Archive for Sierpień, 2012

Outsourced FM – dispelling myths, mistakes and false expectations

By admin, 21 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

By Phil Gregory, Senior Regional Executive Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions: Middle East & Africa

Outsourcing Facility Management (FM) can deliver excellent results if you have realistic expectations, plan well, make use of appropriate approaches and insist on excellence in execution. However, many companies do not see the results they envisage. Ensuring there are no fundamental flaws in your outsourcing strategy, dispelling myths and knowing how to select a suitable outsourcing partner are essential first steps.

The Myths of Outsourced FM

It’s a myth that outsourcing is all about cost savings. Cost savings is just one part of the business rationale to outsource; outsourcing a non-core function also allows the business to focus on its core business. Another myth is that a company will lose control over the function that it outsources. The reality is that with the right partner, you have far more control — you relinquish a non-core component of the business to a FM specialist, which usually results in a better managed facility.

The term outsourcing is often confused with off-shoring, which is what a company does when it outsources a function to a provider in a different country. The principal reason to ‘off-shore’ is to perform a function at a lower-cost in a different country. However, this should not be mistaken with global partnerships.  Within the FM context, they can be hugely beneficial, allowing multinationals to roll out a globally aligned FM strategy from head office to all country branches with the outsourced partner having a presence in the countries.  The most successful partnerships are built on long-term relationships that offer strategic value and provide on-site staff to ensure efficient and cost effective running of the facility.

Mistakes in Outsourcing FM

There are a number of common mistakes made in outsourcing FM.  Although cost savings is an important consideration, any outsourcing contract worth its salt needs to add value – e.g., making the workplace more productive and flexible — and that value must be measurable.

It’s also a mistake to try to outsource if there’s no real management buy-in. It is important from the outset to recognise the cost and resource requirements of transition for both partners. Both sides need to invest in resources to ensure a smooth transfer of operations. Timely and effective communication is the key, particularly if there is an in-built resistance in the outsourced organisation. And in the case of several hundred employees transferring from client to provider, which is often the case with FM. Selecting an FM outsource partner with a strong track record in change management may be as important as finding one with a good cultural fit. Companies need to make sure that their outsource partner understands their organisation and their peoples’ needs. And being culturally aware is particularly important if you are outsourcing on a global scale.

The benefits

If done correctly, outsourcing gives companies access to specialist experience and skills, but it should also be prepared to adapt its own approaches.

Today, outsourcing FM is viewed by multinationals as a deliberate business strategy for non-core activities that deliver clear business benefits, like access to accurate data to support informed management decisions regarding a company’s second or third largest cost, this includes its buildings. The right partnership will also provide immediate access to industry-specialist resources to help implement change programmes, such as those needed with acquisitions.

The company outsourcing a function should gear its management team to implement and manage outsourcing properly. With clear expectations and visibility, there will be no perceived loss of control over these aspects of the business.

Understanding FM, and more specifically outsourced FM, will assist to realign businesses’ expectations. Clarity of purpose, awareness of tangible and measurable benefits, and an experienced partner that can deliver to global standards, will ensure the promise of outsourced FM is realized. It is important to never settle for less.

Kaspersky Lab support just a phone call away

By admin, 21 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab is pleased to announce the availability of its local toll free consumer technical support number for all home and small office products. By dialling the toll free number (0800 222 555), customers can now have instant access to expert technical support for a range of Kaspersky Lab products, when and if required.

Says Vasily Dyagilev, Managing Director Emerging Markets at Kaspersky Lab; “Through this toll free number, our South African consumer base now has the ability to be in 24/7 contact with trained Kaspersky Lab technical product support experts. This not only ensures that we are meeting a core priority of keeping our customers safe online, but further demonstrates our commitment to our product users across the globe – as we work hard to offer exceptional products, support and of course service.”

 

Canon celebrates production of 80 million EF lenses

By admin, 21 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

Canon today announces the achievement of a new lens-manufacturing milestone, following the production of the company’s 80-millionth EF lens. This new milestone comes just ten months after announcing the production of the 70-millionth lens in October 2011 and coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Canon EOS System.

“Since the first ever EF lens was produced in 1987, we’ve been dedicated to providing the best possible performance to users of all levels.” said Steven Marshall, Product Marketing Director, Consumer Imaging, Canon Europe. “Using decades of expertise and the latest optical technologies, our EF lens range offers both outstanding image quality and creative flexibility – whether you shoot stills or video. This is an incredible milestone, and speaks volumes about the quality and popularity of our EF lens line-up.”

EF lenses – consistent precision, complete versatility

Production of Canon’s world-renowned EF lens series first began in March 1987 alongside the introduction of Canon’s first EOS SLR camera system at the company’s Utsunomiya plant. Over the past 25 years the range has continued to pioneer technical advancement in the industry through the introduction of a series of innovative technologies, including the world’s first[i] Ultrasonic Motor-powered lens (USM) and Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, as well as a multi-layered diffractive optical (DO) element, and SubwavelengthStructure Coating (SWC) anti-reflection technology.

Designed to offer both photographers and videographers exceptional creative flexibility, the EF lens series now comprises over 76 different models[ii]. In addition to a range of EF and EF-S lenses designed for DSLRs, the range now includes an expanding selection of 4K-resolution EF Cinema Lenses that provide class-leading professional video performance. In July 2012, Canon also announced a new line of EF-M lenses developed specifically for the company’s EOS M compact system camera, which combine Canon’s signature image quality with compact, lightweight designs.

EF lens production milestones:

Since production began in 1987, development has expanded to a total of four production facilities.

  • 1995: Production of EF lenses surpasses 10-million units
  • 2001: Production of EF lenses surpasses 20-million units
  • 2006: 30-million EF lenses produced
  • 2008: 40-million-unit milestone reached in April
  • 2009: 50-million units produced
  • 2011: 60-million units reached in January
  • 2011: Production of EF lenses rises by ten million in just nine months to reach the 70-million mark in October

Get ready for iWeek 2012

By admin, 21 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

Registrations have opened for the Internet industry’s annual iWeek conference set to run from 10 to 14 September 2012 in Cape Town. As usual, attendance at the conference is both free and a premier opportunity for both local and global Internet industry players to come together to discuss issues, share experiences and learn.

This year the event promises to be even more informative than ever. The joint hosts, the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) and UniForum SA, will be joined by the .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA), the South African chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC-ZA) and the Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA). Each of the partners will have dedicated time to present, with some presentations falling into three focused tracks: Business, Technology and Regulatory.

“Our conference partners will greatly enrich the content available to delegates, and we are confident that the streaming of presentations into the three tracks will make the conference much more accessible,” says Jaap Scholten, Co-Chair of ISPA.

MTN Business is both a Platinum and Bronze sponsor of this year’s iWeek, Neotel is a Platinum sponsor, while MWEB Business is a Silver sponsor of the event.

Some of the conference highlights include presentations and panel discussions from ZADNA and UniForum looking at global and local developments in the domain name space; workshops on “Internet Freedom in South Africa” and “Next Generation Internet”; as well as sessions on cyber security. In SpamJam VII, Advocate Annamart Nieman defends ISPA’s Hall of Shame. In addition, ISPA will also be launching the South African iCode during iWeek.

Other highlights include presentations on SIP peering, wireless communities and license-exempt bands as well as best practices in wireless installation. The annual general meetings of both WAPA and ISPA will also take place. The conference will wrap up with “Cape Pouring Point”, a social event in the

Speakers will include Alan Levin, Andrew Mack, Ant Brooks, Bill Manning, Dumisa Melane and Duncan Martin.

“As always, iWeek is a free conference for all and, as always, it is unmissable for anyone involved in the Internet market in South Africa,” says Scholten.

The event will be held at Crystal Towers in Cape Town. Visit www.iweek.org.za for more information and to register.

Public Voting is Open for The 2012 South African eCommerce Awards

By admin, 21 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

Public voting opened on Thursday, 16 August, for the 2012 South African eCommerce Awards. “The enormity of the 2011 Awards was astounding, and in 2012 we are looking forward to the biggest eCommerce Awards yet” said Jaco Roux CTO, Jump Internet Technologies.

Public voting will determine the top 40 websites from the list of nominees, which will go through to the initial evaluation round (Round 2). Independent design company, Druff Interactive, will be conducting the design evaluations on the top 40 websites. The eCommerce website with the most public votes, at the end of the voting process, will win the award for The Public’s Favourite eCommerce Website. Public voting ends 16 September 2012.

“Year on year we are delighted to see the improvements that eCommerce websites make in order to keep up with this growing industry. Mobile sites are increasing, social media is being utilised to engage with the public, and websites are constantly being streamlined and improved in terms of user experience and data quality. It’s exciting to watch ecommerce in South Africa unfold.” states Roux.

This year, in order to incentivise the voting, the South African eCommerce Awards will be giving one lucky voter an Apple iPad 3 16GB Wifi + 3G. The 2012 South African eCommerce Awards is sponsored by Aramex SA, PayFast and Druff Interactive.

The South African eCommerce Awards is currently in their seventh year. The awards have been designed to recognise and reward those companies and organisations that have demonstrated excellence through the use of the Internet, with specific emphasis on eCommerce.

Is the thought of your workload keeping you awake at night?

By admin, 20 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

By Uwe Richter, Vice President and General Manager for Mindjet International

The internet and all that it has brought with it means we now have access to a whole host of products and services at our fingertips almost wherever we are. It doesn’t stop there; accessing information is much the same. Whereas 20, or even 10 years ago, we turned to newspapers and magazines for the latest information and opinions, there are now forums, Twitter and blogs, just to name a few.

Having more connected devices, from smartphones to tablets, does mean we are “connected” around the clock but a side effect of this is that switching off is difficult. It is all too easy to quickly check our work e-mails when we’re watching television, about to go to bed or even on holiday. We even have terms like “bleisure” to describe the blurring of business and leisure and the ever popular “information overload” on which I would challenge anyone who says they haven’t experienced this at one point or another.

The question is, does all of this result in an efficient way of working? Most of us will admit to being bombarded with information at work meaning that there is little time to stop, take in all that great (or discard the not so great) information and see the overall picture. We just end up feeling more confused and overwhelmed than ever. In fact, Mindjet carried out research last year that confirmed this feeling amongst UK office workers OnePoll research of 2,000 UK office workers (November), commissioned by Mindjet and, worryingly, it is leaving 14 percent of us unhappy at work. Echoing this, mental health problems such as stress, cost the UK economy an estimated £26 billion (more than R338 billion) a year in absence, a fall in productivity and staff turnover.

The situation will only get worse as more data is created each year – IDC found that 1.8 zettabytes of new data was generated in 2011 alone – enough to fill 115 billion 16GB iPads and 0.6 zettabytes more than was generated in 2010. The answer is finding an effective way of handling all this information and getting the best use from it.

Distinguishing the vital from the insignificant

Psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw explains that, while the human brain is highly adaptable, it is not good at multitasking. It is a common myth that brains act like a localised filing system – which they simply can’t. Whilst we may adapt over time to better manage this huge volume of information, we need something to help us cope now. This should come in the form of a filtering mechanism that can separate the important pieces of information from the unimportant, organising it in a logical way, and I believe this comes from adopting a more visual approach. A concept like information visualisation (think of the format a spider diagram or mind map takes) helps businesses and their employees better collect, structure, consolidate and act on ideas and concepts. Essentially, this type of solution makes it easier to see the connections between different pieces of information and get that all important “bigger picture”.

But, does it make a difference to how we handle information? Well, we’ve tested it and yes, it does. Partnering with neurological research experts, Mindlab International, we monitored a number of office workers as they completed a series of everyday tasks using a visual versus linear approach. The experiment found that by utilising visual mapping techniques, we use an average of 20 percent less cognitive resources to complete a task (compared to using the equivalent traditional, linear software), perform the tasks 17 percent more efficiently in terms of time and can recall 6.5 percent more data after the task is completed.

These findings show that we need to adapt to our current working environment and find new, better ways of working. Continuing to plough on through, hoping that at some point things will quieten down for long enough for us to catch our breath, is not the way to deal with the ever-increasing amounts of information. At a time when productivity is key to every business, large or small, visual techniques can help ease pressure for workers, improve employee and team satisfaction and in turn performance at work.

Survival of the fittest

Since we entered the new millennium, digital advancements have taken place at break-neck speed. Organisations are only just starting to face up to the challenges that “Big Data” brings on an infrastructure and operational level, so workers and their teams are still struggling to adapt. What worked well for an employee in 1990 does not necessarily work as well today – and although technology may be causing us sleepless nights it also has the very real potential to help us work in a more natural, smarter and positive way.

It is the businesses that realise and embrace this that will be on the front foot as we go through an uncertain economic time. Let’s not lose any more sleep over our workloads.

The lowdown on transformer-based versus transformerless UPS

By admin, 20 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

What’s the difference, why does it matter and what happens if you use the wrong one?

By Robert Brand, UPS & Infrastructure Product Specialist at Drive Control Corporation

Given the instability of electricity in South Africa and up into the continent, the UPS has become a vital piece of technological equipment in Africa. Not only is it essential for protecting expensive computer equipment from fluctuations in power, it is also necessary across industries such as manufacturing, factories and warehousing, where equipment needs to be powered by a steady and constant electricity supply. However, given the diversity of the applications to which a UPS can be applied, it makes sense that there are different types of devices applicable in different scenarios. Transformer-based and transformerless UPS’s might perform a similar function on the surface, but they have very different applications, and using the wrong device in the wrong scenario can cause major business issues.

The difference between a transformer-based and a transformerless UPS is exactly what the names suggest. One type of UPS uses a transformer, and the other type does not. The presence of a transformer means that the UPS physically isolates the mains voltage from the load through a series of copper windings. A transformerless UPS will try and perform the same function electronically. This basically translates to the fact that a transformer-based UPS is more robust and rugged, while a transformerless device typically exhibits slightly higher efficiencies, meaning that each is suited to different applications and environments.

Transformer-based UPS devices use copper windings, a proven, stable technology that has not changed in many decades because there is no need to change it for certain environments. These devices are more suitable to dirty power environments, applications such as mining, manufacturing and heavy industry, and areas where power is highly unstable. For example, many factories and warehouses need to charge huge devices like forklifts. Plugging these devices into the mains will cause massive fluctuations in power, which the UPS then needs to be able to stabilise.

Transformerless UPS devices on the other hand have been designed specifically for the IT environment, and are more suited to data centre and server environments. These devices are not as robust, having been designed to sit inside server rooms, but are easier to manage, and incorporate intelligence and reporting capabilities and the ability to alert people via email or SMS should the power go down, amongst other features. This makes the transformerless UPS ideal in computer and server environments.

Despite these differences, however, many organisations apply the wrong type of UPS in a given scenario. While transformer-based UPS devices can handle greater power fluctuations, they are not suited to highly sensitive data fluctuations. Even in areas where power is highly unstable or prone to outages, a transformerless UPS is more applicable, and may require the addition of a voltage stabiliser to ensure it keeps running. If on the other hand users try to apply a transformerless UPS in manufacturing, or in rural areas, these devices will inevitably fail, as they are incapable of handling the voltage fluctuations.

While transformer-based UPS devices use old technology, and transformerless UPS’s are the result of newer technology, miniaturised equipment and modern business needs, the difference does not even come down to pricing. Depending on the manufacturer and the vendor, the price of each different type of device can vary widely. Ultimately, choosing the right type of UPS boils down to knowing your environment and knowing what you need.

Transformer-based UPS’s are the utility vehicle of the UPS industry, and transformerless UPS’s are like a fancy, low slung sports car. You wouldn’t take your sports car offroad into the veld, and you wouldn’t park your dirty, mud-splattered, hard-wearing utility outside a fancy French restaurant on a date. Each type of UPS has its own use, and organisations need to understand these uses so that their expectations of features, functionality and durability are in line with what can be delivered.

Mara-Ison Technologies to present topical keynote at one of Africa’s biggest IT industry events in September

By admin, 20 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

The anticipated 2nd annual IT Leaders East Africa Summit will take place from 5 to 6 September 2012 in Nairobi; in the heart of Kenya’s esteemed capital city. The summit is produced and hosted by international business-to-business conferencing company, Kinetic Events in proud association with the Kenya ICT Board (KICTB) and Kenya Information Technology and Outsourcing Services (KITOS).

Mara-Ison Technologies will be presenting contemporary thought on Managed Services during the first day of the event, 5th September 2012. The keynote speaker from Mara-Ison Technologies is Mr. Karmil Asgarally, V.P. Francophone. Karmil heads the IT operations in the Francophone regions for Mara-Ison and is also the CIO for its countries of operations. The session will focus on “MaaS: IT Management as a Service”; a relatively new concept in the Cloud Computing arena.

Mara-Ison Technologies is a pan-African IT services company, headquartered in Dubai, with presence in more than 25 countries in Africa. Mara-Ison capitalises on the strength of its core expertise and capabilities across Service Providers, Tower Infrastructure Providers, Banking and Financial Services, Government, and Oil & Gas sectors. It leverages its deep domain and delivery expertise, methodologies and frameworks, partnerships and technology alliances, and secured, flexible, and futuristic delivery model to provide services across Africa. Our main line of business includes consulting and systems integration services, managed services, and outsourcing services.

The summit provides a unique and exclusive business-to-business platform for IT executives and industry leaders to share experiences, network among peers and engage in interactive discussions with fellow senior executives, government officials, senior decision makers and international industry guest speakers.

The summit will focus on enterprise IT challenges facing the African IT industry, preventing enterprises within the continent from reaching the international standards of first world nations. The summit will address today’s top ICT and operations issues, and technological advancements impacting your enterprise with strategic guidance and actionable tactics.

The strategic summit will feature internationally renowned guest speakers, industry topics and discussion points appropriate to Africa’s IT industry, and prompt interesting debate among fellow industry peers through innovative and interactive workshops, best practise case studies and expert-led keynote sessions and presentations.

International guest presenters represent CIOs, government officials and IT leaders from all major industries; addressing crucial topics including innovative tactics to best improve IT processes and operations, and future industry trends and technological advancements to effectively improve enterprise infrastructure.

For more information, to apply to attend, comment or photographs, visit www.itleaders-eastafrica.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.

32% of users have connected infected storage devices to their computers according to a survey undertaken for Kaspersky Lab

By admin, 20 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

Kaspersky Lab statistics show that users are more likely to fall victim to cybercrime online, while computer infections caused by portable data carriers (optical discs or USB drives) are less common. Nevertheless, according to a survey conducted by O+K Research in May 2012 at the request of Kaspersky Lab, users encounter infected flash drives on a regular basis, with 32% of users reporting such incidents. Even if a user is confident that his/her computer is securely protected, an infected USB stick from friends or family could result in data loss.

Along with cyber-threats, users worry about unauthorised access to their personal data and the devices it is stored on. According to the survey, this problem affected 14% of desktop and laptop users, 12% of tablet owners and 10% of those respondents with smartphones. It should be noted here that unauthorised access to personal data is not always caused by an infection; the culprit could just as easily turn out to be a nosy work colleague or a complete stranger who finds your lost device. That’s why the most effective security measure is to encrypt all your sensitive files. And this is easier than it sounds, given that lots of Total Security antivirus products, including Kaspersky PURE, specifically provide this sort of functionality. There is also dedicated software with anti-theft functionality capable of safeguarding the information on your mobile device.

Another relatively widespread method for stealing user data is that of data interception on wireless networks, particularly Wi-Fi. Nowadays lots of cafes, restaurants and other public areas offer hot-spots that rarely use passwords or encryption. That means anyone can use networks like these. At the same time, intercepting and analysing traffic on these networks is a relatively simple task for the cybercriminals.

The experts at O+K Research found that 46% of smartphone users and 48% of tablet owners use unsecured public networks. 29% of those with laptops also make use of free Wi-Fi. What is more, over half of the respondents use these networks every day or at least 2-3 times a week. This rather worrying statistic demonstrates that users clearly underestimate the dangers of free Wi-Fi. When it comes to wireless networks, it is very easy to avoid the threat of your data being intercepted by only using secured hot-spots.

What the initial survey findings show is that consumers live in quite an insecure environment, and may be attacked by cybercriminals using multiple vulnerable spots. Therefore, safeguarding people’s personal data requires even more than standard anti-malware protection. Securing online data exchange, protecting financial transactions, blocking infected and fraudulent web pages – these features combined together is the proper defense tactics. Thus, the minimum requirement for strong protection is the product like Kaspersky Internet Security which includes all mentioned security methods and even more.

The full report on the survey conducted by O+K Research is available at: http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/pdf/kaspersky-lab_ok-consumer-survey-report_eng_final.pdf

Mobile Messaging Adspend to Reach $7.4bn by 2017, Driven By Increased Use of Location-Based Ads

By admin, 20 sierpnia, 2012, No Comment

Advertising spend on mobile messaging will reach $7.4 billion by 2017, a new report from Juniper Research finds. This growth will be driven by a dramatic upsurge in the use of location-based SMS to deliver relevant ads to consumers.

Opt-In Advertising to Ease Privacy Fears

The idea of location-based SMS is something that is likely to raise questions of privacy amongst consumers. However, operators are extremely sensitive to this and the schemes which already exist, such as O2 More, are opt-in and the consumer can choose which types of offer they would like to receive. These types of schemes will become more common as operators attempt to look for revenue streams beyond voice and data but it is unlikely that schemes will become opt-out or compulsory.

SMS Ads – Simple, Cheap & Effective

SMS ads have significant benefits for marketers. While they may lack the rich media content of other advertising formats, they are very familiar to consumers and have a much higher chance of being opened, even if unsolicited. SMS ads are also a low cost option for those seeking large reach; in the UK, for example, a bundle of 1,000 text messages costs around £0.05 (8¢) per message, falling to around £0.03 (5¢) for larger bundles.

Report author Charlotte Miller noted that, “Sending adverts using mobile messaging gives advertisers a simple, cheap and effective way of reaching consumers. Adding location technologies is an even more powerful proposition, particularly for transactional advertising as marketers can reach consumers who are near a location where they can purchase. Knowing that the recipients of an ad have actively asked to receive it and will in all likihood open it is also particularly attractive.”

Other key findings from the report include:

• Brands need to have a joined up mobile strategy, ensuring that mobile adverts direct consumers to mobile optimised sites or content, particularly given the highly promising mCommerce opportunity.

• Mobile apps offer valuable inventory for mobile ads and spend on in-app advertising will increase rapidly.

The ‘Mobile Ads for Mobile Apps’ whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full study, ‘Mobile Advertising: Messaging, In-App and Mobile Internet Strategies 2012-2017’.

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