Archive for Listopad, 2013

Spinlet to launch its music platform in South Africa

By admin, 1 listopada, 2013, No Comment

On a mission to make music fully mobile, affordable and heard,Spinlet will shortly launch its revolutionary music platform in South Africa. This will be the company’s second launch on the African continent. Spinlet’s SA office, based in Cape Town, will drive the company’s expansion into sub-Saharan territories where it will derive its growth from two streams – the music fans and the music artists.

The digital entertainment company was founded in Finland in 2006, and was subsequently acquired by Verod Capital in 2011. In the same year it moved its headquarters to San Francisco in 2011 and opened a marketing and distribution office in Lagos, Nigeria where it has been enthusiastically welcomed by fans and musicians alike.

In the short time it has been operating in Africa, Spinlet has established itself as a serious player in a highly competitive market. “As smartphone and broadband penetration increases and data costs reduce across Africa, we have noted that the appetite for the type of entertainment services which Spinlet can provide has significantly increased” says Neil Schwatrzman, Group CEO of Spinlet. “This has endorsed our decision to target emerging markets in Africa and we look forward to seeing similar levels of enthusiasm from South African music lovers when we launch our download site and mobile app”.

One third of global industry revenue was derived from digital music in 2012, (according to the IFPI, the organisation that represents the music industry worldwide) and this is set to increase year on year. With this in mind, Spinlet has chosen the perfect time to enter the market in Africa as the desire for African grown music continues to expand.

Focused not only on providing music, Spinlet also gives music fans what they want, when and how they want it. This, and the fact that its focus is on growing new music artists and sharing revenue with performers, is what makes Spinlet such an attractive and unique proposition.

Spinlet is uncovering new music talent every day thanks to its ‘Spinners’ – the girls and guys on the ground who are sourcing and recommending new artists and sounds and crowdsourcing relevant and desired content. Through Spinlet, it is only a matter of days from being discovered to having the music registered on the platform. The loyal fans can then download the tracks that they can also then share with their friends. Because the medium is digital and global, African music is being shared not only with the diaspora but also with a growing and ever more appreciative worldwide audience that’s hungry for new sounds or a reminder of home.

As a result of the interest – close to 700,000 registrations to date – Spinlet now holds the single largest catalogue of African music and local music artists. This complements its international library which it is keen to share with South African audiences. Spinlet is the largest supplier of digital music on the continent and when it launches in South Africa will be providing access to its entire catalogue.
“We are excited about the impending launch of Spinlet in South Africa. This gives yet another opportunity for South African composer members of NORM & SAMRO to earn digital royalties from the distribution of their catalogues on the service,” commented Tsholo Moraba, General Manager, Gallo Music Publishers and a Director of NORM South Africa (National Organisation for Reproduction Rights in Music).

“Digital music services are providing exciting new and easily accessible ways for more people to enjoy international and local music content. When this comes from a credible music store with representation such as Spinlet, then so much the better as listeners can look forward to a new era in mobile music”.

The Spinlet site (www.Spinlet.com) will be accessible for PC, tablet and mobile smartphone through any browser. It uses ‘active rendering technology’ that is responsively designed to automatically adjust to any screen size, thus optimising the user experience. The first issue of the service will allow consumers to buy tracks and albums. The cost of tracks is more than competitive.

And, to round out the package and to ensure secure payment, helping to overcome Africa’s hesitancy to transact online, Spinlet has partnered with reputable third party payment gateways and does not hold clients details. Because the service is extremely versatile and affordable and is already promoting and growing local music industries, it is also helping to combat rampant music piracy.

Business lessons learned from Poker

By admin, 1 listopada, 2013, No Comment

By Kevin Phillips, idu Software

If you don’t know what you’re doing in poker, you can lose with the best hand at the table. Conversely, if you’re skilled and a little lucky, you can win with the worst hand. Not always, but often enough to tip the odds in your favour.

It’s exactly the same in business. We don’t get to choose the hands we’re dealt — but we do get to choose how we play them. To succeed, you must know the rules, calculate odds, take risks and know your opponents.

Be tight-aggressive
Being over-cautious can be as dangerous as being over-aggressive. If you play every hand, but are too timid to call a raise, you’re likely to lose. Don’t bet on every hand, but when you do, bet aggressively. If you believe in your cards, go on the attack.

That strategy works in business too; there’s a place for aggression in every tactical toolbox. If you can recognise when to back down and when to push back you have a huge advantage.

Know when to fold ‘em
Knowing when to fold is a critical survival skill. To make the decision, you need information.

How much do you stand to lose if you fold? How many cards in the deck will help you? How much more do you need to invest to stay in? How much do you stand to win if you get the right card? You need to be able to calculate the odds objectively.

A business deal is no different – you need to dispassionately evaluate how much you have invested, what might work in your favour and what it will cost — financially, in time, in energy — to keep going. When does the cost outweigh the reward?

Know your opponent
Evaluate your opponent. What is their playing style, how do they react to certain situations, what are their tells? Good poker players watch their opponents at least as carefully as their cards. A realistic assessment of relative strengths and weaknesses allows you to match yourself to the competition in poker and in business.

You can’t bluff in business
The one fundamental difference is that you can win in poker on a bluff and never have to show your cards – In business you always have to deliver. In fact, if you deliver on your word, you might get to choose the game next time around – and it doesn’t always have to be poker.

 

Technology investment is crucial to Online Retail Success

By admin, 1 listopada, 2013, No Comment

By Christo Briedenhann- Country Manager: Riverbed Africa

The constant evolution of online retail – from multi-channel to omni-channel and beyond – means retailers have business-critical decisions to make on a day-to-day basis. Certainly, the opportunity for success and growth can’t be denied.

Many companies are getting their online retail strategy right, and despite the impact of several years of economic uncertainty affecting consumer confidence across the Eurozone, many retail brands are thriving.

But so too the stakes are high and the market is unforgiving. The range of devices which consumers use to search and shop are also increasing, compounding the challenge at hand. Consumers spend more time on a wider range of devices and expect a seamless, consistent experience across all devices and for this experience to be consistent both online and offline.

For brands that fail to invest in the technology platforms and offer a poor or inconsistent online experience to their customers, there is no hiding place. Investing in the right technology is paramount.

Drives business innovation and success

Like so many business sectors, technology has become critical to business performance, driving innovation and delivery of services or products to customers across the organisation. As a consequence, the role of the CIO has been evolving for some years now. IT is no longer viewed as a cost centre, making commodity-based purchases. Instead, the CIO – in many companies – is a core member of the board advising on innovation and future strategy.

But there are clear pressure points within any retail organisation that the CIO must contend with.

Those concerned with online sales, e-marketing and online customer acquisition want to see development of websites and mobile applications that are intuitive and cutting edge. They are primarily concerned with delivering marketing and acquisition strategies which drive users to the website or applications, that in turn convert sales. Those individuals concerned with performance, reliability of services and customer retention know that sometimes there are compromises that need to be made.

For retail CIOs and IT decision makers, the challenge lies in understanding where to invest budget and being able to strike a balance between investing in customer facing applications and solutions and investing in back office technology that ensures a seamless customer experience.

E-retailers are in fact sitting on a potential shopping time bomb. If investment in sales and promotion technology outweighs back room IT, customer satisfaction will drop and with it revenues.

Retailers need to commercially prioritise the management of their customer demand, particularly during times of peak traffic, where sales are driven by promotions and other incentives. Attempts to harness greater volume of sales are likely to back fire if websites are ill-equipped to handle the fluctuations in customer demand.

Understanding multi-device behaviour – The ‘Browse to Buy Gap’

Online retail innovation paves the way for a more seamless approach to the consumer experience across all available shopping channels, whether this is via mobile internet devices, computers, bricks-and-mortar, television, and catalogues for example. The opportunity for retailers to exploit these additional channels is only beginning to be explored.

The shopping behaviour of consumers is therefore changing as a result of the growth in connected device ownership. Rather than relying on one or even two devices, consumers in practice use an array of devices and channels to conduct their online shopping. Shoppers may, for example, browse particular goods on their tablet, make the purchase on their laptop, but choose to return the product in store.

However, whilst access to a broad range of devices allows customers to have greater freedom, not all shoppers wish to convert their interest into purchases on particular devices. This ‘browse-to-buy gap’ is greatest with tablets, with only one in three device owners, making purchases on this device. Both laptops and desktop computers have a smaller gap between browse and purchase habits among owners of each device.

The result of this is that retailers need to implicitly understand how their customers engage with their brand across multiple devices so that they can manage their IT investment in the areas that have greatest impact on their revenues. Consumers expect a consistent experience across all online formats and devices. And as their expectations of how a brand should perform grow, their frustration is heightened when they fail to receive the level of customer experience they expect. Performance issues such as websites freezing, slow loading pages and website unavailability rank amongst the biggest complaints consumers have when shopping online. These are all avoidable if the appropriate procedures, processes and technology procurement are in place.

No Time for Complacency

Brands cannot afford to be complacent about slow or poor website performance when consumers have high expectations of an online shopping experience and are empowered to take their valuable shopping money elsewhere.

Regardless of whether a customer is communicating with a brand through their mobile, desktop or face-to-face, there is an expectation for a consistent and seamless experience. While omni-channel provides a greater opportunity to increase sales, it also creates many challenges for retailers.

Building confidence in an online brand is vital and by removing the uncertainties that come with online shopping, retailers are taking the first step to building a successful long-term relationship with shoppers.

 

Lenovo unveils its first multimode Yoga Tablet

By admin, 1 listopada, 2013, No Comment
  • Debuts three innovative modes and up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Available in South Africa end of November starting at R3,999 for 8” model and R4,499 for 10” model

Multimode computing leader Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) today debuted its first multimode Yoga Tablet at a livestream launch event with Ashton Kutcher, the company’s newest product engineer. Known for pioneering innovative multimode devices like the Yoga convertible laptop, Lenovo now brings people a new way to get the most out of their tablet experience.

The game-changing Yoga Tablet features three unique modes, giving consumers a better way to use a tablet. With hold, tilt and stand modes, the tablet adapt to the way people use it instead of forcing people to adapt to the technology. Additionally the Yoga Tablet has an amazing up to 18 hours of battery life1 to truly fit users’ ultra mobile lifestyles.

“Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current ‘sea of sameness’ designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content,” said Liu Jun, senior vice president and president, Lenovo Business Group, Lenovo. “As consumers’ continue to demand innovative multimode designs we’re thrilled to have Ashton Kutcher on board with us to help further develop the immersive and complementary hardware and rich content experience.”

Yoga Tablet: Three Modes And Longer Battery Life Give Tablets A Better Way

One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to tablets. Lenovo designers and engineers identified three challenges tablet users face: fatigue when holding and using the tablet; no self-supporting mechanism when laid on a flat surface; and an inadequate viewing angle when set on a table. These scenarios inspired Lenovo to break the mold on the “sea of sameness” design and to create Yoga Tablet’s unique modes.

With its exclusive cylindrical handle, hold mode is designed to fit an individual’s hand, so the Yoga Tablet is easier to hold and offers more control over the device whereas other tablets require two hands. Hold mode makes reading, checking social media and browsing the web easy and parallels how people hold magazines when reading.

To convert the Yoga Tablet into stand mode, simply rotate the side cylinder 90° so that the tablet stand deploys, allowing the tablet to stand by itself on a desk or table. Users can change the viewing angle to fit what’s comfortable for them from 110° to 135°. Stand mode makes it easy for users to comfortably watch movies, place video calls and interact with the ten-finger touchscreen without having to rely on add-on accessories.

Users can lay the Yoga Tablet down in tilt mode to type directly on the tablet, play games and just surf the Internet with a better viewing angle. To further enhance the rich content and multimode tablet experience, users can enable the tablet’s auto-detection software that automatically brings up frequently used apps in hold and stand modes.

The Yoga Tablet’s multimode design not only provides a better usability experience, it offers dramatically longer battery life of up to 18 hours1, which is significantly more than the amount of typical tablets. Its cylindrical handle packs in powerful, dual batteries and unlike most tablets, it uses batteries typically found in laptops. The Yoga Tablet can even charge other devices such as smartphones via its USB on-the-go2. The 10 inch and 8 inch models run on MT8125 for WiFi models and MT8389 Quad Core processors for 3G models with 16 or 32 GB capacity and feature Android 4.2. Also equipped with Dolby® audio, Yoga Tablet’s front-facing speakers create a powerful surround sound experience through the device speakers and with headphones.

Extremely mobile, both models are featherweights weighing in at 1.35 lbs for the 10-in model and 0.88 lbs for the 8-in model. They feature high definition 1280 x 800 displays, a 5 MP auto focus rear camera plus an additional front camera, a micro SD expansion slot, allowing up to 64 GB of total storage, WiFi and optional 3G in select countries and a micro USB connection and Dolby DS1 for rich audio. Lenovo offers an optional Bluetooth keyboard for the 10-in model that functions as a cover and even wakes up the tablet when it’s removed and puts the tablet to sleep when it’s attached. Users can also opt for a WD100 dongle in select countries to stream video content from the tablet wirelessly to a TV. Lenovo also offers a portfolio of services solutions for the Yoga Tablet including warranty extensions, upgrades and premium technical support.

The Yoga Tablet will be available in South Africa end of November starting at R3,999 for 8” model and R4,499 for 10” model.

 

Yoga Tablet 02

Business continuity and the cloud: Storm warning

By admin, 1 listopada, 2013, No Comment

“Cloud services are proliferating because they offer employees tremendous flexibility—the explosion in the use of smartphones and tablets creates a tremendous need for anywhere/ anytime access to applications,” says Peter Westcott, business continuity management advisor at ContinuitySA. “The cloud is great for productivity but it could be a security and business-continuity disaster if not handled correctly.”

The growth in data spend at the expense of voice is testimony to the growing use of mobile devices to perform data-intensive work, empowered by sophisticated (and ever-cheaper) devices. According to World Wide Worx’s The mobile Internet in South Africa 2012, the average user has increased spend on data by 50 percent over the preceding 18 months.

“Spend on data is a barometer for the rapid increase both in the number of Internet users in South Africa and in the intensity with which experienced users engage with the Internet,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

Westcott argues that many employees are using third-party cloud services (the public cloud) unilaterally because their corporate IT departments are simply not providing the support their working habits now require. This may result in corporate data being shared between project team members via a service like Dropbox, for example. He points out that this means that corporate data is being held by a third party under the custodianship of a person who might meanwhile have left the company or who is only a contractor—a likely scenario given the fluid organisational structures of the modern corporation.

Even when the IT department is involved in moving applications or other portions of the corporate IT into the cloud, the motivation is often to stretch IT budgets with too little thought given to data security.

Westcott notes that to provide for adequate business continuity, companies should consider using two cloud providers, with the data and application synchronised between the two. “It’s vital that you research each provider carefully to ensure that their physical hosting infrastructure is located in different geographic regions—you don’t want your backup to be located in the same data centre!” he advises.

Westcott argues that loss of control over one’s data should remain a key concern for companies using the cloud, particularly given the current and pending legislation relating to data protection and risk. He points out that public cloud providers are typically very large organisations that offer no service level agreements—and that when a problem occurs, just finding a human to deal with it can be a challenge. And, as the Snowden case has revealed, public cloud providers offer no protection against intrusive government oversight of the data stored on their systems.

The real solution, Westcott believes, is to retain control of one’s data while taking advantage of the cost and productivity benefits of the cloud model. He points out that there are numerous open-source tools that can be used to create a private cloud with all the services needed by employees. One example is ownCloud, which provides the same functionality as Dropbox but with data hosting controlled by the company. .

“IT departments have to raise their games, and position themselves to provide cloud services to employees, so that there is no need to look at potentially unsafe public cloud services,” he says. “By creating a private cloud—which could be hosted in a third-party data centre—the company could provide its employees with the tools they need and get the cost benefits while retaining control of its important data and ensuring that proper business continuity measures are in place.”

 

MWEB signs APN agreement to offer own mobile data

By admin, 1 listopada, 2013, No Comment

MWEB has announced the signing of an Access Point Name (APN) agreement with Cell C which will enable the ISP to offer its own customised mobile data packages to MWEB customers as of 29 October 2013.

MWEB ISP CEO Derek Hershaw says, “We are continuing to see positive growth within the mobile data market verses fixed-line market growth over the last few years and have been reselling 3G services for a while now.”

“The inter-network agreement with Cell C allows us to create our own 3G products and bundles according to our customer’s needs. MWEB customers will now benefit from first line support, competitive pricing, month-2-month contracts and no SIM card and connection fees.”

Jose Dos Santos, Cell C Chief Commercial Officer says, “Cell C welcomes MWEB to the mobile service landscape, and we gladly open our Cell C powered base stations and strong network to MWEB’s customer base.”

MWEB’s customers will access MWEB data, powered through Cell C network towers, by making use of a Cell C dongle and SIM card. MWEB will now be able to provide direct support to its mobile data customers.

Hershaw concludes, “This agreement strengthens the existing relationship we have nurtured with Cell C over the last year. We are excited to secure this agreement with Cell C to the benefit of our customers. With mobile data rates reducing significantly we are now able to provide our own solutions to customers that are competitive and affordable. We look forward to providing our extensive customer base with a complete solution – MWEB ADSL and MWEB Mobile data – to extend and enhance their fixed and on-the-go internet experience. “

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