Brother sets its sights on software, OmniJoin to hit stores this year

OmniJoin web conference product has already “paid for itself 100 times over”; hits stores this year
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Brother is curtailing falling hardware sales by focusing on software, in what the UK MD describes as his “most exciting time” in the firm’s past 20 years.

The vendor, well-known for its printers, says it has struck gold in the software space after acquiring web conference specialist Nefsis back in late 2011. Brother then rebranded its web and video conference software to OmniJoin and launched it in the UK earlier this year.

Brother says the service has already “paid for itself hundreds of times over”, and the firm has now told PCR it is planning to box the software up with a web cam and speakerphone, in order to let retail take a slice of the pie. OmniJoin should hit stores this year.

MD Phil Jones said he’s thrilled to be shifting Brother from a strictly hardware-based business to a more service-based offering.

“From my view I think it’s the most exciting time for our company in the 19 years I’ve been here,” he said.

“I think there’s an incredible opportunity for resellers who are wondering how to make money out of this product. It’s also an interesting opportunity for us, as we look at how we prepare it as a channel inclusive product, whether in a High Street store or independent.

“We haven’t sold services before. We’ve suddenly got a product which is a more cloud-based than a hardware-based solution, so we’ve now got a lot of channel education to do. I’m very privileged to be leading this change.”

Brother posted record UK sales of £107 million during the 12 months ending March 31st, 2013. This was achieved after it invested over £2 million in a ‘Labels Are Powerful’ marketing campaign.

“My plan is to keep investing at that level,” commented Jones. “We’re a sales and marketing driven business and you’ve got to keep your name out there.

“Of all laser devices sold now, about one in four is a Brother, against a backdrop of eight or nine vendors. We’re number two on mono laser print on its own, and number one in mono laser all-in-one, so we’ve overtaken HP as the number one mono laser vendor now.”

He added: “We’ve fought hard to increase market share.”

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