Broadliner Tech Data has used the Smart Factory Expo event, which took place as part of Digital Manufacturing Week in Liverpool Exhibition Centre two weeks ago, to kick-off its new Industry Solutions Ecosystem initiative for partners and developers targeting the manufacturing sector. The new programme will aim to emulate the runaway success of the company’s programme for the healthcare and life sciences sectors which, with the strong support of IBM, has seen a number of partnerships formed and new solutions being taken to market. Neil Cornish, Business Development Manager Industry Solutions at Tech Data UK, said: “the concept is exactly the same but this time we’re applying the principles to the manufacturing and industrial sector, with the aim of bringing together companies with complementary skills – in specific technologies such as IoT, AI and real-time analytics – with businesses that are already established and have access to the manufacturing sector. Manufacturers can benefit hugely from the intelligent and targeted use of new emerging technologies to drive greater quality, efficiency and automation. Digital Manufacturing Week is a showcase for all the very latest technologies and concepts. It’s the ideal place for us to launch our programme and to engage both with innovative ISVs and developers who are looking to find a way to take their solutions to market, as well as to meet established players seeking new ways to expand their value proposition and generate new income streams.” Tech Data has already established a thriving ecosystem and community of partners in healthcare and life sciences. It has run a number of workshops and meetings, bringing businesses with complementary skills together to forge new partnerships and value propositions. IBM has been a strong supporter of the programme and a number of the solutions are already being built or adapted for the IBM PowerAI and Watson platforms. As well as connecting partners into appropriate vendor contacts and programmes, Tech Data is providing, where required, expertise and professional services support to fill any gaps that partners and developers may have in their own capabilities. Following the launch at the Digital Manufacturing Week, Tech Data plans to run a series of meetings and Market Readiness Workshops to provide partners who are looking to enter the market with a framework for developing their capabilities and go-to-market plans.