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Ingram Micro event a magnet for Asia-Pacific tech players

The Ingram Micro One APAC conference showcased solutions and services and industry-leading insights for its participants.

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"The major companies may be US or Western-based, but in Asia, you have companies like Tencent and Alibaba in China, and Flipkart in India. These are three massive and formidable players that are creating competitive factors for the US tech giants." - Michael Zilis (above), Ingram Micro executive vice-president.

HELD at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, the Ingram Micro One APAC conference brought together technology partners from 12 countries across the Asia-Pacific to explore technology solutions across the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, convergent infrastructure and technology-as-a-service, to name a few areas.

Over 1,200 strategic partners and technology vendors attended the three-day event, which gave them a ringside view of the collaborative solutions and service offerings from industry heavyweights like Microsoft and VMware.

The business landscape in Asean was widely discussed in the various speeches, and discussions delved into how the adoption of new technologies was primarily driven by market needs.

Speaking to The Business Times, Ingram Micro executive vice-president and Asia-Pacific group president Michael Zilis noted that while many prominent technology players like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are US-based, technological advancement is actually a much more decentralised process.

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Furthermore, as Asean technology markets are generally less saturated than those in developed economies, there is much more room for the implementation of the technological solutions raised at the conference.

Mr Zilis said: "The major companies may be US or Western-based, but in Asia, you have companies like Tencent and Alibaba in China, and Flipkart in India. These are three massive and formidable players that are creating competitive factors for the US tech giants.

"New technological advancements in areas like IoT, hybrid cloud computing and the creation of sensors, devices and analytical tools are coming from and being applied everywhere. Asean is particularly interesting because it is an area that has a lot of cooperation while also having a large degree of competition. This makes for a very dynamic region to be in."

Francis Choo, the company's vice-president and chief country executive for Asean and Hong Kong, added: "There are many other centres of innovation around the world such as Guangzhou, Seoul and Singapore ... and one of the things that makes Asean markets unique is that a lot of their development has been from a needs standpoint rather than an investment standpoint."

Asked about the technological prospects of the Asean market, Mr Zilis said: "It is precisely because there is a relative lack of infrastructure in many emerging Asean markets that gives technology players room to affect change.

"Emerging markets in the region are less saturated with existing players, so we believe there is a lot of room for growth in the technology sector here.

"We also think Asean consumers are generally more adaptable when it comes to new technologies such as digital payment solutions and Internet banking."

Of the many technological frontiers being pushed, Mr Choo identified several key ones, which had featured at the conference, such as hybrid cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence and IoT.

One of the recent advances in cloud computing has been in the area of hybridisation - meaning that businesses are beginning to shift more and more of their data away from a physical storage system into a digital one. This brings with it significant cyber security risks, justifying the need for greater innovation and research on this front, he said.

Indeed, Ingram Micro has gone through its own cloud transformation over the past eight years, having invested heavily in acquiring and building its CloudBlue platform. This is a hyperscale digital platform that enables profitable, end-to-end delivery of services, including onboarding, automation, aggregation and distribution.

Mr Choo pointed out, however, that cloud computing need not necessarily be used only in business or commercial contexts; it can also be used by everyday consumers, as smart devices continue to proliferate in the consumer market. "Smart phones, for example, are becoming extremely common and this has led to an enormous amount of user data - from calendar events to contact information, to photographs posted online - being stored in the cloud.

"And all of these points of data being uploaded into the cloud gives enormous scope for data scientists to produce better analytical tools to improve our lives. These are just some of the ways which different aspects of technology can work together to improve our everyday lives."

Ingram Micro said its goal for the conference, which ended on Wednesday, is for its partners to come away from it with better industry understanding and insights on growing their businesses, and a sense of excitement for new and emerging technology solutions.

Mr Choo said: "We want to thank readers for joining us on our exploration of the current and future trends of digital transformation through this Empowering Enterprise series. We were privileged to feature insightful thought leadership from some of our key partners, and we have been pleased with the positive feedback we've heard from our customers.

"Ingram Micro is committed to helping businesses realise the promise of technology, not only through our products and services, but also by continuing to bring our channel partners and customers together to empower all Singapore enterprises."