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Not enough VARs to go around for digital signage? (News Roundup) bloggers urge vendors to roll with VARS instead of going solo with direct sales.

Not enough VARs to go around for digital signage?

Just when you thought your region was jam-packed with competition, the writers at have deemed there to be too few VARs to handle all digital signage sales. Well that's a nice change of pace, but let's start with this question: There's really a digital signage blog? Uh, yes. And here's what these bloggers had to say about working with VARs: Companies lacking in direct sales teams often use VARs and integrators as a "rubber crutch." The blog lists a series of problems with VARs, including the fact that solution providers "resist their own momentum because their greatest margin comes from labor and not product." The blog also says that VARs perceive themselves not as salespeople but as technology problem-solvers, which can go against the sales grain. On the upside, the bloggers said that using VARs is more cost-effective than building an inside sales team, and they have constant contact with customers and so can measure asset performance for sales opportunities. The blog concludes: "As digital signage continues to move downstream to the mainstream, multiple distribution channels will be very necessary to carry digital signage software and hardware to the masses. I would be concerned with trying to either be everything to everyone or get everyone on as a value-added reseller. This just can't happen. There are simply not enough VARs to go around."

Microsoft launches Windows Mobile 6.5 and pushes into more smartphones

Microsoft made a splash at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, introducing the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system as part of a new Windows Phones push, USA Today Technology Live blog reported. The operating system directly challenges Google Android, Apple's iPhone and Research in Motion's BlackBerry operating systems with a home screen dashboard that includes email, calendar entries and texts at a glance. Microsoft also unveiled the new My Phone service, which enables users to sync contacts, photos, videos and messages with a password-protected website, securely backing up the data. Microsoft also upgraded the Marketplace to include more downloadable applications on the Web or by phone. The operating system won't be available until later this year, but Microsoft also announced this week that LG Electronics would use 6.5 on 50 of its smartphone models. That move is expected to gain Microsoft's OS way more mobile software market traction, The New York Times Bits technology blog reported. While Microsoft powers the operating systems of 90% of PCs, the company is struggling to gain the same share of mobile phones.

Riverbed enables remote-office Microsoft Windows Server 2008

Riverbed Technology said this week that it has licensed Microsoft Windows Server 2008 so that it can be integrated into the company's Steelhead appliance and offered through the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP). The RSP is a virtualization platform with the Steelhead appliance that enables users to deploy applications to branch offices over the WAN without so much distributed infrastructure. Yankee Group's Zeus Kerravala said the move brings the vision of the remote office with centralized IT one step closer to being a reality.

Networking VARs should focus in on physical security

Networking VARs must push physical security for network infrastructure since many of their customers -- even those companies with modern network security standards -- can remain vulnerable to physical threat, reported this week. Solution providers can start by educating their customers on the risks and potential solutions. Common standards like PCI are one good source of inspiration. The 60-page PCI document includes best practices for physical security, ranging from restricting physical access to wireless access points (APs) to keeping security camera footage of sensitive locations logged for three months.

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