Solution Sessions

Grouping #1

  1. IoT: Security, Mobility and Trends
  2. Security: As if Payments Weren’t Enough, Now IoT?
  3. Future Trends of POS / mPOS
  4. Retail: Robots, Big Data and Other Changes Happening Today
  5. The Cloud: Long Touted, Now the Norm
  6. Healthcare: Opportune Tech Trends For Focused Growth
  7. Government: Opportunities in Smart Cities and IoT
  8. ISV Only Workshop: A Guide to navigating the Channel

Grouping #2

  1. Digital Signage: Coming of Age with opportunities Abound
  2. Marketing – A VARs Guide to Best Practices
  3. WLAN: Why VARs Need to Control This in Every Solution
  4. Channel Ed: Transitioning Your Business Model to As-a-Service Model
  5. Omni-Channel: Navigating the Opportunities
  6. The Modern Warehouse
  7. RFID, Sensors and Beacons: A Look Into IoT and What is to Come
  8. How to Increase Profits: Media, the Unsung Bottom Line Hero 

Grouping #1

IoT: Security, Mobility and Trends

2016 was the year in which IoT moved past a potential and implementation began. In 2017, the focus has moved to securing these devices and the data that they collect and transmit. However, 44% of companies are doing nothing to secure the IoT devices that they have implemented.

Consumers are demanding a better overall experience with the businesses they utilize throughout their lives. Within this, improved experience requires access to more data points and a stronger level of interaction with those data points. IoT will drive more IT solutions geared towards the collection and processing of data points around a shopping experience, from a truck in route to the store, to the manufacturing lines producing the consumer products. Sensor and beacon development, along with edge and middleware softwares, are being installed in businesses across all verticals to enhance data from all parts of the business process.

The Internet of Things has exploded into a conversation topic in workplaces around the world. IoT provides a wealth of opportunities for many businesses, whether they specialize in cloud storage, automation software, mobility products, omni-channel solutions, M2M installations, or security. 

  • How can you leverage opportunities in IoT for your company?
  • What are the ramifications of an ever connected and globalized world?
  • What are the challenges impeding IoT today? How do we overcome those challenges to tap into the full potential of these services?
  • What kinds of role does security play in IoT?

Security: As if Payments Weren’t Enough, Now IoT?

There are two types of companies when it comes to data hacking: those that have been hacked and those who don’t know they have been hacked. Everyone’s buzzing about digital security today – from Chipotle to the Holiday Inn, securing data and transactions is still an issue. Now add in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that IoT services are vulnerable to, and we have a whole new level of security issues. Security failures pepper the news regularly, and it’s clear that hackers are adapting as quickly as security measures. 

  • What is the best way to secure mobile transactions, ecommerce purchases and customer information?
  • In the wake of large-scale hacks, like the one at Target or Chipotle, how can companies work to regain the trust of their consumers?
  • What’s on the horizon for security, from a consumer-level scale to a government-level scale?
  • How truly vulnerable are daily operations to hackers, and what is the best way to proctect my own company’s intellectual properties and private data? 

Future Trends of POS / mPOS

The consequences of technological innovation and a move to mobility have the potential to disrupt many different industries in the coming future. The Point-of-Sale ecosphere is not immune to such oncoming changes; the Channel will need to explore real-world challenges as implementation continues to progress. Long thought of as a solution best implemented for small businesses, mPOS continues to influence traditional POS lanes, making it critical to understand the key elements driving merchants towards mPOS solutions.

  • How are omni-channel experiences, both physical and virtual, changing the shopping experience?
  • What is the current state of the mPOS ecosphere, and what are the newest innovations and trends?
  • How will changes in PCI compliance affect mobile solutions?
  • The advancement of EMV installations throughout the U.S. is driving a refresh of legacy POS solutions. How does this movement drive new mPOS installations?
  • What criteria are merchants using in their purchasing process?
  • How are advancements in operating systems having an affect on ISV development and hardware sales?

Retail: Robots, Big Data and Other Changes Happening Today

For years, major retailers have employed robotics in distribution centers, but in 2017 robots will take center stage as part of the in-store experience. Companies like MetraLabs are introducing retail robotics for inventory tracking, and Target is testing just such a solution now. We are seeing machines, robots, and artificial intelligence begin to help retailers with routine tasks, such as taking physical inventory, offering promotions, and even taking surveys and orders. Additionally, retailers like Amazon are implementing delivery services and checkout-skipping environments.

Data scientists continue to prove their worth as analytics agencies establish themselves. This makes the capture and transportation of data more relevant than ever. Omni-channel strategies continue to mature with optimized e-commerce, personalize promotions, behavioral trends analysis with social media integration and more. 

  • What does a checkout-less store mean to the channel and traditional POS reseller?
  • Discussion of case-studies which highlight the latest use of data.
  • Regarding technology around in-store pickup and on-line integration, what type of technology is being used to support this trend?
  • A recent survey of CIO’s indicated that “developing a long term channel integration strategy” as the biggest challenge for Omni-channel adoption. What are ways solutions providers and the channel can help?

The Cloud: Long Touted, Now the Norm

In the following year, Cloud computing will become the standard means for conducting business. It is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. Since 2011 SMBs have gone from sub 20% utilizing could to over 70%. Those who have invested in cloud computing will see a payoff in 2017 as the marketplace continues to become more mobile and integrated.

“Cloud” is a topic that has been talked to death in the last 5 years. Simply put the cloud is a way to store, access, and share data in/from a more accessible location. The Cloud is becoming more accessible to the SMB space and is driving many of the top IT initiatives for 2017. 

  • The cloud is here to stay, now what?
  • What are some of the best practices ISVs and VARs should use when addressing cloud solutions in the field?
  • What are the top tips VARs should embrace for navigating the “Wild West’ of cloud app development?
  • A discussion of the different cloud technologies and how it can pertain to business growth. 

Healthcare: Opportune Tech Trends For Focused Growth

We all know healthcare technologies are advancing, and finding the opportune tech trends are the key to a healthy channel. This session will focus on technology trends in healthcare both current and foreseen, with a focus on determining how resellers can position themselves for future opportunities. Topics explored will include the digital mesh connecting technologies, IoT, intelligent learning, AI and more.

  • With devices, apps and computing forging a mesh of technologies, how will the daily work of a healthcare professional change in the near future?
  • What types of unified communications best suit the healthcare industry, particularly in the scope of patient care and relations?
  • The lines between physical and digital will continue to blur, creating new opportunities. How can VARs position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities?

Government: Opportunities in Smart Cities and IoT

In 2016 the Department of Transportation funded a $66M Smart City challenge which awarded 7 cities the ability to implement technology to improve how we move, how we move things, how we adopt (Adopt what??), how we grow opportunities for all and how we align decisions with dollars. Smart city initiatives are a spark to light innovation in tomorrow’s major population centers keying on technological advancements in connectivity, mobility, security and sustainability. 

Big data and actionable analytics are playing a significant role in today’s government. However, there is a trend in leveraging the data through open uses of data sets. As more and more items are connected and data extracted, the impact on how governments serve people will evolve. 

  • How are the federal, state, local and education branches of government adopting IoT, and where do the opportunities lie?
  • How are standards being developed in Smart City Solutions to ensure the citizens have a similar experience level traveling from city to city or campus to city? Who is responsible for these standards?
  • How can Smart City technology expedite and streamline government markets while guaranteeing ROI?
  • Why is it crucial for government entities to embrace digital products and new technologies moving into the future?
  • In what ways can government facilities and programs implement new technologies, such as digital signage, to improve their day-to-day functions and long-term efficiency?
  • Do you have solutions you would like to resell to the government? Learn about our trademarked “In-a-Box” solutions. Let BlueStar assist you in marketing your “In-a-Box” solution to the government world.

How to Increase Profits: Media, the Unsung Bottom Line Hero

Did you know that every $1 spent on hardware will generate $3 in media revenue over the life of that printer? If you aren’t quoting media with every new opportunity you encounter, you’re turning away recurring revenue. Learn how working the correct media into your solution can maximize profitability and the overall customer experience.

The cost of acquiring a new customer is between 4 and 10 times that of keeping an existing one. That means the best time to become your customer’s sole source for media is when you’re specking in that new printer. Ever heard the old cliché “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”? Customers are unlikely to change suppliers if they have a solution that is working as it should. Selecting the appropriate media to round out your solution isn’t as daunting as it seems. Learn how to approach the media topic with your customers and ask why certain questions are key to finding the perfect fit for them. Join us for an enlightening conversation as we demystify media and discuss how it can enhance your bottom line.

  • Could the wrong media have a negative impact on customer satisfaction with the overall solution
  • How to begin the media conversation with your customer
  • What you need to know to find the right media for your solution and why
  • The importance of ribbons and how to select the right one
  • How to build a single sale into a recurring revenue stream

Group #2

Digital Signage: Coming of Age as Opportunities Abound

Digital signage has been in the marketplace for over a decade now. While initially expensive and complicated to implement, barriers to these solutions have been shattered. Hardware is now economical, software is proven, connectivity is robust and there are options for content like never before. What’s most important is the ability to add digital signage to a recurring revenue model.

Many VARs do not realize the potential in capturing additional revenue through software licesnes and reselling content services. Furthermore, by expanding into digital signage, VARs are even better positioned to aid in WLAN and networking services. Generating additional recurring revenue situations. 

  • Tips on integrating digital signage solutions to their current offering.
  • Developments in retail, hospitality and manufacturing.
  • The latest in interacive, multi-touch technologie and use cases to grow your business.
  • Where the opportunities in recurring revenue lie. 

Marketing – A VARs Guide to Best Practices

In business, marketing and business development strategy is the key. When there are multiple products available similar to that of your company’s, you have to compete and stand out. Without a solid brand, a strong reputation and an exceptional ad campaign, business owners run the risk of fading to the back of consumer’s attention, and product sales can suffer. 

Most VAR executives wear many different business hats thought out the day, let alone a week. Marketing budgets are either nonexistent, or exist but with few resources to execute ideas. This panel will educate you on how to turn your ideas into reality with a minimal amount of time and budget. 

The panel will include marketing and business development leaders of the channel from large, publicly traded corporations to the most cutting edge marketers of SMB in the channel. You will also learn about BlueStar’s VARCOM program, the most well established VAR value-add marketing program in the American and European Channel. Learn how you can leverage BlueStar’s VARCOM program to drive incremental new revenues with end-user demand generation programs. 

  • Content marketing is all the rage, but how can a company with limited resources execute meaningful campaigns?
  • What are some techniques for garnering end user demand generation?
  • How has social media changed the face of marketing? Does it work best for SMB, large corporations, or does it work at all for channel business? How can your company leverage this asset more successfully?
  • Digital advertising is changing rapidly, how can a VAR use such techniques as retargeting, IP targeting, and video pre-roll?
  • What is the future of marketing?

WLAN: Why VARs Need to Control this in Every Solution.

It been stated that over 72% of all small to medium business around the world have outdated WLAN installed, which causes a decrease in customer experience, as well as your daily operations. Consumers expect WLAN service when shopping, eating, or visiting a new business, and they will alter their habits based on the level of connectivity they can attain for free.

If you allow your SMB customer to go to a big box store to purchase WLAN appliances, then you are leaving money on the table and opening the door for WLAN security issues for which you could be blamed. 

In this session, you will learn why you need to control the WLAN design, and integrate WLAN into every one of your solutions. Panelists will discuss how you can increase your margin stack on the total solution, while creating a better customer experience for your customer’s partners and patrons.

  • What are the selling strategies you should use to upsell your customers to better and more secure WLAN?
  • What recurring service revenues can be achieved by controlling the WLAN portion of the install?
  • What recurring revenue can be achieved by becoming an MSP of a cloud-based solution?
  • Are there In-a-Box WLAN packages that my sales team can use to open the door and start discussions on WLAN?
  • With so much outdated WLAN in the market, what is the best way to market WLAN to my current customers as well as for new prospects?

Channel Ed: Transitioning Your Business Model to an As-a-Service Model

More and more, business are making inquiries of their solution providers in regards to available SAAS "Solutions As A Service “models. Some of the main challenges for VARs can migrating from a traditional compensation plan to a compensation plan based on reoccurring revenue business, integrating new workflows across departments, and developing an As-a-Service catalogue and strategic sourcing. 

This panel of SaaS experts have mastered the transformation from a traditional sales compensation plan to either a true SaaS sales compensation plan, or, in some cases, a hybrid of both plans. Learn the opportunities and challenges to making this transition, as well as the time and capital requirements.

  • What is the difference between many of the popular SaaS models on the market today?
  • How can your business successfully implement a SaaS program?
  • How can you successfully transform your sales team’s compensation plan to a reoccurring model?

Omni-Channel: Navigating the Opportunities

Successful retailers must be able to see and understand, in one holistic view, commerce-channel data, supply-chain data, and customer data. Working across different channels and data sources can seem tedious and even impossible. In 2017, we’ll see many new players in the data integration space. With the rise of sophisticated tools and the addition of new data sources, companies will stop trying to gather every byte of data into the same place. 

Retailers will connect to data sets where they live. They’ll combine, blend, or join other data sets with more agile tools and methods. By analyzing the trends with data from multiple sources, the team can set operational and promotional strategies, and continue to improve efficiency and performance. This session will focus on why and how businesses, mainly retailers, are fulfilling consumer demand from multiple channels (Storefront, Mobile, Web). 

  • What are the technological necessities to carry out an omni-channel supply chain strategy?
  • In Europe, it is called Click and Collect, and in North America it is called BOPIS (Buy On-line, Pickup In Store). What types of solutions are being installed to integrate the web and brick and motor business models to facilitate BOPIS?
  • What are the different business models (SaaS and Managed Services) that are effective in the space?
  • In Europe, retail IT executives state that the mobile retail experience is a top priority, but not at the expense of the physical retail store. Meanwhile, in North America, retailers are shuttering thousands of retail locations every year. Why the difference in execution, and how can each strategy enhance the omni-channel experience?
  • Where do the opportunities lie for hardware and software opportunities? 

The Modern Warehouse

As the fourth Industrial Revolution gears up ,the modern warehouse is rapidly changing thanks to artificial intelligence, increased M2M communication, and M2P (Machine to People) data exchange. Robotics, vision systems, augmented reality, voice technology and wearable computing are transforming warehouse automation across the spectrum. With such drastic changes in automation services available, companies will have to navigate a complex landscape to determine what is viable for their particular business. 

  • How will the changing future of warehouse automation affect and change other aspects, such as delivery, inventory and product tracking?
  • How will voice and wearable technologies, RFID and other tracking devices factor in to the overall efficiency and efficacy of warehouse production?
  • What opportunities for ROI exist in working to upgrade warehouses and storage options within different industries?

RFID, Sensors and Beacons: A Look into IoT and What is to Come

A recent Juniper Research study forecasts a 350% rise in IoT spending for retail by 2021, fueled by RFID and Bluetooth low-energy beacons. This growth is being fueled by technology that is becoming lower in cost and more prevalent in stores. These technologies can now be leveraged for better analytics, customer experience and supply chain improvements.

But that’s not the only space sensors and beacons will play a part. Today there are several entities developing applications and solutions for the most niche applications. A car on a dealer’s lot can recognize the last time you stopped by and how long you looked at the car, and smart buildings boast sensors that can monitor all environmental conditions including mold, fire and moisture and alert authorities in real time.

  • An explanation of the latest uses of RFID and beacons in retail, manufacturing, healthcare and logistics.
  • RFID tagging, as well as sensor technology, is creating a new method of tracking by collecting data points across the entire supply chain. Who is creating these solutions, and how can my company engage in this new revenue stream?
  • How should VARs work to include RFID, beacons or sensors into their service mix? Is there a low cost/entry level solution to help?
  • Has the cost structure gotten to a point where ROI makes investment easier to stomach? 

ISV – A Guide to Navigating the Channel 

Over the past few years, Android and iOS have spurred all types of apps to enhance all types of technologies across all verticals. Their solutions are becoming mainstays and are integrated into large enterprises to improve eco-systems across all industries. Generally, these newer companies have limited resources to “Learn the Channel”. Their ability to scale is sometimes limited by lack of capital and limited partnerships.

In this session, ISVs will learn how to embrace the channel to find new value adds to scale their businesses to the next level.

  • How can BlueStar’s ISV Connect Program help and the “must-do’s” for any ISV getting in the channel.
  • What tips can ISVs use towards developing a relationship with vendors?
  • What are some strategies on developing a dealer or reseller network?
  • How can ISVs leverage vendor MDF and proven end-user demand generation programs to grow the business.