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Balance employees and engagement

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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.

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.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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How Quantum computing will change … everything?

Research labs, government agencies (NASA) and tech giants like Microsoft, IBM and Google are all focused on developing quantum theories first put forward in the 1970s. What’s more, a growing start-up quantum computing ecosystem is attracting hundreds of millions of investor dollars. Given this scenario, Forrester believes it is time for IT leaders to pay attention.

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“We expect CIOs in life sciences, energy, defence, and manufacturing to see a deluge of hype from vendors and the media in the coming months,” says Forrester’s Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst serving CIOs and lead author of a report: A First Look at Quantum Computing. “Financial services, supply-chain, and healthcare firms will feel some of this as well. We see a market emerging, media interest on the rise, and client interest trickling in. It’s time for CIOs to take notice.”

The Forrester report gives some practical applications for quantum computing which helps contextualise its potential: 

  • Security could massively benefit from quantum computing. Factoring very large integers could break RSA-encrypted data, but could also be used to protect systems against malicious attempts. 
  • Supply chain managers could use quantum computing to gather and act on price information using minute-by-minute fluctuations in supply and demand 
  • Robotics engineers could determine the best parameters to use in deep-learning models that recognise and react to objects in computer vision
  • Quantum computing could be used to discover revolutionary new molecules making use of the petabytes of data that studies are now producing. This would significantly benefit many organisations in the material and life sciences verticals – particularly those trying to create more cost-effective electric car batteries which still depend on expensive and rare materials. 

Continue reading to find out how Quantum computing differs.

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