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Michael Diamond

The Current State of the Desktop Workstation Market

Sep 20, 2018
Michael Diamond , Director, Industry Analysis ;
Commercial Technology

Imagine you’re a data scientist arriving to work Friday morning only to be confronted by your manager with the type of project that’s more apropos for a Monday: the chief executive wants you to perform a comprehensive analysis of the organization, which includes gargantuan databases from all departments… and needs it by 5:00 p.m. While you want to scream, you maintain your cool, and start writing SQL queries hoping you’re the only one taxing the SQL server.

Unfortunately, for the data mining folks out there, this is not an uncommon scenario. And as more companies add business intelligence teams made up of data scientists, the need for high performance workstations is continuing to grow.

Workstations are one of the unsung segments of the desktop PC market, which experienced 21 percent growth in unit shipments in Q2 2018 vs. Q2 2017 in the U.S. B2B channel. The unit share leader during the period was Hewlett-Packard followed by Lenovo and Dell. From a price band perspective, systems that were under $1,000 represented 40 percent of unit shipments and grew 29 percent year over year, while the $1,000 plus segment represented 60 percent of unit shipments and grew 16 percent. 

Growth in this segment is being driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Physical security: Companies are adding more physical security or surveillance measures that leverage high resolution cameras and drones to protect assets scanning from higher elevations. 
  • Healthcare: Hospitals are adding high performance workstations in their radiology labs due to the influx of older patients that have a tendency to require X-rays, etc.
  • Growth of 3D printing: Firms in manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, automotive, and others are increasingly leveraging 3D printing for prototyping and other use cases.
  • Growth of AR/VR: Companies in the entertainment industry are working to create better gaming and movie experiences.
  • Business intelligence teams: More firms are hiring data scientists to help mine data for marketing and sales strategies, financial analysis, research and development, and more.

For channel partners in the system builder or components markets, the keys to the kingdom are mapping each use case by application type (e.g., CAD/CAM, statistics, surveillance, etc.) and helping the prospective targets understand the benefits of adopting a high performance workstation, whether it’s in a data mining department, radiology lab, or loss and prevention unit trying to thwart shrinkage.


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