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There have been plenty of question marks hovering over distribution at various times in the last few years as everyone wondered just what role it would play in a cloud and software driven world.
It might have taken a while for some disties to formulate a cloud strategy and work out just what their role is in a hosted world but most have now done that and those doubts about their future roles have diminished.
If there have been any lessons from the past few years it seems that distribution has learnt that it needs to identify changes in the market and 'own' them as soon as is possible.
It is not just happening on the cloud front and the reaction towards 3D printing, which included the latest moves by Tech Data to sign Spanish player BQ yesterday, reveal a tier of the channel that is keen to embrace the latest tech in the hardware world as well.
Before the naysayers get a chance to link the growth in the Internet of things (IoT) with possible problems for distribution the moves are already being made to ensure that the channel has the answers.
Avnet's decision to recruit someone to spear head its global IoT strategy indicates that the time has come for the debate about the potential of the technology to deliver channel revenues to become more than just a conversation.
Eric Williams is taking up the newly created role of vice president, Internet of Things for Avnet worlwide, with a brief to develop and then roll out a strategy to "design, develop and drive edge-to-edge IoT oferings".
His career has included a spell at Arrow Electronics and at Bell Industries. Williams most recent role was as a strategic advisor for CABA Technologies and Moon, where he was focused on the intelligent LED market.
“The pace of change in today’s global business environment demands agility and imagination,” said Rick Hamada, CEO, Avnet. “Given our total breadth of resources, both our customers and suppliers are asking us to develop new solutions combining multiple elements of technology from the edge to the enterprise."
"In Eric, we have found an executive with global experience and a proven ability to design, develop and implement innovative programs with positive results. He has been involved in a broad variety of roles throughout the technology supply chain from identifying new market opportunities to delivering results-driven channel programs. These experiences make him the ideal candidate to lead our IoT strategy and supporting initiatives," he added.
The likely response from the other multinational distribution players will be to follow suit and to introduce similar positions as the channel starts to get ready to turn IoT into revenue opportunities.
Cisco has been one of the vendors pushing the message about the potential for IoT and the vendor expects the number of IoT connections will reach 50bn by 2020 and this year will be a crucial one in terms of momentum with more devices being deployed across both work and home environments.