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Tablets decline in Africa

The Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market declined 12.3% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016 to total 3.32 million units, according to the latest figures from International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global research and consulting services firm’s ‘Middle East and Africa Quarterly Tablet Tracker’ indicates that the MEA tablet market contracted on a year-on-year basis for the second quarter in a row, following the 8.8% year-on-year decline seen in Q4 2015.

“We are finding that consumers are increasingly reluctant to replace their existing devices as the majority of tasks that were previously performed on tablets have now shifted to smartphones with larger screens,” says Nakul Dogra, a senior research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “This reluctance has resulted in a lengthening of tablet replacement cycles, a phenomenon that has inevitably had a negative impact on overall demand.

“Compounding the issue is the fact that consumer sentiment and business activity are both being hampered by low crude oil prices, particularly in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Meanwhile, the continued depreciation of key African currencies against the U.S. dollar – including the Nigerian naira, the South African rand, and the Egyptian pound – has also acted as an inhibitor, as poor exchange rates make tablets more expensive.”

One bright spot amid the market’s overall slowdown is the growth of detachable tablets, which are steadily gaining popularity in the region following the launch of various new devices in this product category. Detachable tablets now account for 4.2% share of the overall tablet market, with shipments up by a staggering 335% year on year in Q1 2016.

“All vendors are feeling the pinch from the slowdown,” says Fouad Rafiq Charakla, a senior research manager for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “Considering the thin margins on the lower-end products that account for the bulk of demand, vendors are unwilling to offer any further support to channels, leading to a decline in shipments across the region. As certain entry-level tablet models are available at price points below $50, key players are under intense pressure to maintain their sell outs.”

In terms of vendor rankings, Samsung – which has the widest tablet portfolio – continued to lead the market in Q1 2016 with 21.2% share, despite suffering a year-on-year decline in shipments of 23.3%. After a sluggish performance in Q4 2015, Lenovo retook second place with 12.3% share, despite posting a 21.7% year-on-year decline in shipments. Apple rounded out the top three with 11.5% share after posting an 11.0% decline in shipments.

IDC has revised its forecast for the 2016 MEA tablet market downwards and now expects a total of 14.9 million units to be shipped in the year, representing a year-on-year decline of 7.9%. The Windows operating system is expected to register healthy growth during the year in line with the growth in detachable devices. IDC expects shipments of detachable tablets, the bulk of which run on Windows, to grow 127.7% year on year in 2016.

“IDC expects the delivery of multiple projects involving high volumes of tablets to take place in Pakistan and Egypt this year,” continues Charakla. “Projects in the former will see the shipment of approximately 200,000 detachable tablets, while projects in the latter are expected to involve the shipment of around 40,000 traditional slate tablets. The deal in Pakistan is to be delivered to the education sector and will contribute significantly to the growth of detachable tablets in the MEA market.”

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Veeam passes $1bn, prepares for cloud’s ‘Act II’

Leader in cloud-data management reveals how it will harness the next growth phase of the data revolution, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

Veeam Software, the quiet leader in backup solutions for cloud data management,has announced that it has passed $1-billion in revenues, and is preparing for the next phase of sustained growth in the sector.

Now, it is unveiling what it calls Act II, following five years of rapid growth through modernisation of the data centre. At the VeeamON 2019conferencein Miami this week, company co-founder Ratmir Timashev declared that the opportunities in this new era, focused on managing data for the hybrid cloud, would drive the next phase of growth.

“Veeam created the VMware backup market and has dominated it as the leader for the last decade,” said Timashev, who is also executive vice president for sales and marketing at the organisation. “This was Veeam’s Act I and I am delighted that we have surpassed the $1 billion mark; in 2013 I predicted we’d achieve this in less than six years. 

“However, the market is now changing. Backup is still critical, but customers are now building hybrid clouds with AWS, Azure, IBM and Google, and they need more than just backup. To succeed in this changing environment, Veeam has had to adapt. Veeam, with its 60,000-plus channel and service provider partners and the broadest ecosystem of technology partners, including Cisco, HPE, NetApp, Nutanix and Pure Storage, is best positioned to dominate the new cloud data management in our Act II.”

In South Africa, Veeam expects similar growth. Speaking at the Cisco Connect conference in Sun City this week, country manager Kate Mollett told Gadget’s BRYAN TURNER that the company was doing exceptionally well in this market.

“In financial year 2018, we saw double-digit growth, which was really very encouraging if you consider the state of the economy, and not so much customer sentiment, but customers have been more cautious with how they spend their money. We’ve seen a fluctuation in the currency, so we see customers pausing with big decisions and hoping for a recovery in the Rand-Dollar. But despite all of the negatives, we have double digit growth which is really good. We continue to grow our team and hire.

“From a Veeam perspective, last year we were responsible for Veeam Africa South, which consisted of South Africa, SADC countries, and the Indian Ocean Islands. We’ve now been given the responsibility for the whole of Africa. This is really fantastic because we are now able to drive a single strategy for Africa from South Africa.”

Veeam has been the leading provider of backup, recovery and replication solutions for more than a decade, and is growing rapidly at a time when other players in the backup market are struggling to innovate on demand.

“Backup is not sexy and they made a pretty successful company out of something that others seem to be screwing up,” said Roy Illsley, Distinguished Analyst at Ovum, speaking in Miami after the VeeamOn conference. “Others have not invested much in new products and they don’t solve key challenges that most organisations want solved. Theyre resting on their laurels and are stuck in the physical world of backup instead of embracing the cloud.”

Illsley readily buys into the Veeam tagline. “It just works”. 

“They are very good at marketing but are also a good engineering comany that does produce the goods. Their big strength, that it just works, is a reliable feature they have built into their product portfolio.”

Veeam said in statement from the event that, while it had initially focused on server virtualisation for VMware environments, in recent years it had expanded this core offering. It was now delivering integration with multiple hypervisors, physical servers and endpoints, along with public and software-as-a-service workloads, while partnering with leading cloud, storage, server, hyperconverged (HCI) and application vendors.

This week, it  announced a new “with Veeam”program, which brings in enterprise storage and hyperconverged (HCI) vendors to provide customers with comprehensive secondary storage solutions that combine Veeam software with industry-leading infrastructure systems. Companies like ExaGrid and Nutanix have already announced partnerships.

Timashev said: “From day one, we have focused on partnerships to deliver customer value. Working with our storage and cloud partners, we are delivering choice, flexibility and value to customers of all sizes.”

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‘Energy scavenging’ funded

As the drive towards a 5G future gathers momentum, the University of Surrey’s research into technology that could power countless internet enabled devices – including those needed for autonomous cars – has won over £1M from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners.

Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) has been working on triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), an energy harvesting technology capable of ‘scavenging’ energy from movements such as human motion, machine vibration, wind and vehicle movements to power small electronic components. 

TENG energy harvesting is based on a combination of electrostatic charging and electrostatic induction, providing high output, peak efficiency and low-cost solutions for small scale electronic devices. It’s thought such devices will be vital for the smart sensors needed to enable driverless cars to work safely, wearable electronics, health sensors in ‘smart hospitals’ and robotics in ‘smart factories.’ 

The ATI will be partnered on this development project with the Georgia Institute of Technology, QinetiQ, MAS Holdings, National Physical Laboratory, Soochow University and Jaguar Land Rover. 

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI and the principal investigator of the TENG project, said: “TENG technology is ideal to power the next generation of electronic devices due to its small footprint and capacity to integrate into systems we use every day. Here at the ATI, we are constantly looking to develop such advanced technologies leading towards our quest to realise worldwide “free energy”.

“TENGs are an ideal candidate to power the autonomous electronic systems for Internet of Things applications and wearable electronic devices. We believe this research grant will allow us to further the design of optimized energy harvesters.”

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