Archive for Styczeń, 2011

Opera Devices SDK 2.9 expands support for Broadcom’s latest set-top-box chipsets

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Opera Software today announced that its newly-released Opera Devices SDK 2.9 will have out-of-the-box support on Broadcom’s BCM7420 set-top-box SoC platform.

This latest browser has been integrated with Broadcom’s flexible set-top box API (application programming interface), providing a common Opera porting environment across a broad range of cable, satellite and IP set-top-box SoCs. These devices include current generation products such as the BCM7400, BCM7405, and BCM7335 and next-generation 40nm devices such as the BCM7231 and BCM7425.

Opera Devices SDK 2.9 builds on the strengths of Opera Devices SDK 2.8, by adding increased support for HTML5, including Application Cache, Web Workers and Web Storage, as well as OPIF and HbbTV compatibility. World-class JavaScript execution comes from the new Carakan JavaScript engine, which uses just-in-time (JIT) compilation to achieve its performance boost. End users can take advantage of Opera’s embedded TV UI to access long-tail content and bring a full Internet experience to devices in their living rooms.

“Broadcom is one of the most respected and deployed platforms in the set-top-box industry, and we are pleased to offer our SDK to its customers,” said Christen Krogh, Chief Development Officer, Opera Software. “We have integrated our technology and deployed Broadcom chipsets for many years, and our advanced support of Broadcom’s platforms will enable new connected devices–at compelling price points and with advanced feature sets. With Opera Devices SDK’s smooth integration on Broadcom’s connected home platforms, we are excited to see how both manufacturers and developers use the platform to create innovative new solutions.”

In addition to the common set-top-box API, the SDK uses Broadcom’s DirectFB and high-performance-graphics porting layers to implement smooth page animations and effects using powerful 2D and 3D graphics engines. HD video also benefits from the SDK’s native use of Broadcom’s decode and display hardware, which in the latest 40nm devices includes support of advanced functionality such as SVC and MVC.

“We are pleased to support Opera with its strong foothold in the set-top-box market on our latest STB platforms that enable multiple ways for the consumer to experience the next-generation, Internet-connected home,” said Aidan O’Rourke, Senior Marketing Director, IP Set-Top Box, Broadcom Corporation. “Opera has championed web standards for many years and is a key industry leader in out-of-the-box browser support for emerging TV industry standards such as HbbTV.”

HP Drives New Era for Cloud Computing

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

HP today announced a suite of new products and services that enable businesses and governments to leverage the power of the cloud while ensuring they meet required levels of security, performance and availability.

Cloud computing is an important and growing platform for Instant-On Enterprises, where everything and everyone is connected. Instant-On Enterprises require IT environments that are flexible, automated and secure, and able to quickly adjust to changing demand.

While cloud computing delivers benefits such as faster deployment of new services, reduction in IT headcount and a pay-as-you-go model, it has traditionally lacked in areas that enterprises need, such as security, availability and ease of integration.

The new HP Hybrid Delivery solutions provide the benefits of enterprise-grade cloud computing, while meeting the specific needs of businesses and governments.

“Cloud computing is going mainstream and HP is leading the way,” said Manoj Bhoola, Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking Country Manager, HP South Africa. “HP has the enterprise experience, breadth of portfolio and global service delivery organisation to lead our clients through this transformation.”

HP Hybrid Delivery cloud solutions: Cloud for the enterprise

HP Enterprise Cloud Services-Compute delivers “private cloud as a service” from HP’s state-of-the-art data centers. Governed by specified policies for service, performance, security and privacy, it provides clients with rapidly deployed, secure computing with scalable IT capacity. Built on HP’s leadership in Converged Infrastructure and the breadth of HP’s software portfolio for automation and management, it delivers all the resources necessary to access a hybrid private cloud.

HP CloudSystem is the most complete, integrated system to build, manage and consume services across private, public and hybrid cloud environments. It combines the strength of HP’s Converged Infrastructure with the established leadership of HP Cloud Service Automation software to deliver unified security, governance and compliance across applications, as well as physical and virtual infrastructure.

HP CloudSystem also supports HP Cloud Maps, an industry first that provides preconfigured catalog objects to automatically provision the optimised application and infrastructure resources. HP CloudSystem enables new cloud services to be up and running in minutes.

HP Cloud Discovery Workshop helps businesses and governments develop smart strategies and the optimal path for leveraging the cloud. The one- or two-day workshops have multiple modules that cover a wide range of topics, including business model implications, security and identifying the right services for the cloud. The workshops are led by seasoned HP professionals with experience and expertise in global cloud deployments.

HP Financial Services are available for clients building private cloud deployments who want to minimise capital requirements. HP can combine its cloud offerings with financial offerings from HP Financial Services helps clients maximise their financial goals in parallel with their pursuit of advanced technologies.

ASUS Launches DirectCU II Graphics Cards with Dual Fan Cooling Design

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

ASUS has launched an entire range of DirectCU II-enhanced graphics cards that include the latest technologies from both AMD® and NVIDIA® GPU rosters. On the AMD® side, ASUS offers the HD 6970 and HD 6950 graphics cards with DirectCU II while for NVIDIA®, the GTX 580, GTX 570 and new GTX 560 Ti all ship with the advanced cooling technology.

Based on ASUS DirectCU, which uses copper heat pipes in direct contact with the GPU core for up to 20%* cooler performance, DirectCU II adds a custom cooler that uses twin 100mm fans for a massive 600%* increase in airflow on HD 6970, HD 6950, GTX 580, and GTX 570 DirectCU II cards. ASUS has also launched the GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP graphics card with dual 80mm fans for the best performance in its segment through doubled air power.

The new DirectCU II graphics cards also include exclusive ASUS Super Alloy Power technology, which uses a unique alloy formula in power components such as chokes, capacitors, POSCAPs and MOSFETs to ensure a 15%* performance boost, 35°C* cooler operation and 2.5* times longer lifespan. In addition, ASUS overvolting utility Voltage Tweak allows gamers to realize the full potential of their PC’s graphics performance with an easy to use and intuitive user interface.

The newly-arrived GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II graphics card from ASUS uses specially-selected TOP GPUs clocked at 900MHz by default, representing a huge 80MHz overclock over reference. This indulges hardcore overclocking demands out of the box, something gamers around the world eagerly anticipate.

Product highlights

  1. ASUS exclusive cooling technology DirectCU has pioneered the use of 100% copper heat pipes that come in direct contact with the GPU core, removing the metal shielding usually used between the core and the cooler in traditional graphics card designs. Compared to reference graphics cards, DirectCU models have shown up to 20%* lower temperatures under load.
  2. New DirectCU II technology is an evolution of the DirectCU concept. In addition to the copper heat pipes, it includes a custom cooler fitted with two 80mm or 100mm sound-dampened fans. Unlike other graphics card cooling systems that sacrifice fan size and airflow to maintain quiet operation, the quality engineering of DirectCU II technology makes it capable of deploying two large fans that still remain quiet and unobtrusive. Testing has shown DirectCU II results in up to 600%* greater airflow and up to 20%* cooler operation than respective reference designs. This massive increase in cooling translates into an immediate performance gain, as the card can take on heavier loads. Users can also overclock the hardware further thanks to higher tolerances and lower temperatures.
  3. Super Alloy Power technology is based on proprietary research and development of a unique alloy formula in critical power delivery components. Used in chokes, capacitors, POSCAPs and MOSFETs, Super Alloy Power technology boosts graphics card performance by 15%*, lowers operating temperatures by 35°C*, and lengthens lifespan by 2.5 times* when compared to reference designs. With added POSCAPs providing the most efficient power supply possible, DirectCU II graphics cards gain 28%* greater stability during overclocking.
  4. All of the new DirectCU II graphics cards cater to the needs of power users wishing to experiment with radical overclocking and performance enhancement. Each ships with exclusive overvolting utility Voltage Tweak, which allows modification of the card’s power delivery for up to 50%* faster clock speeds.
  5. The ASUS GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP features specially-selected and factory overclocked cores for maximized performance at 900MHz, an 80MHz gain over generic core clock speeds, which guarantees premium overclocking experiences for gamers.
*Actual performance may vary based on specific system configuration and other prevailing conditions.

Veeam Backup & Replication 5.0 available through Workgroup IT

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

The Veeam team at Workgroup IT has announced the local availability of Veeam’s Backup & Replication version 5.0 whose added functionality gives businesses compelling reasons to virtualise critical enterprise applications, such as CRM, ERP and email systems.

Version 5.0 provides 2-in-1 backup and replication for virtual machines (VMs) running on VMware ESX(i) and performs functions not possible with traditional physical backup solutions or other virtual backup tools.

This is according to Lauren Starkey, product manager: Veeam at Workgroup IT who says that, with patent pending technology, Veeam Backup & Replications 5.0 can run a VM in production or in an isolated virtual lab directly from a compressed and deduplicated backup file on regular backup storage.

“As a result, it is now possible to instantly recover a VM directly from a backup, restore individual objects (email messages, database records, etc) from any virtualised application and automatically verify the recoverability of every backup without additional hardware or staff,” she says.

“This technology also enables organisations to gain additional value from their investments in backup storage by using backups to create an ‘on demand sandbox’ for troubleshooting, testing and development.”

Starkey says that, by virtualising enterprise applications on VMware vSphere and using Veeam Backup & Replications v5, businesses can overcome the limitations of traditional backup and gain fast, flexible and reliable recovery of critical applications. This is including databases such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server and email systems such as Microsoft Exchange.

By running a VM directly from a backup file without modifying the backup, and by creating an isolated environment where VMs can run, Veeam Backup & Replication v5 provides:

  1. Instant VM Recovery: Restore an entire virtual machine from a backup file in minutes. Users remain productive while IT troubleshoots the issue.
  2. U-AIR (Universal Application-Item Recovery): Recover individual items from any virtualised application, on any operating system, without additional backups, agents or software tools. Eliminates the need for expensive special-purpose tools and extends granular recovery to all applications and users.
  3. SureBackup Recovery Verification: Automatically verify the recoverability of every backup, of every virtual machine, every time. Eliminates uncertainty and sets a new standard in data protection.
  4. On-demand Sandbox: Create test VMs from any point in time to troubleshoot problems or test workarounds, software patches and new application code. Eliminates the need for dedicated test labs and the overhead that extra VMware snapshots place on VMs.
  5. Instant File-level Recovery for any file system: Recover an entire VM or an individual file from the same image-level backup. Extends instant file-level recovery to all VMs.

HP and mothers2mothers Partner to Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Africa

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

HP recently announced at the Digital Life Design conference, HP and mothers2mothers (m2m), a South Africa-based nongovernmental organisation, announced a new collaboration that will use the power of technology to help prevent the transmission of HIV from HIV-positive pregnant mothers in Africa to their children.

New database technology and cloud and mobile services from HP will convert the current paper-based patient records system into a digital community that enables easy sharing of information across the m2m network of more than 700 sites in sub-Saharan Africa. This more efficient management system will empower counselors to provide more effective education and support services to pregnant mothers.

  1. The system will provide easy access to up-to-date information on patient treatment plans and advanced reporting tools to provide faster and more effective access to information. This will allow m2m to scale knowledge and best practices across its network.
  2. In the next phase of the program, m2m employees will be able to collect and share data via basic mobile phones, creating an “always connected” environment. This will enable employees to collect data more efficiently from patients and, over time, will help the operation scale to meet the demands of more patients.

Unique approach to HIV prevention

m2m helps to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV through an effective, sustainable model of care. Each year, m2m counsels more than 1.5 million women in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mothers living with HIV are employed to mentor HIV-positive pregnant and new mothers in health facilities. They work side by side with doctors and nurses, supporting and educating women about how to take their medicines and care of themselves and their babies. The mothers employed by m2m come from the local communities in which they work, providing a solution to the lack of healthcare providers in Africa. These counselors help combat the stigma of HIV within the community, empowering the women they counsel and ultimately saving lives.”

Background on mother-to-child transmission of HIV

Mother-to-child HIV transmission rates remain high in Africa in part due to the challenge of ensuring mothers’ adherence to medical treatment. Additional facts on the scope of this issue:

  1. There are more than 1.3 million pregnant women living with HIV in Africa. Without any interventions, 40 percent of those women will have HIV-positive babies.
  2. Each year, more babies are born with HIV in one busy clinic in Africa than in the United States, Canada and England combined. Worldwide, 1.4 million pregnant women are HIV-positive. Eighty-eight percent of these women live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. Preventing the transmission of HIV from a mother to a child is straightforward. Its simplest application – a single dose of medication to a mother during labor and a dose to her infant shortly after birth – can cut transmission risk nearly in half.

HP and global health

The HP global health initiative, a key part of the company’s global social innovation program, aims to enrich society by using the breadth and scale of HP technology to drive structural, systemic improvements in health access and delivery. HP connects social entrepreneurs and non-profit organisations with access to mobile, cloud and enterprise technology expertise so they can build unique solutions that ultimately save lives.

HP recently announced alliances with African social enterprise mPedigree to fight counterfeit malaria drugs through an innovative mobile phone and cloud services solution, and with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) to appreciably improve the speed of HIV diagnosis for infants in Kenya.

Gartner Says Worldwide Mobile Application Store Revenue Forecast to Surpass $15 Billion in 2011

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Worldwide mobile application store downloads are forecast to reach 17.7 billion downloads in 2011, a 117 per cent increase from an estimated 8.2 billion downloads in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. By the end of 2014, Gartner forecast over 185 billion applications will have been downloaded from mobile app stores, since the launch of the first one in July 2008.

Worldwide mobile application store revenue is projected to surpass $15.1 billion in 2011, both from end users buying applications and applications themselves generating advertising revenue for their developers. This is a 190 per cent increase from 2010 revenue of $5.2 billion.

“Many are wondering if the app frenzy we have been witnessing is just a fashion, and, like many others, it shall pass. We do not think so,” said Stephanie Baghdassarian, research director at Gartner. “We strongly believe there is a sizable opportunity for application stores in the future. However, applications will have to grow up and deliver a superior experience to the one that a web-based app will be able to deliver. Native apps will survive the web enhancements only when they will provide a more-personal and richer experience to the ‘vanilla’ experience that a web-based app will deliver.”

Gartner analysts said the hype around application stores in 2009 continued through 2010 with alternative offerings to the Apple App Store gaining some traction. Android Market, Nokia’s Ovi Store, Research In Motion’s (RIM’s) App World, Microsoft Marketplace and Samsung Apps are the key competitors that saw the number of application downloads grow in 2010.

Free downloads are forecast to account for 81 percent of total mobile application store downloads in 2011. This percentage has been decreasing since the first launches in 2008, and Gartner estimates free downloads will continue to decrease in 2011, but it will increase again from 2012 through 2014. Users will begin paying for more applications as they perceive values in the concept of mobile applications, and they become more trustful of billing mechanisms.

In 2010, application stores’ revenue is estimated to have reached $5.2 billion, both from end users buying applications and applications generating advertising revenue for their developers. The growth between 2010 and 2014 is forecast be more than 1,000 per cent.

Application stores’ revenue is split between the store owners (such as Apple, in the case of the App Store, or RIM, in the case of App World) and the application’s developer. The average revenue share is based on a 70/30 split, with 70 per cent going to the developer. By the end of 2014, advertising will be generating a little under a third of the revenue generated by application stores, up from 16 per cent in 2010.

“While the average number of downloads per device onto a smartphone will remain stable as the market grows, it must be assumed that media tablets will drive more downloads from consumers, boosting the overall average downloads per device,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner. “We estimate that Apple’s App Store drove close to nine application downloads out of 10 in 2010 and will remain the single best-selling store across our forecast period (through 2014), although to a lesser extent, as other stores manage to gain momentum.”

“Application stores have become a highly visible and potentially lucrative part of the smartphone ‘ecosystem, largely due to Apple’s App Store. As well as promising revenue, application stores allow store owners to leverage innovation from a community outside their own R&D department,” said Ms Baghdassarian. “However, setting up a successful application store is far from simple. Application store owners need to rise to the challenges of attracting developers, organising content and engaging users throughout the life of the store in order to remain profitable.”

Auditing a payroll – training and more training

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Time is never on your side when completing an audit and when it includes the payroll, the challenge is even greater. Reviewing a company’s payroll is one of the most demanding aspects of an annual audit, most especially because of all the variables involved. Exacerbating an already difficult task is the fact that each client’s payroll is different and every March brings new tax changes from SARS.

Sandra Swanepoel, sales director of Softline VIP says that auditors and accountants are constantly challenged to audit the software as well as stay on top of payroll legislation. “The dilemma is that audit clerks are tax experts, but are not payroll specialists and because of its complexity, an auditor could take several days to become familiar the payroll system.”

Swanepoel says that it is not just PAYE that is an issue, but UIF, occupational injury levy, skills development levy, medical aid scheme contributions and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). She says that one way to assist audit clerks is through specialised training. “This shortens the audit process and saves costs. If the audit clerk understands the software the process becomes easier.”

Topics covered in this specialist training include an overview of the different software packages and the various add-on modules available; payroll legislation and how earnings and deductions influence tax calculations. Swanepoel says the training does not only cover calculating tax, but also looks at other factors that influence tax such as time worked and tax deductable deductions when an employee is paid.

“The one area almost all clients struggle with is leave so it is important that audit clerks understand this complex calculation and how it is done based on the BCEA leave process. Audit clerks will also gain a better understanding of how leave provisions will influence the company’s payroll cost,” says Swanepoel.

To further assist, she says audit clerks can use a comprehensive tax screen, which will help with the process. “It adds value because it clarifies payroll queries with regards to tax and provides peace of mind.”

A detailed explanation of the payroll process is also covered within the training to ensure accountants and auditors have a thorough understanding of how a payroll system works. The training also highlights possible areas of risk and focuses on standard reports that can assist the auditor and accountant to analyse the data.

Swanepoel says these training courses are in line with audit and accounting firms need for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and counts towards accumulating CPD points.

“A payroll is most often the largest cost in a company and as a result the place where cash is most likely to come adrift. Having the necessary skills to audit a payroll system is thus vital to all involved,” concludes Swanepoel.

Africa – flooded with bandwidth but starved of connectivity? Can carrier independent co-location assist?

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

At the Capacity Africa conference held in Kenya in September 2010, as well as the Capacity Europe conference held in the Netherlands in November 2010, the focus was on the international wholesale of bandwidth and network services. There is much excitement over the changes driven by more bandwidth becoming available – courtesy of the commissioning of the SEACOM and EASSy undersea cables as well as the WACS cable due for connection on the West Coast of Africa in 2011. However, there are some challenges.

Says Pieter du Preez, Group Executive: Business Solutions Development at Spescom: “The bandwidth challenge faced by Africa is three-fold: firstly, there’s the legacy of a stranglehold on access to international bandwidth to deal with; secondly, the high cost of transporting that data on new networks; and lastly, the need to unbundle the local loop to provide broader access to bandwidth.

“In the first instance, the incumbent traditionally controlled break-in and-out points for international traffic. This has changed with the commissioning of new undersea cables, but the legacy left is hard to overcome. New capacity hitting our shores does take care of the first leg – the bandwidth is available. However, the demand for, and utilisation of available bandwidth are still only at a fraction of the capacity that will be available by 2012.”

To put this into perspective, consider that before July last year, South Africa only had 120 Gigabits per second capacity via the SAT3/SAFE cable. This was upgraded to 340 Gbps in late 2009. Compare this to the more than 15 Tera bits per second of capacity that will be available by 2012 when the combined capabilities of SEACOM, EASSy, WACS and ACE go live. It is a 128-fold increase on the capacity available in 2009.

“The second link of the chain is the transport of bandwidth by terrestrial and non-terrestrial carrier networks. This seems to be moving along nicely – in Africa everyone is digging trenches. However, between 70% and 80% of the cost of laying fibre is in digging those trenches. Infrastructure investors still need to recoup this expense and it’s adding to the cost of bandwidth.

“This is also why it’s difficult to attempt to strike a comparison between US and Africa bandwidth prices. In the US and elsewhere, those investments have already been recouped – and it is service and innovative offerings that define the competitiveness.”

And the last part of the puzzle is facilitating utilisation of bandwidth. “Capacity is meaningless without utilisation,” says Du Preez. “Hindering the wide spread accessibility of bandwidth in Africa are local loop unbundling and last mile connectivity. This is nothing new and has been the topic of many discussions over the last few years. However, carrier independent co-location may add a new dimension.”

Says Thomas Makore at Spescom: “There is a lot of new international bandwidth available, with more to come, and yet we (consumers and businesses) have not really seen a dramatic improvement in affordability of quality assured broadband in South Africa. Instead, service providers are providing more capacity at the same or slightly reduced prices. On a continent where fixed line and broadband penetration averages hover way below double digits, bringing capacity to the shore is only step one. The investment required to build terrestrial and last mile access networks will have to be recovered by the respective infrastructure owners, and this in a region where ARPU (Average Revenue per User) for mobile and fixed networks is in the low reaches of the spectrum by global standards.

The first principle of promoting competition is the availability of options, but availability is nothing without demand. And the demand for broadband capacity in Africa is still in its infancy, despite the continent being seen by many as a telecoms gold mine to be harvested by international conglomerates.

And with a large amount of capacity available on the first leg (some even class it as oversupply), we have to ask what is keeping demand at bay. The answer is found in underdeveloped regional Internet usage, relatively low demand for bandwidth intensive applications such as video and cloud services, cost and accessibility.

A large component of the solution to these challenges – and one that could add a new dimension to offerings – is participation by telcos and service providers in carrier neutral co-location.” No single player will drive the demand for broadband capacity, but an open market place for connecting to multiple carriers and services will aid in the ultimate distribution of bandwidth availability.

Makore is MD of Spescom’s NewTelco South Africa, a new carrier neutral co-location hub which launched services in November 2010, as well as MD of Spescom Telecommunications, a provider of access and transmission solutions and services to telcos in South Africa and the sub-Saharan region.

“In Africa, recouping infrastructure rollout costs depends on the business model of the organisation or entity that installed the infrastructure. These can differ quite widely. For instance, compare the agendas and probable ROI requirements of:

  1. a private company that wants to create a ring in the city to speed communications between branches and secure its data,
  2. a metro WAN or LAN implemented by a government organisation,
  3. or infrastructure implemented by a mobile operator.

“Depending on what they have put into or onto the network, it could take 15 years to recoup the investment,” notes Makore.

“The slow adoption of broadband is in large measure due to massive challenges around last mile connectivity in Africa. Sharing of networks could assist in terms of recouping investments, but despite encouragement by various global development sector organisations, there has been little sharing of networks between service providers. Controlling the network is important to set returns. There is the potential of partnerships diluting earnings and undermining the one thing all carriers depend on for competitive advantage – service provision – if networks become oversubscribed. The challenge is that connectivity is not easily affordable and consumers still don’t have many options.”

Enter the carrier neutral co-location hub.

Says Makore: “Carrier neutral co-location essentially provides carriers with a telecoms hub or ‘market place’ where they interconnect with any other carrier who has a presence in that market place. Interconnections are unrestricted. NewTelco South Africa provides such a hub. It can up the ante for a number of players, resulting in a lot of repositioning in the market.”

NewTelco South Africa is a joint venture between Spescom Ltd and NewTelco GmbH which has already established five other carrier neutral co-location hubs in major world capitals, namely Frankfurt, London, New York, Vienna and Kiev. The South African hub will now add competitiveness and give local and international carriers the flexibility to exploit the growing telecoms market, by providing reliable and high-quality services.

The partnership offers New Telco GmbH an opportunity to expand its offering to the African continent, while New Telco SA customers can leverage the interconnectivity that the German company has already established across the globe with over 1000 carriers. NewTelco SA will not compete with existing network providers, but will offer complementary value added services, targeting regional and international carriers without their own infrastructure and providing them an interconnect with other carriers at a co-location facility that is neutral, without needing massive investments in infrastructure.

Concludes du Preez: “The carriers can select their own long distance capacity, connectivity and negotiate price on traffic volumes. This will undoubtedly assist to bridge that gap, driving down prices and increasing competitiveness within the region.”

Providing Greening Solutions – an Important Role for ICT Sector

By admin, 27 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Axiz Business Development Manager, Louis Helmbold says the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has an important role to play in “greening” initiatives. He says that the onus lies with industry leaders to provide IT solutions that work towards reducing organisations carbon footprints. “A good example,” says Helmbold, is HP’s intelligent building solution. “This is positioned for the next generation of fully managed and optimised buildings and is part of a host of climate change initiatives.”

Helmbold says that HP has been optimising the power efficiency of their devices for some time and estimates a 33 percent efficiency rate over market averages. He says that the next generation of intelligent buildings will be managed on a converged network with broadband internet access, virtual private networks, VoIP, unified messaging, wireless LANs, video conferencing, pc and print services as well as service portals.

Central software control allows for additional energy efficiency by allowing devices to be powered down during non-operational periods. “By introducing a converged network, companies will save costs with the majority of these savings occurring at night.” Helmbold says that as power at night is more affordable, systems should capture and store this “cheaper” power and use it during peak times.

New generation intelligent buildings have further advantages, including an increase in property value, competitive differentiation, reduced building management costs and generating new revenue streams while attracting and retaining tenants or guests. Helmbold envisions this new generation of intelligent buildings emerging across the property market including hotels, office parks, airports and residential complexes. “Operating within this new environment makes business sense. Not only does it enable an organisation to comply with environmental legislation and initiate cost saving programmes but these greening initiatives have a direct impact on worker efficiency.”

“While energy-efficient design can pay for itself in reduced energy costs, it may also result in higher worker productivity, lower absenteeism, fewer errors, better quality, and increased retail sales.” These were the findings of a recent Rocky Mountain Institute study1 that also found, following eight documented case studies, that productivity gains from green design can be as high as 16 percent.

Helmbold says that depending on the size of the building and the integration level of the management functions, companies may start to see a return on investment in as little as three years. This timeframe becomes even shorter if the workforce efficiency increase is taken into consideration.

“Today organisations can intelligently manage their buildings heating and cooling and electricity use as well as security, facilities, inventory, telecommunications and more. Being smart and managing utility consumption through optimising the facility resource use and purchase can result in reductions of 25-35% (in cost),” concludes Helmbold.

One size doesn’t fit all: Vertical CRM is the answer

By admin, 26 stycznia, 2011, No Comment

Every company, every product, every service and, above all, every customer is different. With all of this difference, your CRM strategy should also be different.

Yet, companies continue to rely on legacy, broad-based CRM solutions that have not been developed for their specific business needs.

And as consumers resist the mass-media messaging of traditional marketing, campaign effectiveness and productivity have decreased. Today’s CRM solutions need to offer business-specific solutions for defined vertical markets.

“Our customers have to be able to communicate with their clients in ways that they understand and that are meaningful to them,” says Jane Thomson, MD of Softworx, an EOH company and Infor reseller.

Today’s CRM solutions need to help customers get to their customers by offering them intelligent tools that help them anticipate their customer’s needs to deliver the right products and services they want, when they want them.

“You need to be able to offer customers a CRM solution that fits and understands the basic issues that pertain to their industry. One size doesn’t fit all: vertical CRM is the answer,” she maintains.

Business-specific CRM solutions enable companies to achieve competitive differentiation in several ways:

  1. Speeds time to market: Generate new opportunities efficiently without wasting resources through shorter sales cycles
  2. Increased bundle penetration: Optimise the potential of existing customer relationships by selling bundled offerings that minimise churn and maximise revenue
  3. Reduces churn and increases customer profitability: Utilise churn-detection models to identify at-risk customers and proactively build offers to retain them
  4. Maximises your technology investment: Augment your existing front- and back-end systems and leverage your existing technology investment without additional IT outlay
  5. Fosters flexibility: Increase your strength and resistance to market threats through the use of an open, adaptable technology for a flexible business infrastructure.

To achieve the above, companies need to implement a CRM solution with applications that enable them to communicate with customers more frequently and effectively by providing greater insight into a customer’s needs and buying patterns, offering an increased ability to act on that insight.

Generic solutions that try to capture the entire market’s wants and needs into a single view lead only to more unread email and unanswered calls.

An intelligent CRM solution will break down the traditional methods of sales, service and marketing and usher in a new era of highly targeted campaigns based on the specific needs of different verticals and customers.

“Customers want tailored services faster than ever before and they want to feel like they are your most valuable asset,” says Thomson.

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