THE ongoing convergence between information technology and audiovisual products in the home and business was evident for many visitors to Tech Pacific’s Showcase 2004.
Around 7500 resellers and their customers are estimated to have attended the event, which wrapped up in Christchurch on Monday, after stops in Auckland and Wellington last Tuesday and Friday. New technologies from over 40 vendors were presented, but visitors surveyed by Reseller News at the Auckland event say they were most impressed by new advances in wireless technology, LCD displays and portable storage devices.
But visitors were also aware of how the drop in retail prices of hardware has impacted on their margins, prime examples include colour laser printers now retailing below $1,000, compared with $2,000 to $3,000 a few years ago and notebooks at $1,599 — half the price of two years ago.
Tech Pacific enterprise division manager Scott Cowen confirms falling prices has been the main theme this year, meaning the channel has to sell ever more stock to maintain profits. This has been fuelled by parallel importing, which was legalised six years ago, he says, but the channel is doing “a good job” in maintaining its market share.
Reseller News has compiled a snapshot of visitors’ comments. They answered the following questions:
1. What is some of the technology you have seen here that point to future trends?
2.What are some of the issues affecting your business right now?
3. Why did you come today?
4. Which vendors stand out in understanding these issues?
Samuel Chua, of distributor and Tech Pacific customer Morning Star.
1. The BenQ LCD screen with a 12 millisecond response time — it is a minor detail, but the faster the response time, the better. This could become a new industry standard. Also routers that support wireless networks and new notebook technologies, especially of the swivel screen/tablet kind with 17-inch screens as the new standard.
2. An issue we are facing is an oversupply of older technology — careful planning is needed to clear these out before taking on newer products.
Nathan Penny, Bon Pacific, Parnell, Auckland.
1. LCD technology — their prices are dropp-ing, so more people are moving to LCDs.
2. We sell to the Pacific Islands and dropp-ing prices is an issue as we try to offer good service and reliability.
3. We come to see what the latest products are that vendors have on offer. It is different to see the products in the flesh.
4. HP has been very supportive of us.
Robert Hepple, Westronics, Whaketane.
1. Mobility stuff — PDAs are coming into their own, like the HP I-Paq.
2. Offshore support has not been very good — going through to India when you need a quick solution.
3. My business has converged from AV to IT, so I visit more IT shows. Being from a small town, you do not often get to physically touch the products — now I can tell my customers exactly what they look like.
4. HP has been impressive and has been a good help, especially in the mobility market.
Carey Duckmanton, Abtron, Auckland.
1. Western Digital’s ATA drive.
2. Hardware has become too cheap and customers are getting ripped off because they are not getting good quality products or service. People should be more quality-focused — just looking at price is short sighted. As we have to work harder for the same profits, the quality of our customer service declines.
3. It is a good opportunity to talk to more technical people — it has more of a reseller focus than other technology shows.
Terri McLintock and Chris Price, Solutions for Business, Orewa.
1. LCDs displays — that’s where people are going — 17-inch LCDs. Benq monitors are new to New Zealand.