Archive for Luty, 2014

Stylish tablet protection for all – the new Targus Universal Tablet Cases from DCC

By admin, 5 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Get the ultimate in stylish, affordable tablet protection with the new Targus range of Universal Tablet Cases from distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC). Constructed of durable polyurethane, these water and stain-resistant cases are available in both flip case and folio-stand models in a variety of colours. With sizes to accommodate 7 to 8-inch devices as well as 9.7-inch to 10.1-inch devices, the Universal Tablet Cases offer a secure fit and uncompromising protection for most tablets.

“Tablets are an emotional purchase and are often a critical part of everyday life for users. Keeping these portable and costly purchases safe and damage-free, without compromising the user’s experience, is of the utmost importance. The new Targus range of Universal Tablet Cases have been engineered to enhance users’ device experience with easy access to ports, a thin, lightweight design and a range of contemporary colours to add to sophistication and desirability, along with the quality users have come to expect from any Targus product,” says Heinrich Pretorius, Targus Product Specialist at DCC.

The Universal Tablet Flip Case, available in two sizes, is a slim and lightweight case offering all round protection. A durable cover with soft lined interior ensures the screen does not get scratched, and the cover folds back for single-handed use, as well as enabling the tablet to stand for hands-free viewing. The folio-stand models, also available in two sizes, incorporate an integrated tablet stand for enhanced hands-free use.

All models weigh in at less than 300 grams, providing protection without adding bulk. A unique Bungee Fit System securely holds the tablet inside the case without blocking the screen or port access, holding the tablet firmly in place without damage to the screen or tablet. Available colours include red, taupe, grey and blue and the cases are compatible with up to 80% of tablets for each varying size.

“These tablet cases are ideally suited to just about any tablet user, with new and improved features to ensure uncompromising performance and quality. From professionals to students, teenagers and recreational tablet users, whether at home or out and about, the new Universal cases from Targus, with their unique Bungee Fit System, mean that finding a tablet case to fit your lifestyle is no longer an exercise in compromise. Universal cases offer essential protection for an increased range of tablet hardware,” Pretorius concludes.

The Targus Universal Tablet Cases are available immediately from resellers and leading retailers. Pricing ranges from R199.00 to R349.00 including VAT. The Targus Universal Tablet Cases will be available in black in early 2014. A new iPad Air compatible case will be available soon.

IBM named an innovation leader in big data in Sub-Saharan Africa, notes Frost & Sullivan

By admin, 5 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Innovative, integrated solutions and emphasis on market education helps IBM expand its market share in the region

Based on its recent research on the big data solutions market, Frost & Sullivan has presented IBM (NYSE:IBM) with the 2014 Sub-Saharan African Frost & Sullivan Award for Competitive Strategy Leadership. While most companies in Sub-Saharan Africa already undertake various forms of data analytics, one of the key challenges facing big data solutions providers is convincing companies of the longer-term pay-offs resulting from effective big data implementation. Uneven market maturity and a shortage of skilled personnel are other issues specific to the region. IBM has employed a Big Data and Analytics strategy that effectively addresses these challenges, making it a leading local market player.

IBM is already a dominant player in the emerging global big data market and the uptake of its solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa has followed a similar vein across a broad range of industries. To meet growing client demands, IBM has established the world’s deepest portfolio of Big Data and Analytics research and development, solutions and software, and assembled a strong team of researchers, mathematicians, data scientists, as well as strategy, analytics and design services consultants. In addition, the company continues to secure numerous patents related to Big Data and Analytics and engage a broad range of university partnerships.

“Competition amongst IT integrators is intense, but one of IBM’s key advantages is its ability to provide the full spectrum of big data services – from the infrastructure and hardware aspects through to analytics and visualisation,” noted Frost & Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Gareth Mellon. “This is something that most competitors do not have the capability to offer, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

IBM’s ability to partner with specific industry providers at different points in the big data value chain has further entrenched the broad scope of its portfolio and allowed it to offer customisable solutions throughout the market.

Recognising that a viable cost-benefit analysis is critical to achieving big data solution buy-in, IBM has also been purposeful in its efforts to educate the market of the value it can derive from effective big data solutions. This awareness is created through the provision of training materials and online resources, the publication of numerous reports and case studies, and committed involvement with high-profile projects.

“IBM’s ability to facilitate integration between the various threads of a business has been critical to its big data solutions offering,” added Mellon. “As such, it has both leveraged and reinforced existing market perceptions of it as a leading ICT integrator.”

The company’s Big Data and Analytics solutions strategy maintains its emphasis on innovation. For instance, IBM is a leading player in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project which has significant and highly advanced “big data” requirements. The SKA is an international effort to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, to help better understand the history of the universe. IBM also continues to build on its renowned Watson cognitive computing system, which is able to draw on big data techniques to provide evidence-based responses.

On the skills side, IBM has gone to considerable lengths to ensure an ongoing supply of skilled personnel in Africa through its establishment of Innovation Centres – it now has three on the continent, with plans to open two more during 2014 – and the provision of online platforms such as ‘big data bootcamps’ and bigdatauniversity.com.

Numerous case studies testify to the uptake of IBM’s solutions by a vast range of companies including banks, insurance providers, petroleum suppliers, healthcare providers, telecommunications operators, research bodies, and various government-related entities. Most recently, IBM announced a partnership with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) through which it will establish a comprehensive database of cancer patients in Africa and use big data tools to effectively utilise this information.

An additional opportunity stemming from the rise of big data solutions is the link with smart cities, an emerging field in which IBM has already developed strong competency and is recognised as a ‘leading game changer.’ See Frost & Sullivan’s “Strategic Opportunity Analysis of the Global Smart City Market” (August 2013). Smart cities are characterised by the integration of millions of smart devices and the coordination of businesses, the public sector, knowledge institutions, and a city’s inhabitants to produce real-time solutions and services. Effective big data solutions underpin such developments and, while smart cities are not yet a feature of the African landscape, IBM is well-positioned to play a leading role in their establishment on the continent.

Frost & Sullivan’s research confirms that IBM has established a compelling case for the adoption of its solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. In recognition, Frost & Sullivan is pleased to present IBM with the 2014 Competitive Strategy Leadership Award within the Sub-Saharan African big data solutions market.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has leveraged competitive intelligence to successfully execute a competitive strategy that results in stronger market share, competitive brand positioning and customer satisfaction.

Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

Making the journey into the Cloud

By admin, 5 lutego, 2014, No Comment

Taking organisations from reactive to innovative

Businesses today depend upon IT to drive innovation and accelerate past competitors. While each organisation may have its own unique definition of innovation, many of the elements remain common. This is according to NETCB’s CEO Cobus Burgers.

He says the goal is getting closer to customers to help deliver business goals, delivering more compelling services than key competitors and making an increasingly mobile workforce more productive and effective.

Maintaining existing IT systems consumes the majority of budgets, leaving little to reinvest in growing the business. That’s why an increasing number of IT organisations leverage cloud technology to break this cycle and unlock resources to fuel innovation.

IT is further challenged by the need to deliver all of this more rapidly than ever and with tight budget constraints while still supporting service levels for performance, governance and security. To boost their responsiveness, businesses seek to complement their internal data centres with the agility and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud, which leverages existing investments.

Those organisations most successfully leveraging cloud technology have transformed two major areas of IT, the technology required to build a cloud infrastructure and the core operating model needed to gain the greatest benefit from this new technology foundation.

These businesses have embraced cloud as a cohesive strategy, examining how to build and operate or rent their cloud environments, while measuring the efficiency, agility and reliability improvements of cloud computing.

Burgers says across the African continent, successes are growing. “For many established businesses and new start-ups, IT has become a driving force for business results, unlocking vital revenue streams, rapidly capitalising on new business opportunities, disrupting markets and recasting competitive landscapes.”

“It has moved on from being a cost centre to become a clear strategic partner to the business, delivering clear value and differentiation – and aligning with key business objectives.

However other IT organisations are struggling to find this same kind of success. Burdened with brittle, siloed infrastructures and outdated approaches to systems management, they find themselves working hard just to support existing systems. With resources and budgets dedicated to maintaining the status quo, IT finds itself continually running to keep up with a growing backlog of requests from the business for new services.

Those caught in this reactive mode find it all but impossible to invest in the kinds of systems and services that would grow the business and deliver innovative new ways of operating. In these organisations, there is a growing tension between IT and the business.

Continued delays in delivering the services that drive revenue and operations are putting organisations at a serious competitive disadvantage. Line of business stakeholders, frustrated with IT’s ability to deliver the capabilities they require, often go out and acquire IT services and business applications themselves, outside of traditional IT procurement channels.

With attractive pricing and business models, and the benefit of self-service, on-demand access to services, line of business stakeholders often see public cloud and SaaS providers as a path to rapid innovation.

The truth is that there is a danger inherent in this kind of ad-hoc approach to IT delivery. While it may well offer an immediate solution to a pressing business challenge, this approach carries significant near and long-term risk with it as well.

IT cannot ensure that innovation happens in a way that concurrently protects the organisation. Public cloud providers have diverse, often unclear, standards for security, compliance and governance. Sensitive data can easily sit outside the business without robust, IT-led security measures.

The rush for action today to drive innovation creates tomorrow’s silos of technology. Creating multiple pools of disparately run and managed infrastructure limits IT’s ability to leverage common management environments, to drive automation or reduce OPEX.

Lack of portability across environments limits IT’s ability to migrate workloads to best manage cost, risk, and quality of service. This becomes particularly important as applications grow and play a more strategic role in the business, demanding significantly higher service levels.

Without embracing new models, IT organisations continue to be reactive: exhausting resources to support existing systems and failing to free up resources to deliver critical new business services.

Increasingly, IT is looking to cloud computing as a way to break this cycle. The aim? To form a new partnership with business stakeholders based upon the ability to deliver innovation and build business value.

Cloud empowers IT to redefine the way services are produced and delivered for the business. The goal isn’t to merely become a more efficient, reliable and agile IT organisation – although cloud certainly delivers that. Rather, the goal is to operate in a fundamentally different way – more flexible and responsive to business needs.

 

Secure identity management is key to reducing bank fraud

By admin, 5 lutego, 2014, No Comment

As the custodians of monetary value, banks have always attracted fraudsters. Like most organisations, most of the fraud experienced by banks is committed by employees, but they also attract the unwelcome attention of fraudsters outside of their organisations. These external fraudsters are often members of organised crime syndicates.

For an increasing number of banks, the answer to both problems is proving to be identity management using biometrics.

Internally, banks are already using the Home Affairs database to establish employee identities and then performing screening to establish criminal and other records. The next wave of activity will be to use biometrics to link specific employees with each material transaction that they undertake on the bank’s systems, so that any fraud can be readily identified and the perpetrator brought to book. Known as “non-repudiation”, this type of system also acts as a powerful deterrent.

When it comes to external threats, banks face even more severe challenges. Commerce and banking have increasingly dematerialised, and now the majority of financial transactions take place virtually or via ATMs. In this digital environment, the difficulty of establishing identity digitally has proved to be a bonanza for criminals.

Banks are the victims of fraud in three main areas: at the ATM, online banking and e-commerce, and the fraudulent use of cards in the retail environment.

“In each of these areas, biometrics has a key role to play in establishing that the person undertaking a particular transaction is in fact who he says he is. This is hard to do in an increasingly digitised banking and commercial environment, particularly at the time of the transaction,” observes Nick Perkins, division director: Identity Management at Bytes Systems Integration. “Biometrics holds the key.”

ATMs are one area of vulnerability where banks are already starting to move towards using biometric identification, rather than just a PIN, a move that could potentially eliminate the vast majority of fraud in this banking channel.

Securing the online banking and e-commerce environment is harder. One-time passwords are more effective than CWV numbers but remain vulnerable. Perkins says that banks are starting to plan for providing clients with biometric readers for their computing devices to authenticate transactions both for online banking and for purchases on third-party sites.

The real-world retail environment is another area where banks continue to experience fraud, despite the widespread use of chip cards using PINs.

“Both the card and PIN can fall into the wrong hands. Again, biometric information on the card that can be matched with the person presenting it is the next step,” Perkins concludes. “Biometrics offer a failsafe way of ensuring that the person making a particular transaction is entitled to do so. And because it’s technology-based, this solution can be automated to eliminate human error. The technology is now mature and we will start to see it being deployed more widely in the near future, particularly with the incidence of fraud set to grow as cybercrime becomes more prevalent.”

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