Archive for Styczeń, 2012

Marval SA helps Unitrans improve IT service delivery, achieve ITIL compliance

By admin, 21 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions specialises in the design, implementation and operation of supply chain and logistics solutions, and with a centralised internal IT service desk servicing 160 offices with more than 1500 computers, IT Service Management (ITSM) is an important aspect of the business.
The company’s legacy ITSM solution was out dated and was failing to deliver on the required functionality, the support contract had expired and the product had reached end of life. However, Unitrans still required a solution to help the IT team manage service calls and to provide support for ITIL compliance, and they turned to Marval South Africa to provide the solution.

“Our old system was not compliant with ITIL guidelines, the support contract was ending and we were unable to maintain it ourselves. We needed a purely email based ticket logging and service desk system that was ITIL compliant, since we have completed aspects of ITIL training and as a growing company we need to adhere to best practice. However, we needed a solution that not only offered world-class functionality but is also fast and user friendly for all parties involved,” says Mark McDonald, Sys Admin Manager at Unitrans.

“After conducting demonstrations and proof of concept with four large service desk solution companies, we selected the Marval MSM Essential tool from Marval South Africa. Marval was the only solution that offered a dedicated service management software package, whereas other vendors simply included this as a small part of their offering, and we received excellent service from Marval South Africa right from the outset,” he adds.

MSM Essential is a web-based service and helpdesk solution that is part of the MSM Suite of products, which are ITIL, ISO/IEC 20000 compliant. The solution provides easy call management for more reliable IT and service infrastructure, increased productivity and adaptability in service provision, is fully scalable and easily upgradeable, helping IT service organisations to keep up to date with changing business needs.
Marval is one of the few ITSM solution providers of integrated ITSM software, consultancy, education, accredited ITIL/ ISO/IEC 20000 and ITSM training; combined with a proven track record of delivering successful software solutions and service improvement programmes and is accredited against the worldwide standard for IT Service Management – ISO/IEC 20000.

“This solution will assist Unitrans on its growth path towards adopting best practices as outlined by ITIL. As an entry-level tool it provides an initial footprint that then enables the company to implement other tools and processes to further improve services and align practices with ITIL in future,” says Edward Carbutt, Executive Director at Marval South Africa.

“Delivering a solution that meets the needs of the organisation is very important to us, so we ensured that we began the project by fully understanding Unitrans’ requirements. We started with a clear plan outlining deliverables, dates and defined responsibilities and made certain that terminologies were accurately defined. We also implemented a prototype system for testing purposes, which was then copied onto a live system, and provided extensive training for skills transfer. Unitrans is now able to do much of the reporting and maintenance on their own, without complete dependence on Marval South Africa, and will only need to call us for assistance on larger issues,” he adds.

The Marval MSM Essential implementation went live on 1 September 2011 and after some initial teething problems has been running smoothly since. Unitrans will now benefit from an ITIL compliant system that gives the IT service department a more professional image within the organisation and with its customers. It also enables IT staff to manage their workload more intuitively, improving both productivity and customer service.

Updated Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite Provides Essential Protection Against Android Threats

By admin, 19 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab announces an update of its essential Android security solution Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite. The updated version, already available on Android Market, features new Anti-Virus Lite functionality aimed at better protection against the growing number of malicious programs for the Android platform. Together with other key security features such as anti-theft and call and SMS filtering, the update makes Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite one of the most advanced security products available free of charge.

Anti-Virus Lite is an easy-to-use tool that performs on-demand checks of newly downloaded Android programs. This new feature implements Kaspersky Lab Cloud Security Scanner technology, which uses the cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network to react quickly against threats as they emerge. Users of Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite are advised to scan all new programs using Anti-Virus Lite in order to ensure the safety of personal data.

The paid-for version – highly recommended for those who are especially concerned about the security of their smartphone – offers advanced features to fight malware, block unwanted calls and messages, remotely control a smartphone in case it is lost or stolen, and hide sensitive data. The fully functional anti-virus feature also automatically scans all new apps, blocking those deemed malicious.

By upgrading to the paid-for version of the product one gets the anti-theft module with added features, for instance, SIM Watch, which can remotely block a phone as soon as the SIM card is removed. The Privacy function also becomes available; this enables telephone log records, SMS folder contents and other similar information to be hidden from third parties.

Both the updated Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite and the paid-for version of the product are available in 13 languages. The retail price of the paid-for version in your region can be found on the Android Market.

ShoreTel offers lowest total cost of ownership – Aberdeen

By admin, 19 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Local distributor Tellumat cites ease of use, deployment and management

ShoreTel, the fast-growing provider of unified communications (UC) solutions, has been rated as offering the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) in a new business user survey by the Aberdeen Group.

“The study validates that ShoreTel’s UC solution is the easiest to use, deploy and manage in the market,” says Bennie Langenhoven, managing executive of Tellumat Communication Solutions – ShoreTel’s sub-Saharan African distributor. 
What is TCO?

“Total cost of ownership is a key metric for assessing costs, benefits and risks of an ICT solution – enabling organisations to integrate business needs with technological considerations in making their purchasing decision,” Langenhoven continues.

“Outside the upfront purchasing cost, TCO also includes issues like the cost of installation, maintenance, training and upgrades. Solutions that make life easier on these counts will win the crucial TCO battle in the corporate decision matrix.”

Why ShoreTel rocks TCO

What makes ShoreTel systems so cost-effective to own?

- Pure IP – ShoreTel’s UC solution was designed from the ground up using modern Internet Protocol communications technology. This makes the vendor’s solutions less complex than the cobbled-together systems from “IP-enabled” legacy technology vendors.

- ShoreTel is based on a uniquely distributed architecture with federated replication as the means to redundancy. If one switch fails, it can simply be replaced. Scaling is as easy as adding another switch.

- The open architecture integrates seamlessly with business applications and processes.

- Moves, adds and changes (MACs) can be done in-house because the system allows for management of users rather than devices, thus reducing the time, complexity and cost of systems administration.

Aberdeen examples

Specific examples of ShoreTel’s ease of use and TCO advantage are highlighted in Aberdeen’s study:

- ShoreTel is the easiest to implement: ShoreTel customers experienced a 67% saving in internal implementation cost per phone when compared to Avaya Aura Communication Manager.

- ShoreTel is the easiest to train and certify: Upfront training costs per administrator for ShoreTel systems were one-third of the cost of training an administrator for a Cisco Unified Communications Manager solution. Ongoing annual training costs were 85% less than Avaya IP Office and 73% less than the average for all telephony.

- ShoreTel is the most flexible – Performing MACs on a ShoreTel system took one third the time it took on a Microsoft OCS/Lync system, and 60% less than the average for all telephony.

- ShoreTel is the easiest and most cost-effective to manage – System management and administration of a ShoreTel system cost 42% less than Avaya Aura Communications Manager and 77% less than Cisco UCM. 

“We considered demonstrations from four leading vendors, but only ShoreTel was able to meet all of our requirements for cost, support, simplicity and integration,” says Ann Roland, IT manager, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. “We had to do extensive cost justification for our executives who were familiar with Cisco, Avaya and Centrex, but not with ShoreTel. ShoreTel offered the very best TCO, by almost 10%.”

Corporate responsibility

“Total cost of ownership measures the complete financial impact of the UC purchase decision, and should be the most important issue for any IT financial stakeholder,” notes Hyoun Park, Research Analyst, Aberdeen Group.

“To uphold corporate fiscal and governance responsibilities, decision-makers must fully examine all significant upfront and recurring costs to identify the UC solution offering the greatest value throughout the lifespan of the solution.”

Read the full study:
Follow Bennie Langenhoven on Twitter: @blangenhoven

Samsung Apps Becomes Preferred Smart TV Platform for Consumer, Content Providers and Developers

By admin, 19 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Strong consumer interest in cross-device apps and streaming video content drive adoption of Samsung’s platform

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, recently announced new milestones for its Smart TV platform, Samsung Apps, as well as new apps and services that deliver even richer entertainment options for the largest screen in the home.

With more than 1,400 apps available and average daily downloads of 50,000 worldwide, Samsung Apps has become the Smart TV platform of choice for application developers and premium content brands.

Consumers have increasingly turned to their TVs for streaming video content, as well as apps that offer interactive and customised content that ignites their passion in music, sports, fitness, social networking or news.

New apps in 2012 include Angry Birds, News24, South African Lotto Results, African Endangered Animals, Mancala (African Themed Game), African Poisonous Animals, African Cooking Recipes, Bravo, Discovery Channel, Technicolor’s M-GO, The Daily and VH1’s ‘I Love the 80’s Trivia.’ These join a roster of popular apps including AOL HD, CNBC Real-Time, Comcast Xfinity ESPN ScoreCenter, MLB.TV, MTV Music Meter, NBA Game Time, NHL Gamecenter, TIME TV, The Broadway Channel, Verizon Flex View and Wall Street Journal Live.

Samsung expects to hit 20 million app downloads before the end of January 2012 globally, doubling its previous milestone of 10 million, set in October 2011.

“According to research conducted by Samsung America, Video and traditional TV have become key drivers in the adoption of Smart TVs”, said Justin Shaw, Business Leader for Visual Display at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “Further, there is growing expectation that content and apps will take advantage of other screens in the home. Samsung’s connected ecosystem, including our Smart TVs, smartphones, smart cameras and even smart appliances can deliver on this promise, while our platform has evolved dramatically in 2012 to further enhance the experience. Lastly, Samsung’s business model is very complementary towards that of TV broadcasters and big brand media companies.”

Simple, intuitive interface for Samsung Smart Hub

Samsung has redesigned its Smart Hub user interface to offer more intuitive experiences. The new Smart Hub is now in full HD and is streamlined to offer users a more intuitive way to search and discover content via Smart Interactions. Consumers can navigate the interface using Voice Control, Motion Control and Face Recognition for a seamless experience never before available natively on a TV.

The Samsung Smart Hub now also offers true multi-tasking capabilities – users can switch between web pages thanks to a new tabbed web browser, toggle between apps and download multiple apps simultaneously.

In addition, Samsung’s new AllShare Play allows content to be shared across DLNA-certified devices. AllShare Play offers web storage so users can upload and share multimedia content between internet connected devices such as TVs, cameras and smartphones, laptops or PCs, regardless of where they are in the world.

Rich content and signature services that push the boundaries of Home Entertainment

To help bring the family back together in the living room, Samsung is launching several exclusive, first-of-its-kind services that redefine what the TV can do for consumers.

Samsung’s Family Story allows families to store and share content through cloud-based storage. Family members can share photos, create slide shows, post memos and schedule events. They can access this content in and outside the home through their smartphones, tablets, PCs and Samsung Smart TVs; device compatibility will be expanded to include LCD refrigerators and Smart digital cameras in the future. Family members can also share photos in real-time by pushing photos to each member’s TV screen through a ‘live chat’ feature, so keeping in touch with families has become much easier no matter where loved ones are.

Fitness helps users track their fitness progress through indoor and outdoor activities in a more organised way.  In addition to a diverse range of fitness content, users can connect their Samsung smartphone to their Smart TV using a mobile fitness app. They can also connect a with Wi-Fi scale to their Samsung Smart TVs to help them track and monitor their weight progress. With selected apps, the TV’s built-in camera will create a “virtual mirror” so users they can check their exercise poses against the instructors’.

Families can also access a variety of educational video-on-demand content through Kids. Parents can reward their children with stickers and also monitor their TV time.

In addition, entertainment fans will enjoy on-demand access to a diverse selection of movies and TV shows the day after they air, or watch past seasons of their favourite TV shows through Samsung’s Media Hub app. Currently available on Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tabs, Media Hub will also make select movies simultaneously available on the same day they are they are released on DVD.

Samsung also announced they are working with NBCUniversal on converting “Battlestar Galactica,” one of the most influential sci-fi series in the past decade, to 3D. Samsung hopes to make this and subsequent NBCUniversal content available for purchase through the Samsung Media Hub app.

Free the TV Challenge Winner Ignites Converged Future for Smart TV Apps

In line with Samsung’s commitment to spur development of new connected TV experiences, Samsung announced the winner of its Free the TV Challenge 2011. Developers were challenged to create Converged Apps that allowed people to use more than one device to interact with the content on the TV.

The respective developer won the 2011 Challenge with its Party Shots app, an interactive app that allowed users to take pictures at parties and gatherings with their mobile devices and instantly push them to Samsung Smart TV. Photos may be turned into a slideshow in real time and users can also add captions and messages to personalise the content. Party Shots will also store the photos so that users can review and post them after the party on various photo-sharing sites.

“Because of the robust ecosystem that we have built, Samsung Apps has become the preferred launch pad for new apps and services. In fact, there are now more than 25,000 companies developing apps for our TVs, said Anderson. “As the number of TV apps and services continues to grow, Samsung will continue to lead the industry to broaden the type of apps available to deliver a superior, personalised entertainment experience.”

Triple4 expands service offering with launch of managed backup service

By admin, 18 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Infrastructure solution company Triple4 has launched a managed backup offering that complements its existing range of services. Managed Backup Service (MBS) offers companies a cost-effective alternative to the traditional backup method that typically involves backing up to tape and, frequently, storing the tapes offsite.

“Managed backup takes advantage of the greater availability of reasonably priced bandwidth to provide companies with a hosted and, crucially, managed backup service,” says Anton Coetser, service director at Triple4. “We believe that this service meets a real need in the market and complements Triple4’s software-as-a-service and infrastructure offerings, which all aim to deliver business benefits.”

Coetser points out that traditional tape backups are extremely expensive because they require not only tapes and tape drives, but also backup software and backup licences —changes in licensing practices have meant that application aware licences have to be purchased at often inflated prices to provide full backup functionality. Costs can rise quickly for this option, particularly when one factors in possible offsite storage and the “hidden” HR cost of the person to physically load and store the tapes each day.

“Companies know that they need to do backups, but often they simply can’t afford the costs. As a result they skimp the process, placing themselves at risk. This is often a risk that the decision-makers aren’t even aware of,” Coetser says. “As far as the executive suite is concerned, backups are being done. What they don’t realise is that corners are being cut—until it’s too late.”

Triple4’s new service means that the company can install the necessary software and configure software agents on the client’s servers accordingly. Local storage needs to be provided for the backups, which are then replicated via a secure network connection to Triple4’s fully redundant and managed data centre. In the event of a restore being needed, it is delivered back to the client via the same route.

“Online backup is, of course, available already, but what sets our offering apart is the managed component. Our consulting division will first engage with the client to understand its business and define its backup needs, and then configure the software agents accordingly. The backup solution has to align with the business’s needs, and the technology it has in place,” Coetser explains. “Thereafter, the service is managed by us proactively, so we monitor for problems and make the necessary upgrades for a set cost per server per month.“ It always works out cheaper than the traditional tape storage solution and it transfers the responsibility for the management of the backup environment to experts.

“Traditional backups via tapes work and it’s a tried-and-tested solution but, particularly for small to medium companies with small IT departments and tight budgets, a managed backup service is the answer in terms of reliability, ease of use and cost,” Coetser concludes.

Samsung Brings Video to Life with its Strongest Camcorder Line-up Yet

By admin, 18 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Samsung makes recording and sharing amazing video easy for everyone with three new camcorders, led by the family-friendly and ultra-connected QF20

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, announced recently the latest additions to its family of camcorders, offering a range of innovative features that appeal to film-makers of all abilities and ambitions. The new QF20 takes Samsung’s innovative Switch Grip feature one step further for even easier recording. The QF20 also introduces Wi-Fi connectivity to the camcorder line, revolutionising the storing and sharing of movies. The F80, meanwhile, is the range’s go-anywhere family-friendly companion, while the W300’s rugged design is perfect for the on-the-road adventurer.

Flexible Family Fun with the Q20/QF20

The Q20 follows on from the popular and innovative Q10, incorporating the new Switch Grip II which now includes the Vertical Recording feature, increasing flexibility with three recording angles. The Switch Grip means that however the camcorder is held, the digital, triaxial acceleration sensor inside recognises the angle and turns the LCD display so it’s easy to see and control recording from any angle. The QF20 also boasts innovative Wi-Fi capability for uploading and sharing content, along with Auto-Backup to help quickly and securely backup your memories to your chosen PC.

The Q20’s stylish design houses 1080i Full HD recording, 20x optical zoom and creative functions in a slim and portable form. Ideal for busy young families, it is a lightweight and easy-to-use grab-and-go companion. Samsung’s new ‘Shake It’ feature incorporated in the Q20 gives an extra sense of fun to family movies, allowing artistic effects to be added randomly with a simple shake of the camera; plus the Art time lapse effects including reverse time lapse can allow anyone to unleash their creativity. Meanwhile, the camcorder’s One Touch recording function and touch-LCD make it easier than ever to control recording and editing on-the-move.

The All-Terrain W300/W350 for Extreme Shots in Extreme Conditions

The W300 is the latest in Samsung’s rugged range of pocket camcorders, designed as the ideal companion for sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Water-proof for up to five meters, shock-proof from heights of up to two meters and dust-proof, it allows users to capture all the action and adventure of an outdoor lifestyle in 1080/30p Full HD video. Its innovative range of value-adding features make it perfectly suited to extreme use, while its optional floating bumper featured in the W350 enables filming while floating the camcorder on water. The 5M BSI CMOS Sensor and F/2.2 Bright Lens also facilitate low-light shooting for high quality images.

Fun Family Moments in HD with the F80

The F80 is a family-friendly option that offers HD capabilities and upgraded image quality in an affordable and stylish package, full of intelligent features and powered by HDMI. With 52x optical zoom and 65x intelli-zoom, the F80 brings users closer to the action. The F80 also features 1280 x 720 30p recording for smooth and clear video capturing in clear and bright detail on the 1/3.2″ 5M pixel CMOS Sensor as well as 1080i video upscaling via HDMI. In addition, the Smart Background Music II feature makes it easy to add a custom soundtrack to make movies truly memorable.

Mark Geldenhuys, Business Leader of Digital Imagery at Samsung Electronics South Africa, said, “Our latest camcorder line-up is our strongest yet, offering the perfect camcorder for every lifestyle and budget. With the new QF20, we’re delighted to be able to offer Wi-Fi capabilities to make sharing and saving people’s special memories easier than ever. Whether it’s for an active family, outdoors enthusiast or budding director, each camcorder in our range offers stand-out design and functions to make creativity come alive.”

Create Memories that are Works of art

Each new camcorder in Samsung’s new line-up offers creative options to bring movies to life easily and without the need for editing experience or even a computer. My Clip, found across the whole range, is a simple way to bookmark the most important parts of the action as they happen so that users can pick the best moments for an instantly edited ‘highlights’ montage. The upgraded Smart Background Music II function adds atmosphere to movies by letting users sync their music, automatically adjusting volume under/over a video clip. All the camcorders also feature brilliant still shots – for moments when only a snapshot will do.

Samsung’s product line will be available locally in April 2012.

Samsung Unveils Latest Innovation in Premium Notebooks with Second-Generation Series 9

By admin, 18 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Innovative craftsmanship creates the world’s thinnest and most compact premium notebook – being thin has never been so big

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, recently unveiled the second generation of the Samsung Notebook Series 9 at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) which took place in Las Vegas from 10-13 January 2012. Following the former model’s premier at the CES 2011, the new Series 9 represents Samsung’s advanced innovative craftsmanship in the premium notebook sector.

Customised for consumers striving for top quality items with great design, the new Series 9 boasts the world’s thinnest and most compact chassis. Its unique design and innovative engineering breaks all common perceptions of premium notebook PCs. Super-slim components had to be tailor-made to be able to fit into the innovative single shell body.

“The new Samsung Notebook Series 9 represents the ultimate in Samsung craftsmanship towards precision engineering and premium design. The new Series 9 embodies the originality and heritage of its predecessor while eliminating unnecessary factors. The refined aerodynamic design of the new Series 9 represents the best of Samsung’s design with top performance and functionality,” said Seongwoo Nam, Executive Vice President and Head of IT Solutions Business at Samsung Electronics.

“With the Series 9 that was launched last year being recognised for the TCO edge award for Eco and Performance Design, this was evidence that Samsung is doing something right. This is why this year we have revealed the more advanced version of the Series 9 to continue to provide our consumers with a device that meets all their IT needs as well as improved performance,” added Suria Pretorius, Product Manager of Notebooks at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

Craftsmanship meets Design

To reach the highest premium design aspects without compromising performance or functionality – 9,000 hours of design sketches and mock-ups, 24,000 hours of R&D – a total of 33,000 hours have been spent by Samsung designers and engineers on the new Series 9 Notebook. Key components such as the LCD panel, keyboard, motherboard, cables, fans and battery have been customised with precision to fit into the Series 9’s extra flat single shell body.

Samsung’s MaxScreen technology has been implemented to minimise the bezel size while maximising the screen up to an inch more. For the first time, the new Samsung Series 9 offers the world’s thinnest and most compact 15” premium notebook, featuring a vivid 15” display fitted into a stylish 14” chassis. The truly flat 14.9mm (0.58 inch) thin design weighing just 1.59kg (3.5 lbs) makes the 15” Series 9 almost 50% more compact than any existing 15’’ thin and light notebooks. The 13” Series 9 measures only 12.9mm (0.5 inch) and weighs just 1.16kg (2.5 lbs) – even 28% smaller than its previous model. A true revolution in the premium thin and light sector.

Style with an exclusive, incomparable premium look and the refined aerodynamic design of the new Series 9 unifies lines and curves into a solid identity, leaving out any frills. No tricks, only the true design and engineering essentials of the new Series 9 have been emphasised.

The Mineral Ash Black colour of the main body, with the sides left in natural matte aluminum creates a surprising contrast. To reach such visual perfection, the new Series 9 has been sand-blasted, which in addition offers fingerprint resistant surface for use.

Prestige Features and Performance

Power and performance are assured with a 2nd generation Intel Core i5/i7 processor, 4GB/8GB memory and 128GB/256GB SSD. Thanks to Samsung Fast Solutions, the new Series 9 boots in 9.8 seconds, Fast Start ensures a 1.4-second wake-up while Fast Browsing provides a 2-times faster web browsing. Another surprising innovation, the new 15” Series 9’s battery lasts up to 10 hours.

The 180% brighter HD+ SuperBright Plus screen with anti-reflective display ensures clear vision even outdoors. In addition, the 160-degree wide viewing angle guarantees a comfortable viewing experience.

The auto-sensing screen and backlit keyboard adjusts itself to match the surrounding lighting conditions, providing optimum brightness for maximum ease of use, even in particularly dark or bright environments.

Crafted for Ease-of-Use

Consumers can enjoy better control and fewer accidental gestures or movements by using the large multi-touch clickpad of the new Series 9. Featuring a glass coating and image sensor, it provides control for better ease-of-use as well as accurate usage, respectively. In addition, the optimised wireless performance allows consumer to connect anywhere easily.

Setting up your notebook has never been easier. Bypass the Control Panel and simply take control of your notebook and optimise its performance with Samsung’s Easy Settings, which provide one-click execution using keyboard shortcuts and minimal steps to adjust simple functions. It also unifies Samsung’s utility software, so the Series 9 will start-up and run faster.

Collaboration with Luxury Brand

To answer the growing demand for luxury notebook PC accessories, the Italian luxury brand Valextra also joined to create a customised leather notebook briefcase and a pouch for the new Series 9 which has been unveiled at CES 2012.

“As an exclusive brand always assuring best quality and tailor-made services, we are delighted to have created this Premium briefcase for the new Samsung Notebook Series 9. The Valextra Premier notebook briefcase offers the perfect final touch that elevates the owner’s pride and satisfaction. The Premium briefcase represents timeless elegance and 100% hand-made luxury whereas the new Series 9 embodies artistic craftsmanship, perfectly matching the criteria of luxurious impressions,” said Emanuele Carminati Molina, President of Valextra.

Pricing and Availability

The new Samsung Notebook Series 9 will be available locally in February – March with the recommended retail price still to be confirmed. For more product information and multimedia content, please see or

For IT Solutions product information and multimedia contents, please visit: and

Bytes helps Sanzaf take its charity online

By admin, 18 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Bytes Systems Integration has played an instrumental role in taking a faith-based NGO charity, Sanzaf, online in an application development exercise.

Sanzaf (South African National Zakáh Fund) strives to empower needy families through the efficient collection and effective distribution of Zakáh (a compulsory annual poor tax in Islam) and other – Sadaqát (voluntary charity) – in a proactive and cost-effective way through projects – with dignity, sincerity and a shared responsibility. Its core activity is the administration for the collection and distribution of funds to the needy. It gathers around R65 million a year in various types of donations, from cash to kind.

Sanzaf is the single largest registered public benefit organisation of its kind in South Africa. Its chief purpose is to collect and distribute Zakáh, a tax of 2.5% on a Muslim’s wealth to assist the needy and destitute. It was established in 1974, and has 17 offices in the Western Cape and 32 throughout the country.

The organisation manages the largest feeding operation of its kind in South Africa. Over Ramadan, chicken, fresh produce and canned food are earmarked for distribution to 20 000 families and 75 000 poor people.  Importantly, while Sanzaf is a faith-based NGO, it does not limit its charitable work to Muslims only.

Prior to the new, online receipting system, there was inadequate management of  donor information. There was little or no IT infrastructure, especially at satellite offices, and it was impossible to market to prospective donors, report cogently on current donor activity, or perform proper business intelligence, says Derek Zellie, business unit manager – Microsoft Development and Integration Services at Byte Systems Integration.
“Donations were recorded on paper, with a great deal of repetition of work,” notes Zellie. “Distributions were made in an uneven manner, based on a social worker’s report, but with no tight control back to the central system.”

Sanzaf was using Pastel at its Salt River head office, where documents were sent for processing, which carried the potential for loss or non-processed documents.

In its quest to re-engineeer the organisation as a high impact organisation, SANZAF undertook to revisit its IT systems. Bytes Systems Integration recommended a new system which would automate the process as much as possible, from the capture of data at the point of transaction to the actual transfer of data into the NGO’s administration system.  Bytes Systems Integration developed the new system in Microsoft’s .NET architecture, at no direct cost to SANZAF.

The system went live in parallel with the existing paper-based system over September and is now running on a self-standing basis in all offices where there are computers, with manual data capture still taking place at non-automated satellite offices and captured centrally.

In a future phase, offices will be issued with handheld devices with which donors can automatically make their payments via pre-issued donor cards.

“The online receipting is a definite plus to SANZAF and will contribute towards the efficiency of the organisation,” says Amien Jacobs, executive director of Sanzaf.

LaserCom partners with Multimedia Solutions on mobile messaging

By admin, 18 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

LaserCom, one of South Africa’s largest mail fulfilment companies, has partnered with Multimedia Solutions to add personalised customer mobile messaging to its range of client services.

Multimedia Solutions is one of South Africa’s leading provider of mobile messaging, embracing a comprehensive range of MMS,SMS, mobi and application development, as well as other mobile services.

“Future-proofing our business is a key part of our strategy to ensure our business remains relevant in the next decade,” says Konni Hoferichter, divisional MD of LaserCom.

“We are positioning our business as a key partner to our customers in personalised multimedia communications today and for the foreseeable future. Partnering with Multimedia Solutions is part of this drive.”

Hoferichter adds that the print-for-pay market has been under significant pressure in the last two to three years with the advancement of competing technologies and access to the buying public being spread across various media.

”Print remains a core focus in our growing consumer market; and the nature of the consumer remains to be one who will always trust and want printed communiqué,” adds Hoferichter. 

“We know that the additional capabilities in various media streams are a key differentiator in our competitive market that our customers can take advantage of when doing business with us. To this end we have already seen buy-in from current major clients in using our expertise in building a formidable communication plan for their customer base that will encourage retention and loyalty and overall customer value in the total lifecycle of that customer.  And e-mail and SMS are critical in delivering on this promise, which is why we have partnered with Multimedia Solutions.“

Multimedia Solutions CEO Ross Venter says the partnership is all about customer relationships: “Our joint clients do not have to concern themselves with multiple interfaces. As far as they are concerned, they have one account executive, and they simply choose the channel that best suits them. Whether they prefer to use the traditional print channel, or direct mobile communication, clients can be assured of the best suppliers in their respective industries.”

The two companies already have joint clients, and will be exploring further opportunities.

LaserCom is a company in Byes Document Solutions, wholly owned by JSE-listed Altron.

Samsung Series 5 ULTRA Finally Unleashed

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Samsung’s first Ultrabook going beyond thin and light

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, recently introduced the new Samsung Notebook Series 5 ULTRA, representing more than just thin and light, packing ultra performance beyond expectations.

Revealing the most secret features, the Series 5 ULTRA is powered by a 2nd generation Intel Core i5 processor; combined with ExpressCache system by Diskeeper and a powerful AMD Radeon HD graphics card, it delivers incredible experiences packed in a thin and light form factor.

“Based on in-depth market research and consumer surveys, we propose a new type of Ultrabook which will change the perception of Ultrabooks among users. Our findings strongly indicate that consumers demand more than just thin and light devices, hoping for a satisfactory level of daily performance and storage, as digital files become larger. The Samsung Series 5 ULTRA will be the first to answer these needs,” said David Song, Senior Vice President, IT Solutions Business at Samsung Electronics. “The latest Samsung knowhow  has been applied  – our Series 5 ULTRA positions the device for today’s fast changing media environment by adding greater value for consumers through a more balanced product concept.”

“The Series 5 ULTRA is a further step to demonstrate Samsung’s commitment to coming up with ways that continue to meet the day-to-day consumer needs by producing the best products,” adds Suria Pretorius, Product Manager of Notebooks at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

Unleashing Hidden Features

Available in 13” and 14”, the Series 5 ULTRA reveals its performance through an Intel Core i5-2467M processor, up to 8GB memory, ExpressCache system by Diskeeper and AMD Radeon™ HD graphics card. As a result, the Series 5 ULTRA is able to fast boot in just 20 seconds, wake up in two seconds, whilst web browsing is twice as fast as the previous generation notebook PCs.

Performance alone is insufficient without enough space to store your data. Due to the development of digital image devices and various media platforms, files are getting larger every day, increasing the need for bigger user storage. Despite the recent trend of cloud storage, local storage is still preferred among users on a daily basis. Not to compromise these needs the Series 5 ULTRA 14” offers up to 1TB ultra storage capacity ensuring that users never need to carry a peripheral storage device with them.

The performance has been further enhanced by the extended battery life. The Samsung Series 5 ULTRA delivers up to 6.4 hours of battery life on a single charge, to make sure users enjoy the ultra features throughout the day. The Samsung Battery Life Plus is a true anti-aging battery technology which keeps 80 percent of the cell’s original capacity in a life cycle lasting up to 1,500 charging cycles / three years. This ensures that the battery can last up to five times longer than other notebooks.

ULTRA of your Choice

To meet the concept of being the true companion of consumers, the Samsung Series 5 ULTRA will be offered in 13” and 14”.

To ensure ease-of-use while on the move, the Series 5 ULTRA 13” is just 14~17.6mm thin and 1.38kg light. The Intel Core i5 processor, up to 8GB memory, up to 500GB storage and 16GB iSSD with ExpressCache ensures that mobility is not compromised. Consumers can also choose from a 128GB SSD or 258GB SSD as their preferred storage. To offer maximum connection to other devices, the 13”  model also carries full-size HDMI port along with one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, 4-in-1 multi SD card slot, Ethernet and webcam.

The 14” model equipped with Intel Core i5 processor, up to 8GB memory and 16GB iSSD with ExpressCache system offers exceptional performance. For larger storage and heightened visual experience, the Series 5 ULTRA 14” embraces up to 1TB storage as well as an AMD Radeon HD7550M 1GB graphics card. An integrated Optical Disc Drive is also installed for maximum convenience. In terms of connectivity, the 14” model offers full-size HDMI, VGA, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, 4-in-1 multi SD card slot, Ethernet and webcam. All the above features are packed into a 20.9mm thin and 1.84kg light chassis.

Both models carry Samsung’s superior LCD technology with 300nit HD LED SuperBright screen, Image Enhancer technology and anti-reflective screen, enabling consumers an ultra viewing experience no matter where the user is.

Pricing and Availability

The Samsung Series 5 ULTRA will be available locally in February at an approximate recommended retail price of R10 199 for the 13’’ and R10 299 for the 14’’. For more product information and multimedia content, please see or

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