Companies need to balance customer and employee engagement with service offerings that create trust and confidence, writes WARREN OLIVIER, regional manager of Veeam Southern Africa.
One of the critical concerns in this environment is addressing downtime. A competitive business cannot afford a moment’s respite; only a few minutes of inactivity, or lack of access to data or applications, can lead to huge losses.
The Veeam Data Center Availability Report 2014 shows that annual loss from downtime and data loss from legacy backup solutions can total more than R100-million annually. Businesses need to be ‘Always-On’ and accessible for their key stakeholders, as well as customers, and partners at all times. IT outages have a huge impact on both a company’s immediate profitability but also on its reputation. The loss of confidence resulting from an IT disaster threatens customers’ loyalty and retention.
Even locally, the impact of downtime on business can be significant. Unplanned IT system downtime could cost companies as much as two percent of their annual profits. And while this financial loss is significant, there is also the cost of lost data and the impact that could have on the longevity of the organisation.
Cloud and mobility have fundamentally changed how companies engage with their employees and their customers. It is clear that businesses now need to work around the clock and be ‘Always-On’. Data and applications need to be usable 24×7 irrespective of where they are accessed from. The availability of information becomes a critical success factor and systems need to be in place to make sure that it always available.
A global forecast by Cisco estimates that the number of devices and connections worldwide will reach nearly 21 billion in 2018 from 12 billion in 2013. This will significantly impact load on the network and equipment which will increase in direct proportion to the growth of information. The fact that there will be more hardware and software that offers access to data and applications at any time, mean decision-makers need to have the peace of mind that data failure or loss is taken out of the equation.
Traditionally, this challenge could only be addressed by two types of products: high-quality, high-performance, but expensive solutions that actually were only available to large companies owing to the considerable cost, or affordable programmes, but with a long cycle recovery system.
The fact that there was a gap between quality and affordable IT was formed largely due to the challenges facing the modern data centre namely the need to optimise the speed of recovery of data and applications and the confidence in achieving complete recovery of information. Today, there are solutions that provide the proper level of protection and availability of data in the data centre whilst also ensuring that the communications channel is consistently optimised.
He believes that this has signalled the bridging of an important divide in IT providing support for business and a platform for further development of technologies in this field.
Opting for an effective solution allows businesses not only to minimise the risks of loss and the inability to recover data, but also to enable all companies across industry sectors to put the theory of the Always-On business into practice.
Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist
Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.
Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.
The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela. It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.
“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time. We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”
The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba. It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.
Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.
“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”
This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.
Sports streaming takes off
Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.
England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.
According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.
Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.
The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.
“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”
With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.
“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”
The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.