Archive for Czerwiec, 2011

MIP acquires Itemate

By admin, 15 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

MIP Holdings, one of South Africa’s largest independent software houses, has acquired Stellenbosch-based Itemate Solutions for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition gives MIP access to Africa’s unbanked market through merging financial services with cellular telephony devices.

Itemate’s range of packaged solutions address a wide range of requirements in the mobile and fixed line telco markets. MIP says this will be a world-first in recognising the mobile device as a transaction mechanism rather than just a telephone for developing markets.

“We believe the proliferation of wireless technology is going to transform the mobile device from not just a phone and camera but rather to a device that replaces one’s entire physical wallet to digital forms of credit cards, insurance policies, loans, identification documents and location services,” says MIP CEO and chairman Richard Firth.

“This is the most strategically important acquisition we have made to date,” adds Firth. ”It is impossible to overstate the importance of mobile telephony, but to date big business including the mobile companies has under-estimated it.”

”It is important to note that while other companies address the mobile wallet, MIP and Itemate enable the entire prepaid and financial service value chain.”

Itemate was formed in 2005 and its software solutions track the entire lifecycle of a mobile prepaid phone and SIM card, or any prepaid entity. This embraces the allocation of unique numbers to the use of individual cards through the value chain, including distribution and logistics, point of sale, sales intelligence and tracking the entire usage of the phone card by the user from the time he loads the card, virtual voucher or SIM with airtime until he uses the last second of airtime.

“The vast majority of cellular users around the world are and will be prepaid,” says Itemate CEO Mark Parker.” The figure is as high as 90% in developing countries. These cellular subscribers are by and large untracked. We enable cellular companies to track subscribers via their SIM and prepaid phone cards from the time they buy airtime until it has been used, or not used. The unique key value proposition of Itemate is its solutions’ ability to track and report on deferred revenue, a vital issue for most network operators.

“The telco sector, in particular the cellular component, has been characterised over the last two decades by wireless network expansion during periods of extraordinary growth. This leads to widespread data integrity problems and careless operational processes,” says Parker. “Our operational and business support systems and consulting services help carriers plug revenue leaks, clean up error-prone inventories and boost profitability without spending new money on network infrastructure or marketing.”

“Factors that attracted us to Itemate Solutions were the fit with our financial services and insurance systems,” adds Firth. “Millions of Africa’s telco customers will in time be transacting through their cellphones, which puts us in pole position to provide cost-effective offerings via this channel and owned by the operators.”

Areas MIP will target through the acquisition of Itemate include treasury management, microloans, micro-insurance, funeral policies, stokvel investment schemes and micro-investments.

Itemate’s solutions include iTrac, iPin, iSwitch, iData, iWare, iPos and iVd, which represent a broad scope of offerings. Network operators across Africa have taken up Itemate’s offerings, including MTN, Orange, Telecel and Tigo. Firth advises that a number of these existing and prospective clients have expressed deep interest in the joint MIP/Itemate offering.

“There are three principal drivers for network operators,” says Firth. “They are average revenue per user, or ARPU, customer loyalty or churn and integrated value-added services. It is well known that ARPU is in decline, and the best way to stimulate revenue growth is through value-added services, or VAS, linked to effective loyalty programmes. MIP and Itemate will jointly enable this, driving brand loyalty or customer retention and transactional growth.”

Itemate integrates fully with other applications, such as Fundamo, which was recently acquired by Visa, and Firth says it is the “glue to unite other platforms”. The value attached to the Fundamo acquisition underscores MIP’s strategic intent and timing.
Telephony operators are known to suffer turnover losses due to revenue leaks, in particular emerging market operators, who sustain higher than average levels of loss.
“Where prepaid products are being effectively used in an emerging market, which is most of Africa, that revenue generated from the use of prepaid products comprises at least 90% of total revenue,” adds Parker. “For this reason our solutions are focused on the management and automation of the processes involved with the entire prepaid value chain.”

As an example, many pay-as-you-go customers buy a voucher which may not be fully redeemed, due to theft or other circumstances. As these vouchers are produced in batches, it is difficult for telcos to deal with them at an item level, so the unredeemed time and cash are placed in a massive “float”, or suspense account which grows over time. This is known as “unearned income” or “deferred revenue”. Itemate can reconcile the individual vouchers and pay-as-you-go cards at an item level, thereby freeing up the cash in the float or enabling “detailed deferred revenue” management.

Unity Technologies move to new offices in UK

By admin, 15 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Unity Technologies Expands UK Operations with Move to Brighton Office

Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity development platform for games and interactive 3D on the web, iOS, Android, consoles and beyond, has announced that it has expanded its operations in the United Kingdom by moving to a new office in the city of Brighton, East Sussex.

The office will be managed by Director of Support Graham Dunnett and will continue to provide Unity customers with support, QA, development and training and consulting services. The new Brighton office will allow Unity to continue to grow into the UK.

“With its hotbed of gaming development talent, Brighton is the perfect location for the new Unity office as we continue to expand our team and operations in the UK,” said Graham Dunnett, Director of Support at Unity Technologies. “We look forward to continuing to work with our customers to help them be more productive when using Unity.”

TrustFabric launch Connect service to block unwanted advertising

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Companies are constantly interrupting our lives with telephone marketing, SMS messages and emails.

TrustFabric recently launched TrustFabric Connect: a do-not-contact list. The new service not only lets individuals opt-out of direct marketing, but makes it easy for businesses to comply with legislation protecting customer rights.

“We’ve had just over 100 users sign up in the first week.” says Joe Botha, CEO of TrustFabric.

Direct Marketing Regulations

The Consumer Protection Act came into effect on 1 April this year. The Act states that consumers are entitled to refuse direct marketing. It defines a pre-emptive block registry where people can opt-out of direct marketing.

Irresponsible direct marketing is a problem, especially SMS marketing where an opt-out reply costs money. Very little has been done to address the problem so far. The Direct Marketing Association of SA’s “do not contact” database was recently reported as leaked, exposing around 40000 people to identity theft risks. Their database, which contained ID numbers, was regularly sent out as a spreadsheet containing contact details in plain text. In the recent elections the DA was widely criticised for a mass SMS campaign on election day.

TrustFabric Connect differs from other Opt-out services in a few ways: You only share the details you want to, no ID number required. Details are kept secure and encryption is used.

Value for Businesses

TrustFabric Connect offers businesses regulatory compliance and better data quality. Most Opt-out services are blunt instruments, offering no value to businesses. TrustFabric Connect is the first service to provide businesses with verified up to date contact details for their customers.

“We’re very happy with the response from businesses. 11 forward thinking businesses signed up in the first week after we launched, including Skyrove, Lexus Helderberg and CITi.” says Joe.

Most businesses have customer databases which are out of date. One of our major banks has 22 million customer records, but only 4 million active customers as each business unit maintains its own customer database. TrustFabric Connect offers businesses a way to link customer records to people again.

How businesses manage our personal information will become critical when the The Protection of Personal Information Bill becomes law later this year.

How does it work?

Individuals create a TrustFabric Connect account, then enter an email address and mobile phone number. TrustFabric verifies these details and lets users configure their communication preferences. Businesses create a TrustFabric Connect account and upload encrypted versions of email addresses and mobile phone numbers from their existing customer database.

When a match is found, on email address or phone number, TrustFabric Connect will prompt individuals to confirm a business relationship and enable sharing of up to date contact information. This builds business relationships. Businesses query the TrustFabric Connect service to see which customers have confirmed a business relationship and given permission to be contacted.

Users get a list of their active business relationships and a dashboard to manage their business communication. They can conveniently update their details in one place and linked businesses will receive their new details.

Businesses get a verified up to date opt-in list. TrustFabric always acts as an independent 3rd party, never sharing contact details unless a business relationship has been confirmed.

TrustFabric Connect costs under R5 per customer per year and the service is free for individuals, small businesses and educational institutions.

“We have set a target of 150,000 users for the next year. That might be a bit optimistic, but I suspect we are providing a solution to a very real problem. Something which has been overlooked for far too long.”, says Joe.

BuzzCity predicts mobile “storm” coming

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

There are several key factors that make for the perfect mobile storm, in terms of determining the speed with which mobile phone usage grows in any particular country, says Michael de Souza, VP of Media at international advertising network BuzzCity. “And it has nothing to do with consumers and their perceived level of sophistication.”

De Souza says that the entry of sub-$100 smart phones would have a major impact on South African mobile phone usage. “The bottom line is that the less-sophisticated user becomes ‘smart’ with a smart phone, very quickly. They learn to use the phone and its applications very quickly.”

So what else which drives an increase in the use of mobiles and mobile content in any society? De Souza says the smarter newer phones generally have bigger screens and this also drives increased mobile usage.  Thirdly there is the cost of data. As this drops so the usage increases. Another driver is the advent of new technology, like 4G and Wi-Max.  Finally when there is a booming and increasing array of content and services the mobile phone

“When you have all of these elements in place the mobile phone and its strengths come to the fore, and businesses who have accepted this and adapted their business models and marketing strategies to fully utilize these strengths, will succeed.”

AxizWorkgroup to distribute Windows Business Server 2011

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

AxizWorkgroup, IT infrastructure and software distributor is now distributing the latest Windows Small Business Server 2011, providing small businesses with up to 75 users with an affordable and integrated network solution. Jaya Jadhu, AxizWorkgroup Product Manager, says this business server provides essential networking and internet connection sharing capabilities ensuring information and resources are distributed easily, effortlessly and most importantly, securely.

Business servers make files, data, printing and fax resources available to multiple interconnected computers. In addition, small business owners are able to manage user accounts and passwords, grant or restrict access to shared resources and ensure data is automatically backed up. Since users can organise and access files from virtually anywhere, this gives workers the ability to solve business challenges while they are away from the office.

Windows Small Business Server 2011 is specifically designed and priced for small businesses and helps protect an enterprise’s information with features such as daily automatic backup of files, disaster recovery tools and enhanced security. The SBS 2011 adheres to the latest information technology trends including cloud computing, by providing seamless integration between on-premises functionality and online services.

“Due to the ever-changing business environment, a server that grows with your business is essential to a new start-up or an established small business” says Jadhu. The highly scalable platform of SBS 2011 allows for the addition of users, servers, applications and the expansion into other Microsoft technologies as business needs evolve,” concludes Jadhu.

Jobs.co.za Launches “work in cape town” site

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Local search is considered the most significant area for growth in online user behaviour as internet users move towards searching for things in a geo-location as opposed to the previously broader search terms. In March 2010 studies showed that 20% of all searches on Google were related to location, however it is said that searches done with local intent has now shifted to 40%, where 5% specifically include the city or state/ region name in the search query.

Google Insights shows that on a scale of 0-100, the number of searches done for ‘Jobs in South Africa’ (relative to the total number of searches done on Google) went from 25/100 in 2007 to 58/100 this year, while in comparison, searches over the same period for ‘Jobs in Cape Town’ has increased from 26/100 to over 84/100 in 2011, confirming that there is a definite shift in South African user behaviour towards including more specific location search terms in their queries.

Says Gillian Meier, CEO of Jobs.co.za: “These statistics reiterate what we have known for a while, that location search optimisation should become a crucial part of any online-based business’s strategy. If 40% (or even 20%) of all searches are for location specific information, then we could be losing out on 20 to 40 percent of our potential traffic if we don’t adapt our strategies to accommodate these users. With Google investing more time into local search, it seems fitting, if not essential, that Jobs.co.za does the same.”

Jobs.co.za has partnered with leaders in their respective fields to drive the content for the Workincapetown.co.za portal. While job seekers can search through latest jobs in and around Cape Town, the portal will also display properties available for sale or to rent in the same locations driven by Private Property. Since working life in the Mother City is all about the lifestyle, the portal features daily lifestyle deals from Ubuntu Deal. To further facilitate working life for the Capetonian’s, the website provides up-to-date weather and transport routes in and around the City.

Working Life in Cape Town is the first location-based portal to be released by Jobs.co.za, with Durban and Johannesburg portals to follow soon. Cape Town was chosen as the most appropriate of the three to launch first, given that the growth in search volume for Jobs in Cape Town seems to be more popular than Durban and Johannesburg at present. Working Life in Durban and Joburg should be released in the next couple of weeks.

Cape Town Film Studios implements Sage accounting package

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

As one of South Africa’s first custom-built, Hollywood-style studios in South Africa’s history, the 10-year, multi-million rand project is one of the greatest investments in the South African film industry and aims to establish a home for film in South Africa.  The fully fledged sound stage complex officially went online in the third quarter of 2010 and is set to serve as a bridge between the South African and the international film industry.

Henri Hattingh, the CEO of AccTech Western Cape says the previous accounting package installation at Cape Town Film Studios was not meeting the client’s requirements and AccTech Western Cape was approached to re-engineer the accounting structure.  “The system was implemented and dated back to include opening balances from the start of the business.  It improved cost and asset control, especially in light of the company managing a large base of fixed assets that form part of a rental pool to visiting film-makers,” explains Hattingh.

“The change-over process was done professionally and systematically starting with a snapshot of Cape Town Film Studios’ current system and a presentation of the suggested new system,” says Hattingh.  “We also provided training to the Cape Town Film Studios team that has enabled them to utilise the full spectrum of the system to support their accounting needs.”

The system was implemented at the start of April and two months down the line Fadiel Martin, an accountant at Cape Town Film Studios says the Sage Accpac ERP 100 system is easy to use.  “We utilise a number of systems at Cape Town Film Studios that Sage Accpac ERP 100 is able to interface with.  It has alleviated allot of manual intervention and offers a host of reports that can be tailor-made to show specific information we need,” says Martin.

Poised for growth, Cape Town Film Studios needed an accounting package that could grow and adapt as the company grows.  “The financial accounting of a motion picture is extremely detailed, complex and vital, which necessitates the need for sound accounting practices that will increase the success of Cape Town Film Studios.  Sage Accpac ERP 100 is specifically designed for the growing company.  It is a scalable solution that provides the financial management power that Cape Town Film Studios will need at an affordable price.

The Sage Accpac ERP 100 solution is built on web-based, multi-tiered technology that will allow them to increase the functionality and capabilities of the software as the business grows,” concludes Keith Fenner, the Vice President of Sales at Softline Accpac.

Mobile & e-Marketing made practical at Joburg conference

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

Including mobile and e-marketing in branding strategies to gain that competitive edge is no longer the monopoly of large corporations with seemingly endless budgets. Marketing basics for both e-marketing and mobile, strategic branding, social media in SA and South Africa’s position in the  digital marketing arena are just some of the topics to be discussed that could help alleviate any medium or small sized company’s concern about joining the digital marketing revolution.

The Mobile & e-marketing Conference to be held on the 13 ad 14 July at the Indaba Hotel, Fourways in Johannesburg will bring strategic digital marketing to professionals who desire to carve out a niche for themselves in their respective industries by getting practical solutions to apparently unsolved problems.

Marketing gurus from organizations such as MobiMedia, Clickmaven, BriteFire, Starfish Mobile, Prezence Digital, Demographica Casson Media, Quirk, MyMOBworld, Prefix, MediaShop, Search Online Consulting, World Wide Worx, Trigger/Isobar, Direct Marketing Association of South Africa will be delivering highly powered presentations to aid in reaching that comparative advantage every marketing manager wants.

Executives involved in marketing, sales, SEO, business and software development, public relations, mobile and online marketing, systems engineering, retail, branding, advertising, digital and web management would gain immensely from attending an event such as this one.

This event will be hosted by Trade Conferences International (TCI), the specialists in financial, IT and mobile corporate events.

To register for this event visit the TCI website or call 011 803 0009 for more information.

BlackBerry smartphone apps that target fathers

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

RIM have released a list of the top BlackBerry apps targeted at fathers. You can find the list along with brief descriptions of the apps below:

BlackBerry Messenger
Get into BBM and express yourself – your way. Share your pin or unique barcode to connect with friends and family. Take comfort in knowing your family is only a BBM message away. Chat and share stories, pictures, videos and more with individual contacts or groups of friends instantly.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn for BlackBerry smartphones puts your professional network just a touch away. Walk into any interview or client meeting with the ability to look up the details and connect with over 80 million professionals worldwide. Get the latest updates and messages from your network and keep them up-to-date with your status in real-time.

News24
For the latest breaking news, sport, finance and lifestyle news at the touch of a button – from South Africa’s largest digital news destination – get the News24 app on your BlackBerry smartphone. The user interface has been specifically designed for BlackBerry users to access their news quickly while on the go and includes a quick-view 3 day weather forecast of your town or city.
The BlackBerry Travel
BlackBerry Travel makes it easy to plan, book, manage and share your travel activities. Looking for flights or places to stay? Find flight schedules and great hotel options, all right from your BlackBerry smartphone. The automatic trip scanning feature will automatically recognize itineraries that are emailed to you and push them to your BlackBerry smartphone – no matter where you booked.

nRange Golf GPS
nRange Golf GPS is the leading rangefinder and scoring app for BlackBerry smartphones.  nRange features online access to courses, fast and accurate yardages, overhead aerial maps for distances to hazards, stats and scoring. With this handy app, there’s no need for an expensive dedicated golf GPS rangefinder anymore.

LOOPHOLD now offers Barracuda NG Firewall

By admin, 14 czerwca, 2011, No Comment

The Barracuda NG Firewall is a line of virtual and hardware appliances designed to protect enterprise network infrastructure, improve site-to-site connectivity and simplify administration of network operations.

Says Martin Tassev, MD of LOOPHOLD Security Distribution, “Faced with an increasingly complex threat environment, organisations are now looking to consolidate and centralise their security protection in order to reduce costs and improve network administration. The Barracuda NG Firewall offers comprehensive security to enterprises through a platform that can be centrally managed, not only making administration easier, but also offering important benefits for policy enforcement.”

The Barracuda NG Firewall combines Web and E-Mail filtering, intrusion prevention, Layer 7 application profiling, and network access control into a platform that can be centrally managed, across all enterprise network locations, including remote, home and branch offices, as well as regional headquarters and datacenters.

One of the benefits Ccentralised security management and content policy provides is consistent security posture and policy enforcement across the enterprise . Real-time accounting and reporting across multiple gateways, as well as comprehensive history and rollback of configuration and policy changes across the network.

The Barracuda NG Firewall also offers the following features:

Intelligent traffic management

With the Barracuda NG Firewall, administrators can control application-level routing and prioritisation of traffic across multiple links, tunnels and traffic conditions. To back up WAN connections, Barracuda NG Firewall appliances support a variety of links via most including T1/T3, DSL, ISDN, and 3G wireless mobile data standards. In the event of a WAN link loss VPN traffic is automatically reprioritised over the remaining WAN links.
Barracuda NG Firewall appliances support the traditional IPSec protocol for cross vendor compatibility.

Flexible remote access options

Barracuda NG Firewall appliances support multiple remote access options, including a light VPN client, a fully managed VPN client and a fully integrated SSL VPN. Network access controls enforce client security policies, including operating system patch level, desktop malware protection and personal firewall configuration.

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