Archive for Listopad, 2011

Norton online family report reveals new insights into children’s internet use

By admin, 21 listopada, 2011, No Comment

 South African Findings Unveiled in Norton Study

The latest edition of the Norton Online Family Report sheds new light on the realities and risks of growing up in the digital age. This year’s report identifies the new issue of “cyberbaiting,” a growing phenomenon where kids taunt their teachers, then capture the distressed reactions via cell phone videos. In addition, the report reveals a surprisingly high number of kids taking liberties with their parents’ credit cards for shopping online. The report shows that following clearly stated house rules for proper Internet behavior can make a significant impact in averting negative online experiences.
 
In South Africa, 78 percent of kids said that they have had a negative experience while online and 61 percent, however, have had a serious negative experience, such as receiving inappropriate pictures from strangers, being bullied or becoming the victim of cybercrime. 
 
The report also shows that kids across the world who are active on social networks open up more doors for content or situations that can be tricky for them to handle: globally, 74 percent of kids on social networks find themselves in unpleasant situations online, compared to 38 percent who stay away from social networking.
 
Parents are setting ground rules, for online use, which helps kids have a more positive experience. The Norton Online Family Report shows that in South Africa, for those households where rules exist, while the “good kids” who follow the rules stay relatively safe with 68 percent having had a negative experience online, the percentage increases to a staggering 95 percent among rule-breakers.
 
“Kids are developing their online identity at an earlier age than ever before,” said Vanessa Van Petten, youthologist and author of “Radical Parenting,” “and they need parents, teachers and other role models to help them figure out where to go, what to say, how to act and perhaps most importantly, how not to act. Negative situations online can have repercussions in the real world — from bullying to money lost in scams to giving strangers personal information.”
 
Teachers at Risk of Cyberbaiting
One of the more shocking examples of using social networks for bad behavior is cyberbaiting, where students first irritate or bait a teacher until he or she cracks, filming the incident on their mobile device so they can post the footage online, embarrassing the teacher and the school. In South Africa, 30 percent of teachers have personally experienced or knows another teacher who has experienced this phenomenon.
 
Perhaps because of cyberbaiting, 69 percent of South African teachers say being friends with students on social networks exposes them to risks. Still, 31 percent continue to “friend” their students. Only 55 percent, however, say their school has a code of conduct for how teachers and students communicate with each other through social media. Eighty-seven percent of teachers call for more online safety education in schools, a position supported by 80 percent of parents.
 
Raiding Mom’s Digital Purse
Globally, 23 percent of parents who let their kids use their debit or credit card to shop online say their kids have overspent. Thirty percent of parents, however, say that their child has used their debit or credit card to shop online without consent. And more than half of parents (53 percent) who let their child shop online using their online store account reported that their child has used it without permission.  
 
But saving money isn’t the only reason to set clear guidelines about online shopping and safe Internet behaviors. In South Africa, 90 percent of parents whose children have been the victim of cybercrime have also been a victim themselves — an increase from the average of 84 percent among South African online adults. (Norton Cybercrime Report, 2011)
 
“Parents and teachers play an enormous role in keeping kids—and themselves—safe online, and this year’s Norton Online Family Report shows a real need for further education,” said Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate. “While 79 percent of South African parents say they talk to their kids about online safety, 57 percent still secretly check their children’s online use and 37 percent look at their social network use behind their backs. Having an open dialogue with kids in a safe environment like at home or school can be much more effective, along with arming children with the tools they need to stay safe.”
 
The research into children’s online activities by the world’s largest internet security firm also uncovered:

  • Only 5 percent of parents in South Africa, say they have no idea what their children do online, but 10 percent of children in South Africa think their parents have no idea about their online activities
  • 34 percent of South African kids say they sometimes stop what they are doing online if they know their parents are watching
  • 72 percent of South African parents have house rules about how much time their kids can spend online and only 49 percent have set parental controls on the family computer
  • 25 percent of kids in South Africa have experienced a negative situation on their mobile phone, 10 percent had been bullied by mobile phone and 5 percent said they had experienced other cybercrime/negative situations on their phone
  • Of mobile users in South Africa, aged 12+, 12 percent say they’d received sexually suggestive or nude images of someone they didn’t know and 7 percent had received them of someone they did know

For more tips on how to keep your kids and yourself safe online, please visit: www.norton.com/familyresources. For more findings from the Norton Online Family Report globally and by country, please visit: www.norton.com/cybercrimereport.

The expanding digital universe – where to from here with storage technology?

By admin, 19 listopada, 2011, No Comment

By Khalid Wani, Western Digital Sales Director – Branded Business – Middle East, Africa & India

In a world where digital information is more than doubling in size every two years, storage technology is experiencing a myriad of challenges to keep pace with the increasing demands for efficient and cost-effective methods to create, capture, manage and save all of this  data.

Fortunately, computer storage technology is evolving with hard disk drives (HDDs) at its core. Multiple streams of future innovations are being explored by scientists and engineers to evaluate possibilities as the path is paved for tomorrow’s standards – and volumes. Looking at some potential scenarios, global storage leader Western Digital gives some thought to the future of hard drive technology.

Universes, ever-expanding
Digital content generated in 2010 alone was more than all the data created in the previous 5,000 years1. Given the 1.8 trillion gigabytes in 500 quadrillion “files” on track for this year, the digital universe represents nearly as many bits of information as there are stars in our physical universe.2

Breaking the ZB Barrier
Industry analysts estimate that 75% of universal digital content is a copy2 which is contained in an IDC report titled “Extracting Value from Chaos,” on the exponential growth of the digital universe. Some statistics cited include:

• Despite the global recession, in 2010 the digital universe set a record, cracking the Zettabyte (ZB) barrier, and is expected to grow to 1.8 ZB this year. (For a visual image, this would look like a stack of DVDs reaching from the earth to the moon and back).
• By 2020 our digital universe will be 44 times as large as 2009.  (Metaphorically, the stack of DVDs would now reach halfway to Mars).

In terms of sheer volume, 1.8 ZB of data is equivalent to:
• Every person in the USA tweeting 3 tweets each minute (4,320 tweets per day, per person) for 26,976 years—non stop3.
• Or, over 200 Billion HD Movies (each 120 minutes long) and it would take one person 47 million years of 24/7 viewing to watch every movie3.
• Storing 1.8 ZB of data would take 57.5 Billion 32 GB iPads.3

Driving Demand
With the world’s electronic data expanding so rapidly, moving to surpass 2.0 ZB, driving factors include:
• Digital Lifestyles
   o Home Entertainment (streaming and personal content creation)
   o Social Media
   o Mobile Phones
• Security and Surveillance
• Cloud Computing

Anything stored on a smartphone or tablet is duplicated, backed-up and/or stored somewhere else and as more companies engage cloud services, the need for storing and securing data will only increase. Organizations storing important data in cloud platforms have considerable redundancy, backing up information in multiple data centers. Online communities and services such as Facebook, Flickr, Google+ and Twitter are backed up as much as three times. Interestingly, much of the data stored in the digital universe is not user-generated—it is shadowing technology—data created around user transactions and preference queries (“Maybe you would also like…?”) following online purchases and continuously updated streams of analysis stored, directed and accessed in the vortex.

Storage Companies Unite
While software and component supplier companies strive to develop their own solutions to cope with the digital explosion, competitive storage hardware manufacturers (Western Digital (WD), Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST), Marvell, Seagate Technology, Xyratex, LSI, Texas Instruments, Fuji Electric, Veeco, Intevac, KLA-Tencor, and Heraeus) have joined forces to address these huge challenges.

The International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA) formed a special forum, Advanced Storage Technology Consortium (ASTC) to mindshare technical evolutions for next-generation hard drives. With demand for greater capacity and faster speeds always constrained by price, the processes for researching and developing future storage technologies could wind up too costly, risky, or unmanageable for any single drive manufacturer. Under ASTC, cooperative endeavors are in motion to collectively establish common specifications for future platforms.

Next-Generation Drives
As capacity and density requirements spiral upwards, storage companies face barriers with current technical standards. Building the bridge to future technologies presents challenges for both traditional drives and solid state drives (SSDs). For SSDs, as NAND flash reaches semiconductor limits for lithographies below 1X nanometers, new technologies such as Vertical NAND or 3D Stackable NAND are striving to extend NAND flash technology. Other technologies contending to succeed NAND include: 3D Resistive RAM (RRAM), Phase Change Memory (PCM) and Spin-Transfer Torque Magnetoresistive RAM (STT-MRAM).

Hard drives presently hover at maximum capacities of 3TB in the 3.5” form factor and lesser capacity for drives of a smaller footprint. As traditional drive recording begins to reach the ceiling of magnetic properties, several technologies are on the horizon to provide storage options for the industry.
Current magnetic drives employ Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), meaning the magnetic bits align perpendicularly to the spinning disk. Since PMR began shipping into commercial applications in 2005, storage densities have increased as much as eight times from the previous standard, longitudinal recording4. As storage demands escalate, disk capacity has grown based on areal density (AD) improvements, but the slowing of AD advances presents a dilemma: PMR is reaching its limit. An interim answer may be Shingle Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology.

Like shingle tiles layered on a roof, SMR writes partially overlapping data tracks in a particular direction, radially to increase a drive’s areal density, getting more tracks on disk platter surfaces. Tracks are written with a write head wider than the track pitch, thus improving overwrite and adjacent track interference. SMR may help extend PMR by 20 to 50% over conventional recording, but SMR has its own issues associated with emulating the host random read/write commands as random read/sequential write operations on the media. An ideal fit for selective functions such as archive data storage, SMR will likely remain as a technology option in combination with other enablers on a forward basis.

In HDD evolution, moving from PMR technology and the present Exchange Coupled Composite (ECC) media to Energy Assisted Magnetic Recording (EAMR) may be the next logical step. EAMR technologies apply either a high-frequency magnetic field (microwaves) or heat (via an integrated laser) to a microscopic region on the recording media to facilitate the process of writing data. Expected to enable the number of bits that can be stored on the disk to up to 5 terabits or more per square inch, EAMR technologies should come to market in the next three to five years.

Another technology under investigation is that of Bit-Patterned Media (BPM) which involves pre-defining the size and position of “islands” (bits) in the recording medium via advanced lithography processes and is expected to increase storage density on HDDs to 10 terabits or more per square inch when used in conjunction with EAMR. Anticipated to come to market in five to seven years, BPM records individual bits on lithographed islands of strongly-coupled magnetic material which retain each bit’s magnetic charge, thereby allowing the bits to be far smaller than would otherwise be possible with continuous media. Speed-bumps to BPM’s implementation are significant cost and fabrication concerns.

Future Storage
As different storage methods come under review, what the hard drives of tomorrow will look like remains to be seen. Many variables and the possibility of new discoveries make concrete predictions impossible as vendors continue to explore and invest in a variety of technologies.
Offering the greatest value in computer storage for more than half a century, the hard drive industry will find a way to advance existing and develop new technologies to support the future needs of consumers and businesses alike.

 

IBM and City of Johannesburg collaborate for smarter public safety

By admin, 18 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Pro bono Project Assists City of Johannesburg with Smarter Cities Vision

IBM’s Executive Service Corps and the City Of Johannesburg (CoJ) have successfully collaborated to develop a five year public safety strategy. The collaboration process is in line with the CoJ’s commitment to becoming a smarter city as part of the GDS 2040 vision.

MMC for Public Safety for CoJ, Councillor Matshido Mfikoe says that as the City of Johannesburg strives to become a smart city – making it a safer city, especially for its more vulnerable residents, is a priority. “It’s a priority that requires creative thinking in order to find effective long-term solutions.”

“In this project, we agreed to define a five year roadmap for smart public safety.  The roadmap consists of the specific public safety actions to be implemented, by area of public safety in specified time frames.  The primary purpose of the roadmap is to establish the key milestones that need be undertaken by CoJ to move toward smart public safety in the next five years.” says Ron Dombroski, Executive Service Corps team member and Director for Global Market Analysis at IBM.

The IBM Executive Service Corps undertook a intensive three week review of existing CoJ project initiatives and public safety operations.Key resource challenges, such as funding, expertise, and inconsistent business community support were identified, along with execution challenges and structural challenges. A “big five” of safety elements were identified together with details of how crime prevention & investigation, asset management & infrastructure safety, crisis & emergency response, community education & engagement, and governance & integrated intelligence would integrate into a single roadmap.

“Community safety and fulfilling our approach towards becoming a smarter city is not just about curbing crime. It is about a multitude of factors as the level of the individual and community that contribute to the well-being of the city’s people – for example: traffic safety; hazards such as fire, weather-related, and environmental factors; crowding and conditions of deprivation; family systems; and community network.” says Mfikoe.

“It’s been remarkable to witness the spirit of collaboration between the CoJ and the Executive Service Corps,” says Oliver Fortuin, General Manager for IBM South Africa. Fortuin also says that the Public Safety Roadmap is a completely pragmatic outcome for the project. “It’s not only providing Johannesburg with key milestones that most need to improved in public safety, but also a disciplined and measured approach.”

The IBM Executive Service Corps is a variant of the company’s acclaimed Corporate Service Corps program, which provides local communities with pro bono consulting expertise of IBM’s top talent, while training them to be 21st century leaders.  Since the launch of the Corporate Service Corps in 2008, nearly 1,400 IBM employees based in 50 countries have been dispatched on more than 120 team assignments in 24 countries.  

Africa is a special focus for Corporate Service Corps, as the program’s benefits match Africa’s need for highly skilled problem solvers to develop technology infrastructure, as well as civic, business and social institutions.  Corporate Service Corps has deployed more than 300 of IBM’s most talented employees on approximately 40 teams to South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt.

The company announced in September 2011 that it will double the number of emerging leaders it sends on pro-bono assignments to Africa during the next three years, and plans to send roughly 600 employees to Africa through 2015.

For the engagement with the City Of Johannesburg, IBM worked with CDC Development Solutions, a nonprofit organisation, for planning and logistical support.

LG adds innovative touch to home entertainment

By admin, 18 listopada, 2011, No Comment

New Touch Display TV Lets Viewers ‘Draw’ on TV Boasting all the High-Tech, High Picture Quality of Premium LG Plasma TV

LG Electronics (LG) has taken a big step forward in interactive entertainment with the launch of its new Plasma Pentouch TV.

The innovative plasma TV set offers all the advantages of a PC with internet access, while letting viewers control content directly on the screen using a special pen. By incorporating LG’s Plasma Display Panel’s (PDP) cells, the Plasma Pentouch TV offers a more sophisticated slim design at a lower price than conventional units.

“Touch displays have become the norm in phones and tablets, but remain almost unheard of in TVs,” says JM Lee, CEO of LG Electronics South Africa. “The Plasma Pentouch TV brings all the excitement of a touch display, a computer and the internet to the world of TVs, with functions and programs that are great fun and educational. Families, in particular, will more than ever enjoy our Plasma Pentouch TV sets.”

Users can activate the Pentouch mode with a single click on the remote control, while the interface itself is intuitive and easy to navigate. In Pentouch mode, users can access files, such as PowerPoint and other content from their PC, working on and editing them on the TV screen with the greatest of ease. The TV supports simultaneous two-pen use.

The pen batteries can be recharged through USB ports on the back of the TV unit, ensuring users have functional pens all the time.

Using the TV’s excellent suite of software, budding artists can draw pictures directly onto the screen and then save the files for further editing or effects manipulation. If the PC is connected to a printer, users can print their Pentouch creations, too. More complex software features include Gallery, which comes with a built-in slide show feature, Family Calendar and Digital Photo Frame, which lets users embellish their work with the frame of their choice. The Plasma Pentouch TV is connected to the internet, allowing for further applications to be downloaded as desired.

The Plasma Pentouch TV uses a protective scratch-free glass screen, as well as RGB expression and optimised brightness for crisper images. Visual comfort is further enhanced by the auto sharpness control function and color materialisation technology.

In balance with the unit’s stylish TruSlim Frame design, the Pentouch TV uses an eye-catching four-leg stand that has been specially designed to ensure stability so that the TV doesn’t tip over when owners or their children are using the Pentouch feature. This means the TV is both great fun to use, and safe as well.

The premium model, the PZ850, will also include LG’s superb 3D THX feature, a single standard measurement of 3D picture quality.

The Recommended Retail Price of the LG Plasma Pentouch is as follows:
- 60PZ850  R25,999 incl VAT (with 3D capability)
- 50PT490  R10,999 incl VAT (without 3D capability)

 

Solution to Mobile Power Problems Now Available in South Africa

By admin, 17 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Where Energy, technology and freedom meet…

AP1201

AP1201

Keeping  mobile phones and other mobile devices alive no longer relies on a plug point as Blue Cellular introduces its range of Energizer® Energi To Go® portable chargers to the South African market.

 “We are excited to help consumers get the most from their devices through usage of Energizer® Energi To Go® power packs,” says Blue Cellular’s Sales Director David Taitz. “The extensive line of these small yet powerful chargers will help consumers stay connected, work and play longer by extending the run time of popular high-drain mobile devices such as smartphones, MP3 players, laptops and digital cameras.”

The Energizer® Energi To Go® products use world leading lithium polymer battery technology to bring high quality, sleek, rechargeable and portable chargers to the market. 

The line, available at select major retailers, includes affordable products ranging from R199 to R1 599.

For example, the AP750 is small enough to fit on a keyring, instantly delivering up to 90 minutes of talk time to a phone by plugging it into the MicroUSB slot. The XP1000 and XP2000 family are small slimline rechargeable batteries for any mobile or smart phone, and are supplied with a convenient travel pouch.

At the top-end, the XP18000 external battery is suitable for travellers and consumers who rely on devices like netbooks and laptops, portable DVD players, digital cameras, smartphones and more, which can deliver  up to six hours of power, to a laptop.

“We are reliant on our mobile devices and we know how many times we need to recharge our batteries. The newly unveiled range of portable chargers is set to change consumers’ lives.

“For the iPhone 4, we have the AP1201 easy-grip protective silicone case, with a built in battery.  It simultaneously provides phone protection while significantly extending the phone’s battery capacity,” adds Taitz, who asserts that the innovation in these battery packs is matched only by Blue Cellular’s commitment to customer service. “All products are rechargeable up to 500 times, and are aesthetic, compact and convenient, and ensure better communications. Consumers can stay in touch longer and productivity will be enhanced.”

In a bid to ensure ongoing compatibility with new and emerging devices, the consumer is offered  additional benefits and support when they purchase Energizer® Energi To Go® rechargeable powerpacks. “Consumers get an online tip finder that helps them source the right tip for their device, a TipFit guarantee, as well as free tips for life to ensure that they have right tips to charge new devices as they replace them.”

For further information and your closest retail outlet, visit: www.portablepower.co.za

 

Corporate South Africa looks to the cloud for IT services

By admin, 17 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Large organisations in South Africa are increasingly adopting cloud computing as they realise it doesn’t always pay to own their own information technology systems.
 
The concept of accessing processing power, data storage facilities or software on tap has been around for years. But a lack of affordable bandwidth and experienced service providers made it a potentially risky business.
 
Now South Africa’s bandwidth boom has already allowed 46% of large local businesses to adopt some form of cloud computing, and by 2013 more than half will have taken the plunge.
The findings come in IP EXPO Corporate Cloud Survey 2011, a new report by World Wide Worx commissioned for the IP EXPO technology trade show.
 
“Out of 100 large JSE-listed corporations that we interviewed, 46% are already using cloud computing,” said World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck. “Another 6% plan to introduce it next year and another 4% the year after, so it will be close to 60% by 2013.”
 
The early adopters are pleased with the results, with 80% of the companies using cloud computing saying they were satisfied.
 
“While companies are starting to embrace the technology, there is definitely no herd mentality around cloud computing, which is a positive indicator,” says Goldstuck.  “Those who have adopted it have given it much thought and looked very carefully at how cloud computing can meet their needs. When a company takes that kind of considered approach, it is more likely to be satisfied with the results.”
 
Only 13% of the total sample said cloud computing was not important for their business as they didn’t see any benefits. Another handful cited poor infrastructure or security concerns, but most companies that still shun cloud computing are inhibited mainly by a lack of understanding, Goldstuck says.
 
“The problem is that IT administrators are out of their comfort zone. Decision-makers are not aware of what the cloud can do for them because they are not getting the right information about the benefits – in plain English.”
 
Cloud computing has massive advantages as it removes the cost of buying, installing, maintaining and upgrading hardware and software, lets companies pay for services on demand, and creates economies of scale if a third party specialist handles the equipment for them. Goldstuck believes all companies should now be assessing it – if it offers clear benefits to their businesses. 
 
For companies already using it, the most popular business model is to outsource their server operations to a third party specialist and access processing power, storage and software services over a private network. That saves them the headache of operating their own equipment.
 
A more conservative and slightly less popular model is to retain ownership of the servers, and buy only the software as a service. That, however, can limit the possibilities of greater savings achieved by companies that no longer run their own IT infrastructure.
 
Since companies don’t want to run sensitive data over the public internet, some have created a private cloud but have it hosted by a third party specialist.
 
“The problem with cloud computing is that it is literally a vaporous concept,” Goldstuck says. “Some companies don’t even want to start considering it because it seems so nebulous, but once you start using it you become a convert. When small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) see the benefits in terms of security, reliability and never having to worry about what’s happening on their own machines for the integrity of their data, their attitude changes completely. SMEs see the benefits more quickly than large corporations because you can easily and quickly get a financial saving from the public cloud.”
 
Goldstuck believes that every company, from the largest JSE-listed corporation to SMEs, should already be exploring the benefits. By 2013, when more than half of South Africa’s largest corporations are reaping the benefits and early doubts have been dispelled, it will reach a tipping point that will encourage every other company to embrace it, he says.
 
Which operations should be moved to the cloud first varies with each organisation. A bank, for instance, should ideally not put customer data into a third party data centre.
 
One lingering problem is a current lack of standards, however, as that discourages many potential users. Big industry players like Microsoft, VMware, Apple and IBM should devise clearer standards for the benefit of the whole industry, Goldstuck says.
 
Lizelle Christison, manager for IP EXPO, said the trends being seen in corporate South Africa were mirroring trends first seen by IP EXPO’s sister show in the UK. “We are mirroring the UK trends, although local adoption rates are lagging behind by two or three years,” she says.
 
* The full results of the IP EXPO Corporate Cloud Survey 2011 and analysis of its findings were presented at the IP EXPO conference on 15 November 2011.  The research was conducted with 100 JSE-listed companies each employing 200 people or more.

Celebrating 40 years of the microchip

By admin, 17 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Invisible yet ubiquitous, small but mighty, unnoticed but life changing. Forty years ago the microprocessor was born, beginning the quiet but profound process which has radically reshaped our lives.
On this day 40 years ago, Intel Corporation introduced the world’s first commercially available microprocessor – the Intel 4004 – triggering the start of the digital revolution. While most people have never seen a microprocessor, devices that contain them have become so integrated into daily life that they have become virtually indispensible.

Microprocessors are the “brains” inside computers, servers, phones, cars, cameras, refrigerators, radios, TVs and many other everyday devices.

“Today, thanks to the microprocessor, we live in a smart world, can do smart things and make smart choices. We don’t see them, but these tiny embedded computers shape our world to a remarkable degree,” said Intel South Africa’s head of marketing, Ntombezinhle Modiselle.

“From the cars we drive and tractors that plough the fields, to the fresh food delivered to our shops, billboards that advertise and machines that help us stay fit – they’re the invisible brains that power our daily being.”

Compared to the Intel 4004, today’s second-generation Intel Core processors deliver more than 350 000 times the performance and each transistor uses about 5 000 times less energy. In this same time period, the price of a transistor has dropped by a factor of about 50 000.

Such advances in chip technology are paving the way for an age when computing systems will be aware of what is happening around them, and anticipate people’s needs. This capability is poised to fundamentally change the nature of how people interact with and relate to information devices and the services they provide.

Future context-aware devices ranging from PCs and smartphones to automobiles and televisions, will be able to advise people and guide them through their day in a manner more like a personal assistant than a traditional computer.

Intelligent traffic systems will guide drivers away from congested roads. Pill bottles will know if medicine has been taken. Retail signs will adjust to people’s age and gender. Home entertainment is getting smarter, with immersive 3D gaming, tablets that augment TV viewing and PCs that let you stretch across the world.

To celebrate the past 40 years of microprocessor innovation and look ahead at the next 40 years, Intel compiled photos, video interviews, opinion pieces and a number of info graphics and other materials with insight from Intel and industry executives, analysts, futurists and engineers. To view all of these materials, visit http://newsroom.intel.com/docs/DOC-2383.

 

TCO and credibility top list of VOIP selection criteria

By admin, 15 listopada, 2011, No Comment

CIOs the outliers, MDs and FDs of all company sizes agree

“Informal research among voice over IP (VoIP) clients reveals an interesting dual mindset when it comes to selecting Internet-enabled communication solutions and providers,” says David Meintjes, MD of Connection Telecom. The bottom line is that companies of all sizes want solutions that offer a lower total cost of ownership (or TCO – upfront capital cost added to ongoing operating expenditure). But there’s a condition – the supplier and technology must also enjoy a high degree of credibility in the market.

Why credibility?
Misgivings about the quality of VoIP have all but disappeared since the technology debuted at the turn of the century. According to market research firm Telegeography, more than 50% of global long-distance voice between telcos today is done using VoIP.

Quality is a function of proper network planning – most new-age PBXs are Internet-enabled  to provide site ‘failover’ (redundancy) for traditional switched voice installations (Telkom), in instances of line failure arising from e.g. copper theft or inadequate redundancy planning by the infrastructure supplier. Further quality measures can include software to improve VOIP quality on the local loop (up to the local exchange).

Objections to VoIP fall back on dated arguments about the reliability and quality of IP calls – in reality, large companies such as FNB and Ellerines have effectively deployed VoIP technology.  Indeed, not embracing the VOIP technology puts companies at a disadvantage relative to their competitors, as they miss out on advanced application capabilities and cost savings.

However, reliability of provider and product will always merit consideration, and determining this must be part of the evaluation of any new technology.

TCO – first thoughts
VoIP has long been marketed on the basis of its low call costs, so call charges are not currently a significant differentiator between different VoIP systems. (In time, calls may cost nothing, at which point cost competition may again become viable.)

Nevertheless, companies are highly likely to pick one VoIP system over another because it offers low upfront cost of acquisition and implementation, as well as low ongoing running, support and maintenance cost.

How can one system offer significantly different TCO form another? The difference comes with cloud delivery of VOIP, as opposed to physically-present infrastructure. Whether your PBX is hosted on-site or off-site, owned by you or your provider, the fact that it is a virtually provisioned, managed service means the problem of ownership (maintenance, support, upgrades and scaling) is not yours, but the provider’s.

VoIP in the cloud is a great way of getting flexibly-provisioned, high-quality voice capacity that is always at the cutting edge at a predictable monthly charge. In addition, it allows clients to set up multiple ‘zero–rated’ routes to their most frequently-dialled numbers, such as suppliers.

Points of agreement and dissent
As can be seen from the table below, both small and large companies agree, by and large, with the aforementioned premise – that low TCO and credibility go hand in hand, particularly among managing directors and financial directors. Naturally, this group is firstly concerned with TCO, and only secondly with credibility.

CIOs are more divided: Some CIOs (of smaller companies) pay close attention to TCO, while their counterparts in larger companies are less concerned about it. For this group, credibility, scalability and flexibility are more important, which is clear recognition of the mission-criticality of voice for them. Smaller-company CIOs, in turn, aren’t bothered with credibility so much as with the aforementioned factors of TCO, features and support.

It’s a question of resources.

Private clients
Currently the most advanced VoIP-in-the-cloud installations are private cloud configurations. Given the sophistication of these solutions, TCO is of particular interest to those entrusted with a company’s commercial interests – the MD and FD. CIOs take a more defensive position with procurement; concerned with making the correct technology decision, this customer segment wants a safe investment that will scale and offer top-notch performance and reliability.

New-age IP communications solutions providers offering a good balance between these considerations will turn the market on to this truly enabling technology.

“Walk in and talk” contact centre solution entices foreign investors

By admin, 15 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Contact centre investors can dramatically reduce their start-up risk by using a combination of hosted technology and fully equipped and managed premises, says Bruce von Maltitz of 1Stream.

“The days of making large capital investments in equipment that needs a lot of skill, effort and money to maintain are over,” says Von Maltitz. “The hosting model means you simply buy the services you need, when you need them. Applying that model to buildings as well as technology means you can walk into a new office and start operating within a few days – without taking huge financial risks.”

1Stream has partnered with Globility, a division of leading business continuity provider ContinuitySA, to launch a “walk in and talk” contact centre solution. The offering combines fully managed premises providing everything from reception services to furniture and PCs, with a world-class telephony platform based on Interactive Intelligence technology.

“Many of our clients are wondering why they ever managed their premises themselves,” says Globility MD Anthony Askew. “We take away all the pain of landlord and IT issues, whether it’s trying to sort out leaking toilets, slow lifts, bandwidth issues or a broken headset. Trying to manage that yourself can waste hours of productive time. Now our clients just log a call with our 24 hr service desk and we sort it out.”

Globility and 1Stream currently operate in Johannesburg and Cape Town and are investigating a move into Durban as well, says Von Maltitz. “It’s an ideal option for first-time investors into South Africa who are looking for a low-risk way to enter the country,” he says. “We can offer world-class premises and technology without any of the set-up hassle – which leaves contact centre managers free to concentrate on getting the most out of their employees.”

Staffing accounts for around 70% of the typical contact centre’s costs, notes Von Maltitz. “That should translate in to 70% of management time and effort, but too often people get sidetracked by technology issues. If the technology is taken care of, people can maintain a tighter focus on their actual operations.”

The service is not just for foreign investors, adds Askew. “Everyone has to manage their costs more carefully and increase their productivity,” he says. “Some of our clients have come to us because running their contact centres from their own main head office buildings had become stupidly expensive and they needed a hassle-free alternative.”

Others, he says, need to be able to ramp their operations up and down quickly to cope with peak traffic. “You may need 100 extra seats over the holiday period, but renting and fitting out a new set of offices and buying new software licences would make the whole exercise too expensive,” he says. “By using hosted premises and a hosted technology platform you get the extra capacity your business needs in the short term, without creating a financial burden for the future.”

Samsung TV Apps Surpasses 10 Millionth Download Milestone

By admin, 15 listopada, 2011, No Comment

Smart TV applications exceed the 1,000 mark in registered applications; online video apps topped the list of most downloaded apps

Samsung Electronics recently announced that Samsung Apps, the world’s first HDTV-based app store, has continued to grow both in size and popularity at an impressive rate. Samsung Apps TV recently celebrated the milestone of 1,000 registered applications and soared past the 10 million mark for number of downloads globally. Both achievements show Samsung’s initiative to build a Smart TV ecosystem worldwide.

Online video applications remained at the top of the list of most downloaded apps both globally and regionally. YouTube stayed at the top globally, and was the most popular online video application in the United States and South Korea.

The latest achievements come after Samsung Electronics became the first in the world to introduce a TV app store in February 2010. Downloads from Samsung Apps TV have grown 100%, just five months after reaching 5 million downloads in May 2011. In fact, as of today, the store has reached more than 11 million downloads in total, with an average of 50,000 downloads per day – double the number of downloads that occurred in May 2011.

Such rapid growth underscores the increasing number of active users of Smart TVs, as well as Samsung’s continued efforts to build an ecosystem by delivering a wide variety of high-quality TV content and services through strategic collaboration with major content providers.

As a result, consumers enjoy a wide range of applications across diverse areas of interest like news, entertainment, sports and games. For example, on-demand news applications – BBC News and WSJ Live – offer the top live news of the day in video and text, updated 24 hours a day. Other news applications such as CNBC Real-time app and TIME TV also provide an array of insight, analysis, breaking news, photography and video.

Entertainment applications like the Berliner Philharmoniker provides more than 100 live classical music concerts from one of the leading orchestras in the world, the Berlin Philharmonic. There is also a great selection of sports applications such as ESPN ScoreCenter which has gained popularity from users by providing live score updates, video highlights, and team and player statistics.

Particularly, locally specialised applications have also played a big role in the success of the Smart TV app store. Apps such as Lovefilm in the UK, Berliner Philharmoniker in Germany, and Telstra NRL Game Analyser in Australia have proven to be very popular.

“It isn’t the number of applications that determines the success of the service,” said Kang-hyun Kwon, Senior Vice President, Media Solutions Center, Samsung Electronics. “What matters most is the quality and diversity of applications that are available across multiple content categories. We will continue to seek partnerships with content providers who are just as determined to bring a vast range of quality applications to our consumers.”

Says Justin Shaw, Visual Display lead for Samsung South Africa; “This growth is synonymous with our local market where we are continually partnering with local content providers to drive market relevant content and to remain a strong contributor to the app market – in growing our consumer offering.” “We recently released the News24 TV application and are set to release a number of additional applications in the coming months – which will certainly add to the already strong content available on our TVs.”

In addition to such strategic collaboration, Samsung Electronics continues to hold developer application contests across the globe to create partnerships with and educate the developer community. Apps Contests were held in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Korea in 2010, and has expanded to countries such as Brazil, Mexico, China, and Southeast Asia this year. Furthermore, Samsung also continues to actively support developers with the distribution of its Software Development Kit (SDK), which allows developers to create TV-optimised applications more easily. Through the Samsung Developer Forum (SDF), the company is encouraging information exchange among developers.

Samsung has succeeded in establishing a Smart TV ecosystem that provides a wide variety of content to consumers and new revenue opportunities to developers, said Kyungsik Kevin Lee, Vice President, Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics. We will maintain this leadership by nurturing valuable partnerships to continuously integrate hardware and software for consumers.

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