Archive for Styczeń, 2012

Looking beyond venture capital to fund overseas expansion

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Software companies that want to expand their businesses overseas need to look beyond the venture capital (VC) model, says Kevin Phillips of idu Software.

“A lot of companies focus on getting VC funding so they can move overseas and open an office in London or New York or San Francisco,” says Phillips. “But it’s extremely expensive, you surrender a large stake in your business and there is a strong risk that something about the new environment is going to deliver a nasty surprise, no matter how much homework you’ve done.”

Finding an experienced local partner in the territory they want to expand to is an option that not enough companies consider, says Phillips. “It doesn’t deliver rapid growth overnight, but it has enabled idu to build a solid presence in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, as well as in several other African countries.”

The secret, says Phillips, is to invest some capital and time in finding a trustworthy partner who already has a strong foothold in your target country. “Typically our partners would provide financial systems consulting services. Our budgeting and reporting software suits the needs of many of their clients, and consequently we can build strong and mutually beneficial relationships.

“Using local partner’s means you have to provide a fair amount of upfront support while they are getting used to your product, but once they have some experience in sales and implementation they can operate fairly independently,” says Phillips. “We don’t own the partner company – but we do still have some control and our costs are limited.”

Franchising is too risky an alternative, says Phillips. “It seems tempting because someone else takes on all the direct costs and the time investment is minimal – but it can seriously backfire. Once you have sold franchise rights to someone in another country you have very little control over what they do; they could do serious damage to your brand and reputation.”

The partnership model, says Phillips, “gives the ideal balance of maintaining some control over your business while also keeping the costs of expansion low. If someone knocked on my door tomorrow offering me a choice between money to set up a new operation in a country I’m not familiar with, or an introduction to one established partner with a dedicated client base that needs my product in that country, I’d choose the introduction every time, without hesitation.”

Samsung Smart LED and Plasma TVs Usher in a New Era of Connectivity and Control

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Smart Interaction, Smart Content and Smart Evolution will change the way consumers experience entertainment

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. recently unveiled new innovations in its latest LED and Plasma TV series that will redefine the way consumers manage their home entertainment experience, interact with their smart TVs and other devices and access the industry’s broadest range of content.

• Smart Interaction – Launch and use apps more easily through Motion Control, Voice Control and Face Recognition.

• Smart Content – Share photos, memories and memos with family from the TV to the cloud to smart devices, manage your own health directly from the TV, and access educational content for kids. The industry’s broadest offering of movies, TV shows and streaming videos can be enjoyed via Samsung Apps, the industry’s preferred TV apps platform, and Samsung Media Hub. Samsung Smart Hub offers true multi-tasking – surf the web while using or downloading multiple apps simultaneously.

• Smart Evolution – Selecting Samsung TVs in 2012 will allow consumers to enjoy new experiences as their TV is ‘reborn’ each year with the latest smart technology, simply by installing kits.

Samsung’s flagship LED ES8000 and Plasma E8000 series TVs, along with the ES7000 and ES6800 series of LED TVs, received CES 2012 Innovations Design and Engineering Awards. Samsung showcased its new TVs at the 2012 International CES. 

“In this era of smart entertainment, consumers are changing the way they want to be entertained and how they choose to access this content,” said Justin Shaw, Business Leader for Visual Display at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “Samsung is redefining what a TV can do so people can use more intuitive ways to control their entertainment experiences, maintain closer contact to people that are important to them, and easily manage and share content across multiple screens.”

Intuitive Controls for the Most Easy-to-Enjoy Content Experience

Samsung’s premium 2012 Smart TVs will feature Samsung’s Smart Interaction technology – an intuitive platform that uses Motion Control, Voice Control and Face Recognition commands for the TV. Smart Interaction complements the remote and seeks to offer users greater choice and convenience in how they control their home entertainment experience.

For example, users can turn the TV on or off, activate selected apps or search for content in the web browser simply by speaking in any of the 20 to 30 languages that are supported by the technology. With a wave of their hand, they can browse and choose a link or content via the web browser. The built-in camera recognises movement in the foreground and two unidirectional array microphones recognise voice at an incredibly accurate rate. Noise cancellation technology helps separate any background noise from the users’ commands.
Samsung’s 2012 line of Smart LED and Plasma TVs also support connectivity with select wireless keyboards and mice, making it more convenient than ever for users to access and navigate content.

Samsung Smart TVs Get Even Smarter and Closer to the Family

Samsung Smart TVs now bring the family back to the living room. The new TVs embrace the promise of a multi-screen world by allowing users to do more with their TV through Samsung’s new suite of exclusive services, the first of its kind in the industry:

• Family Story’s album lets users organise photos and enjoy slide shows on the big screen. Family members can also share memos and reminders anywhere they are via the phone, tablet, PC or TV.

• Fitness allows users to connect their Samsung TV to a Samsung smartphone via a mobile Fitness app. They can also connect to a WiFi-enabled scale to manage their weight goals and use the TV’s built-in camera to create a virtual mirror to monitor their exercise routines.

• Kids offers a wealth of infotainment and games through a kid-friendly interface that parents can control and monitor.

Samsung’s premium Smart TVs – including the ES8000 LED TV and E8000 Plasma TV – are powered by a new dual-core processor to enable multi-tasking, so apps no longer need to be exited and re-launched.

Searching for movies, browsing the Internet, downloading apps via Samsung Apps, accessing Video on Demand content or chatting with friends has never been more convenient.

Samsung’s Smart Hub user interface has also been redesigned for faster performance and improved convenience with a cleaner, more intuitive interface in Full HD. With a tabbed web browser, users can open multiple pages at a time, while the new Content Bar remembers recent activities for easy access to content.

Video fans will have even more reason to celebrate in 2012. With over 1,400 apps globally, Samsung Apps has established itself as the industry’s leading TV apps platform, with the broadest range of video content from leading brands. In addition to popular favourites such as CNBC Real Time, ESPN ScoreCenter, DSTV Super Sport, MTV Music Meter, African Endangered Animals, African Cooking Recipes, South African Lotto Results and Today in African History, new apps in 2012 include Angry Birds, Bravo, Discovery Channel, M-GO from Technicolour, The Daily and VH1’s ‘I Love the 80’s Trivia’.
Also new in 2012, Samsung will extend the availability of its successful Media Hub app, currently pre-loaded on Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tabs, to the TV. The app offers consumers all-star entertainment and a diverse selection of movies and TV shows the day after they air, as well as past seasons of the shows. In addition, select movies will be available the day they are released on DVD.

Samsung’s new AllShare Play marks an evolution of its AllShare feature. AllShare Play allows users to upload and share multimedia content with AllShare Play compatible devices such as smartphones, tablets, cameras and computers.

Future-Proofing Your TV with Smart Evolution

2012 Samsung Smart TV will be “future-proof” for years to come. Thanks to its proprietary system-on-chip technology, Samsung is the only company that can deliver an evolving TV, which allows you to easily enjoy the benefits of the latest TV technology year after year without purchasing a brand new set. With a simple slot-in to the back of TV, Samsung’s Evolution Kit will bring the latest and greatest TV technology to life.

Samsung LED TVs Deliver Crystal Clear Picture Quality with Innovative Design

Samsung’s 2012 line of Full HD LED TVs continue to raise the bar in picture quality. Whether users are viewing a detailed shot from a camera or seeing incredible 3D depth, images are breathtakingly real with detailed contrast. 

Both the Samsung ES8000 Smart LED TV and ES7500 Smart LED TV series offer cutting-edge technologies that deliver clear images in both 2D and 3D.The ES8000’s Micro Dimming Ultimate analyses the picture in hundreds of pieces to optimise the LED backlight and video signal for each piece in real time, by increasing peak whites in areas of lower gradation. This leads to an overall 20% increase in brightness and allows home entertainment enthusiasts to enjoy richer colours, brighter pictures and higher contrast ratios. The technology also eliminates the “halo” effect and image distortion associated with diffused light.

Samsung is taking its minimalist and luxurious design identity further with this year’s LED line. The 0.2 inch ultra-slim bezel design, first introduced in 2011, returns for premium models while the rest of Samsung’s  LED line will feature a slim 0.5 inch slim bezel. In all cases, consumers enjoy a larger screen size without increasing the overall size of the TV when compared to conventional models.

The ES8000 also sports a new metallic U-shape stand that adds to the sophistication this TV brings to any room. The stand’s unique, minimalistic design belies its sturdiness and stability. Together, the TV and stand form a harmonious composition of straight lines and curves, appearing as a timeless objet d’art.

Samsung also offers an optional ultra slim wall-mount so that users can show off the TV’s slim form factor by hanging it like a picture frame on the wall.

Samsung’s Best Plasma Yet – Form Meets Function without Compromise

Samsung’s E8000 Plasma TVs combine a new black bezel design with enhanced display technologies for the most exceptional Plasma TV Samsung has ever created.

The E8000 sports a slim 1.5-inch profile and Samsung’s Plasma +1 ultra-slim bezel design, which reduces the gap between the bezel and screen content, yielding more screen real estate without increasing the size of the TV. The bezel is a new titan black metal colour with a transparent crystal-like border, resulting in a more immersive entertainment experience than ever before.

Users will experience some of the deepest black levels ever achieved on a Samsung TV, thanks to the E8000’s innovative Real Black Pro Panel. The new panel combines advancements in the structure of the plasma panel with software improvements, yielding blacker blacks, bolder colour, higher contrast, and exceptional picture quality. This technological improvement improves black levels by 10%, creating an incredible cinematic viewing experience.

As with the ES8000 LED TV, the E8000 includes Smart TV features, 3D, Smart Interaction and a dual-core processor for multitasking – truly the ultimate in Plasma TVs.

All Samsung 2012 TVs are compliant with the Energy Star® 5.1 guidelines.

Samsung’s product line will be available locally in April 2012. Full details, video content and product images are available at the Samsung microsite at:

Kaspersky Lab Wins Product of the Year in AV-Comparatives’ Annual Awards

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab has been awarded “Product of the Year” by the respected independent testing laboratory AV-Comparatives based on overall test results from the year 2011. The award is based on the findings of nine different comparative tests of consumer anti-virus solutions conducted over the year, which in Kaspersky Lab’s case means two products – Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Kaspersky Internet Security. Significantly, Kaspersky Lab was the only participant to have been awarded the highest grade – Advanced+ – in all nine tests.
In deciding on the winner in the nomination of Product of the Year, AV-Comparatives’ experts evaluated solutions’ level of detection of malicious programs and effectiveness of heuristic algorithms, the number of false positives, resource usage, how well an infected system is treated, and effectiveness in “real-world” user scenarios. Each of these parameters was assessed objectively based on the results in the respective tests carried out during the year. Consequently, for the third time in the history of the annual awards, Kaspersky Lab won Product of the Year.
Throughout 2011 Kaspersky Lab products participated in nine comparative tests of either anti-virus solutions or Internet security suites. In each, the solutions’ different functional characteristics for protecting a computer from today’s threats were evaluated. In all tests both Kaspersky Lab solutions received Advanced+, with excellent results in the two principle indicators of any consumer security solution’s quality – effectiveness of malware detection and minimal false positives. AV-Comparatives also highly praised Kaspersky Lab’s products’ ability to fully cure systems infected with malware and their overall minimal resource usage.

Particular commendation in AV-Comparatives’ annual review report was reserved for Kaspersky Internet Security 2012. The review of the product highlighted its easy installation, its full operability in Windows’ safe mode, and the quality of online user support. The program’s new user interface and comprehensive technical documentation were also highly commended.
Commenting on receiving AV-Comparatives’ prestigious annual award, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and founder of Kaspersky Lab, said: “We’ve been having our products independently tested by AV-Comparatives for several years now, never missing a single test. We’ve never been afraid to learn about our mistakes through such testing; in fact just the opposite – we want to know quickly so that we can do all we can to swiftly remedy them. In the past we got quite a few critical comments from testing lab experts; it was based on these that we improved our products. Our products being recognised as of the highest quality based on 2011’s different comparative tests, with top marks in each, is an achievement we can be truly proud of, the more so since the independence, expertise and conscientiousness of AV-Comparatives have no equal.”
Andreas Clementi, Chairman of AV-Comparatives, said: “This year, we have decided to recognise all those products with excellent overall results by giving them the new AV-Comparatives Top Rated award. However, we still have only one Product of the Year. The 2011 award goes to Kaspersky Lab. Their security products do not all depend on just one technology, but provide all-round protection using a wide range of different mechanisms, including, for example, heuristics, behavioural detection, cloud features, signatures, and others, without being over-dependent on individual components. As a result, the user is protected in all computing scenarios, even when offline. The cloud is used as a sensible addition to the other technologies, not as a replacement for them. Kaspersky Lab products also offer a variety of tools and features in its products, e.g., for cleaning infected PCs. As a result, Kaspersky Lab was the only vendor to receive the Advanced+ award in every single test conducted by AV-Comparatives in 2011, making it the clear winner of the Product of the Year award.”
The full AV-Comparatives 2011 summary report can be found at, , for your easy reference.

BPO Trends 2012

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Written by Gareth Pritchard CEO of BPeSA Western Cape

2012 is set to be another ground breaking year for the BPO industry”, with a number of major developments expected.

Gareth Pritchard

Gareth Pritchard

Mass uptake of social media

Over the past five years there has been a global shift towards social media engagement; this in turn has resulted in a number of companies incorporating social media into their customer communication strategies. Despite this movement, numerous large scale BPO operators have yet to fully optimise social media as a customer engagement tool.

Following on from this definite industry trend, 2012 should mark the end of  traditional call centre with the contact centre becoming the accepted norm. This will result in voice no longer dominating customer service, but rather forming part of a bigger service offering.

The future of customer service will be integration, with voice, email, instant messaging and social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + all working together to serve as a holistic communication channel. 

Unstable economy will increase outsourcing demand

A second global recession will drive the growth of the BPO sector in 2012 as businesses look at innovative ways to cut costs, without sacrificing on quality. 

In a recent survey by industry experts Horses for Sources, 25% of organisations stated that they would be more likely to outsource on the back of the second recession. With outsourcing now seen as a tried and tested model, companies in times of economic woe will look to BPO as a way to reduce operational costs.

With increasing pressure on senior management to improve productivity whilst still cutting costs, BPO enables organisations to focus on improving core competencies, while secondary functions such as customer service are outsourced.

Pressure to keep offshore jobs onshore

On the back of another recession, worldwide unemployment levels have not shown any real signs of improvement placing further pressure on company’s offshoring their customer service. This is particularly evident in the US where a proposed bill is being discussed that would punish American companies for sending their customer call centres overseas. If this becomes law, it will have a huge impact on the Indian and Philippine BPO markets, both of which rely heavily on the US for both voice and back office services.
The proposed legislation is currently being driven by Republican Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union and would make companies that outsource their call centre work ineligible for guaranteed federal loans and grants for a period of five years.

Growth of the cloud

Cloud services for the contact centre will continue to grow in 2012 as organisations embrace the benefits and cost flexibility that comes with the technology. Cloud based solutions will also serve to level the technological playing fields as smaller operators will be able to access the latest technologies without the burden of high start-up costs.

India lose voice to rest of the world

We started to see this trend develop in 2011 with a number of UK companies moving their customer service voice operations back from Indian in favour of a quality onshore alternative. In a recessionary environment cutting costs is critical, but losing a customer is not negotiable, hence even in a recession, companies will be willing to spend money to keep their customer base. This will create opportunities for niche destinations like South Africa who are able to offer quality voice based solutions together with cultural affinity and similar time zone positioning.

Samsung Pushes Boundaries at CES 2012

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Samsung presents vision for future of consumer electronics, making the world simpler, smarter and more connected

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, unveiled its vision for the future of the consumer electronics industry, pushing the boundaries of innovation further than ever before. Working across its entire product portfolio, Samsung will remove the barriers that exist between devices and content to deliver a smarter, simpler and more connected life for consumers.

Presenting at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012, Samsung revealed a new connected ecosystem that encompasses its diverse array of products, content and services.

“We stand alone as the only company capable of connecting all the components of a consumer’s electronic life,” said Boo-Keun Yoon, President and Head of Consumer Electronics Division at Samsung Electronics. “From TVs to phones, tablets to PCs, cameras to appliances, we are enabling meaningful connections between them all. Our promise is that you will share and enjoy content across all these devices, easily, anywhere, anytime.”

Pushing the boundaries of content, design, connectivity and control, Samsung’s new products and services continue to help consumers live a smarter connected life.

Ultimate Picture Quality, Premium Content

For 2012, Samsung has pushed the boundaries of home entertainment and expanded the content options on its Smart TVs. This is evident in its first Super OLED TV and the UNES8000 flagship LED TV.

The ES8000 LED TV redefines how consumers access, experience and manage their home entertainment. Powered by a dual-core processor, users can surf the web while using or downloading multiple apps simultaneously. A broad range of content is also available through Samsung Apps, the industry’s preferred TV apps platform.

Continuing its future-forward path, Samsung also introduced the ultimate TV delivering new sensations, and an entirely new category of television that the industry has been long awaiting – Samsung’s very first 55-inch Super OLED TV. As a CES “Best of Innovations 2012” award winner, Samsung is proud to utilise its long history and expertise surrounding OLED product development to bring this technology to large-screen TVs. Samsung’s proprietary Super OLED technology incorporates the ultimate in vividness, speed and thinness, with true-to-life picture quality, enhanced colour accuracy and motion picture quality even in the fastest scenes. Also incorporated into Samsung’s Super OLED TV is Smart Interaction, Samsung Apps, 3D functionality and multitasking – enabling the TV of tomorrow to be delivered today.  

This year, Samsung plans to continue its leadership in the Smart TV category with three driving philosophies for a Smarter Life: Smart Interaction, Smart Content and Smart Evolution – all of which arm consumers with the future of Smart TV technology, today.

Smart Interaction – As content has become smarter, robust and more accessible, Samsung’s vision for the way in which consumers interact with their TVs has also evolved. Smart Interaction enables Smart TV owners to communicate with their TVs via Voice Control, Motion Control and Face Recognition. Thanks to a built-in HD camera and dual-microphones, consumers may simply say “Hi TV” to turn on voice control, speak “Web Browser” to get online, and browse and select results or increase the volume by just pointing a hand.

Smart Content – Expansion of more personalised content offerings to better meet consumers’ needs is a principal goal of Samsung Smart TV. On the press conference stage, Samsung spoke to its content success – with more than 1,400 Smart TV apps now available including Angry Birds, Discovery Channel, and the number of third-party developers that has grown from 550 to 25,000 in just two years.

Samsung has revamped its AllShare service with “AllShare Play,” which enables consumers to easily access personal content regardless of where you are in the world or whether it is stored on a TV, tablet, camera, phone or PC.

Samsung is taking the connected ecosystem one step further with three new exclusive services for the Samsung Smart TV: Family Story, Fitness and Kids – enabling families to share photos and messages with each other, easily sync their fitness goals and activities, and help kids partake in educational viewing while recording progress every step of the way.

Smart Evolution – Samsung’s new “Evolution Kit,” the world’s first of its kind, will be packed with necessary hardware and software each year using Samsung’s proprietary system-on-chip technology, bringing enhancements to content and performance to select 2012 or newer Smart TVs. With a simple slot-in to the back of your TV, the dream of experiencing the newest in TV technology can be brought to life.

Powerful LTE Smart Mobile Devices in U.S. Market

For Samsung Mobile, pushing boundaries means providing consumers with unlimited choice and ensuring there is a portable device to meet their every need. An example of Samsung pushing the boundaries in mobile is with the Galaxy Note, a device that delivers a new category of smartphone, coming to AT&T.

The Galaxy Note was successfully introduced across the globe through the Galaxy Note World Tour, in Europe, Asia, Middle East, China and Korea. Unveiled during AT&T’s Developer Summit, Samsung has partnered with AT&T to launch the Samsung Galaxy Note in the U.S. market.

The Galaxy Note features the world’s first and largest 5.3” HD Super AMOLED display. This is an expansive high-resolution smart screen that provides an immersive and best in class viewing experience while ensuring smartphone portability and on the go usability. Additionally, an advanced pen-input technology, called the S Pen, combines with Galaxy Note’s full touch screen to introduce a unique user experience. Taking full advantage of the large display, Galaxy Note users will be able to capture, create, and share while on the move.

In addition to the Galaxy Note, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Tab 7.7 with Verizon Wireless. Just 7.9mm thin and weighing roughly half a pound, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the thinnest, lightest and most portable Honeycomb tablet on the market today.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the first tablet in the US to feature the Super AMOLED Plus Display running on Verizon Wireless’ powerful 4G LTE network. Users will experience seamless video chat, rapid Web browsing and rich graphic processing at 4G LTE speeds, as well as the industry’s best and brightest display technology in the palm of their hand. And like the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 has Samsung’s SAFE certification for enterprise use.

SMART Camera Technology

With more than half of the estimated 2.5 billion digital camera owners in the world sharing their photos via online and social networking sites, and more than 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in more than 75 countries, the benefits of Wi-Fi have never been more important or accessible. As a leading innovator in the digital imaging industry, Samsung Electronics is responding to growing consumer demand for integrated Wi-Fi enabled cameras that allow users to email photos or share them on social networks. Following the success of the SH100 camera, Samsung’s range of wireless SMART cameras is comprised of no fewer than five cameras and camcorders, all Wi-Fi-enabled.

In particular, Samsung introduced the WB850F, a Wi-Fi-enabled long-zoom camera boasting a 21 x super zoom, Samsung’s best yet. The device’s pioneering 16 Megapixel BSI CMOS sensor reduces image noise and distortion, even in low light conditions to deliver high quality images which can be experienced in vivid clarity on the 3.0” VGA AMOLED screen. Added fun features, such as GPS and Live Landmark make it the latest must-have travel companion, enhancing journeys with maps and local info at the touch of a button. Housed in an ultra-compact body, consumers now have the freedom to shoot in stunning clarity, store and share – anywhere, anytime.

Samsung’s innovative new SMART Wi-Fi technology pushes the boundaries by revolutionising the way people capture and manage their images, making it simpler and less time-intensive to store them across devices, as well as easy and fun to share them instantly. All of this without compromising on image quality.

Thanks to the Auto Backup function, users no longer have to worry about unearthing a tangle of cables to transfer their images over to their hard drive. Instant Sharing meanwhile allows users to share photos through email or social networking sites, as well as synchronising pictures from their camera to other devices in real time.

Design Craftsmanship Meets Performance

Furthermore, Samsung also revealed the next generation Series 9 Notebook, 21% thinner and 28% smaller than its predecessor, it will be the thinnest premium notebook on the market. Crafted for consumers striving for top quality items with a new aluminum unibody design, the new Series 9 will be available in a 13.3” and 15” SuperBright Plus screen sizes. Both will feature second generation Intel Core processors and full connectivity solid state storage.

Additionally, Samsung introduced the Series 5 ULTRA. Encased in a thin and lightweight chassis and powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, these Ultrabooks provide plenty of power for those on the go. Available in 13.3” and 14” sizes, the 14” offers a category-unique DVD drive. It boots up in just 20 seconds and wakes up in just two seconds. Web browsing is twice as fast as the previous generation of notebook PCs.

Storage is also a category exclusive featuring 500GB HDD complemented with 16 GB SSD ExpressCache ensuring improved speeds when executing everyday tasks like Web browsing.

Smart Appliances, Smart Kitchen

Building on the success of its connected refrigerator, this year Samsung unveiled the Wi-Fi enabled WF457 washer with a Smart Control system allowing consumers to monitor cycle selections and remaining time as well as receive an alert when the load is complete via an application on their Samsung smartphone. 

For LCD refrigerators with apps, Samsung introduces a Grocery Manager application that will allow consumers to track the location and expiration time of perishables. The apps will be added to the side-by-side (RSG309) and four-door French Door (RF4289) models.

“We certainly look forward to bringing a number of these new technologies to the South African market and believe that the innovative nature of the respective product offerings will catapult Samsung into a highly competitive playing field – delivering to market, products that are of the highest standards and are mapped directly to what our consumers expect of us,” says Deon Liebenberg, Managing Director of Samsung Electronics South Africa.

UPS or Inverter – or both – putting the ‘power’ in your hands

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Competing, or working together to run your home and SME? 

By Robert Brandt, AEC Product Specialist at Drive Control Corporation

As businesses and consumers struggle to cope with the global energy crisis, governments and the private sector alike are actively looking towards alternative, greener energy sources to preserve both the planet and power.

Until such time that the crisis is over, it is imperative to have solutions in place that provide backup and protect equipment from power surges and power outages.  Many companies invest in power solutions, such as UPS’s, especially for their IT environments, but as businesses and homes also need backup power sources, the inverter is coming to fore.   However, not many people understand the differences (and similarities) between a UPS and inverter.

A UPS is fairly simple in its working, yet provides something essential to any business – uninterrupted power, as well as lightning and power surge protection.  The inverter is similar in its purpose yet offers slightly different functionality.  Both have been around for decades and not only assist with the increasing power shortage, but also provide a short-term solution.  Manufacturers have even started enabling these devices to assist in providing a long-term solution where carbon footprints and energy conservation are concerned.

Put simply, a UPS contains an inverter, yet distinguishes itself with additional features such as lighting and power surge protection through automated voltage regulation (AVR).  It provides a limited autonomy to enable statefull shutdowns with IT equipment such as servers, which ensures information and software is not corrupted which can happen with a sudden power outage. 
An Inverter is comparatively inexpensive, basic equipment, which is entrenched in the electronic industry and used to keep production going for up to 12 hours after a power outage. It does this by converting the output DC power from its battery source, into an AC current.

UPS’s and inverters have co-existed for decades in their separate markets, but as we are moving to an ever-increasing technologically advanced environment where automated, or smart homes is a new buzz word, so the lines between the UPS and Inverter have blurred.  A home user would benefit from an Inverter that can not only run the geyser and everything else connected electronically, while the power is out, but also do it in an environmentally friendly manner.  A generator serves the purpose of extended run time in the home and office, but the accompanying noise and carbon-loaded fuel consumption, will not suffice in our green day and age. 

For example, the AEC ST2X home inverter has an average lifespan of three to five years and would be connected to your home electrical system and can automatically charge its batteries, using a combination of Eskom power and solar energy. It would also have a line auto failover switch, which allows for a line interactive switch from Eskom to battery power in case of an outage. As a result the switch is so incredibly fast, that no data will be lost or damage caused in the nanosecond of downtime.

The cost of such a unit depends on how long you want to run your home of office, as well as how large or small the required load is.  That means you can have anything between 800 and 1300 watts of energy, generated from up to 24 100ah batteries, running your home or office in an environmentally friendly manner during power outages, as well as protecting your equipment from fluctuations in power.

Businesses and home users can take advantage of both the UPS and inverter in an effort to ensure productivity, save money and harness the distinct benefits of lightning and surge protection whilst enjoying the added benefit of an additional power source than can keep equipment running for up to eight hours. As they say, knowledge is power.


10 things resellers should look for in a UC vendor

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

By Bennie Langenhoven, Managing Executive, Tellumat Communication Solutions*

Whether you’re scrapping for an up-and-coming new unified communications vendor or running with the big dogs, inspiration is a big part of what makes a channel partner want to win it for its principal.

So what is your vendor doing to make you proud and excited to be in the trenches for it?

1. Is it just big or getting bigger and better?
Big is its own justification, but there’s something thrilling about “the little engine that could and most definitely will”. Look beyond the incumbents to the next-in-lines, where the real fight is happening. Find the angriest cloud of dust and you’re likely to see a contender with respectable market share, double-digit growth, hungry strategies, dynamic execution and farsighted channel programmes.  Keep an eye on Gartner and other industry analysts.

2. Does it do Fixed Mobile Convergence well?
Mobility is a big ICT play, perhaps the biggest one at present, and the cutting edge of all three other contenders for buzz of the millennium – unified communications, cloud and social media. So what is your vendor’s mobility strategy? Does it extend full IP PBX functionality (from any vendor) to the major mobile endpoints?

3. How ‘happening’ is its global footprint?
Is your vendor aggressively entering new territories, adding more tiers to its channel strategy and winning over global partners that would formerly not give it the time of day? It’s not enough to grow if you cannot grow along every possible dimension.

4. When ahead, does it quit?
Most of the industry is in distress. Assuming your vendor is in growth mode, it is telling to assess its response to this market advantage: is it taking its foot off the pedal? That would be wrong.

5. Is it spending?
Is your vendor investing in important areas like mobility, and does this include R&D? How close is its R&D budget to leading benchmarks?

6. Are its partners happy?
Sure, success is beautiful and you want to be a part of it. But if you’re worried your vendor might be spreading your potential gains too thin with too many new channel signings, then there must be question marks about how deliberate its growth is and how well it’s communicating its plans.

7. Are its partners hungry?
Sometimes the best indication of someone’s intentions is the company they keep. Are your vendor’s partners the sort of companies you admire?

8. Are its partners a good mix?
While most of a successful vendor’s partners will be bread-and-butter regional resellers focused on SMB customers, it should also have some key partners – ideally major national solution providers, even multinational integrators. With the right channel strategy there’s no need to fear dealer saturation – by association, quality partners improve your standing too.

9. Does it do cloud well?
Can you sell its product as a service? How compelling is this service in the light of cloud concerns such as security, privacy, interoperability, standards and so forth?

10. Does it play well in a team?
Does it sell 100% through the channel? What tools does it offer partners for their success?

Beyond technology
As important as product strategy is, a vendor’s behaviour can be the real inspiration behind the channel’s decision to partner with it.

OCZ Technology Petrol SATA 6Gbps SSDs Reduce SSD Deployment Costs by Thirty Percent

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs), has launched the Indilinx Everest-based Petrol SSD Series.

The Petrol Series will be distributed in Southern Africa by local distributor, Syntech SA.

Syntech SA managing director, Craig Nowitz, said the Petrol Series enables further adoption of SSDs in cost-sensitive applications, while taking advantage of real world performance and complete feature set of the Indilinx Everest platform.

He said that sales of OCZ products form an “important part” of the company’s total revenue, adding that he expected revenue to increase noticeably during 2012 due to the wider set of applications now provided by the company for the SSD industry.

“Until today, SSD adoption has been limited to high performance applications due to the high cost of SSDs in relation to slower rotating discs, and we are proud to once again close the gap in pricing without sacrificing durability,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. “The new Petrol Series showcases the flexibility of the Indilinx Everest platform and NDurance™ Technology, allowing OCZ to deliver the benefits of SSDs to a wide new set of applications while retaining the superior real world performance and reduced latency that separate Everest-based SSDs from our competitors.”

The OCZ Petrol Series delivers bandwidth up to 400MB/s and 35,000 IOPS, and is optimized for the complete spectrum of file types and sizes. Additionally, advanced features unique to Indilinx, such as proprietary page mapping algorithms, allow for steady mixed-workload performance, and innovative latency reduction technology enables superior access times as low as 0.06ms. Petrol ensures the most consistent and reliable performance as well as minimized performance degradation even after the drive’s storage capacity is highly utilized.

The OCZ Petrol SSD Series will be available in models ranging from 64GB-512GB capacities throughout OCZ’s global channel in the coming weeks.

In the cloud, but not in the dark

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

Is your hosted technology provider a trusted advisor or box dropper?

The case for cloud is now closed
The business case for cloud-based call centres is irrefutable – it is almost always better to leave the procurement, configuration, operation, maintenance and updating of a complex technology platform up to the hosting provider.

The host, after all, has the economies of scale to offer a fixed, reasonable monthly charge, the vendor relationships to procure the most cutting-edge technology, and the specialist skills to keep it in mint running condition.

Then there are the cloud-specific advantages, such as the ability to provide just enough capacity for your business peaks and troughs, with flexible charges to match this “elastic” delivery.

But not all providers are equal
In practice, of course, not all hosted  providers are equal, and the problems of using complex technology don’t go away by simply going the hosted route. In fact, customers will experience a world of difference in choosing between the following two types of providers:

•          ‘Box droppers’, that drop the minimal on-site equipment needed to operate the remote system (phones, PCs and Internet gateway), along with minimal instruction, and then retreat behind a shared-call service number; and

•          Consultative providers that take the trouble to help ready the customer’s technology for cloud delivery (including line redundancy and quality of service), manage change (including training), and weave the system into business processes and goals.

Major success factor
Choosing right can mean the difference between success and failure of your cloud implementation.

It is as important as choosing the right solution and service delivery model, since it influences everything – basic set-up of the technology, operation, trouble-shooting, quality assurance and technology refreshes.

By choosing a partner with a service-centric, consultative approach, customers can be sure that core issues such as their call routing and queues are set up with the help of the experts, reports deliver the best possible analysis for their business type and goals, and their system functions with optimal quality and productivity.

A proven, hosted call centre technology provider  that wraps its technology in a solid service offering offers many other benefits, including:

•          A single point of contact – the best call centre technology host providers can cite many cases in which they’ve arranged an end-to-end solution, from data lines to the solution itself, its assembly and integration into company systems, and project management.

•          Optimal routing – providers with past experience can offer call routing configuration that ideally suits companies with your characteristics.

•          Optimal reporting – experience can again mean the difference between struggling to match hundreds of report templates against your needs and finding the correct few right away.

Good head-start
Having the right hosting partner will make a visible difference from the get-go. Setting up a call centre is a rare skill, and any company attempting to do so without solid support from their tech provider will, at best, spend months to iron out the issues.

Multiple competitive issues might arise from this, such as loss of market agility and high cost.

With the right support your learning curve can be shortened to weeks. Look for providers with the credentials that cite a full house of proven skills and the willingness to be operationally involved.

Protect, manage and control application traffic with Next-Generation firewalls

By admin, 17 stycznia, 2012, No Comment

The security landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years. Not only are there an ever increasing number of threats to the network that must be guarded against, but the way we use networks has changed thanks to the advent of social networking and Web 2.0 applications. Originally, firewalls were designed to block threats at the network layer by analysing ports and protocols, however, today’s Web applications do not rely on specific ports, leaving traditional firewalls blind to threats and networks open to vulnerabilities. The time has come for Next-Generation Firewalls that combine the still necessary network protection layer with protection at the application layer, to prevent the host of modern application based threats from wreaking havoc on corporate and private networks.

“With the constant evolution of malware and security threats, protection too needs to evolve, and a few years ago one of the most popular ‘buzz phrases’ to do the security rounds was Unified Threat Management (UTM), which includes technology that combines a traditional firewall with port blocking as well as dedicated anti-virus, content and other filters at the gateway,” says Dominique Honnay, Director of Emerging Markets and EMEA Distribution at SonicWALL. “However, while UTM addresses several of the security issues that have come to the fore, it is  unable to correctly identify individual applications, meaning that Web applications which are port independent can still find a way around the firewall, leaving the network open to threats.”

The Next-Generation Firewall addresses these vulnerabilities by identifying all traffic that comes into the network independently of the port, including a wide variety of protocols such as VoIP, streaming media, HTTP, HTTPS and so on. Based on certain characteristics of the data stream, Next-Generation firewalls can identify individual applications. This enables traffic to be filtered at the application layer, which when combined with traditional firewall technology provides protection at all layers of vulnerability on the network.

The latest in firewall technology enables organisations to determine usage patterns by monitoring all network traffic, which then makes it possible to create highly granular policies on a per application, per user or per user group basis, as well as by time of day or other variables. This delivers flexible control which can easily be tailored to fit the requirements of any network.

“Next-Generation Firewalls enable organisations to identify and control all of the applications being used on the network. This not only provides better protection, it also enhances compliance and data leakage prevention as well as enabling bandwidth to be more efficiently controlled. For example, bandwidth can now be allocated to mission-critical or latency sensitive applications, while restricting the use of productivity draining applications like online games or streaming video,” says Martin Tassev, Managing Director at Loophold Security Distribution.

By identifying traffic according to inherent unique characteristics rather than by source port, destination port or protocol, organisations are also empowered to control not only individual applications and categories of applications, but also specific features within applications. For example, using this technology, organisations can allow instant messaging, but block file transfers which may be a source of vulnerability, or allow Facebook access, but block access to unproductive Facebook-based games.
“In this way organisations can very tightly control application usage, allowing access to specific sites while limiting available bandwidth for these applications instead of implementing a blanket ban. This control can be taken to a very granular level, with different steps of control. As an example, the marketing department may have access to YouTube where HR does not, and the whole organisation may have limited bandwidth available for Facebook, but the CEO may be permitted to access any site and always have bandwidth priority,” says Honnay.

Organisations with distributed networks, such as university campuses, hospitals and dispersed enterprises, with multiple branches, can also use Next-Generation Firewall technology to filter internal traffic as well. Monitoring external traffic only is no longer enough, since potential threats can originate from within a network just as easily, so providing internal scanning ensures that all traffic is cleared for threats without impacting on the performance of the network.

“Aside from managing wired connections, the Next-Generation Firewall combines the capability to manage wireless connectivity as well, applying the same rules and enforcing the same policies for user authentication, bandwidth prioritisation and so on. This is becoming increasingly important given the consumerisation of IT and the trend towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). With the right technology in place, this can easily be allowed without compromising network security,” Tassev adds.

The Next-Generation Firewall incorporates a host of functionality that has become vital in modern network security. Some of these capabilities include control of the applications that are permitted on the network, management of bandwidth for critical applications and blocking of unproductive applications, or even just components of unproductive applications. This technology also allows for the visualisation of application traffic, identification of connections by country of origin and prevention of data leaks by stopping information marked as confidential from leaving the corporate networks.

While Next-Generation Firewalls have become vital to security in the modern organisation, they are just a stepping stone on the path towards true network optimisation. Once the functionality of the Firewall has been incorporated, WAN acceleration can be included to optimise WAN links and side to side connectivity, improving performance while maintaining the highest security standards.

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