It's official: the Partner Country at CeBIT 2017 will be Japan, as announced by Deutsche Messe AG as the producers of CeBIT. The agreement pairs the world's leading event for the digitalization of business, government and society with an absolute global frontrunner in R&D and all things high-tech and digital. During a visit to Germany last May by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited Japan to be honored as the official Partner Country for CeBIT 2017 – an invitation that Prime Minister Abe cordially accepted, adding that Germany is Japan's biggest and most important European trading partner. The show's partnership with the world's third-largest economy is well timed, coinciding as it does with Prime Minister Abe's call to strengthen his country's domestic industrial base and revitalize the global economy. In Abe's industrial and economic strategy, digitalization plays a very special role.
Oliver Frese, the member of Deutsche Messe's Managing Board responsible for CeBIT, commented by saying: "Japan is one of Germany's most important economic and trading partners in the Asia region. As the organizers of CeBIT, we are proud to have the chance to further deepen and enhance the close bilateral ties we share. Our two nations both place major emphasis on export business, and each is home to major manufacturers and providers across multiple industries. I am therefore confident that the upcoming show will feature a wealth of ground-breaking innovations. Japan's Partner Country involvement will spark considerable innovation across every sector of our economies."
The leading German IT industry association BITKOM sees Japan as a key trading partner. "Japan is an incubator of digital technologies", commented its president, Thorsten Dirks. "It is home to highly innovative industries that are undisputed world leaders in many fields, including driverless vehicles and robotics. Moreover, it is a society that welcomes innovation and readily embraces new technology – something that we here in Germany could learn a great deal from. Japan is also a key trading partner for German ICT companies. All of which points to CeBIT as the perfect platform for furthering bilateral dialogue, particularly for SMEs and startups."
BITKOM figures indicate that Japanese exports of ICT products to Germany in 2015 totaled €1.3b, up a good 19% from 2014. German ICT exports to Japan also increased – by around 15% – taking the 2015 total to approximately €270m euros. As a developer of digital technologies, Japan ranks among the world's foremost innovators. And it is putting these technologies to many novel uses, e.g. for the benefit of its aging and declining population, with huge resources being invested in in intelligent assistive and care systems. Other top priorities on Japan's digital agenda are the Internet of Things and associated IT security issues. In pursuit of these goals, Japan is also increasingly engaging in international partnerships. Making the country one of the world's most progressive societies by the year 2020 – in time for the Tokyo Olympics – is a major objective currently being pursued by the Japanese government.
Broadliner Tech Data has launched its new Internet of Things (IoT) business practice, Smart IoT Solutions by Tech Data. The new practice, designed to aggregate IoT solutions and provide a simplified route to the rapidly expanding IoT market for solution providers, will be led by company veteran Victor Paradell, vice president, IoT Solutions, Europe. The announcement was made in conjunction with Tech Data's participation in Microsoft's 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), being held this week in Toronto.
According to Gartner in their "Forecast Analysis: Internet of Things - Endpoints, Worldwide, 2015 update" published in December 2015, endpoints of IoT are predicted to grow at a 32% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 through 2020, reaching an installed base of 21 billion units, with almost two-thirds of them consumer applications. With such explosive growth expected, solution providers need clarity, education, and an effective route to market.
"If you were to ask 100 people in the IT channel what IoT means to them, you would get almost 100 different answers - and most would be correct", said Paradell. "As IoT continues to expand and surround us in our lives, much remains to be understood about the market. Tech Data is positioned at a very advantageous point in the IoT ecosystem - right in the middle - to provide our customers with all the pieces necessary to deploy complete IoT solutions. Through our new Smart IoT Solutions business practice, we are helping solution providers understand and enter the IoT market, as well as capitalise on the opportunities that currently exist within it."
Smart IoT Solutions by Tech Data enable system integrators, value-added resellers (VARs), and managed service providers (MSPs) to build their IoT businesses. As an IoT solutions aggregator, Tech Data leverages its trusted partnerships within its technology partner ecosystem, as well as its strength and expertise in the solution provider market, to help customers deploy IoT solutions to their end users - from fulfillment and security to data analytics and applications. Through Tech Data's smart service enablement framework, the Smart IoT Solutions team also offers the value-added services needed for solution providers to connect the dots from solution design to data-driven services. The Smart IoT Solutions practice will be primarily focused on four key verticals: manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, and smart spaces, which include building safety and security, smart parking, and energy optimisation. Paradell joined Tech Data in 1996 as a team leader in the company's IT department and has held positions of increasing responsibility and scope over the past 20 years. Prior to his current role, he served as vice president, Operational Effectiveness and Strategy for Tech Data Europe from March 2013 to March 2016. He holds a bachelor's degree in computer science engineering from The Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and an MBA from the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
The Global Technology Distribution Council has added broadliner ELKO Group and storage VAD TIM as its newest members in the EMEA region, plus the appointment of WestconGroup CEO Dolph Westerbos to the organization's Executive Committee. The moves further bolster the GTDC's position as the world's leading IT distribution organization. GTDC members drive more than $130 billion in annual worldwide sales of products, services and solutions through dynamic business channels.
Broadliner ELKO, a Riga, Latvia-based distributor, operates in Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine, while selling and supporting a wide range of systems, software, desktop and mobile solutions/tablets, and consumer and multimedia products, as well as providing related solutions and services. Founded in 1993, ELKO is owned by several private equity groups and was added to the Nasdaq Baltic Bond List in March 2016. The company reported sales of €1.14B in 2015.
TIM, headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, is a VAD founded in 1985 with sharp focus on comprehensive data center solutions. The privately-held company, which also operates in Austria and Switzerland, serves system integrator partners as its primary customer base and has driven continuous growth over the past two decades.
Rigby Private Equity (RPE) has formed Nuvias Group, a holding company for the pan-EMEA high value distribution business being built by RPE, to redefine specialist value distribution. Wick Hill and Zycko now become part of Nuvias Group and will be known as "Wick Hill, a Nuvias group company" and "Zycko, a Nuvias group company".
With Nuvias, RPE is building an EMEA-wide, high-value, specialist distribution business, with a common proposition and consistent delivery. The strategy is to redefine value distribution to the channel, enabling the channel and vendor community to deliver exceptional business value to their customers and creating new standards of channel success. Nuvias will provide a consistent quality of service, with best-in-class technologies, giving reseller partners local access to the best international services and solutions. Local expertise is backed up by a consistent operating platform, offering the highest level of value-added services and flexibility. For vendor partners and solution providers, Nuvias will deliver accelerated growth at all stages of the business and product growth lifecycle, enabling rapid expansion throughout EMEA.
Paul Eccleston, head of RPE, also now becomes CEO of Nuvias. He commented: "Zycko and Wick Hill form the foundations of Nuvias, a new type of international distribution company. We're building a distributor to meet the evolving demands of the channel. As of today, Nuvias is already serving 40 vendors and 5,000 resellers in thirteen countries. Moving forward, we will be covering all major territories in EMEA, offering a common value proposition, consistently executed. This will give any vendor or reseller best in class distribution services, no matter in which country."
Wick Hill and Zycko were the first acquisitions for RPE and now are the first high value, specialist distributors in Nuvias Group. Both companies are strong brands, with an exceptional reputation and a commitment to excellence. They both provide high value added services, with best-of-breed solutions that give channel partners good margins and consultancy opportunities. These philosophies and values are also core to Nuvias and will be fundamental as Nuvias continues to grow. As far as vendors and resellers are concerned, there will be no changes, but there will certainly be additional opportunities for growth. Both Wick Hill and Zycko will carry on operating from their current sites, with existing staff, and headed up by Ian Kilpatrick, Wick Hill chairman, and David Galton-Fenzi, Zycko CEO.
Ian Kilpatrick, chairman Wick Hill Group, commented: "This is an exciting move in the growth and evolution of Wick Hill and Zycko. Having us operating separately under the Nuvias banner builds on the strength and reputation of both companies while providing us with a common identity for our expansion in EMEA."
David Galton-Fenzi, CEO of Zycko, said: "There is a growing level of excitement and anticipation amongst our staff, customers and vendor partners, largely due to the growth and development possibilities that will arise in the future with Nuvias. For Zycko and Wick Hill staff, the creation of Nuvias will bring a new wave of opportunities that will create strong, medium and long term career paths for our people across EMEA. This, coupled with the speed of our expected growth, makes Nuvias a great place to build a successful career for the future."
The new name acknowledges that in future there will be more high value-add, specialist distributor acquisitions, more countries added to the geographical scope, more services provided, as well as new vendor and reseller partner needs. So it makes sense to bring them all together under one joint Group name. Today, the Nuvias product portfolio encompasses networking, infrastructure, security, communications, storage, continuity, recovery, access, performance, monitoring and management. Turnover is over €270 million. Recently, Nuvias became a pan-EMEA distributor for vendors Unitrends and Malwarebytes. In January 2015, the first joint Wick Hill/Zycko office was opened in Vienna, Austria.
Ian Kilpatrick, David Galton-Fenzi, Lee Driscoll, Zycko's chief sales officer, and Helge Scherff, managing director of Wick Hill Germany, all join the Nuvias board.
Nuvias is divided into three regions, with offices in thirteen countries:
Out of RPE's distribution business, SCD MENA offices in Dubai and Morocco are, for the time being, not covered by the Nuvias organization. The company is still thinking up about what to do with these structures, a decision ought to be taken within a few months at latest. A unified name replacing Wick Hill and Zycko is also planned, at a later stage. Hank Snijders, the former director of Tech Data in the Netherlands, has also joined Nuvias to work on future acquisitions for the group.
VisioStore acquired by EET Europarts
Finland: Danish broadliner and sparepart specialist EET Europarts has further strengthened its AV offer through the acquisition of VisioStore, a Finland-based Pro AV & digital signage specialist, which represents the third acquisition by EET Europarts in the last two months. VisioStore, which will be merged into EET Europarts local business, specializes in electronic presentation technology, and the employees are highly skilled and experienced AV professionals. The business includes distribution agreements with wellknown AV manufacturers and brands like: NEC Display, Optoma, Casio, Infocus, Lumens, PTN Electronics and CleverTouch, and also other innovative and new AV brands. The clientele includes IT retail companies as well as AV system integrators, and the products are sold to corporate and educational institutions.
"We are very pleased to become part of an ambitious and successful company like EET Europarts. We look forward to bringing our long-time experience and competences within the AV business together with the focused Pro-AV teams at EET Europarts, and being able to offer our customers the advantages of EET Europarts' e-trade platform and its state-of-the-art logistics set-up", says Asko Sinisalo, Managing Director at VisioStore Oy. "VisioStore has until now been concentrating on distribution mainly in Finland and partly in the Baltic region. With the acquisition we will be able to bring our many value propositions within the Pro-AV business also to EET Europarts' professional AV customers all over Europe."
Commenting on the acquisition, CEO John Thomas, EET Group says: "This is an important acquisition for us; VisioStore is an interesting company that operates with a lot of important AV brands in professional businesses very similar to our own. And like us they also have a strong focus on quality specialist service, based on a real understanding of the professional customer's needs. VisioStore is EET Europarts' third Pro AV & Digital Signage acquisition within the last two months, underlining our strategic focus on the Pro-AV & Digital Signage business."