PCR caught up with Utopia’s Craig Hume to chat about VR, new tech and why it’s important that retailers get out of their stores once in a while – all ahead of Hume’s talk at PCR Boot Camp 2016.
Can you give us a teaser of what you’ll be talking about at Boot Camp?
I want to share my experience of growing a team, from a small family business in a market stall to a leading high performance computer manufacturer. I’ll speak about the extremely exciting moments and the tough times, as well as discussing the things we've implemented at Utopia that allow us to create a unique culture which has allowed us to attract some fantastic young talent and have an awesome working environment.
This unique culture saw me invited to the Scottish Parliament last year to talk to other businesses about Utopia’s successes and working young entrepreneurs.
How important is an event like Boot Camp to the IT and tech channel?
Too many retailers fail to see the value in taking time out of their business. One of my favourite sayings is: “To work on my business and not in it.” Events like PCR Boot Camp allow business owners like myself to focus on working on our businesses and drive the relationships forward that allow us to succeed.
Can you give us a brief overview of your background in the industry?
Having watched my Dad start Utopia when I was at school, I've spent my whole adult life working in IT and I wouldn't have it any other way. There is an amazing community in the channel and the pace of technology means there is never a dull moment. My highlight has to be the seven PCR national awards that we've won. Each one represents a massive achievement for my team and I, as well as bringing back some incredible memories on the journey that got us there.
Which VR headset do you think will be the most successful this year and what is Utopia doing around the VR market?
A few months ago I would not have hesitated to say Oculus, but now I think it is a much more open playing field. The HTC Vive is everywhere and is looking extremely impressive. Retailers have their own HTC Vive VR areas now for customers to get the full experience and immersion. It’s all to play for as we move towards 2017.
The team at Utopia is working on some great projects with local companies to allow them to unleash the power of VR. We also have Oculus demo’s setup in store allowing our customers to try out VR for themselves.
What products/sectors will be big this year?
I think more and more retailers will be moving away from the break-fix model for repairs, towards a reoccurring revenue model. Utopia will be using Network Group’s MSR strategy for this. Hardware wise, I’m really looking forward to the release of NVIDIA’s Pascal GPUs, and from a retailer’s perspective; I can see those who position themselves as leading with Smart Home technology doing well. Consumers want the convenience these products provide, but often simply don’t know where to start.
What is Utopia currently working on?
For us, workstations are the biggest opportunity. We have seen huge growth in this sector and 2016 looks set to be the year for us to solidify our standing as a key player in this space. We have a lot of exciting projects and products on the horizon.
Don't miss Craig Hume's talk about empowering your workforce at the 2016 PCR Boot Camp IT conference and expo on May 18th, 2016 in London.
It's FREE for PC retailers and resellers to attend - for more info or to register, visit www.pcrbootcamp.com