Tablet computers look set to overtake laptops in terms of sales volume – which could be either good news or bad news for the channel, depending on how they manage customers' requirements.
Tablet sales have been fuelled by BYOD, helping resellers secure sales on these devices often in addition to desktop and laptop refreshes.
The problem lies in the possible lack of margin in the sale. Once pricing has been made competitive enough to secure business on an over-distributed and saturated product set, often resellers are making no more than two per cent.
If an average tablet device is priced for example at £399, the profit point is a mere £7.98 per device. There is a chance, however, to bridge margin gaps and turn tablet sales into a more profitable opportunity.
The way forward is to increase the attach rate of accessories.
Privacy filters are a great and often overlooked opportunity for the channel to add margin and value.
Priced from around £45, and providing possible attach margins of 15-20 per cent, they can double the margin potential on tablet sales. They also offer the opportunity of recurring revenues; many organisations that adopt privacy filters will have implemented internal data polices stipulating their use.
This in turn offers the channel opportunities to attach them to laptop, desktop, tablet and smartphone estates.
There is a strong use case as well – not only with tablets but also with laptops and smartphones. Most professionals working in an open-plan office or on the move should have one, according to European privacy regulations and professional duty of care standards.
Privacy filters restrict the angle from which the screen can be viewed, and are available in a range of sizes to fit laptops, desktop monitors, smartphones and tablets. If compatible with touch screens, they can provide the user with a clear view while almost totally obscuring the view of anyone else looking at the screen from either side.
While often thought of as a way to protect mobile workers' data, privacy filters are equally as importantly sold into companies with open-plan offices. Some larger HR and finance departments can operate strict access control policies, but these won't protect line managers working on or viewing financial or personnel information.
Truthfully, any user with data access ought to protect his or her screen – certainly when working on anything confidential, but in reality all the time. The investment in visually securing data is fast becoming a standard IT procurement request.
Privacy filter adoption should be regarded as a strategic account level sell. There are compelling arguments for adoption in any business or organisation that handles data.
Once organisations have boosted this 'visual security', privacy filters can then provide a recurring revenue stream to the channel that is almost self-sufficient.
A new filter will be required each time a new screen-based device is ordered. In addition, existing company monitors, laptops and other devices may need to be equipped.
Where an account has a BYOD policy or employees' own devices, such as smartphones, they may also need privacy filters. BYOD, by its very nature, sees us expecting to view our work email on our own device of choice.
The case for dealers selling filters is clear, but what about from the customer's perspective? The EU Data Protection Directive, which is enshrined in national laws like the UK Data Protection Act, requires companies to take measures that provide "a level of security appropriate to the risks represented by the processing and the nature of the data to be protected (Article 17(1))".
The UK Data Protection Act includes eight principles, one of which is: " Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data."
This places the onus on the company – and the user – to protect data against known and foreseeable threats.
Specific verticals, like the financial services industry or the legal profession, have their own standards that invariably incorporate a duty of care element.
Survey after survey has shown that so-called shoulder-surfing is common.
Visual data security is definitely a foreseeable threat and customers need to take appropriate protective measures. User education can provide a partial solution, but privacy filters are the only effective technology available to combat this problem.
With device margins under pressure, resellers need to be alert to every opportunity to increase the attach rate for accessories. Privacy filters are a great place to start.
Lianne Denness is managing director of Hypertec
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