Archive for Październik, 2013

Technology is best solution for navigating new B-BBEE codes

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

“Companies need to harness technology to really understand the impact of, and embrace the more stringent refined B-BBEE codes.” So says Bruce Rowe, head of BEE software solutions provider Mpowered, following the release of the new B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice at the BEE Summit held in Johannesburg from 3 to 4 October.

The new codes, announced on Thursday by Nomonde Mesatywa, director of B-BBEE at the Department of Trade and Industry, require companies to achieve a minimum threshold of at least 40% for black ownership, skills development and supplier and economic development in order to obtain any recognition on these “priority” scorecard elements. The overall compliance thresholds have also increased significantly, adversely impacting a company’s current B-BBEE compliance levels.

“This means that many companies that fail to quickly understand and adapt to the new requirements will automatically fall at least one rating level, which in many cases could impact their profitability,” explains Rowe, who offers software-based B-BBEE management tools to some of South Africa’s largest corporates and state-owned enterprises.

Rowe says companies can tap into a wealth of collective knowledge using technological solutions. “Our Beetoolkit simplifies and automates many aspects of the BEE compliance process and enables companies to tap into the collective knowledge and insight of industry experts as well as the input of rating agencies such as Empowerdex and Empowerlogic, with whom we have strong alliances.”

“For companies wishing to uphold their BEE compliance levels they worked hard for and earned over the past six years, technology can enable them to seamlessly transition their compliance based on the refined codes with little to no detrimental effect to their compliance – or their business.” Rowe also cautions companies seeking to use spreadsheet based “systems”, and encourages a move to more robust and proven IT software solutions.

Making mobility work with NETCB

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

As part of Novell’s global Mobile Life Tour 2013, local network collaboration and compliance management specialist company NETCB will be showcasing its mobile solutions that has made it Novell’s foremost mobility partner in Africa. Novell’s Mobile Life Tour 2013 will be in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town from 7 – 9 October.

Each of the tour stops will include technology updates tailored to Novell’s local customer base and NETCB will be showcasing its mobile solutions that were specifically adapted for its clients.

NETCB CEO Cobus Burgers says the mobile world is on the move and users love it. “But for IT departments, increasing mobility means problems, strange devices on their doorstep, corporate files wandering the cloud and users demanding the office infrastructure on every device.”

Novell and NETCB understand these issues and have answers, covering everything from mobile device management to printing and file sharing on the go.

“If you’re looking for a complete mobility solution for your enterprise, one that includes safe file sharing, mobile device management and printing from any device, come and join the Mobile Life Tour 2013,” says Burgers.

“The introduction of enterprise mobility to the IT environment is about much more than just facilitating BYOD. It’s about tangibly enhancing productivity without compromising security. Let our team of experts show you how you can leverage your existing infrastructure effectively to make it work for you in a mobile context,” he explains.

In addition to a panel discussion covering opportunities and challenges of the mobile age, visitors can also find out what enterprise-grade, cost-effective mobility solutions look like. The agenda will include:

  • An introduction to IT mobility trends and how they impact various disciplines of IT management
  • How to increasing user productivity
  • See Novell mobility solutions in action
  • Intelligent mobile access: making mobile access easy and secure
  • Digitise and file documents efficiently
  • Manage a multi-vendor device fleet more effectively and enable secure document input and output from your mobile devices
  • Solutions for enterprise backup and disaster recovery in the mobile age
  • Enable secure mobile access to host-based applications and increase user productivity by making business data available anytime, anywhere
  • Discover solutions that make work environments more productive

“NETCB and Novell work hard to understand what the world looks like from a customer perspective, they are committed to the products you depend on, and we will demonstrate how these products can help you address business challenges, capitalise on industry trends and meet the needs of disparate users more effectively than ever before,” Burgers concludes.

Novell’s Mobile Life Tour 2013 will take place at the following venues:

  • 7 October, 2013 – Montecasino Conference Room, Fourways, Johannesburg
  • 9 October 2013 – Gateway Hotel, Corner Boulevard and Twighlight Drive, Gateway, Durban
  • 10 October 2013 – Century City, Cape Town

 

Managing media assets is critical in a digital broadcasting environment

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

By Paul Divall, Managing Director: Broadcast and Managed Solutions, Jasco

The evolution of video capture technology from tape-based to file-based, and the increasing affordability of sophisticated recording equipment, has opened up the broadcasting market dramatically over the years. Video has become much cheaper to create and broadcast, and as a result, the volume of footage generated has increased exponentially, and continues to do so. While file-based video has many advantages, the volume of footage generated also presents a number of challenges. These include not only the ability to store large amounts of data, but also track this footage and make it easily accessible. In a fast-paced environment like broadcasting, it is critical that specific files can be located and accessed quickly. Media Asset Management (MAM) has therefore become a vital tool as it assists with indexing of footage and metadata search functionality, which ensures that users can access the files they need easily and in good time.

Digital broadcasting, recording and archiving offers a number of benefits over traditional tape-based media, including the fact that stored footage is no longer subject to the degradation of physical tape, which means that it can be kept indefinitely.. The physical space taken up by storage is also reduced, since powerful storage servers take up far less room than tape libraries. Large digital files can also be sent easily over IP, so live sporting events for example can be broadcast anywhere in the world, and HD movies can be sent quickly and easily rather than having to load masses of tapes onto an aeroplane for courier. Digital files can also be copied much more cheaply, as creating duplicates is simple compared to the process of making another set of tapes for another location to broadcast footage.

However, one of the major challenges that has arisen as a result of the proliferation of digital footage is the problem of locating specific files. This process has become somewhat akin to searching for a specific piece of hay in a haystack – there is simply too much data, and there is not enough information to tell the files apart. To use an easy-to-understand example, when taking photographs on a digital camera, they are often created with a file name consisting of letters and numbers. When these are copied to a PC, finding a specific photograph can be difficult, unless the file names are changed to something meaningful, such as what the photograph represents. The same phenomenon occurs with digital film footage. If files are not named properly, they become virtually impossible to locate, a problem that is exacerbated by the sheer volume of video generated by a typical broadcaster on any given day. Add to this the volumes of tape-based footage that have been converted to file, with similar naming problems, and the scope of the issue is massive.

In the broadcasting space, time is money. When an editor is on a tight deadline, the inability to locate a specific clip or sound bite can mean the difference between a story airing and being discarded. This ability relies entirely on the reliability of the media database. Given the continued growth in data volumes, and the rate at which video file data is growing, this problem is only going to get worse. MAM tools are critical in improving the reliability of the media database. These tools ensure that files are named for easy accessibility, that policies and procedures are put into place for on-going cataloguing, and that metadata tags can be added easily to files for more accurate indexing and search functionality.

Metadata tags are added in order to more effectively index the contents of footage for efficient search capability. These tags may include information on the contents of the footage, the date it was captured, the GPS location at which the footage was filmed, the time of day, the people in the footage and their actions, and even the permissions and rights of who has access to and can broadcast this footage. The metadata can be made as granular as is necessary to ensure that should a user search, for example, for “Tendai Mtawarira tries rugby 2012”, all of the relevant footage can be located, and can be crossed reference. This adds value to the video archives, and ensures that media can actually become an asset, rather than just a mass of stored data. MAM solutions provide an easy to use portal that allows for searching and browsing of the library. These tools also ensure that the metadata is married correctly to the footage, so that the metadata process need be completed only once for footage to remain indexed and accessible now and in the future.

Media asset management is one of the biggest challenges currently facing broadcasters and media houses, and ignoring this problem will not make it go away. Using MAM tools to put cataloguing policies in place for current and future file storage, ensuring metadata tags are always put in place and files are named appropriately, and allowing for archived footage to be addressed in the same way, are critical steps in ensuring that media becomes the asset it should be, and archived footage can be accessed quickly and easily for future use.

Nology to unveil ZyXEL Multi-WAN Load Balancing VDSL Gateway at MyBroadband Conference

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

The brand new ZyXEL SBG3300-N, which Nology will be unveiling at the MyBroadband Conference 2013, truly is a device that will create excitement in the small to medium business markets. Supporting ADSL, ADSL2+, VDSL2, Ethernet WAN and 3G/LTE with load balancing or failover, this really is the Swiss Army Knife of routers. The device boasts a DSL chipset that allows Internet connection speeds of up to 100Mbps via VDSL, enabling businesses to connect at much faster speeds than ever before. For those who have not yet upgraded to VDSL, the SBG3300-N is also backwards compatible to ADSL.

The ZyXEL SBG3300-N offers multiple WAN interfaces for DSL, Ethernet and a 3G/LTE USB modem that establish WAN connections for backup or load balancing purposes, previously only found on high-end, complex networking devices. Not only does this gateway have two primary connections, the SBG also allows a backup connection via a 3G/LTE USB modem, where LTE can achieve speeds of up to 100Mbps. This ensures contingency and minimises downtime in case the primary DSL connection or ISP temporarily suffers an outage. It will automatically switch back to the primary line once it is restored. The load balancing feature allows you to distribute your bandwidth requirements over the various connections, for example your mail server can run on your DSL and browsing on the 3G connectivity. This makes running a multi-office VPN a lot smoother.

In a business environment users always struggle with gateways not being rack mountable whereas the ZyXEL allows you to easily mount your gateway in a cabinet alongside your switches. Compared to other DSL routers the SBG3300-N offers a more advanced Firewall ensuring secure connections. The ZyXEL SBG3300-N also features a 4-port Gigabit Ethernet switch with an 802.11n wireless access point for wireless devices. In a fast-paced world the ZyXEL empowers business users to meet all their connectivity requirements and ensures stability, efficiency and security as they grow their business.

 

The Animation School to showcase its offering at the 2013 rAge expo

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

The Animation School – one of South Africa’s only formally accredited animation and visual effects training centres, will be displaying its offerings and students’ works at the rAge expo to be held on 04 October – 06 October at the Coca Cola Dome in Northgate, North Riding.

The Animation School is one of the few facilities in South Africa equipped to afford young animators the skills to create major animated motion pictures and video games. What’s more, the Cape-Town institution is poised for growth with a new Johannesburg campus opening in 2014.

“The three-day expo is one of Africa’s largest gaming and technology exhibitions. Our stand at rAge 2013 will be practical to not only prospective students interested in gaming and animation, but also to experts in the field and international developers,” said cofounder and principal of The Animation School, Nuno Martins.

According to event organisers, visitors can preview (beta) game code months before it will be available for sale and experience behind closed doors game presentations. What’s more, rAge will be showcasing computer and consoled gaming hardware, PC, gaming accessories from joysticks to headphones, comic books, figurines, anime, role playing, cosplay, board games, creative arts, competitive collectible card games, local game developers and more.

The event is free to children under the age of 6 years, day time tickets cost R70 per person and weekend tickets are R170 per person.

Please note show times

Friday: 10h00-18h00
Saturday: 09h00-18h00
Sunday: 10h00-16h00

“We are excited to be exhibiting at rAge 2013, and we would like to encourage visitors to interact with us and visit our stand,” concluded Nuno.

Please let us know if you would like to meet Nuno Martins at the rAge expo by contacting Ntombi Gama at ntombi@clockworkmedia.co.za or 072 864 9674.

Forget the data scientist, become a data naturalist

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

Are we ‘drowning in data’? Davide Hanan, MD of QlikView SA explains how all humans are naturally data analysts if we’re presented with information in the right way.

I’m often asked if we are now faced with too much data to analyse; a ‘data deluge’ if you will. People panic when confronted with large amounts of information, unable to see how it can be useful or feel incapable of trying to figure out how it can be. To understand how we can overcome this problem, we need look no further than the common housefly. It was recently discovered that the size and metabolic rate of flies allows them to process nearly seven times more information in a second than humans can, which allows them to see a human hand coming towards them in slow motion[i]. However, it’s interesting how it’s their natural state which gives them the advantage to process so much information so quickly. Likewise, I’d argue that, without even realising it, humans are all naturally masters of data as well. However, unlike the fly, we have lost touch with our natural sensibilities which allow us to process masses of information easily and quickly.

Our main problem with handling data is that the modern world presents us with information in an un-natural way. Outside of technology, humans are naturally capable of automatically processing thousands of pieces of information every second. From the moment we wake up we’re constantly processing images and ideas and making subconscious decisions to help us survive. And these aren’t new behaviours; our ancestors also grew up in environments rich with data where our hunter/gatherer instincts made us analyse the natural world so we learnt what we could eat to survive.

For example, a hungry hunter foraging for mushrooms in a forest can make a multitude of observations and decisions to find what they need. They will instantly distinguish between different trees, leaves, the best conditions where mushrooms can grow and, of course, the mushrooms which aren’t poisonous. Although a simple analogy, this acknowledges three effective natural processes our brain uses to digest information and which to a certain extent are not accounted for in modern data analysis and analytics; the processes of association, comparison and anticipation.

The human brain strives to make associations. The hunter knows to look under oak trees for mushrooms based on previous experience that they have been found there before. Our mind constantly categorises and connects, searching out the important features together, and the warning outliers. Furthermore, we don’t just stop there once we’ve made these associations. The hunter will not settle with the first batch of mushrooms they find, but will find others and compare them against what they have found already; deciding if they are bigger or smaller for example. Also, they may draw on past experience to know which are the ripest or indeed which kinds of mushroom are poisonous.

Finally, just as we make sense of the present based on our past experiences, we constantly anticipate the future. The hunter knows to eat certain types of food because they know from past and present experience that eating it will aid survival.

Each and every one of us uses these three natural tools on a daily basis in our everyday lives without even noticing them. And we also use them in the business world to help us understand complex problems. However, most of the technology we have access to doesn’t complement and extend these innate skills. People need to use IT solutions which can make this complex data accessible and allow us to naturally discover patterns and make projections.

The Google search engine is a great example of a kind of technology which appeals to our natural sense. It uses a simple, intuitive interface which can be used by practically anyone, but has a series of complex algorithms behind it to make it insightful.

Moreover, technology should be made available on devices which appeals to our natural touch sensibilities. Smartphones and tablets are great enablers for making IT more accessible for everyone because it’s another step to analysing data in the natural world, with gestures on screen that feel more instinctual since interaction is more direct than through the mouse and the monitor.

Already we’re seeing how anyone can effectively be a data analyst. In Peru, fishermen use analytics to find out where the best location is to take their catch to for the maximum profit. Elsewhere, in Sweden, police forces use data analysis to fight crime; in one instance Malmö Police used its data to catch a serial killer on the loose. These people aren’t formally employed as data scientists, but they use their natural instincts paired with intuitive technology to improve their decisions.

Overall there’s a huge opportunity for finding insights based on our natural ability to analyse the world around us. However, IT and business technology tends to get in the way of using these natural skills because it presents information in a technical manner which discourages the natural human experience.

Businesses need to have systems in place that appeal to an employee’s natural associative, comparative and anticipative thought processes. Until then, many of us are going to be lost in the data wilderness.

Content giant Akamai sets up in South Africa

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

Vox Telecom and Teraco have partnered with global content delivery powerhouse Akamai to set up a local node that will help South Africans get faster access to critical internet content – and may help to bring bandwidth costs down.

“Akamai and companies like it are the solution to one of the Internet’s big challenges: How to get large amounts of data to billions of end users in the most efficient way,” says Vox Telecom Executive Head of Network and Operations Shane Chorley. “Every time there’s an update to a major operating system like Windows, for example, millions of people around the planet have to download it. What Akamai does is ensure those millions of people don’t all try to get the same content from the same server at the same time – which would cause a nasty traffic jam.”

Instead, explains Chorley, “Akamai has hundreds of content delivery nodes around the world – and now in South Africa as well. That means instead of having to download a big software update from a server in the US or UK, local users can get it from a local node. And South African software developers who’ve been needing to upload their content overseas can now also do it locally.”

The bottom line is that downloads will become a lot faster, says Chorley. “Our international bandwidth is much better than it used to be but it’s not infinite, and it’s always going to be slower than going local. Putting that key content in Teraco’s data centre, and allowing anyone to access it effectively for free via the Vox Telecom network, makes it much quicker to access.”

This is especially important as the volume of video content increases, says Chorley. “It’s not just about the latest Gangnam Style viral hit – more and more training and educational content is on video now, and to take advantage of it we need world-class download speeds.”

In the long run, says Chorley, Vox Telecom believes the move will also speed up the delivery of cloud-based services such as Microsoft Azure into the South African market. “It’s great news for anybody wanting to do Azure-based application development.”

The move is also good for smaller local ISPs, he says. “The Akamai node is located within the NAPAfrica open peering point, which gives smaller ISPS more choice. With less international traffic that needs to be handed on to a larger ISP, they get a much stronger negotiating position,” he says. “Ultimately we expect this will help to cut the cost of bandwidth to ISPs, and to their customers in turn.”

Olivetti SA partners with Huge Telecom

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

Durban-Data Imports, the official importer and distributor of Olivetti’s range of colour and mono digital photocopiers, facsimiles, printers, calculators and cash registers for the Sub-Sahara Region, is partnering with Huge Telecom by adding GSM-based telephony solutions to its product offering.

The company distributes its products and services through a large (and growing) network of almost 100 dealers countrywide. It boasts a solid track record of growth since its inception as one of the first Olivetti dealerships in South Africa in January 1990.

Adding Value to the Channel
Understanding the changing market dynamics, and the need to offer the greatest value to its customer base, Durban-Data Imports launched Olicomm, through which it offers Huge Telecom’s range of leading GSM-based telephony solutions to its business customers, via its dealership network.

“We think that this partnership adds tremendous value to the existing Olivetti business by greatly enhancing the revenue earning potential of every Olivetti Business Partner. Every Business Partner is now easily able to add telecommunications to its existing product offering,” says James Herbst, Huge Telecom CEO.

Thorough Investigation
This partnership has taken a number of months to finalise – Durban-Data Imports put Huge Telecom through a stringent investigation process to ensure that the solution offered to the market, via its national base of independent dealerships, was of the highest standard and a good fit for all concerned.

“They certainly put us through our paces,” recalls Herbst, who comments that one of the key aspects he thinks distinguished Huge Telecom from other telecommunications companies is the time and effort Huge Telecom dedicates to understanding client and business partners, as well as Huge Telecom’s ability to work professionally and efficiently.

A Perfect Fit
Huge Telecom, like Durban-Data Imports, does not compete with its channel – it does not operate an internal sales force and supplies its services only through accredited Business Partners. This focus on the channel is one that has seen Huge Telecom double the size of its channel in the last 18 months and this latest partnership now brings the total number of Huge Telecom’s partners to over 300. Not bad for a company with just 64 business partners on its books a few years ago.

“Our telecommunication solutions are a great fit for any company requiring speed, efficiency and great service; we have managed to package this in a way that makes it incredibly simple for any reseller with an existing customer base to turn on an additional revenue stream, literally overnight,” says Herbst.

Since Huge Telecom is focused solely on providing voice, messaging and data connectivity solutions, it is able to deliver superior after sales service and support. Its speed of implementation is such that it enables partners to focus their effort on driving sales, selling more and adding to their bottom line.

Huge Telecom’s focus on connectivity – it does not supply any office equipment such as printers, consumables or PABXs – also makes it a great fit for those resellers wary of suppliers who choose to compete with their own resellers, thereby putting the client base of the reseller at potential risk.

The partnership sees Huge Telecom providing sales, marketing and technical expertise for voice, messaging and data connectivity services to Olivetti’s network of dealerships around the country.

 

ClearOne announces new distribution agreement with Even Flow distribution

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

ClearOne (NASDAQ: CLRO), a global provider of audio visual communication solutions, today announced its new distribution partnership with Even Flow Distribution for its full line of video conferencing and UC voice solutions throughout Africa.

“Market leaders and integrators throughout Africa trust Even Flow as a distributor of next-generation IP communications and networking solutions,” said Zee Hakimoglu, Chairman and CEO of ClearOne. “We look forward to the strategic partnership with Even Flow to represent ClearOne’s full portfolio of video conferencing and UC voice solutions in Africa”

COLLABORATE brings together ClearOne’s industry-leading professional audio with its cutting-edge video technology for a complete video conferencing solutions portfolio, spanning mobile and desktop applications, room systems, infrastructure and management.

The CHAT® and INTERACT® series represent a full line of USB-based solutions from the desktop to the boardroom. MAX tabletop speakerphones are designed for more traditional analog and VoIP conference phone scenarios — all based on ClearOne’s legacy audio performance.

The addition of ClearOne video conferencing and UC voice products to Even Flow’s growing portfolio increases our ability to provide our channel partners with industry-leading solutions and services,” said Adrian Bush, Managing Director, Even Flow Distribution. “We provide the best in IP convergence solutions, and look to our partnership with ClearOne as a perfect fit to provide the cutting-edge technology our integrators seek.”

Brother introduces high performance colour LED printers and multi-function centres

By admin, 4 października, 2013, No Comment

High print speeds with cost-saving and convenient features for home offices and small-medium businesses’ office printing needs

Focused on the office printing needs of home offices and small-medium businesses, Brother International South Africa, a leader in home and business IT peripherals that focuses on the ‘Customer-First’ approach, has added four new models to its range of Colour LED printers / Multi-Function Centres models. The four models, HL-3150CDN, HL-3170CDW, MFC-9140CDN, and MFC-9330CDW, offer the fastest print speeds at the price range of up to 22 pages* per minute for both monochrome and colour prints and copying (for multi-function models only).

The new series brings a balance of flexibility and business sensibility to users in home offices and small-medium businesses. Users who are environmentally and cost-conscious will find the automatic 2-sided printing feature simple to use, while the mobile print capability allows users to print directly even from their mobile devices.

Fastest in its class – Charting your productivity without compromise

For increased productivity without compromise, the HL-3150CDN and HL-3170CDW colour LED printers provide consistently high quality printout speeds of up to 22 pages* for both monochrome and colour printing. The MFC-9140CDN and MFC-9330CDW multi-functions with print, scan, copy and fax capabilities, with copying speeds at up to 22 pages per minute.

Flexibility and cost-savings to suit different needs

The power-packed series are friendly on the wallet and the environment. All four models provide automatic 2-sided printing, giving the flexibility to print on both sides and save on costs and paper usage. Sharing the printers is a breeze as the printers are network-friendly – the HL-3150CDN and the MFC-9140CDN can be connected to multiple users via the built-in network, while the HL-3170CDW and the MFC-9330CDW can be connected wirelessly.

Other convenient features include the mobile print capability, which allow users to print presentations and documents from portable devices (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch connected to a Wi-Fi network, or mobile devices on Android). Offices with large print volumes will appreciate the high-yield colour toner cartridge options that will allow them to print up to 2,200 pages per toner cartridge.

*Applicable for HL-3170CDW, MFC-9140CDN and MFC-9330CDW only.

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