overtaken as the “most adulterous drivers”.

According to a report by married dating site, Audi drivers have crashed into top spot of those most likely to commit adultery.

The site speculated this could either mean BMW owners have switched to a new car manufacturer or have bucked up their ideas and been more faithful in the past 12 months.

BMW remains as the worlds largest maker of luxury vehicles despite Audi receiving $25 billion worth of investment since 2002 and doubling the number of model lines it makes since 2003 from six to 12. However, it seems Audi has plans to take the lead from BMW by 2020 and in one thing it seems it’s succeeding.

Apparently those who drive Beemers, and now Audis, are “typically successful, motivated, high-achievers who are less likely to settle for something they find unsatisfying, be it a car or a relationship.”

And car manufacturers are well aware of the sex status some of their vehicles carry. Mercedes, which came third in the survey, even famously used infidelity to advertise their cars with the banned ‘Not In This Weather’ advert.

But while German car brands are most notorious for adultery statuses it seems the French are more likely to keep it in their pants with the survey finding that drivers of Peugeots or Renaults were less likely to stray.

Skoda and Hyundai drivers were also less likely to commit an illicit act.

Ingram Micro does a deal with Samsung Mobile

IMIngram Micro has rung up another deal in the mobile market.

The distie’s Mobility arm has announced that it will carry and sell  Samsung Mobile smartphone and tablet accessory products in the States, which it claims will continue its strategy to become a firm player in the mobile market.

The company will offer Samsung Mobile’s accessory portfolio for the Galaxy S, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab family of products. This includes traditional mobile accessories such as flip covers, protective covers, travel and vehicle chargers, portable battery packs and Bluetooth headsets.

Bashar Nejdawi, president, Ingram Micro Mobility North America said mobility was one of the disties “key platforms for growth and expanded profitability.”

The accessories will be available through Ingram Micro Mobility’s network of small-to-medium businesses, business-to-business and enterprise channels, as well as consumer and retail-focused indirect carrier dealer agents.

In addition, Ingram Micro Mobility has said it will initiate marketing efforts including sales rep training and product education as well as direct marketing initiatives to the VAR and indirect dealer channels, to further drive sales through Samsung authorised resellers.

Robot created to pour drinks

ROBOT FRIDGEA robot which can pour its master another drink  has been created by scientists.

Researchers at Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab have taught their creation to forsee human action with the task of refilling a person’s cup when it was nearly empty, without having to be asked – great for the silent and legless types at parties.

However, there are pitfuls. To be able to carry out the task the robot has to plan its movements in advance and then follow the plan. But if a human sitting at the table happens to raise the cup and drink from it,  the robot might pour a drink into a cup that isn’t there.

Nevertheless there’s also benefits. In another test, the robot observed a human carrying an object toward a refrigerator and helpfully opened the refrigerator door.

From a database of 120 3-D videos of people performing common household activities, the robot has been trained to identify human activities by tracking the movements of the body – reduced to a symbolic skeleton for easy calculation – breaking them down into sub-activities like reaching, carrying, pouring or drinking, and to associate the activities with objects. Since each person performs tasks a little differently, the robot can build a model that is general enough to match new events.

Observing a new scene with its Microsoft Kinnect 3-D camera, the robot identifies the activities it sees, considers what uses are possible with the objects in the scene and how those uses fit with the activities.

It then generates a set of possible continuations into the future – such as eating, drinking, cleaning, putting away – and finally chooses the most probable. As the action continues, it constantly updates and refines its predictions.

The research was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office, the Alfred E. Sloan Foundation and Microsoft.

Hema S. Koppula, Cornell graduate student in computer science, and Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science, will describe their work at International Conference of Machine Learning, June 18-21 in Atlanta, and the Robotics: Science and Systems conference June 24-28 in Berlin, Germany.

Avnet and Macronix sign pan European deal

avnettsAvnet Memec has signed a pan-European agreement with Macronix.

The distie has agreed to help Macronix bring NOR, NAND and ROM technology to its customers across Europe at the earliest stage of their design.

According to Avnet, adding Macronix’ Flash memory products its portfolio will add depth to its line-card and service offering, while the semiconductor company said that the support by its new pal would help it reach those customers early in their design cycle.

Macronix Flash memory devices are available now from Avnet Memec and to help customers select the correct device for their application datasheets and support documentation is available from

Adata and Etna Technology sign agreement

Craig-Connell-and-Jon-AthertonAdata has signed on the dotted line with distie Etna Technology.

Under the new agreement, which comes into effect as Computex takes place over in Taiwan, the pair will work together to push Adata’s memory products.

Jon Atherton, Commercial Vice President for Enta, said it was looking forward to working with Adata which was “a great brand with an exciting roadmap”.

Craig Connell, head of regional sales for ADATA, said Enta was “exactly the kind of distributor” the company had been looking for.

Asked about the most immediate benefits, Connell said the launch of Intel’s 4th Generation Core Processor family would see a strong surge in demand for very fast memory products, such as the new 2,800MHz DDR3 modules that the company had just launched.

He said Enta had a strong reputation among the kind of stores that would be selling Z87 boards and the company want to make sure that as many as possible came supplied with ADATA DDR3”.

According to analyst house iSuppli, ADATA became the world’s second largest supplier for DDR memory modules in 2010.

High street apocalypse on its way

highstreetThe UK is “facing a crisis,” when it comes to highstreet shopping, a retail group has warned.

According to the Centre of Retail Research, one in five of Britain’s high street shops could close by 2018 as more customers turn to the internet for their shopping. The analyst company warned that, as a result, around 62,000 shops could close in the next five years – putting around 316,000 jobs on the line.

A further 164 major or medium-sized companies were also predicted to go into administration, involving the loss of 22,600 stores and 140,000 employees.

“Many of these companies will survive but at the cost of closing more than half their stores,” the company said.

Retail Futures 2018 forecasts found that consumers were shunning the high street with the share of consumer spending declining from 50 percent in 2000 to a predicted 40.2 percent next year.   As fewer shop in stores, online retail is set to account for 21.5 percent of total retail sales by 2018, from 12.7 percent today, the highest online retail share in the world.

It also pointed out with such a high number of transactions carried out online, retailers with a strong web offering now need just 70 high street stores to create a national presence compared to 250 in the mid 2000’s.

Wales and the North West are predicted to see the highest number of closures, with nearly one in three expected to fold, while the South East is expected to see a 13 percent decrease in the number of shops by 2018.

Seagate clears out salesfolk

seagate-longmontSeagate has shaken up its sales and marketing organisation in EMEA.

The company says that it has made the changes to ensure that it was “optimally positioned” to work with its customers to best address evolving market opportunities across the region. In particular, it wants to take full advantage of its potential in areas such as cloud computing, solid state drives and branded storage solutions.

Joe Fagan has been appointed senior director, Cloud Initiatives, EMEA. In this newly created position he will be responsible for shaping Seagate’s Cloud strategy and engagement in the region.

Fagan joins Seagate from UK storage distributor CMS Peripherals where he was responsible for shaping and delivering the company’s B2B and enterprise storage strategy Seagate said that here he developed and launched the company’s cloud initiative “Cloud Made Simple” in 2009.

He previously held EMEA-wide sales and marketing positions at Maxtor and Adaptec. Fagan will report to Mark Whitby, Seagate’s vice president of EMEA Sales & Marketing and Global Channel Sales.

Bernd Breinbauer has been appointed to the newly created role of director of EMEA SSD Sales with responsibility for developing sales of the company’s comprehensive solid state drive portfolio across the region. Breinbauer was previously sales director for Seagate’s Central Europe region and has also held positions in OEM sales management. Prior to joining Seagate, he worked with Hitachi.

Henk van den Berg, sales director, will take on leadership of Seagate’s Central Europe region in addition to his existing responsibility for Northern Europe in a new combined Northern and Central Europe region.

The company has also named Dimitri Galle as senior director of Sales and Marketing, Branded Products, EMEA. In his new position he will be responsible for sales and marketing of all Seagate-branded retail products across the region. He was previously senior manager, Sales and Marketing, for branded products in the central Europe region.

Separately, Mark Whitby, Seagate’s vice president of EMEA Sales and Marketing since 2009, has also been charged with responsibility for the company’s global distribution channel sales, developing and leading strategy and delivery of the business worldwide.

In his new role as vice president, EMEA Sales & Marketing and Global Channel Sales, Whitby leads a matrix team spread across sales, marketing, product management, pricing and finance to deliver on Seagate’s goals, as well as working to define longer term business planning.