As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March, The Smith Family put out a call for laptops for 1000 children on its Learning For Life program.
Ingram Micro Australia director of retail Rob Wilkinson co-ordinated a response and ensured the laptops were delivered within The Smith Family’s budget, providing freight free of charge and within a reasonably quick time frame.
Wilkinson said that, behind the scenes, this meant moving quickly to understand what was possible to lend its support into The Smith Family’s request, and within 72 hours, he had put calls to key vendor partners, identifying ones that could supply 1000 units within the set timeframe.
“This meant from the first call, to the goods being in our warehouse, they had 28 days to deliver, keeping in mind sea-freighting stock takes about three weeks to Australia,” he said. “It’s important to note that manufacturers in China had closed in January, and as they reopened in March, there were little components they had to work with.
"But with the amazing support of the vendor community, we were able to secure allocation of the notebooks, and pricing was made possible by all parties involved in the cause."
The final hurdle, Wilkinson said, was delivering the notebooks to students, made possible by its ‘drop ship service’ supported by its warehouse and logistics teams.
The Smith Family head of strategy and philanthropy Judy Barraclough said the students received the laptops within weeks of the lockdown and the digital inclusion packs had a lasting impact on the students.
Also during the Ingram Micro One Experience 2020 A/NZ SVP and country chief executive Tim Ament pointed out how it was helping partners in navigating what’s next in the complex IT landscape along with its strong investment in cloud and advanced solutions business units.
Globally, Ingram has invested US$500 million into its cloud business.
“The investments being made in the cloud business are all about the future and enabling partners to be successful in not only on-premises technology, but the changing consumption models driven by cloud,” he said. “Ingram Micro has partners covered from the cloud, to the edge and everywhere in between.”
Ingram Micro Australia director of advanced solutions, Brett Armstrong noted the change in customer investment patterns, concentrated towards the ‘work from home’ scenario, which is still “high on the boardroom agenda” along with helping partners build strategies around cyber security.
“Our teams are heavily involved in working with our partners to build out strategies to take to market,” he said.
Armstrong pointed out technology such as Microsoft HoloLens, was able to help partners see new ways to solve problems across an environment that combines real-time, virtual data and reality.
Armstrong said the company recently deployed HoloLens for a major telco and the federal government.
In September, the Australian Department of Defence revealed that its No 36 Squadron aircraft technicians were using HoloLens for maintenance work.
Usually the Department has Boeing technicians that fly in to do maintenance work, but with COVID-19 restrictions, that wasn’t possible. Instead, the Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley began trialling the virtual reality tech in July, stating it will continue the trial with two HoloLens devices.
In August, the Department also put a call out for a ‘mixed reality engineering specialist’ armed with HoloLens 2 and Azure experience to help identify and scope a mixed reality training program to help lift skills in the area.
In November last year, Qantas revealed it was also trialing HoloLens 2 mixed reality headsets and technology within its engineering training program.
The trial at the time involved a ‘digital twin’ of a Boeing 737 flight deck, with the learner sitting in the captain’s or the first officer’s virtual chair, running through procedures and checklists.