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IBM opens cloud data centre in Jhb

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IBM, in collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom has announced that it is opening a Cloud Data Centre in Johannesburg.

IBM has announced that it is opening a new IBM Cloud Data Center in Johannesburg, South Africa. The new cloud center is the result of a close collaboration with Gijima and Vodacom and is designed to support cloud adoption and customer demand across the continent.  IBM will provide clients with a complete portfolio of cloud services for running enterprise and as a service workloads.

The new IBM Cloud Data Center has the ability to run and manage SAP applications and workloads in the cloud and underscores IBM’s growing cloud footprint, which now includes 46 cloud data centers across six continents.

“We’re working to drive cloud adoption that best leverages a customer’s existing IT investments,” said Hamilton Ratshefola, IBM Country General Manager in South Africa. “Our new Cloud Data Center gives customers a local onramp to IBM Cloud services including moving mission critical SAP workloads to the cloud with ease. It also gives customers the added flexibility of keeping data within country which is a key differentiator for IBM.”

The IBM Cloud Data Center will provide SAP enterprise customers in South Africa and Africa with access to IBM’s global network of Cloud Data Centers and services expertise. This will enable businesses to run critical applications on the cloud, providing access to a broad array of services for building in-country cloud solutions, while offering faster network speeds to improve performance and reach end users even faster.

“The increase of enterprise cloud computing on the continent is being driven by large enterprise and multinational organisations expanding their presence and IT requirements across Africa,” said Vuyani Jarana, Chief Officer of Vodacom Business. “CIO’s are looking to gain efficiencies and cut cost by moving more of their IT infrastructure, applications and processes into the Cloud. Vodacom’s extensive Fixed and Mobile network infrastructure, Pan African and global footprint and its investment in data center infrastructure provides the ideal platform and environment to deliver cloud services to large and multinational enterprises.“

Today’s news showcases IBM’s global reach and broad portfolio of cloud services capable of supporting very large enterprises like big retailers and financial institutions. Vodacom is committed to delivering enterprise grade cloud solutions and this partnership with IBM delivers on that scale and will position Vodacom Business as a leader in total IT solutions across the continent.

“Gijima as a 100 percent black owned South African company, is proud to be the cloud partner of choice for these unique IBM services,” said Eileen Wilton, CEO of Gijima. The partnership with IBM and Vodacom is an extension of Gijima’s hybrid cloud strategy and is the culmination of two years of hard work as part of our turnaround strategy. Gijima is the ideal partner for this service as we already have the system and SAP integration skills as part of our existing solutions offering.

Bringing together Vodacom’s network and Africa footprint, Gijima’s SAP enterprise expertise and IBM’s cloud platforms will create a powerhouse in cloud services, resolving data latency and in-country regulatory issues through the protection of data in-country and potentially also offset data networking costs. Gijima and Vodacom will both resell IBM’s Cloud Managed Services to the SAP enterprise customer base in the region.

IBM Cloud delivers fast, easy and automated access to public, private and hybrid cloud services to help clients digitally transform. IBM Cloud is a growing collection of services including analytics, mobile, networking, storage, Internet of Things and cognitive computing. With more than 46 global cloud data centers, IBM helps companies securely manage and gain insight into their data no matter where it resides.

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Jaguar drives dictionary definition

Jaguar is calling for the Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries to update their online definition of the word ‘car’

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Jaguar is spearheading a campaign for the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and Oxford Dictionaries (OxfordDictionaries.com) to change their official online definitions of the word ‘car’.

The I-PACE, Jaguar’s all-electric performance SUV, is the 2019 World Car of the Year and European Car of the Year. However, strictly speaking, the zero-emission vehicle isn’t defined as a car.

The OED, the principal historical dictionary of the English language, defines a ‘car’ in its online dictionary as: ‘a road vehicle powered by a motor (usually an internal combustion engine) designed to carry a driver and a small number of passengers, and usually having two front and two rear wheels, esp. for private, commercial, or leisure use’.

Whereas the current definition of a ‘car’ on Oxford Dictionaries.com, a collection of dictionary websites produced by Oxford University Press (OUP), the publishing house of the University of Oxford, is: ‘A road vehicle, typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine and able to carry a small number of people.’

To remedy the situation, Jaguar has submitted a formal application to the OED and OxfordDictionaries.com to have the definitions updated to include additional powertrains, including electric vehicles (EV).

David Browne, head of Jaguar Land Rover’s naming committee, said: “A lot of time and thought is put into the name of any new vehicle or technology to ensure it is consumer friendly, so it’s surprising to see that the definition of the car is a little outdated. We are therefore inviting the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionaries to update its online classification to reflect the shift from traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) towards more sustainable powertrains.”

The Oxford English Dictionary is widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language. It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words – past and present – from across the English-speaking world.

Jaguar unveiled the I-PACE, its first all-electric vehicle, last year to deliver sustainable sports car performance, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology and five-seat SUV practicality.

Featuring a state-of-the-art 90kWh lithium-ion battery, two Jaguar-designed motors and a bespoke aluminium structure, the I-PACE is capable of 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds and a range of up to 470km (WLTP).

While both the Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries review the application, Jaguar is encouraging people to get behind the campaign by asking how the word ‘car’ should be defined. Contact Jaguar on TwitterFacebook and Instagram using #RedefineTheCar with your thoughts.

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How Internet blocks visually impaired

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Picture: Amelie-Benoist / Getty Images

A pervasive “digital divide” inhibits blind people from accessing the Internet, according to a study conducted by Nucleus Research for Deque Systems, an accessibility software company specialising in digital equality. This results in visits to websites being abandoned, further resulting in a missed market opportunity for the websites in question.

The study, which conducted in-depth interviews with 73 U.S. adults who are blind or have severe visual impairments, revealed that two-thirds of the Internet transactions initiated by people with vision impairments end in abandonment because the websites they visit aren’t accessible enough. Ninety percent of those surveyed said they regularly call a site’s customer service to report inaccessibility and have no choice but to visit another, more accessible site to make the transaction.

The Nucleus study also scanned hundreds of websites in the e-commerce, news and information and government categories and found that 70 percent had certain “critical blockers” that rendered them inaccessible to visually impaired users.

“Besides the moral dilemma and legal risk, businesses with inaccessible websites are missing a huge revenue opportunity by ignoring an untapped market,” says Preety Kumar, CEO of Deque Systems. “Among internet retailers specifically, two-thirds of the top ten online retailers had serious accessibility issues, meaning they are leaving $6.9 billion in potential North American e-commerce revenues on the table.”

Web accessibility refers to the ability of people with disabilities to independently gather information, complete transactions, or communicate on the Internet. Most visually impaired Internet users rely on assistive technologies like screen readers or screen magnifiers to render sites perceivable and operable. However, these assistive technologies require that websites be built with accessibility in mind and optimized to interface with assistive technology, in order to convey information in an accurate and understandable manner.

Critical accessibility blockers can vary across industries. In e-commerce, problems include issues like missing form and button labels (thereby making forms or the “checkout” button invisible without context). Amazon, Best Buy and Target were found to be accessibility leaders in this space. Additionally, the study found:

  • Eight out of ten news sites had significant accessibility issues.
  • Seven out of ten blind persons reported being unable to access information and services through government websites, including Medicare’s site.
  • Fewer than one in three websites have clear contact information or instructions for blind persons to seek help if they encounter accessibility issues, meaning many have low levels of success in reporting and solving these problems.

“A focus on accessibility needs to be a core part of the website design and development process,” continues Kumar. “Considering accessibility as early as the conception phase, and proactively building and testing sites for accessibility as they move towards production, is significantly more effective than remediating it later, helping organizations save significant time and resources while avoiding unnecessary customer grievances.”

To download the report, visit: https://accessibility.deque.com/nucleus-accessibility-research-2019

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