Mobility, unified communications and expanding small and midsize businesses server capabilities will be the major growth areas of 2008, according to D&H Distributing.
Trends that grew more slowly in 2007 such as color laser printing and projectors will also experience growth in 2008, the distributor said.
Opportunities for VARs to sell SMB server, mobility and VOIP solutions are hitting their stride as 2007 closes, said Dan Schwab, vice president of marketing at D&H, Harrisburg, Penn. Major vendors are also providing SMBs with more sophisticated technology to meet their needs, Schwab said.
In the mobility arena, Schwab said, there’s an emphasis on a broad range of functionality, since the user isn’t always attached to an office full of equipment. Security, networking and storage are also tied into the mobility market, he said. “This emphasis on multifunction pushes the market toward different technologies,” said Schwab, with more advanced computing capabilities.
While VOIP remains strong despite 2007’s patent lawsuits and industry consolidation, Schwab said VARs should focus their attention on unified communications. “It’s not just about voice,” he said. Businesses want constant access to their information and they want to be able to use PCs, mobile devices and smartphones to perform all sorts of tasks, Schwab said, such as dialing into their voicemail and responding to messages via e-mail. Schwab said the addition of video can also offer VARs the opportunity to deliver powerful solutions. “It’s really going to explode into exciting applications,” he said.
Another area Schwab expects to grow in 2008 is SMB server solutions. With almost 7 million SMBs in the United States that haven’t upgraded to a server-based network, the opportunity for VARs is huge, he said. “More and more of our resellers are upgrading their end-users’ networks and helping them migrate to a server-based environment,” Schwab said.
Schwab also said not to count out “carryovers” from 2007 such as color laser printing and projectors. While both markets did not grow as quickly as D&H believed they would in 2007, the sectors still offer VARs a lot of opportunity in 2008, he said. Schwab said that in 2007 most end users already owned a projector, but that the market is still open for upgrades and for building presentation and graphics solutions. And while some resellers are still battling their customers’ perceptions that the up-front costs of color laser printing are too high, “this is the year that the cost per page finally made sense for the SMB model,” he said.