Tech Data Eyes Niche Markets With New Unit


Tech Data plans to launch a specialized business unit focused on point-of-sale and automatic identification and data collection solutions.

The POS and AIDC markets are poised for a huge refresh because of new technologies, government mandates and a maturing installed base, Tech Data executives said.

"This is a great opportunity presenting itself to us and resellers," said Roy Appelbaum, vice president and general manager of network product marketing at Tech Data.

The distributor initially will carry IBM PC cash registers, Microsoft retail software, 3M touch-screen monitors, WASP Technologies wireless applications, ServGate Technologies security products and ID Tech magnetic-stripe and bar-code readers.

"We're excited by the [SMB] space that Tech Data serves. We are interested in attacking that space," said Greg Tavalsky, vice president of retail store solutions Americas at IBM.

Nets Electronics, a Bedford, N.H.-based solution provider, has sold POS solutions since 1979 and expects a large technology refresh to drive buying activity in the retail industry.

"The last big upgrade was for Y2K, and we've gone beyond the three-year horizon for most hardware purchases," said Tim Sweeney, vice president of sales at Nets Electronics.

Also creating opportunities is a federal mandate that by Jan. 1, 2004, all credit- and debit-card processors use unique encryption code technology, Sweeney said. Previously, transactions used batch encryption codes, he said.

ScanSource, a Greenville, S.C.-based distributor specializing in POS and AIDC products, is not surprised Tech Data would try to gain share in those markets.

"This [market] is not new to us. It requires a focused sales and marketing and technical team to develop these markets. We had to develop tools to sell these products," said Mike Baur, president of ScanSource.