Archive for Sierpień, 2011

MTN announces speakers for Di@logue conference

By admin, 26 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

Leading up to the much anticipated Di@logue conference taking place on the 01st September 2011 at The Wanderers Club in Sandton, Johannesburg, MTN Business announces the confirmed speakers for the event.

Says Angela Gahagan, managing executive at MTN Business; “MTN Business is proud to host this conference which, will not only enable us to share knowledge and expertise based on MTN’s growth on the continent, but also allows us to delve into the minds of some of the best strategists today so that we can all engage in the debate on how these interesting times require different business thinking around risk management, technology investment, sustainability and consolidation – all to future proof business viability.”

Confirmed speakers for the MTN Business Di@logue conference include:

  • President Jose Maria Figueresthe former President of Costa Rica will be presenting on the important topic of sustainability. Recognised as an international expert in sustainable development and technology, Mr Figueres will be providing insight into corporate sustainability given that Costa Rica is one of the greenest countries in the world, and more importantly, that it has taken this stance and developed a very strong market approach – which has led to greater economic growth.
  • Mr. Magnus Lindkvist - a trend spotter extraordinaire who offers insightful and tangible solutions to companies wishing to grow their business in an organic way will be presenting at this conference. Says Lindkvist; “Business is far too now-focused for its own good. It’s embedded in the word busy-ness. Very few companies survive for more than a few decades because of this.”
  • Dr. Matthew Fraser – a recognised Web 2.0 strategist and new media expert who speaks insightfully about the impact of Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube on business, politics and society. He has long experience as a business journalist and author, academic and technology policy adviser and will be presenting on the social media revolution. “Social media has pushed power to the periphery the way we interact, work and manage business and politics,” says Fraser. “The emergence of ‘citizen journalism’ and ‘viral marketing’ are just two examples of this power shift towards the edges. The impact of the Web and social media are turning the old models of mass production, mass marketing, and mass media on their head.”
  • Dr. Ranier Fechner – a member of the Board of Alcaltel-Lucent Deutschland AG and Head of Bell Labs in Germany, where innovation is his central responsibility. Fechner coordinates the research activities of Bell Labs related to tomorrow’s technologies where he has a strong focus to manage changing innovation processes, especially the trend towards open innovation. With extensive knowledge and expertise around global telecommunication markets, Fechner will be proving valuable insight into innovation within this constantly changing sector.
  • Mr. Lebo Gunguluza – an entrepreneur, strategist and motivational speaker who became one of South Africa’s most successful black entrepreneurs at the age of 27, without any funding. Lebo will be discussing the 10 greatest lessons he learnt through his entrepreneurial journey, as well as provide insight into the 10 principles he used to make his first Million as a young entrepreneur. Gunguluza is excited to partake in this event saying; “Creating an environment in Africa that is conducive for entrepreneurs is the only way we’re going to address job creation.” As someone who gets involved where it matters, Lebo is one of the founders of the South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum, founded to address issues facing black entrepreneurs in South Africa.
  • Mr. Fred Baumhardt – is the Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft South Africa, where he is responsible for the product sales force for Microsoft across Application Platform, Core Infrastructure, Information Worker and Windows Client business groups. Fred will be addressing the topic of IT transformation, looking at the assumptions (and how industry buzz words influence such perceptions) that IT organisations make when selecting their architectural and IT delivery strategies.

With such an extensive agenda and a line up of international guest speakers, this is certainly a conference not to be missed.

“September also marks our 18th birthday and certainly over the years we have seen the industry change for the better. I am sure you will agree that these are interesting times that require different business thinking around risk management, technology investment, sustainability and consolidation – all to future proof business viability. I for one, am exceptionally excited about our growth and the opportunities that lie within the continent, and I am sure our esteemed guests will mirror my outlook that the possibilities for Africa are endless at the conference,” concludes Gahagan.

Mweb details the risk of Data loss

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

Statistics compiled by the National Archives & Records Administration in Washington revealed that 93 percent of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more due to a disaster, filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.

“The problem is that many businesses believe it won’t happen to them. As a result, data back-up remains a grudge purchase for many businesses when it need not be. Thanks to Cloud Computing technology and the availability of affordable, uncapped broadband connectivity, automated off-site backup has become a viable option for businesses of all sizes,” says Andre Joubert, general manager at Mweb business.

“The real question for businesses is: can you afford to risk not backing up data automatically?”

Joubert points to a study conducted by David M Smith, Associate Professor of Economics at the Graziadio School of Business, Pepperdine University in the US which found that six percent of all computers will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year.

A similar survey of small businesses by Verio revealed that more than half of the respondents admitted to having experienced some data loss.

There are various reasons why businesses don’t back-up their data regularly. Some of the most common are:

  • My business isn’t big enough to need daily computer backup.
  • It’s more important to focus on networking and establishing the business.
  • All our important data is stored on my laptop, so my data is safely offsite every night.
  • My server is brand new, so I’m not worried about backing up my data yet.
  • I don’t have the time to perform a daily backup. Once a month is sufficient.
  • My IT consultant takes care of that.
  • Daily offsite backup is too expensive particularly as this will exceed my data cap and I will have to purchase additional bandwidth.

“Every one of these excuses is fallacious,” Joubert comments.

Automated online backup services can copy, compress and encrypt files that have changed since the previous backup and send them via a secure Internet connection to be safely stored in a high-security data centre. No human intervention is required nor do you need special hardware or consumables that are themselves at risk of failure.

“Your data will stay intact and available even if your local disk/laptop is stolen or crashes; or your premises suffer some disaster,” he says and points out that automated online backup is not only reliable and easy to use, it is available for a low fixed monthly fee.

“The cost of not having it could be incalculable,” he concludes.

Wicount nominated for E-Commerce award

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

The awards, run by Jump Shopping, are designed to recognise and reward companies that demonstrate excellence through the use of the internet.

“Thank you, we are so thrilled to have been nominated by our peers for this award. If you have had wonderful service from us, we urge you, our group-buying supporters and fans, to help us in receiving this exceptional honour,” said Dan Palay, joint CEO of Wicount, the first group-buying site to launch in South Africa.

Criteria for nominations include ease of use; website design, usability and navigation; customer care and communication; refund and return policies; product range; pricing; payment methods; ordering processing; and the quality of data.

Jump Shopping, the organisers, and the public will be judging the nominated websites in three separate rounds. The public is only required to vote in round one. One vote per email address is allowed.

At the end of the first round, the top 40 websites with the most votes from the public will go through to round two. Here they will be evaluated by Jump Shopping and the top 20 contenders will go through to the third and final round. During this round, Jump Shopping will be ordering from the top 20 websites under pseudo names to evaluate the sites and their respective ordering processes, customer service, as well as the websites design standards and ease of use.

The 2011 South African E-Commerce Awards is run by Jump Shopping, one of the country’s leading online shopping search engines. The awards are now in their sixth year. The winners will be announced on Monday 7 November at a gala dinner in Johannesburg.

XLink partners with Gateway Business

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

XLink Communications (XLink), a market leader in GPRS EFT POS solutions, has recently partnered with Gateway Business Africa, the leading pan-African corporate telecommunications provider, to deliver connectivity services to African credit card machines and their respective banks, using the GSM network.  XLink and Gateway Business are currently implementing a pilot phase which is currently being rolled out in Nigeria.

XLink developed XLink in a Box in order to expand its offering into the African continent after an assessment of the current POS communication requirements for the African market identified a growing need for secure and reliable communications around electronic POS transactions. Leading global payments technology company, Visa, identified that the majority of all transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa are still conducted in cash, however the market is shifting and there is great potential for cards to revolutionise payment transactions and provide access to the associated benefits for merchants, banks and consumers.

Etienne Wilmans, account manager for Acceptance at Visa, comments, “Card penetration varies widely across the African markets. Card acceptance efficiencies over cash – and cheque based systems can result in cost savings; electronic payments are critical to the development of strong, modern economies. Payment products can promote transparency and accountability, reduce transaction costs, increase the number of people with access to formal financial services and decrease the size of the gray economy or informal economy, all of which helps to stimulate economic growth and employment”.

XLink, through its XLink in a Box solution will sell the in-country Service Provider all the required equipment as well as offer the necessary training support to implement the service and thereafter, via remote tools support the service from South Africa.

XLink in a Box is a scaled down version of XLink’s core GPRS EFT POS solution in South Africa that will allow merchants and banks in other African countries to buy into secure, fast, reliable, flexible and more cost effective POS transaction communication. Gateway Business Africa will take ownership of the overall provision and management of the communications to the POS terminals, allowing the banks to retain control over their customers experience and transaction processing

The solution is designed to harness the GSM network capabilities in country without the need to route transactions across borders. The solution decreases the number of ‘hops’ within the payment transaction process therefore also decreasing the duration of the transaction. The solution will also allow for the potential gain of new customers through acquiring a greater geographical reach for payment transaction processing.

Anton Leal, CEO of XLink, highlights that given the gaining acceptance of credit and debit cards on the African continent, XLink’s service is well-poised to drive card acceptance within Africa.

Kaspersky Lab sees growth in H1 2011

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management solutions, announces its successful results of business growth in the US and European markets for the first half of 2011. The company demonstrated outstanding results by gaining bigger market share in the B2C sector and significantly outperforming the competition.

“Both European and US markets are of strategic importance for Kaspersky Lab from a capacity as well as a competition point of view,” said Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab. “Gaining bigger market share from these mature markets proves that our expansion and business development strategy reflects both an understanding of market needs and better knowledge of technology trends. Today we are even closer to global market leadership which shows that we are on a good path to reaching the number 1 position in our market segment in the foreseeable future.”

The early indicators of the 1st half 2011 shows that Kaspersky Lab continues strengthening its market positions. As indicated by NPD data, the company is ranked number one in the B2C Antivirus Market in the US with a Market share of 31.3% (by dollar volume) in the first quarter of 2011. In the Total Security and Security Suites segments, Kaspersky Lab stands in second and third positions (by dollar volume), respectively.

The company has the best growth indicators in European countries among the Top 4 vendors. In fact, according to GfK data, in the first half of 2011 Kaspersky Lab has reached second place in the B2C sector in Western Europe, additionally being ranked first place in key countries such as Germany and France. In the antivirus category Kaspersky Lab has shown especially high results, ranked first with 46% share of the European retail market in the first quarter of 2011.

Barnstone launches graduate academy

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

Barnstone, a leading professional services firm based in Gauteng, has just launched the Barnstone Graduate Academy to contribute to South Africa’s pool of professional services skills. The Barnstone Academy will offer 12 young graduates a six-month training and internship with the potential for full-time employment thereafter.

“This is a first for us, but we really wanted to play a role in helping these 12 exceptional young men get the workplace training they need to build successful careers,” says Deon Crafford, managing director of Barnstone Corporate Services.

Crafford explains that the 12 were part of a team that was employed to take details of the second phase of a highly-complex broad-based black economic empowerment scheme to nearly 30 000 miners working at some 30 sites across the country. “This was a complex and very sensitive assignment for one of our mining clients, and it required smart work and dedication to communicate the intricacies of this phase of the scheme to a very broad audience at the shaft head, so to speak. We were very impressed by the performance of these young graduates, and decided to offer them a way to build on that experience,” Crafford says. “It’s maybe worth mentioning that the nature of this project required we work with men only, which means that this first intake is male only. We will redress the gender imbalance in later intakes.”

Trainees, who are paid a monthly stipend, will spend six months on the programme, which will combine classroom teaching, group work and mentoring with extensive on-the-job experience. The curriculum will include training in Barnstone’s focus technology areas in the mining, energy and financial services sectors, as well as the company’s basic methodologies. A substantial proportion of time will also be spent on general career-building skills as well.

“The professional services industry has the potential to create a lot of high-quality jobs and yet it’s hard for us to attract high-calibre black graduates because we can’t compete with the share options and other benefits of the traditional companies,” observes Mpika Manyathi, manager of the new Academy. “This scheme will help to grow that talent pool for us, but it will also benefit the country at large. We will employ as many of the trainees as we can at the end of the six-month period or help to place them with clients—but neither are we attempting to shackle them in any way. If they get a good job offer even while they are on the course, we will help them to get it!”

Crafford stresses that the academy is in its infancy. “We are also on a steep learning curve,” he says. “The main thing, however, is that we have begun and will be able to open doors for the trainees. We plan to continue the programme, and are looking at running one six-month session each year.”


Barnstone provides strategy, advisory, system implementation and outsourcing support services to many leading organisations in South and Sub Saharan Africa. The Barnstone group focuses on:

  •     Executive advisory services
  •     Fraud risk consulting
  •     Governance Risk and Compliance systems
  •     Sustainable development strategies and systems implementations
  •     ERP application management implementation and outsourcing services, mainly SAP focused
  •     Point to point communications in remote areas across Africa
  •     Business process outsourcing services
  •     Providing skilled resources for technology projects
  •     Private Equity Investments.
  •     Healthcare products and is a distributor of various wound care products

Altech acquires Eyenza Mobile Money

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

The acquisition follows the completion of a satisfactory due diligence of Eyenza by Altech and approval by the board of Altech.

Eyenza Mobile Money is a wallet based system whereby a deposit is made into a central pool account after the user has registered and a wallet is created and linked to the user’s MSISDN number. The user can then transact to the value of the deposit (funds in their wallet).

Commenting on the acquisition, Altech CEO Craig Venter had the following to say: “Altech has long identified the need to become  involved in this rapidly growing area in the mobile payments market, but it has taken time to identify what we believe is a suitable point of entry. We believe that Eyenza incorporates all the necessary components that will allow Altech to successfully move into this progressive market.”

“Eyenza’s offering is unique as it can offer very competitive prices on its services due to its low cost structure and convenience factor. Currently, the unbanked population of South Africa has large monetary and inconvenience costs associated with transferring money to family members, paying of bills and purchasing pre-paid products. This service is set to change that.”

According to Johan van der Westhuizen, the CEO of Eyenza, the acquisition by Altech will have a positive impact on Eyenza going forward.

“Altech has a successful track record of developing new and innovative products and services for the ICT sector and now with their backing and support we will be able to take our mobile money services to the next level and become an important participant in this growing market,” he said.

The Eyenza service offering is bank and mobile network operator-agnostic in that it offers vending services with no requirement for pre-registered bank accounts and no restriction on existing banking partner or cellular provider and can be directly marketed to the unbanked.

“Eyenza incorporates a range of key success factors,” said Venter. “It is both bank and MNO (Mobile Network Operator) independent; it does not require a special cellular phone or SIM card; user registration is easily accomplished from the handset; and it can be operated via any of the four primary mobile communications channels (USSD, SMS, Java and data).”

Services currently offered include prepaid airtime, prepaid electricity, third party payment services (clothing accounts etc.) and making transfers to other account holders.

In time, Eyenza mobile money services will be expanded to include:

  • Insurance cover – Funeral, life, household etc.
  • Microloan distribution
  • Lotto and sports betting
  • Third party bill payments
  • Retail payments
  • Payroll distribution
  • Government grants (Including pensions, child grants etc.)
  • Agri-aid distribution and payment.
  • Money transfer to third parties (i.e. non-Eyenza users)
  • Loyalty programs
  • Public transport – linked to embedded PayPass / PayWave contactless payment devices in handsets
  • Pre-approved medical funding distribution
  • On-line fast-food ordering
  • Wireless-G data top-up
  • Toll-Wallet top-up

Venter says there are significant market opportunities in mobile money services.

“Mobile money payment services are expected to reach US$245 billion in value worldwide by 2014. At the same time, mobile money users are expected to total 340 million, equivalent to 5% of all global mobile subscribers.”

Additionally, the acquisition is part of Altech’s strategic aim to capitalise on its existing businesses and grow market share through a range of value added services.

“Exploiting the synergies between our operations and moving customers up the value chain is all part of our growth drive and we see opportunities with other Altech operations, from the selling of prepaid airtime by Altech Autopage to Altech Card Solutions developing the Eyenza POS front-end applications for deployed terminal devices.”

According to Venter, Eyenza’s service offering is also perfectly suited to the unbanked environment in Africa and would provide a significant opportunity to leverage the presence Altech already has in East and West Africa. This will allow Altech to broaden its client base into Africa and will allow delivery of additional Altech product offerings abroad.

“The Eyenza model is easily replicable in other African and Asian environments and the major development costs have already been incurred,” he said.

To preserve current efficiencies and standards, Altech will retain existing Eyenza management and staff whilst it provides supporting administration services and strategic input to the company.

“The current CEO, Johan van der Westhuizen, and key employees have entered into five year service contracts in order to ensure a smooth transition into the Altech fold and I am positive that Eyenza will become a valuable addition to the Altech Group,” concluded Venter.

CA Southern Africa launches new Cloud based solutions

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

CA Southern Africa has now launched four new solutions, as well as a comprehensive initiative that will help service providers rapidly design and deliver new, high-margin cloud service offerings.

CA Technologies is encouraging service providers to sell cloud-based services with a sustainable financial model that helps them drive revenue and efficiencies which can help build profits. The new solutions also support this growth by allowing customised offerings for highly targeted customers, spanning large and small enterprises, as well as consumers.

Service providers continue to lead the way in cloud computing and enterprises of all sizes rely on these partners as they take their first steps toward the cloud. The need is for solutions that help enable revenue and margin improvements, targeted at specific customer segments, while greatly improving operational efficiency, minimising security, compliance and availability risks and providing better management of the quality of service delivered.

“We are committed to helping service providers unlock the full potential of cloud-based solutions for their customers,” says Andrea Lodolo, CTO at CA Southern Africa. “While other cloud computing approaches require building costly ‘cloud stacks’ with multiple products, layers and prohibitive pricing models, our unique approach frees service providers from vendor lock-in and helps them improve margins. It simplifies the delivery of new services and provides a broad set of choices to help target specific markets with differentiated cloud services. We are continuing to expand our ecosystem of cloud partners and solutions – which is a big benefit for service providers and customers.”

Supporting this approach, CA Southern Africa now offers new solutions.

“The latest version of CA AppLogic offers an application-centric, fast and easy approach for delivering infrastructure, tools, applications and virtual data centres in the cloud,” says Gareth James, solution strategist for cloud computing at CA Southern Africa. “Service providers can use the CA AppLogic platform to add new revenue-driving services – independent of hypervisor technology – with dramatic speed, flexibility and choice.”

Alongside CA AppLogic 3.0, CA Southern Africa is releasing a new set of automation, assurance and service management solutions with capabilities ideal for service providers.

“The new solutions offer broad support for moving into cloud computing,” says James. “These include CA Automation Suite for Clouds 1.0, providing automation of service delivery and supporting end-user self-service; CA NetQoS Unified Communications Monitor 3.2 for voice and video management services; and CA Business Service Insight 8.0 for clear reporting of service level terms and performance.

“At the same time, we have introduced a cloud market accelerator programme, giving our service provider partners the tools and resources for co-marketing, sales enablement and collaboration. The initiative is designed to provide support throughout the process of developing and delivering cloud service offerings, helping to contribute to their success. It will also not only serve to foster an extensive ecosystem of cloud service providers that help make the cloud-connected enterprise a reality but also offer creative business oriented financial models aimed at removing barriers to entry,” Lawrence concludes.

Alcatel-Lucent upgrades Saudi Arabia IP backhaul

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

Alcatel-Lucent today announced that Zain Saudi Arabia, a leading mobile operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has selected Alcatel-Lucent’s IP/MPLS-based mobile backhaul solution to respond to the sharp increase in bandwidth requirements, and to keep pace with subscribers’ demands.

Saudi Arabia is widely recognized as the largest telecommunications market in the Middle East region, with growth in this sector currently estimated at about 30 percent per annum.  A recent report by the Riyadh-based Economics Studies House, commissioned by the MTN Group, showed that the penetration rate of mobile phones in Saudi Arabia could grow from the current 32 percent to 60 percent by 2014, with over 20 million subscribers. The report noted that this would not only require a rapid rollout of capacity to service almost 13 million new lines over the coming nine years, but would also require dramatic increases in network coverage and service availability to meet demand in the Kingdom.

The Alcatel-Lucent solution offers a converged, scalable, multi-access and all-IP network allowing dynamic service creation and delivery at the lowest cost per bit while enabling broadband accessibility to all Zain KSA subscribers, delivering service innovation, streamlining network operations and generating new revenues for the operator.  As part of the Alcatel-Lucent’s High Leverage Network architecture, the solution will offer to Zain an increased capacity at lower cost while providing the necessary service reliability and quality of experience that subscribers expect, while it will strengthen the ability of Zain KSA to offer its customers the best possible quality of experience and also prepare its network infrastructure to immediately launch next generation communication and data services.

“Zain KSA looks forward to working with Alcatel-Lucent on this important network evolution project designed not only to improve the customer experience with a reliable and stable network, but also to take our customers to the next level of mobility and beyond,” said Dr. Saad Al Barrak Zain KSA CEO & Managing Director.  “Through our competitive vendor selection process, Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated that they are ready to deliver innovative, cost-effective, state-of-the art technology and deliver financial value to Zain KSA.”

Amr El Leithy, Head of Alcatel-Lucent’s activities in the Middle East and Africa said: “Through Alcatel-Lucent IP/MPLS mobile backhaul solution, Zain KSA will dramatically simplify operations, reduce operating expenditures, as well as offer its customers the highest quality and most advanced wireless IP services. Our industry-leading mobile backhaul solution, which has helped service providers worldwide transform their networks to all-IP, will enable Zain KSA to economically and efficiently upgrade its infrastructure”.

As part of this project, Alcatel-Lucent is deploying its 7750 Service Router (SR) and 7705 Service Aggregation Router (SAR) along with the Alcatel-Lucent 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM) and the Alcatel-Lucent 5650 Control Plane Assurance Manager (CPAM). The Alcatel-Lucent IP portfolio will make it possible for Zain KSA to deliver scalable, evolvable, cost-efficient and fully managed IP-based transport able to adapt to the expected increase in core traffic for years to come and to the advances brought about by the introduction of fourth-generation mobile technology.

Furthermore, Zain KSA has selected Alcatel-Lucent to provide comprehensive turnkey network-related services, including consulting, design, software integration, installation and commissioning, within the frame of this contract.

Opinion: Secure online backup offers compliance peace of mind

By admin, 25 sierpnia, 2011, No Comment

Corporate voice and data service supplier Vox Orion says South Africa’s corporates are increasingly turning to hosted online backup services to store and protect sensitive information.

“Companies are being squeezed from two sides,” says Vox Orion MD Jacques du Toit. “On the one hand, they have to maintain accurate records of just about every customer interaction, including recordings of telephone calls, for up to five years. On the other hand, they have to ensure that customer’s personal information is not stored longer than absolutely necessary, and that it is kept safe.”

Securing customer data will only become more important, says du Toit. “There’s a new report of customer data being stolen every other week,” he says. “Sony and Nintendo have been the biggest news this year, but there may be hundreds of other less-reported cases. More and more, regulators are going to come down hard on companies who don’t take the right steps to protect their customer information.”

Du Toit says Vox Orion’s secure online backup service is built for compliance – as well as for cost effectiveness. “Your information is almost certainly safer in an off-site data centre than in your own basement,” he says, “especially if you have been storing taped backups of call records. That’s no longer good enough.”

“We designed our online backup to use bandwidth capacity that’s otherwise idle at night,” he says. “Our customers are already paying for the pipe to their offices – this is making sure that capacity is put to productive use around the clock.”

Offsite archives are securely encrypted and a full audit trail is maintained of every time the archive is accessed or changed.

Vox Orion’s solution is also designed to optimise storage space, says Du Toit. “When you’re backing up email, you don’t want to save 100 copies of the same presentation that’s been emailed around the company,” he says. “We have a de-duplication facility that will ensure only one copy is stored, and linked to each mail message it was attached to.”

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