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Silica and Morpho partner for the commercial deployment of flexible connectivity for Internet of Things
2016-04-13

Morpho (Safran), a vendor specialized in identity and security solutions, and semiconductor specialist Silica have unveiled a partnership for the commercial deployment of flexible connectivity services for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, including embedded SIM and remote SIM provisioning solutions. The partnership with Morpho enables Silica to offer flexible connectivity services for its electronic components by integrating the MorphoFlex modular eSIM (also known as eUICC) and remote SIM provisioning capability into their overall IoT service offering and the recently launched reference platform "Visible ThingsTM".

Fully compliant with the latest GSMA V3.0 Machine-to-Machine (M2M) remote SIM provisioning specifications, the MorphoFlex portfolio commercially deployed by Silica includes eSIMs in multiple form factors, providing mobile network operators with agnostic connectivity and supporting the SIMalliance interoperability profile. Additionally, MorphoFlex remote SIM provisioning enables flexible connectivity throughout the entire lifecycle of the device. Following the recently announced adoption of the eSIM (also known as eUICC) by the automotive industry, Silica and Morpho are now making a similar eSIM solution available for the industrial IoT. The joint solution enables the optimization of logistics, leading to a significant reduction in stock keeping units, as it is no longer necessary to build and ship multiple variants of the same solution to address different country connectivity requirements.

Yves Portalier, vice president and general manager, Telecom Business Unit at Morpho, pointed out the benefits of the joint solution: "The partnership with Avnet creates an ideal platform to leverage the extensive possibilities of flexible connectivity services for future-oriented IoT applications. Managing connectivity on as needed basis decisively enables service providers to optimize coverage, costs and capability."

Philippe Fremont, vice president of Technical Marketing EMEA with Silica comments: "When it comes to the SIM card, our M2M and IoT customers will always be asking for more flexibility and openness in the way they choose their telecom operator and upgrade their products in the field. We believe that the eSIM is the right answer and that associating with Morpho and major M2M telecom operators for our eSIM program will help us empower our customers to bridge gaps between communication, services and IoT future needs."

The integrated Silica and Morpho solution is commercially available through Silica offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Avnet Memec-Silica unveils Visible Things reference platform for the Internet of Things
2016-04-08

Semiconductor specialist Avnet Memec-Silica has launched the Visible Things platform for the development of Internet-of-Things (IoT) systems and applications. Targeting a wide range of industrial markets, Visible Things is a highly flexible and comprehensive evaluation and development platform for edge-to-enterprise IoT projects. The platform delivers tested, proven, secure and integrated hardware and embedded software to connect smart sensors and embedded devices via gateway solutions or low-power wide-area networking technologies (LPWAN), right through to the cloud and enterprise software applications.

"With Visible Things we are one of the first distributors in the market offering a highly flexible edge-to-enterprise solution devoted to enable fast and easy development of industrial IoT applications," said John Jones, director of innovation at Avnet Memec-Silica. "Unlike other supplier specific solutions which consist of a headline part with the rest of the building blocks left for the customer to optimise, Visible Things was developed based on best-in-class technology regarding function, cost and long term availability."

The platform provides a unique set of benefits such as:

  • Fast deployment due to integrated and tested features
  • Highest degree of flexibility with a range of smart sensor and connectivity options
  • Simple "out of the box" setup and experience
  • Lowest power solution
  • Size, cost, power and production optimised to closely match the end product

The platform supports short-range connectivity to a gateway, and Wi-Fi-, 3G and 4G cellular communications to the cloud and enterprise software applications. It also supports the SIGFOX and LoRaWAN IoT networks. These networks have been designed with specific features such as secure low-cost narrowband information messaging to meet the requirements of the IoT and smart city, machine-to-machine and industrial applications.

Avnet Memec-Silica will continue to augment the Visible Things IoT evaluation and development platform with new hardware and software technology options in the coming weeks and months, including a new chip that integrates a secure element for deployment in smart sensor edge devices.

To help users get up and running quickly with their IoT project, there are three reference-design starter kit boards available at launch, each managed by ARM Cortex based microcontrollers:The first kit comprises: a smart sensor board including Bluetooth Smart connectivity and a range of sensors including motion, temperature/humidity and light/proximity; a gateway board, which manages all the necessary connectivity to the cloud service via Wi-Fi; and a mini-USB cable. A GSM peripheral module with embedded SIM and SIM-connector options is available as an expansion option to the gateway board to enable cellular connectivity up to cloud enterprise software services. The starter kit is exclusively available from Avnet Memec - Silica now at a resale price of 199€.

The second and third kits are designed for use with the SIGFOX and LoRaWAN networks, and include respective SIGFOX and LoRaWAN module sensors, with each board also integrating additional motion and light sensors. IoT application messages can be exchanged with the cloud service without the need to communicate via a gateway.

Also available in the Visible Things platform is a mobile app that runs on iOS and Android and provides users with easy access to local hardware configuration and also supports connection to cloud services. The app also provides a quick start guide to make it simple to connect and configure the system from edge to enterprise.

The Devicepoint cloud service is a key element of the Visible Things platform. Underpinned by IBM software components and run by partner company Spica Technologies, the Devicepoint cloud service builds upon data from sensors and edge devices with contextual information, plus data from other sources to deliver real-time analysis and long-term business intelligence. Connecting via the gateway, or directly to a SIGFOX or LoRaWAN network, the platform provides instant visualisation of sensor data in a simple standard cloud solution, allowing users to take appropriate action such as turning on actuators in industrial control systems. Further customisation is also available for the management of sensor data for analytics, reporting and workflow management.

Exclusive interview of Patrick Zammit, Senior Vice President and Global President at Avnet Technology Solutions
2016-03-17

ITdistri recently met Patrick Zammit, Global President for Avnet Technology Solutions, and interviewed him on the impact in the EMEA region of the latest acquisitions and announcements of the distributor.

ITdistri: your are launching only now your cloud marketplace, behind your competitors. Why only now?

Patrick Zammit: the most important is not to go fast, but to be steady to win the race. We have observed the evolution of the market, to answer perfectly to the user needs. We have determined that the hybrid cloud (including both private and public parts) was the future. Historically, we are very strong on the private cloud infrastructure market. So we just needed to build our application platform, in order to offer ways for our customers to optimize their information systems, thanks to public cloud services. By starting late, we have been able to choose the best which has been done on the market, and to add our own tools, especially regarding invoicing. We want our customers to have an absolute control on their cloud usage, so they may decide when and how to switch to a private cloud platform if necessary while keeping a large flexibility on their public cloud subscriptions. According to our studies, this is a differentiating factor in sales points. Regarding vendors, we have signed worldwide distribution partnerships with major companies such as IBM (Softlayer) and Amazon (AWS). Our platform, which is also available in a white-label version, has of course been built to be able to include local vendors. This will allow our European offices to sign local distribution deals, whether for IaaS, SaaS or even, who knows, cloud-based enterprise management solutions. We will also offer to our partners tools that allow them to define precisely what they can virtualise, and what can be placed in private or public clouds. These tools will allow them to optimise the flexibility they need, according to their budgets.

ITdistri: other major distributors have decided, for cost cutting reasons, to centralise some backoffice functions in Eastern Europe, like Westcon in Romania or Ingram in Bulgaria. Does Avnet have similar plans?

Patrick Zammit: this is not a major issue for us, for the time being. We think that such centralisation projects lead to an important loss of competences. Nevertheless, we do have already centralised some functions. Sales management for France, Italy and Eastern Europe is based in Poland, while Germany and the United Kingdom manage their own sales locally. All financial flows with vendors (purchase and stocks) are managed from Belgium, as well as logistics, cashflow, taxes and our pan-European integration centre. We currently do not have plans for more reorganisations than that. At Avnet, we believe more in our Competence Centres. To day, we already have two of them: a Security Competence Centre in the Netherlands, and an Information Management / Business Analytics Competence Centre in Germany. A third Competence Centre is already planned, for cloud issues. Their task is to define solution-oriented offers, as well as their implementation. The centralisation ends at the definition of a core offer and program, which is eventually adapted locally by each Avnet country team.

ITdistri: what about Orchestra’s acquisition?

Patrick Zammit: we have acquired Orchestra to become a major EMC distributor in Germany. Orchestra has developed a predictive tool which allows resellers to intervene before the servers of their customers either fail or reach saturation. This service is managed from Croatia. It will be expanded, in order to be used in all the European countries where we are official EMC distributors. The former Orchestra Croatian office, which is not to be moved to Germany, will ultimately become our EMC Competence Centre.

ITdistri: even if you do no work on it anymore, can you explain us the reason of the Silica-Memec merging?

Patrick Zammit: I know very well this subject, as I have long worked for Avnet electronic business. The idea behind this reorganisation is fairly simple: Memec is focussed on niche products, while Silica is specialised in broad-usage electronic components. By merging the two structures, we allow Memec vendors to reach a much broader customer base than previously.

ITdistri: after having acquired the EEC business of struggling Russian multi-specialist RRC, Ingram has very recently been acquired by a Chinese company. Anything planned, on your side?

Patrick Zammit: we will of course acquire more companies. But we are very mindful about compliance issues, to keep in line with the American legislation. So, anything new regarding this will be announced in due time…

Silica to distribute Alliance Memory Solutions in EMEA Region
2016-02-09

Semiconductor specialist Avnet Memec - Silica has expanded its franchise portfolio to include Alliance Memory. Building on the success of their partnership with Avnet in North America and Asia, Alliance Memory's entire line-up of SRAMs and DRAMs is now distributed throughout the EMEA region by Avnet Memec - Silica through its offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Alliance Memory manufactures a complete line of DRAMs and SRAMs, including 3.3V and 5V fast asynchronous SRAMs with speeds from 10ns to 20ns; low-power devices with densities from 64Kb to 32Mb; and 2.5V and 3.3V ZBT/Sync pipelined burst (SPB)/Sync burst (SB) products. The company's offering of synchronous DRAMs (SDRAM) includes devices with densities from 16Mb to 512Mb, including components recently discontinued by Micron Semiconductor; mobile low-power SDRAMs for portable devices; and high-speed CMOS double data rate (DDR), DDR2, and DDR3 SDRAMs in a wide range of options.

"Avnet has been one of the most trusted names in the electronics industry for more than half a century and its global reach in the electronics supply chain is second to none," said David Bagby, president and CEO of Alliance Memory. "The company has played a key role in raising the profile of our legacy IC solutions within the North American and Asia markets, and we can't wait to extend that success to the EMEA region, where we expect to grow our customer base across a number of industries."

"To eliminate costly redesigns, there is a high demand across the world for legacy memory solutions, especially DRAMs," said Mario Orlandi, president of Avnet Memec - Silica. "Alliance Memory has made significant additions to its portfolio in anticipation of this demand, and with the company's solutions in our line-up, we've been able to meet the market need in North America and Asia. We’re now looking forward to providing greater access to these solutions globally."

Westcon opens up about Romanian outsourcing move
2015-11-25

Distributor Westcon has revealed a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm with operations in Romania will take charge of some of its EMEA finance and operations functions. Parent company Datatec announced yesterday that 300 of Westcon's 1,900 EMEA staff would be affected by a "BPO transformation" of its EMEA operations.

Westcon senior vice president David Grant revealed a phased migration of the functions in question will occur between now and mid-2017 and insisted service levels for resellers would not be affected. Although Grant was not in a position to divulge Westcon's BPO partner, he described it as a global outfit "in the top-right of the Gartner Magic Quadrant". "We separated our activities into those we see as transactional and those that add value to the customers and vendors," he said. "Anything that is very transactional we have decided to outsource to another organisation as it gives us scale and efficiency."

The outsourcing project will run alongside Westcon's impending European implementation of a global SAP project, Grant said, adding that affected employees may be offered other roles in the organisation. "It is not a case of everything changing on day one," he said. "Where roles are affected we will give people significant advance notice, as it's the responsible thing to do. We are growing, and while some transactional roles will be eliminated from the business, some new opportunities will be created so we will take as much time as we can to retrain and redeploy staff where it is appropriate to us."

Westcon, which operates through the Comstor and Westcon brands, has order-processing staff in 42 countries in EMEA, Grant said, adding that any staff whose roles are displaced will be offered the choice of staying on to help with the migration. Employee and other fees associated with the migration will cost parent Datatec about €11.5m in its current financial year.

Rival distributor Ingram Micro centralised more EMEA back-office functions to Sofia in Bulgaria last year.

Grant said it made more sense for Cisco, Avaya, Polycom, Juniper and Check Point partner Westcon to partner with a BPO outfit with knowledge of the region. "We have chosen an organisation where it is their core business to provide business processes and support," he said. "We are not experts in sourcing a facility or finding local language specialists and training them on what we do."

Romania, which is where the BPO firm in question will carry out Westcon's transactional work, was ranked fourth in an index of the top global BPO locations this year carried out by Cushman & Wakefield, behind Vietnam, the Philippines and Bulgaria. Grant emphasised that Westcon's "core value-add" will be retained in-house and claimed that neither customer service levels nor its ability to execute would be affected by the move. "Our top 10 vendor partners have all offered to make sure there is good knowledge transfer and are helping to train our BPO staff," he said. "If you think about it, most of our major vendors have some part of their organisation that is outsourced so are completely familiar with what support they can give us."

Graeme Watt, EMEA president at rival distributor Avnet Technology Solutions, confirmed his company has also made some steps towards centralising transactional functions, "but nothing like on the scale we are seeing with Westcon". "It is fair to say that everybody is looking to see how much of that non-technical, more run-rate, transactional operations they can centralise," he said. "We have been talking about it for a while and we will centralise functions and operations where we think it makes sense and keep things local where we think it makes sense." (source: Channelweb United Kingdom).

 

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