Archive for Październik, 2011

SAT-3 keeps ATC users connected

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

The network operator has designed and built its network with a specific focus on failover contingencies.

“Like other ISPs, ATC utilises both the SAT-3 and Seacom cable systems in an effort to assure our customers’ uptime should one of the cable systems fail”, says Wayne de Nobrega, CEO of Altech Technology Concepts. “Our ability to maintain 100% uptime is achieved through the stringent capacity management policy we have on both links. This ensures that customers can seamlessly alternate between systems, should one of the cables fail.”

“Our customers have not felt any pain over the last week and haven’t even noticed that there has been a cable fault. It’s business as usual for them. The quality of our internet service has remained impeccable”

Although no ATC customers were impacted due to the failure, ATC immediately engaged with Seacom to ensure that alternate routes were established to further maintain ATC’s redundancy.

“Although this cable management system costs ATC considerably more, it is well worth the customer satisfaction experienced and the quality of our network – both of which are paramount to us – we will never compromise on either”, concluded de Nobrega.

Wellness intervention in business crucial

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

“Finding the perfect balance between work and home life is at the heart of the issue and is essential when an organisation wants to have a staff member that is satisfied and performing at their peak in their position,” says Dr Arien van der Merwe, medical specialist in health and wellbeing at EOH Health and newly appointed editor of The Integrative Medicine Journal SA.

Wellness is a sound business strategy when combined with pro-active health promotion as its flagship, says Dr Van Der Merwe.  “Basic health services such as having a regular blood pressure test, cholesterol and HIV testing is a screening method that will indicate whether a staff member has larger underlying physiological problems that may need professional intervention.  The process educates the employee on the medium to high health risks that they face and how to go about lowering those risks,” she explains.

However, it is not simply about the physiological aspects.  “You have to look at the person in their entirety and consider their emotional, occupational, mental and spiritual state as well as the environment that they find themselves in,” says Dr Van Der Merwe.  “Finding a work and life balance is crucial in establishing a happy medium for both the employee and the employer.”

Many companies lose sight of how much an individual can realistically do in one day.  “If you keep overloading an employee, they will need to take their work home and finalise it there, which cuts into their family and personal time.  It severely affects the employee’s productivity, emotional state and general well-being, inevitably contributing to absenteeism at work,” says Dr Van Der Merwe.

“One of the most common problems we have picked up is high blood pressure in young people, averaging 28 years of age.  It is quite alarming and serves as a clear indicator of the sheer amount of strain that many people experience in the workplace.  It is often the result of an underlying issue and in most cases we find that the individuals don’t know how to manage a problem that is causing the strain, nor do they know how to relax and take their minds off work.  Technology is helping a great deal with the matter, providing means for us to demonstrate the benefits of a simple relaxing exercise.  Learning some practical stress management tools and techniques can really help people cope with modern day stress and strain,” explains Dr Van Der Merwe.

Companies will find a 6:1 return on investment in terms of decreased sick leave and absenteeism for every Rand spent in wellness interventions.  “Wellness is a conscious and continuous integrative process that leads to the enhancement of individual, organisational and community health and wellbeing, and is therefore something that companies can no longer ignore,” concludes Dr Van Der Merwe.

Datacentrix awarded NetApp partner of the year 2011 title

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

According to NetApp South Africa channel manager, Matthew Barker, the award was given to Datacentrix based on the substantial rise in revenue achieved by the company year on year, as well as the acquisition of new accounts, both within the government and retail sectors.

“We have partnered with Datacentrix for around 18 months now and our relationship has grown from strength to strength,” he says. “Their level of investment into NetApp and commitment to the brand has been eye opening.

“Within a short time period, they have not only reached Platinum Partner status, but also satisfied our requirements to qualify as both a Profession Service Certified   (PSC) Professional Services Partner and Support Services Certified (SSC) Support Services Partner, all of which have stringent requirements that need to be fulfilled.”

Barker maintains that Datacentrix has assisted in elevating NetApp to a new level in South Africa through the penetration of new markets. “We are looking forward to continuing success with Datacentrix on a national basis into the future.”

“With so many companies focused on the bottom line today, NetApp’s storage and data management tools can help lower ROI by assisting them in reducing downtime and improving productivity, without requiring additional overheads,” explains Tony de Sousa, enterprise business unit manager at Datacentrix. “With NetApp, local businesses will be able to decrease TCO by up to 62 percent, run database copies 97 percent faster than with alternative solutions and slash storage and data management costs for e-mail applications by over 60 percent.

“These type of solutions fit seamlessly into Datacentrix’ focus on the data centre level, enabling businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively,” he says. “We look forward to continuing and building on our partnership with NetApp.”

Infor10 Supply Chain Execution now available

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

By bringing warehouse management, labor management, billing, and transportation planning into one solution, Infor10 Supply Chain Execution reduces complexities, automates repetitive processes and enables faster decision making.

Using Infor10 ION, Infor’s innovative interoperability platform, the application easily interfaces with other solutions throughout the supply chain. Infor10 Supply Chain Execution integrates with key enterprise solutions, including enterprise resource planning, customers’ systems for stock balances and transaction details, and vendor solutions.

  • Infor10 Supply Chain Execution offers manufacturers, distributors, retailers and logistics service providers a unified approach to automating and simplifying complex warehouse and transportation management processes.
  • The adoption of one solution that meets the diverse needs of the supply chain enables a company to reduce risk, implementation time and ongoing overhead.
  • Infor10 Supply Chain Execution uses advanced integration tools to upload master data and transaction data more quickly, enabling companies to add new customers faster and start generating new revenue sooner.

Key Infor10 Supply Chain Execution capabilities include:

  • Better workforce management Users can monitor labor in real time to measure workforce performance, optimise the distribution of work using task management and analysis capabilities, easily bill for non-transaction-based activities, and use easy-to-understand interfaces to reduce training time.
  • Automated inventory management The solution automates inventory management and movement activities to reduce inventory levels where possible, and efficiently manage product shelf life to avoid the need to scrap outdated products.
  • Self-service for customers, vendors and employees – Customers can see the status of their order using an interactive web portal, and also directly place holds on inventory and upload their SKUs. Vendors have tools to manage their own inventory and print and attach labels to goods they distribute. Employees and managers have better visibility into warehouse operations.
  • New value-added services – Companies can quickly and easily offer customers profitable new value-added services such as kitting, support for sales promotions, and billing services.
  • Accurate reports and alerts – Built-in reports and ad hoc reporting capabilities provide more accurate reports to executives and customers. Alerting capabilities detect issues early, and bring them to the attention of key stakeholders to avoid major problems.

Canon launches HD movie print feature

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

HD recording in particular has set new standards and according to Abri Kriegler, Product Manager at Canon South Africa, even the smallest Canon digital compact and entry-level SLR cameras today offers Full HD movie mode, with the option to switch between stills and HD video instantly.

However, even though people embrace evolution in most cases, static framed images are still very much a part of our lives and affectionately displayed in our homes.

For this reason, HD Movie Print has evolved. According to Kriegler, key to the development and release of HD Movie Print has been the cross pollination of photographic technologies in both imaging and output devices.  Therefore the software used on a camera to select the best image of a specific moment is incorporated in the printer to simplify selection and printing thereof.

“Full HD Movie Print gives users the ability to capture and print treasured moments as stills from full HD video footage captured on Canon’s range of Digital SLRs or Canon Digital Still Cameras. Creative effects can also be applied including Merge Frames, where multiple images can be combined to give a sense of motion to the printed photos. The newly introduced Layout Print now also allows movie clips to be selected and a comic-strip effect used to print a storyboard.”

In order to get the most from your HD footage it is important to ensure that you do apply some technique when shooting a particular scene.  “This is particularly important when merging frames to demonstrate a certain motion such as a golf swing. When creating a collage there is some room for error – particularly when it isn’t possible to keep the camera completely still,” says Kriegler.

Ultimately, HD movie print ensures that you can print absolutely everything.

Opinion: Business communication goes social

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

By Bennie Langenhoven, managing executive of Tellumat communication solutions

The rise of social media in business

Social media has already become widely used in business, but its impact will be felt even more pervasively in future, as unified communications and other applications find a natural home in a social setting.

Marketing, networking and information

Currently, the main business applications of social media are marketing, networking and information gathering.

A year ago, LinkedIn was thought of as the best business networking tool, while Facebook provided interaction with close personal friends. Twitter was still finding its feet in the enterprise.

Today, LinkedIn remains strong while Facebook has made major inroads as a more valued networking tool and a personal, campaign or corporate branding platform. Meanwhile, Twitter has become indispensable as an interest-based newsfeed, whether you’re following thought leaders such as FNB’s chief economist @ceesbruggemans, publications like @BusinessDayDigi, or assembling groups of like-minded Twitterers.

Having created a public group such as the one above, you can then create a custom online newspaper of its “members’” insights and news sources on a site called paper.li. Each issue can be republished on social media to position you as a curator of thought leadership, thus building your brand. The networking and knowledge-based applications of Twitter are legion, and the Twittersphere requires constant monitoring for new benefits and apps.

Social and unified communications

Impressive as the evolution of social media in business already is, the integration is about to get even tougher, as business communications takes on a social aspect.

With Generation Y-ers entering the work force, the demand for a more integrated, collaborative and social communication environment is on the rise to suit this generation’s preoccupation with mobility and UC-like apps such as Skype and WhatsApp.

To this, UC vendors are responding by adapting their wares to offer even more collaborative ways of communicating. Already, industry thought leaders are predicting the death of email in favour of social messaging, and sacrilegious as that sounds, it’s probably just a matter of time.

In addition, some enterprise tools are developing social elements or offshoots – most famously Chatter – a free private social network developed by Salesforce.com.

In short, mini social networks are inevitable in business communication, whether created as part of your enterprise installation, intranet, communications interface, productivity suite or social network of choice.

Benefits of social-UC integration

The benefits of social-UC integration will be enormous.

Some are broadly congruent with the vision of Communications-Enabled Business Processes (CEBP), and in such cases the social-UC integration will most likely be front-ended by productivity, communications or enterprise applications.

From these apps, it will be easy to organise enterprise groups in a social, collaborative space, and allow one-click conference calls, easy desktop sharing and so forth in order to conduct online meetings.

Other benefits centre on the success of social media on the mobile platforms of the day (currently, the iPad and smartphones). Vendors seeking these benefits will pursue further business cases for the integration of presence and location awareness into mobile-accessible social media. This process has already kicked off with Foursquare.

Clearly, mobile will dominate as the access platform of choice.

Challenges

While the possible futures alluded to above will probably begin within company firewalls, social-UC integration will soon broaden to associate companies.

The main challenge with this, exacerbated by employees’ introduction of their own devices into the corporate systems mix, is security. Managing the new ecosystem of extra-corporate collaboration and communication will require clear rights-based access policies and strong protection. Most immediately, externally-hosted platforms may be shunned in favour of private cloud or own-data centre delivery models.

It’s how you use it

The advent of social-UC integration offers an exciting world of new opportunities. As always, it’s what you do with it and how you manage it that will make the difference.

ISPA ‘Super Teacher’ racks up more awards

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

Phuti Ragophala  has won a Stars in Education award, an annual accolade for the unsung heroes of South African education awarded by publisher and multi-media communications firm Argo.

Stars in Education is an annual competition which recognises the achievements of teachers who have created a ‘bright spot’ story in the often dark landscape of education in South Africa.

Ragophala, from Pula Madibogo Primary School, in Limpopo, was earlier this year identified by ISPA as the teacher who best used her newly-acquired computer skills for the benefit of her community after participating in ISPA’s ‘Train the Teacher’ initiative.

Ragophala won the Stars in Education award for turning a former dumping site into a centre for orphaned and vulnerable children that features food gardens, a poultry farm, a herbal garden and other facilities. She also organised computer training for 25 community members to learn to draw up budgets.

“I am honoured to receive this award so soon after the recognition from ISPA,” Ragophala. “It is thanks to the support from the community that I have been able to achieve so much this year. It is wonderful to see so much support for the work we are doing at Pula Madibogo Primary School from the rest of country.”

Fiona Wallace Chairperson of ISPA’s Teacher Training working group, said: “We are thrilled that Mrs Ragophala has received more recognition for the excellent work she is doing for her community. It is through the efforts of dedicated professionals like her that we will be able to address the daunting social and economic challenges we face in South Africa.”

ISPA recognises the growing need for computer skills training, and the importance of computer-literate teachers. The Train the Teacher initiative was established in December 2001. To date, ISPA has successfully trained 2238 educators at more than 250 under-resourced and rural schools nationwide.

Ozone air purification for crèches a first in SA

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

Installed by Ozone Services Industries (OSI), the Airzone Calypso 55 UV units now used at Wierda Baba Sentrum purify the air in the crèche of pathogens to safeguard the health of the children the facility looks after. Many of the kids at the crèche are infants only a few days old and thus highly susceptible to illness because of their immature immune systems.

The units are based on ultraviolet technology, which destroys airborne pathogens as they try to reproduce by deactivating their DNA. The lights are contained in a metal casing to prevent anyone from staring directly into them. A built-in fan draws the air from the room into the unit which pass over the Ultra-violet germicidal lamps and the pathogens are destroyed.

Ian Wright, managing director of OSI said: “Ultraviolet technology is a safe and simple option for purifying the air in environments such as daycare facilities. The ultraviolet light kills off micro-organisms in a very effective manner that is also completely safe to humans if the system is installed correctly.”

OSI also installed two Airzone Sani ozone-based units at Wierda Baba Sentrum, one in the nappy changing room and the other at reception, to cleanse the air around these areas and the bathrooms.

“Ozone is not only a great deodoriser but it is also highly efficient at killing bacteria and viruses as well. Importantly, ozone leaves no chemical residue as unused ozone reverts back into oxygen,” said Wright. “As such, it is perfect  for environments such as Wierda Baba Sentrum.”

The crèche’s Johan De Clerk said that Wierda Baba Sentrum takes care of many small children while their parents are at work, including many infants who are but a few days old. Since new-born infants are so vulnerable to pathogens passed on by caregivers and older children, the crèche decided that it was important to invest in a solution that would allow it to
create a sterile environment for the children it tends to.

“The health of our babies and toddlers is very important to us, so we see this as a worthwhile investment,” De Klerk added. “We hope to expand our use of the OSI products in the years to come as we strive to create a germ-free place for our kids to eat, sleep and play while their parents are at work,” he concluded.

SARS implements new procedures to reduce taxpayer fraud

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

“From now on, any changes to banking details will be verified before an individual or company banking profile can be updated and if any refunds are due, these will only be processed after the receipt and verification of the new banking details,” says Grant Lloyd, managing director of payroll and HR software developer Softline Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline and Sage Group plc.

“The new procedures will improve security and reduce fraud. Banking details can be changed in person at any SARS branch or the change can be made when an individual Income Tax return is submitted. Supporting documents must be provided.”

As part of the general SARS encouragement of electronic submissions, banking details can also be changed via the SARS eFiling system when submitting an ITR12 Individual Income Tax return, but SARS may still ask the taxpayer to go to a branch to verify the change.

Where two taxpayers hold a joint bank account, both will be required to go to a SARS branch in person so that the details of both individuals can be confirmed before any change to banking details can be accepted.

The documents required include an original identity document or passport or an affidavit to justify the absence of an ID document/passport, together with a temporary ID document or passport. Copies of ID documents or passports must be certified by a Commissioner of Oaths.

Lloyd adds that SARS also requires an original stamped bank statement not more than three months old that confirms the account holder’s name, account number, account type and branch code. Where a taxpayer may have opened a new bank account and cannot produce a bank statement, an original letter from the bank concerned on its formal letterhead with a bank stamp, giving the date the account was opened, will be accepted by SARS.

Acceptable proof of residential address includes a utility account such as rates and taxes, water or electricity, a student fee account, a co-op statement (farmers), a medical aid statement, a mortgage statement or a telephone account. These must be less than three months old and in the case of a mortgage statement, less than six months. Other acceptable documents include government issued documents such as motor vehicle licences, court orders or subpoenas, insurance and investment documents and formal lease agreements among others.

“Companies, close corporations and partnerships changing bank account details must also present supporting documentation in person by the company’s formal representative. Required documents include certificate of incorporation (CM1) for a public or private company, a founding statement and certificate of incorporation for a close corporation and a partnership agreement in the case of a partnership.

“An original ID document/passport is also required and in the absence of these, an affidavit to justify the absence of an ID document or passport  together with a temporary ID or passport or affidavit or a certified copy of an individual, a partner or an entity representative.”

Lloyd adds that other documentation is required for non-resident, subsidiary or holding companies. Non-resident companies require indemnity from VAT forms, articles of memorandum, of association or other similar document indicating the country of issue, a letter of appointment of the representative vendor and a certified copy of the ID of the authorised signatory on the nominated bank account.

A subsidiary or holding company as defined in section one of the Companies Act (1973), changing its bank account needs to present the following documents to SARS – VAT indemnity, letter from the public officer confirming the company structure and a certified ID of the authorised signatory of the nominated bank account.

Other requirements and measures are in place for deceased estates, incapacitated or terminally ill taxpayers, imprisoned taxpayers, non-resident taxpayers and minor children.

Brightstar and MTN SA partner up

By admin, 14 października, 2011, No Comment

The deal builds upon Brightstar’s recent expansion of operations and services in the region.

Beginning October 1, Brightstar will provide MTN SA with Device Portfolio Management services, Supply Chain services and OEM engagement services that will encompass the operator’s full portfolio of handsets, data devices, laptops and tablets. These services will enable MTN to continue its focus on improving efficiencies in the supply chain, enhancing the OEM engagements and ultimately delivering a superior customer experience.

“We are delighted to offer MTN the world class innovative solutions needed to execute its business strategy in South Africa,” said Jeff Gower, Head of supply chain services for Brightstar.  “This agreement is evidence of our commitment to expanding our reach into this region and becoming a truly global services provider within the wireless industry.”

“Brightstar’s deep understanding of the industry and its global market intelligence mirrors that of MTN SA and enhances the company’s  capacity to administer device management, allowing us to focus on better servicing our customers,” said Brian Gouldie, Sales and Distribution Executive at  MTN SA. “Brightstar’s proven innovative suite of services will enable our customers to have the products they want, when they want them. It’s all about accessibility and convenience – a prerequisite for today’s customers.”

Brightstar offers an expansive portfolio of more than 100 services for wireless manufacturers, operators, retailers, government agencies, value added resellers (VARs) and consumers worldwide.

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