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Mailroom must get smart

By Dana Eitzen, corporate and marketing communications executive at Canon South Africa.

While digital mailrooms have been around for many years, they are sometimes still a source of mystery. But, in an age where all businesses are looking for cost-effective, high-impact digital technologies to make them more competitive, the role of the digital mailroom continues to gain importance.

The introduction of the digital mailroom was the next logical step in the move towards digitalisation. Before the digital age, businesses were burdened by a clunky and awkward process when it came to handling mail. Sacks full of letters would be directed to the mailroom in the organisation, where it would be sifted, sorted and then distributed at regular intervals by people from the mail room throughout the business.

On the face of it, this was a straightforward process. Apart from human errors in the system, where letters were misplaced or lost, the process of receiving mail was usually successful. However, there was no record of the letters once they were received. The receivers would usually extract the relevant information and then either dispose of them or file them locally. It made it very difficult for the business to gather centralised intelligence about its key contacts and correspondence. What’s more, it was labour intensive, slow and inefficient. The potential of the digital mailroom was born.

Businesses drivers behind digital mailrooms

It is almost impossible to find an industry that has not been affected by digital transformation. The desire to become digital-first has also become the driver behind the evolution of the digital mailroom. What began with scanning documents to ensure there was a digital record, quickly progressed to improving business connectivity. A business’s overall performance is now dependent on its ability to manage it communications across every channel – phone calls, instant messages, emails, physical letters and new channels as they continue to evolve.

With digital transformation comes the proliferation of data. Technologies like cloud have meant that data can not only be stored, but also harnessed for business insight. Businesses can instantly assess who has been contacting them across every channel and address any queries or concerns in the most appropriate way. This can be hugely important for customer service queries and in turn its reputation.

However, this data revolution has brought with it a growing spotlight on the way companies manage their information, protect user’s data and provide security for confidential business information. Prior to digital, a wrongly distributed letter was simply regarded as a potentially embarrassing, but unavoidable consequence of the handling process. Now, following the introduction of EU wide directives such as GDPR, it can lead to major fines. Confidential information reaching the wrong person can also reveal business secrets, further underlining the importance of getting it right. With this in mind, more businesses are investing in digital mailrooms to reduce human error and in turn, reduce the threat to compliance.

Click here to read about the new approach to digital mailrooms.

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Eugene Kaspersky posts from 2050

In his imagined blog entry from the year 2050, the Kaspersky Lab founder imagines an era of digital immunity

In recent years, digital systems have moved up to a whole new level. No longer assistants making life easier for us mere mortals, they’ve become the basis of civilisation — the very framework keeping the world functioning properly in 2050.

This quantum leap forward has generated new requirements for the reliability and stability of artificial intelligence. Although some cyberthreats still haven’t become extinct since the romantic era around the turn of the century, they’re now dangerous only to outliers who for some reason reject modern standards of digital immunity.

The situation in many ways resembles the fight against human diseases. Thanks to the success of vaccines, the terrible epidemics that once devastated entire cities in the twentieth century are a thing of the past.

However, that’s where the resemblance ends. For humans, diseases like the plague or smallpox have been replaced by new, highly resistant “post-vaccination” diseases; but for the machines, things have turned out much better. This is largely because the initial designers of digital immunity made all the right preparations for it in advance. In doing so, what helped them in particular was borrowing the systemic approaches of living systems and humans.

One of the pillars of cyber-immunity today is digital intuition, the ability of AI systems to make the right decisions in conditions where the source data are clearly insufficient to make a rational choice.

But there’s no mysticism here: Digital intuition is merely the logical continuation of the idea of machine learning. When the number and complexity of related self-learning systems exceeds a certain threshold, the quality of decision-making rises to a whole new level — a level that’s completely elusive to rational understanding. An “intuitive solution” results fromthe superimposition of the experience of a huge number of machine-learning models, much like the result of the calculations of a quantum computer.

So, as you can see, it has been digital intuition, with its ability to instantly, correctly respond to unknown challenges that has helped build the digital security standards of this new era.  

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M-Net to film Deon Meyer novel

A television adaptation of Deon Meyer’s crime novel Trackers is to be co-produced by M-Net, Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, and HBO subsidiary Cinemax, which will also distribute the drama series worldwide. 

Trackers is an unprecedented scripted television venture and MultiChoice and M-Net are proud to chart out new territory … allowing local and international talent to combine their world-class story-telling and production skills,” says MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment, Yolisa Phahle.

HBO, Cinemax, and M-Net also launched a Producers Apprenticeship programme last year when the Cinemax series Warrior, coming to M-Net in July, was filmed in South Africa. Some other Cinemax originals screened on M-Net include Banshee, The Knick and Strike Back. 

“Cinemax is delighted to partner with M-Net and ZDF in bringing Deon Meyer’s unforgettable characters and storytelling—all so richly rooted in the people and spectacular geography of South Africa—to screens around the world,” says Len Amato, President, HBO Films, Miniseries, and Cinemax.    

Filming for Trackers has already started in  locations across South Africa and the co-production partners have been working together on all aspects of production 

Deon Meyer, whose award-winning crime novels have been translated into more than 20 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide, serves as a supervising screenwriter and co-producer; British writer Robert Thorogood (Death in Paradise) is the showrunner. The team of South African writers on the project includes the Mitchell’s Plain playwright, screenwriter and director Amy Jephta (Die Ellen Pakkies Story) and local writer/directors Kelsey Egen and Jozua Malherbe. 

The cast for the six-part miniseries includes Ed Stoppard, Rolanda Marais, James Alexander and Thapelo Mokoena. 

Trackers will make its debut on M-Net 101 in October 2019 and will also be available on MultiChoice’s on-demand service, Showmax. The six-part drama series is produced by UK production company Three River Studios as well as South Africa’s Scene 23. 

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