The transformation of cloud computing has paved a long road for the future of devices, and no one knows that better than Dirk Thomaere, vice president and COO of Belgium-based Awingu. Thomaere, the former GM at Toshiba Computer Systems for Central EMEA, chose to move from hardware to cloud computing as software and services began to take a hold over the tech industry in the past decade.
Awingu develops workspace aggregator software by enabling access to legacy applications from any device, operating system, or browser anywhere. This software seeks to solve the problems behind BYOD policies in the workplace through providing a central workspace requiring no configuration or software installation on mobile devices.
CRN talked to Thomaere about his channel initiatives with Awingu, his outlook on workplace devices, and mobile trends that enterprises are seeing.
What were some changes you saw in terms of hardware while working at Toshiba?
"I saw an evolution of mobility and how people use mobile devices. We've been talking about BYOD for a few years now. This is a generation of employees who want to use their devices whenever and wherever they want. Working in a hardware company, I've seen it become more difficult to satisfy enterprise companies with a valuable solution to go mobile."
How does Awingu's solution tackle BYOD policies?
"This is the first solution to give access to all the data that is sensitive and runs on any device, including the Apple iPad or Chromebook. What I've seen is it is simple, easy to use, and has underlying security. It's usually too costly to migrate legacy applications to the cloud … our solution offers a licensing model where customers choose between a perpetual license [with maintenance and support] and a subscription."
You recently opened offices in the U.S. What are your channel plans in the U.S. market?
"We're 100 percent relying on partners to roll out our solution. We just moved to U.S. [in July], we're making inroads talking with distributors like Ingram and Tech Data. One of our go-to market [routes] involves traditional IT distribution, which we want to make the best way for our resellers to get to our product. In terms of telecommunications, we want to start engaging with Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T, while we will address Ingram, Tech Data and Synnex to get to resellers."
What challenges in the hardware market are you seeing?
"I see battery life increasing and technology getting better, but the challenge with that is computing power. We have to find a way for computing power to transform into a computing device. The device market has a lot to offer, but volume will be a challenge, and users want products to be cheap. That is where we play. Our solutions enable enterprises to save on money for devices like Chromebooks."
What trends were you seeing in the hardware space?
"We're seeing a struggling tablet market, though Apple is making good inroads into the enterprise, as well as the Surface Pro tablets. Tablets like these need an affordable solution that frees up the budgets for these enterprise companies. Our solution enables an entry-level price point, and can free up budgets for cloud services and solutions."