According to Greg Tobin, the president of D&H Canada, while the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is still the place to be for the technology industry he has seen some anecdotal signs that there is a slowdown.
The taxi cabs lines are not as long as in the past and the restaurants will welcome you without a reservation, he said. However, after a week at CES that has included some 20 or so vendor meetings, Tobin says he believes that mobility will be strong area of growth for the Canadian market place.
“I define mobility differently than others. It’s not just a notebook, but everything that makes the mobile worker more efficient and productive. We have some incredible new form factor netbooks from HP and they have been widely received by the business traveler,” Tobin said.
Some of these new netbooks feature larger screens and keyboards. Tobin says he thinks netbooks will have a lot of legs in 2009 because it’s perfect for the odd presentation and for viewing email with attachments over a handheld device.
GPS systems are also become more practical and affordable, Tobin added, which will aid the growth in the mobility sector along with multimedia smart phones and Internet tablets such as the Nokia N810.
“Cisco has figured it out and they too want to be a part of it, while the Squeeze Box streams music anyware from archive or the Web and the usability of it makes it practical for the backyard, as the user can change the music through a remote,” he said.
Other entertainment sector products Tobin likes are the HP Media Smart Server EX487 the DSM Media Extender from D-Link.
“Vendors are trying to reinvent themselves because they have flat growth. So they focus on different segments. There is still pressure to grow the business despite the economy, and from that there will be some good and some bad,” he added.
Resellers at CES show are starting to be concerned about the economy, Tobin said. He points to negative talk and reluctance to spend as two areas that maybe continuing the slowdown.
“The best way out of this is to spend your way out of it, but it’s always the case that you want others to do the spending because it makes you feel secure,” he said.
As for D&H, the CES show helps the subsidiary on attaining more customers and vendors that will build on its success from last year. D&H Canada enjoyed 400 per cent growth and will launch a new Web site this month featuring the Mercado search engine and the ability to enable users to attach more.
Tobin is also looking to expand its sales force, while others are contracting. And, the distributor has already out grown its facility and will be moving into a new, more green place in February.
“We’ve out-paced the market, and I know this is a bold statement but I’m confident we’ll grow more in 2009 despite the impact in Alberta and Ontario. There are some good diamonds in the rough in other markets and D&H will continue to invest in the Canadian economy,” Tobin said.