ALSO Holding AG announces the acquisition of IoT (Internet of Things) company AllThingsTalk. With the acquisition ALSO strengthens its IoT business unit and expands both its offering and expertise to help small and medium-sized enterprises deploy Industry 4.0 projects.
The use of IoT platforms for the implementation of Industry 4.0 projects has a key role to play in ensuring the future competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (Gustavo Möller-Hergt, CEO of ALSO Holding AG)
Switzerland-headquartered ALSO Holding AG is a listed distribution and logistics company that is active in 18 European countries (with four more coming as the result of another recent acquisition, see below) from where it serves over 100,000 resellers. The acquisition of AllThingsTalk fits perfectly in the plans and vision of both companies and in the evolution of the IoT market where the channel is an essential component and a reliable and easy to use open platform is the way to empower channel partners.
ALSO Group has a portfolio of over 550 ICT vendors. It is the second largest distributor in Germany, after Ingram Micro.
The company is active since 1984 and listed on the Swiss stock exchange since 1986. In 2011 ALSO merged with Actebis, another well-known distributor in Europe. In 2013 the company acquired BrightPoint from Ingram Micro. In June 2019 the European Commission approved the acquisition of Warsaw-based Eastern European distributor ABC Data S.A. (active in six countries, generating sales of EUR 1,048 million and fitting in the Eastern European expansion strategy of ALSO Holding AG). On top of gaining the leadership position in the Eastern European distribution market, ALSO can add four more countries to the list of countries where it’s present with the latter acquisition.
AllThingsTalk: focus on the channel with the AllThingsTalk platform to be integrated in the ALSO Cloud Marketplace
The AllThingsTalk IoT platform will also be integrated into the ALSO Cloud Marketplace, enabling ALSO resellers to offer consumption-based subscription and billing models for different products, services and benefits.
As mentioned in a recent interview with AllThingsTalk, the successful IoT startup that is based in the city of Ghent always had a very channel-oriented vision. Part one of the interview zooms in on the history, offering, clients, vision and go-to-market strategy of the company. In the second part of the interview, CEO Tom Casaer states that Germany is the Industrial IoT capital of the world and that, for him, Norway, Finland, Sweden and, next, The Netherlands are probably the most advanced markets in terms of adoption in the non-industrial area in Europe. All countries where ALSO is represented.
The AllThingsTalk platform enables vendors, network providers, ISVs, system integrators and resellers to offer tailor-made solutions for their IoT projects to companies in various industrial sectors.
AllThingsTalk already offers services enabling operators to launch their LPWAN offerings, including supporting and logistics services with among others starter kits, SIM card provisioning for cellular IoT providers and branded versions of the company’s platform.
Moreover, in 2019 the company reached an agreement with multi-channel distributor Electrocomponents Plc (trading as RS Components and Allied Electronics & Automation) to power the end-to-end device cloud connectivity solution of OKdo, a new brand of Electrocomponents that addresses the single board computing (SBC) and IoT market.
With this agreement AllThingsTalk dramatically expanded the reach it already had among various types of end customers, ranging from the community of makers, organizations across several industries and the users of the white label versions of its IoT platform as offered by various mobile operators across Europe and several of the company’s clients.
Joining the IoT business unit of ALSO
As part of ALSO the founders can continue this mission of making IoT accessible for everyone through serving the buyers in ALSO’s customer portfolio that includes a mix of enterprise customers, retailers, online resellers (e-commerce), SMB resellers and VARs (value added resellers).
ALSO generated total net sales of approximately 9.2 billion euros with around 4,000 employees in the fiscal year 2018. The company is represented in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Northern Europe with countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and in the Eastern part of Europe with more countries, including Poland, Slovenia, Kroatia, Belarus and Ukraine.
The ALSO Cloud Marketplace of which AllThingsTalk will be part is available in an additional 65 countries via PaaS partners, on top of the European countries where the distributor has a presence.
With the above mentioned acquisition of ABC Data S.A., also the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary will soon be added to that list. In April 2019 ALSO further announced the acquisition of Solytron Bulgaria, adding the country to that list as well.
In 2017 and 2018 ALSO acquired several distributors. Moreover, the company signed several deals regarding its ALSO Cloud Marketplace, whereby it entered Latin America and the US. The latter is done through a deal that was announced in June of this year with US distributor D&H. The Harrisburg-based distributor offers its channel partners the ALSO Cloud Marketplace, a comprehensive Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution, which D&H resellers can use to provide their customers with customized IT infrastructure and software on demand for their workplaces. In total, the ALSO Cloud Marketplace is available in an additional 65 countries on top of those where the company is present via such “Platform-as-a-Service” partners.
The IoT business unit of ALSO, which AllThingsTalk will join, was founded in 2016 and offers a comprehensive ecosystem to its partners with value-added distributors, sensor manufacturers, telecommunications and software providers. ALSO offers ICT solutions from leading vendors and, in the scope of IoT, from companies such as Aruba, Avalue, HPE, Microsoft and Realwear.
Earlier in 2019, ALSO signed an agreement with Industrial IoT leader PTC whereby it distributes PTC’s flagship platform ThingWorx as well as PTC’s augmented reality technology platform Vuforia in the DACH region. Both platforms are distributed via the ALSO Cloud Marketplace too.
IoT platforms are essential enablers of IoT and Industry 4.0 projects.
In fact, they are generally recognized as the enablers of the value that is created by leveraging the Internet of Things.
This is certainly also the case for small and medium-sized resellers. Moreover, as demand for IoT services is growing, there is an increasing number of companies which are typically also customers of distribution companies that diversify their activities and climb up higher in the value chain of their clients by offering connected services. The channel is key for IoT, whether it concerns large organizations or SMBs. With the addition of the user-friendly AllThingsTalk platform that has a straightforward and open approach to facilitate the acquisition, aggregation, visualization and evaluation of machine and sensor data, existing and future customer of ALSO can do precisely that: develop new services and add value for their clients by meeting their demand for connected services.
Distributors increasingly move in the IoT space. Ingram Micro announced an initiative in that regard earlier 2019 as well. However, it seems that in Europe ALSO might just be the player that can make the difference given its approach and the good local business sense of its partners, now enriched with the AllThingsTalk team.
“With our successful ALSO Cloud platform, Ludium’s virtualization platform and AllThingsTalk’s new IoT platform, ALSO is becoming a powerful technology provider”, Gustavo Möller-Hergt, CEO (and Chairman of the Board) of ALSO Holding AG says on the development of his company. To whom it concerns.
The majority shareholder of ALSO Holding AG is German Droege Group, an independent advisory and investment company under full family ownership.
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