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See the bigger picture
New year, new hope A new year is here, and there is optimism for the channel that this year could prove profitable, with plenty of new technologies to get behind and sell to customers.
The calendar has ticked over to another year, so it’s a good time to look forward to what the next 12 months may bring. While recent experience tells us to expect the unexpected, we still try to look forward as best we can. And there are reasons for optimism for the next 12 months. For instance, there are predictions that the economy, which has spent most of the past year hovering around the zero growth mark, could finally start moving in the right direction, especially in the second half of the year. If that happens, then businesses are more likely to invest in people and equipment, so resellers should be ready for that. But even if the economy remains moribund, there are still plenty of opportunities for businesses in the channel to sell. With many businesses looking to economise and do more with less, they look to technology to help them achieve that, whether it is through cloud applications, more efficient devices or harnessing the power of automation or artificial intelligence (AI) – or any of the myriad ways out there. This is where resellers need to capitalise with their customers to help maximise their business – and sales for their own. For resellers that have established deep relationships with their customers, they can ensure they are there at the outset of conversations they have about efficiency and can guide them through to developing the solutions that suit their business the best. But that is just my take. In
the growth of cyberthreats – and therefore cybersecurity solutions – the increased use of managed solutions and more. You can read their thoughts starting on p38. Elsewhere in the magazine, we also cover the issue of cloud backup. With increasing amounts of work being undertaken in the cloud, and cloud backup is essential. But this is a complex issue and something that resellers need to be alive to to help customers find the most effective solutions to deal with threats that are constantly changing. Read more on p24. Another fast-growing sector is digital employee experience (DEX). As many businesses struggle to recruit and retain employees, DEX is becoming more important as a means of keeping staff happy. It has a wide scope – everything from online meeting hardware to automation and data management tools – so it is something resellers should be paying attention to. Find out more on p34. As ever, I hope you enjoy the issue and if you would like to get involved with the editorial side of the magazine – whether it is with features, interviews or opinion pieces – please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winner of our Campaign of the Quarter from October to December was Exertis, for its 'The Race to Success' campaign. Congratulations to the team for their work.
winner Q4 · 2023
this issue, some of the thought leaders in the sector have also had their say on what they think will be the major trends over the next 12 months, including the further development of AI,
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Education Sector – p14
News You should know p6 Education Sector Vast resller opportunities p14 Product Review We take a look at the Aquila Pro AI Ax3000 Wi-Fi mesh p20 Cloud Backup Essential against changing threats p24 Digital Employee Experience Keeping staff happy p34 2024 Preview Channel thought leaders give their opinion p38 Exertis Buiding on success p47
Product Review– p20
The education sector provides a vast range of opportunities for resellers, with areas such as AV and security particularly growing currently, although budget constraints must be considered when talking to customers.
For home or hybrid workers using Wi-Fi, their three most common pain points and coverage, speed and reliability. But the Aquila Pro AI AX3000 WiFi mesh addresses all three.
Usage-Based Pricing Models – p50
As an increasing number of businesses make the transition from subscription-based pricing into a usage-based pricing model, how do they – and resellers – fully reap its benefits?
2024 Preview – p38
As it is a new year, we have gathered various thought leaders in the channel to give their opinion on what 2024 may hold for them and the wider channel.
Usage-Based Pricing Models Reaping the benefits p50
Richard Eglon Greg Jones John Liddle Mike Barron Geoff Greenlaw
Cloud Backup – p24
firewalls, advanced threat protection, and proactive threa The solution wove an impenetrable barrier, ensuring that and any other cybercriminals with malicious intent would their attempts to breach the giant’s defences. A s Jack plotted his next move, confident in the magic of hi eggs, he met with the unyielding walls of Fortinet’s cybersecu dark web’s enchantment was nullified, and Jack the Hack’s at enterprise’s digital kingdom were thwarted at every turn. T he giant, now fortified by Fortinet’s cybersecurity solut against cyber threats. The organization’s prized assets, on now protected behind the imp Fortinet’s fortress.
lm, a colossal giant of an enterprise closely guarded a golden eggs, and bestowed wealth on the giant. Jack, ercriminal facing financial struggles, sought to exploit ng foolishly lost his money through laziness and poor ed by a strange merchant to exchange his mother’s ans. The beans were planted in the dark web and an rew fast offering him access to the giant’s kingdom. sfully ome, e, and able ff the With increasing amounts of work being undertaken in the cloud, and this trend expected to continue, cloud backup is essential. But with the nature of threats changing, so is the backup required.
Editorial Dan Parton 07941 979 845 dan@ newsinthechannel.com Elliot Mulley- Goodbarne 07910 441 024 elliot@ newsinthechannel.com Head of Sales Martin Jenner-Hall 07824 552 116 martin@ newsinthechannel.com Publishing Director Justin Penn 07816 573 186 justin@ newsinthechannel.com T he moral of the story: In the landscape, enterprises must lea breaches and fortify their defen cybercriminals. Fortinet’s cybe provides the shield needed to p ensuring that the kingdom rem impervious to the exploits of th the golden eggs.
Exclusive Networks Fairytale– p18
the giant The giant by the erability need for
In the vast digital realm, a colossal giant of an enterprise closely guarded a prized goose that laid golden eggs, and bestowed wealth on the giant. Jack, the Hack....
esson reach, tion tle s t, a
Written permission from the publisher is required before any part of News in the Channel can be reproduced. © 2024 In the Channel Media Ltd.
Exertis – p47
Exertis experienced strong growth in 2023, and there is optimism that the company will build on it in 2024, thanks to investment in its infrastructure and processes – but also its people and sustainability.
known fences. an s the prevent s.
Published by: In the Channel Media Ltd Company registration number: 14363401 Registered office address 14-18 Heddon Street, Become a Fortinet partner provide your customers w cybersecurity solutions to networks, applications, an evolving threats.
As many businesses struggle to recruit and retain employees, more emphasis is being placed on digital employee experience as a means of keeping staff happy. It has a wide scope, and it is something resellers should be paying attention to. Digital Employee Experience – p34
Mayfair, London, United Kingdom, W1B 4DA In conjunction with:
Boom Collaboration launches new video bar
Conferencing manufacturer Boom Collaboration has expanded its video bar portfolio with the arrival of an intelligent all-one-one solution that is ideally suited for larger rooms. The flagship Boom HALO features a 4K UHD camera, six microphone array and high-fidelity speakers to provide a seamless collaboration experience. Available from distributor Westcoast, it boasts many features such as facial recognition, speaker tracking, intelligent noise reduction and AI auto-framing. Additional ports allow for audio expansion for flexible rooms and growing teams. Boom Collaboration was born in 2020 by founders Fredrik Hörnkvist and Holli Hulett. The Texas-based business has quickly developed an extensive conferencing portfolio and operates in more than 30 countries after a successful expansion programme during 2023. “There’s little doubt the popularity of video bars will continue to grow this year and the Boom HALO will add more fuel to the fire,” says Holli. “With 120° wide angle field of view, 10x zoom and smart mic array, the HALO detects participants and speakers in real time locking in on attendees and allowing for hands-free operation. Six array MEMS microphones and a superior 4K lens with an eight-megapixel
CMOS sensor ensure an exceptional meeting experience for a variety of spaces.” Fredrik highlighted the HALO’s audio quality. “High-fidelity audio with a 48kHz sampling rate and dual 10W speakers provide lossless audio and full spectrum sound for meeting participants. Acoustic Echo Cancellation and Automatic Gain Control further enhance the meeting experience and work to ensure full duplex quality at a distance of six metres.” He pointed out how Bluetooth 5.0 allows for easy pairing with mobile phones and other devices while expansion ports for additional microphones and speakers ensure optimal coverage for any space. “Plug & Play simplicity is created from USB 3.0. Users can simply connect and enjoy their favourite video conferencing platform,” he added. “Furthermore, an automatic privacy shutter is combined with the ability to disengage wireless connectivity for added security.” Boom’s video bar portfolio also includes the high-performance AURA and compact UNO for smaller and personal use. All are backed by a three-year warranty. The HALO is available in black or white.
Holli Hulett Co-founder
Fredril Hörnkvist Co-founder
TD SYNNEX launches GAPP initiative to support partners in driving B2B sales of Google Pixel
TD SYNNEX has launched the Growth Accelerator Partner Programme (GAPP) to support reseller partners to maximise their opportunities in the B2B market with the Google Pixel range of smartphones, complementary products from the wider Google ecosystem and value-added services. The GAPP initiative provides partners with access to sales support services and resources that will elevate their knowledge and capability to take Pixel devices and add- on products to the market effectively. Partners that join the programme will be given log-in details for a specially-created GAPP portal, through which they will be able to streamline quotations, learn about Pixel products and place and manage orders. Partners will
also be eligible for special discounts and promotions on Pixel and related ecosystem products. “Google Pixel devices are ideal for business users and the potential for partners to take them into the B2B market is huge,” said Ryan Thomas, business unit manager, mobile, UK, at TD SYNNEX. “The GAPP programme – along with the focused support and service that TD SYNNEX can provide – will give partners the tools, support and incentives they need to take the Pixel value proposition to their customers.” By making use of the array of complementary products available from TD SYNNEX that can be sold with the Pixel range, partners can add even more value for business customers, he added. CONTINUED
integrated into TD SYNNEX’s InTouch e-commerce platform, through which Google partners also have access to value-added services, such as TD SYNNEX’s Trade-in and Tech as-a-Service (TaaS) offerings, both of which can be used to further enhance the appeal of Google Pixel products by making it easier for customers to invest in new technology. With TD SYNNEX’s Trade-in, partners can offer their customers a residual value on legacy devices, providing them a second life or secure recycling. TaaS enables partners to provide products and services combined into a single regular subscription payment, instead of having to fund purchases of new equipment through capital expenditure budgets.
“We have an extensive portfolio of add-on products that can be used to really enhance the experience of Pixel users, and significantly boost partner sales and profitability. Pixel Buds headphones, for example, are perfect for mobile conferencing calls and with Zero-Touch Enrolment on Pixel phones, partners can make it easy for customers to integrate Pixel devices securely into their IT infrastructure.” As one of the largest European distributors of Pixel devices authorised to offer the full suite of Google products, from mobile phones to cloud services, TD SYNNEX can support partners in growing their sales of Google solutions. The Zero-Touch Enrolment tool is fully
Ryan Thomas business unit manager, mobile, UK
Cyberelements launches dedicated MSP program
addition to their service portfolios. For MSPs looking to swiftly enter the MSSP market, the cyberelements platform offers a rapid deployment option, delivering a competitive edge through a zero trust PAM solution that can be up and running in just three minutes. This self-service deployment not only accelerates time-to-market but also significantly streamlines sales cycles. The MSP uses cyberelements' product to provide services to its customers, purchasing licences directly from cyberelements, which are then sublicensed to end customers. The MSP holds an unlimited licence, enabling seamless platform and service expansion across its customer base without restrictions. Monthly, the MSP reports the cumulative number of licences used by all customers to cyberelements. A fee is determined based on the total number of concurrent users across all clients, adjusting dynamically with customer acquisition or churn. At the core of cyberelements' functionality is its approach to access management. It grants access and establishes connections to resources only upon explicit authorisation, employing the principle of least privilege tailored to the specific action required. This is achieved through a dynamic access policy that considers the user's context and behaviour. The result is a robust security framework that ensures secure access whether it be to IT or OT resources, internal or external IT assets, or accessed from the organisation's owned terminals or users' BYOD devices.
Cyberelements, a zero trust privileged access management (PAM) platform, has launched its Managed Security Provider (MSP) Program enabling partners to increase revenues and deliver a zero PAM platform. The flexible pricing model enables partners to effectively increase margins as the business grows. By offering the most complete and competitive cybersecurity offer possible, with a rapid sales and implementation cycle, this MSP program brings immediate value and greater strategic alignment to the partner network. Cyberelements partners also benefit from joint go-to-market and enablement initiatives to increase revenues. “Since the company’s launch in early 2023, cyberelements has achieved great success in Europe. Our 'ready in three minutes' platform has proven instrumental in delivering business performance with cyber trust, effectively addressing the complex equation faced by C-Level executives, balancing speed to compliance, overcoming a shortage of competencies, integrating disparate tools, and managing budgetary constraints,” said Jonathan Fussner, head of cyberelements. “This achievement is made possible by the strength of our partners' network, particularly our MSPs, who are increasingly sought after by customers to drive cost reduction, enhance performance and boost agility and flexibility. Most importantly, our partners play a vital role in mitigating the shortage of cybersecurity experts by outsourcing to specialists." Cyberelements helps MSSPs enhance capabilities, providing them with a valuable
ProVu Communications partners with Fidelity Energy
ProVu Communications and UK energy consultancy Fidelity Energy have announced a strategic partnership. Aimed at empowering resellers to tap into the burgeoning energy market, the partnership will see ProVu and Fidelity Energy support channel partners in offering their customers help with their business energy needs. "Customers across the UK need assistance with managing their energy,” said Fidelity energy sales director, Sean Dixon. “ProVu has a far-reaching partner base who are already trusted advisors to thousands of UK businesses. With our partnership they can fulfil this role for an additional product, which all their customers already use. “Our channel partners have achieved remarkable success integrating energy into their existing portfolios. We are confident in our ability to assist ProVu Communications resellers in elevating their offerings and tapping into a fresh revenue stream from their established customer base. “The potential for this partnership is really exciting and we look forward to what it can bring.” The discontinuation of PSTN/ISDN will cause disruptions, prompting resellers to seek opportunities to open discussions with their
customers. Fidelity Energy offers their partners the means to safeguard their current customer base against competitors, strengthen their relationships and bolster customer loyalty. ProVu Communications group sales director, Craig Herrett, added: "We’re always looking for new ways to help support our partners customer bases and grow their margins, Fidelity Energy’s offering provides just that. In a few simple steps, channel partners can enhance their offering with no investment and fantastic returns. With the backup of ProVu Communications support, we encourage partners to speak to us about just how easy it is to tap into this growing market. “With the upcoming switch off, utilising this partnership will help our resellers to stand out against their competitors. Adding energy procurement on its own is a big draw, but through the diverse range of renewable products, Fidelity Energy will also equip our resellers with the solutions needed to meet the growing demand for sustainable energy solutions. “By offering energy alongside our existing portfolio, we will empower our resellers to become a one-stop shop for their customers, enhancing their overall value proposition.”
Craig Herrett group sales director
Ignition and Illumio partner to drive channel growth
Ignition Technology has partnered with Illumio to become its first distribution partner in the UK & Ireland. Ignition will work with Illumio to evolve its channel strategy and drive channel recruitment and engagement to accelerate go- to-market momentum and customer adoption of its ZTS technology across the region. The collaboration will enable Ignition to provide Illumio’s Zero Trust Segmentation platform, including CloudSecure. The Illumio ZTS platform prevents breaches from spreading across cloud, endpoints and data centres by continually visualising how workloads and devices are communicating, creating granular policies that only allow wanted and necessary communication and automatically isolating breaches by restricting lateral movement proactively or during an active attack. “We are delighted to add Illumio to our industry leading cybersecurity portfolio and are excited by the growth opportunities we see in the market around zero trust segmentation,”
said Dave Risk, UK & Ireland country manager at Ignition. “The Illumio ZTS Platform fills a natural gap in our portfolio, offering channel partners a modern and complementary security solution to take to existing customers, as well as addressing a growing market need to target new customer opportunities.” Adrian Crawley, VP EMEA Sales at Illumio, added: “Demand for zero trust segmentation has reached a tipping point as organisations realise that traditional security methods can’t provide the agility required to respond to modern day attacks and race to extend zero trust to the cloud. We have already doubled our channel team in the UK and Ireland in response and needed a specialist partner to help us scale our channel presence and reach. Ignition’s reputation, pedigree, and proven track record in enabling and energising channel partners around disruptive and innovative cybersecurity technologies, makes them the obvious choice.”
Tollring announces launch of AI-powered call recording
Tollring is launching an AI-driven cloud call recording solution, Record AI, this month. Record AI will commoditise AI automation to deliver platform-agnostic compliance call recording and intelligent automated analysis of calls. Initially delivered on Session Border Controllers for IP networks, Microsoft Teams and Cisco BroadWorks, Record AI will be made accessible to all users within an organisation, not just those in a formal contact centre. Record AI will drive efficiencies at scale, saving manual effort and yielding a whole new level of insights into customer sentiment, trends and behavioural patterns to ultimately foster unprecedented improvements in customer experience. It will be available to service providers on a
simple subscription, with the option to white- label for brand consistency in their overall portfolio. “Record AI leverages the latest in technology to help organisations of all sizes to improve customer communications,” said Tony Martino, CEO of Tollring. “We make it easy to record, highlight and analyse the calls the matter – automatically and immediately – and at scale, enabling businesses to transform customer experience. “Affordable AI, coupled with easy implementation, is poised to democratise the technology. Channel providers now have access to innovative solutions to engage their customers together with the potential for substantial profit margins without requiring extensive investment.”
OneSpan introduces new partner network programme
OneSpan has launched a new partner network programme that provides a comprehensive set of benefits to help partners deliver seamless and secure customer experiences. Members of the global partner network can expand their security and e-signature portfolio with market-leading solutions, financial incentives, training and certification, along with technical, sales and marketing support. As rapid digital transformation continues worldwide and the capabilities of generative AI advance exponentially, we are seeing a proliferation of deepfakes, online identity theft, manipulation of digital contracts and persistent and increasingly sophisticated social engineering schemes. These factors are undermining the integrity of digital interactions and transactions. Whether it's for workforce authentication or to secure digital workflows, OneSpan offers enterprise-grade solutions that provide continuous identity verification and authentication, e-signature, high-assurance virtual collaboration and secure storage. “The world needs security-infused workflows native to digital experiences that guarantee the integrity of people, data, transactions and documentation,” said Matthew Moynahan, president and CEO at OneSpan. “Our partners play a critical role in delivering trust to organisations and end users throughout the entire customer journey. Working with best-in-class partners extends
the reach of our technology and delivers even more impact to our mutual customers.” The OneSpan Partner Network focuses on an accelerated onboarding process. This helps partners quickly ramp up their business with OneSpan by providing a streamlined onboarding process and access to resources, including training materials, sales tools, marketing collateral and technical support. The programme foundation includes: l Comprehensive enablement support: Partners can build knowledge, develop expertise, and become certified, providing sales and technical proficiencies for all OneSpan solutions l Flexible engagement models: Partners can choose from various engagement models to meet their business needs, including distributors, resellers, system integrators, independent software vendors and managed service providers l Expanded portfolio opportunity: Partners can reach more customers and grow their revenue with OneSpan’s high-assurance identity proofing, authentication and secure electronic signature solutions l New incentives and marketing support: With higher levels of engagement and performance, partners will qualify for greater financial incentives, rewards and discounts. OneSpan has increased lead- generation efforts and marketing focus to foster mutual go-to-market strategies.
Matthew Moynahan president & CEO
CGI extends offering to include Mac end-user computing solutions
CGI has announced an extension to its scope of services for UK enterprise clients through the addition of Mac end-user computing (EUC) solutions. CGI is extending its offering to include a comprehensive framework of services, including assessment, deployment, management and lifecycle solutions for Mac and the Apple platform. CGI’s Digital Workplace Strategy enables clients and their employees to gain the flexibility to work on their preferred device, fostering a productive and inclusive work environment. A growing awareness of how user experience can impact employee satisfaction, productivity and performance is driving a focus on flexibility – a key deliverable of EUC – enabling organisations to offer a choice of tools and devices to employees, particularly at a time when hybrid working arrangements are becoming more prevalent. Organisations can also commission an Apple
Readiness Assessment from CGI, which helps to ensure a seamless integration process, while optimising device lifecycles, reducing travelling by enabling hybrid work, manufacturing using sustainable materials, services and processes all contribute towards organisations reaching their sustainability goals. “We are extremely pleased to be adding Mac to our end-user computing offering,” said Tara McGeehan, president, CGI UK and Australia. “Empowering employees to decide what device works best for them ensures employers, including ourselves, attract and retain the best talent and are able to drive stronger performance.”
Tara McGeehan president, CGI UK and Australia
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Learning curve The education sector provides a vast range of opportunities for resellers, with areas such as AV and security particularly growing currently, although budget constraints must be considered when talking to customers.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is a fading memory now, it changed how people in many sectors work, and the same is true, to an extent, in the education sector – with hybrid learning and greater use of tech becoming the norm. As Vestel UK’s senior product manager Tim Matthews notes, the UK education market is currently experiencing significant growth in terms of AV and technology sales into schools. “Particularly in the realm of digital classrooms with interactive displays and augmented reality,” he notes. “The value of the UK edtech market has risen to almost £3.5 billion, with a substantial increase in edtech investment in this sector over the last few years.” Tim adds that there is a notable shift towards ‘hybrid’ classrooms that cater for in-person and remote learning – something that began during the pandemic but has remained relevant. “In higher education in particular, this trend is now driven by the need to accommodate remote or even international students who can attend classes remotely,” he says. “Understandably then, there is a growing emphasis on interactive flat panels in classrooms, particularly as the screen content can be shared, saved and used by students after the lesson for reference very easily. “For resellers in edtech, we are seeing our advanced interactive display products in very high demand. This includes solutions for
digital classrooms, meeting and board rooms, science and technology facilities and even library and document archive management. These devices provide a flexible platform for a host of other services and applications. Our family of interactive models range from the entry level IFE to the advanced IFX models are perfectly suited to the edtech environment and have proven very popular with resellers and end-users alike.” Graham Matthews, head of mid-market and education at Lenovo, agrees that hybrid learning is becoming more significant among education establishments. “Many are moving to more flexible methods of teaching,” he says. “With hybrid learning, solution providers need to provide teachers with upskilling training, and students with features such as digital inking, text-to-speech, lecture summarisation and more.” He also notes that confidence is growing among purchasing decision makers in the industry. “We’re seeing trusted brands becoming stronger in this market and tenders are also more focused on solutions now, including sustainability and readiness for work, rather than just specifications and speed,” he says. “It’s also important to understand the growing demand for sustainability and durability. Customers want reliability and longevity in products that have greener packaging. Initiatives like #Waste2Wonder turn packaging waste into STEM educational tools such as electric circuits. We will likely see customer demand increase around this trend. “Popular products vary based on the age group and type of school. For younger age students, most of their learning is done on a touchscreen tablet. To transition to a laptop with a keyboard and trackpad, products such as Lenovo’s 13w Yoga stand out. With its digital inking capability, the Yoga 13w’s flexible design can support students' transition from a table to a clamshell device, as well as hitting the right price point for the education market and providing great durability.”
Tim Matthews senior product manager
There is a growing emphasis on interactive flat panels... ...particularly as the screen content can be shared, saved and used by students after the lesson... “
Graham Matthews head of mid-market and education
Security solutions Security is also an increasing priority for educational establishments. “Lockdown has also been a big trend over the last few years,” says Lance Williams, chief product officer at Distology, which works with Verkada in the education sector in the UK,. “With the introduction of Martyn’s Law, which looks to affect schools as well, this is likely to increase.” Martyn’s Law – named in memory of Martyn Hett, who died in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack of 2017, along with 21 others – requires venues, including educational establishments, to take steps to increase public safety. To this end there are various solutions that education providers are looking to purchase, such as alarms. “Schools and colleges are looking at alarms to be centrally managed,” says Lance. “A lot of solutions on the market have a lack of intelligence and poor management, which Verkada covers well. “Intercoms are also an attractive proposition and a point of great interest in education and CCTV is acknowledged as being of high- quality, but cheaper solutions are available which are proving difficult to displace/ compete with.” Environmental sensors are also growing in popularity, he adds. “This is partly due to the new challenge of pupils/students vaping and an increase in understanding and awareness of the health concerns around them,” he says. Budget concerns But all this is done against a backdrop of increasingly tight budgets. “Budgets are becoming tighter than ever before,” says Lance. This means there is greater scrutiny on spending before it is signed off. “There
is more due diligence required on orders exceeding £5,000 requiring multiple bids to show value for money,” he says. Budget restrictions need to be considered by resellers. “Schools and institutions are looking to do more with less,” says Graham. “At Lenovo, we also encourage our partners and customers to tackle the digital equity divide, as we believe every student should have an equal opportunity to access the tools and technology required for their academic journey and future. “It is important to provide flexibility for education providers to be able to equip every student with the right technology. For example, there are trends of customers being more open to leasing options, compared to traditional CAPEX. Education providers should also look for the products that offer the best value-for-money. These options might not always be the cheapest but have longevity and are not easily broken by students.” Tim adds that sales into education providers require a comprehensive understanding of their specific needs and constraints, as well as solutions, both hardware and available applications and software that can effectively address these requirements. “It's important to discuss how technology can enhance educational outcomes and offer scalable solutions that align with the financial capabilities of schools, which is often a defining factor in cash-strapped public education establishments,” he says. “Either way, resellers should emphasise the long- term benefits of technology investments in education and delivering improved learning experiences over time.” Rachel Rothwell, senior regional director, UK and Ireland at Zyxel Networks, adds that there
trusted brands becoming stronger in this market and tenders are also more focused on solutions
now, including sustainability and readiness for work...
Lance Williams chief product officer
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processes, says Graham. “Schools often start to prepare for the summer period as early as October,” he notes. “A long-term relationship with customers also enables businesses to touch base on a regular basis, offer hands-on sessions, and nurture the relationship for the upcoming school years.” Tim adds that while AV and technology installation into education tends to be seasonal around typical school holidays, particularly the long summer break to avoid student disruption, selling into the edtech sector isn't limited to a specific season. “Successful partnerships in this market require building year-round relationships and understanding the changing needs of educational institutions your supply. With the ongoing evolution in teaching methods and technology integration, continuous engagement with education providers is crucial,” he says. Lance echoes that sentiment. “Education requires constant support and interaction,” he says. “Typically, conversations are started in Q1. Trials/assessment completed over the February half-term and Easter. Budgets are confirmed in April and the summer holidays are the main period of purchase/install, with Easter in second. The October and February half-terms continue to be more challenging install period due to the limited time, and Christmas is by far the quietest. Few IT personnel want any tech going live/installed over the Christmas period.” This shows that there is appetite for technology within the education sector, but resellers must be careful to demonstrate how solutions deliver value for money in the short- and long-term. If they can do that, then there is still money to be made in this sector.
is no question that investment in infrastructure and security is badly needed in the sector, but budgets are tighter than ever. “Schools, academies and colleges need to consider all the options and possibilities and make smarter buying choices,” she says. “Schools and trusts are having to think long and hard about how they can reduce costs without having an impact on teaching and they now have very little room for manoeuvre. While the official advice might be to purchase products from some of the more expensive brand names, solutions from us and from other manufacturers can do just as good a job for much less investment.” WiFi 6 and 7 Rachel adds that this is especially true when it comes to the latest technologies, such as WiFi 6/6E and WiFi 7, multi-gigabit switching and multi-layered security. “We have excellent, fast and reliable solutions in all these product categories that are highly effective and much more affordable,” she says. “Our MSP partners can configure and support all our devices though the Nebula cloud management platform, so there really is no reason why schools can’t get the very best and latest technologies, without paying a premium. “Zyxel recently became one of the first networking vendors to launch a WiFi 7 access point. It has also recently launched a new range of firewall appliances that provide multi-layered protection at the gateway to the network.” Timing is everything With such a range of products to consider, resellers need to have a year-round relationship with customers in the education sector, as that plays a crucial role in sell-in
Rachel Rothwell senior regional director UK & Ireland
Zyxel recently became one of the first networking vendors to launch a WiFi 7 access point. “ ”
I n the vast digital realm, a colossal giant of an enterprise closely guarded a prized goose that laid golden eggs, and bestowed wealth on the giant. Jack, the Hack - a crafty cybercriminal facing financial struggles, sought to exploit the giant’s riches. Having foolishly lost his money through laziness and poor decisions, he was enticed by a strange merchant to exchange his mother’s cow for some magic beans. The beans were planted in the dark web and an enchanted beanstalk grew fast offering him access to the giant’s kingdom.
J ack the Hack successfully infiltrated the giant’s home, seized the prized goose, and made off with the valuable golden eggs, cutting off the beanstalk as he fled so the giant could not follow him. The giant enterprise, devastated by the theft, realized the vulnerability of its kingdom and the need for a stronger defence. L earning a valuable lesson from the devastating breach, the giant sought a solution to fortify its digital castle against future chancers like Jack the Hack. The giant turned to Fortinet, a cybersecurity fortress known for its impenetrable defences. Fortinet’s solution, like an impregnable shield, was deployed to safeguard the enterprise’s assets and prevent any further infiltrations. F ortinet’s robust cybersecurity fabric included
firewalls, advanced threat protection, and proactive threat intelligence. The solution wove an impenetrable barrier, ensuring that Jack the Hack and any other cybercriminals with malicious intent would be thwarted in their attempts to breach the giant’s defences. A s Jack plotted his next move, confident in the magic of his pilfered golden eggs, he met with the unyielding walls of Fortinet’s cybersecurity fortress. The dark web’s enchantment was nullified, and Jack the Hack’s attempts to infiltrate the enterprise’s digital kingdom were thwarted at every turn. T he giant, now fortified by Fortinet’s cybersecurity solution, stood vigilant against cyber threats. The organization’s prized assets, once vulnerable, were now protected behind the impenetrable walls of Fortinet’s fortress.
T he moral of the story: In the dynamic digital landscape, enterprises must learn from past breaches and fortify their defences against cunning cybercriminals. Fortinet’s cybersecurity fortress provides the shield needed to protect valuable assets, ensuring that the kingdom remains secure and impervious to the exploits of those seeking to pilfer the golden eggs.
Become a Fortinet partner to discover how to provide your customers with comprehensive cybersecurity solutions to protect their networks, applications, and data from evolving threats.
PRODUCT REVIEW AQUILA PRO AI AX3000 WI-FI MESH ROUTER
New route to market For home or hybrid workers using Wi-Fi, their three most common pain points and coverage, speed and reliability. But the Aquila Pro AI AX3000 WiFi mesh addresses all three to ensure a more consistent and faster user experience – crucial for employees to work to their potential outside of the office.
For home Wi-Fi users, coverage, speed and reliability are key – especially if they are to avoid frustration and be able to work at pace. Launched last December by D-Link, the Aquila Pro AI AX3000 Wi-Fi mesh router is designed to address these challenges. For instance, it has five internal antennas, providing enhanced three-dimensional 360-degree coverage to extend a stronger Wi-Fi signal, boosting spherical coverage and eliminating dead zones. A single unit can provide coverage of up to 260sqm and can be easily extended by adding additional Aquila Pro AI devices, delivering seamless Wi-Fi connectivity for more devices throughout a home. Powered by Wi-Fi 6 technology, the Aquila Pro AI AX3000 delivers extreme speeds of up to 3Gbps, supporting 160MHz bandwidth, one Gigabit Internet WAN port, and four Gigabit LAN ports for wired devices such as smart TVs, gaming consoles, and PCs. The router ensures ultra-fast Wi-Fi connections, even when the entire family is online. It also employs innovative AI technology,
users can effortlessly manage their smart home. The router is designed to be easy to set up and manage with the intuitive Aquila Pro AI App. The AI assistant monitors network performance and provides weekly reports. As it is designed to be in homes, it has an elegant, wall-mountable design to blend seamlessly with any decor. Going green For those concerned about sustainability, as part of ‘D-Link Green,’ the Aquila Pro AI AX3000 adheres to green design principles. The chassis is made from part of post- consumer recycled material, the packaging uses 99% natural plant-based Mineral Oil-Free ink and the gift box design reduces printing ink usage by over 55%. The router also leverages Wi-Fi 6 Target Wake Time feature to reduce power consumption and offers a health mode that automatically turns off the router during the night, ensuring energy efficiency. At-a-glance l WiFi 6 provides faster speeds and less network congestion l Strong WiFi signal anywhere thanks to design that gives 360-degree coverage l 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a gigabit Ethernet WAN port allow for high- speed wired connectivity l Price: £98 on Amazon List price, but deals may be available esp. on bulk l Secure – it comes with the latest WPA3 encryption and IEC 62443-4-1 standards l Simple to set up, use, maintain and extract data from.
including AI Wi-Fi Optimiser, AI Mesh Optimiser and AI Traffic Optimiser, to
ensure superior Wi-Fi performance. AI Wi-Fi Optimiser selects the optimal channel for minimal interference, while AI Mesh Optimiser provides fast and reliable network coverage using auto path selection and self-healing capabilities. AI Traffic Optimiser guarantees uninterrupted 4K/8K video streaming and video calling with AI-based QoS technology, ensuring a seamless and uninterrupted experience. The device is also secure – it complies with the latest WPA3 encryption and IEC 62443-4- 1 standards, safeguarding a network against unauthorised access. It also offers parental controls and separate guest networks to ensure the security of all home Wi-Fi devices. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, which means
Advice for resellers For resellers looking to sell the Aquila Pro AI AX3000, Alan Jones from D-Link has some key tips. For instance, there are several key features that resellers should look to highlight to customers. “Resellers should emphasise the router's dual-band AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 capabilities, AI-based mesh, Wi-Fi, and traffic optimisers, and its compatibility with voice control via Google/Alexa,” he says. “But the biggest highlight is the curved design, standing out in a sea of routers that look like upside down spiders, also offering spherical Wi-Fi coverage is a unique selling point.” Alan adds that the green credentials of the product should be emphasised too, such as the use of recyclable plastics in it, which showcase the product's commitment to environmental sustainability and design excellence.
a selling point – it has the latest WPA3 encryption for enhanced network security, Alan says. The Aquila Pro AI AX3000 also comes with a two-year warranty and reliable customer support from D-Link. The sectors that the Aquila Pro AI AX3000 is best suited to are: l Home users : Ideal for those seeking enhanced mesh home Wi-Fi coverage, especially in larger homes l Small businesses : Suitable for small office environments that require reliable and extensive Wi-Fi coverage, but perhaps not an expensive solution as customers would just be browsing social media etc. such as a doctors surgery or dentist l Tech enthusiasts : Attract customers interested in the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, high speed connectivity and smart home integration l Lifestyle : The aesthetics lend themselves and may appeal to the design marketplace – designer home/designer router. Upselling The product can also be upsold and sold as an add-on or added to a bundle with other products. For example, resellers can upsell with mesh network capabilities. “The simplest solution would be to sell more than one unit for larger homes or offices to create a seamless mesh network,” says Alan. “The M30 2-Pack will be released decent lifespan before becomes obsolete. That environmental considerations have been factored into its manufacturing will be popular with customers, as will its look, designed to fit in with home decors. As businesses look for how they can increase productivity, products such as this will be invaluable to ensure that employees, wherever they are working can work to their potential and not be held back by slow internet speeds. shortly, followed by a compatible mesh extender – E30. It can also be bundled with smart home devices so it can be offered as part of a smart home package, including cameras, switches, and other IoT devices.”
l Dual-Band AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 l Curved design with spherical Wi-Fi cov- erage l 2 x 2.4 GHz, 3 x 5 GHz internal anten- nas l 2.4 GHz (802.11ax 574 Mbps), 5 GHz (802.11ax, up to 2403 Mbps) l AI-based Mesh, Wi-Fi, and Traffic Optimisers l MU-MIMO, & OFD- MA efficiency l Voice Control with Google/Alexa l WPA3 Wireless security l Easy setup & free
Alan also advocates resellers demonstrate the AI features. “Show how the AI assistant can manage Wi-Fi settings and optimise network performance – it constantly monitors your connections to ensure you are on the correct band or connected to the best node, especially while roaming,” he says. “Also showcase the easy setup: highlight the simple setup process and the user-friendly app management of the Aquila Pro App.” The security of the device can also be
app management with AI assistant
l Made in Taiwan
With the emphasis on parity of experience for home and office workers currently among businesses in many sectors, ensuring WiFi is fast and reliable is paramount, and the Aquila will help users to achieve this. That it also comes with latest security features helps as home offices can be more vulnerable than traditional offices. By using WiFi 6, it is up with the latest technology, which will mean it will have a
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