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Just what has the channel been up to?
 
RS Components sponsors Geekulcha hackathon 
 
Geekulcha hackathon Geekulcha hackathon
Distributor RS Components this year sponsored hardware, components and prizes for the annual Geekulcha hackathon. Over 100 young developers from all nine provinces entered the virtual event, which took place over 42 hours in March.
 
Wesley Hood, STEM education specialist for RS Components, said the Geekulcha team had been an inspiration in its ability to adapt to changing conditions over the past year.
 
“Although we miss being at their physical events, it was great to be part of the virtual panel of judges. The teams really showed off their skills and brought some innovative ideas to the table,” he said.
 
An app aimed at bringing cloud kitchens to street food vendors won the R15 000 prize. LMSY’s (Let me serve you, pronounced ‘lim-zee’) developer Trevor Morethe said: “I have to wait too long to get my food during my lunch hour, about 30 minutes, plus the drive to and from the place…There needs to be a convenient solution to pre-order food for collection.”
 
Morethe envisions that the app will notify customers of orders ready for collection, and they’ll be able to rate vendors. The app will show vendors in the vicinity and an admin fee will be charged to buyers. The vendor-facing version will manage incoming orders.
 
Rectron brings Newland ID scanners on board 
 
Rectron announced in April that it would now be adding Newland ID, a manufacturer of barcode scanners, to its portfolio. Rectron will be distributing the full Newland ID range, comprising wireless handheld scanners, stationary scanners, mobile computers, tablets, micro kiosks, and OEM scan engines, and pre-sales and first-line technical support. This includes managing all repairs and RMA-related incidents in-house and with third parties. 
 
“Through Rectron, the South African market will now have full access to the Newland ID range, as well as stock readily available on all run-rate items,” said Fatima Khota, point of sale lead at Rectron.
 
Khota, point of sale lead at Rectron.Newland ID’s business is targeted atcapture technology for businesses. The manufacturer also has its own mobile device management software Ndevor, which is free and included in each of the Android devices. 
 
Jonathan Hatton, SA country sales manager at Newland, said its product portfolio has grown over the five years it’s been operating in South Africa, particularly in industries like warehousing, retail and healthcare.
 
“We expect to see a massive uptake of barcode scanners in industries that form the backbone of the economy, such as retail, healthcare and logistics,” said Khota.

New sensors at RS Components
 
RS PRO sensor RS PRO sensor
RS Components has announced the expansion of its RS PRO sensors range for use in factory automation applications. The range includes ultrasonic proximity sensors, and fibre-optical sensors have been added to complement the existing photoelectric proximity sensors (through-beam, retro-reflective and diffuse), inductive proximity sensors and capacitive proximity sensors. Depending on the sensor technology selected, RS PRO products can be used to detect a range of materials, including metals, plastics, paper, liquids, powders and particles. 
 
They can be incorporated into quality and verification systems: for example, to count units accurately, detect the presence or absence of an object, or to measure parameters such as pressure, flow, and viscosity. Applications range from product manufacturing, laboratories, and food and beverage production to automated packaging and distribution warehouses.
 
Online retail jumps to R30 billion
 
Online retail in South Africa more than doubled in just two years, thanks to the explosion in demand for home deliveries brought about by the pandemic. The study conducted by World Wide Worx with the support of Mastercard, Standard Bank and Platinum Seed, said the total growth for online retail in South Africa in 2020 came to 66%, bringing the total of online retail in South Africa to R30.2 billion. “
 
“The most astonishing aspect of this total is that it is more than double the R14.1 billion reached in 2018, in just two years,” said World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck. “It is also 50% higher than the total forecast for 2020 three years ago, when online retail in South Africa was expected to reach R20 billion by 2020.” In 2018, the R14.1 billion in online retail represented 1.4% of total retail, estimated at the time at R1.07 trillion. Online had outpaced traditional retail growth throughout the past 20 years, since it came off a low base, but traditional retail still grew every year until 2019. In 2020, it slumped as a result of lockdown as well as economic stress. According to preliminary data from Stats SA, at current prices, total retail fell by 4.2%, to R1.05 trillion. 
 
The percentage of retail made up by online retail sales came to 2.8% – exactly double the percentage for 2018. “While equivalent growth cannot be expected for 2021, it can be stated fairly confidently that it will exceed the 30% growth of 2019, when expansion was organic and a factor of the evolution of shopping habits and retail strategies,” said Goldstuck. “Those factors remain in place, along with the massive boost given to both areas of evolution since the pandemic began.” This means we can expect to see total online retail sales of around R42 billion in 2021, taking the online percentage of total retail to around 4%, assuming traditional retail returns to its previous growth path.
 
The categories experiencing the highest growth, aside from data and airtime top-up, were clothing, at 56%, and groceries, at 54%. The demand for online entertainment also surged, with 52% of respondents saying they had spent more money on virtual experiences than they did before the pandemic. The majority had participated in video calls for work or leisure (88%), three-quarters (75%) had watched TV or films through an online subscription service, and nearly half (47%) had taken part in a virtual cooking class.
 
Silicon Sky boosts IaaS offering with Infinidat
 
Silicon Sky has offices in South Africa, the UK and US, and specialises in Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), including compute, network, storage, security, backup and disaster recovery. As cloud-based infrastructure gained impetus in the local market, its Iaas offering grew, and the company’s previous storage solution was unable to keep pace with the scalability it required. 

Hayden Sadler, Infinidat Hayden Sadler, Infinidat
 
The multiple storage tiers added complexity as it created disparate service levels and did not offer a truly multi-tenant environment.  It also needed a predictable cost per gigabyte to support the business’ IaaS offering. A single 500 terabyte system was implemented in 2018, which took a day to provision and integrate with the company’s environment. Additional storage arrays were added in the two years that followed. Hayden Sadler, country manager for South Africa at Infinidat, said it had agreed to a flexible opex model to make the solution more appealing, and as a result, Silicon Sky purchased additional storage arrays outright. 

Brenton Halsted, Silicon Sky managing director, said its customers had noticed the difference immediately, and that in the IaaS market, the most important considerations were price and performance.
 
Datacentrix retains Trend Micro platinum partner status
 
Datacentrix has retained its platinum partner status with cybersecurity company Trend Micro. It first reached the platinum tier in 2018. Rudie Raath, chief security officer at Datacentrix, said it has worked hard to uphold its revenue goals, and has continued to invest in technical skills. He said it has a dedicated security team in place and that its SOC monitors its customers’ environments in real-time against any security threats. Gareth Redelinghuys, the Trend sales lead for Southern Africa, said only the most productive of partners will reach platinum status, which is by invitation only. Datacentrix offers Trend Micro hybrid cloud security, network security and end-user protection solutions.  Datacentrix also announced that it has extended its partnership with Sage, and that it is now the official local solution provider for the company’s Intacct software, for cloud-based financial management and accounting.
 
 
Rudie Raath, Datacentrix Rudie Raath, Datacentrix
 
Kaspersky in Africa
 
Kaspersky announced in May it has partnered with value-added distributor DataGroupIT, which will provide the company with access to new markets in Nigeria and Ghana. DataGroupIT has over 1 000 clients in over 15 Sub-Saharan African countries, with its teams delivering sales, pre-sales, logistics, marketing, and financial support. Lehan van den Heever, enterprise cybersecurity advisor for Kaspersky in Africa, says the region is becoming a major focus for the company, and he expects the agreement will give it access to new verticals. He added that the new distributed working environment has created the potential for additional cyber risk.Kaspersky also announced it has been appointed as the commercial cybersecurity partner for Africa House London, a trade agency established to encourage trade, commerce, and investment between the UK and some high-growth markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. The deal will see the company provide cybersecurity services to British companies setting up business in Africa and African organisations establishing themselves in the UK.
 
Van den Heever says the bilateral programme had been designed to increase trade in the post-Brexit landscape. The trade initiative will be deployed through three modules: a cloud-based trading and collaboration platform, workflow and thought leadership resources, and an interactive and searchable customer relationship management database. “Any leads or partnerships discovered will be managed through our African channel and benefit both partners and resellers in those countries.
Through Africa House, Kaspersky will have widespread public visibility as a leader within the cybersecurity arena and have access to more than 6 000 UK and Sub-Saharan Africa growth businesses looking to set up or expand within Africa,” he adds. Anthony Martin, Africa Trade initiative director, says there is growth potential in African markets for UK businesses. “It is critical to the UK’s continued success, in a post Covid-19, post-Brexit landscape, that UK businesses unlock that potential.”

Werner Kapp, Dimension Data Werner Kapp, Dimension Data
 
NTT sees growth in MEA region.
 
Dimension Data, a wholly owned subsidiary of NTT, is to be strengthened by deeper integration with its global parent, which said it was increasing its commitment in the MEA region. Dimension Data (MEA) employs about 12 000 people and was acquired by NTT in 2010. The company currently operates directly and through partnerships in more than 80% of the countries in the MEA region. Abhijit Dubey, group chief executive of NTT, said the decision to remain invested in Dimension Data is driven by the company’s belief that the MEA region is strategically important to its vision and also represents a growth opportunity. 


NTT has begun construction of its Johannesburg 1 datacentre which, when completed, will deliver 6 000m2of IT space and 12MW of IT load. It will also increase NTT’s datacentre platform in Africa to over 20MW of IT load capacity.
 
The project is planned for completion in the last quarter of this year and will be operational in the first quarter of 2022. DD CEO Werner Kapp said that by using its local knowledge and NTT’s global reach, it can offer its clients superior products and services. He said its clients were asking for digital-first solutions, and that particularly in the light of the pandemic, businesses wanted to be more agile, efficient and productive.
 
IFS and iOCO partner up
 
ERP vendor IFS and iOCO said in May that they will work together to provide solutions to their customers, particularly in field service management. iOCO said it will certify 100 professionals on the IFS solution in the course of the next two years.


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