Warehouse space hits record low

forkliftRetail is hurting and the slowdown now appears to be trickling down to warehouse outfits, who are slowly running out of space. 

According to a report from Jones Lang LaSalle, the amount of warehouse space available in the UK is at its lowest level since records began. Some regions are already experiencing shortages of immediately available space.

Tim Johnson of Jones Lang LaSalle told Logistics Manager that the amount of immediately available new floor space is at its lowest level since his outfit started keeping records and it currently sits at just 8 million sq ft UK-wide.

“This is 71 per cent below its pre-recession peak of nearly 29 million sq ft in March 2008 – this definitely affected take up levels last year,” he said.

The vacancy rate in December 2012 stood at about 10 percent across the UK. Overall take-up in 2012 was lower than in 2011 due to a lower level of overall economic activity. Worse, occupier demand slowed down in 2012, but even so the amount of available space kept declining. Construction of new facilities slowed down after the 2008 meltdown and it is currently at the lowest level since 2005.

Jon Sleeman, director EMEA Logistics & Industrial Research at Jones Lang LaSalle, pointed out that the availability of good quality space is now becoming a real issue and some clients are being forced to consider alternatives, such as build to suit developments. On a positive note, he argued that some developers with infrastructure and planning in place stand to benefit from the downturn.

Cachet to offer Prelert’s Anomaly Detective

holmesBritish reseller Cachet Software has just got the contract to offer Prelert’s predictive analytics software in the automation and operational risk sectors.

Prelert’s Anomaly Detective for Splunk Enterprise will now be on offer from Cachet in the UK, which uses automated intelligence to work out risk and behavioural changes hiding out somewhere in the data. By predicting, finding and fixing this data, Prelert says operational efficiencies are increased “dramatically”.

The MD at Cachet said the analytics technology will fit in nicely with its existing portfolio. Stuart Kenley said in a statement that Prelert’s software provides “fast and efficient” data analytics that will let customers tinker with and improve the availability and performance of their IT systems.

Customers will be able to download and install Anomaly Detective in “minutes” to integrate with Splunk Enterprise. Prelert boasted that the software is completely self learning and as such doesn’t require much configuration.

Intel Ultrabooks are the “Titanic of the 21st Century”

Der Untergang der TitanicResellers have lit into Intel Ultrabooks likening the range to the “the Titanic of the 21st Century,” and calling the products a “sinking expense.”

The comments come as resellers are still seeing bleak sales  for  these products, with some saying they can’t see a light at the end of the dismal tunnel.

Intel’s slim line babies had been touted as a lighter way to work, however, according to recent research by IDC, the company’s emphasis on its skinny form factor did it no favours as the price tag is still sky high.

However, it seems the stubbornness of the company, and its reluctance to cut prices, have angered resellers.

“Ultrabooks have really been the Titanic of the 21st Century. A disaster, and sinking expense,” one told ChannelEye today.

“It seems to me that whatever Intel does, and however much it throws at this brand, it’s just not going to take off unless it reduces prices for these ranges significantly.

“However what we’ve heard from the company hints that this isn’t going to happen, meaning we’ll once again be left with surplus stock and low margins as a result.”

Others agreed, claiming that the price point was the thorn in Intel’s side.

“Ultrabooks still aren’t doing as well as we would have liked. No one wants an overpriced laptop at the moment and the slim USP it’s got going on just isn’t attracting consumers,” another reseller told ChannelEye.

“There are cheaper, but bigger laptops that offer similar features that just make purchases more justified.”

Others have also pointed out that although the company could cash in on the upcoming holidays, consumers again would be reluctant to opt for this product with tablets offering a better price point.

“We’re hoping to see a rise in Ultrabook sales as the summer holidays come around, but it’s market. Some families who are going away will be looking for a light device that can keep kids occupied on a plane as well as act as a virtual mag/book.

“Although an Ultrabook would be perfect for this, the reality is the price points will push many to a tablet,” he added.

Windows 8 touch screens fail to thrill

msTouch-screen Windows 8 portable PCs are still failing to cut the mustard in Europe with cpeople preferring to spend their cash on tablets.

That’s the latest from IT market research company Context, which has said that this could lie in the fact that at the October Windows 8 launch last year, there was no significant support from leading hardware vendors for touch screens in portable PCs.

It added that at the time only 1.1 percent of all the Windows 8 portable PCs selling through distribution at the time of the launch were touch screen-enabled. By the end of January this year, this had only risen to 2.4 percent, while tablet sales had increased “significantly” over the same period.

However, the momentum is still upbeat with hardware vendors surveyed by Context claiming that they are anticipating some uptake in sales of touch screen enabled portable PCs by the third quarter of 2013 in time for the end of year holiday season.

The company warned that with the price of 15-inch and higher touch screens still expensive, making the portables a high-priced item, the cheaper tablets could potentially dampen touch screen sales.

Ingram Micro creates new business unit

IMIngram Micro has merged its recent BrightPoint purchase to make a new business unit in the company.

The distie announced at Mobile World Congress that it had created Ingram Micro Mobility, which had been made up of its existing mobile group and BrightPoint, which it bought in October last year.

It claimed the new division will give customers more options as a result of the combined capabilities and reach of both companies.

Ingram Micro Mobility is said to offers a complete end-to-end service for the lifecycle of mobile devices – moving mobile products from manufacturing, providing customisation services, fulfilling through all channels, managing transportation and logistics, and providing complete integrated reverse and recover services.

It claimed the services would also support moving and selling mobility products through markets across the globe with a single partner.

Ingram Micro Mobility vendors are also claimed to be given better benefits and services through the new division as they can apparently further optimise their supply chains with BrightPoint’s experience in device lifecycle services.

BrightPoint product vendors also get advantages with claims that they can gain access to new selling channels as BrightPoint’s product portfolio is cross-sold into Ingram Micro’s sales channels.

The distie will also target new markets including Vietnam, Philippines, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, France, Latin America and Canada, which can access Ingram Micro’s and BrightPoint’s joint capabilities.

Here’s the lowdown on the Oscars 2013

redIt was a night of fun, glitz and fashion as Hollywood’s A-listers stepped out to celebrate and show off their frocks at the 2013 Oscars.

And this year the red carpet was awash with pale colours, giving the event a vintage, old school glamour theme.

Jennifer Lawrence, who admitted she was “starving” – a feeling we imagine is quite common for many celebs – went for a white and pale pink strapless Dior gown with a full skirt and ruffled hemline.

Amy Adams opted for an Oscar de la Renta ballgown, which was a stark contrast to the her usual statement column dresses, while Anne Hathaway kept the colour tone light with  simple pale pink Prada column gown, which she claimed had been chosen just hours before the event.

Jessica Chastain, also gave a nod to vintage Hollywood with a shiny copper Armani Prive dress and gold was also the colour of choice for Catherine Zeta-Jones who rocked up in a Zuhair Murad number.

However, some celebs opted for bolder hues in a bid to stand out from the fash pack. Jennifer Garner chose a strapless magenta ruffled back  Gucci gown, while Reese Witherspoon also broke the pale mould turning up in a bold blue column dress.

Sequins, which we thought had been put away along with that Christmas tree also reared their sparkly heads, with a number of celebrities opting for this style. Adele wore a black, sequinned Jenny Packham frock, Naomi Watts went for a gunmetal sequin Armani gown and Nicole Kidman was a sequin queen in a gown by L’Wren Scott.

Over in the male clothing camp, one thing that stood out amongst the huge range of designer tux was the sheer number of celebs sporting facial hair.

This generation of the Brat Pack including Bradley Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, George Clooney, and Ben Affleck all went for beards, while it was mustaches for Jason Schwartzman and Chris Pine.

HP tells partners to “look inside”® for CPUs

Look inside at The Venetian, Las VegasAt its Global Partner Conference (GPC) held at the Venetian, Las Vegas last week, we asked senior suits at the company whether Hewlett Packard was Intel only.

Executives told us foreign journalists that it was CPU agnostic, and that we should “look inside” to fashion our “ecosystem” experience.

A direct question elicited the response that if we looked inside HP servers we would find various microprocessors powering its servers, including ARM and AMD. Just look inside, we were told.  HP is not only an Intel company. Look inside!  Sounds like a Buddhist idea, but we’ll take HP’s word for it. For now.

Anna Cheng, a PR rep at Intel UK, declined to comment “on rumours and speculation”. Intel does own trademark “The Journey Inside“, which is pretty Zennish. ®

ChannelEye reviews the Venetian, Vegas

The Venetian, Las VegasI’ve never been to Venice, but I’ve been to the Venetian, Las Vegas before, although only visiting it rather than living in it.  In it?  And despite the tacky first impression of  gondolas, an artificially lit St Mark’s Square and accordian playing maidens in the lobby, there is more to this hotel than meets the eye.

I was staying at the Venetian because I was covering the Hewlett Packard Global Partner Conference and even though I was only there for two nights, I have decided that I like it. I like it a lot.  And it’s the people who work at the Venetian that make the place.  The check in lady was friendly, welcoming and efficient – the room was pleasant and bigger than the first flat I lived in – the staff were uniformly helpful, even when they weren’t wearing uniforms and went that extra mile.

Venetian, Las VegasAnd when I say that extra mile, I can tell you that if you are not fit, you will be fit even if you’re only staying for two nights. You will walk for miles and miles and miles, oh yeah. I was staying at room 9-525 and to get to the lift, sorry elevator, you are talking more than just a leisurely saunter. And when you get to the ground floor, it’s another trek to get, through the casino, to the Sands conference centre where the HP gig was on-going, or going on, as we’d prefer to say. The old Sands convention centre was awful – the new one ain’t too bad at al.

On the way to the casino, you will be entertained by nice lasses playing accordions and if you look up there’s a heap of paintings on the ceiling while your little legs attempt to make the grade.

Once in the casino, it’s another hike to get to the Sands conference centre and once you’re there there are floors and floors and floors and floors. But when it looked like I was getting lost, I just had to ask the staff and they sent me the right way on my safari.

Venetian: bar in the casinoOn the last day, I was due to be picked up at 5:45PM to make my way back to Blighty.  On the way back from the conference centre, I stopped by the bar in the casino.  I have got to tell you the barman working there (pictured) was one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and I can tell you I have met a lot of bar staff in my incredibly long life. I was fiddling around with Facebook on my StupidPhone and the barman said: “Talk to me! Stop playing with Facebook and talk to me!”  I talked to him. What a friendly and professional guy.

And so to the denoument of my stay at the Venetian hotel.  I had ambiguous instructions for where my pick up was supposed to, er, pick me up. I asked the bell hop, Luke from Kansas, to give me a hand to the pick up point.  We got to first one pick up point that didn’t work. Then we had to hike across the hotel to another which didn’t work either. Luke stuck by me.  In the end, one of the guys fired up his bus just to take me, on my own, to McArran airport, at no charge. So thank you driver Michael, and your fiancé, Linda, looks beautiful.

I would say what makes this hotel are the people that work in it. I have spent many hours in hotels and, also assessing corporations. The Venetian is a happy ship, that much is clear. I couldn’t fault the place, largely because of the pleasant people – in good moods – that work there.

PS I haven’t been paid for this review.

Visa opens mobile payments programme

visa-epayVisa is expanding its programme to integrate payment technologies into emerging devices and platforms, including NFC-enabled smartphones. 

The Visa Ready Partner Program is designed to help device manufacturers, mobile networks and other partners to gain access to Visa intellectual property and licenses, including APIs and SDK’s for mobile point-of-sale payments.

PAC calls back to work scheme “extremely poor”

Jobcentre-plus-The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has slated a hefty priced scheme aimed at helping the long-term unemployed get back into work.

The MPs have called the  Work Programme “extremely poor” after its research found that in the 14 months of the scheme being up and running only 3.6 percent of those involved moved off benefits into sustained employment.

PAC said that the performance was also “so poor” that it was “actually worse” than the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) own expectations of the number of people who would have found work if the Programme didn’t exist.

It also pointed out that the Programme was particularly failing young people and the hardest-to-help.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee of cross-party MPs, said: “It is shocking that of the 9,500 former incapacity benefit claimants referred to providers, only 20 people have been placed in a job that has lasted three months, while the poorest-performing provider did not manage to place a single person in the under-25 category into a job lasting six month.”

The programme was introduced in June 2011, at an estimated cost of between £3 billion and £5 billion over five years. However, PAC said that none of those contracted to help place workers had met their targets and their performance “varied widely”

It said that it was also concerned that some providers were focusing on people more likely to generate a fee, and sidelining jobless clients who required more time and investment.

“Given the poor performance across providers, there is a high risk that one or more will fail—either they will go out of business or the Department will cancel their contracts,” the report added.

This isn’t the only DWP scheme that has caused recent controversy. Back in January the department came under fire after French benefit assessment company Atos ordered 50,000 disabled Scots to go back to work.

The company was hired by the UK Government to help cut the welfare bill by assessing whether those on disability benefits were actually eligible for work.

Atos’s Work Capability Assessments aimed to do this by asking benefits claimants to complete a long questionnaire and attend an interview with an Atos employee.

What HP really told its dear partners

HP Global Partner ConferenceLet’s face it, us journalists are like a dangerous bacillus for vendors. Although the press are important to HP, we must be kept in isolation, and any HP execs that come anywhere near us must be inoculated beforehand and go through extensive health checks afterwards to ensure they haven’t been contaminated.

So in the ICU unit at this week’s Global Partner Conference, we were kept carefully away from the 2,000 partners invited to the glittering jamboree at the very glittering Venetian hotel in swinging Las Vegas.

We attempted to visit a server briefing but we were ejected by an HP bouncer because he noticed that we were wearing a red badge – red standing for warning, of course.

It was hard to prevent us chatting to sources close to Avnet, Ingram Micro and Tech Data, however, and to sundry HP employees who hadn’t been inoculated. Because these chaps and chapesses haven’t been press trained, we will have to not name them and describe them as “sources close” to the companies. And we can relay the undoubted fact that although folk from the big distributors welcomed Meg Whitman’s pledge to be nicer to the channel, they will believe it when they see it, if you get my meaning.

We hacks didn’t get invited to the Gen8 Petting Zoo, which is a shame. We would have loved to see HP petting the channel. Nor did we learn about the new compact servers (need three pedestals), the future HP Smart Update Manager (SUM), the future HP BladeSystem interconnect and we weren’t briefed on HP’s Smart Storage Futures (power, monitor, internet).

We do know that Synnex is HP’s largest North American distributor, delivering over $3 billion sales every year. It’s HP’s number one distie and has over 45 percent channel share. A Mr Eric Doyle, from the Intel Corporation, delivered the message that Intel, HP and resellers are “better together”.  This Eric Doyle is different from UK hack Eric Doyle, who had a package waiting for him in reception. Confusion arose. The UK’s Eric Doyle was being asked to pay $7 to collect the Intel package. We didn’t see Intel’s Mike Magee there, either.

Dan Forlenza from HP and Aaron Arvizu from Intel impressed on delegates the importance of the enterprise tablet revolution. Those would be HP tablets with Intel chips inside, then. Scott Wiest, from HP, invited the resellers to “ignite new opportunities” with X86 servers and how to migrate IBM and Oracle Sun servers to HP ones, instead.

Ray Carlin from HP told partners that while there have been many predictions of the demise of bricks-and-mortar shops, lots of people still want to go into real shops. As ChannelEye knows only too well, people like to go into shops to eye up the goodies but fewer and fewer are buying there and after they’ve taken a dekko, go online to buy the kit instead.

All in all, the event was a very revealing snapshot of how HP treats its partners.  We were successfully confined to sealed test tubes and shipped out of Vegas with due despatch and without the plague breaking out in a widespread kind of a way.

BAE sharpens Axe for 3,500 US staff

axeThe pink slips could once again be rearing their ugly heads.

This time staff at BAE Systems’ US ship maintenance business are reportedly facing job cuts as a result of the government’s military spending cuts.

The British arms producer could reportedly be making 3,500 – around 70 percent – staff redundant as a result of the US’ navy putting a halt on maintenance work on 13 ships. However, according to Bloomberg the cuts could also have a domino affect on on the company’s suppliers.

It has not been a good week for BAE.

Yesterday the company, which employs around 93,500 across the world, announced that it had made a loss in 2012.

Underlying profit fell six percent to £1.89 billion in the year, while pre-tax profits has dropped to £1.4 billion from £1.5 billion.

It was also bad news for sales, which fell seven percent to £17.8 billion from £19.2 billion in 2012, which the company said was a contributing factor in the failure to a merge with European defence firm and Airbus owner EADS.

The company said the losses were as a result of US defence cuts, as well as reduced military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Longer working hours lead to more office affairs

photoMore extra marital activities are taking place over the office photocopier a report has found.

The survey conducted by Notatwork.co.uk and married dating site IllicitEncounters.com, has found spending longer hours in the office is leading to a rise in workplace affairs, with people who regularly work over 45 hours a week almost five times more likely to seek solace with a colleague.

The duo also said that those who regularly did more than 50 hours a week in industries such as video games, finance, medicine, journalism, and the emergency services were more likely to embark on a cloak and dagger relationship.

People in these industries admitted that they embarked on longer working hours as a result of increased workloads and to ensure their jobs remained as secure as possible.

Mike Taylor, at Illicit Encounters, said these long hours “pushed” people into making bad relationship choices  as they sometimes found themselves in the office late at night, exhausted and feeling low and took comfort with a co-worker in the same situation.

“This can then develop as they spend more time with each other than they are with their spouses,” he added.

Over 54 percent of those asked admitted that at some-point in their career they had considered engaging in a work-based affair.

IBM expands its mobile plans

next-years-mainframe-model-comes-in-nearly-half-the-spaceBiggish Blue has revamped its mobile products for businesses by merging all its mobile tools into a portfolio dubbed MobileFirst.

The idea is to provide a package for corporations looking to turn mobile screens into revenue drivers.

IBM’s mobile strategy has been becoming more elaborate after realising that mobile enterprise could become the equivalent of its e-business, analytics and smarter planet efforts. The company has started mixing software and services together to pitch its mobile wares.

In a statement, IBM said that enterprises are leaving billions of dollars on the table by not transforming fast enough to take advantage of mobility. It plans to double its investment in mobile in 2013 compared to 2012.

IBM’s MobileFirst Platform includes its Worklight product, which is development tool, single sign-on and Rational testing tools for apps. To reassure companies about BYOD policies, MobileFirst includes a Security product which scans vulnerabilities at the app level on mobile operating systems. The security tools are designed to scan and enforce policies for internal and third party mobile apps.

There is also MobileFirst Management which is an update to EndPoint Manager to support bring your own device programs with additional security tools. This targets all screens from the desktop to the smartphone with policies by device.

Finally there is MobileFirst Analytics which is an expansion of its Tealeaf CX Mobile tools to model customer behaviour on multiple screens.

On the services side, Biggish Blue is rebranding a design unit under the MobileFirst moniker. The design and strategy services consist of workshops as well as IBM Interactive user interface expertise. IBM will offer development, network and integration services.

According to the company, its cunning plan is to target its key verticals such as retail with point-of-sale applications, healthcare and transportation.

HTC plans to pull its nadgers out of the fire with direct marketing

htc-isntHTC is turning to marketing as the Viagra to restore its flaccid brand image and it will not rely on its telecom businesses partners so much.

Peter Chou, chief executive officer of HTC, said some of the problems his company had were from overly relying on partnerships with telecom operators.

The new marketing strategy, targeted particularly in Europe, will focus on “pushing the brand” and “driving demand,” Chou said at a press conference in London.

He said that HTC and its partners would see major changes this year as the company attempts to communicate with consumers more directly.

In the good old days HTC led the industry in technology innovation but the marketplace has changed. HTC needs to change in terms of its “market positioning and execution”. Market positioning is low and someone will have to be executed.

HTC unveiled its new HTC One smartphone in London and New York on Tuesday with revamped camera and audio.

Chou did not say why he felt that the company had been let down by its business partners. But there was a feeling that the company had suffered from poor marketing as the telcos pushed phones from Samsung and Apple instead.

The cunning plan seems to be for HTC to take a more direct marketing approach, although this might create a backlash against the company from business partners who feel left out of the loop.