Archive for Luty, 2012

The HP Folio 13 Ultrabook from DCC competes at top speeds

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Technology is perpetually moving towards smaller, lighter and slimmer and in line with this trend, distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC) is now delivering a notebook that rivals all others – the HP Folio 13 Ultrabook.  Weighing in at less than 1.5 kg and measuring 18mm in breadth, the Ultrabook is what Windows fans have been waiting for.

Mobile users have always looked towards ultra-light notebooks that are easy to carry when on the run but the main challenge is that many users do not want to compromise on screen size or performance to be mobile. Users typically want a larger screen size, as a 12-inch screen can make it difficult to read and comprehend large Excel spreadsheets.  It is the HP Ultrabook’s outstanding performance and slim profile combined with more ‘usable’ screen space that gives the HP Folio 13 the edge. 

Says Deon Botha, HP PSG Business Unit Manager at DCC: “This is an exciting and unique computing platform for HP and DCC which fits neatly between the HP ProBook S series and HP Elitebook P series and gives a great blend of performance, portability and elegance in a unique design that up until this point has only been available from one other vendor.”

“The 13-inch LED display notebook is targeted at computing professionals that want something different from their technology and definitely don’t want to be weighed down between meetings, yet need top grade performance.”

The Folio 13 features the latest ULV (ultra low voltage) Intel Core i5 processor with a 128 GB solid state hard drive (SSD) which not only means fast computing, but the absence of moving parts adds to the durability of the machine. Intel’s Rapid Start technology allows you to boot up and get going much faster, while the HP CoolSense detects where you are working and automatically adjusts the HP Folio 13 to maximise cooling to prevent any risks of overheating, as well as minimising power consumption, for up to 9 hours operating with the 6 cell battery.

Many notebooks that feature a smaller footprint often compromise functionality in order to reduce its size.  Not with HP’s Folio 13, as it includes USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 interfaces, and the capability to connect via HDMI and Ethernet. No additional adapters need to be ordered.  Where form and functionality are concerned HP has also provided a range of optional accessories to go with the notebook’s slim and stylish silver chassis and backlit keyboard.  These include a docking station, Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, stand, hub and graphics adapter.

The HP Folio 12 Ultrabook is available immediately through DCC for all discerning corporate customers at a recommended retail price of R 13 899.00, including V.A.T

Metrofile raises interim dividend by 50%, reports strong growth

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Metrofile, the JSE listed information and records storage management business, which released its interim results for the period ending 31 December 2011, has announced a 50,0% increase in its interim dividend to shareholders of 3,0 cents per share from 2,0 cents in the same period last year.

Graham Wackrill

Graham Wackrill

According to Metrofile CEO, Graham Wackrill, improvements in the group’s financial structure and continued strong cash flows of the group enabled it to improve the dividend cover from 4,15 times in the comparative period to 3,33 times, in line with its previously announced strategy.

“We are very pleased to be in a position to increase the payment significantly for the current period, following the payment of our maiden dividend a year ago. Metrofile has enjoyed very strong growth during the last six months and we are confident that we will see this continue.”

The group announced a 21,7% increase in headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the period to 10,1 cents per share from 8,3 cents per share in the previous year.

Revenue increased 14,8% to R252,6 million and EBITDA rose by 19,6% to R81,6 million. Net finance costs reduced by 10,5% in line with the further reduction in debt, despite a higher taxation rate relating to costs on the payment of dividends.

An increase in capex was in line with expectations, largely as a result of the group’s expansion and racking costs of R12,5 million required to service the new CIPC contract which began in January 2011. Metrofile plans capex costs of R58,4 million for the 2012 financial year, of which R49,9 million has been earmarked for new capacity, including additional premises.

Wackrill said the results were boosted by Metrofile’s continued strategy of expanding its services in the information management sector, particularly through the cross-selling of its services to both new and existing customers. “Given Metrofile’s diverse range of solutions, we are in a very strong position to partner with our customers with regards to good record keeping, legal compliance and risk mitigation.”

He says Metrofile remains committed to its expansion into Africa, despite experiencing some delays with the commencement of operations into Nigeria. “We are confident of making further progress with our Nigerian operations in the current period; Mozambique continues to contribute positively to the group and we have several other African countries on our radar.”

Wackrill says the group’s latest financial results reflect Metrofile’s position as the market leader in information and records storage management in Africa. “The continued need for reliable and cost effective records management, combined with Metrofile’s unique capacity to handle volume requirements in storage and access, and the widening range of related services offered, are all factors in our optimism for continued future growth in earnings, dividends and cash flows.”

“We expect to continue to grow revenue, EBITDA and HEPS in the period ahead, anticipating similar growth to the first half for the year as a whole, with a continued recovery in the economy and further cross-selling opportunities providing a strong platform for growth for the group.”

Norton 360 Version 6.0 Earns Highest Marks for Protection and Performance

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Norton by Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced their premium security suite: Norton 360 version 6.0, which has just earned top rankings for both protection and performance.
 
Norton 360 version 6.0 offers industry leading PC protection and top ranked performance. In recent third party tests, Norton 360 ranked first in overall real-world protection and remediation from AV-TEST Institute and received top performance scores from PassMark Software.
 
Norton 360 version 6.0 highlights:
 
•         Norton Identity Safe – Secures, remembers, and automatically enters user names and passwords while protecting users from online threats

•         Norton Management – Delivers advanced cloud-based functionality to manage select Norton products remotely for greater ease and control

•         Bandwidth Management – Limits non-critical Norton updates when connected to metered networks to avoid using up monthly data allotments or causing overage fees

•         Improved Backup – Faster and easier back up capabilities and tracking

 

Norton 360 Version 6.0

Norton 360 Version 6.0

Pricing and Availability

Norton 360 version 6.0 can be installed on up to three PCs and is available for purchase in from various retailers and the Norton online store at www.norton.co.za. The suggested retail price is R899.00 for the standard edition including 2GB of online storage space. The price includes a three PC license, a one-year subscription, Symantec’s protection updates and one full year of Norton’s best-in-class customer support. All Norton 360 users with a valid product subscription are eligible to download and use the latest product versions and updates, released during their subscription period. For more information, visit the Norton Update center at http://updatecenter.norton.com.

Syntech diversifies into the CCTV market

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Cape-based ICT distributor, Syntech SA, has diversified into the CCTV market by signing a distribution agreement with CP Plus, one of the world’s leading suppliers of CCTV solutions.

Syntech, established in 2002, offers a wide range of product lines and has become recognised for its focus on professional storage and memory with high performance products such as Patriot, ATTO, OCZ, Sonnet, G-Technology and Rocstor. These products are specifically imported to service media rich environments including clients within the film and production, photography and architectural industries.

CP Plus’ products are aimed at markets that span retail to public spaces, special events to offices and airports to homes. The products range from CCTV cameras, Digital Voice Recorders and Special Digital Video Recorders to Network Video Recorders like Mobile Digital Video Recorders, Compression Cards and IP cameras.

Said Craig Nowitz, MD of Syntech: “While the signing of a distribution deal with CP Plus signals our entry into the CCTV market, this move does complement our product range because we have a strong focus on storage.  Supplying a range of CCTV solutions is seen as a natural progression for Syntech, which will now be able to supply a turnkey solution, including  cameras, recording devices and storage.”

ATTO adapters now Thunderbolt enabled

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Cape-based ICT distributor Syntech has announced that ATTO PCIe based host adapters can now be used with Thunderbolt-enabled laptops, desktops and all-in-ones such as Apple Mac systems to provide unrivalled performance.

Until now there has not been a way to use ATTO PCIe based host adapters with notebooks or machines that don’t have a way of connecting PCIe cards.  However, with the beta release of brand new drivers, it is now possible for end users to achieve transfer speeds of up to 10 GB/s.

Ryan Martyn, a director of Syntech, said that ATTO shared storage controllers have boasted leading performance and stream counts in video applications for almost seven years. “With the introduction of Thunderbolt professional content creation applications will benefit from solutions containing ATTO Thunderbolt-enabled storage controllers with the ATTOView interface.

More product information

The ATTOView graphical user interface (right) provides easy to use monitoring and management for Thunderbolt-enabled storage controller products. ATTOView provides basic status and management tools for “prosumer” and professional class storage products powered by ATTO.

• In-band access, no separate software needed

• Controller and enclosure temperature monitoring

• Drive and enclosure status reporting

• RAID level management

• Firmware updating

• OEM Customizable look and feel

Mindjet appoints new local partner to support presence in SA

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Collaborative work management provider, Mindjet has named IT infrastructure distributor, AxizWorkgroup, as its new South African distributor.

Mindjet regional vice president for Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Chris Harman, explains that AxizWorkgroup’s established reputation within South Africa and across the African continent will serve Mindjet well in expanding its presence within the region.

“AxizWorkgroup’s strong focus on software, particularly in terms of Microsoft SharePoint, was a key factor in our decision to partner with the company,” he says. “We believe that these skills will add tremendous value to Mindjet’s positioning in the area of collaborative work management.

“The company boasts an extensive reseller sales team and a dedicated product management team, which focuses on marketing, inventory management, sales support and training, as well as providing pre-sales technical support.”

Harman explains that, with the combination of its local knowledge, Microsoft expertise and quality service offerings, Mindjet can rest assured that its new and existing client base will be well looked after.

“As an existing user of Mindjet solutions, AxizWorkgroup has certainly experienced the benefits of collaborative work management firsthand,” states Craig Brunsden, executive of software and marketing at AxizWorkgroup. “In addition, we are a company that has enjoyed a history of successfully developing niche software products and exposing them to a skilled reseller base, and feel that, not only do Mindjet’s offerings fit in well with our product strategy, but we will also be able to give them wider exposure within the local reseller space.”

In order to support this projected regional growth, Mindjet has also expanded its South African headcount, recently appointing a local channel manager, as well as retaining the services of South African PR agency, icomm.

Cash deposits at ATMs record 223% year-on-year growth: Absa

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Absa, South Africa’s largest retail bank by customer numbers, today announced that cash deposits at its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have recorded an astonishing 223% year-on-year growth, between January 2011 and January 2012. This follows the release of the banking group’s results that reported a 21% increase in headline earnings for the year ended 31 December 2011.

“Rising usage of our bulk note Cash Accepting ATMs, of which there are now nearly 400 around the country, reveals an interesting trend in customer behaviour,” says Absa’s Head of Retail Markets, Arrie Rautenbach.

“We are now seeing an average of 170 000 people depositing cash into these machines every month.”

Absa embarked on its journey towards installing Cash Acceptor ATMs with a pilot across 52 terminals as early as December 2009. In 2010, a further 112 were installed, followed by 221 in 2011. The growth in cash deposits at these terminals was driven largely by the convenience they offer, the fact that they provide real-time “clearance” into the depositor’s account, and their ease of use.

The bulk note Cash Accepting ATMs receive the notes which are deposited directly from the customer and process the value of the deposit so that the funds are immediately available in the depositor’s account.

Absa’s Cash Accepting ATMs are steadily being enhanced to include a functionality known as “Scan ‘n Pay”. This functionality allows customers to scan bar-coded invoices from certain pre-registered service providers (such as telecoms companies, utilities, TV licences, etc) at the Cash Accepting ATM, and instantly pay these accounts.

Absa customers can pay directly from their accounts or by using the cardless function. Customers of other banks will also be able to use Absa Cash Accepting ATMs to deposit the funds required to pay the above-mentioned accounts.

Rautenbach explains that the ATM is evolving to such an extent that it will no longer be a simple cash dispenser. “As we bring new devices into the market, and begin to replace some of our older ATMs, we will increase the network of Cash Acceptor ATMs. In time, this new Scan ‘n Pay functionality will become standard across the entire network.”

Absa aims to add at least another 400 Cash Accepting ATMs to the market in 2012.

“Customers can now receive loans, purchase airtime and make CashSend money transfer payments to any cellphone number from Absa ATMs,” he states, adding that Absa will continually seek to innovate with new products and services in order to provide customers with a richer suite of offerings.

The bank has been actively investing in IT infrastructure and expansion, and has made substantial improvement in management and business processes, aiming at a solid and sustainable growth in digital revenues for the future.

“As we continue to enhance our IT infrastructure, we will see a greater shift in customer behaviour away from traditional forms of banking. Constant innovation will change the face of banking in our country,” concludes Rautenbach.

Hard disk prices still high

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

The local ICT distribution market might find the early part of 2012 tough going as the affects of the Rand devaluing by 25% since last October – and the meteoric rise of hard disk prices – continue to have an affect on local distributors.

This is according to Mahomed Cassim, CEO of Esquire, the award-winning ICT distributor of digital lifestyle products, who said one of the main reasons for the increase in hard disk prices was the flood which ravaged Thailand late last year. World Bank estimates claim the floods to be the world’s fourth costliest natural disaster, with the flood also resulting in the loss of 800 lives – and the shutting down of thousands of factories for several weeks due to facilities being under water.

Cassim said the price of hard disk prices had escalated, at times, by almost 200% since late last year, which is having a “marked affect” on the sales of desktop PCs and notebooks as resellers and end users remain unwilling to pay the current price.

He said  end users are increasingly intent on extending the life of ‘old’ desktop PC or notebooks by upgrading memory and other features and refreshing software to give their systems a new lease of life for a little while longer “until they see a drop in pricing before making a purchase”.

According to technology publication, TECHSPOT, drive prices went through the roof around the end of October as production became more expensive – and far more limited.  The first noticeable increase in prices came at the end of October. Pricing reached its zenith in the first week of November, with price increases in the 80-190% range for desktop drives and 80-150% for mobile units.

Cassim said that although the marketplace is starting to see price reductions across the board, disk drives are still about 60-90% more expensive than they were before the flooding

Commenting further,  he said that Esquire occupies a “fairly unique” position in the local ICT distribution market, saying that the company will be increasing its focus on digital lifestyle products which are aimed at the mass market – including items such as Tablet PCs, media players and home entertainment multimedia products.

He said social media and social networking is coming to the fore in modern life and the company aims to offer the marketplace the technology it requires. “Technology is being used increasingly for entertainment and social interaction and this is one of the role’s we fulfill in the marketplace – we provide this type of technology. Developments are rapid with companies trying to keep pace with consumer demand. Facebook , arguably the leading social media web-site, is so popular that Mercedes Benz will be launching a sewn-off version of an in-car version of Facebook in its MY13SL-Class range during 2013.”
 
Earlier this month Esquire won the Africa Distributor Award at the EMEA Channel Academy 2012 Awards. The awards were attended by over 1000 vendors, distributors, retailers and e-tailers from the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions,  and took place at the Gala Dinner in the Salle des Etoiles in Monaco on Thursday 9th February,2012.

The EMEA Channel Academy is the successful initiative of DISTREE EMEA which is the largest annual gathering of senior executives from 130 vendors, volume distributors, retailers and e-tailers working in Europe, Middle East & Africa’s (EMEA’s) Information Communications Technologies (ICT) and Consumer Electronics (CE) channel from over 70 countries within the region.

Self-Service: beyond cost-savings

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Five years ago, most companies that adopted Self-Service solutions did so in the hopes of achieving cost-savings on customer billing and support. Now that the market has matured, their emphasis has shifted towards using the technology to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Says Kevin Meltzer, co-founder of online Self-Service specialist Consology: “A few years ago we saw an upswing in the adoption of Self-Service among companies who wanted to deflect calls from their contact centres, cut billing and postage costs, and automate business processes.

“We believe that the early adopters have ticked off all these boxes, with the result that they are achieving significant cost-savings. They are now starting to look at ways that they can use online and mobile Self-Service as a strategic business driver that helps them to grow revenues and profitability while increasing customer convenience and satisfaction.”

The recent Dimension Data 2011 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report found that customer satisfaction has replaced cost reduction as the primary driver for Self-Service solutions such as Interactive Voice Response. Meltzer believes that the same trend can be observed in the online Self-Service market as companies begin to understand how important this channel has become to their customers.

“Online Self-Service is the preferred destination for many customers,” says Meltzer. “They don’t want to hold for an agent, they don’t want to stand in a queue and they expect to be able to access services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is a real opportunity for companies to take advantage of customers enthusiasm for online convenience which has been fueled by the rapid growth of online access for South African consumers.”

Meltzer points to the banking industry as one example of the trend in action. Banks prefer their accountholders to use ATMs, online banking, cellphone banking and IVR services for as many of their banking needs as possible because the cost to the bank is far lower than call centre or branch services. But now that most of their customers with Internet access have embraced online banking, banks have started to look at ways of differentiating themselves from their competitors with value-added services, mobile applications and loyalty programs. 

“They are beginning to see the Self-Service user experience as an important way of retaining customers and keeping their clients happy,” says Meltzer. “This marks a dramatic break from their earlier approach, which was often inwardly focused around business processes as opposed to customer centricity”.

“Banks, telcos and many other companies in consumer-facing businesses operate in saturated markets, which means that customer retention is of massive importance to them,” he adds. “With high customer acquisition costs, they want to keep customers and make them more profitable by selling them further products and services.”

Meltzer notes that companies will need to re-examine elements of their Self-Service strategies as the emphasis shifts to customer satisfaction and retention. One important opportunity lies in aligning Self-Service channels with loyalty programmes so that customers are engaged with the system through an incentive system. In addition, companies should start looking at building richer personalisation features into their Self-Service portals.

Meltzer concludes that: “Well thought out Self-Service solutions are a way of giving customers a better service experience by offering them more choice, convenience and simplicity. These benefits are perhaps even more important in the longer term than the cost-savings delivered.”

 

Online sales spike on of Valentine’s Day

By admin, 17 lutego, 2012, No Comment

Love is alive and well in South Africa, a new survey has shown – with a dramatic increase in romance-driven online purchases on international lovers’ holiday, St. Valentine’s Day.

According to a survey conducted on News24 by PayU, 77% of respondents stated that they believed online shopping was the way of the future. A further survey, conducted by online shopping site Kalahari.com, revealed that 31% of shoppers said they chose to shop online for Valentine’s Day. And NetFlorist, an online flower and floral shop, experiences about a 59% profit increase each February.

Wayne Gosling, joint CEO of online group buying company Groupon SA, says there is a need for online companies to recognise the increase in sales and public interest in romantic deals around Valentine’s Day. “As shown by previous holiday sales, we’ve realised our service is one that people like to utilise especially over romantic holidays  to experience things in their city that they wouldn’t normally know about; let alone get to try.”

Groupon SA offered a variety of options to romantically-minded customers, including a night away or a helicopter ride for two, jewellery, and spa Groupons.  This kind of variety is essential to ensure successful online retailing, Gosling believes.
 
“Online shopping offers creativity at your fingertips,” he says. “Whereas previously one would have to spend hours searching for the right gift for the right situation – now it’s a matter of simply following a few links; it removes all hassle.”

Jewellery retailers have reported selling an increased number of diamond engagement rings: Sterns and American Swiss, both controlled by the Foschini Group, said Valentine week sales swelled by as much as 50% above normal.

Yumna Ebrahim, from economic analysis firm Econometrix, believes that the country’s prosperity over Valentine’s week can be attributed to South Africa’s economic resilience in comparison to retailers in the UK and US following the global recession.

According to Ebrahim, impulse shopping over the festive season, followed by favourable interest rates, could have a sustained positive effect on prosperity and consumer spending in South Africa.

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