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Business briefs: Tech Data CEO on Apple and tariffs, LumaStream patent and more

Margie Manning



Photo by Przemyslaw Marczynski on Unsplash

Reports about soft production of iPhones don’t seem to be a concern for Rich Hume, CEO of Tech Data Corp.

iPhone maker Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is Tech Data’s largest vendor, representing 17 percent of net sales in the third quarter of the company’s 2019 fiscal year.

Rich Hume, CEO, Tech Data

“It is a large part of our business. However, when you take a look at that entire portfolio, phones are not the overwhelming part of the portfolio,” Hume said on a Thursday morning conference call with analysts. “We’ve got a good blend of all Apple representatives there.”

Tech Data (NASDAQ: TECD), a Clearwater-based IT distributor and the largest company by revenue in the Tampa Bay area, had a strong third quarter, Hume said. Worldwide net sales were $9.3 billion, up 11 percent year-over-year. Net income was $114.2 million, or $2.96 a share, compared to $37.3 million, or 97 cents a share, a year ago.

The company isn’t yet feeling the impact of tariffs, but that could change, Hume said, with uncertainty surrounding a potential increase in tariffs on goods imported from China starting in January. Tech Data is working with vendors on “tariff engineering,” including potential shifts in supply chains, he said.

Internet of Things

LumaStream, a St. Petersburg company that makes LED lighting systems for homes and businesses, has been granted a patent for technology that connects low-voltage lighting systems to an Internet of Things infrastructure.

LumaStream lighting

“This patent points to limitless opportunities for LumaStream low-voltage LED lighting systems to be an integral part of any residential or commercial smart environment,” the company said in a news release.

The company’s networked IoT technology can receive data inputs from a wide variety of devices, such as motion sensors used for monitoring assisted care facilities, human analytics data collection for marketers and occupancy monitoring for most efficient energy usage, the company said.

The power of IoT is transforming living and work environments into an ecosystem of information, said Eric Higgs, LumaStream chairman and founder, who previously talked about the Internet of Things applications with the St. Pete Catalyst.

“The way we utilize this information will be driven by desired outcomes that can enrich our lives and assist us in making better decisions,” Higgs said.

Trip to Israel

The Florida-Israel Business Accelerator is planning a trip to Israel April 7-11, 2019.

Rachel Feinman, executive director, Florida-Israel Business Accelerator

The organization will take leaders in the Tampa Bay business community to Israel, which has been dubbed “startup nation,” to see how that country supports entrepreneurs, said Rachel Feinman, executive director of FIBA, who announced the trip during the group’s Connection to Innovation event Wednesday night in Tampa.

She noted that University of Tampa researchers have recognized Israel as a model for the connectivity that is essential to success of startup companies.

FIBA, which has an accelerator program to bring cutting edge Israeli companies to Tampa, is deep into its recruitment efforts for its 2019 cohort, Feinman said. FIBA has received double the number of applications from last year, and expects to begin its program for 10 to 12 companies in late January.











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