Archive for Listopad, 2013

Inmarsat well-placed to help drive economic development in Africa – innovation is showcased at AfricaCom

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, showcased its latest innovations at AfricaCom, which took place from the 12 to 14 November at CTICC in Cape Town, South Africa.

The availability of robust, widely accessible terrestrial communications infrastructure is an increasingly important factor in the economic development of sub-Saharan African. In this environment, access to fast, reliable and cost effective mobile satellite connectivity – such as that offered via Inmarsat’s global network – can provide an important catalyst to sustain or promote economic expansion.

A key aspect of Inmarsat’s services – and one which is generating significant interest across the region – is the security of its voice and data services, provided by secured IP encrypted data. This is supported by the company’s 99.9 per cent satellite and ground network availability. Additionally, Inmarsat’s broadband data services may be accessed anywhere on the continent using small, portable, fixed and vehicular antennas, most of which are as small as a laptop and even solar powered.


At AfricaCom, Inmarsat showcased the BGAN High Data Rate (BGAN HDR), a revolutionary service for broadcasters, delivering a step-change in video quality for journalists. BGAN HDR offers a suite of streaming rates and has been designed for use by any broadcaster, from the largest international media organisations to regional and local broadcasters. From 2014, broadcasters in Africa will also benefit from accessing BGAN HDR via Alphasat, the world’s most powerful commercial communications satellite, which is accessible across virtually the entire continent.

BGAN HDR’s full channel option will provide broadcasters with an expected streaming rate of around 650kbps and will deliver a significantly enhanced streaming rate, providing a step-change in video quality for journalists. Cobham SATCOM’s EXPLORER 710, the first terminal to access the HDR service, has a built-in bonding capability, enabling connection speeds above 1Mbps – previously only possible on a VSAT uplink. The BGAN HDR service is scheduled to ‘go live’ globally, late November 2013.

Today, when people need the latest on breaking news ‘now’, BGAN and BGAN HDR empowers journalists to report news live, publish news via social media, access central systems to file stories or transfer edited video wherever you are on the continent, independent of the local telecoms infrastructure.

Global Xpress

Inmarsat also provided an update on Global Xpress, the world’s first global high-speed broadband, which will offer the unique combination of seamless global coverage from a single operator, consistent higher performance, and the network reliability for which Inmarsat is renowned. The first Inmarsat-5 satellite, which will cover the vast majority of the African continent, is scheduled for launch in early December 2013.

The GX service will be delivered over Inmarsat’s next generation of satellites, the I-5s, constructed by Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. Full global coverage from the GX constellation is on schedule to be achieved by the end of 2014.

BGAN Link Unlimited

Additionally, Inmarsat highlighted the benefits of its recently-launched BGAN Link geographic data plan – BGAN Link Unlimited – at AfricaCom. This ‘all-you-can-eat’ data plan is available to users in sub-Saharan Africa on all new 3 or 12 month contracts.

BGAN Link Unlimited effectively replaces all 3, 5, 10 and 15GB allowance packages in countries covered by Inmarsat’s ‘geographic plan’, because it offers considerably more data for the same, or a lower, monthly charge.

BGAN Link is designed to provide high monthly volumes of Standard IP data for sustained periods of operation from a fixed location, appealing to a broad range of industry sectors such as mining, construction and banking and finance. It supports data connection at speeds of up to half a megabit, and provides companies working in a remote area with access to standard office applications, such as email, Internet and VPN. BGAN Link supports all major VPN products and encryption standards and operates over the Inmarsat-4 network, with its record of averaging 99.9 per cent satellite and ground network availability.


BGAN is Inmarsat’s award-winning service to provide simultaneous voice and broadband data communications globally. It offers standard IP and a portfolio of guaranteed streaming IP rates to support data, voice and video communications in virtually any location. Supporting the latest IP services, as well as traditional circuit-switched voice and data, BGAN integrates seamlessly with corporate networks and legacy applications.


Inmarsat offers a wide portfolio of M2M services, designed to serve a broad spectrum of M2M applications, ranging from monitoring power grids to tracking road haulage fleets.

BGAN M2M is Inmarsat’s broadband global area network (BGAN), providing a ubiquitous and reliable two-way IP data service worldwide. It has been specifically designed for long-term machine-to-machine management of fixed assets and supports Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) applications especially for remote facilities and border point surveillance.

IsatData Pro is a global two-way short message service for machine to machine (M2M) communication. It enables companies to track and monitor their fixed or mobile assets, giving them increased visibility of business operations, enhanced efficiency, and greater safety and security for their assets, cargo and drivers – while lowering operational costs.

ISAT M2M is a global service enabling ‘store-and-forward’ of low data rate messaging to and from remote assets for tracking, monitoring and control operations. IsatM2M supports critical applications such as transport vehicle security, industrial equipment monitoring and marine tracking, giving companies visibility and control of fixed or mobile assets.

Kaspersky Lab: One in Every Six users suffer loss or theft of mobile devices

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

According to the Kaspersky Consumer Security Risks survey carried out by B2B International and Kaspersky Lab in 2013, every sixth user has experienced loss, theft or catastrophic damage to a portable digital device – a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet – in the last 12 months. But users aren’t just losing their devices; they’re losing their valuable personal data as well.

Laptops, smartphones and tablets have long been an irreplaceable part of everyday life – at work, at home relaxing, or while socialising with friends and relatives. But what if a laptop, a smartphone or a tablet gets lost, stolen or damaged? What happens to all those holiday photos, the video of your child’s first steps, correspondence with old friends; and passwords for social network sites, e-pay and online banking accounts, and email accounts? Could they realistically disappear along with the device?

According to the survey, mobile devices are regularly lost, stolen or damaged: over 16% of respondents reported at least one of these troubles over the last 12 months. A closer look reveals that 9% of the users’ devices were irreparably damaged, 3% of gadgets were lost and 4% were stolen. This data confirms that the loss or theft of a mobile device is a common problem. But apart from the loss of the gadget itself, what problems does the owner face?

According to the survey, the following types of data are stored on mobile devices:

  • personal photos and video: 76% of smartphone and 65% of tablets;
  • personal email correspondence: 64% of smartphone and 61% of tablets;
  • Passwords to social network accounts and email accounts:  22% of smartphones and 23% of tablets;
  • work emails: 32% of smartphones and 28% of tablets;
  • business documents: 20% of smartphones and 29% of tablets;
  • Financial information, specifically passwords to online banking accounts: 10% of both smartphones and tablets.

In other words, people store all types of information on their mobile devices, and the value of the data is often more valuable than the device itself.

Losing this data is more than just distressing. If sensitive data may also fall into unfriendly hands, the consequences could be disastrous: your company’s confidential information might be circulated; your own accounts on social networking sites, email services and online banking systems may be compromised. Fortunately, there is a reliable and convenient way to dramatically reduce the risk of further crises.

Technologies vs Theft:
Kaspersky Internet Security for Android is a solution developed to protect the world’s most popular mobile platform. In addition to its advanced technologies, which detect and block cyber-threats, the software also includes a number of functions that prevent valuable user data from falling in the wrong hands. It can even help to find and recover a lost or stolen device.

  • The Lock & Locate function can block a missing device and identify its location using data received from the smartphone or tablet’s GPS;
  • Data Wipe completely deletes all data stored on the device;
  • The Mugshot function can secretly take a photo of anyone using the missing device and send it to the police;
  • The SIM Watch module allows the owner to block the mobile device or delete its memory even if the SIM card is replaced.

All remotely operated features are accessible via Anti-Theft Web Management, a convenient, web-based control centre which allows the owner to access the lost device from a computer or any other mobile devices. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to return a stolen or lost device – and the information stored on it – to the rightful owner. However Kaspersky Internet Security for Android can ensure that valuable personal information does not fall into the wrong hands.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android is available at the official Kaspersky Lab site, on Google Play and as part of Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device, a security solution designed to protect you across all of your devices.


ContinuitySA announces business continuity training programme for 2014

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

ContinuitySA, Africa’s premier provider of business continuity management services, has announced its training programme for the first six months of 2014.

Business Continuity is the increasingly important science of keeping a business operational through all types of severe incidents and crises. The new Companies Act and King III make it the board’s responsibility to ensure that the company has appropriate risk mitigation strategies in place, and can continue to operate when a crisis occurs.

In parallel with this greater regulatory focus on Business Continuity, bodies like the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) have issued standards to help companies establish adequate Business Continuity Management programmes.

“Business Continuity Management needs to be aligned with international best practice but, at the same time, because it goes to the heart of the business, must also be customised both to the business as a whole, and to the role played by the individual,” says Peter Westcott, BCM Advisor at ContinuitySA.
“ContinuitySA has a wealth of experience and practical knowledge which is incorporated in our training programmes to ensure that companies know how to apply and implement best practices. We also gear each training programme to the needs of the different audiences—executives need a different type of training than business continuity practitioners, for example.”

ContinuitySA’s training provides guidance on how to develop, implement and manage an effective business continuity management programme and system, based on international standards. All the courses are offered through the company’s Complete Continuity Training Academy.

Among the Academy’s offerings is a customised two-hour Business Continuity Management Programme, aimed at giving executives high-level awareness of business continuity and the issues for which they as executives will need to be accountable and responsible. The session defines business continuity management and covers the reasons for implementing a business continuity management programme, as well as the benefits. The key benefits include protecting shareholder value and ensuring minimal service disruptions to customers. A more detailed two-day course introduces these concepts in more detail for middle managers and business continuity plan owners.

The two-day ICT Continuity Training is aimed at the CIO and relevant IT professionals responsible for the continuity of ICT services within their organisations, while the five-day Complete Continuity Practitioner Programme is designed to equip business continuity practitioners in all aspects of implementing, managing and maintaining an effective programme for business continuity management.

Customised courses are compiled in consultation with ContinuitySA’s Business Continuity Management Advisory Services to ensure that they deliver what is required, and are aligned with the client’s operational context.

Forthcoming courses include:

Complete Continuity Practitioner Programme (5 days). Confirmed dates for 2014:

27 to 31 January, 17 to 21 February, 3 to 7 March, 10 to 14 March, 5 to 9 May, 19 to 23 May, 9 to 13 June, 21 to 25 July, 18 to 22 August, 15 to 19 September, 13 to 17 October, 27 to 31 October, 17 to 21 November.

ICT Continuity (2 days):

10 to 11 February, 17 to 18 March, 24 to 25 March,10 to 11 April, 26 to 27 May, 4 to 5 June, 23 to 24 June, 28 to 29 July, 11 to 12 August, 1 to 2 September, 20 to 21 October, 3 to 4 November.

To register or to find out more please contact the training department on 011 554 8000

SAP Business One from 4most provides seamless integration, data integrity and all round savings for G4S

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

With a presence in over 125 countries and an extensive offering, G4S is the largest international provider of security solutions. Ranging from on-site manned security and cash processing solutions to cash in transit and ATM security, their services ensure that wherever the protection of assets is important G4S is able to provide the solution.

A series of mergers and acquisitions in the Zambian market left the local office with a legacy infrastructure falling short of current requirements.

Incompatibilities between this legacy system and the G4S globally accepted SAP platform had led to a lack of data integrity in international reporting creating governance and transparency issues, coupled with inefficiencies in local business processes.

Within any international organisation the need for accurate regional and global head office reporting is paramount. With G4S no exception, the Zambian office was finding themselves challenged to deliver on this requirement. Partly solved through additional internal processes, it still required a degree of manual manipulation to convert data from the legacy system into the required format. Further complicated by consolidation issues with the local accounting system, G4S Zambia found themselves plagued with continued inaccuracies leading to queries at group level.

“Security and integrity of data across all areas of its organisation is critical for G4S,” says Eugene Olivier, business development director at 4most, a leading supplier and implementer of ERP software and technology. “After a detailed scope of their requirements, we were confident recommending SAP Business One as the best solution moving forward.”

The initial implementation involved the core financial databases, allowing for generation of ledgers and profit and loss statements. Whilst this gave G4S Zambia the required transparency and integrity in their reporting process, it was merely a replication of what had previously been possible with access to sufficient detail across various business processes still lacking. To solve this, 4most streamlined their chart of accounts into a non-segmented structure creating multi-dimensional views for various cost centres where previously there had been only one. The added dimensions allowed for greater transparency and more accurate reporting both internationally and within the local operation.

Dawda Bobb, G4S Zambia’s Finance Director originally of the G4S UK operation, knew what was possible from an international best practices perspective. “Whilst the initial implementation allowed us to enjoy at least 95% of what we wanted, a slight customisation of the existing infrastructure gave us the extra functionality we required for reporting and improved efficiencies between different business systems,” says Bobb.

Additional functionality includes automation of the procurement, payroll, fixed assets and recurring billing functions. With each module seamlessly integrated into the SAP platform, further business process efficiencies have been enabled leading to enhanced detail across local and international reporting. And a 20% reduction in time, significantly increasing company productivity. Although their financial return has not yet been determined, the Zambian office conservatively estimates a minimum cost reduction of 5% due to time saved and the elimination of human error.

Moving forward, G4S Zambia are looking at an automated Accounts Payable module, allowing for the integration of creditors’ payments with their local bank. “There appears no end to what 4most is able to provide, with every request for enhancement or customisation met with an absolute commitment to meet our need and provide a solution,” says Bobb.

The new infrastructure has also enjoyed widespread user acceptance and uptake. The general feedback received rates the SAP system as a lot easier to navigate and understand, together with increased user friendliness.

“SAP Business One has provided us with clarity,” continues Bobb. “We are now able to drill down into detail previously not possible, providing us with the visibility and ability to really see what is happening in certain parts of our business.”

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Vox Telecom introduces promotions for YahClick broadband satellite customers

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Vox Telecom will be offering free hardware and installation on its YahClick satellite broadband business, enterprise and certain consumer packages until the end of March 2014.

YahClick is a pioneering Ka-band satellite service that provides customers across South Africa with high-speed, satellite broadband – even those in rural areas. As the service does not make use of cables to connect, it’s an attractive option for customers who are in need of fast, reliable internet services but are located far from the larger cities or who have experienced difficulties due to cable theft.

“Customers who sign on for a 3Mpbs Home service plan before 31 March 2014 or a Premium Home V 1Mbps, our voice-enabled service plan, before 31 December 2013, will receive the hardware and installation required to make use of the YahClick satellite service absolutely free,” says Clayton Timcke, Head of Marketing, Vox Telecom. “Because the Premium Home V plan is optimised for voice, we are also giving customers who sign up for this package a free Vox Supafone with R59 per month talk time.”

Customers signing on for an enterprise or business package will also receive free hardware and installation if their order is placed before 31 March 2014. “The business promotion includes everything a customer needs to connect, including the dish, router and installation, for all business and enterprise packages, wherever they are,” says Timcke. YahClick business and enterprise packages vary in cost and size, with the most comprehensive package allowing usage of up to 360GB of bandwidth per month.

All uploads for the service are free and do not count towards data usage, as are all downloads made during the Free Zone hours (between 1 am and 6 am daily).

Installers are available across the country. “The installation process is similar to installing a satellite TV service and extremely fast,” says Timcke. “And the best part is that customers in outlying areas no longer need to rely on fixed line services to access high speed internet and make calls.”

iPass survey flags hotel Wifi

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Survey highlights the perils of hotel Wi-Fi for travellers.

With the increasing need to remain connected when travelling, hotel Wi-Fi is seen by many business travellers as an important must-have. However, the latest iPass survey paints a bleak picture around the effectiveness and safety of hotel Wi-Fi offerings.

Craig Lowe, execMobile founder, says 71 percent of mobile workers try to counteract the unpredictable nature of Wi-Fi access by researching Wi-Fi availability before they leave. This is as a result of many who still believe that Wi-Fi is their only option for affordable connectivity abroad even though most are aware of service, security and productivity issues.

“73 percent of the 1400 respondents surveyed, aged between 22 and 54, highlighted the need for connectivity saying Wi-Fi was important. However, 81 percent of users reported having a bad experience with hotel Wi-Fi in the past year, while 82 percent stated that they found free hotel Wi-Fi services to be limited, slow, and unreliable,” he says.

While service quality was a huge issue 73 percent stated they were distrustful of public Wi-Fi, whether free or paid, and raised concerns about the security on hotel Wi-Fi networks.
Furthermore, 69 percent of mobile workers stated they were nervous to place payment information into a hotel Wi-Fi paywall on their browser.

And yet while mobile works are more apprehensive about using public Wi-Fi, Lowe says the need for connectivity is going up. In fact mobile workers went as far as to say that reliable Wi-Fi was a basic need and they’ll base decisions on where to spend money on a hotel’s ability to meet those needs. Wi-Fi is so important to travellers when staying in a hotel that they rated it the second most important factor—after a comfortable bed!

“These fundamentals highlighted by the survey (security, speed and quality of the connection) have a direct bearing on how productive people are in hotel Wi-Fi hotspots,” Lowe says.

All three of these issues are solved by utilising a personal secure portable Wi-Fi router. These routers utilise the security on offer via the mobile networks while creating the users own personal secure cloud of connectivity, says Lowe. A pocket Wi-Fi solution means users don’t have to use the hotel network at all, which improves connectivity security and speeds.

However, the need for speed is offset by the cost of data when when traveling. Only 18 percent of respondents said they don’t limit the use of applications while roaming. The vast majority, however, do exercise restraint, and web browsing takes the greatest hit at 56 percent. Mobile workers stated they are also a lot less likely to use mobile apps while they’re roaming.

“Mobile workers therefore need to look at an international data solution that will lower the cost of international data, while at the same time enabling mobile works to use a pocket Wi-Fi solution that gives them the freedom to work from wherever they are and effective security to protect them while the work,” he says.

Top local experts confirmed for speaker sessions and training workshops at 2013 Canon SA Expo

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Canon South Africa’s much-anticipated Canon SA Expo – at the Sandton Convention Centre from 29 November to 1 December this year – will feature inspiring talks by 18 local photography experts. Two speaker sessions will run simultaneously over the three days.

Among the speakers at the 2013 Canon Expo are Paul Hofman; Andrew Aveley; Justin de Reuck; Tim Moolman; Craig Dutton; Manus van Dyk; Dave Devo Oosthuizen; Clinton Lubbe; Heinrich vd Berg; Gerrie van Vuuren; Chris Fallows; Heather Mason; Mark Straw; Jana Santilhano; Lee Slabber; Marlene Neumann; Liam Lynch; Jo Lloyd; Graham Smith; Paul Atkinson; Andrew Beck; Roger Machin (Canon), Abri Kriegler (Canon).

They will present on a variety of photography-related topics, including aviation, wedding; music; wildlife; sharks & ocean; portrait; action; birding; photo walking; blogging and pet photography. The speaker sessions will start at 11:00 daily with the last one commencing at 16:00. Entrance to the Canon SA Expo, and attending the speaker sessions, is free.

Visitors will also have the chance to hone their photo-taking skills at training sessions hosted by professional photographers. There will be a total of 13 different workshop sessions throughout the Expo event, which will be presented daily from 11:00 to 17:00 and can accommodate up to 30 people at a time.. Topics will include digital compact cameras (DSC) and professional SLR as well as video sessions. Visitors will also be encouraged to ask any related questions they might have with regards to utilising their Canon photographic equipment and attendees interested in these sessions are advised to bring along their own equipment.

“South Africa has no shortage of specialist and acclaimed photographers and we are honoured to have some of the very best speaking at this year’s Canon Expo. In the past, we have hosted some of the world’s most renowned photographers at the expo but this year we haveconsciously-decided to keep it local with respected South African photographers specialising in various fields,” says the company’s Marketing Manager, Michelle Janse van Vuuren.

Guests can look forward to a few other changes at this year’s show. For the first time, Canon is introducing interactive product stations, which physically showcase the full input through to output functionality ofselected Canon products. This will give expo visitors a chance to experience the ease-of-use and vast functionality of the products, from the initiation to completion of a job.

Another first is the social media station featuring LCD Screens displaying live Twitter and Facebook feeds on the event. The area will be manned by Canon representatives who can answer questions and offer advice to interested visitors keen to stay connected with Canon. A daily photo competition will be run on this stand where visitors can take fun photos of each other, which will be placed on the Canon photo wall on the stand. One of these photos will be selected daily as the winning photo which will appear on the Canon Facebook page. Those interested can follow Canon at @Canon_SA and #canonexpo.

Copies of the photos taken at the Canon photo booth on the social media stand will also be printed and placed in frames for guests to take home.

“This year’s expo will be alive with activity at every turn. From the interactive product stations, speaker sessions, and training, to the photo booth and social media display, there will be no shortage of things to do and see at the Canon SA Expo 2013, ” concludes Janse van Vuuren.

For those interested in finding out more about the company’s office and production printing products, will be excited to know that Canon will also be showcasing their imagePRESS (Colour digital press), Arizona (Large Format flatbed) andimageRUNNER range of products for the very first time.

Visitors to the event will have unequalled opportunity to interact with Canon experts and wide range of cameras and business solutions, including being amongst the first to see and touch some of the company’s latest technologies. Aside from perusing and experiencing Canon equipment, visitors will also be able to purchase products at discounted prices. This list will be available on the Canon SA website closer to the event.


Making CRM more dynamic

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Local business solutions provider and Gold Certified Microsoft Dynamics partner, AccTech Systems, is upbeat about the release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. AccTech attended the launch of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 that was held at the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence conference in Barcelona, Spain.

The latest release features new social capabilities and industry process templates. Microsoft’s strategic alliance with InsideView, a global social intelligence provider, will bring new Social Insights to the cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service.

It is designed to offer customers an enhanced user experience that promotes end-user productivity and demonstrates the value of Microsoft technologies. This includes interoperability with Yammer, Lync and Skype — delivering sales, service, marketing and industry professionals a seamless and customisable experience.

AccTech Systems CEO Tertius Zitzke says the new version offers an amazing customer experience. “The availability of a new set of industry-focused business process templates, as part of the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM release, will provide customers with a step-by-step process guideline that is designed to improve performance in specific industries.”

David Cosgrave, CRM Business Unit Manager at AccTech Systems concurs: “The adaptability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will make it possible for customers across different industry sectors to greatly reduce deployment timelines. Add to that the freedom of choice between and on premise or a cloud-based deployment now means that CRM features previously only available to enterprise customers, is now in reach of every business in virtually any industry sector.”

Microsoft is introducing new templates for a number of specific industries, such as professional services, manufacturing and financial services, as well as processes for event management and solution selling.

Cosgrave says these completely configurable business processes incorporate best practices from industry experts. “They give customers a starting point to build a solution to fulfill their specific industry requirements.”

In addition, these templates flow onto all mobile devices supported by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, meaning customers can get the benefits of these processes on their favorite supported mobile device.

It also features new capabilities to enable sales, marketing and customer care professionals to match customers and prospects to the products and services they want, engage customers at the right moment, and nurture customer relationships.

“These personal experiences are delivered through a new people-first design that offers a simple and immersive layout where all customer information is on one screen, helping people easily see everything they need to know about their customer interactions in one place,” explains Cosgrave.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM also offers a new outcome-driven user experience featuring guided processes that help customers reach their desired outcomes. These processes can be tailored to accommodate particular business requirements that enable people to deliver an experience that matches their customers’ expectations. The benefits to organisations include shorter sales cycles, increased win rates and less ramp-up time for new hires.

He says the ability to stay pervasively connected to customers and resources by putting social tools in the context of what people are doing. “With Yammer, customers can quickly comment on posts or start contextual conversations from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises and online. Yammer extends across an organisation, bringing everyone into the conversation, including non-licensed CRM customers from within Yammer.”

With the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM release, customers get access to new mobile client applications on Windows 8 tablets and iPads, as well as touch-enabled experiences on Windows Phones, iPhones and Android phones coming within the next month. This gives customers powerful functionality and analytics on the go, without a separate license fee.

“These new tablet experiences keep people connected to their data, their team members and, most important, their customers, allowing subject-matter experts to be a click away,” he concludes.

The web chat comeback, with more benefits for business

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

Web chat, a tool before its time in the 90s, is making a comeback, now offering contact centres a useful alternative channel with a broad range of functionality, says Karl Reed, Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer at Elingo.

When web chat emerged in the late 90s/early 2000s, it did not see mainstream uptake, mainly because the market was not ready for it. Internet users were not well-versed in the benefits of instant messaging, and businesses had yet to embrace the concept of multi-channel customer communications.

But times have changed, and businesses around the world are starting to see new value in web chat as a customer service platform. While contact centres may be the first to revive web chat as a channel, we are also seeing interest in it from individual business departments such as finance and accounts, as a means to interact with customers, as well as from businesses adopting web chat as a tool for internal communications and training.

Because web chat is presented as a real time chat forum, it lends itself to immediate resolution of queries and problems. And because the customer may take some time to respond or to act on a recommendation from the agent during the interaction, the agent is able to manage multiple customer interactions simultaneously – unlike with a voice call. Depending on the agent’s capacity to multitask and text quickly, this could mean an agent is now able to manage up to four interactions simultaneously, enhancing cost effectiveness and efficiency in the contact centre.

Web chat is text based, and allows for very clear communications, with little chance of a misunderstanding. It also lends itself to easy storage and analysis of the interaction, and it is possible to automate the mailing of a copy of the interaction to the customer. In the case of a complex query where an agent guided a customer through the steps of a process for example, this means the customer can refer to the record of the interaction in future, and does not have to call the contact centre again.

A particularly useful component of web chat is the ability for the agent to co-browse with the customer. Without any security risks, agents are able to view on their screen what the customer is seeing, and so can direct the customer through the steps needed to solve his problem. In cases of customers who are not tech literate, this could extend so far as to allowing the agent to complete forms, push links to them or step in to resolve browser problems for them. The potential applications for co-browsing in web chats extend to demonstrations, training and the sharing of visual material.

With advanced contact centres constantly looking to expand their channels, control costs and improve the customer experience, web chat presents a highly useful and cost-effective additional channel, with a rapid return on investment. As with all technologies, it may not be suited for every business or department, and depends on a company having a well-designed web site at the outset.

But in contact centres equipped to manage texts and other channels, with a suitable website in place, web chat functionality can be rolled out in under a month and show benefits almost immediately.

Importantly, it adds one more way for businesses to interact with customers immediately, on any device customers choose. If web chat is implemented well, integrated into the overall contact centre systems, and interactions via web chat are kept personal – avoiding scripted responses – web chat can contribute significantly to the overall customer experience.

Adapt IT announces upgrade to OpSUITE 6 for operations environment

By admin, 20 listopada, 2013, No Comment

IT services and solutions company Adapt IT has released OpSUITE 6, the latest version of its suite of software solutions for safety and operations management. OpSUITE enables companies to improve operations performance, enhance worker safety and drive organisational excellence. It can be implemented as a fully integrated suite, or as individual modules to address specific challenges faced by operations managers in process plants, mines and power stations, and oil and gas companies.

This latest version, which includes a number of new features requested by customers, as well as productivity improvements for end users, offers several enhancements over previous releases, in line with Adapt IT’s ongoing development of the suite.

“OpSUITE 6 makes operations managers’ lives easier than ever,” says Scott Bredin, executive manager at Adapt IT. “In today’s economy, people who run complex plants and are responsible for meeting production targets, have to do more with less, while maintaining stringent quality standards. OpSUITE enables exactly that, by ensuring compliance, worker health and safety, optimal use of assets and minimal downtime. The benefits of this latest version include greater efficiency in handling complex shutdown isolation scenarios, as well as improved compliance with enterprise IT standards and a standardised integration layer.”

Improvements include support for the latest Microsoft platforms, and integration with Microsoft SharePoint. The business rule framework has been extended to FlexiLOG, Adapt IT’s powerful plant communication tool, which enables better operations control processes. FlexiLOG manages shift-handover logs, and other essential operating information, turning operators’ day-to-day interaction with the plant and systems into vital plant intelligence that is available to everyone. OpSUITE 6 likewise includes improved alerts for non-conformances and notifications for action.

The suite is available on Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, which enables users to run highly available applications without focusing on the infrastructure. It provides automatic OS and service patching, built in network load balancing and resiliency to hardware failure. “This means that customers can cut server hardware costs and easily scale up or down as system usage changes,” adds Bredin.

The OpSUITE remote service model has been refined over more than a decade, allowing Adapt IT to cost-effectively support operations in far-flung locations. In addition, the software is currently being used in a wide range of operations, from nuclear power generation to gold mining, proving that OpSUITE’s set of solutions are highly flexible and can be implemented in any operations environment.

Adapt IT provides a comprehensive upgrade path for existing OpSUITE customers, and a number of these have already migrated to the upgraded product. “New and existing customers can be assured that Adapt IT will continue to invest in the development of OpSUITE to ensure that the entire product line remains current,” says Bredin. “We have a strong vision for this system into the future and work on version 6.1 is already in progress. Some of the exciting new features across the suite include mobile processing of permits, improved work order planning, new deployment options, and a slew of user interface refinements. Version 6.1 is due for release in the first quarter of 2014.”

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