Archive for Grudzień, 2011

Experian SA appoints new Managing Director

By admin, 5 grudnia, 2011, No Comment
Michelle Beetar

Michelle Beetar

 

Michelle Beetar has been appointed Managing Director for Experian South Africa, the leading supplier of credit management solutions, effective 01 December 2011. She succeeds Jim Fick, who will be taking on an executive role at Experian Global.

“Beetar will be responsible for leading the operational management and ensuring that the company strongly extends its sustainable growth in the region,” says Fick.

 

Beetar joined Experian as a director in May 2011 as part of the company’s commitment to strengthening the local team and supporting Experian’s global strategy for growth.

Prior to joining Experian SA, Beetar was Country Manager for computer software company, Novell. She previously held senior positions at Oracle and MWEB.

The cloud goes personal

By admin, 5 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

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

Khalid Wani

Khalid Wani

As the world has become increasingly digital, the creation and consumption of content from email and messaging to photographs and videos to music and movies, has literally exploded, increasing fivefold in just four years and predicted to grow more than 44 times by the year 2020. While this trend may have been driven by business at the outset, with emails originally making up a large volume of digital content, the consumer is outstripping the enterprise and digital content now exists across business, public and private domains.

Our lives have become digitally oriented, and the Internet with its wealth of content has become intrinsic to our lifestyles and the way in which we communicate. And while ‘the cloud’ began as a buzzword in the enterprise space, cloud storage particularly has evolved from the storage of IT content in the corporate cloud, to IP and online content in the public cloud, and even so far as storage of personal content within the personal cloud, as a means of addressing not only storage but also access challenges in the digital world.

The need for storage has grown correspondingly with the increase in digital content, and the average modern household now requires in the region of one Terabyte, or 1000GB of storage in order to maintain personal content. But this does not solve a growing problem that has emerged as a result of an increasingly connected lifestyle and the growing prevalence of connected mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs – users now want to access their content from wherever they are on their personal devices. Added to this challenge is the fact that any content stored on a mobile device is vulnerable, since theft of such devices is a common issue, especially in South Africa.

The public cloud has emerged as a way to solve this challenge, and has become more viable in South Africa as a result of more affordable and available bandwidth. When content is stored in this type cloud, it exists in a data centre somewhere in the world and can be accessed from any mobile device, breaking the limitations of internal device storage. It also ensures content is stored in a safe haven that protects this data should individual devices be stolen or go missing.

However while the public cloud enables users to access content stored publicly wherever they have an Internet connection, these files are often located at an unknown venue which may be anywhere in the world. Aside from the security concerns of this type of storage, it often involves some type of subscription or service fee that needs to be paid in order to access content.

The personal cloud has emerged as a way of combining the best of both worlds, enabling users keep content under their control, secure in their homes, while still allowing files to be shared, media to be streamed and various devices to access content anywhere, anytime and ensuring that content is not stored on individual devices to protect this content from theft. 

Using innovative new Network Attached Storage (NAS) aimed specifically at the consumer, users can now ensure that their content is backed up safely at home, and remains accessible from anywhere. These consumer NAS devices plug directly into the wireless router to provide a shared storage platform for computers, tablets and smartphones regardless of operating system, keeping all media centrally accessible and allowing both wired and wireless streaming to devices in the home and outside of it.

Aside from enabling access for connected devices anywhere, anytime, the personal cloud has multiple other benefits. By creating a personal cloud storage network, users can access far more storage capacity than mobile devices typically ship with, allowing for the storage and access of much larger files and greater quantities of content. Backup also becomes a painless procedure, with wireless technology and automated backup ensuring content on devices has been stored in the central personal cloud. And as more and more home entertainment devices begin to incorporate connectivity, the personal cloud can even be used to create a connected home for the streaming of content from a central point to any device within the house.

When it comes to creating a personal cloud, there are several considerations consumers should look for in a NAS device. These include ease of setup and ease of use, high speed performance, compatibility across various operating systems and automatic backup capability. The NAS should also allow for web-based access to content stored on the device, so users can stream content from anywhere without having to use a public cloud server.

As content creation and consumption continues to expand and users become accustomed to anytime, anyplace access, the cloud has emerged as the answer to solving storage and access needs. While the public cloud is has its uses, consumers also demand higher levels of security and personalisation, and this is where the personal cloud comes into play. By creating their own personal cloud users can not only share and store content from anywhere in the world, they can also link PCs, smartphones, mobile devices and home entertainment systems through the NAS device to stream content and create the next evolution of consumer connectivity – the connected home.

Zetes Takes on Zebra in South Africa

By admin, 5 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Zetes (formerly ProScan) announced the strengthening of its relationship with Zebra Techologies, one of the world leaders in barcode, receipt, kiosk, card and RFID printers and supplies.

Zetes South Africa has been appointed as a Zebra Premier Partner, as well as a Zebra Authorised Service Provider (ZASP).This follows the recent acquisition of the ProScan Group by Zetes Industries, a leading pan-European company specialising in automatic identification solutions and services for goods and people.

According to Andrew Fosbrook, Managing Director of Zetes South Africa, Zebra has been a significant and long-term hardware partner of the international group for many years, offering a wide range of printer solutions to suit their diverse customer needs.

“As a Premier Partner, we bring years of experience of delivering printing solutions for product ID to the extensive Zebra range in the southern African market,” says Fosbrook. 

“With GS1 accreditation, Zetes understands the standards required to manufacture and apply labels correctly in the supply chain. Our status as a Zebra Authorized Service Provider (ZASP) furthermore endorses our capability of providing superior service and support for all Zebra products in the region, including installation, maintenance contracts, depot and onsite repair, and technical backup.”

“By using a ZASP”, adds Fosbrook, “customers have peace of mind knowing that trained technicians are keeping Zebra printers operating at optimum performance levels.”

Janine McEwan, Territory Manager of Zebra Technologies comments, “We are pleased to have Zetes South Africa appointed and registered as a direct Premier Partner of Zebra’s PartnersFirst channel program. Zetes South Africa offers a range of products and services that are complementary to Zebra’s own, and together create a comprehensive customer solution.”

PartnersFirst is a channel program tailored to help our partners enhance the value of Zebra specialist printing solutions and increase customer satisfaction.

The various program levels recognise partners such as Zetes South Africa with specialist expertise, knowledge and training. Current specialist programmes include: RFID Specialist, Kiosk Specialist, Card Specialist, Supplies Specialist, and Zebra Authorised Service Providers (ZASP).

“The Zebra range of printers will further strengthen our of comprehensive printing solutions in southern Africa by providing our customers with a wider choice of mobile, wristband, desktop, card, industrial and RFID options, along with a high level of support and services, and competitive pricing,” concludes Fosbrook.

About Zetes (formerly ProScan)

Zetes (Euronext Brussels: ZTS) is a leading provider of supply chain, identification and mobility solutions. By utilising automatic identification technologies in an intelligent way, we link goods or people to new and existing IT systems. The result for our customers is seamless information exchange, with data captured at every stage of the process and made available in real time. Zetes’ solutions thus provide companies, public institutions and governments with the desired control over their floor and field operations, which allows them to optimise overall performance, improve their bottomline, and face the most demanding traceability challenges.

The Zetes Group has its headquarters in Belgium and employs more than 1070 people across 15 countries in EMEA. Zetes aspires to achieve sustainable profits and growth; its consolidated revenues for 2010 amounted to €216.7 million. More info: www.zetes.com

Technology Trends on the Rise

By admin, 5 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow and Director of Interaction and Experience Research, shares some of her insights into how technology is playing out in our lives today.  And it’s not what you might expect. Bell weaves these patterns together to provide us with some trend forecasting for the coming years.

Digital DIY: the emergence of virtual creativity: Over the last few years, new technology has encouraged people to passively consume content.  More people are downloading content than those who are creating it.  For every YouTube video uploaded, 99 videos are watched.  On Twitter far fewer people are tweeting compared to those who are simply following conversations.  However, there is a pent-up desire and aspiration towards an active type of involvement, towards making things and getting creative.  As a result, people are getting into digital DIY, from knitting covers for their e-readers to joining online groups to find like-minded creative individuals.  As people become increasingly digitally confident, we’ll see a rise in creative activities such as people personalising software or even learning to unlock mobile phones.

Intel South Africa’s head of marketing, Ntombezinhle Modiselle, agrees that in South Africa the trend toward digital confidence is becoming more visible. “Of the 1.1 million South Africans registered on Twitter, just over 400 000 users are actively tweeting from the nation’s large cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.” 

Small data – resisting the notion of big data: In the business world, there’s a lot of talk about ‘big data’.  However, what people are really interested in is the ‘small data’ in their lives.  They care about relationships; what’s on their Facebook wall; on their Twitter feed and so on.  In the hands of companies, this information is part of big data but in the hands of human beings it’s small data.  We’re beginning to see people resisting the notion of big data because they don’t want to be part of data analytics!  Jeff Hancock at Cornel University says that most Americans lie on their online dating profile. This is mostly due to a desire to present a better image to the outside world but there is also a reaction against their data being used for commercial gain.  Anti big data behaviour is likely to become a recognisable trend in the next few years.

The emergence of women as early adopters of technology: Women are emerging as dominant users of technology.  For example, European women spend more time on social networks than men, send more text messages and use more location-based services on phones.  Falling prices and new devices that help women perform multiple roles – parent, worker, care-giver, social organiser, cleaner, cook and so on – are driving this trend. If technology continues to become more user-friendly, women will become even bigger users. Ms Modiselle says this is equally true of the South African woman. “If the device is easy to use, women will be the first to try it out and recommend it to their friends, husbands, fathers and sons.”

A rebalancing of our relationship with technology: There are currently two models for people’s relationships with technology. The first is characterised by technology that is ‘needy’.  Devices need us to provide permissions, passwords and so on. It’s okay if it’s your phone, but not if it’s your phone, plus your car, your e-reader, your laptop and so on. The other template has been informed by over a hundred years of science fiction – intelligent machines that go crazy and want to kill us.  But we’re seeing a rebalancing of our relationship with technology and are moving to a third model.

Computers are beginning to anticipate our requirements. Siri, the speech-recognition ‘personal assistant’ built into the latest Apple iPhone is a case in point.  It’s responsive and is starting to be predictive.  The instant-on and power-management features in Ultrabook devices are further examples too.  Ad-hoc wireless switching is another example. This trend is all about devices getting smarter, more self-confident and better able to look after us. With the continued advances in technology, devices are finally growing up.  Soon we won’t have to think about them quite so much because they’ll be ‘thinking’ for themselves, a prospect Ms Modiselle is very excited about. “Just think of how much our world here at the southern tip of Africa has already opened up. From the airport to the workplace to driving the kids to the soccer field and then cooking dinner at home, South Africans are as switched on as never before.”

Kaspersky Lab has published its review of spammer activity in October 2011

By admin, 2 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

This month witnessed mass mailings exploiting high-profile events, a shift in phishing targets and spam sources were spread more evenly over more countries.

October was rich in sensational events which, as usual, the spammers exploited to the full. Mass mailings were registered that referred to the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs, the majority of them containing malicious code. Spammers reacted to another death, that of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on 20th October, with some classic ‘Nigerian’ letters. Users received emails allegedly sent by Gaddafi’s “relatives” and his “former officers”, who had allegedly inherited part of his “countless treasures”.

All the letters contained offers to share some of the wealth. There were also messages with a Christmas or New Year twist adding a seasonal flavour to October’s spam. They tended to contain adverts for presents and trips during the festive season.

The problems with the global economy clearly had an effect on phishing activity, with fraudsters demonstrating a preference for real money instead of virtual funds. As a result, banks and financial services became more attractive targets in October, with social networks and online games receiving less attention from the phishers.

October also saw the sources of spam traffic distributed more evenly throughout the world than in previous months. In Q3 2011, almost 50% of spam traffic came from the top five source countries. In October, however, these countries contributed just 33.4%. At the same time, more spam emanated from other countries included in our rating of top sources. That rating is still headed by India (-4.7%) followed by South Korea (-0.7%), Brazil (-4.1%) and Indonesia (-3.4%). Italy was the surprise package in fifth place (+2.47 %).

There was also a drop (-2%) in the share of malicious files found in emails in October. Meanwhile, the amount of mail antivirus detections in Russia nearly doubled (+8.26%) and as a result, Russia took a significant lead at the top of this particular rating. The usual suspects – the US and the UK – completed the Top 3 countries with the most mail antivirus detections (+2.1 and +1.2% respectively). What is interesting to note is that there was a newcomer in the Top 10 list – South Africa – entering at 10th place with an increase of 1.2%.

While the share of partner spam and adverts for spammer services decreased in October, the overall amount of ordered spam grew. However, if the negative trends affecting the global economy continue, the volume of spam sent as part of a partner program can be expected to increase dramatically.

The full version of the report is available at: www.securelist.com/eng

Capture the Holidays from every angle with Samsung’s MultiView MV800

By admin, 2 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

The perfect gift for those who want to be part of the picture this festive season

For the stylish social extrovert Samsung’s MultiView MV800 is the must-have gift this Christmas. The perfect combination of style, innovation and ease-of-use, the MultiView MV800 enables social superstars to capture and record the highlights of the festive period. Now available in this season’s most desirable colors – red, black, silver, purple and pink, the Samsung MultiView MV800 will turn heads at any festive gathering.

With a never-before-seen 3.0” Wide Flip-out Display, the MultiView MV800 makes it easy to shoot, record and view 16.1 mega pixel pictures from extremely high and low angles. Whether it is capturing the perfect self-portrait to polish your online profile, a great group shot of friends and family enjoying the holidays or taking the best shot of fellow party goers at a festive concert, the high angle Flip-out Display ensures you won’t miss the perfect shot.
                
“Sporting a sophisticated, minimalist design with metallic finish, the MV800 is ultra-slender making it the perfect companion to slip in a purse or pocket and is sure to attract admiring looks from fellow festive party goers, making it the ultimate gift for the fashion-forward trendsetter,” says Mark Geldenhuys, Head of Digital Imaging at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

The perfect blend of style and substance, Samsung’s MultiView MV800 boasts the best-in-class imaging technology ensuring premium results no matter how ambitious the shot or experienced the user. With a host of creative features there are limitless artistic possibilities at the touch of a button, making sure this year’s festive photos are ones to remember.

Guaranteeing premium picture quality, the MultiView MV800 captures every detail in vivid colour and clarity, with a 26mm wide-angle and 5x optical zoom lens as well as the Live Panorama function, for capturing large groups of revellers without leaving anyone out. Once the festivities have been captured on camera you can let your creative side take control with fun frames, easy effects and storyboards through the Magic Frame, Smart Filter and Photo Editor features. And, its Smart Touch 3.0 with wallpaper UI lets you drag and scroll through menu options quickly and intuitively just like your favorite smartphone, enabling social sharers to make the most of their memories.

“This combination of breakthrough innovation, sophisticated design and user-friendly features make this product the ultimate on-the-move compact camera this festive season. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a stylish friend or – the family member who has to have the latest gadget, Samsung has the answer to all your gift-list needs.” concludes Geldenhuys.

The Samsung MV800 is available at an approximate recommended retail price of R2699.00

Sustainability – a way of business says MTN South Africa

By admin, 1 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

A hot topic at this year’s COP 17 is the fate of the Kyoto Protocol – an international agreement that aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions by 5%¹ from 1990 levels over a five year period that comes to an end in 2012. For South Africa however, this target is much higher where government has set their own target of reducing emissions by 34% below business as usual by 2020 (that’s a reduction of 0.2% of national emissions) – according to a recent KPMG report². So what does this mean for the country, who is responsible and how should they go about aiding governments objectives?

Says Karel Pienaar; MD of MTN SA; “The ICT sector is globally acknowledged as a key role player in addressing the impact of industries on the environment, and as a responsible corporate citizen, MTN is acutely conscious of the effects of climate change, as it has a real impact on its business, customers, local communities and of course government objectives.”

Businesses need to get involved in climate change to not only assist in achieving the goals set out by the Kyoto Protocol, but to ensure that they are having a minimal negative impact on the environment. Continues Pienaar; “At MTN we have been doing, and continue to do, just this. For us as a business, sustainability and focusing on the effects of climate change is about utilising our services and solutions to generate economic benefit for our stakeholders, while responsibly managing the impact of our business activities on the environment.”

To this end, MTN has embarked on a number of initiatives to ensure that it minimises its impact on the environment. “We have invested R22m on the construction of a 2MW methane gas powered tri-generation plant at our head office in 14th Avenue, Fairland.” Methane is a clean-burning, sustainable gas with a reliable and consistent supply. The tri-generation plant generates electricity and through a second re-absorption chiller cycle using the waste heat, produces water for the air-conditioning systems in all the buildings on the campus. The plant enables MTN to manage potential energy shortages and reduce power consumption, while increasing savings and initiating a sustainability model to reduce its carbon footprint.

This proactive approach to generating electricity has resulted in various other positive ‘green’ spin-offs for the organisation. The plant produces an estimated 800kW of cooling for free, resulting in further savings in the building’s air conditioning processes. The plant, which is the first of its kind in Africa, also provides power to the MTN campus, including their data and test switch centres. Continues Pienaar; “We are proud at the fact that our tri-generation plant has been approved as a UN Certified Emission Reduction carbon project, through its innovative efficient design that saves 17 500 tons of carbon per annum.”

MTN has further embarked on a massive “Greening 14th Avenue” initiative, to green the campus at the MTN head office. This has been done through the installation of energy meters throughout the head office, the installation of motion detectors that only illuminate when movement is detected, painting the roofs with solar reflective paint to improve insulation and installing ultra-violet film on exterior-facing windows and glass doors to decrease air-conditioning usage, and turn off air-conditioning after-hours.

“We are in the process of getting our head office accredited with the US standard Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) institution, which will make MTN the first company in South Africa to receive this much sought after accreditation.”

Furthermore, MTN have network sites across South Africa that are solar, wind or biogas (gas from agricultural waste) powered, as well as more that are efficiently engineered to use hydrogen fuel cells, deep cycle batteries etc. All of this is designed to ensure that MTN ultimately reduce their dependence on coal or fossil fuel use, thereby reducing their carbon emissions. 

At face value, the costs to “greening” might appear prohibitive. However, the massive savings that MTN has made since initiating the ‘green campus’ project further strengthens the business case for sustainability. In the last eight months, MTN has saved 37% in energy consumption, in light of the greening efforts that we have been putting in place.

“Going into 2012, sustainability and a focus on climate change should be considered a valuable investment for businesses, as it provides not only for the present, but for the future of our country and business landscape and of course contributes strongly to objectives set out in political spheres globally,” concludes Pienaar.

Without connectivity we are lost

By admin, 1 grudnia, 2011, No Comment

By Ross Griffiths, Product Manager at Nology

The recent data outages at international company Research in Motion (RIM), which left Blackberry users across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina without connectivity for days on end and sparked outrage from these users on social media platforms, only serve to highlight how dependent the modern world has become on stable Internet connectivity, particularly through previously non-traditional channels such as smartphones.

The fact is that in today’s world, we cannot function without Internet connectivity. In the business environment, we are increasingly seeing a move to online and cloud services, with connectivity allowing access to company networks, documents and files, all of which in the past were housed internally. Without an Internet connection, employees working from home or the mobile workforce would be unable to access any of these features, rendering them unable to do their jobs.

Aside from the move into the cloud, both home and business users rely on connectivity in order to communicate, and new technology has taken the place of traditional communications. Users have become so used to being able to send emails and instant messages and even to make phone calls using Skype or VoIP technology that without these forms of online communication, businesses cease to function. Without connectivity we are truly lost, as communication is the heart of business, and without the Internet our main methods of modern communication are impossible.

Again as demonstrated by the RIM outages, connectivity is no longer a first world luxury, but something that users across emerging nations such as Africa, India and Latin America have come to depend on. In these countries connectivity is vital in order to maintain development and compete on a global stage and is often accomplished using mobile devices.

South Africa is no different, with many users relying on mobile connectivity to access the Internet, communicate and do business. In fact, recent Nielsen research shows that 29 million South Africans use cellphones, compared to only six million personal computer users, and mobile Internet usage is on the rise.

As a result of the prevalence of mobile phones and multiple issues with ADSL connectivity, South African network operators have made steady progress in the 3G space, pushing this connectivity to become more cost effective and usable to a larger proportion of the market. Recurrent theft of copper cabling, which leads to ADSL outages, has also driven hardware developers to innovate automatic failover devices which are able to switch seamlessly between ADSL and 3G connectivity. This failover is again made possible by the competitiveness of the 3G and mobile connectivity space.

The prevalence of 3G connectivity has also come about as a result of infrastructure challenges. Running copper or fibre connections and maintaining these has become difficult, time consuming and costly in South Africa.  Driven by a larger user base, mobile connectivity has become infinitely more affordable, and it is now possible for users to run this as an affordable primary connection.

Connectivity is no longer deskbound thanks to the evolution of 3G, and is now accessible to larger numbers of South Africans than ever before through mobile devices, low cost notebooks and tablet PCs, opening up the Internet to the man on the street and increasing our dependence on connectivity still further.

This wireless trend is set to continue, as plans to roll out 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are set to be put into motion in 2012. Using similar principles to 3G but running off a separate wireless spectrum, LTE offers high speed data connectivity on a mobile network, delivering more than five times the speeds of the current networks. While licensing issues have held back this technology, it is currently being tested and hardware manufacturers are gearing up for the rollout with LTE-ready devices.

While predicting the future is difficult under any circumstances, particular in areas that change as fast as technology, in all probability we can expect to see existing connectivity trends continue, with faster speeds and increased bandwidth availability the order of the day. We can also expect service providers to begin taking advantage of increased speeds and availability by rolling out content such as video on demand and Internet TV, keeping pace with developments in first world countries.

One thing is certain however, Mobile/wireless telecommunication will play a major role in the future of South African connectivity. In a world where business relies on the Internet to function – our mobile operators are perfectly poised to take advantage of this growth.

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