Smartphone leaders saw growth this quarter

Samsung_Stonehenge_Galaxy_S8-20170410031501639The top five vendors leading the smartphone race all saw growth in the third quarter, according to numbers crunched by analyst outfit Gartner.

Global sales hit 383.4 million units for the quarter, which represents a three percent increase over third quarter 2016’s 372.2 million. North America sales grew 11.2 percent, Big G said.

North America was the third largest region for smartphone sales in the quarter (topped by Greater China and Emerging APAC, respectively), representing 12.4 percent of the market and selling 47.5 million smartphones, compared to 42.7 million in third quarter 2016.

Worldwide, Samsung led the quarter with 22.3 percent market share and 85.6 million units shipped. With 71.7 million units shipped in third quarter 2016, Gartner noted Samsung smartphone sales grew 19.3 percent for the quarter.

Gartner research director Anshul Gupta said: “Renewed pushes of the newly designed Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note8 smartphones have brought back growing demand for Samsung smartphones, which helped it compete against Chinese manufacturers and deliver a solid performance in the quarter. The Last time Samsung achieved a double-digit growth was in fourth quarter 2015.”

Apple controlled 11.9 percent market share and shipped 45.4 million units, compared to 43 million in third quarter 2016.

“The arrival of Apple’s new flagship iPhones at the end of the third quarter 2017 has delayed smartphone purchases into fourth quarter 2017. Following compelling offers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the holiday season will likely boost sales of smartphones before the end of the year. We estimate fourth quarter ‘s smartphone sales will boost total sales for the full year. We expect smartphone sales will reach 1.57 billion units in 2017.”

Huawei rounded out the top three with 9.5 percent market share. The Shenzhen, China firm shipped 36.5 million units for the quarter, compared to third quarter 2016’s 32.5 million.

Dongguan followed Huawei, China-headquartered firm OPPO, which earned 7.7 percent market share by shipping 29.4 million units (versus third quarter 2016’s 24.6 million), and then Xiaomi, which had seven percent market share and shipped 26.9 million smartphones (versus third quarter 2016’s 14.9 million)

Gartner also noted increased customer demand for “high-priced” smartphones, with North America and Western Europe’s market growth being attributed to such purchases.





BlackBerry adds crisis communications channel

Merry-CrisisNo stranger to a crisis itself, the former maker of phones with tiny keyboards, Blackberry has added a crisis communications channel specialisation for key partners.

The outfit is trying to elbow its way into the security and developed a crisis communication offering for those customers that need to get messages out to staff and the public quickly in times of natural disasters, terrorist and cyber-attacks.

The Crisis Communications Specialisation is built on BlackBerry’s AtHoc platform, which enables the sharing of information across an organisation, ranging from sharing work and operational details up to vital details about a major incident, and should appeal to partners that work with customers that have critical life-safety requirements.

Richard McLeod, ‎global vice president – enterprise software channels at BlackBerry, said that in times of crisis it was vital that messages could get out to people providing information and safety advice.

BlackBerry’s mobile background is useful in a situation when email is down, and there is a need for other means of communicating with people.

He said that as well as selling crisis communication tools some partners would also be in a position to earn extra revenues from integrating other aspects, including sirens, radios and speakers.

Candidates will need to be a global partner with robust cloud and security and consultative skills to be invited.

Infosys taps ex-Capgemini for CEO

61913273Outsourcer Infosys has hired an ex-Capgemini executive to lead the firm after former CEO Vishal Sikka dramatically stepped down in August.

Salil Parekh will begin his tenure as the Indian giant’s new CEO on 2 January, replacing interim CEO Pravin Rao who will go back to being a COO.

Parekh has nearly three decades of global experience in the IT services industry, and a strong track record of executing business turnarounds and managing very successful acquisitions. The Board believes that he is the right person to lead Infosys at this transformative time in our industry. The Board is also grateful to Pravin for his leadership during this period of transition, the company said.

Infosys claims it underwent a “comprehensive global search effort” for the firm’s new leader, claiming that Parekh was the top choice from a pool of “highly qualified” candidates.

The new chief exec spent more than 25 years at Capgemini where he served as CEO of global financial services and held a place on the firm’s executive board.

In August, reports emerged that Infosys’ founder had led a boardroom coup which saw CEO Sikka and three board members abruptly depart from the firm. At the time, Sikka claimed that he had been victim of “unrelenting, baseless, malicious and increasingly personal attacks” from founder Narayana Murthy.

Parekh’s priority will be “business continuity without rocking the boat,” The feud between Sikka and the founders, with N R Narayana Murthy in particular, has left a sour taste in investor and clients’ mouths.

Parekh needs to repair the dented confidence while keeping the founders, who own about 12 per cent of the company, in good humour. He has already received a thumbs up from Murthy as he said after the appointment, “I’m happy that Infosys has appointed Salil Parekh as the CEO. My best wishes to him.”

Smart Manufacturing Market Size Worth $395.2 Billion by 2025

db8cf46027f3e5e3c404010a9f3fb2a6Beancounters at Grand View Research have been adding up some numbers and worked out that global smart manufacturing market size is estimated to reach $395.2 billion by 2025.

The study, with the punchy title “Smart Manufacturing Market Analysis By Component, By Technology, By End-use (Automotive, Aerospace, Chemicals, Healthcare, Electronics, Agriculture, Oil & Gas), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2014 – 2025” claims that the growing emphasis on increasing production efficiency and gaining visibility across the entire value chain are the two major factors driving market growth.

In addition, the availability of advanced technologies such as 3D printing, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), and plant asset management solutions to small and medium enterprises is further accelerating the industry growth.

The positive impact of government initiatives and investments to promote smart manufacturing adoption has been one of the most influential factors driving market growth. The fact that both industrialized countries and developing economies are aggressively pursuing this avenue is expected to further drive growth. For example, China is reportedly investing over $3 billion for advanced manufacturing under the Made in China 2025 program.

Automotive and aerospace & defense industries are the leading growth avenues for smart manufacturing solution providers with industries such as oil and gas and industrial equipment manufacturing rapidly scaling their digitalisation efforts. With the proliferation of 3D printing, simulation, and modeling in manufacturing and design, these industries are expected to continue to maintain a significant growth rate over the forecast period. Though numerous solutions are available in the market, digital twin and real-time analytics are anticipated to spearhead the penetration of digitalization in these industries.

IAR gets under Amazon’s bonnet

amazonsIAR Systems has announced support for newly launched Internet of Things (IoT) Microcontroller Operating System, Amazon FreeRTOS.

Together with Amazon Web Services (AWS), IAR Systems provides developers with easy access to  pre-integrated development tools for developing and debugging embedded and IoT-connected applications based on Amazon FreeRTOS.

Amazon FreeRTOS provides tools that developers need to quickly and easily deploy a microcontroller-based connected device and develop an embedded or IoT application without having to worry about the complexity of scaling across millions of devices.

Based on the FreeRTOS kernel, Amazon FreeRTOS includes software libraries which make it easy to securely connect devices locally to AWS Greengrass, directly to the cloud, and update them remotely. For new devices, developers can choose to build their embedded and IoT application on a variety of qualified microcontrollers from companies collaborating with AWS and IAR Systems, including Microchip, NXP, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments.

Amazon Web Services Principal Engineer Richard Barry said that AWS is pleased to be teamed with IAR Systems to provide developers with access to a high performance, pre-integrated set of development tools for developing and debugging connected applications.

“Software development is becoming ever more complex and critical and the need to have access to the right tools to help developers create, optimize and debug their code is paramount.”

IAR Systems Product Manager Lotta Frimanson said that FreeRTOS is widely used among our customers and the new capabilities added by AWS will enable them to take their development of connected applications to the next level.

“AWS and IAR Systems solutions provide easy access to high-performance and integrated tools that can enable developers to focus on the innovative and differentiating parts of their application.”


Two key partners reduce IBM addition

J6GA2aKTwo of IBM’s most monogamous UK partners have told the world they want to see other people and work with other vendors.

In their accounts, Meridian IT and Tectrade referenced initiatives to diversify their vendor portfolios during the year.

Meridian said has been working “almost exclusively” as an IBM Business Partner “has decided that putting ‘all our eggs in one basket’ could end up with the company’s bottom line scrambled.

In its directors’ report for its year ending 31 March 2017, which it filed on Companies House in mid-November the company said: “we have diversified the business significantly into other IT vendors where we are developing strong reseller partner relationships, and a significant business pipeline.”

Meridian saw revenue rise four per cent during the year to £17.5 million, although operating profits fell to £889,000.

Data infrastructure specialist Tectrade’s saw a 30 per cent annual sales leap and said that was because it broke its IBM addition and diversified its vendor roster.

While IBM remains a “core partner”, the addition of Dell EMC to its portfolio helped propel revenues from £12.4m to £16.1 million. Operating profits virtually halved to £1.3 million.

“Vendor diversification will continue in 2017/18, offering existing and new customers a wider range of product and services options,” Tectrade’s directors’ report added.

BluJay releases last mile MobileSTAR

6170101598_a01f290bfbSupply chain software outfit BluJay has unveiled its MobileSTAR mobility platform.

MobileSTAR manages the last mile delivery for shippers and carriers of all types. It provides real-time connection and driver optimisation capabilities through any mobile device while reducing operational costs.

A standalone solution previously offered as Delivery Connect by Blackbay, which BluJay acquired, MobileSTAR is now fully integrated into BluJay’s Transportation Management for shippers workflow to deliver automated, real-time track and trace, and last-mile routing, enabling customers to share shipment and driver information with partners up and down the supply chain. It appears.

BluJay Solutions’ chief product strategist, Doug Surrett, said that MobileSTAR is a next-generation, last-mile mobility solution that is fully integrated with our Global Trade Network and product portfolio. “Our Transportation Management customers now have the ability to connect in real-time, delivering improved customer satisfaction and reduced costs.”

MobileSTAR is a configurable end-to-end application that connects the shipper, operations, management, drivers, and customers with real-time data and automated workflows. For shippers, MobileSTAR can replace manual, labour-intensive tracking processes, without costly integration to telematics providers. Drivers, both private fleet and common carriers, can download the BluJay MobileSTAR application on iOS or Android devices and be immediately connected to the network. The application also provides the benefit of street-level route optimisation. That’s what it reckons.

As a stand-alone solution hosted on-premise or in the cloud, MobileSTAR can be integrated with enterprise systems, as well as pre-configured applications and easy to modify applications for specific needs.

Additionally, MobileSTAR is powered by BluJay’s logistics application framework, which enables organisations to create their own application configuration from a library of functionality, including screens, process flow, and logic capability.

So it’s all pretty compelling, isn’t it?

Midwich makes Sound purchase

acoustic_locator_8Midwich has taken over Letchworth-based Sound Technology.

Sound Technology will continue to operate as an independent company but will become a subsidiary of the Midwich group. Sound founder Robert Wilson set to remain as chairman.

Midwich has been in a buying up large spree since it went public – it has acquired distributors in the UK, Spain, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Stephen Fenby, managing director at Midwich, said: “The acquisition of Sound Technology substantially enhances the group’s ability to provide world-leading products and high-value-add audio solutions to our trade customers.

“In addition, I believe that the high level of support Sound Technology provides to its vendors is very close to our proven strategy as a specialist distributor. The company’s recent entry into the professional lighting market is an exciting proposition and complements our current offering in the Benelux and Iberia regions.

“I look forward to welcoming the Sound Technology team into the Midwich Group and working with them to further develop this marketplace.”


McAfee’s top partners could be demoted

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKZAAAAJGU1N2MxODU4LTY5NmUtNGQ3Yi1hZmVhLThjODQzODZiMGE0NgRecently liberated from the clutches of Intel, McAfee has announced it expects a bit more from its top-tier partners.

Global channel VP Richard Steranka has warned that McAfee’s top-tier partners will have to meet service-certification requirements by the end of the year or be demoted.

Speaking at McAfee’s MPower Cybersecurity Summit in Amsterdam, Steranka said that McAfee is implementing the new training criteria to reward partners that have invested in the firm.

The big idea is to reward VARs who are building their business around McAfee’s software, rather than solely rewarding transactional partners who hold “more than 300” security vendors in their portfolio.

“At the beginning of 2017, it was a new requirement of being a Platinum partner to have two service delivery specialists in at least three of our product areas: end-point, infrastructure, data, or security operations. There was no incentive [previously], so we created one.”

Partners have until 31 December to obtain the necessary certifications, when their place in McAfee’s partner programme will be evaluated.

The vendor has 250 Platinum partners globally, and Steranka expects this to decrease as some current Platinum partners cannot meet the new criteria.

New certifications have been added to the programme; partners are still given rebates depending on how they perform against set quarterly revenue targets.

Partners hitting 80 to 100 percent of their sales target get a two percent rebate, those achieving 100 percent to 150 percent make four percent, while those exceeding 150 percent of sales can earn an eight percent quarterly rebate.

Nokia denies Juniper deal

nokia-lumiaThe dark satanic rumour mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that the former making of rubber boots, Nokia was about to buy network rival Juniper.

The rumour was that Nokia was readying a $16 billion offer for the California-based networking vendor.

Nokia, however, released a statement directly contradicting the report, stating: “Nokia is not currently in talks with, nor is it preparing an offer for, Juniper Networks related to an acquisition of that company.”

Wall Street had reacted favourably to the potential deal, with Juniper’s share price rocketing over 22 percent. Juniper currently has a market cap of just over $11 billion.

Juniper was saying nothing.

Nokia’s roots are in telecoms infrastructure. In 2016 it reported revenue of over €20 billion.

It is not as if Nokia does not have the previous form for expensive buyouts. Last year the firm acquired Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 million to boost its manufacturing of mobile equipment, after offloading its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014.

Consumers will abandon insecure businesses

sdfgdsfgsdfgsdfgCompanies that suffer from a data breach could lose more than 70 percent of their customers, according to a new survey.

Ok, the survey was carried out by Gemalto which is a security company, but it was based on questions asked to 10,000 consumers.

Just under 70 percent of consumers feel businesses don’t take the security of customer data very seriously.

This is a little ironic because the Gemalto study found that consumers are failing to adequately secure themselves, with over half (56 percent) still using the same password for multiple online accounts.

Even when businesses offer robust security solutions, such as two-factor authentication, two fifths (41 percent) of consumers admit to not using the technology to secure social media accounts, leaving them vulnerable to data breaches.

This may be because the majority of consumers (62 percent) believe the business holding their data is mostly responsible for its security.

This is resulting in businesses being forced to take additional steps to protect consumers and enforce robust security measures, as well as educate them on the benefits of adopting these. Retailers (61 percent), banks (59 percent) and social media sites (58 percent) were found to have a lot of work to do, with these being sectors that consumers would leave if they suffered a breach.

Gemalto Identity and Data Protection CTO Jason Hart said: “Consumers are evidently happy to relinquish the responsibility of protecting their data to business, but are expecting it to be kept secure without any effort on their part.”

“In the face of upcoming data regulations such as GDPR, it’s now up to businesses to ensure they are forcing security protocols on their customers to keep data secure. It’s no longer enough to offer these solutions as an option. These protocols must be mandatory from the start – otherwise, businesses will face not only financial consequences but also potential legal action from consumers.”

Despite their behaviour, consumers’ security concerns are high, as two-thirds worry they will be victims of a data breach shortly.

Consequently, consumers now hold businesses accountable – if their data is stolen, 93 percent of consumers would take or consider taking legal action against the compromised business.

More than half believe that social media sites are one of the biggest threats to their data, with 20 percent fearful of travel sites – worryingly, 9 percent think no sites pose a risk to them.

A third of consumers trust banks the most with their data, despite them being frequent targets and victims of data breaches, with industry certified bodies (12 percent), device manufacturers (11 percent ) and the government (10 percent ) next on the list.

Hart said: “It’s astonishing that consumers are now putting their data at risk, by failing to use these measures, despite growing concerns around their security. It’s resulting in an alarming amount of breaches – 80 percent – being caused by weak or previously stolen credentials. Something has to change soon on both the business and consumer sides, or this is only going to get worse.”

Amazon plots New Year partner revamp

usa-mockingbird-heights-munsters-vampire-grandpa-magazineAmazon Web Services (AWS) is planning a New-Year revamp of its channel partner programme.

The big idea is to promise incentives for resellers which commit to specialising in its core cloud technologies.

Terry Wise, vice president of worldwide alliances, channels and ecosystems at AWS, told the assembled throngs at the AWS Partner Summit keynote at the cloud giant’s annual user and partner conference, Re:Invent, in Las Vegas, that the AWS Channel Reseller Programme will get a full rebrand in 2018.

It will be renamed the AWS Solutions Provider Programme, and will feature beefed-up benefits and support for partners, Wise said.

“What customers are telling us is they want AWS to actually recognise and incentivise a set of partners that provide more of the specialised services”, he said.

The bookseller will use a tiered incentive structure for its new-look partner programme, with resellers specialising in managed services, cloud migrations, DevOps and other areas set to reap bigger rewards.

“Further incentives and investments in partners working with us on the front end to bring net new opportunities to the AWS cloud are coming”, Wise continued.

Furthermore, resellers who go above and beyond from a customer support perspective will also have their efforts recognised via the programme, he added.

“We’re going to make changes in the support model by recognising our reseller partners (who provide a great high-quality support experience) with a different economic model, and a much more flexible way in which you can offer support to our mutual customers”,  Wise said.

“Collectively, these areas are going to give our channel partners the opportunity to substantially improve the profitability of their business.”

More details will arrive early in 2018.


Days of vendors bossing distributors about are nearly gone

hqdefaultResearch from the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) suggests that the days of vendors telling distributors what to do are nearly over.

In its latest Landscape and Disruption Trends and Challenges to 2022 report, the council notes that there are greater levels of collaboration between vendors and their channel partners and many want to increase that in the future.

GTDC in EMEA general manager Peter van den Berg said that the distributor knows the vendors and works on solutions and knows how to glue them together. Distributors are in the middle with knowledge and can handle the education and training.

The GTDC research found that the majority of vendors, 60 percent, saw more of their business going through two-tier distribution in the next three to five years, with value-added players getting the bulk of that business.

Not only do vendors expect more business to go through distribution but there is an expectation that more of their product and service portfolios will also go via that level of the channel.

Performance rather than cost is one of the key considerations for those choosing to work with a distributor, and those that want to remain market leaders will need to invest in making sure they can help vendors tap into growth areas.

Distributors needed to provide digital skills and maintain speed and flexibility.

Despite all of the hype about AI, the next big thing to hit the channel is going to be IoT and distribution needs to be in a position to help integrate solutions for the SME market, the report said.

The data that distributors gain working with vendors and resellers is also going to become a useful tool with the need for more analysis of that information to not only improve the business but share back with vendors.

Government confirms G-Cloud 10 delay Commercial Service (CCS) has extended the G-Cloud 9 framework until May 2019.

It is saying that G-Cloud 9 is being extended past its May 2018 expiry date as G-10 stalled.

In a message sent to suppliers today, CCS confirmed that G-Cloud 9 will be extended for a period of “up to 12 months”, with the expiry date now set for “on or before” 21 May 2019.

The note said: “The decision to extend G-Cloud has not been taken lightly. It will allow time for CCS and GDS to deliver a revolutionary transformation to the platform to meet user needs – for suppliers and buyers both central government and wider public sector.

“Previously, we have undertaken continuous and regular refreshes for each of the individual agreements. However, this hasn’t always given us adequate time for the Digital Marketplace to be developed beyond simply the refresh of these agreements, to meet user needs.

“More time is now needed to transform the platform and make it scalable and more flexible, enabling more framework services and improved customer and supplier functionality based on what user needs have identified.”

That’s from The government’s Digital Future Twitter page, which added that G-Cloud 9 had been extended to give time to enable wider functionality improvements.

Along with G-Cloud, the Digital Outcomes and Specialist 2 framework, and Cyber Securities Services 2 framework have also been extended until 2019.

The move will allow the 70 percent of suppliers who are yet to make a sale on G-Cloud 9 a bit longer.

Millennium Business Systems is no longer

ex-parrotIT and audiovisual reseller Millennium Business Systems (MBS) has gone into administration and now must be considered to have gone the way of the dodo and the Norwegian Blue.

The Wokingham-based VAR should have been doing well. It won a place on a £800 million Welsh public sector IT framework, turned over £8 million in its year ending 31 December 2016. But its operating profits were wafer thin at just  £86,000.

MBS had been attempting to raise cash urgently by flogging excess inventory and told staff it could not pay them. Sales director James Baxter wrote on Linkedin that the firm closed its doors after 31 years in business.

The failed MBS attempt left the business “with nothing”, and Millennium had no choice but to call in the administrators after one of the big distributors issued a winding-up order.

“As expected, there is a lot going on at this point, but my main concern right now lies with our 40 personnel and their families who, in this festive period just before Christmas, find themselves without work, through absolutely no fault of their own”, Baxter wrote.

There are quite a few distributors that will feel a bit of pain from the loss.

As recently as a week ago, it was still posting on its LinkedIn page with updates on product launches from its vendor partners, including Panasonic and Sharp. As well as acting as a reseller, it was also a PC builder, having secured Local Named OEM status with Microsoft in 2014.