Rob Eby, vice president of purchasing for D&H Distributing, talks about this year’s Summer Mid-Atlantic Technology Show at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center in Pennsylvania. Held in mid-June, it featured around 100 vendors and boasted a 10 percent uptick in attendance.
DS: What new vendors were at the show for D&H this year?
Rob Eby: One we’re added was the TCL TV brand. The manufacturer, TTE, has been around for a long time and has done brands for others, and is now launching in the U.S. They have very competitive pricing. Another exciting new vendor there was ROBO 3D, a 3D printer line at very competitive price-points for our dealer base.
3D printing dovetails into something we did at the center of our show: a K-through-12 area. It featured information on hardware – Microsoft’s Shape the Future program, Google’s Chromebook and their management console – and on how our independent dealer base can get involved in that space. It was very exciting for them to see, and 3D printing is definitely a part of that. Printers are being bought by schools and kids are rendering art, and can see what it will look like in 3D.
DS: What do you see as the most promising business opportunities for your dealer base moving forward?
Eby: So many. The K-12 initiative – and that initiative will roll into the fall. At retail, mobility will continue strong – tablets, notebooks and all-in-ones. The migration from Windows XP is finally happening as well, and has started resonating with our resellers’ customers. We’ll see the benefits of that over the next year or so.
DS: What are some of the hottest emerging product categories – things that have the greatest profit potential?
Eby: 3D printing. Also, the connected home. One of the vendors at the show, Kwikset, showed Kevo by Kwikset, which allows you to unlock and lock doors via Bluetooth. You can send permission to enter to let a teen in if they lose a key, or to let in a cleaning service, for a managed amount of access time, and you can see when they came in and went out.
Between the connected home and networking, I think we’ll see migration in networking in schools and the home. More and more devices are being managed by a wireless network, and people will need to upgrade networks to be able to handle all the devices using Wi-Fi. That’s the next trend.