Archive for Grudzień, 2013

Five technical considerations to resolve before moving into the cloud

By admin, 10 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

Cloud computing has revolutionised the IT space, offering companies of all sizes easy access to technology over their existing network and allowing many services to be offered on a ‘pay per use’ basis instead of requiring large capital investment. However, moving into the cloud is often not as simple as it seems, and if this move is not done correctly and with the right approach, cloud solution could fail to deliver and negatively impact an organisation. For cloud services to be effective, the network needs to support multiple services and deliver maximum value, offer faster time to service and deliver a better experience for the end user. Before moving into the cloud, there are several technical considerations that need to be resolved, specifically around the network design itself.

“The cloud offers many business advantages, including scalability, rapid deployment of new services, improved efficiency and lower total cost of ownership. Business agility can also be achieved once the cloud is implemented correctly; it acts as an enabler for a multitude of services and applications. Users can simply attach to the cloud to access the services they need, which allows them to access these services on any device of their choosing. Without the cloud, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), mobility and remote working cannot be delivered in a strategic manner while protecting the security of the company. The cloud is therefore intrinsically tied to business agility, and an organisation’s cloud strategy should support this,” says Paul Fick, Chief Technology Officer at Jasco.

“One of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to implementing cloud solutions is the traditional design of networks, which are simply not compatible with the concept of cloud. Traditional networks are too complex and static, consisting of multiple layers and different technologies, which makes virtualising solutions nearly impossible. The design based on core, distribution and access is not flexible enough for cloud provisioning, and to introduce the agility required on such a network requires significant work and massive increases in the complexity of the design, which is counter-intuitive since the cloud is all about simplification. Automatic provisioning is all but impossible, and services require many man-hours to be delivered. To successfully implement cloud solutions, a fundamental redesign of network architecture is necessary, removing layers, adding flexibility, and enabling users to attach wherever they need to rather than specifying tunnels and access points,” adds Andrew Larkins, Systems Engineer at Avaya Networking.

When it comes to network design in support of cloud solutions, there are five key technical considerations that should be resolved. These considerations are not linear, but all work in harmony to deliver the correct network architecture to deliver efficient, effective and usable cloud services.

1. Simplify the network

For cloud services, a simplified network is critical to providing the flexibility needed. Redundant architecture and unnecessary layers should be removed, reducing the complexity of the various protocols and leveraging shortest path bridging. The network architecture should be flattened to drive simplification through Layer 2, enabling rapid, automatic provisioning of services. Through this simplification process, agility can be achieved. Flattening the network architecture also reduces the number of network architects required and assists with achieving the scale required to achieve improved total cost of ownership. Automation of configuration is now also possible, which reduces the time to deliver services.

2. Enable ease of support

“Ease of support ties back into the technical complexity of the network. The simpler the network architecture, the easier it is to support. By simplifying the network and removing the layers which needed their own support, and by removing silos, it is possible to have one person supporting the whole system. This means that services can be deployed much faster, as services are provisioned at the edge of the network. Support and troubleshooting are simplified as the path through the network is clear and easy to understand, and quality of service can be easily enforced as a result,” says Larkins.

3. Ensure a fast, secure, resilient, reliable, scalable and flexible architecture

When creating a cloud and provisioning cloud services, security is critical and it is vital to ensure users only have access to the services they need. In terms of resiliency, the cloud must be always-on, so multiple forwarding paths and an active-active pat design are needed. When a connection failure occurs, it must reconverge automatically in the fastest time possible, and with multiple active links it is possible to achieve reliability and flexibility. Scalability ensures that if new services or more users need to be added, the network can accommodate this with automatic provisioning. A simplified, agile network ensures that more services can be loaded quickly and easily, and the network is able to manage itself automatically.

“The cloud should follow a ‘build once, deploy many’ architecture, which requires a consistent fabric and the ability to deploy services end-to-end, extending the cloud to the edge of the network, through the user and out to remote sites. The further toward the edge this is extended, the more automated the network can become, and therefore the higher the resiliency. This is all about intelligent, innovative network design,” adds Larkins.

4. Incorporate open standards for interoperability

“Vendor lock in will limit the ability to design a best-of-breed network to deliver the required services and applications. Organisations should be able to select from a basket of services to make sure solutions meet the needs for their network and business requirements. If this is not possible, then scalability is limited, and the network may meet immediate requirements but fail to deliver in the future. Adherence to open standards should be high on the list to ensure that business value can be derived from the network,” says Fick.

5. Build the network to deliver the service that the application needs

The network needs to be fit for purpose, delivering the service the application needs rather than trying to retrofit services onto an unsuitable architecture. Trying to crowbar agile cloud services onto legacy architecture seriously limits the ability to create the necessary real-time collaborative network that cloud thrives on.

“Networking has changed. We are no longer in a static environment where IT builds the network and then tells business what services they can have. With cloud business tells IT which applications they want to deploy, and expects that the network will be able to support this. A fast, flexible, secure, resilient and scalable network is critical for a cloud-based architecture that delivers on business requirements. Each of these five aspects works hand in hand to deliver just that,” says Larkins.

6.  Selecting the right partner

Network design is critical in cloud architecture, however this is not a core skill of the majority of organisations. Partnering with the right service provider, with the specialist skills required, will ensure that all of these technical considerations are resolved in the network design. A service provider should offer vendor-agnostic, best-of-breed solutions that deliver a complete, valuable solution to customers. Solutions should be made up of the best offerings across the board, which may not be offered by any single vendor. The right partner will ensure an industry-wide view, mapped to customer-specific business requirements, to put together the best solution – an economically viable network that meets business requirements now and into the future.

 

Taking mobility into Africa

By admin, 10 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

NETCB, one of Novell’s mobility partners in Africa, has introduced a range of mobile solutions for the African market. This complete mobility solution for enterprises provides comprehensive mobile device management, it ensures secure mobile productivity and delivers safe file sharing and mobile printing capabilities from any device.

As the workplace environment becomes increasingly more mobile, NETCB is dedicated to delivering enterprise-quality solutions that allow organisations to meet employee demand for anywhere, anytime access while providing IT with control in the digital landscape.

NETCB’s CEO Cobus Burgers says mobility is expanding rapidly through the African continent. “The introduction of enterprise mobility to the IT environment is about much more than just facilitating BYOD. It’s about tangibly enhancing productivity without compromising security.”

“But for IT departments, increasing mobility means problems, strange devices on their doorstep, corporate files wandering the cloud and users demanding the office infrastructure on every device,” he explains.

More than 60 percent of knowledge workers believe that they don’t need an office to do their job. They are becoming more mobile and they use mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to do their work. However, more than 50 percent of these mobile workers ask for mobile printing options as a critical requirement.

And while everybody seems to share corporate files, 77 percent of organisations reportedly don’t have a solution for secure Enterprise Mobile File Synchronisation and Sharing implemented yet.

NETCB’s rapidly growing mobility portfolio was developed to provide solutions to allow businesses to adapt to the constantly evolving mobile workforce. These solutions allow them to embrace BYOD and other mobile-focused trends while providing IT with the resources to maintain control and security of data, no matter where it is accessed or from what device.

More importantly, NETCB understands what the world looks like from a customer perspective. It deploys world-class products that can help address business challenges, capitalise on industry trends and meet the needs of disparate users more effectively than ever before.

He says the introduction of enterprise mobility to the IT environment is about much more than just facilitating BYOD. “It’s about tangibly enhancing productivity without compromising security. Meeting your organisation’s needs for secure and productive user mobility requires a multi-faceted approach, one that includes letting users access and work on files from anywhere, print easily to any printer from any location and manage whatever devices they choose to use to perform those tasks.”

There are many vendors claiming to offer “Dropbox for the enterprise,” but true mobile enterprise file sharing demands more than a pithy slogan. It requires a high level of security and accountability, thorough controls and other features that empower IT to protect an organisation’s interests.

“If you’re looking for a complete mobility solution for your enterprise, one that includes safe file sharing, mobile device management and printing from any device, NETCB’s mobility experts can demonstrate how to leverage your existing infrastructure effectively to make it work in a mobile context,” says Burgers.

 

New Jasco APS solution from Jasco Power Solutions delivers constant three-phase power

By admin, 10 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

Jasco Power Solutions has recently launched its new Auto Phase Selector (APS) to protect mission-critical equipment at telecommunications and GSM base stations by ensuring continuous clean power for sites where the mains power supply is irregular and unstable. By providing a constant three phases of electricity at all times, the APS enables equipment to continue to run on utility power without the need for a backup generator until all phases are either out of specified tolerance or are completely unavailable.

In instances where the supply of one or two phases of a three-phase electrical system becomes unavailable, the APS will automatically distribute the electrical supply to the failed phases using instant automatic phase switchover. The result is that all three outputs remain in phase without a dangerous phase shift occurring, and ensures a continuous power supply through all three-phase outputs, even if only one phase is available. The load is redistributed from three lines to two or even a single phase in line, preventing the resultant issues and damage to sensitive equipment that can occur from a load imbalance.

“The Jasco APS has been designed specifically for the telecommunications and GSM segments, and is 100% locally fabricated to meet the needs of the African market. In many environments where these industries operate, the base stations are located in areas where mains power supply is unhealthy or is not entirely stable. This means that equipment that requires three-phase power to run can easily be damaged and service disrupted should one or more of the phases go down,” says Marco da Silva, General Manager, Jasco Power Solutions.

“To counter that, the majority of carriers rely on generators, which kick in the moment one phase is unavailable. This is a costly process as the diesel required to run the generators can be expensive, and this method can also disrupt service levels as generators start up. Using the Jasco APS, the reliance on generators is reduced, as this solution automatically continues to supply three phases even if only one phase of utility power is available,” he explains.

The Jasco APS is immune to excessive overvoltage between any phase and neutral. This means that should a phase imbalance occur, often as a result of the loss of the neutral line, equipment connected to the APS will be protected from overvoltage situations that can blow equipment up, causing massive disruptions and additional expenses. The APS also protects from load misbalance, a common occurrence when phases are disrupted and phase shifting occurs that can cause sustained increases or decrease in voltage, which can seriously damage expensive equipment. By ensuring that all phases remain stable at 120 degrees, this scenario is avoided.

“The Jasco APS also incorporates advanced Solid State Relays (SSR) technology for fast switchover. This ensures that the load is not interrupted, which prevents disruptions in service, and further protects equipment from the dangers of unhealthy power supply. In scenarios where all three phases are available, the APS runs invisibly, maintaining the original phase line power distribution. By implementing this APS solution, telecoms and GSM carriers can minimise the impact of unstable power and reduce their reliance on generators, saving time and money as well as protecting vital equipment,” da Silva concludes.

The Jasco APS is available immediately from Jasco Power Solutions.

 

5 Global consumer growth trends – crystal ball predictions for 2014

By admin, 10 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

By Aneesh Reddy, Co-Founder and CEO, Capillary Technologies

It would be nice for any business to be able to know market trends before they happen and plan accordingly. Unfortunately, no one can see the future.

But don’t worry: some market trends are unmistakable. And when you can see trends develop in real-time based on proper analytics and flexible game plans, your business can capitalize, no matter how the market behaves.

So regardless of your industry, here are five insights you can take to the bank on consumer behaviour in 2014.

1. Mobile will overtake desktop for internet usage.

It doesn’t take a single statistic for your average city dweller to describe the power of mobile phones (especially smartphones) in the mind of the consumer. Phones are a constant in society; The average person checks their phone 110 times per day!

A Microsoft infographic perfectly illustrates the degree to which mobile internet users will surpass desktop users, along with several other rather startling stats about American mobile phone use (US users spend 2.7 hours per day socializing through their mobile devices, and 29% are open to using a mobile device to scan for coupons. The story doesn’t change when it comes to email, either: 48% of all emails read are now opened and read on a mobile device.

When the internet is right there in the palm of consumer hands in the form of their trusty portable communications device, it is only natural for them to surf the web more often and use that device to purchase. That’s what we are seeing, and that’s what we will continue to see, too.

2. Emerging Markets will continue their torrid growth.
Emerging market growth has gone from overlooked opportunity to crowded, explosive, high-growth market. In 2013, growth in emerging markets outpaced advanced markets for the first time ever, coming in at nearly $2 trillion higher. An Ernest & Young report on global markets suggests 70% of growth over the next few years will come from emerging markets, including 40% from India and China alone. These markets will take their place as major competitive territory for big and small brands alike, as the volume of consumers balloons more and more.

To reap the largest profits, be open to opportunities in all markets.

3. Older markets will continue to grow.

We all get older, and we live longer than ever. Therefore, it only makes sense that the 65+ consumer is becoming more and more plentiful. This key consumer segment makes up roughly 40% of all consumer spending. That spending is overrepresented given the actual population of this consumer group; while the population is growing overall, the 65+ crowd makes up roughly 12% of the actual population.

Expect a continuation of this overall trend. Older consumers will make up the largest consumer group on the open market soon; how much acceleration toward that natural trend outcome we see in 2014 is a question that can only be answered by the spending habits of consumers.

4. Crowdfunding will POP.

Modern crowdfunding has been around since 1997, but it has been around in some form or fashion for a few hundred years. Still, crowdfunding has gained much greater popularity in recent years with the rise of Kickstarter (the non-profit engine started in 2009) and RocketHub (started in 2010).

This movement has yielded excellent results for several incredible companies, including virtual reality champion Virtuix’s $1 Million+ campaign in their launch of the hyper advanced Virtuix Omni; Sock Monkeys Against Cancer (SMAC), which raised $35,000 creating huggable sock monkeys for cancer victims; Makey Makey, an invention kit product that raised more than half a million dollars; and many more.

These are not entirely isolated incidents; it turns out crowdfunding is probably here to stay. An industry report from MassSolution claims crowdfunding will double from $2.7 billion in 2013 to $5.4 billion in 2014. Small businesses are putting campaigns out there, and consumers are opening their wallets.

5. Customers will more actively engage brands on social media.

Either social media is an effective tool to foster customer loyalty, customers actively seek out brands they like on social media, or social media advertising works. Whatever the cause, consumers continue to engage brands on social media on a regular basis. The number of people following brands on social networks has more than doubled the last few years.

There is some interesting deeper data behind this trend, too. Customers who do engage brands on social media are 53% more likely to be loyal customers of the brands they follow.

And the #1 reason customers follow brands is to get discounts and coupons.

Look for more customer chatter, and for companies to respond more commonly, encouraging that chatter to grow even more.

 

Nokia’s Project Come Closer – relive, reconnect and recreate

By admin, 8 grudnia, 2013, No Comment
Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia Lumia 1020

Nokia has launched Project Come Closer, an opportunity for South Africans to share their favourite photo memories of times past and stand a chance to have these recreated by Nokia. This will include a journey to find and reconnect with the people that are in the photo; in the place it was taken.

Sometimes old photos are the only link to a time, a place, to people we’ve known, or people we’ve lost touch with.

Nokia would like to take people on a journey to recreate their fondest memories and reunite them with friends and family.

Thanks to leading imaging technology, Nokia owners always have the ability to capture quality images of special moments no matter where or when they occur, and enjoy the promise of keeping these memories for a lifetime.

To celebrate this, Nokia is asking South Africans to share their photos so the original picture might be recreated with the incredible Nokia Lumia 1020.

The winning photo memory will also have the entire journey filmed as a short documentary so that people everywhere can share in the amazing experience.

To stand a chance to have your memory recreated, simply share a loved old photo at http://www.nokia.com/za-en/comecloser/ and Nokia will do the rest.

For more on the Nokia Lumia 1020 visit: http://www.nokia.com/za-en/phones/phone/lumia1020/.

ITS iEnabler streamlines student registrations at ORBIT FET College

By admin, 7 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

With three campuses offering a wide range of vocational and occupational programmes, the ORBIT Further Education and Training (FET) College offers students in the North West Province exposure to a stimulating learning environment. However, the year-on-year increases in student registrations led to the implementation of the ITS iEnabler system by Adapt IT, to solve this and many other challenges facing the college.

Although the college already utilises the ITS Integrator system, which provides a rich set of functionality to enable back-office and front-office operations, the initial capturing of student information has always been done via a manual, paper-based system. The captured information is only then transferred onto the ITS Integrator system, according to Dr Joe Viljoen, Manager of the Data and Information Unit at ORBIT. This, he adds, was obviously extremely time-consuming and meant that students had to manually complete forms.

“Understanding that student registration is always a taxing time for any educational establishment, and stretches resources and systems in all departments, Adapt IT recommended the iEnabler solution. We obviously have a short period of time to assist a large number of students and our student population itself is growing at an alarming rate. The manual nature of the original system inevitably led to long queues and therefore irritated students,” he says.

“The ITS iEnabler system was identified as the means to solve the myriad challenges we faced. These included the length of time our data capturing was taking, as well as the system becoming very slow, due to too many users in the Back Office. ITS iEnabler has thus helped us to streamline both our administration processes and our communication with our students.”

Karen Cupido, the Adapt IT consultant working with ORBIT on the project takes up the story: “The ITS Integrator iEnabler system allows students and staff quick access to their information through user-friendly, browser-based applications. Access can be gained either over the Internet or the Intranet of the institution through secure log-ons, making these self-service applications widely available to their respective target audiences.”

Cupido points out that the system allows for data entry and validation by the end-user, resulting in data ownership and higher levels of data accuracy. Automated routing for notification is also performed. Additionally from a compliance perspective, it allows for the online registration of the financial auditors.

“At ORBIT, the decision was taken to structure the roll out of the iEnabler system in phases, with the first phase focusing on the critical issue of student online applications and registrations.”

Viljoen suggests that the mere fact that the iEnabler offers an electronic means of capturing the data, along with a few validations, checks and balances, and copying it to the ITS Integrator system, means that it has massively reduced data capture efforts.

“Moreover, it has provided students with easy to use, real time information, and since more students can be assisted while less staff are needed to provide support, it has freed up the academic staff to concentrate on what they do best.”

“On average, the time it takes students to complete the online registration process has now been reduced to mere minutes and we have received positive feedback from staff and students alike. In fact, we are now looking forward to the start of our next academic year, because as far as student registrations go, we anticipate that this will be the smoothest year ever,” concludes Viljoen.

 

Awards galore for Smoke CCS

By admin, 7 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

Solidifying its position as the leader in the customer care arena, Smoke Customer Care Solutions (CCS) recently scooped the Director General’s Award for Overall Excellence, the most prestigious award at the Technology Top 100 (TT100) Business Awards for 2013.

The company also received the TT100 Award for Excellence in the Management of People and also finished in the top 5 at the inaugural Accenture Innovation Index Awards in South Africa.

Since its inception by the Da Vinci Institute more than two decades ago, the TT100 Business Awards have become the premier benchmark for recognising excellence in the management of technology, innovation and people across South African businesses.

Smoke CCS managing directors Andrew Cook and Andrew Burns were thrilled to have walked away with the most prestigious award of the event.

Cook says the TT100 Director General’s Award for Overall Excellence recognises innovation and constant re-evaluation of market offerings. “More importantly, it recognises excellence in Enterprise Development, Corporate Social Investment, Empowerment, Social Innovation and a growing local and international market base.”

“The award for Excellence in the Management of People encapsulates the critical role people play in enhancing their competitive advantage as well as the company’s value system and organisational climate. It shows that our staff are incentivised and encouraged to become part of the innovation process,” he explains.

The Accenture Innovation Index received 190 entries from a range of organisations across multiple industries and Smoke CCS finished in the top 5. Accenture teamed with The Da Vinci Institute to develop an authoritative and objective snapshot of the current state of innovation in South Africa.

Burns says the Accenture Innovation Index Awards will re-energise South Africa through cultivating an innovation mindset. “Innovation is essential, it helps build a better, more competitive business environment. We are honored to finish in the top 5 and extremely proud of our achievements this year.”

The Accenture Innovation Index Awards allows organisations to get closer to their innovation DNA by undergoing a business health check. The findings help them refine their innovation competency.

“We need to be innovative when applying our best of breed multi-channel feedback technology. We are helping hundreds of companies understand their customers’ service experience and through innovation, we empower them to be able to take action on feedback immediately,” he explains.

The Accenture Innovation Index Awards recognise innovation in its truest form, at a concept level. These awards offer businesses a national benchmark for innovation by showcasing how innovation captures value in new ways, drives profitable revenue growth and enables organisations to maintain a competitive advantage over the longer term.

“We believe accolades such as these reflect our drive to become a global player and offer best of breed solutions designed to enable companies to rapidly respond to the voice of the customer. Focusing on achieving even greater heights in 2014, we plan to expand our global footprint with high-calibre partners in Africa, the UK, and Europe,” concludes Burns.

Are enterprise companies the new ice exporters

By admin, 5 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

Why big companies may have already lost the race to the cloud

By Bruce von Maltitz, 1Stream

It’s hard to believe that ice was once a precious commodity. But in the early 1800s, a man called Frederic Tudor (affectionately known as the “Ice King”) made his fortune shipping thousands of tons of ice across the globe.

Until Tudor entered the scene, ice was little more than an inconvenience in winter. Thanks to his persistence, it soon became a standard offering in bars and restaurants – and even hospitals, where it was used to treat fever. It was an expensive operation – laborers sawed blocks of ice apart by hand and floated them down a stream where a conveyor belt would carry them to ice houses, where the blocks were stacked 80 feet high. In the end, only one tenth of the ice would actually remain sellable – but it did not prevent Tudor from shipping more than 52,000 tons of ice across the United States, as well as far-off colonies such as Calcutta. Ice boomtowns sprouted up, providing employment for hundreds of ice farmers. It became one of the most powerful industries in the world.

And then came the electric freezer and refrigerator. By 1940, 5 million people were making ice in their homes. The ice monopolies responded by implementing process improvements, lowering their prices and introducing home deliveries to ice boxes, but their decline was rapid and inevitable. The ice shipping industry disappeared as quickly as it appeared, with no hope of making a comeback.

There are many similar examples across history – huge monopolies and entire industries have boomed and disappeared. The lesson is simple: no company is too large, too sophisticated and too powerful to fall. You have to keep your eye on the horizon or you may find yourself swiftly replaced. Today, this is most evident in ICT industry – not only with consumer hardware, where the latest gadget is replaced within a matter of months, but in the corporate IT space where large vendors and enterprises are usurped by newcomers with new innovations, particularly in the cloud.

Whenever one talks about the big players in the cloud space, the names that pop up are ones that didn’t exist 10 years ago – Dropbox, Skype, Salesforce.com. These companies emerged out of nowhere, with an entirely new way and improved way of doing business. They became household names. And the larger vendors in the market are unable to usurp them.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that once a new innovation has knocked the old from its pedestal, no amount of tweaking, readjusting and modifying can revive it. The reason the likes of Skype and Dropbox are successful is because they were born in the cloud. They created technology for the cloud, in the cloud. The products that the larger vendors and technology companies produced were never designed to operate that way. They are trying to adjust their solutions, of course, but it there is simply too much baggage and too large an amount of legacy investment to compete with these newcomers in a significant way.

Having worked in hosted solutions from both sides of the coin – within a large corporate organisation and as an independent company – I can safely say that the enterprise model of doing business did not afford us the same agility and flexibility we enjoyed after founding 1Stream, a company built in the cloud for the cloud. Enterprises that are typically used to selling products that are simply sold, installed and plugged in with minimal assistance are struggling to meet customers’ need for adaptability and hands-on service that is part and parcel of the hosted model. As Mark Benioff of Salesforce always says, “It’s called software as a service, not software sold in a box”.

This begs the question: have the large companies lost the cloud? The ones who are stuck in service delivery boxes certainly have. They aren’t selling a true solution to a clients’ problem, they are selling products. It’s a myopic view, comparable to selling large blocks of ice rather than meeting the need for having cold food and drinks on hand, even if meeting that need means changing the way you’ve always run your business.

The cloud companies that have entered and dominated the market didn’t do so because they had large resources or a household name to back them, but because they responded to the need for flexible, affordable, scalable solutions in their respective markets.

Enterprise companies have to rethink the way they approach the cloud – or they will find themselves firmly left behind in the Ice Age.

 

 

See the bigger picture – extend your computing experience with multiple monitors

By admin, 5 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

By Francois van Wijk, HP PSG Business Unit Manager at Drive Control Corporation

Over the years, many studies have proven that more screen space equals increased productivity, and in today’s world of compact laptops and mobile devices, the easiest way to maximise screen real estate is to use multiple monitors. A dual monitor setup is most common, however, having three or even four additional monitors is possible and might be of huge benefit if you have the desk space to cater for it. From stockbrokers to office workers, designers to data capturers, having a multi-screen setup can offer significant advantages that enhance productivity and make everyday tasks simpler and more efficient.

Multitask with ease

In today’s working world it is not uncommon to have multiple windows with various different programmes running at the same time. Using a multi-monitor setup means that you can have more of these windows open and visible at all times, rather than having to minimise all but the one you are currently working on. This means you can have your email open on the right hand screen while you work in a browser or a word processor, or you can have a document or browser open for ease of reference. Flipping back and forth between applications is something of a juggling act, and having a second monitor can make this less painful, increasing user productivity.

Save the environment by not printing

Instead of printing documents that need to be referenced, you can simply have them open on another monitor. The same goes for emails, instructions, videos and anything else that needs to be referenced while you work. Again, rather than having to refer to a printed document or flip between screens, a second monitor allows the content to be displayed for greater productivity and reduced stress.

Simplify your working experience

Laptops are great for portability and convenience, but often have small screens that can be difficult to work with for long periods of time in an office environment. A second monitor and even keyboard, mouse, USB hubs and more can all be easily connected with a ‘docking station’ setup, offering an excellent alternative to having both a laptop and a desktop computer. Having multiple monitors also enables data and information to be shared between different applications more easily, as moving from one screen to another is often simpler than using multiple applications on one screen.

Collaborate and communicate more effectively

Collaboration tools are a growing trend, and the ability to conduct Video Conferences (VC) can be highly beneficial. However, this often means that in order to access any other programmes, you need to minimise the video client, which defeats the purpose of video calling. Having multiple monitors addresses this problem with ease. The video client can be open on one monitor, while the second can be used to access data, information and other programmes. You can also often share one of your screens via the video client, and have access to emails, social media and other communication channels, for more effective communication and collaboration.

The flip side

Setting up a dual monitor scenario is easy and cost effective, however, the biggest downside is that it takes up space. Monitors come in many different sizes, so in order to maximise productivity and minimise desktop footprint, ensure that you purchase one that fits your space, your needs and your budget. It may also be necessary to upgrade your video card, as it is necessary to have multiple video outputs to use multiple monitors. Having multiple monitors may also increase potential for distraction, but the productivity enhancements more than outweigh this issue.

Simple steps, big benefits

Adding a second monitor to an existing laptop or desktop setup is simple and fairly straightforward. In a desktop scenario, the video card needs to have ports for two monitors, and for a laptop one port for an external monitor is necessary. Many desktops today come standard with this feature, and the majority of laptops include an auxiliary screen output as a matter of course. Once this has been established, it is a simple matter of connecting the screen and personalising your display settings to set up primary and secondary monitors. With a second monitor in place, working with multiple applications becomes far easier, with resulting increases in productivity, which will benefit any user in practically any industry.

Mainframes: underpinning the cloud

By admin, 4 grudnia, 2013, No Comment

Contrary to some beliefs that the cloud will replace the mainframe, IBM Solutions Sales Manager Satish Babu points out that the mainframe supports cloud.

“There is a misconception that the cloud computing environment excludes mainframes, and legacy systems. On the contrary, the mainframe was introduced to serve as the most robust, scaleable system ever. Now, coupled with new open standards interfaces, we can take the strengths of the mainframe into the new world.”

“The mainframe is no dinosaur, and it’s not going away. In fact, uptake is increasing globally and the mainframe is more flexible than ever before, while its robustness, availability and reliability are improved year on year. The mainframe is only a legacy system if it is not being used effectively. Where industry is innovating on the mainframe, its strengths enable new technologies,” he says.

Babu says cloud is a construct in which infrastructure and software come into play in a virtualised environment, and the mainframe is an infrastructure element of the overall construct. “So they are not two different worlds,” he points out. He notes that as the enterprise IT environment becomes increasingly complex, IT looks to move a dispersed computing environment back to a consolidated, single system of records, shared across geographical areas and devices for a lower total cost of ownership. “You still need a mainframe, and it becomes a very viable infrastructure from which to deploy cloud services,” he says.

For large enterprises with data security concerns, such as banks, this implies moving to a private cloud supported by a mainframe. Most of the world’s top banks and largest insurance companies run mainframes – specifically, IBM System z, notes IBM, and mainframes process roughly 30 billion transactions a day. For other enterprises, the public cloud or a hybrid model may deliver the necessary benefits and economies of scale. “We see organisations across the board moving toward the cloud,” Babu says. “As virtualisation emerged, we saw less infrastructure needed. This led to standardisation, then automation, then cloud. It is all part of an incremental process of consolidation and improvement in cost containment and service delivery.”

IBM itself carried out a server consolidation project, called ‘Project Big Green’, starting in 2007, in which 3,900 servers were consolidated onto 16 mainframes, significantly decreasing the floor space and power required. “In South Africa, where enterprises are challenged with cost containment, consolidation delivers greater value,” he says.

The optimised mainframe environment is supporting more than the cloud, adds Babu. “Now we are seeing increasing interest around mobile and the mainframe too. Clearly as long as we keep innovating on the mainframe, it will always remain relevant.”

 

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