Electrocomponents plc is continuing its transformation under CEO Lindsley Ruth, who joined the company from Future Electronics Inc. in 2015. The parent of RS Components and Allied Electronics & Automation has launched OKdo, a new global technology business to focus on single board computing (SBC) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
OKdo has one simple focus: to create an outstanding experience for all SBC and IoT customers, whatever their background, goals and ambitions, Electrocomponents said in a release. It will provide end-to-end support for all SBC and IoT segments, spanning makers, entrepreneurs, industrial designers, educators and re-seller partners.
Under the banner ‘Design the World’, it will deliver a unique combination of hardware, software, development support and manufacturing services to inspire and enable customers to generate new ideas and turn them into commercial reality.
“OKdo is testament to our passion for innovation,” said Ruth. “It brings SBC and IoT customers the latest products, solutions and ideas to inspire and enable them to create technology that makes life better.”
Electronics distributors have been actively targeting the entrepreneur and maker markets through acquisitions, alliances and in-house development. The element14 engineering community, via acquisition, has moved from an online collaborative site to part of Avnet Inc.’s design-through-production ecosystem. Arrow Electronics Inc. has partnered with Indiegogo to provide entrepreneurs with tools and services to bring their product ideas to life. Separately, Arrow has developed its own set of “sensor-to-sunset” services for designers, entrepreneurs, makers and hobbyists. Both distributors have units dedicated to the unique requirements of IoT.
Since Ruth joined in April 2015, Electrocomponents has set it sights on global expansion. It has recomposed its management team, adding executives with varied international experience. The business was streamlined to reduce complexities and additional investment poured into the digital operation, helping to increase online sales to more than 60 percent of total revenue, amongst the highest levels in the industry.
Ruth relocated the head office to London from Oxford to reduce costs and increase connectivity with suppliers and customers in markets outside the U.K. The company’s proprietary product offering is getting renewed attention with 5,400 products added to the RS Pro label in fiscal 2018. Ruth said he expects to increase the tally by 10,000 new products in fiscal 2019 because the RS Pro line has the potentials to become a major sales and profit driver for the company in the industrial market.
OKdo will build on existing relationships with SBC leaders including Arduino, BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi, the company said. Customers will reap the benefits of new partnerships with some of the world’s most influential technology companies, including Arm, NXP, Broadcom, Intel, and Seeed, plus rising tech start-ups like Zerynth and The Things Industries.
“SBC and IoT are demanding disruptive markets that expect imagination, creativity and technical expertise in abundance,” said Claire Doyle, OKdo’s Global SVP, Commercial. “OKdo brings a truly global proposition to deliver all that and more. Not just hardware, but the additional support and services that customers in these segments need to thrive and succeed.”
Electrocomponents is ramping up its global presence, a challenge CEO Ruth has acknowledged. Electrocomponents is a relatively small player in the electronics component market, a disadvantage that could also be spun into an opportunity in the fast-growing sector. Electrocomponents faces the same conundrum in the highly fragmented industrial market populated by thousands of small players, many of them having less than one percent market share.
OKdo’s projects portal will enable users to connect and bounce ideas off each other, while entrepreneurs and industrial designers will benefit from industry-leading support, including manufacturing, prototyping, and a free cloud-based IoT development platform.
Richard Curtin, OKdo’s Global SVP, Technology, added: “OKdo is a business built on partnerships. We’re working with some of the best technology companies on the planet to bring the latest products and innovations to more people around the world, wherever they are on their SBC and IoT journey.”
The new global website (www.okdo.com) is now live in seven countries: the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, US and Japan. OKdo has also deployed a global sales team to support business customers. Alongside an impressive SBC and IoT technology portfolio, a range of new services are on offer.