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Hybrid WAN boosts agility

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85% of IT leaders feel that they have a timeframe of just two years to adopt new technologies, or risk falling behind. However many can stay agile should they adopt a hybrid WAN, writes TAJ ELKHAYAT, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa at Riverbed Technology.

In the past, most applications were housed on-premises and the WAN was a well-defined and predictable environment. This is no longer the case, as nowadays, the WAN is continually changing and both the applications and architecture that it supports are becoming increasingly challenging to maintain. With more and more applications transitioning to the cloud – public, private or SaaS – the cloud has become an essential element of enterprise architecture as many organisations embark on a digital transformation strategy. Today, 85% of IT leaders feel that they have a timeframe of just two years to adopt new technologies, or risk falling behind.

Consequently, IT now has to manage an increasing number of on-premises and cloud-based applications. The growing number of apps combined with the escalating demand for video and rich-media means that the public Internet is now often used along with MPLS to address enterprises’ rapidly increasing needs for bandwidth. This certainly has cost benefits. However, it can impact IT’s ability to have visibility or understanding of application performance. Changes to the WAN have a negative impact on app performance and businesses must find new approaches to tackle this and optimize app performance and reliability.

As a result, the WAN is evolving toward a hybrid mix that combines the performance of on-premises hardware with the agility and elasticity of cloud based network functions. As enterprises are becoming hybrid, the shape of the network itself is seeing significant changes. The underlying networks are getting more diverse in terms of performance and security.

Controlling the edge of the network

Business now takes place at the edge of the network perimeter – at the branch, at home, from remote locations or on the road. Availability and speed are the biggest priority and keeping business applications running in remote and branch office locations can address this. However, it’s important to note that in the new hybrid WAN, direct Internet access can actually put businesses’ sensitive data at risk from cyber-attacks. Whilst the cloud offers agility and cost-efficiency, the performance is often less than ideal for the end-user and is more difficult for IT to control and optimise. Enterprises can tackle this by looking for solutions which allow them to unify IT management from one central location, such as the data centre or the cloud, all the way to the edge. Regardless of where applications are hosted, IT must be able to ensure optimal performance and secure availability.

Agility and application performance are key WAN requirements

In today’s increasingly digital world, application performance is at the heart of business productivity. Applications can help facilitate business functions, ranging from manufacturing, to processing sales. They also help us communicate and collaborate. However, as we rely on applications more and more, this means that the end-user has high expectations around performance levels.

IT must be able to make these applications available to users and respond to business needs as quickly as possible. Whether this requires setting up a new branch office or making a new SaaS application available to employees, agility is key. IT must be able to deploy sites, rollout applications and handle change management, all whilst ensuring that application performance runs seamlessly.

Tackling application complexity with operational development

Applications are now becoming richer and more complex as the majority become encrypted. Delivered from the data centre, the cloud and the edge, users are accessing them from everywhere. The edge is fast becoming the centre of communication for enterprise and IT must now consider solutions that automate application delivery over the WAN and facilitate intelligence, performance and security requirements as well as abstracting communication resources. This requires automated systems and orchestration which can support these abstractions and align IT with the wider business needs.

Maximise productivity by optimize application performance

Poor application performance can have significant negative impact on a business, affecting not only employee productivity, but also customer satisfaction. Today’s hybrid WAN has introduced new challenges. As bandwidth is now more cost-effective and readily available, the rapid adoption of SaaS and cloud applications means that it can be difficult for IT to keep up with who is using what apps. This in turn leads to poor visibility of end-user experience and an inability to manage infrastructure and application performance.

Encryption can hide application traffic and further obscure the distinction between applications. This means that IT now requires visibility beyond encryption to understand the specific applications accessed by various users. Once this is achieved, they can prioritise and direct application traffic. This can reduce the number of transactions across the WAN for faster application performance and less burden on communication lines.

Harnessing unification and simplification

In order to meet the changing agility requirements of the enterprise, IT will need solutions which will simplify operations across their hybrid network from the data centre or cloud to the LAN or across the hybrid WAN to users across multiple locations. Therefore, to uphold future agility requirements, it will become critical for enterprises to have the ability to abstract and virtualise communication resources between users and data, no matter where they are.

Whilst software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions are being developed to satisfy these requirements, holistic solutions will unify control across networks, the cloud and mobile workers. SD-WAN, when coupled with WAN optimisation, will significantly improve performance and infrastructure efficiencies.

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Huawei goes ultra-premium

Porsche Design and Huawei have launched the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS in South Africa exclusive to MTN and retailing for R 26 459.

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The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS boasts features like the world’s first dual fingerprint design, including an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) processor and Leica triple camera with 40MP image capture.

“After the overwhelming success of the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 Pro in South Africa, we now bring you our latest offering, a perfect blend of innovation in a smartphone and luxury design,” said Likun Zhao, Vice President of Huawei Consumer Business Group Southern Africa. “From three-point security feature including facial recognition, rear fingerprint scanner and the new innovative in-screen fingerprint to the Leica triple camera system. it culminates in an unprecedented experience for our customers.”

The device incorporates Porsche Design’s signature design language and Huawei’s breakthrough technology.  The phone has a 6” 2K curved OLED screen and symmetrical look, minimalist feel and 8-edged 3D curved glass body.

High performance is symbolised by the naming of the smartphone: the term “RS” in the world of Porsche motorsport stands for outstanding racing performance.

Huawei provided the following information on The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS benefits and features :

·         The world’s first dual fingerprint scanner for enhanced convenience, allowing users to wake and unlock the device simply, thanks to an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Hover to wake the device, touch to unlock it

·         The winning combination of Leica triple camera with 40MP RGB sensor technology and exceptional photography powered by Master AI. This combination puts effortless, eye-catching photography at the fingertips of those looking to immortalise their favourite moments. Combined with 5 x hybrid zoom, and the world’s first AI image stabilisation on a smartphone camera ensures photography lovers can capture the best shots with exceptional clarity in almost any situation

·         The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS is the first Huawei handset to allow quick wireless charging, making it even easier to keep the phone topped up and ready to go and, thanks to its long lasting battery, users will easily be powered through the busiest of days

·         An ‘intelligent’ smartphone, the powerful AI processor automatically tailors the performance of the phone according to how it is used – constantly learning, understanding and anticipating needs, it is the perfect personal assistant for the pocket

·         256GB of internal storage means those constantly on the go and constantly on their phone can be worry free

·         Dual SLS (super linear system) speakers with DOLBY ATMOS enable users to have a superior experience, with the best immersive surround sound and entertainment on the go

·         Splash, water and dust resistant, which means there is no need to worry about damaging the device in the rain or accidentally dropping it in water

Jan Becker, CEO Porsche Design Group, said: “Both Porsche Design and Huawei seek to imagine and develop products that stand for precision and perfection, intelligent functionality and highly sophisticated design. Our aim was to create an outstanding device that goes one step further. We believe we have reached this goal by taking our partnership to the next level.”

Porsche Design and Huawei have worked in tandem to develop a smartphone that fuses together the two brands’ DNA, wealth of experience in design and technology, industry-leading expertise and exceptional performance. Through the use of colour in the device’s body, software themes and accessories, the new handset is accentuated with Porsche Design’s distinguished aesthetic and purist, minimalist feel.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS will be available to purchase exclusively from MTN at R 26 459.

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Cross-channel chat launched

Clickatell has launched a cross-channel live chat service, Touch Go, that transforms omni-channel customer care.

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It enables live chat across a company’s website as well as social platforms (Twitter and Facebook) and mobile apps, bringing customer care and engagement into a single business platform.

“Today’s consumers expect to engage with your brand on the digital channel of their choosing,” says Deon van Heerden, Clickatell Engage CEO and Group CFO. “They want to message your business and instantly have queries resolved, find the information and services they are looking for, without the need for a voice call. Clickatell’s Touch Go makes that happen with the right level of capabilities for businesses of all sizes.”

Businesses can start using Touch Go immediately, with a free Starter option. Touch Go requires no credit card for sign-up and is fully featured with a simple setup process. It offers customisable branding, a unified chat desk business application as well as reports and analytics.

As the business scales up its digital customer care, it can opt-in for the Touch Enterprise offering. Touch Enterprise is designed for scaling up customer care efforts through advanced capabilities including AI driven virtual agents, sentiment analysis, automated workflows, enterprise integrations and in-channel mini-applications.

“Customer care has become a defining factor for sustained business success ” says Nirmal Nair, Clickatell Engage EVP Product & Marketing. “In an ever-increasing mobile native world, customers often choose to interact digitally, but they also expect to be able to reach a human immediately, should they need. Monitoring multiple channels and providing immediate action becomes challenging with siloed deployments. Touch’s unified solution allows businesses of all sizes to provide the customer delight in a simple modular approach.”

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