Category: News

VR is an opportunity for the Channel

glassesIntel’s CEO claims that VR is going to bring big bucks to the Channel.

Talking to the assembled throngs at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Brian Krzanich used his platform at CES to underline the firm’s belief that virtual reality is going to be an area that will deliver growth in the future.

He claimed that the technology will extend far beyond the classic consumer electronics and extending to every experience you have today.

“I know a lot of people are questioning ‘is virtual reality going to take off?’ ‘Is VR going anywhere? We have a lot more technologies coming over the next few years and we believe Intel is leading this unprecedented change and make this vision a reality.”

One of the places where VR would have an impact in the commercial world was in jobs that had an element of danger, like pipeline inspection, where a user could take a look using the combination of VR and cameras on a drone.

“All of this we believe is one example of how work can be transformed by virtual reality. Inspections, search and resuce, dangerous work it can save lives, it can save money and it can save time and those are the solutions we believe will bring value to the end user,” he said.

 

Overall there are 261 exhibitors in the augmented and virtual reality category at CES, which is the largest number that have turned out to promote the technology.

Government stuffs up G-Cloud figures

Epic_FailThere was a sharp intake of breath as the government announced that its  G-Cloud sales figures had fallen by half and the feeling was that Brexit was to blame.

Now government has since admitted it stuffed up the numbers and there is nothing to worry about.

The figures were important because they show the success of a scheme which was supposed to give IT contracts to smaller suppliers rather than a single large supplier which might have a powerful lobby group.

The government publishes G-Cloud figures periodically, and the most recent data up to October, published before Christmas, shows that in that month, spending through the framework was just £38 million  – down 22 per cent annually, down 45 per cent on a monthly basis, and far below the average monthly spend on the framework for 2016 (January to October) of £59.7 million.

In fact the framework’s spending has not been this low since May 2015. However it is expected that the shortfall to be made up in the coming months as departments use their budgets before they expire.

The Cabinet Office confirmed that the data for October does not reflect any Brexit-related slowdown, but was in fact an administrative error. The correct data is expected to be uploaded shortly.

Dell EMC names WWT as its black knight

BlackknightDell EMC has announced WWT was a partner who would be heading to its new exclusive titanium black status.

The vendor had already revealed in October that there would be would have three main levels: titanium, platinum and gold, with something called titanium black.

Those who were platinum partners would be eligible to go for the Titanium Black level and it appears that World Wide Technology (WWT) has been given the chance to be the first.

Dell said that WWT was one of a select number of companies to be awarded Titanium Black status in the updated DellEMC partner programme.

“This new, highly exclusive status is an extension of the Titanium Tier within the Dell EMC Partner Program and will apply globally to all entities under the CDW banner.”

Needless to say, Bob Olwig, vice president of business development and innovation at WWT was chuffed.

“We established this strategic partnership to provide enterprise customers with hands-on access to Dell EMC technology for private and hybrid cloud, storage, data protection and availability, converged infrastructure, big data analytics, security and the Internet of Things,” Olwig said.

John Byrne, president, Dell EMC global channels, is hoping that the Titanium Black level was the best of the best. Partners with Titanium Black status had to place a big bet on Dell EMC.

“They’re going above and beyond. They’re investing heavily in us and we are returning the investment in them so they can continue to achieve the extraordinary,” he wrote in a pre-Christmas blog post.

“Titanium Black provides a rare and distinctive opportunity far and above what partners have experienced anywhere in the industry Together, through the Dell EMC Partner Program, Dell EMC and our partners will attack the market—with our Titanium Black partners leading the way. We’ll deliver incredible transformation for our customers. We’ll be the channel to watch,” Byrne said.

Logicalis UK has operating loss

LossLogicalis is reporting that its UK operation took a hit.

For the 12 months ending 29 February 2016, the UK arm of the Cisco, HP and IBM partner saw revenue drop from £169.8 million in the previous year to £153.9 million, while operating profit swung from £6 million to a loss of £2.1 million.

For the year ending 29 February 2016 the Logicalis Group saw revenue drop from $1.51 billion to $1.4 billion while operating profit fell from $68.1 million to $52 million.
Logicalis parent company Datatec reported its half-year figures on the London Stock Exchange in October, showing a revenue decline of 7.6 per cent year on year to $3.13 billion for the six months ending 31 August 2016.

The company is vendor dependant on the likes of IBM, Cisco and HP and if any one of the principal vendors to the company terminates, fails to renew or materially adversely changes its agreement or arrangements with the company, it could materially reduce the company’s revenue and operating profit and thereby seriously harm the company’s financial condition and results of operations, the company said.

The Logicalis UK claimed that the IT industry continues to be a “rapidly changing environment“and management recognises the need for the company to continually adapt and grow.

“The directors remain optimistic about the company’s future prospects, and are executing a transformation programme which will ensure that it is best suited to deliver its customers in the long term.”

 

UK government ignores start-up tech outfits

are-we-afraid-noCES organiser Gary Shapiro, of the Consumer Technology Association, said that the UK government is pants when it comes to encouraging start-up technology firms.

Shapiro said that Blighty has been slow to the game and while he has some minister from the UK coming to the show there is not a lot of activity that we’ve seen at CES.

“I think it’s a source of embarrassment,” said Shapiro.

Other countries do things much better. The French give lots of support to tech firms but the UK’s attitude of the UK government was short-sighted.

About five times as many French companies are attending the year’s biggest consumer technology trade fair as compared to British firms. Canada, China, Taiwan and South Korea are well ahead of the UK.

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) said that such a statement was jolly unfair as it was providing “targeted support” to such firms. In other words, rather than support a large number of start-ups it is providing only a small number of start-ups.  It saves money and you don’t have to give money to any riff-raff who asks you for it.

According to BBC, earlier a UK Trade and Investment stand used to be present at CES, but this year there will be no stand. While British electronics retailers will be at the show, but are less likely to find anything that is created in the UK.

Dell-EMC to slash distributors

emcDell EMC is planning on slashing its distie numbers any day now.

Michael Collins, senior vice president of EMEA channels at Dell EMC said that partners from EMC and Dell vendor programmes will be migrated onto the Dell EMC Partner Programme based on the status they obtain through the firm’s annual audit at the end of this year.

We already knew that Dell EMC was planning a  tier system dubbed the Dell EMC Partner Programme with the programme’s entry-level tier being be Gold, followed by Platinum, Titanium and an “invite only” tier named Titanium Black.

Collins said that Dell’s EMEA partners will shortly receive notification concerning their status in the new programme with regards to how they are performing against revenue and certification criteria.

He said that once thresholds were announced, partners from both sides of the business will have until the firm’s next annual audit – held at the end of next year – to meet programme criteria.  EMC partners will gain an extra month to meet criteria requirements.

Dell had made it clear as early as last year that it was feeling a bit over-distributed, and it will look to reduce its number of distributors by December this year. So far it has not made any changes but Collins said that cuts will be made “very early next year”. The channel boss said that he has issued a request for information with all of the firm’s distributors across the EMEA region, asking them to underline their “strategy going forward”, the extent of their geographical scope and details regarding their “business plan” and commitment to Dell.

He said that he will look at the disties based on their business portfolio. The important areas will be: where are they planning to grow, are they selling across the Dell EMC portfolio, and how much MDF will they be expecting from Dell.”

 

Redcentric is a mess but it claims to have a plan

cunning-planManaged services outfit Redcentric appears to be in a total mess but thinks it has a plan to get itself out of trouble.

Last month the outfit fessed up to multi-year accounting errors which meant it overstated net assets by at least £10 million and its net debt was nearer to £30 million. CFO Tim Coleman was “placed” on “garden leave with immediate effect.”

Redcentric delayed interim results for the half year ended 30 September until Deloitte and law firm Navarro could do a “forensic review” of its numbers. The results show that things were much worse than expected and the cumulative overstatement of net assets and profits after tax up to the half-way stage of this fiscal year was £20.8 million. To make matters worse more than a quarter of this arose in the six months of this financial year. The remaining £14.9m related to the years up to 31 March 2016.

Normally you could not lose that much money unless it was being taken by a bloke with a gun aided by a bloke outside with the motor running.  However, the report ruled out theft.

“The misstatements are attributable to profit overstatement over several years with revenues being overstated and costs understated in broadly equal proportions,” the firm told the London Stock Exchange.

Net debt turned out to be “materially higher than was originally reported” and was £37.8 million at the end of March and £34.4 million at the end of September.

Redcentric said the net debt in those periods was “not representative” because creditors had been “significantly stretched at those dates”. The average net debt position over the past eight months to the end of last month was £42 million.

Redcentric has recalculated historic banking covenants and has received waivers such that it remains compliant with the Ts&Cs. This will aid changes to billing and credit control management systems and processes, and the continued restructuring of the finance department.

The delayed half-year numbers to September will be reported before the end of the calendar year, and Redcentric forecast sales to be £53m and EBITDA £9.1m.

Redcentric’s share price almost halved last month when the news first broke of the financial errors; they recovered somewhat in the interim and were down nearly five per cent today.

Amazon was the Queen of Christmas

amazonOnline book seller Amazon said it shipped more than 1 billion items worldwide this holiday season, saying that it was its best ever.

The Amazon Echo home assistant and its smaller version, Echo Dot, topped the best-sellers list. Jeff Wilke, chief executive of Amazon’s worldwide consumer division said that it had difficulty keeping the shiny toys in stock.

Sales of voice-controlled Echo devices were nine times more than they were during last year’s holiday season, the company said. Amazon did not disclose comparable sales figures from a year earlier.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research pointed it out it was easy to be positive when you don’t tell the world the actual figures. He said that that this year’s figures were all relative to numbers that they have never told anyone about.

Amazon likely sold between 4 million and 5 million devices this year to date with Alexa, the voice-controlled assistant on the Echo, estimated Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy in a research note. Shoppers can command the Echo to perform a host of tasks, from playing music to turning on Christmas lights.

“While Amazon’s device sales are still relatively small growth drivers currently, we believe the proliferation of these devices will drive more ubiquitous use of Amazon services over time,” said Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian in a note, pointing to customers ordering more items by speaking to the Echo.

More than 72 percent of Amazon’s customers worldwide shopped through mobile devices, the company added, and 19 December was the busiest shopping day this holiday season.

“Prime customers are spending twice as much as other consumers using Amazon and helping to fuel rapid revenue growth that few retailers with only a fraction of Amazon’s revenues are able to generate,” Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins wrote in a note last week.

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Ericsson to expand its doings with Cisco

Cisco Kid Ericsson has announced that it is expanding its partnership with Cisco to target new corporate clients and the public sector in 2017.

Rima Qureshi told hacks that Ericsson and Cisco think they can make an extra $1 billion each in revenues by 2018 through a partnership which was announced late in 2015 and cash like that is not to be sneezed at.

Qureshi says Ericsson’s Cisco partnership, which generated over 60 deals in the first year, has been mainly focused on telecom operators. Next year, the firms plan to target enterprises and public sector .

She said that the two  are looking much closer into how theycan work on the enterprise

“We are investigating what we can do together within Industry & Society, IoT, smart cities and we’re going to target specific public sector segments, specifically for example transportation, utilities … And then of course we’re looking at other segments such as security,” she added.

Qureshi says Ericsson’s forecast to generate up to 25 percent of revenue from business outside of telecom operators by 2020.

Swiss buy Clearswift to get into the UK

swissWhile Brexit might see EU companies departing the UK it seems the Swiss are going the other way.

Theale-based security specialist Clearswift has been acquired by a Swiss firm RUAG which wants to expand its reach in the UK

Apparently, the outfit was impressed with the strength of the firm’s channel network which aided the sale.

From the start of next year Clearswift’s products will fall under the RUAG Defence cyber security business unit, which will be headed by Dietmar Thelen.

The Clearswift acquisition gets a firm with around £23 million in revenues and 140 staff focused on data loss prevention and a well-developed UK channel.

CEO of the RUAG Defence division Markus Zoller said that Clearswift’s global partner network and customer base in conjunction with its analyst-recognised solutions will play a key role in the growth of the RUAG Defence cyber security business unit.

“We are aiming to become a principal solution and service provider for organisations of all sizes and across all verticals, including local and national government organisations, financial institutions and critical infrastructure providers,” he added “By combining our expertise in network defence with Clearswift’s data loss prevention and gateway solutions we will further boost our efforts to make RUAG Defence one of the leading cyber security specialists.”

RUAG has a core business in aerospace and defence, has offices across Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Sweden and in the US and has been selling into the UK.
No one is saying how much the outfit paid for the British firm.

Dell details channel tiering plans

dellchannTin-box shifter Dell been telling its partners how the new tiering levels will work on its unified channel programme.

Dell EMC resellers and distributors will see the launch of the unified partner programme on the 1 February next year. It was announced in October will it started it would have three main levels: titanium, platinum and gold, with an exclusive titanium black status also available.

John Byrne, president, Dell EMC Global Channels has now outlined how partners can qualify for those different levels and what will be needed with.

Writing in his bog, Byrne said that the levels of the tiering will be determined by legacy programme rules and there will be revenue and training requirements for those that want to join the scheme.
Under the changes those that were Dell PartnerDirect Premier+/EMC BPP Platinum partners will be eligible for the titanium level; Dell PartnerDirect Premier/EMC BPP Gold will be platinum; and Dell PartnerDirect Preferred/EMC BPP Silver will be gold.

Those who were ‘registered’ under the old Dell programme or ‘authorised’ under the EMC scheme they will now be classed as authorised.

“Partners who are members of both legacy programs and meet the requirements of each will be awarded the higher status of the two. For example, if a partner is Preferred in Dell PartnerDirect and Gold in the

EMC Business Partner Program, that partner’s new Dell EMC Partner Program Tier will be Platinum. It’s just the right thing to do. It’s ‘Partner First’,” said Byrne.

The unified programme was simple, predictable and profitable and it would continue to be open to suggestions from the channel over further improvements.

“The Voice of the Partner has been absolutely critical, and we will continue to have “big ears” and listen closely and constantly to what they need and want from our program,” said Byrne.

Server revenues and shipments plummeting

Epic_FailThe latest figures from IDC’s Server Tracker reveal black figures for server makers and their partners with revenues and shipments plummeting across the region

Beancounters at IDC said that Server revenues fell by nearly 15 per cent in the most recent quarter and third quarter sales fell by 14.3 per cent year-over-year to $2.6 billion. Only  over 500,000 units were shipped, a decrease of 7.2 per cent year over year.

The non-x86 market declined compared with previous quarters, with vendor revenue down 23.4 per cent compared to the previous year and made just over $314 million.

The biggest decline was seen in standard density optimised server units, which saw a 45.8 per cent decline in revenue. While blade servers did well in terms of revenue and shipment numbers, but they also fell sharply compared to the year before, by 22.2 per cent and 23.5 per cent respectively.

Custom density optimised servers were the only product to experience positive growth in the quarter, with shipments increasing 52.2 per cent and revenues by 15.3 per cent.

Eckhardt Fischer, research analyst, European Infrastructure, IDC said that at a regional level, HPE maintained its position as market leader in Western Europe, with 36.5 per cent market share. Lenovo kicked IBM from the third spot a market share of 7.9 per cent.

IDC blamed political and economic uncertainty, tepid demand typical in 3Q, and fewer large server deals were some of the primary catalysts for downward pressure on regional revenues.

The UK was one of the worst performers over the quarter. IDC said this was due to ongoing uncertainly over the impact of Brexit.

Civica buys up social housing software provider Abritas

civica_logo_linkedinCivica is continuing to buy up government tech specialists and this time has written a cheque for the social housing software provider Abritas

Abrita, which is based in Reading,  provides web application software and related services for the social housing sector and its SaaS services are used by more than 170 local authorities and housing associations.

“The acquisition brings specialist capability which the Group does not currently offer, which strengthens its capability to support improved and more efficient tenant services and help address homelessness,” Civica said in a statement.

This is yet another scalp for Civica which bought the technology and outsourcing company SFW earlier this year; and before that, bought software applications developer IPL. In September last year it bought the o Web Technology Group.

Wayne Story, chief executive of Civica said: “I am delighted to welcome Abritas to the Civica Group. Abritas brings a strong heritage and product set, and the combined business is very well placed to respond to the needs of customers to adapt to a changing social housing landscape.”

Simon Reynolds, sales director of Abritas, added: “This is the next stage in the development of our business and is a very positive step for employees, customers and partners. The combination of our specialist expertise and Civica’s breadth and depth of capability creates an exciting combination at an important time for the social housing sector. We look forward to building on our joint strengths in order to deliver increasing value to customers.”

Oracle comes up with a way of getting Java off every machine

JavascriptDatabase maker Oracle has worked out a way of getting its Java code off every machine in the world – it is starting to sue those who use it without permission.

Six years after it wrote a cheque for Sun, Oracle is ramping up audits of Java customers it claims are in breach of its licences.

Oracle has been hitting up customers and partners claiming they are out of compliance on Java. This has taken some time but now its License Management Services (LMS) division is being more active in chasing down people for payment.

The database giant is understood to have hired 20 individuals globally this year, whose sole job is the pursuit of businesses in breach of their Java licences.

This is causing a boom in the industry compliance industry with specialists are themselves ramping up, hiring Java experts and expanding in anticipation of increased action next year.

At the heart of the issue is Java SE which comes in three paid flavours costing $40- $300 per user and $5,000 – $15,000 per processor.

Experts telling people to avoid downloading Java SE and those who have should review its use before Oracle pounds on their door.

We have been told that Oracle is also targeting its partners, even though they are the ones helping Oracle carry out the legal moves.

The issue is that people seem to believe that Java is free software because that was the case under Sun. Sun charged a licensee fee to companies like IBM and makers of Blu-ray players, but generally Sun used Java to help sales of its systems.

Oracle changed all that with Java SE includes Java SE Advanced Desktop, introduced by Oracle in February 2014, and Java SE Advanced and Java SE Suite, introduced by Oracle in May 2011.

Java SE is free but Java SE Advanced Desktop, Advanced and Suite are not. Java SE Suite, for example, costs $300 per named user with a support bill of $66; there’s a per-processor option of $15,000 with a $3,300 support bill.

Java SE is not free for what Oracle’s licence defines as “specialized embedded computers used in intelligent systems.” This includes mobile phones, hand-held devices, networking switches and Blu-Ray players.
Another issue is that when you download Java SE you can end up installing things you don’t need but have to pay for.
If anything Oracles actions are going to really hack off users next year and there will be a general backlash against Java in 2017.

Cisco gives up on the cloud

Cisco Kid Networking giant Cisco will walk away from its billion dollar investment in the public cloud by the middle of next year.

Cisco will abandon its InterCloud  and will move any InterCloud workloads to other, unnamed cloud providers. The move is being seen as a victory for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM.

HP saw the writing on the wall in 2015  and abandoned its efforts to be a public-cloud company. It shut down its much-hyped Helion cloud offering earlier this year. VMware still offers its vCloud Air hybrid-cloud service, though it has agreed to partner with AWS, which it once viewed as its rival.

Cisco said that it did not expect any material customer problems as a result of this move.

“For the last several months, we have been evolving our cloud strategy and our service provider partners are aware of this.”

Cisco launched InterCloud almost exactly two years ago. It anticipated spending $1 billion over the next two years building the offering, which it called “a network of clouds” and “a way to lower the total cost of cloud services ownership and pave the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private and hybrid clouds.” It was to be, Cisco said in March 2014, “the world’s largest global intercloud” and yet also “the first of its kind, delivering a new enterprise-class portfolio of cloud IT services.”

Cisco said it planned to build the product through partners, including Australian service provider Telstra; Canadian business communications provider Allstream; European cloud company Canopy; cloud services aggregator Ingram Micro Inc. and others. InterCloud would include platform and infrastructure as a service and Cisco’s collaboration, security and network management, and would be “architected for the Internet of Everything.”

In the end though it was sucking up resources like a Dyson in a tornado and at the same time customers were going elsewhere.

AWS’s share of the market for infrastructure and platform as a service as of June was over 30 percent, with year-over-year revenue growth of 53 percent, according to Synergy Research Group. Azure’s was over 10 percent, with revenue growth of 100 percent. IBM’s share was about 8 percent, Google Cloud’s was about 5 percent, and the remainder was collectively consumed by 12 or more companies.