SYNNEX Opens AR Device from Google to Channel Partners
SYNNEX has agreed to distribute Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, a business version of Google’s augmented reality headset.
The deal is the third in a series between the two companies aimed at meeting rising demand among SYNNEX partners for Google products, according to Rob Moyer, the distributor’s senior vice president of cloud services, mobility, and IoT.
“Google has a great brand, and the channel is realizing that that brand resonates with end users,” he says. Moyer spoke with ChannelPro this week at SYNNEX’s Inspire partner conference in Greenville, S.C.
A lightweight device no bigger than a conventional pair of eyeglasses, Glass provides hands-free access to productivity-boosting information directly in the user’s field of vision. Though it’s likely to be sold as a standalone product most often at first, Moyer believes Glass and headsets like it will eventually factor prominently in field service, training, and other solutions for businesses in the manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare industries.
“The evolution’s going to happen over the next 12, 18, 24 months,” he says. “You’re going to start seeing scenarios where mixed reality and augmented reality are really going to tighten up processes.”
SYNNEX has been offering Google’s G Suite productivity software to resellers since 2017, and seeing accelerating growth for that product among U.S. SMBs. A separate agreement announced in August added phones from Google’s Pixel family to the SYNNEX product catalog. According to Moyer, those devices have been selling well so far too.
“Pixel’s been a very good business,” he says. “It’s partly because it’s more than a phone. It’s a device on the edge of the network.” The same is true of Glass, the Nest thermostat, and a steadily growing number of other Google products originally intended for consumers.
“They’re just stacking all these products that end users are buying, and it’s turning into a commercial play,” Moyer says of Google.
Making offerings not typically thought of as business tools available to channel partners is a key element in Moyer’s plans for Stellr, SYNNEX’s online ordering platform for cloud, mobility, and Internet of Things products. In May, for example, Stellr became the first marketplace to offer Workplace by Facebook, an ad-free collaboration solution based on Facebook’s consumer platform, to U.S. resellers.
Formerly called CloudSolv, Stellr formally adopted its current name the same day word of the Facebook agreement became public. The goal, Moyer told ChannelPro at the time, was to prevent resellers from mistakenly thinking of the platform as a source of software-, platform-, and infrastructure-as-a-service offerings only.
Indeed, LTE routers suitable for use in edge computing deployments are “a huge business” for SYNNEX at present, according to Moyer, who spends a portion of his time continually searching for the next such nascent but promising opportunity. For years, he says, he’s been keeping a close eye on tech companies like Google with large R&D budgets.
“Then I align to what they spend their money on,” Moyer says.
Augmented and virtual reality are two of several examples. Sales of both technologies are modest at present, Moyer concedes, but poised for significant growth. “It’s like any adoption curve,” Moyer says. “We’re in the front end of mainstream adoption, but there’s enough traction that you know it’s going to be adopted.”
Analysts at IDC agree. Global AR and VR shipments, they predict, will rise at a 66.7% CAGR through 2023 to 68.6 million units.
“Our portfolio is well positioned to help this,” Moyer contends, and not just through sales of Google Glass. SYNNEX partners increasingly have access to mixed reality devices, IoT hardware, and cloud software from numerous manufacturers that they can combine in novel ways to power a wide range of solutions.
“There’s a lot of convergence in this [market], because it’s not just a SKUed-based business,” Moyer says. “It’s a solve-the-problem business.”
Ingram Micro sees promise in mixed reality too. Last month, its global IoT group unveiled an agreement to market, sell, and support Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 goggles worldwide.
The ChannelPro Network is dedicated to providing IT consultants, VARs and MSPs who serve the IT needs of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) the news, insights, resources and best practices necessary to help them grow their businesses and better serve their SMB customers.