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Tech Data deepens faith in wearables

Tech Data continues to back the growing activity tracker market, picking up an agreement to handle Microsoft's Band 2

There has been a policy of wait and see to find out just what potential the wearable market could provide for the channel but the evidence continues to mount that this is an area to get involved in.

It has not been straight forward getting to that decision. Not only are the products and some of the vendors still fairly immature but there has also been a challenge working out where the B2B opportunities might exist for the personal consumer products.

The mists are clearing slightly around the issue and some of the vertical applications for fitness trackers are now emerging, along with revenue opportunities for resellers.

Things become even easier when distribution gets involved and not only validates the market but brings to bear all of the support and marketing that can help resellers sell the technology.

Tech Data clearly is of the view that fitness trackers are going to be a B2B play and has secured exclusive distribution rights for Microsoft's Band 2.

The plan is to work with a few resellers to open up business in areas like corporate wellness, utilities, insurance, healthcare and research.

The hope is that resellers and ISVs will get involved with developing applications to add value to the Band 2 as a device that would work in a corporate setting.

Michael Cain, business development manager for wearables at Tech Data, said that the prospects for the Band 2 in the business market was significant.

“It’s still very early days but we are already uncovering huge opportunities and creating some very interesting case studies," he said.

"Demand from our reseller partners has been huge and the initial ADR pilot programme that we launched with Microsoft at the start of the month has been really well received," he added.

Tech Data has already got a track record in the activity tracker space and back in January signed up with Jawbone to carry the range out to retailers and key verticals.

The distributor has indicated that it has plans to further invest in the wearables side of the business over the course of 2016.

Beecham Research has also recently 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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