Archive for Marzec, 2012

Bytes helps boost Pick n Pay customer loyalty

By admin, 28 marca, 2012, No Comment

Bytes Managed Solutions has a long-standing business relationship with Pick n Pay, and has recently been instrumental in delivering on a major project to enhance the customer experience and boost sales.

In August 2010 Pick n Pay issued a closed RFP to key industry providers of kiosk solutions. The company was looking for an in-store customer self-service solution to support its smart shopper programme, to be launched early in 2011.

In October 2010, after an intense and focused discovery period, Pick n Pay settled on the NCR offering as the most appropriate and complete solution. The order comprised some 855 NCR SelfServ 60 Kiosks, running the NCR NetKey application.

An NCR team completed all kiosk application development and the integration with all other suppliers and partners, and Bytes Managed Solutions was given the herculean task of installing these units in every Pick n Pay store countrywide – all of this in a record two and a half months. The entire project from order to go live was less than five months.

The kiosk smart shopper application is remotely managed, maintained and hosted by NCR in the USA.
“The kiosks are located in every Pick n Pay store countrywide, and they are the customer’s window into Pick n Pay’s smart shopper loyalty programme, in terms of which shoppers accumulate points which they can redeem. Through the kiosk, a customer interacts with the smart shopper programme and can execute functionality such as points balance, print special offers and convert points into cash or donate points to charity,” says Dave Tuckniss, Pick n Pay account manager at Bytes Managed Solutions.

“The project is seen by Pick n Pay management as a huge success,” adds Tuckniss. “There has been significant customer take-up and it is one of the retail chain’s most strategic projects.”

“Pick n Pay is a highly important client for us,” says Bytes Technology Group CEO Rob Abraham. “It has been a privilege to assist them with these technology implementations which will impact the lives of millions of South Africans every day and add significantly to Pick n Pay’s bottom line.”

LG’S Magic Remote enhances CINEMA 3D Smart TV experience

By admin, 28 marca, 2012, No Comment

With Three Control Functions, Improved Magic Remote Upgrades CINEMA 3D Smart TV User Experience

LG Electronics (LG) unveiled a new remote control for its CINEMA 3D Smart TVs, the Magic Remote. The new remote control maximises user convenience with a new set of additional functions, namely Wheel, Magic Gesture and Pointing.

The new Magic Remote is LG’s latest example, incorporating new functions that will make it easier for users to approach and use the CINEMA 3D Smart TVs, particularly our Smart TV function which now has over 1 200 apps and a growing abundance of premium content.

The Magic Remote’s most obvious difference with conventional remote controls is that push-buttons constitute merely one dimension of the intuitive user experience.

The Wheel located at the center of the Magic Remote enables users to swiftly scroll up and down various menus and apps, allowing users to make quicker selections. Meanwhile, the Pointing function (formerly known as Point and Click) allows users to simply point the Magic Remote toward the TV screen and drag the on-screen cursor to make selections. Through Pointing, users can also navigate through LG’s Smart TV ecosystem without having to use multiple buttons and arrow keys. Additionally, physical Magic Gestures can be inputted as commands, enabling users to control CINEMA 3D Smart TVs with simple arm or wrist movements.

In addition to the three control functions, the Magic Remote also offers the 3D button, which undertakes 2D to 3D conversion with a single click of the button. Due to its arched ergonomic design, the new Magic Remote is easier to grip and hold onto, allowing for a more comfortable CINEMA 3D Smart TV experience.

Vox Edu Services aims to make schools smarter

By admin, 27 marca, 2012, No Comment

Vox Edu Services, a new initiative by Vox Orion, aims to improve the quality of South African education by giving teachers and learners’ access to new learning technology, management systems and high-speed Internet, says MD Jacques du Toit.

Du Toit says technology such as Smart interactive whiteboards can empower teachers and inspire students: “I use a Smart board myself and it’s made an incredible difference to the way I communicate,” he says. “I’ve also seen the impact introducing new classroom technology has had on my own children’s education. If school governing bodies want to attract pupils and parents who share a high-tech vision of the future, they need to be prepared to invest in technology now.”

The boards make it possible not only to show content from anywhere in the world, but also to record any teacher’s lessons for later playback, says Du Toit. “That means every school can have access to the best teachers and the best lessons, no matter where they are.”

The Edu Services package includes not only Smart interactive whiteboards but also internet connectivity, leading school management software and educational software. “There are many school management packages on the market but we’ve identified Edupac, which is locally developed, as the most comprehensive – and made it part of the Edu Services offering,” says Du Toit.

Vox Orion has developed an innovative funding model to make Edu Services affordable to schools, adds Du Toit. “As part of the Vox Telecom group, we earn revenue whenever someone uses the Vox network to make calls or surf the Internet,” he says. “For every family at a school that switches to Vox, we will divert 50% of our profits back to their school to fund their technology programme.”

International UX Masterclass comes to South Africa

By admin, 27 marca, 2012, No Comment

South Africa will host the fifth biannual UX Masterclass at the Rosebank Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg on 30 March 2012. The event is organised by international association The UXalliance, a global collaboration of User Experience (UX) experts from 24 countries. The event will host 22 of the world’s leading experts in UX Design, Research, and Strategy, giving South African UX professionals and enthusiasts a unique opportunity to benefit from global best practice in this emerging profession.

“Understanding the end-user’s experience of a product is intrinsic to a product’s success, whether it is an online or a real world product,” says Helga Letowt-Vorbek, owner of Mantaray, the agency that represents South Africa in The UXalliance. “The experience of the end user cannot be an afterthought in the design of a product or service – it should be the leading motivator throughout the creation process. UX professionals help product innovators to understand how end users will engage with their product, revealing where adaptations need to be made for the product to be successful.”

The UX Masterclass, last held in Chicago in September 2011, will tackle challenges confronting businesses who are committed to creating products that consumers love to use, whether in digital or the real world environment. Speakers, who are from countries as diverse as the United States, Denmark, Ireland, Australia and Switzerland, will share recent developments and case studies, while collaborative sessions will give delegates the opportunity to benefit from the speakers’ experience, firsthand.

The full day conference will be of particular relevance to South African marketers, product developers, company owners, managers, user experience professionals and interaction designers. Presentations will include trending topics in the mobile and web environment, service design, and the most current research techniques that reveal how customers behave and interact with products. Sessions will be in a variety of formats, with opportunities created for delegates to share and debate in interactive workshops and round tables.

Letowt-Vorbek motivated strongly for the UX Masterclass to take place in South Africa because she believes that we have unique solutions to offer the rest of the world. “I have attended the preceding two UX Masterclass conferences, and it was clear from all of them that product designers worldwide have similar challenges. However, in South Africa, we have unique solutions,” she says. “For example, in the online space, mobile solutions are our first port of call – whereas UX developers abroad start with websites, and only move to mobile once the project is completely resolved online.”

Letowt-Vorbek, who has worked in the UX discipline both locally and abroad, points out that global trends are highlighting that UX has to be a part of a product’s development strategy. “This has been highlighted in the recession, where companies have realised the hard way that they cannot afford to create products that consumers do not want.

“Product development strategies are now all about creating something that customers will love, that they will engage with, and that will be easy and pleasurable to use. Companies that create products without engaging with the product’s end user will fail – and the speakers on the day will share their experiences demonstrating this.”

Seats at the UX Masterclass cost R3000 per delegate, and registrations can be made via www.uxmasterclass.com, or by contacting Helga on Helga@mantaray.com. There is a group discount available to three or more delegates at R2500 per delegate.

Nedbank launches Approve-it™ – an enhanced internet banking security feature, the first of its kind in South Africa

By admin, 27 marca, 2012, No Comment

This cellphone-based transaction authentication system is seen as superior to the current one-time password (OTP) system

Nedbank has introduced and implemented Approve-it™, the latest in internet banking security functionality. The launch of Approve-it™ forms part of the bank’s ongoing commitment to curb online fraud, ‘phishing’ and scams, while ensuring a distinctive client experience. This is in line with one of Nedbank’s key strategic business drivers – to lead in digital banking, providing secure, easy-to-do banking, any time, anywhere.

Approve-it™ is a groundbreaking interactive computer security system, allowing clients to authenticate sensitive internet banking transactions from their cellphones. This enables clients to ‘approve’ or ‘reject’ the transaction should they suspect that their profile has been compromised, thereby reducing the risk of fraudulent attacks such as account hacking and phishing.

Approve-it™ will replace the existing one-time password system. By authenticating each sensitive internet banking transaction from their cellphone, Nedbank clients will be able to mitigate the risks and improve the experience related to entering sensitive information on their computers. To encourage further precaution, clients are advised not to access internet banking via links embedded in emails.

According to Anton de Wet, Nedbank’s Managing Executive of Client Engagement, ‘Approve-it™ seeks to empower clients by giving them control over the approval process. It does not require registration for current one-time password users, and caters for the majority of cellphones,’

Schalk Nolte, CEO of Entersekt says, ‘Banks worldwide are recognizing the value of using mobile devices as an additional security device for online banking. However most banks currently send ‘one time passwords’ (OTPs) by sms to their customers who wish to execute sensitive online transactions. The weakness in this system is that the customer is then required to enter the OTP onto the bank’s online site. If the bank’s internet site is mimicked by a fraudster (i.e. a phishing site), the transaction is compromised.

‘We continue to invest in innovative banking solutions that provide great-value banking, based on simplicity, transparency and affordability. Approve-it™ is truly an evolution in security technology and the first of its kind in South Africa. We are delighted to partner with Entersekt, enabling Nedbank to roll out banking applications instantly to all our digitally enabled clients across all segments of the market catering for the entry level cell phones to smart phones and tablets at absolutely no cost to them,’ added Fred Swanepoel, Chief Information Officer at Nedbank.

Approve-it™ follows a simple process whereby Nedbank clients will receive a message on their cellphone, and all they need do is press 1 to approve the transaction or 9 to reject the transaction.

‘This cutting-edge development greatly improves banking security – enabling clients to bank more safely and conveniently, anytime, anywhere, across Nedbank’s internet banking platform,’ concluded Swanepoel.

For information on the new internet banking security system, clients can go to:

www.nedbank.co.za
https://netbank.nedsecure.co.za

or clients can call the Nedbank Contact Centre on 0860 555 111.

Kaspersky Lab announces the on-shelf availability of Kaspersky ONE, the Universal Security solution

By admin, 27 marca, 2012, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab announces the availability of the Kaspersky ONE box product which will be available in stores locally from 31st March 2012, following the worldwide online release earlier this month. Kaspersky ONE is a multi-platform, user-centric Universal Security solution that brings comprehensive protection for the wide range of personal devices, starting from personal computers and notebooks and all the way to smartphones and tablets.

Says Alexander Erofeev, Head of Strategic Marketing and Brand Communication at Kaspersky Lab, says: “Security solutions have always evolved and been developed in line with the progression of digital threats. Now that it has become common for many users to store their digital assets in electronic format on a variety of devices, a need has arisen for a of comprehensive package that offers protection against all types of digital threats and mitigate the risks to our digital assets. We are pleased to offer Kaspersky ONE, a universal box solution aimed to address just this. This product incorporates a unique package of state-of-the-art technologies, offering reliable protection from digital threats of all types.”

Kaspersky ONE is available in different packages, for 5 devices. This product can be used to protect desktop and mobile computers running Windows or Mac OS X, smartphones and tablets. Each of these devices can be secured with one of the applications, optimised for use with the corresponding software platform:
• Comprehensive protection for Windows-based PCs
• Award-winning anti-malware protection for Macs
• Protection from cyber threats and anti-theft technology for Smartphones¹
• Essential protection from mobile malware for Android-based Tablets

The installation and activation of Kaspersky ONE for any device is easy, with one universal activation code being used. There is no need to upgrade subscription for each device-specific application; instead users receive a one-stop solution. The box product will provide protection for the selected number of personal devices for the duration of one year, with free product updates during this period at a RRP of R749.00 for 5 devices.

Kaspersky ONE is still available for purchase via the online store at a 30% discount. For more information please visit, www.kaspersky.co.za

¹ Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian or Android-based devices are supported

UC On-Premise or in the Cloud. You Choose.

By admin, 27 marca, 2012, No Comment

By Bennie Langenhoven, Managing Executive, TELLUMAT COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS*

The cloud has captured the imagination of businesses big and small. Organisations are venturing into cloud services in record numbers, and many more are making careful considerations before they leap. And now, add unified communications (UC) to the long list of applications and services that are moving into the cloud and can be delivered as a hosted service.

ShoreTel has announced a definitive agreement to acquire M5 Networks, a pioneer of hosted unified communications. Like ShoreTel, M5 prides itself on delivering easy-to-use hosted phone system and unified communication services and has a passionate focus on the customer. Once the acquisition is complete, our combined customers can choose the best model for their business – either on-premise or in the cloud.

Today, more than 95 percent of UC is delivered on-premise, according to Gartner. However, the market research firm predicts that by 2016, 50 percent of organisations will source their UC on a utility subscription model.

Why Choose Hosted UC
Hosted UC is a good fit for many organisations, especially for small and midsize businesses or companies that are geographically distributed. The benefits of hosted UC include:

Shift to opex from capex. Organisations can shift their IT investments from a capital expense to an operational expense. Many educational institutions, healthcare organisations, government agencies and other organisations can cover their communications costs through federal government subsidies, such as E-Rate. These organisations find the opex model of a hosted UC system particularly appealing.

Rapid startup. With a cloud-based UC system, installation is handled by the provider. The customer doesn’t need to buy and install UC systems, software, and storage.

Reduced IT administrative overhead. With UC provided as a service, customers can focus their resources on the core competency of their business—and not on running their phone systems. This allows them to free up people and capital for innovation and serving customers.

Predictable monthly costs. Hosted UC is typically priced per user per month, and organisations can plan accordingly. Plus, hosted UC scales to meet the organisation’s changing needs, whether a booming business drives hiring, or the company needs to downsize. There are no surprise purchases of more servers, software, and storage to meet the demand – or equipment sitting idle.

Consolidated telecom billing. Cloud-based UC can help you bring order to telecom vendor management. Instead of having different providers—and different bills—for local phone service, long distance service, Internet services, and others, many cloud providers package multiple communications services into a single bill.
Reduced risk of technology obsolescence. Using a hosted UC service allows organisations to mitigate the risk of technology change. The rate of technology change is increasing, which means systems are becoming outdated faster than ever before. With a hosted UC system, organisations don’t need to manage the technology transitions.

Why Choose On-Premise UC
The majority of companies today use enterprise-owned phone systems, and while hosted UC is growing rapidly, on-premise deployment of UC won’t fade away any time soon. The benefits of on-premises UC include:

Control and familiarity. Most major corporations have a long history of buying and managing their own phone systems. They want the control, and they have an existing infrastructure and a well-trained staff.

Preference for capex. Many organisations prefer to make capital investments for IT infrastructure, and depreciate it over time.

Business continuity or regulatory requirements. All businesses depend on the flow of incoming calls to make sales and service customers, and if a natural disaster or other unforeseen disruption strikes, losing those incoming calls may be painful, but not catastrophic. But many healthcare providers and government agencies prefer on-premises UC so they can ensure communications within their organisation even if a disaster strikes. Similarly, many financial institutions prefer to maintain UC system’s in-house because they are under stringent requirements to protect sensitive information.

Greater customisation. Communication-enabled business processes can help organisations optimise workflow. Integrating UC processes into the workflow can greatly increase efficiencies, but it often requires custom integration between an insurance application or a retail application, for example, and a UC system. And that typically means the enterprise needs to use the advanced features and integration points in a UC system.

Fixed upgrade schedule. With an on-premise solution, the customer has complete control over where and when software upgrades take place. As communications are more tightly integrated into applications, major changes in the UC platform may have an impact on business processes or require that employees be retrained.

On-premise or in the cloud both offer key advantages; companies can choose the deployment model that best fits their business needs.

Tellumat is the South African distributor of ShoreTel systems, whose offerings are cloud-ready.

Mobile marketing turns green – The Green SMS

By admin, 27 marca, 2012, No Comment

Issued by: SMSPortal

The world as we know it is in complete turmoil about the truths of global warming, climate change and possibilities of a life different to that which we know. With Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and the media feeding us information about the dilemma that humans find themselves in, a simple conclusion must be reached – GO GREEN. As a result, people have started asking the same question: “In this new world in which I live, what am I doing to make a difference?”

“Extra, extra; read all about it” is a quote that is familiar to all of us. Newspapers have been the information gateways for decades. Today, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, billboards and so many others have snowballed into a state where even a magazine could be solely dedicated to almost any one subject fathomable. Again, the question is asked: how does a magazine with such a small market stay afloat? The answer: advertising.

Advertising on billboards, in newspapers and magazines is an everyday occurrence, but what are the effects of this on the environment? First and foremost, paper is up for interrogation; the rainforests that are destroyed every year are an easy argument, causing a detrimental fluctuation in CO2 absorption. The pollution from logging, manufacturing and transporting of paper, however, is something that is often overlooked. With this being said, and having the knowledge about the truths of global warming and the devastation of our world, it seems strange how we as humans are still feeding the cycle.

Mobile media has been a turn for the better, with the daily news being displayed on a device that an individual already owns. Users gain information without having to spend additional money, which would ultimately make its way back into the paper industries’ bank accounts. The rise of mobile media meant that, with 5.9 billion mobile phone subscribers, which equates to 87% of the population, mobile users were able to access the required information on their devices.

South Africa today shows a mobile world with information at one’s fingertips. Media24, Bizcommunity, Twitter and so many others are playing their part in turning the world to mobile. The world is in desperate need of mankind making an effort to go green. Mobile media and marketing has achieved this by becoming the core source of information to the average mobile owner. The paper industry, however, continues to stay in production.

Businesses like SMSPortal have taken the next step in going green. They have identified a trend through advertising and mobile marketing. With the majority of the world’s population owning a mobile phone and all business institutions identifying the need for advertising, it seems almost mandatory to turn to mobile marketing, as if it was our worldly duty to go mobile, and in the process, go green. Research has shown that SMSes have a 99% read rate, which beats any other form of marketing hands-down.

SMSPortal, South Africa’s leader in bulk SMS, has come up with the term “Green SMS”. It has recognised the need for mobile marketing, but in turn also acknowledged its positive effect on the environment. The “Green SMS” has become a way of reaching anyone, anywhere with the intended brand information while also doing its bit in making the world a better place for generations to come.

The world is ever changing, but the destruction of its natural beauty continues. The thought of going back to a time when our effects on nature were minimal is impractical, but with minor adjustments to the way we live and advertise, what remains can be preserved. The effects of mobile media are minute compared to that of print media, and with SMS marketing playing such an influential role in the way information is received, it seems almost too easy to play our part in combating climate change.

Banking technology helps Absa scoop major awards

By admin, 23 marca, 2012, No Comment

Absa once again achieved international excellence in Retail Financial Services by innovating with sophisticated technology for an enhanced customer experience.

Absa’s ability to deliver to its customers was rewarded when the bank scooped three awards at the 2012 Asian Banker’s International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards ceremony in Singapore today.

This year Absa walked away with the Best Retail Bank in Africa, Best Retail Bank in South Africa and Best Credit Card Management awards.

Administered by The Asian Banker and adjudicated by prominent global bankers, consultants and academics, the awards provide a benchmark for the performance of the best retail banks in this competitive marketplace.

Largely attributable to Absa’s Retail Banking success, Absa demonstrated solid financial performance amid tough economic conditions, where Retail Banking continues to make a strong contribution towards the Group’s overall earnings, increasing by 33% to R4,179bn as at 31 December 2011.

Absa Chief Executive for Retail and Business Banking, Bobby Malabie attributes the bank’s accolades to significant progress with its customer-focused strategic journey.

“Furthermore, Absa’s focus on innovation and the ownership of the largest branch and ATM footprint in South Africa can also be cited as key reasons for the bank remaining accessible to all customer segments – from the previously unbanked to the multi-banked sophisticated customer,” he said.

Arrie Rautenbach, Absa’s Head of Absa Retail Markets, adds: “We have a multi-channel approach, where the customer can decide their primary interaction with us whether it is personal interaction at a branch, digital contact or access through our contact centre. In this approach we are taking self-service and digitalisation to a new level, from expanded functionality on mobile banking to innovations on ATMs. Ultimately, it’s about affording our customers more choice and making banking more accessible to them.”

Underpinning Absa’s success is an alliance with Vodacom which has enabled more affordable access to cellphone banking by scrapping the airtime fees required to access Absa‘s Cellphone Lite service. It is now easier for customers to check balances, request mini-statements, top-up on airtime or electricity, and make CashSend™ payments.

Absa Bank has also maintained its position as a market leader in the payments segment, taking contactless and mobile payment solutions to new heights by being the first to market low-value payments contactless prepaid cards. Through the Absa-Vodacom alliance, the bank is also first in the South African market to pilot a One Touch product, a Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled mobile phone which serves as a payment device.

Absa also pioneered an innovative mobile app to enable immediate remote account opening, allowing sales consultants to open bank accounts and issue debit cards to new customers in less than 10 minutes.

“This innovative use of mobile technology allows us to extend our reach in many of South Africa’s most poorly serviced areas from a banking perspective, thereby enabling greater numbers of our population to access the formal economy and all the associated benefits of having a bank account,” says Rautenbach.

This year more than 160 retail financial institutions from the Asia Pacific, Central Asia, the Gulf region and Africa were assessed in the Asian Banker’s awards for their efforts in bringing superior products and services to their customers.

“We are very pleased to be named as the winners of what has become the most prestigious, comprehensive and anticipated Awards Programme that recognises the pursuit of excellence among retail financial institutions,” says Rautenbach.

Absa’s 2012 awards follow on last year’s success when Absa won the Best Retail Bank in South Africa and Best Mobile Phone Banking (International) categories.

 


Norton Online Family Expands to Keep Kids Safe on Mobile Phones

By admin, 23 marca, 2012, No Comment

Free Android app allows parents to apply “House Rules” and filters
to children’s smartphones

Norton by Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) has released Norton Safety Minder: Mobile Edition, a free app that allows parents to keep an eye on their kids’ smartphone activities. The application is used as part of Norton Online Family, the award-winning online family safety service for PCs and Macs. Through the new app, parents can avail themselves of several tools to teach kids safe and age-appropriate digital habits on their mobile devices.

The application provides web monitoring and blocking features for free, allowing parents to see what sites their kids are visiting and block content they feel is inappropriate. Applied through their Norton Online Family account, parents can use the same set of web filtering settings for the child’s PC and apply them to the child’s Android phone. The service tracks up to seven days of content for free.

To get started, parents download the app on their child’s Android phone, login to their Norton Online Family account (or create one from within the application) and can then centrally manage the “House Rules” on that device through the onlinefamily.norton.com website. More than a dozen phones can be easily added to the same account at no charge, with unique settings for each, allowing parents a single point to manage varied settings for kids of different ages.

“Parents know they need to be involved in their kids’ digital lives, and most actually set and discuss house rules for computer use and Internet browsing” said Kara Rawden, Senior Marketing Manager Middle East & Africa, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec. “But to make those rules work, you need to extend them to your child’s mobile phone where so much web browsing takes place. With Norton Safety Minder: Mobile Edition, parents can help their kids stick to those rules, regardless of which device they are on.”

Screenshots

Norton

Norton

Norton

Norton

Pricing and Availability
Norton Safety Minder: Mobile Edition is available for free in the Android Market at market.android.com, and can be downloaded in English, Japanese, German and Polish. Android version 2.2 or 2.3 is required on the device.

Parents must have a Norton Online Family account in order to activate the application, which they must first install on their child’s device. A free, basic Norton Online Family account will activate the mobile web-filtering and monitoring within Norton Safety Minder for Android. For further information visit the Norton online store – www.norton.co.za.

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