Archive for Maj, 2014

Can free online advertising boost your business? Tips for small businesses on a budget

By admin, 19 maja, 2014, No Comment

Every small business owner knows that cash flow can be a challenge – especially when you are just starting out. In a world of increasingly sparse attention and vast amounts of advertising assailing your customers’ senses, how do you make your business stand out? There are numerous portals offering free advertising, of course, but are these sites worth it?

Darrell Cuthbert of WordTiffie Copywriting and Web Content, a company providing high-quality copywriting services to SMEs using the internet to grow their businesses, believes that it is. Cuthbert had been using the classified Gumtree for a number of years as a buyer, but in 2010 decided to use the site in order to promote his business.

“I get a fair amount of quality enquiries from my Gumtree ads and three of my long-term regular clients contacted me via the same process. They view one or more of my ads, go to my website for more information and then phone me,” he says. “Small, local businesses that are both B2B and B2C focussed can definitely gain significant targeted exposure from classified ad sites like Gumtree.”

Free classifieds may not seem like the ideal platform to promote your business, but if one considers the fact that Gumtree alone draws close to 6 million people to the site every day, coupled with a sophisticated localised search functionality, it makes sense why companies like WordTiffie are enjoying success online. They do it, simply, to be found – not necessarily to pitch the company with a flashy advertisement, but with a short concise description and a link to the site, where interested parties can drill down to the finer details of the transaction.

Cuthbert says he even advises his clients to use free classifieds the same way he does. “I usually recommend having a good company website and then using social media and classified ads to drive traffic to the site and generate enquiries and leads.”

Chelsea, a small business owner from Cape Town that sells cane furniture agrees. “We’ve been using Gumtree for about five months now, since the day we opened. I can’t tell you how much we sell or how much money we make but I can tell you that most of our online business comes through Gumtree,” she says. “Our products are hand-made and brand new. I think the cool thing about Gumtree is they don’t charge too much for a premium ad – I think it’s about R199 – and if you have the right product or service (that people are looking for) then there is no reason why you shouldn’t see your product / service selling.”

Cuthbert says that there is a science to using free classifieds. “Spend some time identifying which category is right for your ads and analyse your competitors ads,” he advises. A little working knowledge of how search engines work (and your customers think) is also crucial. “Work out what keywords or phrases potential customers are likely to search for.Place alerts on these words and phrases to keep you in touch with what competitors are doing. Include as many of the keywords and search phrases as possible in the title and body of your ad, while still keeping it natural sounding. Place several ads, one giving a general overview and a few others each highlighting a different aspect of your business offering.”

Visual impact is still very important according to Cuthbert. “Include at least one relevant image in each ad. Don’t be afraid to be different and a little unconventional –add little creativity and appropriate flair to your ads.”

Cuthbert remains convinced that small business owners can draw value from classifieds – even if the ad placement is free. “In my opinion, online classified ads are one of the best ways for a small business or freelance worker / consultant to market their services – especially when their target clients are based in a particular country, province or city,” he concludes.

John Brown Media achieves a Level 2 B-BBEE status

By admin, 19 maja, 2014, No Comment

Less than a year after attaining a Level 3 B-BBEE status, John Brown Media announced that it has improved its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment rating and is now verified as a comfortable Level 2 B-BBEE contributor. The company, which is part of a global leading independent content marketing agency, received a B-BBEE Recognition Level of 125% and a Procurement Recognition Level of 156.25%.

“As a group, we are totally committed to transformation in South Africa, and we have looked at practical ways in which we can lead transformation in our sector specifically,” says Lani Carstens, Managing Director of John Brown Media.

“Launched in early 2014, the John Brown Empowerment Trust is an initiative of which we are particularly proud. This trust provides for a significant percentage of profits to be invested in the education of our employees’ children, from nursery school to tertiary level.”

The second focus area of the John Brown Empowerment Trust sees the business drive profits back into the wider community in the form of skills transfer and upliftment, with a special focus on media and digital training.

In addition, the company recognizes the need to embrace skills development across all platforms by offering in-house learnership programmes and awarding numerous study bursaries each year. One of the most recent employee bursary recipients, Meagan Kuhn (account manager for Pick n Pay and Spur), graduated with distinction from the University of Stellenbosch’s Business School last year. As part of its ongoing commitment to further education in South Africa, John Brown Media is aiming to diversify its training portfolio to include bursaries for external students and graduates.

“Transformation is part of our DNA and we embrace it fully. Every level of the business pays attention to all aspects of our Empowerment Scorecard and we have a robust transformation strategy in place to maintain our status,” Carstens concluded.

For more information, visit www.johnbrownmedia.co.za

Using Wi-Fi for sustainable development

By admin, 19 maja, 2014, No Comment

Even though Wi-Fi is not a new technology, it has a fundamentally important role to play in providing people, especially those in developing countries, with reliable access to broadband connectivity says Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS).

A recent Informa White Paper* examining how smartphone usage is changing, points out that the Wi-Fi has cemented its position as the world’s most successful wireless technology thanks to its widespread adoption across a host of devices and its role as the dominant carrier of data traffic on smartphones.

“Given that World Telecommunications and Information Society Day took place on Saturday, 17 May with the theme of broadband for sustainable development, it makes sense to examine how a cost-effective technology such as Wi-Fi can be used in Africa to help bridge the digital divide,” says Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa.

Wi-Fi does not have a spectrum requirement from the regulators so it is much faster and cheaper to deploy than many other wireless technologies. “Even in South Africa, we are seeing the mobile operators educating customers on the benefits of using Wi-Fi for their mobile data requirements with GSM being positioned for voice,” says Fletcher.

While Wi-Fi continues to grow, unfortunately Wi-Fi connectivity is far from ubiquitous in South Africa and the rest of the continent. This results in it being positioned by many analysts as a complementary technology to GSM connectivity until such time as it is more pervasive.

“Yet, for a continent driven by mobility, Wi-Fi presents a significant opportunity to aid in the socio-economic development of people,” adds Fletcher. “We all know that fixed-line access is virtually unheard of in rural communities and people rely on their mobile phones for anything from staying in touch with loved ones to doing business. Having Wi-Fi networks in place in these communities suddenly present people with options they would not normally have had due to the high cost and limitations of other broadband solutions.”

The Informa White Paper also found that the average monthly Wi-Fi use on a 3G devices increased 24% between January and December 2013, to 3.2GB per user. This usage also reflects how more people are relying on Wi-Fi connectivity for data intensive services.

“The regulatory environment in South Africa is opening up and starting to promote the development of Wi-Fi networks across the country. Already, we are seeing more consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and hotels providing customers with free access. What is needed is to expand the net and make Wi-Fi even more broadly available to people from all walks of life,” continues Fletcher.

Despite the relative ease of deploying Wi-Fi networks, companies can benefit the most from partnering with specialists who understand the intricacies of implementing the technology.

“Each Wi-Fi implementation is unique and requires subtle changes in network infrastructure. So whether it is rolling out a community-wide network or connecting the head office of a company, solutions need to be customised to suit the environment. Wi-Fi access has so much potential to shape the business and consumer landscape in South Africa and other developing countries. It only makes sense to implement the technology in such a way to draw the most benefit from it,” concludes Fletcher.

* Smartphone use transforming with the rise of 4G Wi-Fi, Informa in association with Mobidia, February 2014

Alcatel-Lucent passes 5 million VDSL2 vectoring lines shipped confirming global adoption of ultra-broadband access over copper

By admin, 19 maja, 2014, No Comment

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) further underlined leadership in fixed-line ultra-broadband access by reaching the milestone of 5 million VDSL2 vectoring line shipments. The company is also seeing an industry ‘tipping point’ with VDSL2 vectoring shipments now surpassing non-vectored VDSL2 with operators fully embrace the technology as they seek to meet targets for broadband connectivity in their markets.

VDSL2 vectoring allows operators to deploy ultra-broadband services of up to 100 megabits-per-second over their existing copper telephone networks, making it quick and economical to deploy as a complement to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH). As a result, operators can rapidly meet rising customer demand for high-definition television, video-on-demand and online gaming while protecting existing investments.

The time-to-market advantage of VDSL2 vectoring also allows operators to meet regulatory targets for broadband coverage, and provides an alternative to competing cable, fiber or LTE services. Operators immediately benefit from increased revenues which in turn help fund longer-term FTTH projects.

As market leaders in fixed ultra-broadband access, Alcatel-Lucent was first to recognize the need for VDSL2 vectoring to complement FTTH solutions, reaching several important milestones in a short space of time:

  • In September 2011, thanks to pioneering research from Bell Labs, the company launched the world’s first commercially available VDSL2 vectoring solution with Belgacom the first service provider to adopt the technology
  • In January 2012, Telekom Austria subsidiary, A1, was the first service provider to connect customers with the technology
  • In October 2012, Alcatel-Lucent launched Zero Touch Vectoring, an innovation that enables operators to roll-our vectoring without having to perform costly and time-consuming upgrades to existing technology in every home
  • By April 2013 Alcatel-Lucent had shipped 1 million VDSL2 vectoring lines
  • In February 2014, Belgacom and Alcatel-Lucent activated the world’s first nationwide VDSL2 vectoring network

Federico Guillén, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s Fixed Access business said: “To demonstrate how fast demand for VDSL2 vectoring has accelerated, it took around 18 months from launch to shipping the first million lines, and less than a year later to add another 4 million to that total. We have seen endorsement from analysts and customers alike, which has further validated our vision that a mix of copper and fiber technologies is the fastest and most cost-effective way to provide ubiquitous ultra-broadband.”

Alcatel-Lucent is now deploying VDSL2 vectoring technology – both the line cards and system-level processors needed to make them work – with service providers in every region of the world. Our 20 customers include Belgium’s Belgacom, Israel’s Bezeq, KPN in the Netherlands, Telecom Argentina, Telecom Italia, TE Data in Egypt and NBN Co. in Australia. The company has also conducted more than 60 trials of the technology.

Alcatel-Lucent’s market-leading portfolio of fixed ultra-broadband solutions helps operators to evolve their networks quickly to get closer to customers and be the first to take advantage of new opportunities.

Mxit leads on Social Media in SA Elections

By admin, 19 maja, 2014, No Comment

South Africa’s homegrown mobile social network confirmed its reach and popularity with the influential youth market in the recent 2014 South African elections. A significant number of Mxit users subscribed to numerous political organisations, voting and news apps that outperformed other mobile social competitors in terms of following.

The important 18- to 25-year old market that makes up approximately 50% of Mxit’s user base were the most active user segment on these apps. In many instances 70% of subscribers to relevant apps were from this age group.

The significant size of the audiences can largely be attributed to Mxit’s data-light functionality that provides many young South Africans with their primary access to the Internet via their mobile feature phone, and the highly creative methods employed by app owners to engage users and encourage participation.

Agang allowed users to create community groups by location or interest. Members who joined the group could then create topics and post comments to a forum-style wall. Group creators, or leaders, could also send announcements and updates to their group members.

The ANC hosted a series of “Live Chat” sessions on their MyANC app, where a number of government ministers engaged thousands of young people in a promoted 1-hour session. It allowed users to ask questions and voice concerns directly to high-ranking officials and decision makers.

The DA’s game, “DemocraCITY”, allowed users to take control of a virtual country and look after its people. In a fun and interactive way it addressed a wide range of socio-political challenges as they led their community to prosperity. In less than a month the game had been played 134 000 times and generated more 18 million page views.

BBC News, who launched a special election coverage app two weeks before the elections, acquired 45 000 subscribers in just one day, and polled sentiments from the younger generation of voters. Nearly half of the respondents said jobs were their biggest concern, followed by education and access to basic services.

New digital magazine from RS Components brings latest news in automation and control

By admin, 17 maja, 2014, No Comment

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products, has released the first edition of its DesignSpark Automation & Control magazine, a new digital publication aimed at machine and panel builders.

RS228-1-DesignSpark_A&C_magazine (Medium)Published in iPad, Android, Kindle and PDF page-turner formats, the magazine reports on the latest developments in the automation and control sector, including new products and technologies, as well as directing readers to free, time-saving online resources from RS such as the company’s DesignSpark Mechanical 3D design software, and 3D model libraries. Published in four languages (English, German, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese), this is the first RS publication to offer a free digital news service in multiple languages to the machine and panel building community.

To coincide with the magazine’s launch, a new free-to-download mobile app that delivers regular news alerts directly to smartphones and other portable devices has been introduced and is now available from online app stores. The app will bring updates on industry legislation, highlight health and safety issues and provide a quick look ahead to featured articles in upcoming issues of the magazine.

Glenn Jarrett, Global Head of Product Marketing at RS, said, “As a leading global distribution player operating across many diverse markets including automation and control, we recognize the importance of delivering the latest news from the industry in a way that is easily accessible to engineers. This magazine and news alert service will enable anyone involved or interested in the automation and control market to keep abreast of what is happening in the sector in order to remain competitive.”

LUXEON ultraviolet LEDs available from RS Components deliver industry’s highest power density

By admin, 17 maja, 2014, No Comment

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products, has announced availability of high-power LUXEON ultraviolet (UV) LEDs from Philips Lumileds. Featuring the industry’s smallest footprint of just 2.2mm2, the high-power emitters are one-fifth the size of competing ultraviolet and violet LEDs currently on the market.

LUXEON UV LEDs

LUXEON UV LEDs

The LUXEON UV LEDs can be assembled in tightly packed arrays with spacing of only 0.2mm to enable the construction of high-power-density (W/cm2) UV systems. Offering a maximum drive current of 1A – for more flux per LED – the high-efficiency devices cover the 385 to 410nm spectrum and are undomed for precise optical control. They are ideal for a wide range of applications including ultra-violet curing, counterfeit detection, spectroscopy, medical, security/forensic lighting and speciality lighting, such as aquarium lighting and blacklight for nightclubs.

The LEDs are based on the LUXEON Z surface-mount design, which implements flip-chip assembly and sets the UV die in direct contact with the thermally conductive Aluminium Nitride (AlN) substrate, thereby delivering superior thermal performance. Thermal resistance is as low as 3.5K per Watt.

Touchscreen display module starter kits available from RS Components

By admin, 17 maja, 2014, No Comment

RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products, has announced the availability of two touchscreen display starter kits for the Raspberry Pi, which provide a quick and easy wiring interface and are ideal for creating portable and low power Raspberry Pi projects and applications.

RS217-Raspberry Pi 4D display kits

RS217-Raspberry Pi 4D display kits

The starter kits for the 2.8-inch uLCD-28PTU-PI and 4.3-inch uLCD-43PTU-PI modules have been developed by 4D Systems and provide all the components needed for users to connect their Raspberry Pi to these newly available touchscreen displays getting their projects up and running and ready for programming within a few minutes. A unique aspect of the kits is the 4D Pi Adapter Shield, which connects to the serial GPIO port on the Raspberry Pi and to the touchscreen display module via a 5-way cable. The Adapter Shield also replicates the Raspberry Pi GPIO lines and allows users to gain easy access to other Raspberry Pi functions.

These displays deliver a powerful HMI (Human Machine Interface) solution for Raspberry Pi applications featuring resistive-touch capability, on-board audio amplifier and speaker, and resolutions of 480 x 272 and 240 x 320 pixels for the 4.3- and 2.8-inch screens respectively.

Each starter kit contains: a 4D serial Pi adaptor shield; a 2GB microSD card; a uUSB-PA5 programming adaptor; a 150mm 5-way female-female jumper cable for quick connection to another device or a breadboard; a 5-way male-male adaptor to convert the cable to male-female; and a quick-start user guide. A series of ViSi-Genie application software libraries are also available to communicate with the Raspberry Pi board and user code.

According to Jonathan Boxall, Global Head of Semiconductors at RS Components, “There is huge enthusiasm for Raspberry Pi among businesses and electronics enthusiasts, and these two touchscreen display modules and associated tools from 4D Systems further boost the Raspberry Pi platform for prototype development, enabling users to quickly start developing innovative Raspberry Pi based applications.”

A piecemeal approach to turning data into revenue

By admin, 17 maja, 2014, No Comment

By Ayanda Dlamini, Business Development Manager, LGR Telecommunications

Data monetisation – the art of turning information into actions that generate business revenue – is generating a lot of interest among enterprises around the world. The possibility that information can be collated and analysed, to deliver the silver bullets that improve enterprise bottom lines, is a very attractive one to enterprises and their financial management.

But there are concerns about the size of the investment and the high end skills needed for enterprises to maximise the value of their data. In some respects, it is a valid concern. An all-encompassing approach to harnessing all internal and external, structured and unstructured data and running real-time analysis of it all would indeed require a significant investment in technologies and skills. The good news, however, is that monetisation of data can also be approached in a piecemeal fashion. Most enterprises can take immediate steps to improve the business value of their data, using their existing technology resources.

Enterprises can begin by taking a fresh look at their internal data sources, where they typically have extensive data on customers they already have. By applying new analytics models and innovative approaches to the use of their existing data, enterprises are likely to identify customer behaviour patterns useful for sales planning, opportunities for upselling and cross-selling, and areas where operational improvements can reduce spend – which is in itself a revenue opportunity.

If we consider that bottom line depends on both income and expenditure, it makes good sense to turn to existing data for insights that help drive down costs. Better data analysis may help enterprises to reduce fraud and risk by identifying possible risk factors in particular regions or customer segments, or by highlighting patterns of behaviour that may indicate fraud. Enterprises might also apply reporting tools to discover more efficient routes to deliver goods or better mechanisms for service delivery to particular customer segments.

Enterprises may then go a step further, and tap into readily available data that may not require a significant upfront investment. There are many opportunities for enterprises to understand customers’ consumption patterns, sentiments, and even their location, based on readily-available information. This may come from social media, in the case of telcos it may include interconnect data, or it may even include data shared or traded across industry verticals. The sharing or trading of data raises some compliance questions, but in reality all indications are that data trading already takes place. In South Africa, we are not yet seeing an integrated partner approach to data monetisation where efficient platforms are put in place to maximised the value of content.

It should be noted that the use of aggregated data should be approached with caution in our regulatory environment. Enterprises may make use of certain aggregated data in which the personal element is removed, but it is not always clear whether enterprises have the processes in place to ensure that all the data is being stored, managed and used in a compliant way. Enterprises will need to put processes in place to ensure the data in use complies with law and that they have the necessary tools around master data management at entry points, to process the data in such a way that they remove the personal information. This also drives a need for IT and data management professionals to work closely with compliance and risk management professionals.

Sharing data across an intelligent platform in a regulatory compliant way would offer enterprise partners numerous opportunities to optimise the use of that data, gaining newer and deeper insights into their customers’ behaviour and preferences. Done well, this could also result in customers receiving less broad-based marketing and more targeted offers they may actually be interested in.

With CEOs focusing increasingly on extracting full value from customers and growing revenue, while still controlling costs, better use of data presents unlimited potential for business. Unlocking the value of data simply requires the right tools and more innovative thinking.

 

Ayanda Dlamini

Ayanda Dlamini

Hannover 96 deploys BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 to secure multi-platform environment

By admin, 17 maja, 2014, No Comment

BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that Hannover 96, a German football club and marketing company, has migrated to BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 (BES10) to bring secure enterprise mobility and end-user flexibility to the workplace.

Hannover 96 deployed BlackBerry’s enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution BES10 to secure highly confidential information, such as details of new players, contracts, schedules and football training plans, across different platforms, including BlackBerry, iOS® and Android™ devices .

“BES10 is so valuable to our business because it gives us the perfect balance between flexibility and security,” said Nek Capric, Head of Marketing Sales at Hannover 96. “For example, our online team needs access to multiple devices such as iPhones and Android to test the design and layout of Web content. With BES10 in place, we can keep these functions of our business running smoothly without having to worry about the security implications for the business.”

“Data security is key to business success and our mobile device strategy,” continued Capric. “BlackBerry has really helped us implement an effective Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) strategy and given us the confidence to know that if a device is lost or stolen, we can quickly wipe confidential data before it gets into the wrong hands. We are now looking at integrating additional devices such as tablets.”

Markus C. Mueller, Regional Managing Director Europe at BlackBerry said: “BES 10 provides Hannover 96 with the flexibility to embrace multi-platform device management without sacrificing security. Our enterprise customers in Europe recognize the unique value that BES 10 brings in fulfilling their productivity, communication and collaboration needs with its industry-leading security and cost efficiency.”

To date, customers have installed nearly 33,000 BES10 commercial and test servers around the world. In Germany, more than 50 percent of DAX companies have ordered, downloaded and/or are testing BES10.

To see the video case study on the Hannover 96 deployment, please click http://youtu.be/sr6UCBB6Mi0.

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