Faiz Rehman, National Business Head – India & SAARC, Collaboration, Barco, speaks about the key technology adoptions, which will bring new opportunities for the company’s partners
What have been the key highlights of 2019 and how will 2020 be an important year for the IT channel industry?
The IT industry has been in a transformational phase, with each year bringing advanced technology options to enhance user experience. The year 2019 saw increased awareness and expansion of cloud-based technology and peripherals, with innovative solutions being used to improve the in-room meeting experience.
Another key highlight saw consumers increasingly leveraging bezel-less video walls coupled with auto colour calibration technology. This changed the viewing experience in control rooms, experience centres, lobbies and meeting rooms. Projection mapping was another technology which gained momentum last year with various heritage buildings, temples, theme parks and water bodies using this technology for light and sound shows. Some tourism departments also utilised this technology to boost footfall and highlight the rich cultural and historical heritage.
We expect the above-mentioned technologies to rise and expand in FY 2020, improving end-user experience and creating multiple opportunities for our channel partners to serve the customer. Projection mapping is likely to be seen across indoor and outdoor galas as well as at more traditional conferences and trade shows.
Can you share the top three technology trends that the channel community should be betting on and why?
In our opinion, Financial Year 2020 will be the year of democratisation of technology. In a democracy, everyone has equal rights and freedom, similarly, democratisation of technology refers to the customer’s freedom in choosing relevant technology and devices. We have been hearing quite a lot about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). In FY20, we would be moving towards BYOM – Bring Your Own Meeting. This technology will put end customers in the driver’s seat and give them the freedom to utilise their existing devices, collaboration platforms, applications and UX in a more effective manner. Wireless video conferencing will be the newest innovation and technology to look forward to. The innovative technology will revolutionise the collaboration experience in a big way and enable customers to remain agnostic in the true sense of the term.
The second technology which is bound to make waves this year would be LED displays. This innovation brings high-resolution images to indoor applications that require superior image quality, ranging from museums and other visitor attractions, broadcasting and control rooms to retail and advertising. In addition, the newest Infinipix technology ensures image quality is consistently perfect in both dimmed and high-brightness mode.
Considering the current scenario, FY20 is likely to be the year of Work From Home devices and platforms. More and more organisations will equip themselves and their employees to work from their convenient home couches without compromising on productivity. This will also pave the way for collaborative learning solutions – virtual teaching and learning platforms. These BYOD-centred solutions would provide both teachers and students all the connectivity, interactivity and information exchange tools required to enable educational institutions to evolve from a teacher-centric to a student-centric experience and make education more engaging. New technologies have opened a vast range of engagement and collaboration possibilities, with functionalities remotely delivering on-campus experiences to everybody involved.
What are the top channel directions your company has set for your partners and where should partners invest to be aligned to these directions?
Barco is a B2B solutions provider and hence the channel is of paramount importance to us as our partners ensure that our technology reaches the end consumer. We believe that it is very important for our channel partners to be aware of the pain points of the consumers and take the correct solutions to them. For this purpose, we ensure that our partners are well-trained on all our products and technology by investing heavily in their training and advancement. We provide them with comprehensive partner certification programmes under Barco University which are spread across all our business verticals and are at par with changing market dynamics.
We also focus on trust and reliability as the pillars of the relationship we share with our partners and resellers. We ensure there is consistent engagement and address their problems in real-time. Our strategy has always been to strengthen and comfort our partner base and to ensure them that Barco is there to complete them rather than compete with them. We target a very niche space and are strongly focused on enterprise, entertainment and healthcare verticals. We are also interested in being an active participant in the Government’s smart city project. To ensure that our partners are aligned with our philosophy, we have created a program which will promote our products and services while adding to the partners’ expertise and resource, leading to the satisfaction of the end-users. We also plan to bolster our training and market-support programs by visualising innovative processes which will help us in gaining an edge over the competition.