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Question: Where can you source a Cisco switch, a digitized wine cooler, a Cuisenhart food processor and Sonicwall security appliances?

Answer: Ingram Micro

In response to the rapid convergence of traditional IT and consumer electronics markets, the mega-distributor this week announced that its DBL Distributing arm – which carries its consumer electronics portfolio – will be pulled more closely under the broad Ingram umbrella.

Ingram has renamed the business the Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics Division and integrated its formally separate ERP system to create a single distribution point of contact for solution providers to source both IT and consumer electronics products, according to John Soumbasakis, senior vice president of strategic divisions at Ingram.

“What we have found is that there has been big increase of traditional Ingram customers buying consumer electronics from us,” Soumbasakis said. “That was one of the instigators driving our announcement.”

He said that Ingram’s core of channel partners have begun to diversify their businesses to include consumer electronics, in part because those devices, like televisions and stereo receivers, are increasingly IP-based.

“There are a lot of angles here,” he said. “It’s not for every VAR, but we have some that were doing $10,000 to $20,000 a month in consumer electronics business they were sourcing all over. Now they have one place to go.”

The consumer electronics division sports 20,000 products from more than 500 product lines, including the aforementioned wine cooler and food processor. Soumbasakis says VARs are also cashing in on less sexy items, such as headphones and other accessories that can be incorporated into broader solutions set.

One of the ripe areas for convergence is telephony, particularly for solution providers that do a lot of conferencing business, where the requirements can be an amalgam of sound, IP, A/V components, digital signage and consumer displays.

In this economy, any opportunity to expand a portfolio and bring in new revenue streams is critical so the embrace of consumer electronics and traditional IT makes good sense.

“This market is growing and it’s significant,”  he said.