“Cloud-based communications has clear benefits, but whether those benefits will accrue to your organisation depends on a number of factors,” says Rob Lith, Director of Connection Telecom. “If your enterprise answers to any of the questions in the checklist below, you may be in the market for a hosted PBX.” Are you likely to expand? Entities with significant potential for branch-like expansion – such as a medium-to-large-footprint bank, a retail chain or a service station franchise – can derive the most value from cloud telephony. Every time a new branch of franchisee comes on-line, the expense of an on-site PBX has real potential to sink the business case. With cloud, the franchisor or corporate head office can offer hosted telephony into the bargain, significantly lowering the entry barrier for local businesses. In addition, this model of telephony is much easier to roll out and manage for uptime, and the “on-net” savings possible with cloud further lift the business case.* Are your employees mobile? Is a significant portion of your workforce mobile, either by virtue of being constantly on the road or remotely stationed? A cloud communications configuration can provide satellite working units with full enterprise collaboration and unified communications at low cost. Even user administration tasks can easily be done via Web portal, from any operating platform (device). Do you need flexible communications capacity? Cloud computing operates on a “virtualised” design principle, where physical separations between resources like disk drives or servers are irrelevant – all the computing power represented by these resources are pooled together in an amorphous “cloud” of divisible capacity. In such a scenario, you’re not bound by the limitations or excess capacity of discrete servers; you can simply procure just enough virtual capacity for your use in any given month (or shorter time increments). This makes sense for campaign call centres or varying seasonal . . .
by Tim James, director of sustainableIT The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a global initiative encouraging big business to report their carbon footprint and water usage and the steps that they are taking to reduce it. It was introduced to South Africa in 2007 and has recently also been extended to cities. This year, CDP has requested climate change information from the 100 largest South African companies by market capitalization, based on the FTSE JSE All Share Index. Although companies are not yet obliged to disclose their carbon emissions, some experts believe they may soon be required to do so. “There is no obligation yet for businesses to report their emissions,” says Tim James, director of sustainableIT. “However, this situation is changing rapidly internationally and locally, the government has indicated that it will introduce carbon taxation in the 2013/14 budget. What this means exactly is unknown - but it is clear that as least some businesses will be required by law to report and disclose their footprints in the short term.” Whether it is obligatory or not, James says that there are a number of business benefits to calculating your carbon emissions. “The main benefits would include identifying emissions sources – which can then reveal reduction opportunities. Reducing emissions often lead to reduced costs, which is important in the tough economic times we find ourselves in. It is also important to understand your carbon profile and hence your risk exposure when emissions taxation and/or emissions caps are introduced.” James believes there are intangible benefits to green business as well. “Improved staff morale and marketing and public relations benefits are but a few,” he states, although he believes that companies will only demonstrate a real commitment to environmental awareness once they see the improvements thereof reflected in their bottom line. “There is also no doubt that in geographies where legislation has been passed to support . . .
Sub Saharan distributor of Progress Software, AIGS, has announced that they will be launching the Corticon Business Rules Management System in October 2012. Corticon enables organisations to make better, faster decisions by automating business rules and is used by over 450 customers to automate their most complex decisions processes – reducing development and change cycles by 90%. “Corticon empowers organisations to improve productivity and customer service through its agility, allowing businesses in volatile markets to adapt quickly to changing market conditions,” says Premie Naicker, Chief Operating Officer of AIGS. “What makes the product particularly powerful though is that it empowers businesses to manage the rules themselves – even complex algorithms – which eliminates the typical IT bottleneck. It’s particularly well-suited to industries that have a vast number of processes and products.” The event will include the presentation of both local and international case studies, an interactive live demonstration and an examination of both complex and simple rules. The event will start at 08.30 on the 18th October. Those wishing to attend can register on www.aigs.co.za or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. More Info: http://www.aigs.co.za Author: Estelle Nagel from DUO Marketing. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: None To gain access to None image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: . . .
BY WESLEY LYNCH, CEO, REALMDIGITAL The remarkable mainstream success of mobile devices – specifically tablets – opens up immense opportunities in education. If embraced by schools, they can overcome the expense and impracticality of desktop-bound computer hardware, lessen the premium on software and significantly raise the value of technology-aided education. Proven and affordable As demonstrated with the recent text book delivery crisis in Limpopo, access to information is a key obstacle to raising education standards in South Africa. Undeniably, information access is a less immediately pressing issue than access to water, good roads or land ownership. But perhaps government policy makers can be swayed by the fact that tablets are more affordable than is widely known. iPads are admittedly not the best solution for state schools, but there are Android alternatives that cost half the price of Apple’s models, and must therefore be considered candidates for a government-subsidised distribution model. In schools that don’t qualify for subsidies, due to a legacy of privilege, another possibility is for learners to bring their own tablets to school. These can be integrated into the school’s network and custom app ‘store’. Private ownership is already becoming more attainable – some cellular contracts offer a tablet along with a handset, at a low premium. But, even these mechanisms still leave tablets out of reach for many poor sections of society, and state subsidies would be stretched to spread the tablet effect far and wide. However, there is evidence to suggest tablets with pre-loaded content are more cost-effective than sourcing print course material. But the greatest news of all is that for approximately R1000, schools can buy an Android experience that compares satisfactorily to higher-end models. Major benefits Once the acquisition is made, the educational benefits of tablets quickly become evident. Low-cost, quick content Among the . . .
One of South Africa’s quietest tech success stories is a seven-person business that’s gone from startup to profitability in just four years – without ever marketing itself or taking a cent of outside financing. In the process, mobile social network 2go has come to dominate the Nigerian market, where it has over nine million active users – several million more than Facebook. The secret, says director Peter Lockhart, has been balancing a tight focus on what 2go’s users really want – a cheap, easy way to chat and socialise using their mobile phones – with the deep technical expertise needed to deliver that experience across thousands of different devices. “Building mobile technology for an African market is tough,” says Lockhart. “Data and SMS are expensive, and our users are price sensitive and savvy. That means we have to deliver an application that uses the absolute minimum of system resources and bandwidth. Our response has been to develop proprietary communications protocols and compression algorithms that minimise the app’s data usage.” The 2go team has also cracked the technical challenge of producing an app that works equally well on all of the myriad feature phones that still dominate the African market. “It’s much, much harder to develop for feature phones than for smartphones,” says Lockhart, “partly because there is such a variety of platforms and operating systems. You need deep technical knowledge. This technical knowledge also extends to our ability to scale the back-end in a very resource efficient manner.” The fact that 2go works well on many handsets has been critical to the viral spread of the app, says Lockhart, adding “feature phones aren’t going away any time soon. Projections from Informa indicate that non-smart phones will still comprise 85% of the African handset market in 2015.” 2go has resisted the tempation to bloat its app with added features, adds Lockhart. “Our users log in and out quickly, several times a day – they want . . .
Kimberley in the Northern Cape is preparing for an epic skateboarding battle when ten teams from cities and towns across South Africa battle it out in the Maloof All-City Contest on Thursday, 27 September from 11h00 to 16h00, at the Maloof Skate Plaza. To date, teams from Kuruman, Kimberley, Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Jeffreys Bay and Johannesburg have entered the contest, which will see each team member compete in a head-to-head format on various sections and obstacles at the state-of-the-art state park. Top local skateboarders will be seen in action as the four-man teams compete for the total prize money of R14 000. According to Tim McFerran of Maloof Skateboarding, the All-City Contest is a new, unique and innovative twist to skateboarding and is being tried for the first time in Kimberley. “We have always wanted to do all-cities, team-oriented contest, where strategy and co-operation will play an important role. I believe that the growth of skateboarding and the vastly improved skills of the South Africans present a great opportunity to start it right here in South Africa. This will be a fun, yet competitive way to ascertain which city has the best skateboarders in South Africa. Some of our top pro skateboarders from the States will help judge the contest and I am sure we are going to see super-exciting skateboarding,” states McFerran. The Maloof All-City Contest will be a scene setter for the greatest skateboarding event in the world, the Maloof Money Cup skateboarding world championships, which will take place at the Maloof Skate Plaza in Kimberley from 28 – 30 September 2012. The who’s who of street and vert skateboarders will be descending on the province in an attempt to take the biggest prize purse in skateboarding history. The winning city will hold the Maloof All-City title until the next Maloof championship event in 2013. The Maloof Money Cup South Africa is presented by Kumba Iron Ore and is a joint initiative between the Northern . . .
The 8th Standard Bank-PAST Keynote Lecture will be presented by Prof Nina Jablonski, who will discuss Skin: Its Biology in Black and White at the Soweto Theatre on 19 September 2012, at 18:30. Universally recognised as the most important independent source of support for origin sciences research and education in Africa, the Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST) has been promoting and preserving southern Africa’s rich fossil heritage since its inception in 1994. Whilst retaining this core focus; PAST’s newest initiative, Scatterli ngs of Africa, is an ambitious effort to expand the organisation’s mission across Africa; through its seven successful programs which integrate education, research, and public outreach activities in the origin sciences. The annual Keynote Lecture has formed an integral part of the Standard Bank’s longstanding support of PAST and has become a much-anticipated calendar event in Johannesburg. In line with PAST’s Scatterlings of Africa pan-African development campaign, and its drive to utilise the origin sciences to underscore the scientific evidence that we all share an African origin, this year’s lecture will address the origin and function of skin colour. Skin colour is a biological characteristic loaded with cultural meaning. Skin pigmentation itself is a biological adaptation that regulates the penetration of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) into the skin. It is an evolutionary compromise between the conflicting demands of protection of the skin against UVR and of production of vitamin D by UVR. This compromise represents one of the best examples of evolution by natural selection acting on the human body. In the history of the genus Homo and of our species, Homo sapiens, skin pigmentation has been a highly changeable characteristic. Similar skin tones have evolved independently numerous times in response to similar environmental conditions. Skin colour is thus an entirely inappropriate characteristic for grouping people according to . . .
Local Presence and Proactive Regulatory Approaches Needed A new Economist Intelligence Unit report sponsored by Quintiles concludes that “China is a complex market that can yield pro?ts to those companies that jump in with both feet, adapt to the realities of doing business in China, and actively protect their interests in this dynamic business environment.” The report, titled Emerging China is the third of four in the Quintiles-sponsored series, Reinventing biopharma: Strategies for an evolving marketplace.* Findings are based on surveys of life sciences executives. In the latest report, more than half (56%) said that maximizing opportunities in China was one of their company’s top priorities. The report’s key findings include: China is projected to be the world’s second largest biopharma market as early as 2016, behind only the United States; A local presence in China has translated into success for biopharma companies: 61% of respondents with operations in China had sales that met or exceeded moderate-to-high expectations in the last three years, compared to just 36% for those with no such operations; Low income levels among Chinese households (60% of China’s 403 million households had an annual income over $5,000 in 2011) and patchy market data can create unique challenges for biopharma who are more used to operating in developed markets; Proactively adapting to the regulatory environment can save time and money; companies often find that obtaining approval for new medications can take five years longer in China than in other markets, and innovative strategies are required. “The projected growth rate in China of 19% year-on-year between 2009 and 2016 is due mostly to rising incomes and an ageing population, providing an opportunity that the industry cannot afford to miss,” said Paul Kielstra, Ph.D., Author, EIU. “The new report’s findings echo our own experience in China – it’s essential to ‘understand local, think local and be local,’” said . . .
SPAR shoppers nationwide recently celebrated the extraordinary women in their lives by purchasing limited edition Women’s Day badges in aid of charity. The proceeds from the Eastern Cape campaign were donated to Living Waters Ministries in East London, which offers various services for vulnerable members of society, including safehouses for abused women and children. The charity’s chief executive officer Melanie Gobel (left) accepted the big cheque for R50 000 from SPAR EC retail operations manager Lungisa Jongi at the LWM premises on Wednesday. See more photos on www.facebook.com/sparinaction. More Info: http://www.fullstopcom.com Author: Coetzee Gouws from Full Stop Communications. Originally distributed by MyPR.co.za. No of Images Uploaded: One To gain access to One image/s please Like, Tweet or +1 this article: [l2g] Images: Photo: Craig Muller Photographer: [/l2g] . . .
Vehicle sponsor Subaru Pietermaritzburg has bolstered its ongoing investment into mountain biking in KwaZulu-Natal by reaffirming its commitment to the FedGroup Berg & Bush, organisers announced this week. The partnership with the off-road event will see various models, such as the Subaru Forester, Outback and new XV, put to the test on challenging terrain that includes mountain passes, district roads, cattle and game tracks, and purpose-built cycling routes. According to organiser Gary Green, much of the route would be inaccessible without the support of the long-standing sponsor. “The vehicles are as good off-road as they are on normal roads and that’s why we chose them,” said Green. Participants in the three-day Descent will depart from the Sterkfontein Dam in the Free State on October 26 before plummeting down the escarpment into KZN and finishing at Winterton in the Central Drakensberg. The newly-introduced Great Trek follows the same route from October 30, while the original event, which stretches over two days, rounds out proceedings from November 3. Green said the vehicles would also be used to ferry riders in the three-day events back to their own cars from the finish venue at Winterton Country Club. “For us, the safety of our riders is paramount and the Subarus’ road-holding ability is an important factor.” In addition, Subaru Pietermaritzburg owner Howard Christie said his dealership would transport riders to the summit of Spioenkop Mountain for sundowner tours of this historic battlefield. “Because we know mountain bikers enjoy a little speed, we’ll also have the new Subaru BRZ sports car on display at the event.” Christie said FedGroup Berg & Bush participants would also be entitled to a special discount on the purchase of a new Subaru before the end of the year. The dealership also sponsors vehicles for off-road races such as the Old Mutual joBerg2c, Imana Wild Ride and sani2c, presented by BoE. Although the . . .