So does environmental friendliness count, or not?
Through the anonymity of Everything Channel's 2009 State of Technology: Peripherals research, the overwhelming majority of solution providers questioned tend to list that as one of the least pressing concerns for a peripheral product -- after size, performance, price and other factors. But in the Everything Channel Test Center over the past year, we've found repeatedly that the market can have its green cake and eat it too.
The overwhelming majority of LCDs the Test Center examined over the past year have consumed fewer than 50 watts of power when running, and have ranged from 22 inches to 24 inches in screen size. Because many of these LCDs have been brighter and performed better, too, requirements for dual-monitor solutions have been de-emphasized. That means that work efficiency (of large screens) can now combine with energy efficiency at prices or margins that won't kill a deal or an upgrade.
With printers, solution providers again listed "greenness" as one of their least pressing concerns, in favor of price and functionality. But we found that this latest generation of printers -- including a Kyocera Corp. Mita Eco Pro C220n, at 60 watts of power consumption -- uses less than half the power of earlier generations of printers while bringing higher performance, ease of use, functionality and customization potential into the mix. All of that spells out higher margins and more opportunity for solution providers, while delivering cost savings and value to customers.
And in the area of projectors, solution providers say they're still concerned with margin opportunity and performance. Since projectors were among the highest-list-priced peripherals we looked at this year -- ranging from $600 to the neighborhood of $5,000 -- solution providers have a wide range of options in deciding which vendors to lead with, and which margins are available to them. With nice add-ons, including security lockdown and Wi-Fi capability, which we've seen in part or whole from manufacturers like Toshiba Corp., Panasonic Corp. and InFocus Corp., the ability to upsell based on functionality remains strong. In general, projectors we looked at over the past 12 months used anywhere from 250 to 400 watts. That's a large amount when compared to even some blade servers we've looked at, but as a result, solution providers can deliver a nice range of efficiency depending on customer demands.
The trends continue to show sizable performance boosts in product line by product line throughout the peripherals space, nice margin opportunities and, for those who will find it a concern in the coming months, solid, viable refuge when energy efficiency and environmental concerns emerge. Successful vendors will likely be the ones with product road maps that take all of this into consideration -- and give the channel products that can scale both in terms of efficiency and in terms of performance and "wow" factor.