Author: Nick Farrell

Sophos sees shares jump

David-Lee-Roth-JumpOxfordshire security outfit Sophos has seen its shares jump after its sales figures for its first financial year as a publicly traded company shot through the roof.

Shares in Sophos went up by four per cent after it announced its first set of financial results as a publicly traded company. The security company floated on the London Stock Exchange last year and has drifted into billings growth of 19.7 per cent to $534.9 million in the 12 months ended March 31.

Cash earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation were up 31.6 per cent, to $120.9 million.

Sophos chief executive Kris Hagerman said that he was jolly pleased of the outfit’s strong performance during our first year as a public company.”

“The year has been marked by sustained strength across all major regions and product categories, with our financial and operational performance exceeding the Board’s expectations set at the start of the year and at the upper-end of our revised outlook.

“Our leading product portfolio, innovation to drive our strategy of synchronised security, commitment to ‘security made simple’ and ‘channel first’ sales strategy enabled us to grow our billings and revenue across both new and existing customers,” he added.

 

Kids are getting smartphones earlier

siT0KjGA new report shows that the average age kids are getting smartphones is just ten years old.

Influence Central’s report into Kids & Tech shows that an average child gets their first smartphone is now 10.3 years.  Apparently half parents give their kids tablets to shut them up inthe car and 45 per cent give them a smartphone to play with.

More than 64 percent of kids have access to the internet via their own laptop or tablet, compared to just 42 percent in 2012

About 39 percent of kids get a social media account at 11.4 years. 11per cent got a social media account when they were younger than 10.

Additionally, some of Influence Central’s research paints a picture of parents who are relaxing a little bit about their kids’ access to the internet which is enabled by so many devices.

While 85 percent accessed the Internet from a room shared with the family in 2012, that number dropped to 76 per cent today, and 24 percent now have “private” access from their bedrooms.

 

Google patents sticky bonnet

Screen-Shot-2016-05-19-at-12.48.39-PMSearch engine outfit Google has been awarded patent number 61911853 which could help prevent pedestrian injuries by sticking those who step infront of its autonomous cars to the bonnet.

The idea is that if a car hit a pedestrian, the person would be glued to the car instead of flying off and this will prevent a secondary impact between the pedestrian and the road surface or other object.

Google explains that an “adhesive layer” would be placed on the hood, front bumper and front side panels of a car. A thin coating would protect it until an impact occurred.

Google patent shows how a self-driving car could protect pedestrians with a fly-paper-like coating.

The double-sided tape concept could mitigate some pedestrian injuries, the concept is far from ideal if it pinned a victim between the car and another object.

“Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement.

UK eCommerce traffic is mostly mobile

SmartphonesBeancounters at SimilarWeb have been adding up the numbers and dividing by their shoe size and decided that 65 percent of total ecommerce traffic in the UK in January 2016 came from a mobile device.

However the report said that despite the dominance of mobile, brands need to plan more carefully. Most ecommerce businesses need a better understanding of the true role of mobile within the omnichannel.

Marketers make the mistake of being focused on mobile at the expense of other channels. Unless the response is supported by analysis of a brand’s own consumer journey and mobile’s role within it, it can be easy to take the wrong action, the report said.

Basically a high level of mobile visits don’t translate into makign piles of dosh. More than 69 percent of shoppers say they have searched for a product or service on their phone, then gone on to purchase on a computer or offline. When purchases are made on mobile, the monetary value of the sale can be less – the average order value on mobile purchases is 20 per cent lower than on desktops.

The report suggests that budgets should be spent in a way that optimises overall conversions, rather than on any single device. There needs to be better cross-device measurement and attribution, so that marketers concentrate their effort where it’s most useful.

Microsoft opposes Brexit

european-commissionMicrosoft’s UK boss has sent a letter to staff outlining why the firm believes the country is better off remaining in the EU.

This is expected as the IT community generally has backed the campaign to remain in the EU and even put their names to a letter published in a national newspaper.

But Michel Van der Bel, UK CEO of Microsoft did not join the throng, making many wonder if Vole really did hate Europe.  Now he has nailed his colours to the mast and penned a letter to the little Voles who work for him outlining his views and the reasoning behind it to make the case against Brexit.

Van der Bel stated that the vote was very much a question for individuals but, “as a business that is very committed to this country, our view is that the UK should remain in the EU”.

“We have a long history here. It’s where we opened our first international office in 1982 and we have been investing in the UK ever since. We have more that 5,000 highly qualified people working in fields including support, marketing, gaming, communications, cybersecurity and computer science research,” he added.

“Historically, the UK being part of the EU has been one of several important criteria that make it one of the most attractive places in Europe for the range of investments we have made. At key moments in our international growth we have specifically chosen to invest in our capabilities here in the UK,” stated the letter.

Microsoft recently invested in data centres in the UK to service the European market. This will be dicey if the Britain leaves the EU.

 

Quadsys court case gets closer

External-SignA Crown court judge has dismissed an abuse of process application made by three former directors of Sophos reseller Quadsys, who are facing trial over allegations of hacking into a rival’s database to steal customer and pricing info.

Thames Valley Police charged five men at Quadsys including owner Paul Streeter, Managing Director Paul Cox, director Alistair Barnard, account manager Steve Davies and security consultant Jon Townsend with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

In a plea and case management hearing (PCMH) in March, the defendants pleaded not guilty to one count of securing unauthorised access to computer material with intent, contrary to section 1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Another count of securing unauthorised access to computer material without intent was also added.

Streeter, Cox and Barnard had asked the judge presiding over the case at the PCMH several months ago to throw out the charges relating to Section One of the Computer Misuse Act, which carry a minimum sentence of five years if guilt is proven.

Three applications were refused by the judge but no reasons were given.  The five will face trial on 5 September.

Kicking Pat Gelsinger won’t quit

47187130.cmsThe word on the street has been that Pat “Kicking” Gelsinger is about to clean out his desk at VMware once the EMC/Dell merger concludes.

However Gelsinger apparently has his feet nailed underneath the desk to prevent easy removal, even if it has curtailed his kicking antics for now.

Speaking at the Jefferies Technology Conference Gelsinger  told the assorted Jeffs  that he denied that he was off to pastures new: “I categorically deny it, EMC categorically denies it, and Dell categorically denies it, so there is absolutely no merit or substance to the rumour whatsoever. My intention is to stay here and Michael Dell’s intention is that I stay here.”

Gelsinger met with Dell earlier this week at VMware’s internal R&D conference when his PR team sent him a text about the report of his departure. Gelsinger said he showed his phone to Dell, asked him “Is there something I don’t know and we got a laugh about it”.

Of course Dell could have been laughing in the same way that Game of Thrones villains do before they stick a knife into someone’s liver, but we don’t think Pat is due to go to any weddings.

Gelsinger added that recent exits from VMware were a sign of execs reaching new stages in their lives, rather than tiring of VMware. Some have teenaged kids. Others have closed 100 quarters in a row at public companies and want new horizons. Gelsinger also said VMware’s replacement executives were “experienced and hungry” so clearly they have not found the VMware canteen yet.

 

 

Wearables might be ready to take off

watch will i amBeancounters at CCS Insight have been shuffling their tarot cards and reached the conclusion that wearables will be the next big thing.

Distributors have been striking up relationships with some of the leading names in the wearables market as they look to ensure they have the right products when everything kicks off,

Tech Data has signed up Jawbone and the option to carry Microsoft’s Band 2 device this year and is apparently coming up with huge opportunities and case studies,  Exertis has added wearables and smart technology to its range as it positions itself for a future that involves more health and fitness trackers.

Now CCS Insight has just launched its UK forecast for smart wearble devices estimating that by the end of this year there will be around 10 million devices being used in this country.

That number is expected to triple over the next four years to 33m units with fitness trackers tacking a large chunk of that growth.

Smartphone companions will form the biggest part of the market in terms of value with that segment being worth £300 million this year on shipments of 1.5 million.

George Jijiashvili, analyst for wearables at CCS said that advances in design and affordability mean that this year wearables have become devices that ordinary people actually want to wear.

“Consumers in the UK have adopted wearable technology enthusiastically, particularly fitness trackers, which are becoming an increasingly commonplace accessory on people’s wrists,” said

There are also expectations that there will be growth in virtual reality products and wearable cameras, particularly 360 degree cameras.

“All eyes are on virtual reality given it’s one of the hottest new technology areas to emerge this year. There’s going to be a deluge of exciting 360-degree content widely available on Facebook and YouTube, and we’re confident consumers will be keen to try it. The arrival of several 360-degree cameras during 2016 will further fuel the explosion of what we’re calling surroundies,” he said.

Exclusive poaches Arrow and Computerlinks’s David Ellis

dave-ellis-arrow-formerly-computerlinks-2014-320x320French-based Exclusive Group has poached Arrow executive David Ellis to head up the distributor’s global services.

Exclusive says Ellis will use his experience in supporting new and disruptive technologies to roll out new services offerings for the cybersecurity marke, which probably means the outfit’s cloud services.

Barrie Desmond, COO of Exclusive Group, said that the company was  seeing  more global deals and our ability to support these will add even more value to our vendor and channel partners.

“Global services are a key part of our growth strategy over the next three to five years and Ellis will play a crucial role in achieving this. I’m pleased to welcome him on board and looking forward to working with him for what promises to be an exciting journey ahead.”

Ellis  was a key manager for Arrow in EMEA, responsible for vendor business development and the roll-out of new propositions. Before that, he was director of New Technology and Services at Computerlinks before its acquisition by Arrow. In his 13 years with Computerlinks he built and grew an e-Security offering before assuming responsibility for services, emerging technology and market sectors.

He said that Exclusive has built an enviable reputation for disrupting traditional value-add distribution and I’m really excited to now be part of this.

“In my time within the industry I’ve identified and brought to market a number of new technologies and services, and have seen the cybersecurity market evolve at breakneck speed. I can’t wait to start helping our vendor and channel partners achieve even more value from their relationship with Exclusive Group through new global service offerings.”

 

Flextronics helps Lenovo build euro servers

lenovo2Flextronics is to build up to a quarter of a million x86 servers in Hungary as Lenovo sets up its European operations.

Lenovo says the move will halve delivery times for European customers and partners. The servers for EMEA clients were previously built in Shenzhen in China will now be shifted to Sarvar in Hungary, from the summer.

Lenovo expects the Hungarian plant to assemble EMEA’s full allocation of up to 250,000 x86 servers annually once production is fully ramped up.

Assembly of Lenovo’s full range of storage and networking for datacentre environments will also now be carried out at the plant, which already produces Lenovo PCs and ThinkServers.

The move will boost service levels for clients, with delivery times being cut from two weeks to one, as well as saving on transportation costs. Until relatively recently, IBM built some of those servers in eastern Europe, meaning Lenovo is bringing production back to Europe. Mostly due to transport and logistical considerations.

Within a year, almost all of the approximately 250,000 x86 servers Lenovo builds for the EMEA market will be made in the Hungarian plant.  This will allow UK partners more flexibility in how they manage inventory and will also improve the after-sale service they can offer.

 

VMware increases NSX price

vmware-partner-link-bg-w-logoVMware has been having a few problems with its bottom line lately and it seems it is taking it out on its NSX prices.

The outfit has cut the product’s feature list to offer cheaper versions which do not cost as much as the full product but it has also jacked up the price of the top version of the product.

The more expensive product is aimed at companies wanting to create software defined data centres, which is a lucrative area.  NSX slips networking and security into the hypervisor and could be a good product for resellers to sell.

Now however it is getting a pricy option. A full NSX license cost US$6,000 per CPU socket although the cut down packages might be a little more viable. NSX Enterprise costs at $6,995 per CPU socket; Standard will cost $1,995 per CPU socket; and Advanced will cost $4,495 per CPU socket.

Advanced and Enterprise also get more license options. All three are available on a perpetual license; Advanced can also be licensed on a per-user basis, and Enterprise adds a per-VM licensing option.

Surf’s up for Accenture’s Engie contract

accenture-surfing-elephantAccenture has won a contract with the French gas and power group Engie to develop digital applications to boost its customer service.

Accenture’s design and innovation unit Fjord  will develop new applications for billing, electric vehicles, web-linked domestic applications and clients who produce their own power with solar panels. No one is talking about the money involved in the deal.

Engie Chief Executive Officer Isabel Kochersaid that the company plans to invest 1.5 billion euros in new technologies and digitalisation in the next three years.

Fjord founder Mark Curtis has no concrete projects in mind for Engie, but would look for ways to boost the utility’s relationship with its customers, as Fjord has done for banking and telecommunication companies.

Fjord had developed mobile banking applications, and applications for Swedish telecom companies that show the real-time cost of calling.

“We plan to do the same thing for Engie and turn a transaction – the monthly bill – into a service,” he said.

Engie’s new chief digital officer Yves Le Gelard said Engie and Accenture plan to present the first digital applications in June. The company’s new marketing tools will be rolled out first in its key markets of France, Belgium and Italy.

 

New Signature buys UK’s Dot Net

uk dot mapMicrosoft solution provider New Signature has just put its John Henry on the purchase of the UK’s Dot Net Solutions.

New Signature provides platform and directory services, systems management and cloud computing. In 2014 and 2105  Microsoft’s  named the outfit its US Partner of the Year. Dot Net gained the same title in the UK in 2014.

In North America, New Signature has been bringing enhancements to application migration to Azure, application development and business transformation. Acquiring Dot Net should help larger customers with multinational operations.

In its statement, New Signature hinted at further acquisitions, although more oriented in Europe but it appears to be a fairly low key merger with no rush to restructure. Apparently the two companies are going to keep separate business structures but partner in best practices – at least for now.  Jeff Tench, New Signature CEO said:

“Dot Net will retain its local UK operating model whilst quickly taking advantage of the immediate benefits that New Signature, the 2014 and 2015 Microsoft US Partner of the Year, can bring. “Our North American and UK teams will partner to share best practices, innovation and expertise to deliver world-class services to our valued customers. We plan to keep the existing UK business structurally separate but unify under one mission and shared vision,” the company said.

Companies reject cloud for fog

Fog.PNGEnterprise CIOs are starting to twig that the cloud is not all it is cracked up to be and are looking at a new buzzword – the Fog –  instead.

One of the problems with the cloud is that many of the services and apps, and data used in critical decision-making are better kept on premise or in smaller enterprise data centres. Cloud goes against the demand for mobility too as the data needs to be kept closer to the machine.

Now Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel and ARM, as well as researchers at Princeton University, are betting that the future of enterprise computing will be a hybrid model where information, applications and services are split between the cloud and the fog. Cisco came up with the name “fog computing” you can probably tell.

Cloud based data centres are huge and are working ok for now. But when, and if the IoT appears on the scene things are going to get messy.

When everything from cars and drones to video cameras and home appliances are transmitting enormous amounts of data from trillions of sensors, network traffic will grow exponentially. Real-time services that require split-second response times or location-awareness for accurate decision-making will need to be deployed closer to the edge to be useful, something which would cause the cloud to break.

The only thing which will save the cloud really is increased technology,  or coming up with a hybrid approach to data. That will enable distributed fog networks in enterprise data centres, around cities, in vehicles, in homes and neighbourhoods, and even on your person via wearable devices and sensors.

If this sounds like the old “distributed computing” over “Centralised computing” debate which happened as the Internet was starting to arrive, it pretty much is. What Cisco is suggesting is incredibly complex networks.

IBM announces blockchain services for cloud

grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloudBig Blue has  announced new services to help companies design and develop blockchain technology in a secure environment in the cloud.

Blockchain is the tech behind bitcoin and does a shedloads of functions such as recording and verifying transactions. The big idea is that the it can create cost-efficient business networks without requiring central control.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president, Blockchain at IBM, said in a statement that the only problem with blockchain is concerns about security.

“While there is a sense of urgency to pioneer blockchain for business, most organisations need help to define the ideal cloud environment that enables blockchain networks to run securely in the cloud,” he said.

IBM said it is addressing security problems in several ways, including cloud services with the highest Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS 140-2) and Evaluation Assurance Levels (EAL) in the industry to support the use of blockchain in government, financial services and healthcare.

The technology company also announced the opening of an IBM “Garage” in New York and London. These “garages” are similar to research labs on the blockchain created by several major financial institutions over the past year. IBM’s garages are dedicated to helping clients design and develop their blockchain networks, said Cuomo.

Garages in Tokyo, London and Singapore will also open in the coming weeks to let customers talk to IBM experts on the design and implementation of blockchain for business.