Author: Nick Farrell

IIoT evolving

banner_220x220By offering third party enabled Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based products and solutions, industrial automation vendors have evolved to provide proprietary digital platforms via the Product-as-a-Service (PaaS) business model a new report claims.

Frost & Sullivan has added up some numbers and concluded that the trend of digitalisation in end-user industries prompted automation vendors to invest in IIoT technologies across diverse applications, and they are now looking to integrate these technologies to complement conventional automation systems and give end users better control over the systems’ functionality.

Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Rohit Karthikeyan who penned the report said that Industry 4.0 was disrupting the partnership ecosystem in industrial automation, with start-ups and independent software vendors (ISVs) partnering with automation vendors to develop digital capabilities and solutions.

“Automation vendors will aim to standardise their portfolios through M&As and partnerships, and drive growth in their respective business segments. The consolidation of their IIoT portfolios will result in the upselling and cross-selling of automation solutions and create fresh revenue streams.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Industrial Automation Market Outlook, 2018, highlights the IIoT platform offerings of significant automation companies and compares their products and services. It underlines the role of start-ups with niche capabilities in operational and information technologies in 2017. The analysis also details the market landscape of the key participants in process automation, hybrid automation, and discrete automation markets.

“As the North American and European markets are in the midst of a downturn, vendors are focusing on the developing economies of Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America. Not only do these regions have a high number of greenfield projects, but they enjoy significant government support. More than 40 per cent of the end users in these markets are small- and medium-sized enterprises encouraging vendors to deliver cost-effective products and educate them on the value of IIoT-ready solutions in process optimisation and control”, Karthikeyan said.

In addition to maximising market expansion opportunities, proactive automation vendors will also explore opportunities in:

  • Forging strategic partnerships with pure-play IIoT providers to add value to their existing offerings and becoming a single point of contact for end users.
  • Diversifying into electrification products. Automation vendors have to focus on developing solutions that will enable traditional oil & gas companies to foray into the power business.
  • Promoting open-source controllers. The introduction of app logic controllers (ALC) has bolstered the market as the system is driven by open-source programming, wherein end users can download and use an app to control a specific application. This, in turn, has created revenue streams for app developers, hardware providers, and system integrators.
  • Shifting from hardware to software and services. Vendors can ease clients’ shift to digital technologies by minimising their investment risks by employing novel business models such as PaaS, pay-per-use, and licensing.

Swyx holds partner and technology Conference 2018

First insights into a new product portfolio for Swyx partners and the corporate strategy were some of the highlights with cliffhanger endings that Swyx presented as part of its annual Partner and Technology Conference held in Hanover on the 6th September.

The conference programme, with it the audience and speakers from all over Europe announced several “exciting innovations” and portfolio extensions for its resellers. The Dutch company, Within Reach Group that merged with Swyx in the summer and the recently acquired, French Centile Telecom presented their product and service portfolios, which are now available to Swyx partners as additional revenue streams.

More than 400 partners attended the event including IT specialist trade and system houses who sell Swyx  for business communication in the SME market and compared to last year the number of new prospective partners in attendance doubled.

French Centile Swyx CEO, Dr. Ralf Ebbinghaus explained the new growth opportunities created through the expanded portfolio and next steps. “You won’t have expected the new opportunities created by a wider product range, which we can now offer customers additionally through Centile and Voiceworks – today we may surprise you several times.”

An initial summary of SwyxON, the UC solution from Swyx’s own cloud, was equally positive. After only half a year 130 partners have decided to sell SwyxON and already 10.000 users rely on the Swyx high quality of service from a German datacentre.

Christoph Wichmann, Chief executive of Voiceworks Germany, presented the online meeting solution Coligo and the capabilities of white label offerings to resellers, who will profit from further portfolio extensions. Together with Voiceworks Swyx now offers its own SIP Trunks. Managing Director Bertrand Pourcelot presented the cloud solutions for service providers for Centile, which together with Swyx also welcomed a number of major customers from Finland, France and Italy to Hanover.

At the presentation of 28 Swyx Partner Awards, the following partners were named:

• Svar tækni ehf. as TOP Partner Nordic
• TeleOffice AB as TOP Partner Nordic
• Unicom Nordic ApS as TOP Partner Nordic
• Veneco Automatisering B.V. as TOP Partner Netherlands
• Adfocom Automatisering B.V. as TOP Partner Netherlands
• IP Visie Networking B.V. as TOP Partner Netherlands
• Smart Solutions GRP Ltd as TOP Partner UK
• CloudyIT as TOP Partner UK
• Agenda IT Ltd as TOP Partner UK
• VDI Telecom as TOP Partner France
• Dolce Vista SAS as TOP Partner France
• Alleo as Rising Star France
• it2day AG as TOP Partner Switzerland
• acdalis informatik ag as TOP Partner Cloud
• Data-Way IT-Consulting GmbH as TOP Partner Austria
• ACS Data Systems AG as TOP Partner Italy
• Soluzionidigitali S.r.l. as TOP Partner Italy

CySure gets into the G-Cloud

banner_220x220Cyber security specialist CySure Ltd has announced that its Virtual Online Security Officer (VOSO) has been accepted onto the Government’s G-Cloud 10 digital marketplace.

CySure will flog  VOSO online solution to protect organisations against the growing threat of cybercrime.  It has mapped the security component of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into VOSO, providing staged approach to GDPR along with all the policies and training videos necessary to complete the compliance process.

Organisations today, particularly those in the government and public sector, operate in a constantly changing environment where cybercrime is a real threat. Latest statistics from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport reveal that four in ten businesses and two in ten charities have experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months.  However, only 27 percent of businesses and 21 per cent  of charities have a formal cyber security policy or set of policies in place.

Joe Collinwood, Chief Executive Officer of CySure said, “Research from GCHQ reveals that 80 percent of cyber-attacks are easily prevented when staff are trained regularly, and the right policies are in place. Managing risk from inside the organisation is vital and relies upon a consistent, dynamic process with continual training.  Our VOSO solution interprets government and industry security standards in simple terms and outlines the steps to take to protect online equipment and stored data at the fraction of the cost of a human counterpart.  We are delighted that VOSO has been accepted onto the government’s G-Cloud framework, the go-to place for trusted technology solutions from suppliers that are thoroughly vetted, can demonstrate clear ways of working and transparent pricing.  Our customers in the public sector can depend on our expertise to create a robust, best-practice formula to help keep their organisations safe.”

CySure’s  web-based Virtual Online Security Officer incorporates, it’s claimed,  a comprehensive range of features such as remote monitoring and secure configuration of all networked devices, asset mapping, vulnerability scanning and patching, dashboards to display compliance progress against selected standards including GDPR as well as online security training videos for continual staff training.   Costing £1 per user per month, VOSO reduces the requirement for expensive in-house cyber security consultants or compliance officers, mitigates the risk of law suits and regulatory fines and ensures employees are trained regularly and kept informed of the latest cyber security updates.

BlackBerry and Check Point team up

banner_220x220have entered a global ISV (Independent Software Vendor) partnership.

The move is the first of its kind for Check Point and includes joint go-to-market planning and selling of Check Point’s market-leading mobile threat defence solution, SandBlast Mobile, along with BlackBerry UEM and BlackBerry Dynamics.

BlackBerry’s teams will be fully trained on the Check Point SandBlast Mobile solution to resell and serve as a single point of contact for professional services and support.

With organisations across the globe adopting mobility solutions to improve productivity and deliver digital transformation projects, mobile security is often overlooked despite cyber attacks getting more sophisticated. Recent Check Point research found that 94 percent of security professionals doubt their company can prevent a breach of employees’ mobile devices.

Mark Wilson, Chief Marketing Officer, BlackBerry said:. “Far too often we hear about enterprises employing a specific security mobility strategy as an afterthought when it has the potential to be the weakest link. BlackBerry and Check Point share a DNA that revolves around cybersecurity and with each company bringing recognised solutions to the table, the partnership is a natural fit and a great addition to our ISV ecosystem.”

Check Point Software Mobile Security Solutions VP Jeremy Kaye said: “Enterprises need to use consistent, comprehensive threat prevention across their mobile fleets to keep mobile devices from being the weak point in their security defenses. With Check Point and BlackBerry joining forces to prevent mobile cyberattacks in the enterprise, we are providing the best-in-class mobile threat prevention technology that every business needs.”

Check Point’s SandBlast Mobile is BlackBerry Dynamics enabled and integrated with BlackBerry Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). The Dynamics platform provides the foundation for secure enterprise mobility by offering an advanced, mature, and tested container for mobile apps and email while delivering a comprehensive endpoint-to-endpoint approach to security. Enhanced with the SandBlast Mobile, the solution keeps business assets and sensitive data on all devices safe and secure from cyber-attacks.

SandBlast Mobile 3.0 prevents mobile phishing attacks, while also identifying all malicious network traffic to and from the device to help keep data and employees safe. It allows users to run apps downloaded to mobile devices in a virtual, cloud-based environment where behaviour is analysed and then approved or flagged as malicious. Other features include the ability to provide on-device network protection by inspecting and controlling network traffic to and from the device, blocking phishing attacks on all apps and browsers, and disabling communications with malicious command and control servers. Check Point’s solution, available now on BlackBerry’s Marketplace, allows businesses to stay ahead of new and emerging threats by extending its network security capabilities to mobile devices.

BlackBerry’s ISV ecosystem has seen significant momentum, growing 25 per cent in the last year. ISV partners have access to the BlackBerry Development Platform, an enterprise-grade toolset which enables developers to build  customised mobility solutions for every use case.

UKFast opens new Manchester datacentre

UKFast has opened a new data centre at its Manchester headquarters to cater for an increasing demand from public sector clients.

The Manchester site means that the outfit is running  five facilities in the UK.

CEO Lawrence Jones said that the outfit’s existing government data centre is filling up fast and the company realises that now is the time to deliver strategic investment and accommodate the growing demand for our services from the UK government and public sector.

“We’re incredibly proud to launch this space for our government and public sector clients and for any organisations in regulated sectors looking for a high-level security offering. By creating this facility we also expand our ability to deliver replicated environments to the public sector, which is an increasingly common demand. The addition of the AI technology is a hugely exciting step. These supercomputers are purpose built for deep learning and analytics and enable our clients to take advantage of solutions that put them at a huge advantage against their competitors”, Jones said.


US Government forced to spend on of-the-shelf security

banner_220x220The US Government is being forced to spend more money on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based cybersecurity tools and systems as they face intense attacks, according to a new report.

Analysts Frost & Sullivan’s recent report with the catchy title “US DoD Cybersecurity Market, Forecast to 2023”, reveals that intense attacks from adversaries and non-state actors are compelling Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity spend for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based cybersecurity tools and systems and the development of quantum computing and artificial intelligence technologies.

Defense cybersecurity industry consolidation is expected to increase with firms emphasising the acquisition of dual-use commercial technologies.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts the market to reach $4.30 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.3 percent.

“Persistent attacks on DoD networks make cybersecurity integration and new technology development necessary. There will be an increasing need for firms that can provide state-of-the-art cybersecurity services”, said Brad Curran, Industry Principal, Defense at Frost & Sullivan. “Maintaining network resiliency by assuring that people with the most advanced cybersecurity skills are available as well as ensuring robust cybersecurity and attack information coordination is a top priority for the DoD.”

Partner programmes are a waste of time

banner_220x220Analyst outfit Canalys has warned that vendor partner programmes are losing relevance to the channel.

Canalys found that 77 percent of channel companies rate partner programmes as important when evaluating vendor relationships compared to 94 percent in 2016.

To make matters worse nine percent of respondents surveyed in 2018 rated partner programmes as “not at all important”, while almost a quarter rated them as lacking importance.

Canalys said vendors must get partners aligned as the market faces disruption from the cloud and digital technologies.

Alex Smith, senior director of channels research at Canalys, said: “Partners have more levers to pull. They can provide more of their services or make new technology vendor partnerships to fulfil specific opportunities. Meanwhile, vendors often change programmes to reflect changes in partner business models and to spur loyalty, but such changes can have the unintended consequence of increasing complexity, leading to frustration.”

Consistency or changes to programmes as the top complaint, with 16 per cent of respondents selecting it among their top issues. Complexity in achieving certifications and specialisations was the next highest at 15 percent.

Canalys analyst Sharon Hiu said: “As partners develop different service models, the most successful vendors will be those that effectively help partners adapt their technical capabilities. The huge challenge is to keep programmes simple while our industry embraces complex new technologies,”

“Vendors must take action, such as investing in stronger digital tools, including integrated automation and AI-enabled capabilities, to help reduce partners’ manual administration work.”Partner managers must also become more empowered and offer personalised support for individual partner needs. The channel is pressuring vendors to do just this,” Hiu said.

Formpipe Lasernet teams up with HSO

Formpipe Lasernet – which provides document output management solutions for Microsoft Dynamics – has partnered with HSO, the provider of enterprise business solutions.

The move is all part of a cunning plan to expand Formpipe’s UK business.

Mike Rogers, chief commercial officer at Formpipe Lasernet, said: “We are continuing to build on our partner first strategy and are delighted to welcome HSO onboard. Formpipe Lasernet is a global company and the addition of HSO will strengthen our presence within the UK. The Lasernet product set and partner ecosystem continues to go from strength to strength, so partnering with HSO was a natural choice.”

HSO brings over 25 years of industry experience to Formpipe Lasernet’s established partner portfolio, said Webb. With offices in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, APAC and the US, HSO is said to have delivered successful implementations in almost every country in the world. HSO is an award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in implementing and supporting ERP & CRM business solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and providing Managed Services to multinational enterprises in Retail, Distribution, Manufacturing and Services.

Mark Cockings, Head of Alliances and Sales Operations at HSO said : “HSO are pleased to be partnering with Formpipe Lasernet to deliver a comprehensive solution for document management with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Our joint proposition enables customers to quickly and efficiently create, modify, control, disseminate and archive branded documentation across their entire organisation. This partnership continues HSO’s strategy to work with best of breed organisations to deliver innovative solutions to meet the growing business needs of our customers.”

It’s a while since ChannelEye has come across the expression “best of breed”. Glad to hear the channel’s mastery of the English language continues, unabated.

Mosher takes control of Bromium’s field operations

Bromium has announced that Kevin Mosher has joined the company as its  Chief Revenue Officer.

Mosher will oversee all revenue generation processes, and lead Bromium’s global field operations and go-to-market efforts.

Bromium CEO Gregory Webb said he was  delighted to have Mosher join the Bromium team.

Mosher joins at a time when Bromium is poised for rapid growth with a differentiated, market-leading solution, he said.

“Along with his network of trusted CIO, CISO, sales, and partner relationships, Kevin’s expertise running high-performing field and channel organizations makes him the ideal leader for increased customer time to value and growth.”

Prior to joining Bromium, Mosher was SVP of Worldwide Sales at cyber security start-up ArcSight, where he oversaw revenue growth from $4 million to $700 million in seven years.

He was also instrumental in helping take the company public in 2008. Mosher then led Global Sales at data security company Delphix, where over a period of three years he significantly grew revenues, increased deal size, and expanded the company’s market share. Mosher also held leadership roles at Oracle, Portal Software, and Accel Partners, a venture capital firm.

Large format displays are still a growth market

banner_220x220Distributor sales revenues from large format displays (LFDs)  grew by eight percent in the third quarter.

Beancounters at CONTEXT have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and concluded that despite the positive growth of LFDs, interest in videowalls remains high even if sales declined by  nine per cent year-on-year.

Revenues and volume sales in Western Europe declined in that period, with weakness coming from all screen sizes, says CONTEXT. The only growth spot was 49-inch displays, the sales of which more than tripled.

Despite the weak performance of videowalls, standard and interactive displays saw double-digit sales growth in early Q3. Amongst standard LFDs, 55-inch displays remain dominant, but there is a visible trend towards smaller 49-inch, 43-inch and even 32-inch displays, together with growing by 82 percent.

Ultra large displays, 85-inch and above, still account for a smaller volume share but interest increased. Volumes of these models more than doubled in early Q3. Amongst displays with a touchscreen, the most significant shift has been noticed for LFDs with 75-inch, which now account for over 20 percent of volume sales.

The first eight weeks of Q3 saw the average selling price (ASP) decline across all types of displays. For instance, the ASP of the most popular 55-inch non-touch LFDs dropped by over €100, which is a 10 percent decrease year-on-year.

CONTEXT Senior Analyst for Displays at, Dominika Koncewicz said: “Strong sales in early Q3 follow the already very positive trend for LFDs at the beginning of 2018, which should continue in the second half of the year. Despite weak performance, we should see more videowalls as well as increasing interest in high brightness outdoor displays.”

Alibaba launching a London datacentre

banner_220x220The dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that the Chinese retailer Alibaba is launching a London datacentre.

The rumours are based  on  information displayed on a newly added landing page, where the outfit said it offer flexible compute services from £30.87 a month from its new London region as it bids to take on AWS, Azure and Google in the UK.

Under the heading ‘London is Calling’, Alibaba trumpets the fact that “an Alibaba Cloud datacentre is coming to the UK”, although stops short of confirming a launch date.

Alibaba is not commenting further but the evidence does seem to have legs. It seems to suggest that Alibaba is gearing up from a real battle for the clouds in the UK.

Alibaba operates 18 cloud regions globally, 14 of which are in China and Asia-Pac. Two are situated in the US, a country Alibaba is reportedly struggling to crack. Its only European region, Frankfurt, serves continental European customers.

Featured products for the London region include flexible computing, storage, networking, database and security.

In its latest quarter ending 30 June 2018, Alibaba claims its cloud computing business grew by 93 percent year on year to $710 million.


Campaign for Clear Licensing looks into support contracts

banner_220x220The Campaign for Clear Licensing (CCL) has turned its focus on vendors’ software support and maintenance contracts.

The outfit said that that customers are paying for expensive support from vendors, without knowing what is included.

It said that in some cases, customers are paying an extra 20 percent a year on top of the software cost. CCL has been researching the software licensing market.

Martin Thompson, founder of the CCL, said: “The ideal outcome for this research was to generate a ranking table of which software vendors provided the best and worst support, with whom organisations logged a call most often, and so on.

“However, the results were completely unexpected. The typical respondent had no idea of support volumes, support quality or the strategic value of software maintenance renewals at all. In short, software maintenance renewals are not facing enough scrutiny.

“With the average support and maintenance contract costing the equivalent of 20 percent of the licence fee each year, it is high time that customers held their software vendors to account.”

CCL said that “the vast majority” of respondents to its survey did not have enough information about their firm’s licensing activity to make informed decisions.

Thompson added that there is an opportunity for customers to negotiate a cheaper price for their maintenance contracts.

“Software publishers are benefiting from the lack of scrutiny over what is included in their maintenance contracts, particularly when it comes to the inclusion of security patches. By bringing greater scrutiny of the software maintenance market, those in ITAM (IT asset management) can bring considerable leverage to the negotiation table during renewal discussions. With historically very little scrutiny of this expensive and often unavoidable expense, we will be keeping a close eye on changes in customer and vendor behaviour in this industry over the coming years.”

Ex-hacker launches blockchain powered cybersecurity is releasing a security product which combines artificial intelligence, bug bounties and blockchain to make effective protection make accessible to all.

Founded by ex-hacker turned cybersecurity expert, Tayo Dada, Uncloak aims to create next generation cyber security threat management.

The outfit claims that the only way to protect against hackers is to stay a step ahead. Much like a weather forecast, Uncloak identifies potential cyberthreats that are on their way, enabling businesses to be prepared and suggesting solutions to secure their systems before threats arrive.

Uncloak uses advanced artificial intelligence to identify hackers, their behaviour and the information they are trading publicly on the internet or via the “dark web”.

Then, by putting out bug bounties using a fully automated blockchain system, both ethical ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ hackers are able to be paid in a legitimate way for finding and sharing the newest threats and vulnerabilities.

Uncloak works on a low-cost subscription model for organisations. Companies have access to a personalised dashboard which searches everything from printer passwords to vulnerable software within the company’s network to measure their cyber security. This dashboard shows the threat levels, and offers simple advice on how to address any potential vulnerabilities.

When a new threat is identified, the client is alerted and given steps to resolve the issue. If they aren’t able to action the solution themselves, Uncloak will connect the user with a verified local IT security expert who will be able to resolve the problem at a pre-defined and agreed cost.

Companies can subscribe to Uncloak using traditional currencies, but the platform also has its own UNC Token which can be used to pay for Uncloak subscriptions, cyber security support from recommended partners and to anonymously pay hunters to check for security bugs in specific applications.

The pre-sale of UNC tokens is now open to companies and individuals wanting to invest in Uncloak, with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) starting 25th September. Companies can buy the limited amount of UNC Tokens at their lowest rate, while investors have an opportunity to buy into the commercialisation of this next generation cyber threat management solution.

Uncloak’s public platform will launch in Q4 2018.

Rackspace ramps up its channel

Cloudy outfit Rackspace said that its year-long spruce up of the channel is continuing and it needs more partners.

It said that it is in a position to provide its partners with a wide number of options to take out to customer, across public, private and hybrid cloud environments, and as a result has seen its base increase.

At the moment it is contacting traditional VARs looking to take steps into the cloud as well as providing options for those looking to add more options for their customers looking at a multi-cloud strategy.

John Coulston, Director of Partners & Alliances, Rackspace, EMEA, said that it was building and investing more in the channel.

“We are definitely looking for more partners and have a significant growth target for our channel”, he added “We have pretty big aspirations in the channel space.”


Dell quarterly revenue hits $23 billion

Tin box shifter Dell saw its sales rise across the board as quarterly revenue hits $23 billion.

The vendor is now forecasting non-GAAP revenues of between $90.5 billion and $92 billion for its full fiscal year and non-GAAP operating income of between $8.4 billion and $8.8 billion.

Revenues increased by 18 percent in non-GAAP terms to $22.9  billion for the quarter, while non-GAAP operating income hit 13 per cent growth to $2.1 billion. The firm reported a GAAP operating loss of $13 million.

Its Infrastructure Solutions Group increased by 24 percent and Client Solutions Group 13 percent.

Servers and networking swelled 34 percent year on year and storage hit 13 percent sales growth.

VMware meanwhile grew revenues by 11 percent to $2.2  billion and logged $736 million  in operating income.

Dell claims to have pushed a record number of client units in Q2 and saw triple-digit growth for its VxRail and VxRack lines.

Michael Dell in a statement: “We are in the early stages of a global, technology-led investment cycle in which every company is becoming a technology company. As our results indicate, Dell Technologies is perfectly positioned to grow, gain share, drive innovation and be our customers’ best, most trusted partner on the journey to their digital future.”

Dell is currently gearing up to return to the stock exchange, which the firm claims will allow it to simplify its capital structure.