In August, Sharp bought Toshiba’s remaining 19.9% stake in Dynabook, making it the sole owner of Toshiba’s erstwhile PC business, Toshiba Client Solutions Co., Ltd, which it acquired in 2018 and renamed last year.
That was all the excuse Technology Reseller needed to catch up with Nick Offin, Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations, dynabook Northern Europe to find out whether the company was living up to his memorable description of it as a ‘30-year old start-up’.
To that he could have added ‘under the umbrella of Foxconn, the world’s third largest technology company by revenue*’. For, while Dynabook is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sharp, it clearly benefits from being part of Foxconn, whose purchasing power alone must have been advantageous to Dynabook as it set about fleshing out its range.
Offin says that having a fuller product offering has been instrumental in Dynabook’s success over the last 18 months, helping it to compete in more market sectors and win back channel partners that had drifted away from Toshiba.
“One of our strategic directions locally has been to expand our partner base, and we have put a lot of investment into revamping and launching a new partner programme. We have always been a 100% channel play and we wanted to re-emphasise that we are interested in working with a lot of new partners, particularly in some of the markets that we have always been in but are now strengthening, such as schools and education, public sector and commercial,” he said.
To this end, Dynabook has invested in its sales resource – doubling its field sales team in the last 12 months – and in technologies to make its partner programme 100% online, including a new deal registration tool, while also hitting the phones to engage with many more partners.
The expansion of its product line-up – and the speed with which it introduces new models – has also been an attraction.
A complete range
Dynabook now has a complete range of devices at the entry-level, mid-range and high-end, including 11.6-inch notebooks, which had been missing from its/Toshiba’s range for a few years. It has just launched new products into the popular 2-in1 category (see caption) and has other new models in the pipeline.
“We now have a product offering that meets a lot of different areas in the marketplace. It is fair to say that over the last two to three years of the Toshiba PC business we focused a lot on Ultrabooks, on our mid-range, high-end proposition, so our product and proposition was attractive to certain customers. But now we have brought more entry-point products to the market, which has brought a lot of partners back to us, particularly those that are transacting with schools and SMBs,” Offin said.
Not that it is Dynabook’s intention just to match other vendors. As it positions itself as a credible alternative to the likes of HP and Lenovo, it is also highlighting its heritage in quality manufacturing, reliability and innovation.
“One of the great things we are back doing is bringing out new technology, new devices,” explained Offin. “For example, in the last six months we have launched the world’s lightest 13-inch laptop – the X30L – a fully functioning business product weighing less than 900 grammes. Things like that makes us stand out in the market.”
Like other notebook vendors, Dynabook benefited from a massive spike in demand for mobile products following the first lockdown, as well as greater brand recognition through its involvement in the Department of Education’s roll-out of 200,000 mobile devices to underprivileged and disadvantaged children.
Offin points out that people weren’t just interested in its laptops but also its dynaedge Windows-based edge computer, which can be coupled with accessories like AR viewers – another example of the company’s innovative instincts.
“The pandemic put some impetus into that part of the business too. One large organisation in the energy industry, which services and maintains power facilities globally, was unable to fly people around the world because of the pandemic. Instead, they used our dynaedge and viewer to build a service kit, which they send out to people on the ground who can go and look at the power installation and feed data back to the UK for remote maintenance. We are seeing a lot of organisations embrace a remote diagnostics support model. They were forced into it by the pandemic but now see that it has real cost advantages,” he said.
With the extra bandwidth of 5G becoming more widely available and the future launch of 4G/5G-capable dynaedge devices that don’t need a WiFi connection, Offin is confident that interest in this solution will keep growing.
In the meantime, Dynabook is still looking for new partners.
“Talk to us,” said Offin. “We want to work with you; we have a great proposition; we have fantastic technology in the traditional mobile and laptop space and with the dynaedge and AR viewer. For partners that are looking for different market segments or for different solutions to get behind, there is good revenue and margin to be made in that area, so please talk to us about that opportunity too.”
* source: Wikipedia