Creating channel margin through mobility

Creating channel margin through mobility

The increasingly mobile workforce continues to place new strains on static Australian businesses

(Front L-R): Nada Alterisio (formerly of HP), Karl Sice (formerly of Winc), Nick Beaugeard (HubOne), Craig Sims (CCNA), Hafizah Osman (ARN), Luke Howard (Brother) - (Back L-R): Wayne Harper (Zebra), Cam Wayland (Channel Dynamics), Michael Dyson (Advanced Mobile IT), Nathan Grant (Fujitsu), Matt Wynn-Jones (Counterparts Technology), Damien Moriarty (Retriever), Damian Noonan (Tquila A/NZ)

(Front L-R): Nada Alterisio (formerly of HP), Karl Sice (formerly of Winc), Nick Beaugeard (HubOne), Craig Sims (CCNA), Hafizah Osman (ARN), Luke Howard (Brother) - (Back L-R): Wayne Harper (Zebra), Cam Wayland (Channel Dynamics), Michael Dyson (Advanced Mobile IT), Nathan Grant (Fujitsu), Matt Wynn-Jones (Counterparts Technology), Damien Moriarty (Retriever), Damian Noonan (Tquila A/NZ)

“Collaboration is the single fastest growing area for channel businesses that intend to survive,” he said. “We can all be service specialists, but we can’t be all things to everyone.”

Because businesses that have the capacity to make products within the IoT space, they can then partner with other specialists within the Australian market.

“The reality is there are days when you’ll be the prime and I’ll be the prime, there’s days when you’ll be my partner and I’ll be your partner and there’s days when we’ll compete,” Dyson added. “That’s the life that
we now live. And we all need to be grownups and accept this.”

Wayland also said the real opportunity is within services and deployment of the software, not the software licenses themselves.

“The bigger opportunity for the channel is that the vendor knows which partners have what skills that supplement what the vendor is trying to do,” he said. “As well as at the next level down, which is to facilitate an online forum where partners can go in and ask questions about the deployment for their customers.”

Building business cases around mobility

From a partner perspective, Sims said the biggest potential to build business cases around mobility is around employee retention.

“There is a statistic somewhere that says something like 21 per cent of millennials won’t work for a company if they don’t have their choice or have a strong influence on the technology they’re using,” he said.

“It’s a very large number. So that means enabling them to work from home, etc. It is domestic cost for a business to bring on new employees because these are their requirements.”

That brought up the conversation of mobility predominantly being sold to a younger generation and workforce.

According to Noonan, mobility is now around delivering what the individual wants, resulting in the push for non-traditional tech players and retailers entering the mobility sphere.

“Now we’re starting to see millennials starting to come up through the managerial ranks and have positions and responsibility and they are of a totally different view of how they use and consume technology,” he said.

“We’ve now got to deliver something the individual wants, whether that’s a six-inch computer by a vendor or whether it’s something from Dolce & Gabbana. I think we’re going to see the major brands of accessories actually delivering technology out to the end user.”

Nathan Grant (Fujitsu) and Luke Howard (Brother)
Nathan Grant (Fujitsu) and Luke Howard (Brother)

For Moriarty, an ageing workforce, skills degradation and a booming mobile-ready workforce means the industry needs to engage both the younger and older generations in mobility enhancements and technology for a true transfer of skills.

“Some companies take their more experienced guys, put them in the office and then attach assisted or augmented reality to them and then have their junior guys on site,” he added. “The problem with that is you’re not truly engaging that person.

“So for the younger workforce, it’s about taking the knowledge and information from the older generation and using things like augmented reality, not only for the service but to deliver the training and user education.”

Future process

Beaugeard said the assisted reality, virtual reality and augmented reality spaces are areas widely expected to disrupt the mobility sphere.

With HubOne recently delivering its first training via virtual reality, he said that its uptake is already changing operations for businesses.

“If you have a device and geo location knows where you are, you can technically walk down the street and hold it around it will tell you where your leads are in the street as an overlay,” he added. “That’s in this innovation cycle; who knows where it will be in 12 months.

“As a society, we now trust technology to run our banking, our healthcare, our insurance and we’re letting it do more, which is not something we would have done.”

In addition, Sice said businesses have already started to incorporate virtual reality and augmented reality into operations with industries such as aviation and mining.

“These industries are no longer carrying physical manuals with them,” he explained. “They’re using mobile devices that are doing the job. They use data manuals, video feeds that show live footage, and technology that does markings and moving it forward.

“It’s actually the next thing — the combination of voice, vision and scanning – would change assisted reality in virtual reality to augmented reality.”

According to Grant, there is a process of consumer adoption occurring in terms of the acceptance of these technologies, which is then driving the investment in areas that have been previously unaffordable like satellite technologies, like end-to-end networks and other technologies that provide an always on experience.

“Personally I want the orb that’s floating around with me everywhere that’s got my Internet and everything, but I don’t think that’s coming for a while,” he added. “I think we’re going to come to an online world in the next five to ten years and issues around application conductivity aren’t going to be the challenge.”

This roundtable was sponsored by Brother, HP and Zebra Technologies. Photos by Maria Stefina.

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