Another week passes and we take another step together down the path to convergence. Don't let anybody tell you that this trend is tomorrow's story - vendors that would never normally of considered IT distribution are taking the plunge and opportunities are available for those resellers that want to jump aboard.
This week's ARN news section (see the May 11 issue) has Sydney-centric wireless broadband provider, Unwired, entering the world of distribution through a partnership with Tecksel; consumer electronics powerhouse Bose pushing its iPod accessories through KH Distribution; and Apple extending the reach of its broad consumer electronics and technology portfolio via a new partnership with Express Online.
Is there any distributor in this country (or indeed the world) that wouldn't like to take a ride on the iPod train just now? Well, the obvious answer is 'no' but, if Apple dealer Ben Morgan is to be believed, Ingram Micro has already turned its nose up at this digital music gravy train because it wouldn't swallow Apple's no return policy. I guess when you have a stable of 100 vendors you can afford to be a bit choosy like that.
And if anybody is leading the way in this industry as far as digital convergence is concerned, that company is surely Ingram Micro. This month's ExpoTech show in Sydney - which has already visited Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart - saw more than 50 vendors pedalling their wares to a gathering of more than 800 resellers.
While this included products from across the broad IT church, the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the digital home display showcasing products from D-Link, Samsung, Microsoft and BenQ. ARN knows somebody who had a great time throwing themselves into the character of Homer Simpson on a console game via a wireless keypad. Not sure what the aim of the game was, but this guy spent most of his time kicking people to death and running away from the police ('kick' and 'run' were the only controls this person had any level of control over). If you had any thoughts on the show, we would love to hear them.
Back in the bread and butter of this industry, it was more than a little interesting to see Ingram and LAN Systems both launching tools to help their resellers make the most of renewal opportunities. While both would vehemently deny that these services are a copy of the annuity service launched by Express Data last year (LAN has developed the idea a step further to include hardware opportunities) the success ED has had with its version must surely have helped its competitors make the leap from 'that sounds like a good idea' to 'let's do it now'.
After all, if there's anything for sure in this industry, it's impossible to keep a good idea to yourself - as Apple is starting to find out with the plethora of MP3 players vying for a piece of its iPod pie. Companies like Creative and iRiver are offering some serious competition and we can expect to see a big play from Sony in that space during the next year.