Archive for Listopad, 2013

Office 365 from The Mustek Group

By admin, 29 listopada, 2013, No Comment

The following article, provided by The Mustek Group, gives more information about Office 365, and explains the benefits it brings to users.

What Is Office 365?

Office 365 for Small, Midsize and Enterprise Business is a subscription based online service offered by Microsoft.

Office 365 brings together familiar Office desktop applications with business class email, shared calendars, instant messaging, video conferencing and file sharing, in a cloud based service with no requirement to invest in infrastructure.

Office-365

 

What Enterprise Grade Services are offered on the business plans on Office 365?

  • Business Class Email – Office 365 gives you access to a 50GB mailbox with the ability to share calendars and contacts from a PC, Mac, phone or browser.
  • Professional Instant Message, PC to PC Voice, Video and Conferencing – Save time and improve productivity with a professional communications tool. You’ll be able to communicate with colleagues, suppliers and customers in real time, create conference calls and online meetings. Enhance your online presentations with screen sharing and virtual whiteboards.
  • Document Sharing – Easily create secure, great looking website and internal sites. Sync your online files to your devices for offline access. Collaborate with colleagues and co-edit documents.

How is Office 365 licensed?

How-is-Office-365-licensed

Office 365 is licensed on a per user model. This means that you will need a license for each user in your organisation that is using Office 365. The Office Desktop Apps that is included in Office 365 for offline use give each user the right to install Office on up to 5 different devices.

You will be licensed to use Office 365 for as long as you have an active subscription to the service. When you purchase Office 365 through a reseller, you will sign up for a one year subscription to Office 365, which means that you will have access to use Office 365 for the full year. Another great benefit of Office 365 is that you have access to the latest version of Office as long as you have an active subscription.

Why Should I Get Office 365 for My Business?

Office-365-benefits (1)

Some Misconceptions on Office 365

Office-365-myths

1.You need to be connected to the Internet to access Office / I need to be connected to the Internet to access my documents

False – Your PC simply needs to be online once per month for the desktop copy of Microsoft to speak to the Server to check that the user still has an active O365 subscription. Once verified, you continue to use Office Professional Plus as you normally would… it lives on your PC.

The user will install a SkyDrive Pro folder on their PC. This allows you to save files to the folder. The folder sits on your hard drive, but every time you have an Internet connection, your files will automatically sync to the cloud. This is an easy backup solution for your important document and no active back up is needed. If your PC’s hard drive crashes, you can simply download the SkyDrive folder from the cloud and be up and running in no time. It is important to know that this will not back up settings on your PC, but is meant entirely to be a backup solution for your important files.

2.You need to download a copy of Office365 for each time you need to install Office

False – Check out http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36778 to download the Office Deployment Tool. Using this tool, the company simply downloads the files once, and can install Office 365 over the server / network.

3.My data is sitting in the public cloud – therefore, it cannot be secure

Office-365-security

Microsoft has extremely stringent security policies. For starters, unlike other service providers, Microsoft doesn’t scan through your data for any reason, and that includes scanning emails for potential advertising content opportunities

If you decide that you want to move away from Office 365, you have up to 90 days from the end of your subscription to remove all your data from the cloud. Many businesses who have had the unfortunate experience of having their business broken into will attest to the fact that no matter how much back up is done on site, there is always a risk of physical data theft. By using an Office 365 solution, you know that your precious data is always secure. Microsoft’s data centres are backed up in diverse geographic locations to ensure that should something go wrong with one of the data centres, you as the customer will not be affected. This is done in accordance with

“POPI” Protection of Personal Information legislation, which dictates that South Africans can only move their data off South African shores if the datacentre used complies with legislations that are equal to or better than that of South Africa, which Microsoft datacentres comply with.

4.Office 365 is a subscription – why should I buy into a subscription instead of an Office package that I own?

Office-365-benefits

Office 365 is a subscription service that offers flexible payment methods, depending on the product purchased. Flexibility in payments is extremely important, especially for a small business. This means that your cash flow is not tied up, giving you the freedom to spend more on other business-generating activities. The business grade email, document storage and communication technology all run on Microsoft’s servers and is included in the service – so no need to acquire or deploy additional servers!

To get started, sign up for a trial here

Office-365-infographic

This information is brought to you by the Mustek Group. For more information on Office 365, please contact:

Elaine Wang – ElaineW@rectron.co.za – Mustek Group Microsoft Business Unit Manager

Jenna Lea Edwards – JennaLeaE@rectron.co.za –Office 365 Specialist

Teradata Applications expands data-driven marketing delivered in the cloud

By admin, 29 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Broader solution blends complete Integrated Marketing Management Suite, full complement of cloud services to help marketers drive top-line growth

Teradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC), the leading analytic data platforms, applications and services company, today announced it has broadened its offerings for delivering data-driven marketing globally via the cloud through its category-leading Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) suite.

The enhanced offering integrates Teradata Applications’ cloud-based solutions for Marketing Operations, Campaign Management and Digital Messaging enabling marketers to:

  • collect and analyze data-driven insights more quickly;
  • manage campaigns and spend;
  • design customer interactions centrally, whether digital, in-store or in a call center;
  • continuously engage with customers in consistent, personalized ways; and,
  • save time, money and valuable IT and Marketing resources.

Teradata’s cloud-based IMM solution gives marketers the powerful ability to bring together data from across their organization and take immediate action on those insights. Whether hosted onsite or through Teradata’s secure, private cloud, Teradata’s IMM solution reveals the valuable insights available in customer data so marketers can take action on them on a global scale.

What is Data-Driven Marketing?

Data-driven marketing is the process of collecting and connecting large amounts of online data with traditional offline data, rapidly analyzing it, and gaining cross-channel insights about customers. The ability to bring that insight to market quickly via highly personalized marketing campaigns means a more tailored interaction with the customer at their point of need. According to a recent global survey conducted by Teradata, demand for such capabilities is high, yet enterprise preparedness to execute on data-driven marketing strategies remains low. Specifically, 71 percent of marketers told Teradata they plan to implement a big data analytics solution for data-driven marketing in the next two years. However, just 18 percent said they currently have a single, integrated view of customer actions, making this foundational step a top priority for future improvement.

Teradata’s findings are echoed in Gartner Inc.’s Data-Driven Marketing Survey 2013, which states: “A typical analytics tool inventory includes multiple cloud-based tools for Web, social, search engine marketing, advertising and email marketing. Analytics service providers, such as data aggregators, add to the mix. Only a small fraction of organizations have stepped up to the challenge of integrating the analytics processes and tools to get the big picture.” (Gartner Inc., Data-Driven Marketing Survey, 2013. April 9, 2013. ID: G00251531)

By using Teradata Applications’ cloud-based IMM solutions and services companies can overcome big data chaos to achieve the critical “single view” of their customer, and use the insights the data reveals to build brand and drive sales by providing more relevant, consistent and personalized customer experiences through online or offline campaigns.

Teradata Applications’ Data-Driven Marketing Delivered in the Cloud

The cornerstone of Teradata’s offering is Teradata Applications’ industry-leading IMM portfolio. Complete cloud-based delivery of these solutions helps companies unify their marketing end-to-end so they can manage relationships with ease, streamline marketing planning and execution, and deliver solid proof of marketing ROI. The Teradata Applications IMM portfolio includes:

  • Marketing Operations (Planning and Spend Manager, Workflow and Collaboration Manager, and Marketing Asset Manager).
  • Campaign Management (Customer Interaction Manager and Real-Time Interaction Manager).
  • Digital Marketing (Digital Messaging Center and Media Manager).

The IMM Cloud portfolio includes integration with Teradata Marketing Analytics (Master Data Manager) and complementary third party solutions whether on-premise or in the cloud.

A full complement of cloud services, including data centers in the U.S. and Europe, is also available to enable companies to centralize and distribute marketing insights on a global scale so marketing decision makers can leverage this rapidly streaming intelligence to better engage with customers through faster, more relevant, and more personalized inbound and outbound engagement.

Companies using Teradata Applications’ data-driven marketing solutions are able to focus more on their business, and less on any IT-related work. “Using a cloud platform approach to enable our marketing execution allows us to spend more time on achieving our business goals and less time worrying about IT infrastructure,” said Katrina Lowe, senior vice president, Global Demand Generation, with Unify, formally Siemens Enterprise Communications.

Cloud customers also benefit from reduced IT spend, accelerated time-to-value, state-of-the-art infrastructure and secure and reliable data access with outstanding performance. With no capital costs for procurement, installation, and hardware, operational expenditures are far less than what is incurred with outsourced or on-premise IT support. Additional benefits include reduced hiring and training costs, and greater staff productivity. Together these benefits stand to help customers achieve lower overall cost of ownership, and faster time to market, by creating an environment that is conducive to data-driven marketing adoption.

“Teradata Applications’ extensive approach for delivering data-driven marketing globally in the cloud is ideal for large companies that want to streamline their IT infrastructure so they can focus instead on generating revenue through data-driven marketing insights, initiatives and processes,” said Darryl McDonald, president, Teradata Applications. “Our unique combination of tightly integrated applications and cloud services allows our customers to focus on the power of data-driven marketing to grow their business, while minimizing IT-related work.”

Teradata Applications’ cloud offering for data-driven marketing is a broad, flexible and highly scalable option for extending enterprise customer insight and transforming data into business value. By blending big data analytics and data delivery with global IMM in the cloud, data-driven marketers who select Teradata gain the unique ability to reach businesses and consumers anywhere, anytime, so they can help their companies increase revenue and gain competitive advantage.

Bytes Universal Systems, part of the Bytes Technology Group, is the sole local distributor of Teradata’s products in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

AccTech introduces Cloud CRM

By admin, 28 listopada, 2013, No Comment

CRM access anytime anywhere

AccTech Systems has partnered with Enterprisecloud to offer Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a cloud-based solution. Cloud CRM is now available on a ‘pay-per-month’ subscription, there are no perpetual license fees, no hardware to maintain and software upgrades are done seamlessly.

CRM systems are playing an increasingly critical role in how companies engage prospects and manage customers in an ever-shifting and complex landscape. Integral to their success is good relationships and companies need to manage these relationships. These include employees, partners, suppliers, distributors, vendors and many other critical stakeholders.

AccTech Systems CEO Tertius Zitzke says this partnership is a perfect fit. “We are extremely excited by the current and future prospects of cloud-based CRM. Company executives are fast recognising the power of CRM, being able to use their company data to make informed business decisions and take advantage of market opportunities as they emerge.”

Cloud CRM runs on enterprise-grade infrastructure with data centres in South Africa. This means that the investment in technology has already been made, all the customer now needs to do is leverage that investment and focus on their business.

“If customers had to purchase the equivalent infrastructure, they would have to spend millions. And that is only the servers, not to mention the cooling, ventilation, power, security, network, IT manpower, and so on,” he explains.

Enterprisecloud managing director Shaun Dale says replacing old technology normally means a large investment. “This isn’t the case with Cloud CRM, due to the economies of scale we achieve through shared infrastructure costs, we are able to provide higher quality IT infrastructure and business systems at far lower costs than any one customer would achieve on its own.”

“And we pass this savings onto you, so that all you pay is a low ‘per-user-per-month’ subscription. And, you get to start with as little as one user and scale up as you need it. On average, we find that a hosted solution subscribed through Enterprisecloud is about half the cost over a three year period, than buying the solution outright and doing it the traditional way,” he says.

Additionally, Cloud CRM allows customers to mould CRM to their specific business needs. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, customers get an easy-to-use sales CRM system that works in conjunction with Outlook. This solution reduces sales administration, allowing sales people to spend more time on those sales activities that will help them close more deals.

Kethan Pharboo, Director Dynamics, Microsoft South Africa says Microsoft Dynamics CRM can easily be customised for Extended CRM scenarios and enhance the value of all relationships, improve business relevance and fit, drive operational excellence and increase business insights.

Lack of customer information has a profound impact on a company’s ability to make good decisions. Having access to in-depth customer insights and information enables companies to make good business decisions.

“Cloud CRM provides tools to interpret data, identify trends, predict outcomes and make decisions which enable executives to make proactive adjustments and mitigate future risk,” Zitzke concludes.

Replication, backup or both?

By admin, 28 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Virtualisation has brought the cost of data centre- or machine-level replication down to the point where more organisations can afford it – but, warns Veeam Software regional corporate accounts manager Warren Olivier, it’s important not to assume replication can replace backups.

“Replication and backup achieve two different goals,” explains Olivier. “Replication is fundamentally about business continuity – if something happens that makes it impossible to use your IT infrastructure, having a live copy available in a separate location means you can keep your business up and running with minimal downtime. Backup, on the other hand, is about knowing that if any data is corrupted or deleted, you can still recover an earlier version.”

The fundamental question asked by replication, says Olivier, is “how quickly can we get up and running again?” Backup answers the question “What data or systems can we get up and running again?”

This is what is expressed by the common Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) metrics, says Olivier. “The important point is that they need to work together. You can have the most fantastic RTO that will get your organisation running again within seconds or minutes of a problem occurring at the primary site – but what if the problem corrupted or deleted all your data? If the problem was replicated along with everything else, you’re in trouble. Additional expensive software on top of Storage Based replication may be required as the only way to ensure you can always roll back to something usable.”

In an ideal world of unlimited budgets, says Olivier, “everyone would have everything backed up and replicated to within the last 60 seconds. But that gets very expensive, very fast – especially if you have a physical environment where replication means an identical copy of every piece of hardware and software. Virtualisation brings the costs down substantially because you don’t need identical hardware from servers to storage, but even so, replication is not cheap. Choices have to be made.” This is where the concept of disaster recovery tiering comes into play.

Olivier says organisations need to survey all their systems and data to decide what level of priority to assign to each one. “Tier 1 is your mission critical servers, apps and data – things that can’t be down for longer than five minutes, no matter what it costs to restore it. In most organisations that’s only about 10% of the total.”

“Tier 2, usually about 70% of the environment, consists of those parts of your system that are important, but can be down for as long day before it’s a real crisis. That means you can replicate and back up on a slightly slower and less expensive schedule.”

Finally, says Olivier, “about 20% of most organisations is Tier 3 stuff that only really needs to be backed up or replicated about once a week.”

Having made these distinctions, says Olivier, CIOs and IT managers can set backup and replication schedules that meet all the organisation’s needs while staying within budget.

“You may decide that replication is not essential given the cost,” he adds. “In that case, your backups can do the job of disaster recovery so long as you keep a copy off site at all times. If you have a virtualised environment, you can still restore the whole thing from your backups so long as you have something to restore to. That’s why it’s a good idea to sign up for a managed service that keeps spare capacity online and can make it available at short notice in case of a disaster.”

 

Bytes, Alcatel-Lucent outline partner roadmap for 2014

By admin, 28 listopada, 2013, No Comment

The future roadmap for Bytes Systems Integration and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprises’ African partners is undoubtedly bright. This was the key message delivered at the recent annual Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Partner Conference. Held at The Birchwood Hotel in Gauteng between 13 and 15 November, the focus of this year’s conference was on supporting partners for future growth.

According to Rob Griggs, MD of Bytes Systems Integration, the conference targets channel partners across sub-Saharan Africa and is held to outline new Alcatel-Lucent products and features, to provide updates on the latest news regarding Bytes, and to outline the partner roadmap for 2014.

“This time around, we had to provide our partners with information on the significant changes Bytes has undergone over the past year. In addition, we updated them around our own expansion plans for Africa as a whole and from Alcatel-Lucent’s side, the company outlined its plans, progress and roadmaps with regards to the new technologies it is introducing,” says Griggs.

“Furthermore, our two organisations focused on delivering a common message to all our partners, describing the new campaigns we have planned and the smarter ways we have developed for us to assist our partners in doing better business.”

Griggs says that the event received fantastic support from local partners, who travelled from as far afield as Rustenburg, East London, Newcastle, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nelspruit and Richards Bay to attend. Additionally, there was an exceptional turnout from the continental partners, with organisations from a total of 13 different African regions in attendance.

“We had a strong EMEA and Africa presence at the event, as well as a number of local representatives. This created a great vibe and a wonderful atmosphere and there was plenty of useful networking done as well. I feel that the key message our partners will take away with them is that Alcatel-Lucent is a significant player on the continent and they can expect it to stay that way for the foreseeable future.”

He adds that thanks to the technical roadmap presented at the event, partners are now also able to plan more effectively for the year ahead.

“The conference also presented us with the opportunity to thank our partners and to recognise some excellent achievements by them during the course of 2013,” he states.

“At our awards banquet, Global Africa was announced as the South African Partner of the Year, while Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Company (SPTC) won African Partner of the Year. Our Most Improved Partner of the Year went to GlobalCom Mauritius.”

Griggs adds that Bytes and Alcatel-Lucent delivered a clear message to its partners at the event, highlighting the fact that since their business model is based entirely on the partner programme, these partners are the foundation of their joint success.

“As we are fully dependent on our partners to sell our Alcatel-Lucent products into Africa, we were eager to get them raring to go for 2014, as they are absolutely critical to our ongoing success. Our overarching message to our partners is that we want them to expand and grow their businesses, and we plan to provide them with the support that will make it better and easier for them to do business in Africa. After all, the future is up to all of us together,” he concludes.

Immersive gaming and digital entertainment that fits your space – the Alienware X51

By admin, 28 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Experience truly immersive gaming and powerful digital entertainment with the Alienware X51 desktop from distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC). A small form factor hides impressive specifications, with full customisation options and upgradeability, and the super-stylish chassis can be set up horizontally or vertically to fit any space and turn your home into the ultimate digital experience.

Take in every detail of your gaming or digital viewing with a powerful 1.5 Gigabyte (GB) Nvidia GeForce GTX660 discrete graphics card and experience pure processing power with 4th generation quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and up to 8GB high-performance dual-channel DDR3 memory. A 1 Terabyte (TB) hard drive gives you plenty of space to install your games and store digital content, with an integrated 16x DVD reader and writer for fast loading of content. Integrated Wi-Fi lets you join networks with ease, and Windows 8 Professional delivers an intuitive user experience.

“With these impressive specifications you can run several high-end applications with ease, or dedicate all of the X51’s power to a single application for smooth performance and incredible gaming. It has also been designed to easily build, modify and adapt as your needs change, and upgrading components such as the CPU, graphics cards, hard drives and memory is a breeze, so your desktop will remain current long after other machines are out of date,” says Nitesh Devanand, Dell Consumer Product Specialist at DCC.

The Alienware X51 also incorporates integrated software to let you take total control of your gaming and entertainment experience. The Alienware Command Centre software features a powerful suite of customisation options and the new AlienAdrenaline feature enables Game Mode, which lets you give each of your games a unique profile on your system. This allows you to disable unnecessary programs and activate your music player when you launch one game, or bring up key web links when you launch another. AlienFusion power management controls allow you to configure your settings in order to maximise performance and efficiency while managing power usage.

“In addition to these features, the X51 also includes AlienFX System Lighting Technology, which gives you access to a variety of themes and 8,000 distinct lighting combinations for a truly personalised setup. This means you can customise your system with game themes that respond to many in-game events with unique lighting effects to complete your immersive gaming experience,” Devanand concludes.

The Alienware x51 features a three-year next business day warranty and is available immediately from resellers and leading retailers nationwide for a recommended retail price starting at R21 999.00 including VAT.

 

 

Rectron announces its new corporate logo

By admin, 27 listopada, 2013, No Comment

New logo to set the scene for great things to come

Rectron, a leading distributor of computers, peripherals and accessories have announced the launch of a new look to their logo – setting the scene for great things to come for the company. The new logo for Rectron was officially launched on the 24th of October 2013 to over 600 loyal customers and vendors in attendance at Rectron’s annual Johannesburg road show.

“The past two years have shown significant growth and change for Rectron, where our committed management team and focused staff compliment have taken the Rectron offering to new heights.” Says Lindi Shortt – Managing Director of Rectron South Africa. “Rectron will continue to change and adapt towards the needs of our customers. In challenging times it is imperative that we offer our loyal customer base opportunities to help them sustain and develop future business opportunities.”

Rectron has traditionally been known as a key distributor in the components space, but recent developments and new product ranges have allowed the company to offer a broader spectrum of solutions and services to its dealer base of over 7000 customer’s country-wide.

The changes in the company over the past two years can be reflected in the people that work for Rectron and it is for this reason the company believed that its journey would not be complete without a new look and feel to their logo. Rectron went about the process by including all staff in the choice, where the end result is one chosen by the staff at Rectron.

“The Rectron philosophy is ease of doing business and we believe the logo reflects this. The new logo and look and feel at Rectron promises to deliver exciting and new opportunities for the company, existing customers and prospects.” Concludes Shortt.

Rectron is a proud distributor of Intel, Microsoft, Seagate, Acer, Transcend, Canon, Everki, LiteON, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Huawei, Dlink, Hisense, Ricoh and AMD. The company is also the sole sales and marketing office for Gigabyte in South Africa, and boasts the sole distribution rights for TomTom in South Africa.

SMEs need options that save money

By admin, 27 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Sage Pay, a provider of payment solutions to small and medium-sized companies in South Africa, has announced that they will not be increasing any of their fees until September next year.

“Business owners are continuously looking for solutions that are flexible, mobile and saves them money. In this way they can focus on growing their business and directing their energies towards important focus areas such as improving sales and marketing strategies, as well as their most significant challenges,” says Charles Pittaway, co-founder and managing director of Sage Pay.

In a survey conducted by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) in September 2013, 16 450 small to medium entrepreneurs (SMEs), sited poor sales, access to finance and competing with large business as the most significant challenges of 2013. With a growth of 41% of start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs in the last five years, lack of understanding of new technologies, IT capacity limitations and limited IT budget are further tests SMEs face.

Our hosted cloud transactional solution keeps costs down for businesses because they can process various transactions from one secure online account. These include salary and creditor payments, debit order collections, credit card gateway transactions and credit data solutions. A minimal once off set up fee is required and customers only pay for services they use.

“SMME businesses have limited resources for complex payment systems and they want flexible, integrated online solutions that can cater for mobility and that will also allow them savings in time and cost. Our solutions at Sage Pay caters for the specific needs of these businesses and the option of choice in the end save them money. We also have competitive transaction fees, and an easy to use online platform that allows business owners to manage their business transactions from anywhere at any time,” concludes Pittaway.

Cautionary tales about data roaming for leisure travelers

By admin, 27 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Travelers who are planning to take their smartphones, tablets or laptops on holiday overseas over the festive season and haven’t factored in the cost of data roaming could find their trip turning out to be a lot more expensive than they expected.

People still tend to think they talk a lot on the phone when they actually communicate mostly by email, instant messaging, SMS and Skype, says Craig Lowe, MD of execMobile. “In reality data accounts for 80% of the cost of roaming.”

He says a WhatsApp message only uses one kilobit of data, but the mobile operators charge in chunks of 25 kilobits, so it actually costs about R3.20c per message. “So sending SMSs from abroad is cheaper, at an average of R2.75 per message.”

Working in kilobits is confusing, because users are used to thinking in terms of megabytes, so it helps to know that one megabyte is equivalent to 1000 kilobits, says Lowe. He says a Skype voice call takes up about one megabyte of data per minute, and a Skype video session takes up to three megabytes per minute.

Other data hungry activities include the updating of applications, operating system and device software. Some application updates happen automatically in the background when they are open and need to be turned off properly to stop this happening.

“It’s important to exit applications and not just quit them,” says Lowe. He says Skype can consume 500 megabytes of data when it is just checking which of a user’s contacts are online.

Large attachments can also chew up data while downloading without the recipient being aware of it, says Lowe. “A guy I know got a bill for R760,000 after returning from 11 days in the US due to a video attachment that took days to download because the connection kept timing out.”

This person had played in a golf day event just before leaving SA and one of the give-aways was a video analysis of his performance compared with that of a famous golfer, which was emailed to him while he was away.

If the kids are coming along on holiday, there’s also the risk of them downloading videos to Mom’s or Dad’s iPad or spending hours on Facebook with their friends.

Lowe says roaming costs vary from country to country and from one operator to another. So before going overseas travelers would be wise to check roaming rates for the places they are planning to visit. “This includes reading the fine print for hidden costs.”

Another tip is to download a data usage app before leaving and download city guides that can be viewed offline. It’s great to keep downloading Google Maps to find directions and to share the holiday with friends on Facebook, but each web page downloaded and updated takes up one megabyte or more of data, says Lowe.

“I know someone who used Google Maps twice and navigated a bit while on holiday in Mozambique and they got a bill for R10,000 when they got back.”

Statistics show that 68% of travelers switch off their mobile devices or leave them at home rather than worry about huge roaming bills. But this is increasingly inconvenient in a world that revolves around anytime, anywhere connectivity, says Lowe.

So it’s worth looking at the new services that are becoming available that allow users to roam across multiple mobile networks and multiple countries inexpensively at a known cost. One such service works with a small connectivity device to which up to five users can connect with any mobile device and share the data capacity.

Limits on data usage can be set per device for the duration of a trip and live feeds can be sent to users with details of their data usage, depending on the service selected, says Lowe.

He says using Wi-Fi hotspots is tempting, but has downsides like the fact that it is easy for hackers to steal information from a mobile device if the network is not secure, and quality, availability and cost is often questionable.

For example, it could turn out that the Wi-Fi is only on offer in the public areas of a hotel and not in the rooms or that only the first 30 minutes or so of usage is free.

Another option is to buy local SIMs for each country, but each SIM takes two to 24 hours for the network to activate, and the setting up process can be complex, especially when the instructions are in a foreign language, says Lowe.

 

Trending in 2014 – business and beyond

By admin, 27 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Industry experts share their thoughts on what they believe will dominate business trends next year

As businesses look to formalise plans for the New Year –industry expert opinions become paramount to assist with forecasting and to provide a clearer understanding of crucial consumer, business and economic trends that are most likely to become impactful for businesses into 2014.

Enabling Technology

Information and communications technology (ICT) has transformed society over the last 30 years. A new wave of technological advancement is now creating novel opportunities, while testing governments’ and business’s ability to harness these benefits and provide prudent oversight to their impact. “The exponential growth in the volume and speed of access to information and communication has numerous effects,” says Frank Rizzo Technology Sector Leader, KPMG Africa. “It can generate new markets and challenge existing institutions but what we are likely to see is:

  • Big data initiatives creating better insight for both public and private sector entities;
  • The boundary between what is considered public and what is considered private for individuals becoming increasingly, blurred;
  • New social service models enabled by technology;
  • The evolution of security initiatives and policing to focus on dealing with the increase of cyber threats and cyber crime;
  • A transformation of communication due to increased mobility demands by consumers and the workforce.”

Consumer Electronics sees strong growth

A transformation of communication is being driven by the need for consumer electronics. The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecasts (July 2013) projects that industry sales will reach $202.6 billion this year, stable compared to 2012 sales, with 0.2% growth. Looking ahead to 2014, industry sales growth is forecasted to increase by 4.5%, with industry revenues reaching $211.7 billion.

“There is no doubt that the smartphone – and more specifically the premium smartphone – has made huge inroads across Africa in recent years and this is not set to change any time soon due to demand and compatibility,” says George Ferreira, VP and COO of Samsung Electronics Africa. “As a result, building locally and relevant content and services directly related to the African market will remain key to Consumer Electronic brands – as this not only demonstrates company commitment to the continent, but positively impacts and enhances the lives of consumers.”

Gys Kappers, CEO of WyseTalk agrees but mentions that we can’t ignore feature phones. “A large part of the African market is dominated by feature phones with more than 300 million feature phones in the market and as such we cannot overlook this market but need to accommodate it and ensure that we continue to develop apps and services that are feature phone friendly.”

Big Data – Volume, variety, velocity

However as smartphone penetration increases and digital content rises, no matter what industry you are involved in, you have likely heard about the concept of ‘Big Data’! In fact, the IDC* is predicting that the Big Data market will grow at a rate of 31.7% until it reaches $23.8 billion in 2016.

“Businesses need to get smarter with their data,” says Martin Rennhackkamp, CIO at PBT Group. “As such using more data visualisation to understand and detect valuable insights in big data will become increasingly important to present accurate analytical insights and results in a more user friendly and simpler format to business users.”

With the continued drive to get insights and to apply analytics faster, the adoption of in-memory databases and in-memory analytics will continue to rise. “The biggest change I foresee is on the social media/social analytics front,” continues Rennhackkamp. “Many organisations are doing, or are interested in doing sentiment analysis. It’s all good to analyse what is being said – and what the sentiment of that is – but we also need to consider the influence and context of the speaker/tweeter/poster – so interest and the application of influence analysis will likely rise.”

Maven Agency couldn’t agree more. Says Dawie Harmse, co-founder and head of technology at Maven Agency: “2013 was the year of big data undoubtedly. Now, with all the data comes the remarketing of it and the opportunity to analyse and interpret it to best suit the business. As a result, customer relationship management (CRM) & email re-marketing should see a rise in popularity once more. Through in-depth analysis of the data, businesses can send the consumers on targeted journeys of communication that fits their interests and criteria.”

More Access More Wi-Fi

As the need for constant access rises, 2014 will be a breakout year for Wi-Fi – from solving congestion for mobile network operators to open access networks in public spaces. “We are likely to see more Wi-Fi in malls, stadiums and public places,” says Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa. “While we have seen a large uptake from the hospitality and education sectors, we are likely to see more Wi-Fi in public places and hotels who will be forced to provide good quality Wi-Fi and in most cases for free – just like hot water.”

One of the major challenges for free Wi-Fi is to make sure it works. The free Wi-Fi projects tend to be done very cost-effectively so when the uptake is good, it cannot handle the capacity which results in very disgruntled customers.

“Wi-Fi is no longer the ugly stepchild of licensed wireless access. The potential that Wi-Fi has to change and open up the telecommunications landscape across Africa, as with the rest of the world, cannot be denied and so we will continue to see greater need and interest in this incredible technology enabler,” adds Fletcher.

Content remains King

As wireless access increases, content generated for a specific target audience is going to be a big trend in 2014. Adds Harmse: “Delivering personalised experiences to the right audience at the right time will prove to be essential, which means that brands will need to focus on genuine quality of their content to not only build solid brand awareness but also loyalty. Additionally by making some content available only to a select audience, brands can build value into key relationships.”

Furthermore, having content readily available on all forms of mobile devices will be essential, and as a direct result of the growth in use of smartphones and tablets having a responsive website will be essential.

“In 2014, the likelihood that a piece of online content will be shared among users will be directly related to how many images it contains,” says Harmse. “Sites such as Pinterest, Slideshare and Tumblr have skyrocketed in popularity due to the emerging trend of pictures over words. Images will outrank words for valuable data. Less will become more and a big trend will be to simplify marketing messages in 2014, taking away the guess work and leaving a solid impression on the consumer.”

The Rise of the Individual

The consumer will be key in 2014. Advances in global education, health and technology have helped empower individuals like never before, leading to increased demands for transparency and participation in all aspects of decision-making. Says Rizzo: “Consequently; growing individual empowerment will present numerous challenges to government structures and business processes, but if harnessed, could unleash significant economic development and social advancement.”

WyseTalk concurs. “With the convergence of technologies we are seeing more business centric solutions as companies need to look at collaborative ways of working/operating that will encourage both employees and their consumers to become actively involved in the business or brand. As such, we are bound to see a big focus on collaborative software (social business software) and a slow migration away from email centricity,” says Kappers.

The world is changing rapidly. Technology is connecting people and disrupting existing assumptions and ways of communicating and doing business. “Business innovation will be crucial in the coming year not only around the generation of new ideas, technologies and products for example, but also aspects around how to fully support these changing business models will also become a key component,” adds Ferreira.

And finally, concludes Rizzo; “developing country governments may need to consider how enabling technology can provide ‘leapfrog’ opportunities that can bypass intermediate technologies and/or legacy systems.”

*IDC says big data will be $24B market in 2016; I say it’s bigger, http://gigaom.com/2013/01/08/idc-says-big-data-will-be-24b-market-in-2016-i-say-its-bigger/

 

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