Updated: Panasonic resellers toughen up

New configuration centre from Panasonic and Sterling IT allows customers to configure Toughbooks to their requirements

Panasonic, in conjunction with local Australian partner, Sterling IT, has opened a Toughbook configuration centre to assist resellers in Sydney.

The centre is based in Wetherill Park and will be one of five globally. It will give customers the option to configure a basic Toughbook model to suit their needs. Upgrade options include embedded 3G, GPS, Smartcard reader and fingerprint reader, as well as in-car options.

Panasonic is introducing semi-rugged Toughbook models, which will be offered at a lower price and should appeal to mobile workers. The vendor hopes to broaden its traditional reach beyond military, utilities, mining, emergency and healthcare markets.

Toughbook Australia group manager, John Wood, said the new configuration centre would provide advantages for its partner base around speed of engagement with customers when configuring custom solutions.

Sterling IT managing director, Mark Pace, said it had been doing Panasonic Toughbook repairs for many years. The decision to invest in the configuration centre would open up a new area of business.

“This allows us to get a bit more exposure in the market by configuring the units as well,” he said. “Toughbook is growing as a niche product. The biggest advantage to configuring the units in Australia that we’ll have over our competitors is that many Government tenders ask what the Australian content of the solution is – it’ll help Panasonic do more in the market.”

Sterling IT has 11 staff, three of which will be dedicated to the Toughbook business.

“We’re already had multiple orders put in for configured units, with a total of around 1000 notebooks,” Pace said.

In August, Panasonic appointed DH Technology to distribute its CF-H1 Toughbook.