Archive for Maj, 2012

RIM opens BlackBerry apps lab at the University of Pretoria

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM), the maker of BlackBerry® smartphones and BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablets, and the University of Pretoria today announced the opening of the BlackBerry apps lab at the University of Pretoria, a BlackBerry Authorised Academic Centre.

 The BlackBerry apps lab aims to accelerate mobile application development in South Africa, thereby creating new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space, and supports the larger context and objectives of the South African Department of Communications’ (DOC) eSkills Institute.

 The lab will provide local developers, including University of Pretoria students and faculty, start-ups, entrepreneurs and others, with access to resources in development, marketing, sales and training to help them expand their ideas and business opportunities. RIM will work with developers to create local and regionally relevant applications for BlackBerry smartphones, the BlackBerry PlayBook and devices running on the upcoming BlackBerry® 10 platform.

Prof. Stephanie Burton, Vice Principal, Research and Postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria said, “We are excited to be partnering with RIM to bring the BlackBerry apps lab to our campus. One of our key objectives at the University of Pretoria is to empower our students to develop industry relevant skills that will accelerate mobile application development in South Africa and help create new economic opportunities and jobs in the mobile space. Our partnership with RIM, and the collaboration with the DOC’s e-Skills Institute, will allow us to deliver on this promise.”

Rosey Sekese, Director General of the DOC, said, “The e-Skills initiative aims to address the shortage of critical skills in the ICT sector. During this financial year, several initiatives are planned. We are excited at the huge potential that this programme offers us in our quest to close the skills gap in the sector.”

The e-Skills Institute (e-SI) is a South African Government initiative that aims to harness the potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) across the whole of society in order to help address the major socio-economic challenges that South Africa faces in service delivery, wealth creation and global competitiveness. The institute sees itself as a catalytic collaborator in e-skilling the nation in employment readiness, effective e-governance and service delivery, business development, socio-economic development and research and development.*

Bob Bose, Managing Director for Africa at RIM said, “RIM is committed to supporting mobile software development in Africa and future digital entrepreneurs. The growth of smartphones and the appetite for mobile apps presents a huge opportunity for developers, and we’re pleased to work with the Department of Communications and the University of Pretoria to share resources and ideas that will help and inspire innovative minds to make the most of that opportunity.  South Africa is a key innovation hub and by working together, we aim to build a community that will create locally relevant apps for BlackBerry customers, new skills and job opportunities for graduates and new revenue streams for developers.”

The BlackBerry apps lab is part of RIM’s extensive developer programme that spans Africa and includes key innovation hubs such as Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt. RIM also partners with groups such as Mobile Mondays and Garage 48 across the continent, hosts BlackBerry Developer Days and the annual BlackBerry Innovation Forum in Johannesburg, where developers are encouraged to share ideas with their peers, and hear from business innovators, technology leaders and BlackBerry customers.

RIM has been working with 39 universities, colleges and schools across Africa through the BlackBerry Academic Program, which provides institutions with materials and content to teach and educate students on mobile application development.

*For more information about the e-Skills Institute, visit http://www.doc.gov.za

4Most wins SAP Business One award for revenue attainment in developing countries

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

SAP Business One ERP business software and technology solutions supplier and implementer 4most has won the 2011 SAP Business One award for the highest partner revenue attainment in developing countries.

Eugene Olivier, business development director of 4most, said the award came on the back of 4most’s expansion into the Botswana, Zambia and Malawi markets.

“We will also be expanding into Namibia with a new subsidiary company scheduled to be launched in Windhoek during the third quarter of this year. The extension of 4most business into Africa holds good potential and returns for us and the volume of our Africa business will soon equal that conducted in South Africa.”

Olivier added that the company has targeted the development of new business in countries and areas where it has identified markets with great potential for expansion.

“Once we have established a presence in such areas we focus on skills transfer to locally recruited resources, passing on the knowledge and expertise that we have built up over the years and creating new local employment opportunities.”

4most is geared to providing small, medium and large enterprises across a broad spread of commerce and industry with SAP Business One solutions tailored to meet their specific requirements.

“We have the experience, know-how and methodology to ensure that all SAP Business One systems are implemented appropriately. This ensures users derive the full benefits of the software and high quality support services in projects completed on time and within budget.”

Note to editors: 4most is the leading supplier and implementer of SAP Business One ERP business software and technology solutions. With offices in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi, as well as an in-house client care centre, the company has implemented over 2200 SAP Business One users across numerous industries, and has a strong base provided by considerable experience and skills accumulated over 25 years. Services include the implementation, support, maintenance, customised software development, and application modifications of SAP Business One accounting and ERP software systems, providing tailor-made and innovative solutions that give competitive advantage to businesses in Southern Africa. 4most is also the only business partner accredited to offer SAP Business One certification training in South Africa.

ISSUED BY:                        COPYWISE

Dave McDermott +27 11 478-2055 or 082 608-0019

dave@copywise.co.za

 

ON BEHALF OF:                 4MOST

Madeline ten Krooden +27 12 345-2505

mtenkrooden@4most.co.za

Website:                              www.4most.co.za

OCZ Introduces New Indilinx Everest 2-based Agility 4 Series SSDs for Mainstream Users Requiring the Best Price-to-Performance Ratio

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Agility 4 SSDs Deliver an Excellent Combination of SATA 6Gbps Speed, I/O Performance, and Endurance for Value-Conscious Consumers

 OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems – represented in South Africa by local ICT distributor, Syntech SA – has unveiled its new Agility 4 SSD series that delivers an ideal balance of 6Gbps SATA III interface speed, exceptional input/output operations per second (IOPS) performance, and enterprise-grade endurance and reliability all in a value-oriented SSD.

Using OCZ’s cutting-edge Indilinx Everest 2 controller platform (first introduced in the flagship Vertex 4 SSD series) – Agility 4 SSDs offer a cost-effective alternative to other SATA III SSD solutions in the market making them ideal for mainstream entertainment, gaming, and mobile storage applications.

Powered by its Everest 2 controller platform, the Agility 4 excels in real-world compressible and incompressible workload performance.  The series consistently delivers transfer rates of up to 400MB/s, and up to 85,000 random write IOPS.

In comparison to first generation Everest controller platform, the transactional performance of Everest 2 doubled under typical use case scenarios. Leveraging an industry-leading feature-set, the Agility 4 SSD series offers superior endurance and reliability without the need for internal data compression (that typically leads to decreased performance of ubiquitous files types).

Craig Nowitz, managing director of Syntech SA, said the OCZ Technology Group  range forms a vital part of  the company’s product offerings, adding that the  dual core controller architecture also includes an advanced error correction code (ECC) engine, dynamic wear-levelling, auto encryption, and Indilinx Ndurance™ 2.0 technology that addresses and overcomes specific shortcomings of NAND flash memory to extend flash life well beyond the manufacturer’s rated program and erase cycle specifications.

“For mainstream storage applications, there is no product better suited in the industry than our Agility 4 SSDs, providing the ultimate in access speed, application performance, endurance and reliability, at price points that most cost-conscious users will find appealing,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology.  “As mobile users and applications continue to grow, adding to the deluge of data being generated on a daily basis, our Agility 4 SSD series provide great IOPS performance at a reasonable price enabling the user experience to be heightened especially for video streaming, music, photos, gaming, and online transaction processing (OLTP).”

With the incredible responsiveness and reliability benefits that OCZ SSDs offer over traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), the Agility 4 is ideal for mobile and desktop users seeking exceptional speed and endurance at an exceptional cost per gigabyte.  Available in a boot-drive sized 64GB model, up to 512GB capacity for mass storage, Agility 4 SSD solutions are backed by a 3-year warranty and will be available locally from Syntech SA.

Safer, more reliable communications for Kolkata metro railways

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Nokia Siemens Networks GSM-R infrastructure selected for fifth project by Indian Railways

Indian Railways, the largest railway network operator in Asia, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks as its partner for equipping the Kolkata metro line with Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway (GSM-R) infrastructure. This will further improve the safety and reliability of the Kolkata metro line while lowering operational costs for Indian Railways. Nokia Siemens Networks already supports Indian Railways’ extensive rail network spanning 3,500 km across four zones*. As a result of this expansive GSM-R deployment, Nokia Siemens Networks has become India’s top GSM‑R solutions provider.

As part of its GSM-R deployments, Nokia Siemens Networks is providing its compact, energy-efficient Flexi Base Stations and Flexi Base Station Controllers that offer vastly improved capacity. The company is supplying all operational components including switching centers, Intelligent Network (IN) platforms, service and management platforms, controller data transmission elements and mobile handsets for drivers. In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks is providing its In-Building Solution to enhance indoor coverage for the Kolkata metro project. The scope covers care services that include spare part management, software maintenance, third-party software support and training.

“Reliable railway communications is vital to address the increasing traffic density while ensuring better passenger services and safer operations. Nokia Siemens Networks’ GSM-R solution will help Indian Railways provide a better, safer service at reasonable operational costs,” said Sandeep Girotra, head of India Region at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Our GSM-R solution is complemented with skills, services, and staff paired with end-to-end support. As a pioneer of GSM-R technology, we look forward to bringing the latest in railway communications technology in India.”

GSM-R ensures a reliable network that allows seamless communications on board trains running at high speeds and in diverse terrains. Nokia Siemens Networks’ GSM-R core network components such as Railway@vantage core mobility servers are designed to address railways’ demanding reliability and growing capacity requirements.

Nokia Siemens Networks’ GSM-R solution markedly improves the security, reliability and safety of rail services. For instance, it significantly enhances communication with trains passing through tunnels, providing far greater security in case of emergencies. Its total interoperability and compatibility vastly improves the safety and speed of all railway operational services. More importantly, train drivers are able to communicate freely throughout the journeys. Nokia Siemens Networks is the market leader in railway communications solutions with already 29 commercial GSM-R contracts in 20 countries around the globe.

Business process outsourcing promises great rewards and benefits

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

The East Africa Outsourcing Summit will be held in Nairobi from 5 to 6 June 2012. The event is hosted by international business-to-business conferencing company, Kinetic Events in proud partnership with the Kenya ICT Board and KITOS.

The popularity of business process outsourcing is rapidly increasing as more and more organisations come to realise the positive benefits within this relatively new sector. Outsourcing of business processes within the healthcare, travel and hospitality and finance sectors have increased in popularity in recent years, with an impressive improvement and revolution in IT and Telecoms business process off shoring.

With steady, positive increases seen and forecasted within the outsourcing space, organisations have yet to jump in full steam ahead. This, in part, is due to the hesitance in resourcing remote employees to further equip the company to gain momentum within their industries. Organisations can discover the benefits of assistant BPO services through providers of near and off shoring opportunities.

The most important benefits discussed within the industry today, is the cost effective return on investment opportunities. Utilising efficient BPO services at an affordable cost allows an organisation to cut back on unnecessary costs including the cost of hiring additional employees. In return, expenses related to employee benefits, taxes, medical and paid-leave, will be brought down substantially. Not to mention the cost of equipment, time and energy; increasing the efficiency and profitability of your company.

By outsourcing certain business processes, your company could see a positive increase in productivity as valuable time saved will allow for the necessary time needed to concentrate on other revenue-generating processes which will lead to an increase in profitability. Business process outsourcing also provides the advantage of gaining access to skills and expertise that the company wouldn’t ordinarily have access to.

The summit will act as a platform for both existing and potential players in the out­sourcing space in East Africa to network and gain insight from the major outsourcing regions. With a focus on global trends to underpin what it takes to achieve the market penetration and recognition, Kenya needs to develop as an outsourcing hub, which will support the development of a strong information technology industry.

The strategic summit will explore the alignment of people, process and technology; offering insight into the solutions available to contact centres today, assisting companies in the negotiations and selecting the tools best suited to their needs. Attendees will be able to engage in interactive conference sessions and educational workshops designed for quality time and interaction with peers.

For more information, to apply to attend, comment or photographs, visit www.eaosummit.com or contact Shaunei Meintjes on +27 21 555 0866 or shaunei@kineticevents.net. Follow @ITLeadersAfrica and @KineticEventsSA on Twitter for daily updates and news feeds.

 

Kaspersky Lab’s number of the Week: 56% of Users Not Willing to Entrust Personal Data to Social Networks

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Communication on social networks has become an indispensable part of modern life online, with the most popular sites already boasting tens of millions of regular visitors. According to a survey by Harris Interactive in February-March 2012, 56% of users from the USA, Europe and Russia regularly visit social networks. The results of the survey of almost 9,000 users from seven countries show social networks are second only to email as a means for keeping in touch.

Amid all the fun, though, there can be a sinister side to social networks. 27% of users reported that they had received suspicious links and attachments which were sent in messages on social networks or via email. In general, most users are aware of the threats which social networks may present – 55% of respondents confirming they were familiar with the issue. Almost the same number of users (56%) do not post important personal data such as their phone number or home address on their social network pages. 63% of respondents will not add people they don’t know personally to their friend list, while 68% try not to follow links received from people they have never heard of. However, even though these measures are reasonably effective, they do not ensure protection against infection and data loss – it’s not unusual for cybercriminals to gain access to a user’s account and distribute malware-infested links to all his/her friends.

It should also be taken into account that 47% of users regularly communicate in social networks using their smartphone and 46% use their tablet for this purpose. Low protection levels on these devices and the use of unsafe Internet connections (every second smartphone or tablet user accesses the Internet via public Wi-Fi networks) can easily lead not only to social network account information being stolen but also to more serious damage.

Although smartphones and tablets are growing more popular, computers still remain the most popular devices to access social networks – according to the survey by Harris Interactive, they are preferred by 61% users. This means any antivirus software on these computers should be able to protect against malicious objects in social networks. Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 offers precisely this kind of protection and is able to block malicious and phishing links circulating on social networks.

The full report on the survey by Harris Interactive for February-March 2012 is available at: http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/pdf/kaspersky_lab_consumer_survey_report_eng_final.pdf

Virtualisation, the silent hero of call centres in the cloud

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Eliminates wasteful infrastructure practices and improves customer service

“Call centre satisfaction surveys – both from a customer and owner’s perspective – frequently point to frustrations that can be resolved with the use of sophisticated technology,” says Rob Lith, Director of Connection Telecom.

In this regard, virtualisation deserves special mention as a crucial enabler of modern call centres. It allows flexible scaling of capacity that reduces customer service frustrations, as well as cloud-based models that reduce the ownership burden of costly, complex resource management.

How does virtualisation work?

According to Wikipedia, virtualisation is the creation of a virtual rather than actual version of a computing resource for purposes of centralising resource management, improving scalability and improving utilisation.

Hardware virtualisation

For instance, a host computer running Microsoft Windows may host a virtual machine (VM) that simulates guest computer hardware running, for example, an Ubuntu Linux operating system – thus allowing it to run Ubuntu-based application software.

The advantage of this is that a call centre isn’t restricted in its choice of application, or alternatively, doesn’t have to install dedicated hardware if it doesn’t want to compromise on the preferred solution.

Desktop virtualisation

Another form of virtualisation, desktop virtualisation, entails separating the desktop function in its entirety from the physical machine.

Using this model, users interact indirectly (via a network) with the host computer via physically different devices (another desktop or even a mobile device). Multiple different users can log in to the remote computer simultaneously.

Call centre benefits

For the call centre owner

In both these instances, virtualisation enables consolidation of data centre resources, allowing call centres and other enterprises to take advantage of the ease of management and improved utilisation of standard, rationalised infrastructure.

This has several spinoff advantages; including the ability to deploy a small IT team to manage the much smaller, standardised data centre footprint, as well as a smaller carbon footprint.

By contrast, non-virtualised call centres are by their very nature over-provisioned to cater for times of peak performance. They are therefore routinely underutilised, incurring immense upfront capital expenditure and on-going operations and maintenance cost.

Virtualisation can further be deployed on the client’s premises by simply slotting into the client’s virtual environment, with the benefit of greater control over infrastructure for the client.

For the end customer

In the case of desktop virtualisation, call centres can make use of virtual agents who can work from home in flexible working arrangements that cut down on travel and base camp real estate.

In peak business cycles, remote agents can be roped in on demand, with obvious spin-offs for customer satisfaction. And multinationals can deploy a follow-the-sun call centre competency spread across multiple geographies, again with customer service benefits.

Finally, desktop virtualisation also places less of a burden on client devices, as all the processing happens on the remote server. This has significant cost benefits.

No more frustration

Virtualisation is the silent enabler of cloud computing, bringing with it a multitude of benefits for the modern call centre and its customers.

With it, wasteful infrastructure practices and ponderous customer service are things of the past.

Market understanding of MDM is maturing

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Ian Lottering, Master Data Management (MDM) practice leader at Consology, attended and presented local content at the European MDM Summit 2012, held in London from 23 to 25 April. Here are some of the key trends he spotted during the event.

The world of MDM is changing at a rapid pace, as more and more companies start to take the discipline seriously. At the European MDM summit, where hundreds of MDM professionals gathered to share ideas, it was clear that world-leading companies have embraced MDM as a business necessity.  Here are six of the major trends that I saw emerge from the presentations and the discussions I had with other delegates.

1. It’s not about the technology

Organisations that are charting a journey into MDM should start by mapping organisational strategy and data governance before they consider the tools and technologies they will use. One of the hard lessons that many companies learn in their MDM projects is that MDM is not just a piece of software, but a business discipline that impacts processes, data, customers and governance.

The biggest decisions and challenges in MDM projects are around culture, change management and data definitions rather than toolsets. This theme was the basis of my own presentation, which was based on my learning as part of a team that rolled out an MDM solution for a major South African telecommunications operator. I was not surprised that many other presentations reflected the same thinking and experience.

2. Master data governance

MDM is rapidly moving beyond data stewardship towards convergence of task management, workflow, policy management and enforcement.  For that reason, a complete MDM solution also requires rules and reference data to be applied across the customer, vendor and product data domains.

The relevant data governance tasks, workflows, and policies should be embedded into the MDM solution to enable continuous data quality improvement. We are now seeing vendors offer active data governance capabilities as part of their software.

3. Data in the cloud

We can expect to see cloud-enabled MDM offer SMEs a means to engage in MDM without committing to long-term projects and major expenses. A large portion of their customer data is already in the cloud and mobile devices are redefining how this data is created and consumed, so the move makes sense for them.

4. Big data

Data volumes are growing exponentially, and companies are likely to use their own data paired with public social media data and information from subscription databases to get a better understanding of their customers.  We are seeing early adopters of this technology making use of existing MDM solutions as a registry hub that draws on social information.

But emerging technologies are moving traditional MDM functionality, like matching and survivorship into public big data clusters. This is still a niche market with limited support from data quality tools vendors but expect this to change significantly in the next year or two.

5.  Data virtualisation

Data virtualisation technologies that offer a unified, abstracted, and encapsulated view for querying and manipulating data stored in a heterogeneous set of data stores are starting to come to the fore. In other words, end-users will have access to one big single pool of data but won’t know or care which underlying databases it comes from.

6. Real-world experience

I first attended this conference in 2008, when the audience was male, geeky and had yet to get its hands dirty with MDM implementations. This time, around, the average age of the delegates was noticeably younger and there were more female delegates.

Delegates this time had fought in the trenches and their questions were based on real-world problems. The attendees were looking for practical frameworks and implementation methodologies.  In other words, this isn’t an early adopter market any more, but a mainstream one with plenty of implementations taking place around the world.

Telfree Telecounter freely calculates potential telephone savings

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Leading telecommunications developer, Telfree has launched a fantastic new tool for businesses – the Telecounter. Business owners, financial directors and accounting officers can now quickly and easily calculate whether they are over-paying their telecommunications costs. Using the Telecounter to obtain an estimate of how you can save on day-to-day communications costs for your business is easy. Simply have your latest monthly telephone bill to hand. Punch in the Rand value of your current spend for each communication type as listed and press calculate.

Business owners who have already used the Telecounter have identified that they could be saving around 30 percent on their telephone costs – and that’s quite an eye-opener especially in today’s economically restrained times where every cent per second counts.

Telfree launched the Telecounter to underline just how much businesses could be saving and adding to their bottom line, if they made the switch to their no-fuss cloud-based PBX system, Office Connection.

Click on the link to use the Telfree Office Connection Telecounter

Notes to editor

Office Connection delivers an end-to-end fully integrated desk, office, mobile, voice, SMS and fax communication solution; Office Connection gives ‘next generation’ flexibility and freedom at exceptionally good rates.

With starting packages at R350.00 per month for five staff, Office Connection is not only really affordable but businesses will struggle to find a more seamless and integrated solution in South Africa.

Click on the link for more information on Office Connection

Is your Sourcing the source of your problems?

By admin, 31 maja, 2012, No Comment

Sync provides a software platform that can be used to manage the sourcing of garments for retailers whether it is via direct sourcing, 3rd party sourcing or local manufacturing (fast fashion). Sync has identified that the source of high cancellations fuelled by over-buying by retailers & under delivery by suppliers rampant within the South African clothing industry is based on the low standard of design briefs or tech-packs that begin the sourcing process.

Many retailers within South Africa buy up to 20% more product than they plan for, knowing that someone’s going to let them down along the way.

It’s alarming to see how little information is passed on from customer to supplier during the sourcing process. The likelihood of garments being manufactured according to the customers intended requirements is actually very low. This accounts for many of the problems seen in South African stores, such as variations in same-size garments across various styles. This leads to unnecessary sample rework & slow quality assurance (QA) processes, resulting in long lead times, especially when compared to ‘fast fashioned’ international retailers

Product lifecycle management systems (PLM) have been part of the staple diet for overseas retailers for years whereas South Africa is lagging heavily in this area. This is due to the limited number of systems available to meet this need as well as the cost of implementing an international PLM system in SA & effectively having to throw out any existing buying, merchandising & planning system. What makes Sync unique is that it specialises in the crucial area of garment costing, tech-packs & QA specifications. This allows retailers to keep their existing systems & plug in the elements that are missing without having to overhaul their entire IT architecture. At the same time Sync allows for rapid deployment (6-18 months) allowing retailers to get a jump start over their competition.

What’s missing in South African fashion retail is fundamentally the most important cog in the wheel & without a proper brief or tech pack the suppliers of local, direct sourcing or 3rd party garments can’t seem to get it right.

What makes Sync different to competing software is that the program is designed specifically for manufacturing & 3rd party sourcing.

While other PLM systems are essentially retail systems lacking sufficient detail in costing, tech packs & QA, Sync is fundamentally based on the best practices of SA’s top apparel manufacturing & sourcing businesses, making the sourcing process accurate & efficient.

 

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