InterviewsOutlook

Virtual Reality Will Still Improve in 2019

Paul Collins, the MEA General Manager at Acer, speaks to Arabian Reseller about the company’s plans for 2019

How was 2018 for the industry and your company?
There is no doubt that 2018 was a tough year for the industry, especially the first half. For Acer, key sectors for business-to-business were SMBs and Education in 2018. Acer has sustained a strong position in retail year on year and key products that did particularly well were our ‘Thin and Light’ products and Gaming portfolio. We also performed well in the Education sector with some great Chromebook sales in the UAE and strong Government wins in Levant and Egypt.

What sort of opportunities did 2018 bring along?
Consumers are now starting to realise that old laptops are becoming a thing of the past. The move to lighter companion products, converged products (machines that can be used for work during the day and entertainment and gaming in the evening) and pure gaming products certainly brought opportunities for vendors like Acer who dominate these categories. We spend a huge amount of money on R&D which has resulted with Acer having both the thinnest (Switch 7) and the lightest (Swift 5) products in the market for the past two years.

Did you face any challenges in 2018?
The industry suffered with a reduction of credit in the market as insurers took a more conservative approach. This did mean that many resellers and retailers exited the market and vendors took a far more conservative approach. However, this meant there were some fantastic deals for customers so there is always a bright side.

What were your key achievements in 2018?
Acer did very well in certain segments. I am very pleased with the progress we made in the KSA market with 1 in 5 products sold there being an Acer product. We have also dominated the Education sector – we have recently won some major deals and we’ll be announcing these in due course.

What promises does 2019 bring along?
The impending discontinuation of support for Windows 7 will mean that many businesses will look at upgrading their fleets and the preparation for Dubai Expo 2020 will mean more investment in the market. We also anticipate a larger spend in educational institutes due to a need for upgraded technology solutions to enhance the sector, a consumer shift to buying laptops that are more modern, which combine work, entertainment, education, lifestyle and gaming.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2019?
I think that VR will still improve in 2019. Industries such as retail and real estate will benefit from the technology and this will drive other computing products such as Storage and the need for more powerful machines in 2019. Obvious technologies such as Cloud Computing (more than 50% of new SMB companies are opting for the technology), security and big data will also dominate.

What will be your key focus areas for 2019?
We are focusing on four areas for 2019: pushing our sales online, which we anticipate to grow with Amazon launching in the region, the growth in sales in the education sector in key markets, a stronger push on promoting peripheral products such as projectors, monitors and large format display technologies and geographical expansion to surrounding territories.

What would you like to do differently in 2019, when compared with 2018?
2018 was a year of consolidation and strategy change for Acer. We will further enforce and implement in 2019/2020. We have new technology and products that we are very excited to launch in the market for 2019, so keep an eye out.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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