Connect with us

Featured

Hospitality solutions should provide comfort and save costs

In order to meet the ever growing demands of today’s travellers, technology in abundance is what makes a hotel function in modern times, writes MIKE VAN LIER, Director of Enterprise Business Division at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

From the moment a guest checks into a hotel until the time they leave, they encounter technology on various levels. Some are plainly obvious, such as screens and PCs installed at the reception desk, but there are also the not-so-obvious technology that makes guests’ stay more pleasurable, but they are unaware of it.

Nowadays every guest expects Wi-Fi when booking into a hotel. It has become an accepted standard and something that can’t do without. However, what might not be so clear is that once guests enter the hotel’s Wi-Fi environment, their mobile phone can be converted into a seamless extension of the hotel’s internal switchboard or PABX. This renders hostel guests’ communication fast and efficient. Apart from being a useful and time-saving service to guests, this system offers the hotel management and staff benefits as well. Likewise, in the background the hotel employees are able to communicate with each other via their mobile phones, without the exorbitant costs of cellphone call fees. This can amount to huge cost savings for the hotel, considering the number of calls between staff on a daily basis. Samsung’s Fixed Mobile Convergence, PABX and Wi-Fi solutions afford hotels and the hospitality industry this functionality.

Large format display screens are becoming much more prevalent in hotels and restaurants globally. These displays offer the perfect solution to present a myriad of information, such as conferences which might be taking place at a hotel or the foreign currency rates of exchange. All of these displays care controlled from a central point within the hotel that allows for comfortable and effective content management.

In addition, some hotels that have adopted Samsung’s Large Format Displays have used these to function as digital wall paper that can be changed to reflect any mood, season or event taking place in their lobbies, such as the Metropolitan hotel in Las Vegas.

The TV is another discreet technology that can be found within hotel rooms. Once guests enter their bedroom they expect a television set. Samsung’s unique range of Hotel TVs not only allow guests to watch normal programming and movies, but also to wirelessly connect their IOS and Android smart devices to play back their own music and videos on the TV ― known as BYOD (bring your own device). Through this solution guests are given more freedom and control over what content they want to consume and when they wish to consume it. In addition the hotel TVs can display the hotel’s entire directory of services that can easily be navigated by guests using the remote control. The traditional Guest Service Booklet in the hotel room can now be trashed and recycled in favour of a more current, eco-friendly and effective Samsung hotel TV solution.

Comfort is important within the hospitality industry and air-conditioning is most often overlooked in this instance. Air-conditioning consume huge amounts of energy leading to increased costs for a hotel. Samsung’s air-conditioning system however, provides an excellent energy efficient way of heating or cooling. Room air-conditioning settings as well as settings for public spaces in the hotel can be changed from a central point, either from within the hotel or from another location off-site.

Hotels are notoriously high paper usage environments with masses of staff carrying clip boards with endless check lists and reports. The large paper consumption should be a concern, as consumers are becoming more eco-friendly and actively seeking service providers who share the same belief. System printing solutions aimed at decreasing paper wastage and reducing printing costs is therefore a good investment. Samsung’s cloud and Tap & Print technology, using near field communications (NFC) not only benefits employees and the hotel, but also allows guests to securely print their documents at the hotel’s business center.

The hotel business has definitely expanded from its earlier sole provision of accommodation. There is now much more to consider in running such an enterprise effectively. Technology, visible or hidden, can play a big role in making the venture a success.

Featured

Cisco gives pre-owned tech a Refresh

In a market of constant upgrades, Cisco Refresh aims to keep quality product away from landfills, writes BRYAN TURNER.

When one gets a new smartphone upgrade, the old device may be used as a backup or can be used by someone else. In business environments, equipment upgrades may not be conducive to keeping old equipment around, which may send older, working equipment to landfills.

This is where Cisco’s Refresh initiative comes in. At Cisco Connect in Sun City this week, Ehrika Gladden, VP and general manager of Cisco Refresh, lifted the lid on a little-known aspect of the company’s strategy. 

“Refresh is Cisco’s global pre-owned equipment business unit,” said Gladden. “It is certified to meet the quality and engineering standards of Cisco. It is licensed for software and it’s also inclusive of a services warranty.

“Our responsibility in 80 countries around the world is tied to both the recovery of assets and the ability to leverage those assets at a lower price point. This ensures our sustainability and proper usage of the Earth’s resources while providing access to small and medium businesses. The products are typically in the range of 20-40% cheaper. The products represent the entire portfolio for Cisco in some part, the majority of that product set is 2+ years in terms of generation.”

Cisco’s Circular Economy initiative ensures a sustainable loop through businesses willing to pay a premium for the latest, cutting-edge solutions, while Cisco markets older, working equipment for resale to those who don’t require the latest solutions. This ensures far less new components need to be used in a product range.

“We are leveraging the model of remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and reusing,” said Gladden. “Depending on the product set, there is a certain set of product yield that we expect. They vary from product to product, but we do have a percentage that doesn’t make it through.

“Those are always reused, meaning we will look at those products and decide to use them completely differently, leveraging the components, remanufacturing back into the overall build process. If that can’t be done, we will go into a recycle process where we melt those products down to reuse them.”

Repairing and refurbishing older products isn’t just that. Cisco is creating repair centres that are owned by third-parties to uplift local ownership.

“The repair centres, as a global manufacturer, is Cisco’s entree into local ownership,” said Gladden. “I want to be precise about what I mean by local ownership. It’s critical for us to have a localised presence, but doing that through ownership. When you look at inclusive economies, those that are participative, to be sustainable – not in the product set, but generationally.

“The ability as a global manufacturer through a local ownership model  isto create a repair centre where a product can be returned, screened, tested, and repaired, leveraging the talent that the Networking Academy is creating.”

Cisco is working closely with local governments to understand where it operates and how to leverage the skills in the market.

Gladden said: “We are also super excited about the National Development Plan and African Union statements which with we align: eradication of poverty, job creation, ownership, healthcare, education, it all fits in the model. So we were very excited to have the opportunity to come to Africa first to announce this. Over the next twelve months, we want to establish our first repair centres, and in the next 3 to 5 years, build that vision into a reality.”

Continue Reading

Featured

Why Data Privacy has become a Pipe Dream

If you’re active on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other social platform, you’re not as safe as you thought, writes
AARON THORNTON, MD of Dial a Nerd

As you begin to read this, let’s perform a quick experiment! How many active conversations are you engaged in – right now – on WhatsApp? When was the last time you shared a picture or video on Instagram? Is Facebook currently open and active on one of your devices? And how many internet- connected devices are you using at this moment? Chances are, you have multiple devices running multiple applications most of the time. So what’s the problem, you ask? Since when did checking in with a high school buddy in Australia via Facebook become a dangerous act?  

In reply, we say, read on if you can stomach it!  

Nation-State Hacking & You  

It might seem like a laughably long shot to say that you are a key player in the increasingly sinister and sophisticated world of nation-state hacking. Well, you are. Given that individuals, businesses and governments are now constantly connected, round the clock, consumers and businesses have become fair game in cyber espionage. And as we create and share more and more data, both the value and accessibility of that data increases. According to a report by McAfee, IP theft now accounts for more than 25% of the estimated $600 billion cost of cybercrime to the world economy.    

With data having become the ‘new gold’, nation states are naturally pouring investment and key resources into building advanced cyber warfare tools. Indeed, entire divisions of armed forces as well as the upper echelons of corporate leadership are devising ways to harness data to gain economic, political and social power. At the highest level, tools and platforms are being developed with the specific aim of perpetrating cyber espionage and data theft. No surprise then, that the consumer and business environments are rife with increasingly advanced malware, ransomware and many other malicious hacking tools and methods.  

Still not convinced? Yes, we can smell the scepticism from here! So let’s take a moment to see how this has already played out, beneath our noses.  

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal of early 2018? For many, this was a watershed moment in the emerging war for consumer data – and the ensuing tensions between privacy, power and profit. Need a refresh? Well, in 2018, Facebook exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign. In essence, the data was harvested without user consent and used for political purposes.  

Another chilling but less direct example can be found in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to Politico, Russia launched a massive social media campaign to ‘sow discord’ leading up to the elections. The website reported that as early as 2014, an infamous Russian “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency – a company linked to Russian president Putin – developed a strategy using fraudulent bank accounts and other fake identity documents to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

When referring to the Russian hacks and their impact on election results, one U.S. Representative sagely noted: “They didn’t just steal data; they weaponized it.” 

Ignorance is not bliss 

Okay, so data is being ‘weaponized’, and ordinary people and businesses are being caught in the crosshairs of cyber warfare. A little bit frightening, but the good news is that savvy individuals like you can take steps to protect personal data and actively combat the creeping influence of juggernauts such as Facebook and Google.  

To begin with, awareness is key. As you engage with various platforms and applications at work and at home, take time to understand how your data is being used and what the terms of use are. Is your data being accessed and sold to advertisers? Have you consented to this? In addition to scrutinizing your consent, also pay close attention to how much data you share online – and the nature of the details you are divulging. Always keep in mind that hackers are employing smart social engineering tactics and using the details of your private life (birthdays, holidays, pet’s names, etc) to trick you into opening infected emails and clicking on malware. Whenever you are online, you are a target – and vigilance at all times is critical. Beyond that, it goes without saying that you must commit to following basic security protocols with your devices. So always keep software up to date and keep your data backed up so that you can reboot or wipe a device if needed.   

Now that we’ve left you sufficiently spooked, you can get back to those demanding WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram notifications (same company, by the way)…albeit, we hope, with a slightly altered [cyber] worldview!  

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 World Wide Worx