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Today’s biz needs tomorrow’s tech

A business is a bit like a car: for all the design and research that goes into the development of an automobile to make it look visually appealing, the test of its innovation and capabilities comes from its engine, says IAN JANSEN VAN RENSBURG, VMware Senior Systems Engineer Manager, and the engine of a business is its network.

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What’s underneath the hood of the car delivers the levels of performance, reliability and efficiency that enables the user to go from A to B – at the required speed they need it to. For businesses, their network is their engine. But continuing with this analogy, is a 1971 Morris Minor’s engine going to power a 2018 Audi TT?  No, and today’s hardware-based networks are not going to power today’s digital business.

The engine of the business

To paraphrase Henry Ford, if we were to keep designing faster hardware, we would be stuck with a network that has reached its physical limitations – it’s time we looked at something that can revolutionise a business’s ability to deliver better customer experiences. The network that got you to today is not the one that’s going to bring you forward. Powerful new applications have become the lifeblood of companies across all industries. Already, some global manufacturers can generate up to four petabytes of data a month through their day-to-day operations; intelligent vehicles produce two gigabytes of data for every 100 kilometres. 

Imagine if you’re a manufacturer looking for ways to be more efficient, or a logistics company with 1500 lorries, each averaging 500 kilometres a day; if you used your existing hardware infrastructure, you would be overwhelmed by the amount of data your operations generate, unable to identify, analyse or secure it, and missing the opportunity to use that data to innovate and grow. The key here is that data has little value. What organisations need is contextual information, the understanding of data.

It’s a challenge many are facing – 90% of organisations feel they are disadvantaged by the complexities of their network, and 82% experience network downtime (disruption) caused by manual errors, according to a report from Dynamic Markets. 

The problem is, it’s only going to grow. With a burgeoning mobile culture compounded by the emergence of IoT and edge computing, applications and data now reside everywhere – in the data center, in the cloud, at the branch and even in a sensor at the edge of the network. Currently, around 10% of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud. By 2022, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 50% . More than this, how much of that data will remain human-generated?

From data centers to ‘centers of data’

It is the need to turn data into information which will be the foundation on which differentiated customer experiences, brand reputation and new business models are built. As such, the key imperative for any network must then be to provide business users with information at the point of demand. It must be delivered fast, securely and irrespective of the cloud it might have crossed, or the type of application. Even more critical it must be seamless to the device the person chose to be using. Today’s business is about consumer simple and human choice. How do we create this “enterprise secure productivity.”

The move from data centers to ‘centers’ of information is putting masses of pressure on the traditional network – largely because typical security solutions, which aren’t built into the infrastructure itself. By design this legacy doesn’t allow free, secure movement of data or enable the interpretation of it.

Today, security has to be so inherent that when breaches occur— and they always will — they can be automatically detected and compartmentalised, so any potential impact can be minimised. Imagine if a car manufacturer didn’t secure the data its intelligent vehicles transmitted – if someone could hack the vehicle, they would be putting the lives of not only the passengers and drivers, but those in vehicles around them, in grave danger, in real-time.

Yet the answer is not ’do not connect that car’, it is ‘connect that car in the appropriate way’.  Which immediately becomes a security question. However, leveraging a virtual cloud network where the scale of security, compute and storage is infinite means we can now enable the secure handling of data in real-time, with near-zero failure.

Simplifying, improving and strengthening

This new approach, the virtual cloud network, focuses on creating end-to-end connectivity and security to deliver business technology to the hands of the user, over any cloud, for any application type, any service and any transport; whether that’s a smart vehicle, a remote worker, a sensor in a wind farm in the North Sea – the applications are infinite. 

It essentially overlays cyber-hygiene over the traditional hardware layer by moving the intelligence that traditionally lived in hardware into software. This provides infinite scale and storage potential. At the same time, it allows organisations to quickly aggregate, automate and draw insight from their applications and data – so businesses can mine the most value out of their existing processes while maximising future business opportunities. 

That means a global manufacturer might automate the way it processes its data to identify ways to make its processes more efficient, or a logistics company can identify how its vehicles are performing, for example scheduling maintenance when it’s required, as opposed to by a calendar-based approach. 

This may seem like another vision of what technology might be able to do, but it’s more than that. Technology can do it today. The virtual cloud network is not just a vision but the platform for the future of networks. The only way businesses can operate in a digital world is by being able to respond to market conditions faster than the competition, provide employees with the tools for maximum productivity, all while maintaining the integrity of their operations – and ultimately brand.  A software-based approach provides this, offering application safety, an antidote to companies afraid to innovate, and the most impressive sand box for developers. Hardware cannot deliver that anymore – software can. 

An engine for innovation

Disruption due to brittle infrastructures and bolted-on security like those we have seen over the past decade cannot continue anymore, and businesses will need to embrace change to survive the “information economy”. By embracing the network for the future, and by taking what we do in the data center to the branch and the edge with intrinsic security built-in, businesses have the digital infrastructure needed to innovate, choose their next move, at speed, and focus on what they do best. 

The answer is always software. What was the question?

 

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New iPhone pricing for SA

The iStore has announced that the latest iPhones, the Xs and Xs Max, can now be pre-ordered at www.myistore.co.za , and will be available in stores starting 28 September 2018.

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iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays that offer remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have an improved dual camera system that offers breakthrough photo and video features, A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, splash and water resistance,

Pre-orders will be open for cash purchases and on iStore’s revised payment plan in partnership with FNB Credit Card, allowing customers to pay off their iPhone at a reduced interest rate. However, the contract period is 37 months rather than the usual 24 months.
*FNB Credit Card Payment Plan, price per month over 37 months, a 40% trade-in value after 24 months

How to pre-order – Pre-ordering online for either cash or the FNB payment plan gives customers the benefit of reserving their purchase without having to queue and the added convenience of having purchases delivered directly to their door. Pre-orders of iPhone Xs and Xs Max are completed online by visiting www.myistore.co.za.
FREE iCare Plus – Exclusive to iStore, all customers can get its 2-year extended warranty, which includes one Apple Certified screen repair, that normally sells for R1 999, for FREE. To qualify, customers should secure a voucher online now at www.myistore.co.za , and subsequently redeem it when they upgrade their contract or purchase any new iPhone at iStore (iPhone 8 and newer) between now and 31 December 2018. Offer is limited, secure your voucher now.

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Accenture opens Fjord design centre in Johannesburg

Accenture has launched its first design and innovation studio on African soil, Fjord Johannesburg.

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The company says the move significantly expands its design capabilities and demonstrates its commitment to unlocking Africa’s innovation potential through the creation of experiences that redefine industries in our constantly evolving digital era.

The new studio, opening in November, will be located at Accenture’s new 3875m² offices in Waterfall. It will be led by Marcel Rossouw, design director and studio lead for Fjord Johannesburg.

Said Rossouw, “Brands are constantly asking, ’how does one take a business need or problem, build that out into a definition of a service experience, and then bring it to market?’ It’s about re-engineering existing service experiences, identifying customer needs, prototyping rapidly, iterating often and proving or disproving assumptions. But it’s also about getting feedback from customers. The combination of these factors helps companies advance towards the ultimate service experience.”

Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, solidifying its position as the world’s leading design powerhouse.

Working in the same location as Accenture Interactive will allow Fjord to fuse its core design strategy DNA with the digital agency’s expertise in marketing, content and commerce to create and deliver the best customer experiences for the world’s leading brands. Accenture Interactive Africa‘s blend of intelligent design and creative use of technology has already been used by some of South Africa’s largest and most prominent brands, including Alexander Forbes, Discovery, MultiChoice and Nedbank. The digital agency has also earned industry accolades for its innovative and compelling business results, most notably two gold awards in the Service Design category at the 2017 and 2018 Loeries awards.

“Great design tells great stories,” says Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital and Accenture Interactive lead in Africa. “It unifies a brand, drives innovation and makes the brand or service distinctive and hyper-relevant in both the digital and physical worlds. This is critical to achieving results. Having Fjord Johannesburg as part of Accenture Interactive, and collaborating with all of Accenture Africa, will provide unique experiences and forward-thinking capabilities for our clients.”

“Businesses in South Africa are becoming more design-aware and are looking to take greater advantage of design skills to compete with the rest of the world,” said Thomas Müller, head of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Fjord. “We’re excited to open our first design studio on the continent and to be part of an emerging market that is ripe for design and innovation, and open for business. Developing markets like South Africa are challenging assumptions and norms about what digital services and products are meant to be, and we’ll strive to put design at the heart of the innovation being produced there.”

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