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Distribution positioning for a smart future

Distribution is making sure it has a role to play in a smart technology driven future

It was not too long ago when the cloud started to become a more widely understood concept that questions began to be asked about the future of distribution.

Those who wondered just where that tier of the channel would fit in as customers moved to a hosted world have since seen quite a reaction in distribution.

Over the past couple of years there has been above by most of the established players to embrace the cloud. But as well as ensuring they are in a position to act as aggregators or providers of channel friendly hosted platforms they have started to identify new opportunities.

3D printing is one example of where distributors have been quick, even faster than the market going mainstream, as they position themselves as the source of that technology for the channel.

Another area where it has taken some faith to fork out some investments has been in the smart technology and wearables category.

Although smart homes, cars and other devices are growing in number it is still fairly early days. Despite that several distributors have decided to get involved with that market.

Exertis has been building a smart technology portfolio and has just added a couple of vendors on that side of its business.

Guardzilla helps users stream video to smartphones in real-time and Tile is a small Bluetooth tracker that can help people avoid losing keys and phones. The Momit smart thermostats have also been added to the options that resellers and retailers can take out to the market.

“Our portfolio in security, environmental control, system automation, home entertainment and wearables provides resellers and retailers with a wide choice of incredibly innovative, high quality products that are not only desirable but also increase efficiency and add value for users in today’s connected world,” said Rod Slater, Exertis head of smart technology.

But, Exerts is not alone getting involved with smart technology and wearables and only last week Tech Data signed an agreement to carry the Jawbone range.

Michael Cain, business development manager for wearable technologies at Tech Data, said that it had the chance to take the products to retailers as well as key vertical markets.
“Tech Data will be drawing on all its experience and capabilities in the consumer electronics sector to build Jawbone’s presence in the market and meet the diverse needs of retailers. We will also be focusing on specialist outlets and websites, such as those selling fashion, pharmacy and health products, to open up new areas of growth potential. We believe there is vast potential in this area of the market for Jawbone,” he said.

The channel opportunity looks like being in the insurance sector, where fitness trackers are being used as a way to monitor customers.

Paul Routledge, UK and Ireland country manager at D-Link, recently told MicroScope that the smart technology was starting to take off and more people were looking to take advantage of technology to provide more control over the heating and security of their homes.

The channel does look like it is making the right moves with the current consumer focus of smart and wearable tech unlikely to remain as narrow as the enterprise space starts to embrace the technology.

Beecham Research has forecast a strong enterprise pick-up in wearable devices and augmented reality in the next few years.

“It is clear that the overall status of the enterprise market for AR and wearable technology is at a tipping point, moving from trials and testbed projects to real commercial deployments,” said Matthew Duke-Woolley, market analyst at Beecham Research.

“While it is still questionable to provide a firm forecast, if this speed of transition accelerates as companies quickly recognise the benefits and return on investment, we believe the market can reach just under $800m by 2020,” he added.​

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