Archive for Luty, 2014

New high-performance gaming router from Netgear

By admin, 28 lutego, 2014, No Comment

A new high-performance router targeting the gaming market has been released by Duxbury Networking, distributors of Netgear products in South Africa.

The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is a gigabit WiFi router built with data streaming and mobile devices in mind, says Andy Robb, chief technology officer at Duxbury Networking.

Key features of the Netgear Nighthawk include a 1GHZ dual core processor designed to help gamers enjoy less lag and buffering. A number of LED indicators highlight router status while there are options to turn the device’s wireless capability on or off. There is a facility to enable WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) should a client device be connected.

The router has the ability to support physical link rates of 1300 mbps on its 5GHz radio (using the 802.1ac networking standard) and rates of 600 mbps on its 2.4GHz radio (using the 802.11n networking standard).

“The higher-than-usual 2.4GHz link rate is made possible by the device’s use of 256-QAM [quadrature amplitude modulation],” explains Robb. “Most routers rely on 64-QAM, which provides a maximum link rate of 450 mbps with 2.4GHz 802.11n networks.”

Unlike a number of routers which support only upstream QoS (Quality of Service), the Nighthawk offers downstream QoS giving it the ability to recognise and prioritise network traffic.

“In situations where users compete for bandwidth, the downstream QoS feature will help resolve video-streaming problems,” says Robb who adds that for users without a NAS device, the unit’s USB 3.0 port will be attractive.

The Nighthawk also has parental control features. In addition to supporting OpenDNS, users can block websites based on keywords, and operate parental controls according to a schedule.

“Users can exempt specific PCs from the controls, while the Nighthawk can send email alerts in the event that attempts to access blocked sites and services are made,” he notes.

The Nighthawk supports OpenVPN, which gives users secure access to home networks – and the PCs running on it – from any location providing Internet access.

The router has two USB ports and is able to support both a USB printer and a USB storage device. It comes with both DLNA media and iTunes music servers, so any DLNA-compatible or Apple AirPlay device can stream media from a hard drive attached to it.

MICROmega’s official sponsorship of The Sharks starts off with a win

By admin, 28 lutego, 2014, No Comment

JSE-listed MICROmega, a holding company with controlling interests in a number of operating subsidiaries – including technology and occupational health and safety – has announced its first foray into sports sponsorship. The company is now an official sponsor of The Sharks rugby team.

The relationship got off to a good start when The Sharks beat the Bulls 31-16 in their first match of the Vodacom Super Rugby season, played at GrowthPoint KINGS PARK, at the weekend.

Greg Morris, CEO of MICROmega, said: “We are excited to be a sponsor of The Sharks and even more so as our relationship started off with a resounding win. We couldn’t have hoped for a better start.”

The Sharks CE0, John Smit added: “We are delighted to welcome MICROmega to The Sharks family and we thank them for their investment in our brand. The Sharks look forward to a mutual partnership that is based on success and growth.”

Morris said MICROmega is to be regarded as the official occupational health and safety sponsor– a role that will be fulfilled by one of the group’s subsidiaries, NOSA. NOSA is the leading global supplier of occupational risk management services and solutions.

Pictured here holding the Currie Cup and the MICROmega –sponsored jersey are, from left: Jacques Botes (Sharks), John Smit (Sharks CEO), Greg Morris (MICROmega CEO), Keegan Daniel (Sharks) and Shannon Crowder (MICROmega's Corporate Communications Manager)

Pictured here holding the Currie Cup and the MICROmega –sponsored jersey are, from left: Jacques Botes (Sharks), John Smit (Sharks CEO), Greg Morris (MICROmega CEO), Keegan Daniel (Sharks) and Shannon Crowder (MICROmega’s Corporate Communications Manager)

MICROmega’s Sebata obtains accreditation from FASSET

By admin, 27 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Sebata, a subsidiary of JSE-listed MICROmega Holdings, has been accredited by the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education Training Authority (FASSET) on various financial standards that confirms it offers a high quality of training -and has excellent management principles in place.

Sebata’s FMS Skills Programme will enhance the competency levels and strengthen learner skills through effective work-based assessment strategies.

“Additionally, since the training programme offered by Sebata is credit bearing all participants can claim the training expense against their Mandatory Grant,” said Dylan Strydom, managing director of Sebata.

“This, said Strydom, “will also assist all Sebata clients in employee development, employee retention and career enhancement.”

A further benefit of being accredited is that there will be transferable knowledge within and outside the industry through programmes aligned to the Unit Standards and its modules of competency.

The company has been fully accredited for the following Unit Standards:

  • Prepare ledger balances and an initial trial balance, SAQA US ID: 12990, NQF LEVEL5
  • Evaluate the quality of a business debtor administration, ADMINISTRATION, SAQA US ID: 12739, NQF LEVEL 4
  • Perform Value Added Tax calculations and complete returns, SAQA US ID: 114735, NQF LEVEL 4
  • Administer income and receipts, SAQA US ID: 117419, NQF LEVEL 3
  • Prepare salaries, SAQA US ID: 117426, NQF LEVEL 3
  • Prepare general ledger accounts and initial trial balance, SAQA US ID: 117427, NQF LEVEL 3

The importance of Seta accreditation for a training company is vital, said Strydom.

To offer nationally recognised training, any Training Provider needs to be accredited by a relevant Education Training Quality Assurance Body (ETQA). This approval places a tick in the correct box, indicating that the provider gives transferable, outcomes-based and relevant training and assessment.

“By using the services of an Education and Training Quality Assurer (ETQA) accredited provider, the marketplace can be satisfactorily assured that learners are indeed gaining valuable knowledge during a training intervention which they can then apply effectively in the workplace,” said Strydom.

 

Sage VIP explains how the Budget Speech and Taxation Laws Amendment Act will affect your payroll in 2014

By admin, 27 lutego, 2014, No Comment

“The new tax year is imminent and companies should take special note to verify that their HR and Payroll systems incorporate the changes introduced by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan during his Budget Speech on Wednesday, 26 February 2014,” says Yolandi Esterhuizen, the Legislation manager at Sage VIP, a leading payroll and HR solutions provider.

“If the stipulated changes are not reflected in HR and Payroll systems as from 1 March 2014, it might result in incorrect PAYE calculations.”

A positive outcome from the budget speech is the fact that Parliament proposed an increase in the cumulative exemption for retirement and severance benefits from R315 000 to R500 000. “This will result in a higher tax free portion once these benefits are paid out,” says Esterhuizen. According to the Minister, the white paper on National Health Insurance as well as the financing paper will be tabled in Cabinet soon which might result in an improved health system. It is still unsure how the NHI will be funded, but it will possibly have an effect on payrolls.

“Government is also looking into a mandatory system of retirement for all employees due to the fact that about 6 million individuals do not enjoy employer-sponsored retirement plans” says Esterhuizen.

“There was speculation that the tax brackets would not be amended. However, it was adjusted in line with inflation,” says Esterhuizen.

There were no surprises on the front of tax tables for individuals and special trusts, tax rebate amounts and tax thresholds, with inflationary adjustments being made.

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Tax rebates

The primary tax rebate amount has been adjusted to R12 726, while a secondary rebate for persons of 65 years and older is set at R7 110. A tertiary rebate for persons of 75 years and older is R2 367.

Tax thresholds

Below the age of 65, the tax threshold has been set at R70 700, ages 65 to 74 now have a tax threshold of R110 200, while ages 75 and over have a tax threshold of R123 350.

“An employee is entitled to receive a subsistence allowance when the employee is obliged to spend at least one night away from his or her usual place of residence due to the duties of his or her office or employment. The value of the deemed allowance or advance where the accommodation is in South Africa has been amended to R335 per day for meals and incidental costs and R103 per day for incidental costs only. The schedule of rates for accommodation outside the country will be published on the SARS website,” says Esterhuizen. Payments that exceed these limits will be assessed by SARS.

The medical tax credits have also been increased to R257 for the main member and first dependent and R172 for every additional dependent thereafter. The medical tax credits for employees who are 65 or older are the same as for employees who are younger than 65 years of age. No deduction for employees who are 65 and older will be allowed anymore.

Travel allowance costs have also been adjusted. “The SARS prescribed rate per kilometre increased from R3.24 to R3.30. The fixed cost, fuel and maintenance cost values have been amended and it is advisable to recalculate the value of all employees’ travel allowances from 1 March 2014,” says Esterhuizen.

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Esterhuizen concludes: “In going forward, employers should also take note of the impact of the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, 2013, on payroll systems. It is advisable for employers to ensure that these changes are being applied to their payroll system, to keep the company compliant and up to date with legislation.

For more information on the Budget Speech or to reserve a seat for the Annual Payroll Tax Seminar, please visit www.vippayroll.co.za.

Sophos delivers encryption without compromise

By admin, 27 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Sophos has announced a new approach to data protection with the latest release of Sophos SafeGuard Encryption 6.1. Enabling wide-scale adoption, Sophos is addressing the two biggest issues in encryption – performance and usability – by leveraging native operating system (OS) encryption for better performance, and delivering multi-platform management across all devices and Cloud environments.

“With this announcement, Sophos is enabling organisations to fully embrace a data-centric approach to encryption; to reach compliance standards; and to maintain credibility and good standing in today’s market, says Brett Myroff, CEO of Sophos distributor, NetXactics.”

Sophos is delivering SafeGuard Encryption 6.1 with a different approach that enables people to work the way they want to for new levels of productivity, without sacrificing time, performance or features, he adds.

For example, with Sophos SafeGuard, managing Microsoft BitLocker for Windows or Mac FileVault 2 ensures that the time required to encrypt a disk and boot up the operating system is greatly reduced, as compared to third party encryption engines. Disk encryption time is up to seven times faster and boot times are up to three times faster.

Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Microsoft, says, “From the very beginning we designed BitLocker to provide platform level encryption that provides the best possible integration, reliability, and provisioning capabilities. Sophos Safeguard offers the best of both worlds by taking everything that makes BitLocker great and adding innovative compliance and enterprise-management capabilities on top of it. This is a great example of how partners can add value on top of the Windows platform.”

The latest version of Sophos SafeGuard also solves the major challenge of managing encryption across multiple platforms, devices, as well as cloud environments. Users and IT staff are now able to share data safely between Windows, Mac and mobile devices – securing data wherever it lives and wherever it is sent. Managing multiple devices no longer means managing multiple consoles, and enables IT to fully embrace encryption, as organisations use a multitude of devices and platforms to support their users.

The Sophos encryption approach enables users to safely work the way they need to – sharing files between users, partners and customers via the cloud and the devices they use. For example, a Windows user can store data in a cloud storage system, and a partner on a Mac system can access and edit the content from their laptop or review it on their mobile device – fully encrypted and accessible only by intended users to provide complete data protection with simplified encryption management in a single console.

“Given today’s propensity for data to move outside of corporate owned devices and the data lifecycle lasting far beyond that of any laptop or smartphone, the need for a data first encryption mentality seems obvious,” says Charles Kolodgy, Research Vice President, Security, IDC. “Sophos SafeGuard Encryption is a promising addition to the encryption market and offers organisations a unique approach to getting encryption right.”

Digital: the affordable alternative to print signage

By admin, 27 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Digital signage company digiADS™ has built a unique business model that allows companies that might not otherwise be able to afford digital signage to implement it. digiADS operates a franchise model that puts screens from local display company PVision in stores displaying location-appropriate advertising. Store owners receive a portion of the revenue each display generates and can advertise their own services on other displays in their region for a nominal fee.

digiADS Digital Display Advertising was developed with a focused strategy to be cost-effective and affordable, and offers controlled distribution and playback of digital content across networks of displays.

Founded in 2009, digiADS began its location-based advertising service with five displays. Today the company operates more than 60 displays, with a further 25 due to come online in coming months.

Digital signage has many advantages over traditional print materials: it’s more easily updated and allows for more targeted or responsive campaigns, can be controlled on site or remotely, and doesn’t incur repeat costs.

digiADS targets small- and medium-sized enterprises and allows independent or smaller retailers to both advertise on digital signage themselves and generate revenue from hosting their own in-store digital displays. Those choosing to advertise on digiADS network of displays can decide exactly which locations they would like their ad to appear in. Larger advertisers, meanwhile, can choose to run campaigns across the entire network should they wish to.

Louis Visser, national sales manager at digiADS, says digital signage offers an affordable alternative to print signage and explains that the company targets four primary sectors.

“By making their communications more relevant and memorable, advertisers can reach key audiences in the retail, healthcare, leisure and recreation, as well as the food and beverage industries. In exchange for installing our displays we give business owners free advertising inside their own premises so they can share information about their business, whether about current specials or to up-sell,” Visser explains.

While businesses cannot use the network to advertise their services on a direct competitor’s displays — for example, in the case of rival supermarkets — digiADS enables businesses to advertise in their own areas. A supermarket could, for example, advertise its fresh produce specials in the local butchery.

Visser says the service is particularly well-suited to electricians, plumbers and other small business owners looking to advertise in specific areas and who cannot afford traditional advertising like print or outdoor advertising.

To encourage measurability and make the most of the 20-second ad slots, advertisers are encouraged to send a keyword to a five-digit number via SMS for additional information. This way the advertiser gets the interested party’s contact details and the interested party gets sent the necessary information.

digiADS prides itself on providing a cost-effective medium to not only create brand visibility, but one that also serves as a direct form of advertising where the network can help capture potential customers while they are going about their daily routines.

Though digiADS tried a wide range of hardware in its early days Visser says PVision was the obvious choice of long-term hardware partner because of the range of products it offers and its level of customer service. “PVision offers the best after sales service we’ve ever experienced. We’re not just a number, so if there’s a problem I can call my account manager directly. That’s crucial in our business. Suppliers have to be trustworthy and available at a moment’s notice.”

Gijima Cuts Cost and Streamlines Virtualisation with Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012

By admin, 26 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Technology services giant has enjoyed several tangible benefits following the application of Microsoft Hyper-V Server technology to its virtualised environment.

As one of South Africa’s most prominent providers of Information Technology services to both the public and private sectors, Gijima, recently took the decision to move its internal virtualised environment over to Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012, carrying with it several mission critical SAP enabled workloads.

The decision was motivated by the rising cost of VMware software licensing within critical virtualised environments. Furthermore, as a Microsoft Certified Partner, Gijima felt a strong need to move towards a more unified environment that better represented its strategic alignment.

“The availability of a reliable and cost effective virtualised environment is absolutely critical to daily efforts at Gijima. Over time, the cost of VMware licensing had begun to increase and this was impacting our bottom line. In response, we began to investigate possible alternatives within the Microsoft product stable. As a strategic partner, this made good business sense”, comments Paul Van Niekerk – Group Manager: Information Management, Gijima.

In March 2012, Gijima embarked on a move from its traditional virtualised platform to a better suited solution spearheaded by Micosoft’s Hyper-V Server technology.

The implementation, adds Van Niekerk, was swift and issue free.

“We effectively provisioned an entirely new environment. Following this, we replicated our database within a fresh SQL cluster. The whole process was seamless. I can attribute this to having assembled a strong team of Microsoft, Information Management and SAP specialists that were able to address obstacles as they presented themselves. Ensuring that we had the right people in place beforehand was certainly the biggest challenge”.

To date, Gijima has enjoyed several benefits associated with a Microsoft equipped virtualised server environment.
“Our move to Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 enabled us to significantly reduce the licensing costs associated with running a virtualised environment. Furthermore, the roadmap we implemented has allowed us to consolidate our platforms into a centrally managed database cluster” comments Van Niekerk.

This implementation highlights the importance of a strong partner based agreement within the Microsoft environment, Leon Wright Server and Tools Business Lead at Microsoft SA.

“We’ve always worked closely with Gijima and are extremely satisfied to have supported them in this migration. Naturally, it is important to practice what you preach. Gijima’s introduction of a Microsoft based platform to its virtualised environment is a great example of this attitude. We look forward to supporting them in future”.

Rewardsco reimagines business enabling dynamic IT infrastructure with Microsoft

By admin, 26 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Renowned outsourced sales solutions provider, Rewardsco, has completely reimagined internal IT operations in collaboration with Gijima and Microsoft.

Established in Kwazulu Natal over 15 years ago, Rewardsco has rapidly evolved into one of South Africa’s foremost providers of outsourced sales solutions.

Working closely with a wide range of South African blue-chip clients – primarily residing within the telecommunications and financial sectors, this dynamic organisation is entrusted with sales, fulfillment and customer care on their behalf.

In 2011 Rewardsco made the critical decision to begin investigating alternative options to its current on premise infrastructure, which was no longer capable of handling internal requirements.

Working closely with certified Microsoft Partner, Gijima, Rewardsco opted to take a new approach to internal IT by developing a private cloud architecture that would streamline operations whilst improving uptime and service availability.

Gijima was tasked with developing a solution that offered proactive alerting and notifications, supported virtualization of all systems to reduce restoration time and ensured consistency by using image based computing.

The answer was a comprehensive Microsoft ecosystem that placed emphasis on service delivery. Established within a private cloud, this collection of technologies offered Rewardsco the business peace of mind whilst equipping it with the capacity and dynamic capabilities to manage ICT services.

The RewardsCo Service Delivery Ecosystem has also included the latest capabilities provided by Microsoft in terms of Public Cloud and Commodity of Scale capabilities provided by Windows Azure and Microsoft Office 365.

The benefits associated with Rewardsco’s comprehensive virtualized environment have been numerous.

“Microsoft Windows Server 2012 has provided Rewardsco with a robust and trusted server platform that offers the kind of functionality only otherwise available in several disparate product sets” comments Lawrance Reddy, Rewardsco Head of Infrastructure and Technology.

The introduction of Office 365 – Microsoft’s remotely hosted productivity suite, has also improved agility and access at an executive level adds Reddy.

“Office 365 allows our corporate users access productivity applications from anywhere in the world using any device and without having to connect back to the corporate on premise network. This kind of agility is demonstrating significant value within our marketing and business development teams”.

Information security is critical to Rewardsco’s daily operations. Microsoft technology has ensured reliability and security within the full breadth of internal operations, adds Reddy.

“Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 delivers standards based and corporate Windows 8 images across the organization. SCCM 2012 manages all assets and configurations of those assets. Windows 8, meanwhile, delivers a secure, feature rich experience for our end users. It is the standard desktop OS within the organization”.

This implementation is a great example of the power of capable systems and client service, adds Leon Wright, Microsoft Server and Tools BG Lead.

“We are extremely honoured to have worked so closely with Rewardsco and Gijima on this project. It’s not enough to simply introduce a new system – teamwork and communication is absolutely critical to success. By maintaining an open dialogue Microsoft was able to offer Rewardsco the most appropriate solution to meet its business challenges. We look forward to supporting them in the future”.

Schneider Electric SA appoints Ntombi Mhangwani to build its brand in southern Africa

By admin, 26 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Schneider Electric South Africa, a specialist in energy management, is pleased to announce that Ntombi Mhangwani has joined the company as marketing and communications director.

Mhangwani is a seasoned professional with 17 years of knowledge in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) marketing and communications.

“Ntombi has a proven track record, which shows that she is highly capable in helping organisations ‘get their brand out there’, tell their corporate stories and connect as an organisation with both customers and the public. We are pleased to have her on board,” says Eric Léger, country president at Schneider Electric South Africa.

Prior to joining Schneider Electric South Africa, Mhangwani used her skills to accomplish positive and quantifiable brand results at IT organisation, Dimension Data. As head of communications she was responsible for creating integrated marketing communications strategies and plans to manage the brand in the Middle Eastern and African markets.

She has also showed her proficiency in project management at mobile telecommunication giant, MTN, when she leveraged the brand during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. At the same time, she managed the company’s internal- and external communications as well as media relations.

Mhangwani has throughout her career held a healthy relationship with the media. As a former journalist herself, she set the foundations for these partnerships during her studies at Rhodes University and subsequent employment with public service and commercial broadcasting organisation, SABC.

In her new capacity, Mhangwani’s main responsibilities will be to align country-marketing and communications with the goals and strategy of each zone. She is also tasked with creating a communication plan to both fulfil business plan objectives and reach a superior level of visibility for company’s brand, its solutions and products and a positive perception of these in the local and Southern African market.

Ntombi Mhongwani (3)

Ntombi Mhongwani

Intervate’s community and business applications improve service delivery and efficiencies

By admin, 26 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Intervate, a T-Systems business unit in South Africa and the country’s foremost provider of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions, has reinforced its position in the market as a mobile app developer by obtaining Gold Microsoft Applications Development Competency, and through the company’s latest community and business apps, designed to improve citizen service delivery and boost businesses’ efficiencies.

The company has successfully created and completed a number of community and business apps for a diverse range of industries and clients. Some of these apps include: the Fix My City app, Meter Reading app, Citizen Scientist app, and the Telkom Knockout app.

These apps are testament to the level of skills and expertise required to achieve Gold Microsoft Application Development Competency status. The competency recognises Intervate as a trusted expert in application development for commercial, business and custom-developed solutions.

“With the rapid growth in demand for mobile apps companies often rush into application development for the sake of getting to market quickly. This can result in poor applications and can prove costly in the long run,” said T-Systems’ Intervate Managing Director, Lionel Moyal.

“At Intervate we recognise the importance of thorough planning in the application development process. We want to build applications that truly improve people’s lives and add real value to businesses, and that remain relevant and functional for as long as possible, reducing the need for and cost of later updates.”
Mobile applications offer excellent opportunities for cost savings and increased business efficiency, in both the private and public sectors. They also make managing the ever-increasing quantities of data individuals and businesses have to contend with, easier.

“Our collaborative mobile applications merge social features and Enterprise Information Management. This allows for improved service delivery and greater business efficiency. Having a robust, comprehensive mobile strategy in place is key to any large company’s success. At Intervate, we have the skills and people necessary for achieving that success,” concluded Moyal.

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