Wick Hill Appointed as Distributor For Panasonic

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Distributor, Wick Hill, has been appointed a distributor for Panasonic in the UK and Germany. Wick Hill will distribute Panasonic’s range of unified comms solutions for businesses, running over IP.

This move represents a significant further expansion into the convergence market by IP experts Wick Hill, whose portfolio now also includes telecoms and converged solutions suppliers such as Samsung, Gamma Telecom and Oak.

Ian Kilpatrick, chairman Wick Hill Group, commented: “We are delighted to be working with a market leader like Panasonic, which has such a depth of experience in the communications market and a well-developed, comprehensive range of unified comms solutions for business.

“This appointment is an important investment for us in our continued drive into convergence and our ongoing strategy to deliver solutions that voice and data resellers can sell and implement. Our channel partners will be able to provide solutions that offer end users immediate tactical benefits, as well as forming a key part of a future move into broader unified comms.”

Stephen Gerrard, UK Country Marketing Manager for Panasonic, said: “Panasonic is delighted to be partnering with Wick Hill. From the outset it was obvious that our two companies shared a common vision of where the communications market was heading. Over the years Wick Hill has acquired an enviable reputation as a value added distributor in the IP infrastructure market, achieved by adopting a thorough approach to educating the channel and sustained by a first rate support record.

“At a time when so much confusion still runs through the market, with respect to what unified communications and convergence actually entails and how end users can really profit from deploying UC applications, we believe that Wick Hill is well placed to not only deliver the Panasonic message but also to deliver the solutions”.

Wick Hill will provide Panasonic’s range of office communications products, but will focus on the Panasonic Network Communications Platform (KX-NCP), a range of business communications solutions, primarily for SMEs. These allow companies to easily implement unified comms, providing innovative IP telephony features and functionality over both local office and broadband managed IP networks.

The KX-NCP range offers full business communications features, built-in advanced applications, and a choice of fixed, mobile and advanced touch screen IP terminals. It makes it easy for staff to always stay in touch and improves team productivity by using applications integrated with the communications solution.

The range facilitates increased mobility and remote working and can improve responsiveness to customers through the use of integrated applications, which speed up and monitor customer service levels. It also provides the opportunity to reduce costs through converged communications for voice and data, using integrated SIP telephony services.

Research company MZA reported that the total UC applications market in the UK was valued at GBP 178 million (end user level) for 2009 and would rise to GBP 402 million in 2014. MZA’s definition of unified comms was ‘Conferencing and Messaging.’ Included in this were web, video and audio conferencing, as well as voice mail, unified messaging and enterprise instant messaging.

These figures, however, would increase significantly, according to Stephen Gerrard, UK Country Marketing Manager for Panasonic, if you use the umbrella term ‘convergence’, of which unified comms is part. Gerrard reckons the figures could rise fourfold, to a potential market of around GBP 1.6 billion plus by 2014.

Everyone has a different definition of convergence, but Gerrard takes the term to include any aspect of corporate activity which requires a signal or message to be sent from point A to point B, so theoretically could be ‘Converged’ onto an IP infrastructure.

That means element such as IP video security, access control, facilities management and building management services, (i.e. lighting, heating, air conditioning, fire alarms, smoke detection, etc.) over the corporate IP infrastructure. The definition would also extend to mobile phones, the car fleet, home workers, etc.

Gerrard said: “Convergence is going to happen on a major scale and unified comms is the first step on this road. Wick Hill and Panasonic are taking this first step together and aim to be at the forefront of the UK’s migration to a converged applications future.”