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Dell goes bigger on Big Data

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Dell has announced a series of new big data and analytics solutions and services designed to help companies quickly and securely turn data into insights for better, faster decision-making.

The solutions include a new release of Dell’s advanced analytics software platform and new Analytics-as-a -Service offerings for multiple industry verticals such as banking, healthcare and insurance. Together, these new offerings and capabilities enable companies to embed analytics across their core processes and disseminate analytics expertise across the organisation to drive better business outcomes.

Data-driven decision-making is the pathway to competitive advantage in the modern data economy. The Dell Global Technology Adoption Index 2015 (GTAI 2015) revealed that those organisations robustly using big data show 50 percent higher growth rates than organisations that aren’t.  However, the study also found that 44 percent of organisations still don’t understand how to extract value from their data.

With the latest enhancements to its big data and analytics portfolio, Dell says, it is helping customers overcome that uncertainty and invest wisely in data technologies by delivering flexible, end-to-end solutions that help organisations foster IT and business alignment, drive operational efficiency, and leverage the power of predictive analytics.

Dell provided the following information on its new products and services:

Launch of Statistica 13 Further Simplifies Deployment of Advanced Analytics Across the Enterprise 

The launch of Statistica 13, the latest release of the company’s popular advanced analytics software platform, helps simplify and improve the process by which organisations deploy predictive models directly to data sources inside the firewall, in the cloud, and in partner ecosystems. An easy-to-use solution that requires no coding and integrates seamlessly with open source R, Dell Statistica delivers a full range of data blending, data discovery, and advanced and predictive analytics tools that help organisations tap into all data to predict future trends, identify new customers and sales opportunities, explore “what-if” scenarios, and reduce the occurrence of fraud and other business risks. Enhancements and new capabilities in Statistica 13 include:

·         A completely revamped and modernised GUI for greater ease-of-use and visual appeal

·         Deeper integration with the recently added Statistica Interactive Visualisation and Dashboard engine for more effective communication to data consumers

·         Tighter integration with open source R for easier sharing and control of R scripts

·         A new stepwise model tool that progressively recommends optimum models for users

·         New Native Distributed Analytics (NDA) capabilities that allow users to run analytics directly in the database where data lives and work more efficiently with large and growing data sets

NDA functionality pushes predictive algorithm model-building and scoring functionality directly into the data source. This eliminates the time-consuming and data-limiting process of pulling data to an intermediate server or desktop, allowing all analytic processing to occur directly in the database and enabling organisations to leverage the power of Hadoop clusters, database appliances and other high-performance platforms. Statistica 13 will initially feature NDA capability for Microsoft SQL Server databases, with additional databases to be added in subsequent releases.

Dell Services Continues to Strengthen IP-led Service Offerings in Advanced Analytics and Data Science

Dell Services is expanding its Analytics-as-a-Service offerings with industry-specific services that help customers unearth insights, predict business outcomes, and improve the accuracy and efficiency of critical business processes.  For example, new BPO services help embed analytics across an organisation’s core processes and disseminate analytics expertise to give scalability to data-based decision making. The new services include:

·         Fraud, Waste and Abuse Management:  Helps organisations identify cases of medical identity theft, unnecessary diagnostic services or medically unnecessary services and incorrect billing

·         Denial Likelihood Scoring and Predictive Analytics: Helps organisations proactively identify which claims are most likely to be denied, and provide at-a-glance activity data on each account, detailed monitoring and follow-up, in the process helping eliminate up to 40 percent of low- or no-value follow-up work

·         Churn Management/Customer Retention Services: Helps organisations leverage predictive churn modelling – the processing and correlation of new social data sources with traditional data sources – to identify customers they are at risk of losing, and proactively take preventative measures

In addition, emphasising Dell’s continued focus on enabling Analytics-as-a-Service solutions, the Dell Services team has introduced Dell Service Desk Analytics and Dell ModelHealth (DMH) Tracker.

·         Dell Service Desk Analytics transforms IT service desk management by enabling predictive error management and automation. It creates early warning alerts and text analytics to improve the end-user experience and reduce business disruption.

·         Dell ModelHealth Tracker helps customers track and monitor the effectiveness of their various scorecard or predictive analytics models. Particularly in industries with compliance requirements, including banking and insurance, companies use scorecards or other predictive models to predict critical outcomes, such as a customer’s creditworthiness or the likelihood of an insurance claim being fraudulent. DMH plugs into multiple data sources to track, archive and manage these models, and more importantly, monitor them for effectiveness and compliance.

These new offerings join the more than 50 solutions from Dell Services in the area of advanced analytics, including healthcare analytics offerings focused on critical issues like population health, patient readmission, and health risk stratification; financial analytics offerings focused on online transactions and fraud detection; and insurance-focused offerings centered on reducing customer churn via analytics embedded within Lifesys, Dell’s platform for insurance claims processing.

End-to-End Portfolio Simplifies Deployment and Allows Customers to Achieve Insights Faster

In addition to software and services, Dell has a history of offering engineered solutions and reference architectures that speed deployment times and time to value. These solutions are tested and validated to relieve customer pain points associated with deployment of effective data management techniques. Most recently, Dell announced its 15th reference architecture in collaboration with Cloudera, this time also including Syncsort DMX-h software. The Dell | Cloudera | Syncsort Data Warehouse Optimisation – ETL Offload Reference Architecture streamlines the planning, design, construction and deployment process of transforming data into a ready state for analysis, also known as the extract, transform and load (ETL) process, using the Hadoop data platform. The reference architecture offers customers cost savings, faster time-to-value and quicker access to insights than an open-source, do-it-yourself solution.

In addition, Dell’s ProDeploy Enterprise Suite offers customers a complete suite of deployment services and professional certifications designed to simplify deployments and help customers rapidly adopt new technology with confidence.

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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