Archive for Październik, 2012

Apple’s mini iPad will fly off the shelves in South Africa says The Notebook Company

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

There has been a lot of pre-launch hype with regards to Apple’s mini iPad – as there was with the Apple iPhone5. Much of the excitement – when the products were actually launched – had already dissipated due to all the pre-press hype. Nonetheless, these two products are sure to fly off the shelves around the world, re-affirming Apple as the number one technology company in the world.

This is according to Christopher Riley, MD of local notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company – and a big supplier of Apple products.

Riley said said his company will be selling the iPad mini at between R5000 – R8 000, with stocks accepted to arrive in early November.

“The Apple iPhone 5s have been flying off our shelves and we have been battling to keep up with the demand – and we are expecting no less of the Apple mini iPad,” he said.

Riley noted that there would still, however, be a sustained market for the iPad 3 and iPad2s. “Demand has muted somewhat, but they are still stalwart sellers.”

Commenting further, Riley said the 7-inch mini iPad from Apple is viewed by many market watchers as an attempt by the technology giant to combat – and “beat-out” – competitors in the fast-exploding 7 inch tablet market.

“It is war out there,” said Riley, “but Apple still has a keen edge. Right now the company has the Midas Touch and although they are allowing more hype to permeate the market prior to launches – something they did not do in the past – their products seem to be hitting the right buttons with users. Apple is just the product users want. End of story.”


Samsung Unleashes Its First Touch-Enabled Ultrabook – The Series 5 ULTRA Touch

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

Intuitive use and instant access with touch functionality combined with powerful performance

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today introduced the new Windows 8-ready Samsung Notebook Series 5 ULTRA Touch. Packed with a 13.3-inch HD SuperBright 10-finger multi-touchscreen and powerful 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor, the Series 5 ULTRA Touch exploits the touch-centric Windows 8 interface for effortless intuitive use.

“With the arrival of Windows 8, use of notebook PCs is about to change, leading to a different demand from customers, such as touch functionality, but still maintaining the traditional common input methods such as keyboard and mouse,” says Mike van Lier, Business Leader for IT Solutions at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “Our new Series 5 ULTRA Touch will surely meet all demands of our customers for better intuitive use, along with powerful performance and plenty of storage.”

Intuitive Touchscreen for Better User Experience
With the upcoming new Windows 8 operating system, demand in touch-enabled notebook PC devices is expected to increase. To meet such demands, the Series 5 ULTRA Touch has been equipped with a 10-finger multi-touchscreen – a technological leap in interactivity, surpassing traditional two-finger multi-touch by providing full touch control using all ten fingers on a clamshell notebook PC. Its enhanced sensitivity enables users to enjoy the full capabilities of the latest entertainment applications or perform complicated content editing. Pinch to zoom on content or rotate images, and scroll through pages with complete ease using 10 multi-touch functions.

Powerful Hardware Upgrades
Available in 13.3 inch, the Series 5 ULTRA Touch comes with up to 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7-3517U processor, 12GB memory, 500GB storage and 24GB ExpressCach system, ensuring flawless user experience that customers desire in any scenario. 10 – 15% more efficient CPU processing, plus 2x faster media processing and 3D rendering, Fast Boot in less than 20 seconds, wake-up in two seconds and faster web-browsing are just some of many examples the Series 5 ULTRA Touch can deliver.

ULTRA Storage and Mobility
Lack of storage or connection can really hamper work efficiency and productivity. The Samsung Notebook Series 5 ULTRA Touch’s storage of up to 500GB provides over two times more content capacity of other UltrabookTM models. It also includes full-size HDMI port, one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, 3-in-1 multi SD card slot, Ethernet and 1.3M webcam.

Carrying a chunky notebook PC is always a big burden, especially for professionals constantly on the move. Just 16.9 – 19.9mm thin and 1.64kg light, the Series 5 ULTRA Touch is amazingly portable given its touch capabilities and full notebook PC functionality.

To ensure consistent connection, the new device delivers up to 6.7 hours of power on a single charge so customers can stay focused on their movie or work. In addition, Samsung’s Battery Life Plus technology extends the overall battery life of up to 1,500 cycles / 3 years.

Aluminium and Fibreglass for Durability and Style
The new Series 5 ULTRA Touch unites professional style and durability. The sophisticatedly simple and refined exterior is a cool metallic brushed aluminium, while the underside consists of fibreglass delivering the rigidity and lightweight customers ask for, protected from bumps and knocks.

Recommended retail price: R13 999 available through Samsung Brand Stores and leading retailers

Samsung Ready to Go With Windows 8 Platform

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

Samsung Introduces ATIV[ati:v], its Windows 8 enabled Smart PC’s that provide a truly unified experience

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced its brand-new ATIV devices based on the Windows 8 platform for its Smart PC range.

With the introduction of Microsoft’s Window 8 operating system, Samsung has introduced “ATIV”, the new brand for its Windows-based devices. ATIV, the reverse order of VITA meaning “Life” in Latin, is a pledge by Samsung to make everyone’s life easier. The full range of Windows 8 powered devices will enable this goal. Today Samsung introduces ATIV SMART PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro as part of its , full range of ATIV devices. Samsung is one of very few companies that are capable of offering these product line-ups for IT solutions today and is committed to offering more choices based on the Windows 8 platform, for consumers.

“Samsung is delighted to introduce its portfolio of Windows 8 powered devices for our Smart PC range. With our leadership in design and technology and Microsoft’s leading operating system, we are able to provide customers with a range of ATIV devices for cross-category convergence,” says Mike van Lier, Business leader for IT Solutions at Samsung South Africa.

“Samsung is a highly valued partner and it’s great to see this investment in a global brand for its Windows-based Smart PCs,” said Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President, OEM, Microsoft. “This gives us an increased opportunity to inspire our customers with excitement and confidence as they enjoy Windows experiences on their beautiful Samsung Smart PC devices, which include entertainment scenarios.”

Samsung’s ATIV devices are simple, powerful, and stylish. The Windows 8 operating system is sleek, intuitive and compatible across devices. Together Samsung and Microsoft will provide the user an advanced, productive and creative experience with its ATIV devices. Its full lineup is designed for a simple user experience to share your work and ideas as well as enjoy consuming content.

Continues van Lier; “The Microsoft Windows 8 platform is set to create a truly unified user experience and this together with the ability of our Smart PCs, makes for a strong market partnership. Our customers once again have access to the lastest market innovation and I am confident that this technology will be very well received locally.”

Samsung ATIV Smart PC & Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro
Combing revolutionary design, the power of a notebook PC and the convenience of a tablet PC – the 11.6-inch Samsung ATIV Smart PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro are Samsung’s next set of smart devices. These provide computing power, with Windows 8 functionality as well as full Windows 7 compatability. Each device features a detachable keyboard-docking system that allows users to easily switch between a clamshell notebook PC and a tablet PC form factor. These devices allow for great mobility with maximum productivity.

An advanced 10-finger multi-touch screen for the Smart PC Pro and 5-finger multi-touch screen for the Smart PC, provides a technological leap in interactivity, surpassing the traditional two-finger touch features. Its enhanced sensitivity allows users to pinch-to-zoom, rotate images and scroll through pages with ease to enjoy the full capabilities of the latest entertainment applications.

In addition to the commonly provided input methods, the ATIV Smart PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro are equipped with the renowned S-Pen, delivering real writing and drawing experience for maximum productivity, both on the desk and on-the-go. Just like using a pen or pencil, the Wacom digitiser pen is capable of meeting demands of professional designers with its 1024 level pressure sensitivity. The pre-loaded S-Note application accompanies the S-Pen to make writing and drawing as simple and intuitive as possible.

While the S-Camera fully exploits the performance of the integrated front and rear cameras, the S-Player ensures seamless playback of images and videos in any format. This content is presented with Samsung’s SuperBright 11.6-inch Full HD LCD display, producing the most vivid colours and sharpness with 400nit brightness.

Beautifully stylish and ultra-portable, the ATIV Smart PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro are only 9.9mm and 11.9mm thick, respectively; and there are no compromises on performance. The ATIV Smart PC Pro’s powerful Intel® Core™ i5 processor can handle particularly demanding professional use and multimedia consumption; while the ATIV Smart PC’s next generation Intel® Atom™ processor is a solid match for everyday productivity tasks.

Despite its compact and portable form factor, the two devices feature USB 2.0(Smart PC), USB 3.0(Smart PC Pro), mHDMI, miniSD and two extra USB 2.0 ports on the keyboard. To get the experience going, the ATIV Smart PC has a battery life of up to 13.5 hours whereas the stronger brother ATIV Smart PC Pro runs up to 8 hours.

“The Windows 8 platform is one of the largest operating systems locally which will shape the future of technology and so too will enhance our Smart PC product range for our customers. We look forward to seeing the growth and uptake of these product within the local market,” concludes van Lier.
Available from December 2012, through Samsung Brand Stores and leading retailers.

Corporate use of ‘gamification’ drives brand engagement and business goals

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment


Companies of all kinds have begun to introduce ‘gamification’ into the way their products, processes, training and marketing are presented and consumed.

Gamification is particularly successful at promoting engagement with brands and portfolios, and driving strategic objectives like increased sales, marketing and even innovation.

This is because of a predisposition in many people to respond to fun, “cool” activities and activity-based task execution, notes Wikipedia.

The growth of gaming beyond gaming

Wikipedia describes gamification as the use of game mechanics (stories and actions) and game design techniques – in a non-game context.

Blog sites and forums have used it for some time –for example awarding higher status to users as a reward for full and frequent use of site functionality.

From there, gaming methods have branched out into social networks and other scenarios where high engagement is paramount.

Even politics and civil service have a use for it. In the run-up to the 2012 American Presidential election, various companies have been promoting voting with the use of gamification tactics. Elsewhere, authorities are rewarding drivers who stay within the speed limit by entering them  into a monthly lottery. In both cases, gamification has had a significant effect on achieving objectives.

But the impact of gaming is not purely social. It also has proven influence in businesses of all kinds. Decidedly serious industries like financial services and professional services firms are showing an interest in using game techniques in their content and workplaces.

Forms of business gamification

Business gaming occurs on various platforms – websites, intranets, mobile apps and other applications – and they range from fully-fledged applications to game-like strands woven into a wider context.

A large body of techniques are available to corporates, and can be applied in different scenarios, including:

  • Progress bars to indicate closeness to completing a task that a company is trying to encourage –www.givengain.cominvites site members to start real-life projects (e.g. run a marathon) to raise funds for causes, and to set and track their fundraising goals.
  • Systems for awarding, redeeming and exchanging (trading or gifting) points, such as
  • Other awards such as discounts or achievement badges encouraging staff or customers to learn about a product, service or a key procedure or process
  • Rewards such as discounts are used along with social networks to encourage viral product referrals, such as the Stickers campaign developed by Realmdigital for Exclus1ves.
  • Leader boards, for example Shape Up and Keas
  • Challenges between users, such as NikeFuel and Club Psych
  • Virtual currency including FNB’s eBucks, Standard Bank’s Mimoney or Bidorbuy’s bobBucks 

Corporate gamification benefits

Wikipedia notes that DevHub, a website-building resource, used game techniques to increase the number of users who completed their online tasks to 80% (was 10%).

In the Exclus1ves Stickers example, reviews and ratings increased substantially as stickers now rewarded users for engaging with products. Stickers also enabled users to control which products they wanted discounted by introducing smart discounting and group buying.

According to a 2011 Gartner Research Report, more than 50% of organisations that manage innovation processes will use gamification for that purpose by 2015. Innovation is often cited as crucial to competitiveness, making this a resounding endorsement of gaming methods. 

It can be challenging. Or not.

Complex endeavours like innovation and development projects involving intricate processes and ambitious goals (for example purpose-built simulation and storylines), require a serious development capability.

But gamification comes in light-touch as well as complex formats, with varying shades in-between. It need not break the bank.

Companies seeking to benefit from the persuasive power of gaming elements should choose a development partner with proven experience and references in that area.

Smart Glasses and Other Wearable Devices to be worth over $1.5bn by 2014, finds Juniper

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

A new report from Juniper Research has valued the next-gen wearable devices market, including smart glasses, to be worth more than $1.5 billion by 2014, up from just $800 million this year. These revenues will be largely driven by consumer spending on fitness, multi-functional devices, and healthcare.

Wearables – The Next ‘Smart’ Thing
Classified as a ‘future form factor’ for computing devices, next generation wearables, including smart glasses and other head-mounted displays, will provide a multitude of functions either independently or in conjunction with a third party platform.

The new report, Smart Wearable Devices: Fitness, Healthcare, Entertainment & Enterprise 2012-2017 identifies 2014 to be the watershed year for wearable devices – in terms of roll outs and market traction. Large influential players such as Google and Apple have already made key strategic moves in this sector.

Wearables Today
The use of wearable devices connected to the smartphone in the fitness and sports environment has grown rapidly in the last two years with applications such as Nike+ and Fitbit Tracker allowing data from training sessions to be uploaded and analysed.
Report author Nitin Bhas added: “With consumers embracing new technologies and form factors, wearable devices ranging from fitness accessories to heads-up displays will be more prevalent in the consumer market. While fitness and entertainment will have the greatest demand from consumers, within an enterprise environment, the demand for wearable devices will be greatest from the aviation and warehouse sectors”.

Other key findings include:
The market will be dominated by North America and Western Europe, representing over 60% of the global wearable device salesEven though the number of fitness and sports devices bought per year is higher than the number of healthcare devices sold, the health sector will be slightly larger in terms of retail value.

The ‘Wearables – The Next ‘Smart’ Thing whitepaper is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full report.

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

Stable, fast connectivity is the foundation of cloud computing for SMMEs

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

By Dawie Bloomberg, Managing Director of Green Apple IT

Cloud computing offers many benefits for the Small, Micro and Medium Enterprise (SMME), including the ability to access the latest technology to optimise business efficiency, improved scalability and flexibility. On top of these is the advantage of moving this technology from a capital expense to an operational expense with a monthly bill for services instead of a large investment for technology infrastructure and software. However, connectivity is critical to leveraging cloud services. Without stable, fast and reliable connectivity, cloud solutions and all of their benefits remain inaccessible to the SMME. Organisations wishing to move to this model need to address the foundations first, to ensure that cloud solutions deliver on the expected benefits and function optimally.

Cloud computing effectively eliminates the need for businesses to have infrastructure and servers on site. Using this model, SMMEs can instead access infrastructure owned by a hosting provider, leveraging economies of scale and reducing the footprint of equipment on site. This in turn lowers power consumption and reduces the amount of physical space that organisations require for technology such as servers. This is particularly effective for distributed small businesses, as instead of requiring a server at each site this can all be pushed into a central cloud.

Hosted services tend to be more secure than on premise solutions, particularly for small businesses, as they can leverage the latest enterprise grade security technologies and methods. Hosted providers also utilise more stringent enterprise level physical security, as well as adhere to best practices with regard to redundancy and dual power supplies. This is particularly beneficial to the SMME, which works on tight budgets and often cannot afford to maintain this enterprise grade level of solution in house. The infrastructure required to deliver these services can be very expensive, which puts it out of reach for the majority of SMMEs. However, using the cloud services model makes IT and technology solutions more affordable for cost-conscious businesses, improving cash flow and ensuring more predictable expenses along with improved services.

The benefits of cloud computing for the SMME are clear, and connectivity remains the only barrier to entry with regard to accessing these services. While availability and affordability of bandwidth has improved dramatically in recent years, balancing speed, availability and cost remains an issue. Organisations need to fully understand their needs and the available technologies to ensure that bandwidth and connectivity support their cloud objectives.

When it comes to connectivity there are many options available for SMMEs, each with their own pros and cons. ADSL is the most popular option for businesses, as it is cheap relative to other options and provides acceptable speeds and availability. However, ADSL has is challenges such as stability, cable theft and outages to mention a few, forcing organisations to explore other options, and when lines go down they can take time to repair and get services back up and running. 3G and more recently 4G or LTE connectivity is another popular option as it is prevalent in most of the country. However it is more expensive than ADSL, and for enterprise use does not provide the levels of stability often required. Other available options include satellite, WiFi and Metro Ethernet, which have a high price point relative to other technologies, as well as the relatively new microwave links which offer high speed stable bandwidth but which are not available in many locations outside of city centres.

In order to achieve the maximum ratio of uptime, reliability, stability and speed, organisations should look at obtaining an ADSL router which provides automatic failover to a second ADSL line, a 3G line or a microwave link. These routers are available with two or more WAN ports which are able to aggregate several lines of different technologies and provide auto failover between the lines for an improved user experience. This enables businesses to also incorporate multiple ADSL lines into a single connection with failover to another technology, to ensure that connectivity is always up and running and will not impact a business’ access to services.

These solutions can be tailored and scaled to meet the needs and budgets of the SMME, making them highly affordable. However in order to make maximum use of connectivity it is vital to firstly understand exactly what the needs of the business are from the outset. This will be determined by the type and number of cloud services that need to be accessed, as well as the number of users who need to access them. This will then ensure that the right mix of connectivity options can be put into place at the right price, with failover capability for maximum uptime.

Partnering with a specialist consultancy service can help organisation to ensure that they assess their needs accurately and can take advantage of solutions that meet their needs and budget. A consultant can also help to ensure that the cost of implementing cloud solutions and the connectivity required does not outweigh the benefits of these solutions. Understanding the business case for cloud computing is a critical aspect of success, and a consultant partner will be able to assist organisations to do this effectively.

Cloud computing typically delivers a more cost effective path to accessing technology, with a scalable, pay per use, flexible delivery model that suits many budgets. It also delivers the ability to test out new features and functionality without extensive capital outlay. However connectivity is critical to accessing these services, as without a stable Internet connection the user experience will be poor and access to information will be compromised. Connectivity is the foundation of cloud computing, and must be adequately addressed before any move into the cloud is even considered.

Acer sales are up at The Notebook Company – is Acer making a comeback?

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

Sales of Acer laptops are enjoying a resurgence at The Notebook Company, one of South Africa’s leading suppliers of notebooks and accessories – an occurrence that seems to be in synch with the launch of the company’s i5 dual core range.

Said Christopher Riley, managing director of The Notebook Company: “Acer seemed to have fallen off the radar screen some four years ago – well, certainly at our company, in terms of sales. But they appear to be back with a vengeance and are now giving the other ranges we offer a run for their money. This is since the company launched its i5 range.

“This might be a recovery strategy on their part, because the Acer Core i5 is hitting the market at $499 – and seems to be proving incredibly popular. It is currently giving our Apple range a run for its money,” said Riley.

Communications Minister congratulates Youth Awards winners

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

South Africa won two awards at the World Congress on Information Society Youth Awards held last week in Montreal, Canada. Communications Minister Dina Pule extends her congratulations to the two South Africa winners.

With 7 out of the 18 winners coming from Africa, the Awards confirm the trend that Africa’s tech youth is number one in terms of e-content creation worldwide. The two winners from South Africa were Moraba and Funda. Moraba is a mobile game targeting young people that informs and mobilizes them against gender-based violence. Funda is an online program that puts together educational resources for students and teachers in South Africa.

The Department of Communications participated in the 18th World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) through its international team. The Department and ICT manufacturing sector were part of this congress. The Department has active historical ties with these WCIT initiatives on behalf of South Africa to drive the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) agenda. The Department of Communications has worked towards creating a climate that is conducive for youngsters to flourish in the ICT sector.

The World Summit Youth Awards received over 1 200 applications from more than 120 countries around the world. The Awards focused on young people using the internet and mobile to put the United Nations Millennium Development Goals into action. The many different digital projects and initiatives were a driving force behind social entrepreneurship

For more information on the Youth Awards:

Ongoing mining strikes will have a massive affect on artisan training says ATI

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

It is a pity that a handful of entrepreneurs have become rich from black empowerment laws in the mining industry, while the vast bulk of people working in this sector have been left by the wayside – culminating in a series of wildcat strikes that have shattered the nation.

Mandisa Nyathikazi, a director of black-owned artisan training company, Artisan Training Institute (ATI), said “the tragedy is that all the good intentions of BEE seem to have been lost along the way and gone wrong”.

This, she said, might be for a number of reasons including the fact that it has been poorly implemented. This, whilst the country is addressing urgent poverty needs.

“The mining strikes, including the ill-fated Marikana bloodbath, are casting a worrying shadow over the social, economic and political landscape in South Africa.”

Nyathikazi said while wage demands are likely to cause a deeper level of retrenchments further down the line in the mining sector, labour and management still need to find a “common bridge”.

“When it comes to artisan training, 50% of our intake comes from mines – and this would be the same for most artisan training companies. If these strikes – and the uncertainly – continue in the mining industry, the training of artisans will abate. Rapidly.

“This is hugely worrying considering we have a large backlog in the number of artisans this country needs to train. Making this even more of a headache is the fact that, if the government’s mooted R800 billion investment in South Africa’s infrastructure does take root, the country’s already exacerbated shortage of trained artisans will get even more serious. If the government’s New Growth Path does create the work demand it says it will, then we will have to train 50 000 new artisans by 2015 – and at least 30 000 additional engineers by 2014.

“This is a tall order, even without the additional strain caused by the ongoing disarray in the mining sector. If this situation continues, you can be sure that mining companies will not be able to focus on training – and this will certainly affect the number of artisans that we can train.

“It is indeed a serious headache. What most people might not know is that mining artisans, once they qualify, can earn around R25 000 a month. But if the discord continues in the mining sector we will certainly see less artisans being trained. This will have a marked impact on society, and the upliftment of people – who can go from earning literally nothing to taking home more than R20 000 with overtime and other benefits.

“There is a huge disparity between mine owners/management and workers – and this has been aptly highlighted by the wildcat strikes. While it is arguably true to say that the wage demands – and some wage hikes – come at a time when mining companies, and the country at large, can ill afford it, it is understandable why there is a seething anger – because the workers feel they have been left off the gravy train.”
ATI is focused on training artisans in a wide range of engineering-focused skills, including fitters and turners, rigging, tool jig and dye makers, electricians, millwrights, welders, boilermakers, sheet metal workers, petrol and diesel mechanics, tractor mechanics, forklift mechanics, auto electricians and earth moving equipment mechanics


SAS South Africa appoints new sales director

By admin, 31 października, 2012, No Comment

The SAS Institute South Africa has appointed Dion Harvey to the position of sales director.

Harvey has spent more than 21 years in the local and international information technology industry. He has joined SAS after 15 years at IBM where he led sales for a range of their software brands, and ultimately served as general business sales executive for IBM Software in the MEA region, and software brands sales executive for IBM South Africa.

His experience has gained him strong ICT leadership skills, particularly in the software industry, and he has capabilities in development, technical and sales leadership areas.

“We are delighted to welcome Dion to SAS South Africa, and we are confident that his wealth of experience and integrity are the right mix to refine and deliver on our sales strategy and do great things with us,” says Riad Gydien, SAS Vice President Middle East and Africa.

Harvey has joined the business analytics software and services leader at an exciting time for the industry. As data volumes grow at a speed that far outpaces computer processing speeds, it is only the highly-specialised solutions offered by vendors like SAS that can make sense of this much information evolving this quickly.

“I am relishing the challenge of developing strategies to help our market understand the radical leaps forward in capability that they can realise with SAS,” says Harvey. “SAS has always been a leader in business analytics software and services. The power and effectiveness of the SAS solutions are their own best marketing tool. Our mission must be to help our customers anticipate business opportunities, empower action and drive impact, in order to transform the way they do business. SAS calls this the power to know.”

Dion will be responsible for the national sales team located around South Africa and will report directly to Gydien.

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