Brexit and Indiegogo, Arrow Europe president talks to EW

Martin Bielesch, European president of Arrow Electronics talks to Electronics Weekly, about taking a global view of the UK referendum vote, how he sees potential in crowd-funded projects and the inevitable ever-presence of IoT for the broadline component distributor’s business.

Are you concerned the Brexit vote in the UK is having negative effect on the European market?

Martin Bielesch

Martin Bielesch

Martin Bielesch: In many ways it is still too early to judge the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
From our perspective, we are an organisation that operates globally and serves more than 80 countries so we are accustomed to dealing both with differing and changing trading and regulatory regimes.
Which are the most active market sectors for your business right now?

Martin Bielesch: Very active market sectors at present are industrial and in particular industrial internet of things (IoT), automotive, and lighting. These are areas that are experiencing significant benefits from the increased deployment of embedded electronics and have seen considerable activity within Europe.

With the rise of IoT and smart environments, the technologies associated with many of these applications are converging, which means that we can share and re-deploy expertise across sectors.
How has the way you address the market and customer base changed in the last three years, if at all?

Martin Bielesch: Requirements continue to evolve and change across the distribution arena. One change is that we now approach customer support with a system solution mentality, for example.

A typical example of this would be in the IoT space today where we aim to provide sensors, wireless modules, embedded processing, gateways (with security software and operating systems) – all linked together with cloud services and data analysis platforms.
Do all distributor’s need to have a strong Internet business these days?

Martin Bielesch: It is clear that the internet has energised the complete value chain. The internet has been a huge disruptor and has changed everything, and for the better, I believe.

For us this means using our website as a source for electronic components, datasheets, design tools, online engineering collaboration, reference designs and how-to content. This has delivered plenty of what we call ‘digital dividends’ for customers.

Engineers have access to a free on-line tool called envision for supporting applications and system level designs, speeding up the design process. The system has an extensive component library spanning the hundreds of suppliers on the line card. Through envision customers can also access over 30,000 interactive reference designs, which can be revised for customer specific needs.


If there was one recent business development in your company you would like to highlight what would it be?

Martin Bielesch: We have built successful links with a number of digital disruptors and recently established a relationship with crowdfunding pioneer, Indiegogo. This is certainly a highlight for us as it brings us even closer to the maker community and gives us the opportunity to support some incredibly innovative companies and individuals.

Teaming up with Indiegogo, we put critical resources in the hands of entrepreneurs, such as components procurement, online design tools, and share our expertise from design to production.

Those Indiegogo campaigns will also lock-in up to $50,000 in benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed in prototyping and manufacturing their products. We are very pleased to be involved at the heart of the rising wave of innovation coming from crowdfunding.

It is likely that many of the most influential and successful companies of the next decade are unknown today but, by participating as we are, we hope to be at the heart of their success.

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