Author: Tamlin Magee

Icewarp taps into Cisco Developer Network

ciscologoMessaging provider IceWarp has been accepted into the Cisco Developer Network, meaning it can now develop software that will be integrated and embedded into Cisco products.

Developers for IceWarp can now use the Cisco Developer Network to speed up development.

IceWarp’s president, Ladislav Goc, said that his company wants to expand on the growing trend of customers using the messaging platform within Cisco products.

“The goal is to develop a family of products that would allow our customers to deploy messaging and telephone solutions in one integrated package,” Goc said.

Because IceWarp architecture is based on universal standards, it doesn’t depend on a client and can support all mobile devices on the market. The company hopes by integrating Cisco office telephone systems with IceWarp on the server level, customers will be able to do away with using multiple systems and can instead rely on a single package.


Missing workers threaten notebook shortage

chinaflagA shortage of workers in China could cause a shortage in notebook shipments for the month of October, according to a report.

As the holiday season approaches, it is expected, according to sources in the supply chain, that a wider gap could occur later in the month.

China’s National Day holidays has seen factory workers go back to their home towns, but it’s suggested many never came back.

Unfulfilled September orders, Digitimes reports, were postponed to October, but client orders in October are similarly as short as September. Suppliers are struggling to meet demand.


Acer shuffles UK GM, North Europe ops

acer-logo-ceTop notebook peddler Acer has chosen Marco Andresen as general manager in the UK, replacing Neil Marshall who was promoted to looking after North Europe operations.

Both Andresen and Marshall will cooperate on their current and new positions frmo 1 November, 2013.

Andresen is marketing director for the Nordics and country manager for Acer Sweden. He previously held biz dev and marketing roles at retailer Media Markt, as well as HP and IBM.

“The UK is a critically important market for us and one of the most competitive,” Andresen said.

International Electronics Forum 2013 – roundup

Dublin CourtsLast week, TechEye visited IEF 2013 in Dublin to hear what the semiconductor industry had to say for itself. Here’s the roundup:

Imagination Technologies’ Tony King-Smith said the future really relies not on the humble CPU but industry and engine cooperation for the System on Chip. “SoCs means everything is now mobile, and continues to have advanced capabilities. They are the only way to get scaleability,” King-Smith said.

Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland, talked about investment in the Emerald Isle. Naturally the 12 percent corporation tax was mentioned. Four of the most crucial investors in Ireland are in tech, including Intel and HP, and social media is also experiencing huge growth. The IDA chiefly looks at manufacturing and R&D.

Senior Nvidia research scientist John Chen told the audience about various problems associated with nodes at under 20nm, specifically in performance, perfection and precision. But technologies like zero leakage transistors, III-V, Ge channel and carbon nanotubes will help the industry march on.

EU commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, gave a keynote about Europe’s hopes to punch up in technology and innovation, including spending of €100 billion in R&D by 2020, leading to job creation, we were told, as well as smarter kit. Europe also wants to boost its performance in production capabilities.

TSMC’s senior director of R&D, Yee-Chaung See, highlighted problems in EUV and talked up the company’s 20 nano SoCs, adding qualification for 16 nano SoCs should be finished by the end of the year. It’s focusing on 3D stacking, while there are already high yields in SRAM. Gains in 3D, it is hoped, will lead to producing a silicon system super chip, that can integrate analogue, image sensors, photonics, MEMS and TSV.

Ram Ramamoorthy, professor at Edinburgh University, unfortunately indicated it’ll be a long time, if ever, if replicants of iconic futuristic dystopia Bladerunner are going to come to be. A machine is where the sophistication is such a robot can simulate some human senses like sight and sound. That means football playing robots, but they’re not great at it yet.

“The level of intelligence of robots in movies is very difficult to achieve,” Ramamoorthy said. “It’s very hard to deal with real people but in reality it’s very hard to model human users, that’s one of the biggest challenges we’re looking at”.

Plessey CEO Michael Le Goff told the room that, by using Gallium Nitride on silicon substrates to create LEDs, advanced lighting will be lower cost. And eventually, you’ll die before your lightbulb does.

Principle analyst at Future Horizons, which hosted the conference, Malcolm Penn, warned that there is a “chip crunch” around the corner. “The basics of fab capacity is cast in stone,” Penn said. “Capacity can’t be influenced for a year. We’ve not being building capacity which I think is dangerous,” Penn said. “There’s a silicon crunch just around the next corner. The most crucial part of the food chain is being treated with complete cavalier indifference. That’s because the capital spend is too low”.

Microsoft Cambridge’s senior research director, Alex Butler, talked the room through various research projects at the company. That includes advances in touch, and Butler assures us that although many of the R&D group’s creations won’t see the light of day, others find their way into products. The group is interested in the future of tech, five, 10 or 15 years away from now.

Compound semiconductors will play a major role in a different kind of Moore’s Law, Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE, asserted.  Although silicon is approaching its natural limits, compound semiconductors have more functionality and flexibility – according to Nelson, the materials are just better that silicon, and from a power perspective there is a clear lead.

Crocus doesn’t have MRAM in the market yet, but there’s a licence agreement with IBM for 65/45nm memory logic units to go into production later this year, CEO Jacques Noels said. Crocus thinks it has figured out stability problems in magnetic memories, while 28nm for generation 4 is on the horizon.

Investment company Convergence’s CEO and former Director General of the Department of Communications in South Africa, Andile Ngcaba, spoke on trends across the African continent. Just in 1990, there were more phones in Manhattan than the entire continent, but with the emergence of mobile there is more connectivity than ever. However, getting connected proves challenging: poly silicon is expensive and not particularly economical at the moment. So petrochemical companies are cleaning up with fossil fuel-powered base stations.
*EyeSee We’ve heard that some chip giants are being economical with the truth about the size of their semiconductors. TSMC’s 14nm chips are a little closer to 20nm. Intel’s 14nm chips are between 16nm to 17nm, and Samsung’s measure in at roughly 18nm. None were available for comment.


SANS: Businesses get security analytics wrong

datacentrebatteriesAlthough analytics software is a necessary trend for many businesses, companies who’ve splashed out aren’t putting the tools to use properly, according to a survey.

The SANS Institute asked 647 respondents, in collaboration with Guidance Software, HP, Hexis Cyber Solutions, LogRhythm and SolarWinds, about analytics habits within their companies.

Just 10 percent of those surveyed were confident their company could use data sets to analyse security trends, despite as many as 77 percent collecting and monitoring information logs.

Most companies are still relying on log management – at 49 percent – or SIEM platforms – at 47 percent. As few as 17 percent are making use of advanced threat intelligence, according to the report.

Senior SANS analyst and report author Dave Shackleford said there are emerging challenges that traditional SIEM or log management don’t necessarily address. “More scalable and flexible analytics platforms are gaining interest and attention from the security community, and will likely continue to do so, given the threats and attacks we face today,” Shackleford said.


IBM buys Xtify

ibm-officeIBM has bought cloud based mobile messaging company Xtify for an undisclosed amount.

Big Blue hopes the buy will help it further push its capabilities in mobile towards digital advertising, as well as helping shape its public sector offerings, through cloud services.

Xtify, IBM promises, will provide campaign creation, personalised content, and real time analytics for mobile devices and browsers. It was built to retain mobile app users and site visitors. Campaign management also tells users when new promos or content are available.

IBM veep for digital marketing, Kevin Bishop, pointed out there’s profit to be had in selling technology to companies trying to figure out mobile. “The acquisition of Xtify provides new ways for our clients to foster a direct, one-to-one communication channel with their customers,” Bishop said.

Big Blue wheeled out some figures of its own to highlight just how important mobile strategy can be, claiming 73 percent of those surveyed in an IBM Business Value study “experienced measurable results” from mobile initiatives. It cites companies like Disney Stores and 20th Century Fox as among those using Xtify push notifications on mobile to boost sales.

Bull flies red rag with fast data analytics

scotbullBull Information Systems has put together a new big data analytics tool called “bullion fast data analytics”, designed to look at data from the digital economy in real time.

It has been built using Pivotal based technologies in combination with Bull’s bullion servers.

Bull points out that this year there are roughly 3 Zettabytes of data floating around, or 400 Gigabytes for everyone on the planet, with this figure only set to increase to up to 40 Zettabytes by 2020. So for it’s very useful for organisations to be able to sift through this data and extract relevant information, whether that is managing crises, or building customer loyalty. Of course, we have all heard about “big data” this year.

Fast data analytics is, Bull asserts, the “first platform to integrate new data fabrics, modern programming frameworks, cloud portability and support for legacy systems”. The architecture has been designed on top of Pivotal Greenplum Database and Gemfire, and the company promises the end product makes analytics less complex, shifting the focus from software tinkering to applying the actual information.

The company says its technology is highly flexible and can “significantly” reduce Total Cost of Ownership, as well as having been validated with Pivotal and VMware at Bull’s R&D labs. It runs in a virtualised environement, promises lower latency, and cost savings.

VP of Bull’s enterprise service business, Jacqueline Moussa, said the company offers a “unified and robust platform”.

“Organisations can take advantage of lower implementation and operations costs and quick real-time analysis of the huge amounts of data being produced each hour,” Moussa said.

HP rejigs certifications again

HPHP has made some updates to its PartnerOne programme which it promises will make doing business with the company “easier” and “more predictable”.

There’s a range of specialisations in new areas, as well as more rebates to go along with its compensation model, better partner portal navigation, role based certs, and “a consistent membership structure”.

New specialisations include platinum for software and converged infrastructure, gold for cloud builder, Vertica, ServiceOne Enterprise, and ServiceOne Printing and Computing, while silver certs include Autonomy, Vertica, ServiceOne Enterprise, and Workstations in Printing & Personal Systems for EMEA.

HP insists that racking up ExpertOne certified sales will make partners more likely to close further deals. The company points out it slashed technical certifications by half and put together role based certs in their place, leading to less time out of the office for the courses.

Partners can now take a gander at rebate rates at every PartnerOne level on the partner portal, building on the compensation model introduced in June this year.

Other announcements include HP’s Cloud Partner Solution Navigator, to check up on details of partner specialities, and listing them for the customer to pick, particularly with cloud migration. Top partners will be promoted through an HP marketing campaign, which are to be listed by membership level on HP’s Global Partner Locator.

Lenovo “at crossroads” in servers

lenovo_hqA report from Patrick Moorhead’s Moor Insights & Strategy has asserted that, although the server market is dominated by Dell, HP and IBM at present, Lenovo is well positioned to break out of the “other” category and start making a serious dent in market share.

Players like Cisco and Fujitsu, 4th and 5th in the server market respectively, could even be overtaken by Lenovo in the near future. But it has some hurdles to leap and if it is to do so, Lenovo will have to prioritise servers.

Looking at Lenovo’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT), it’s clear the company can compete on price and has a robust supply chain behind it. The company is leading in the growing China market, performing well with SMBs, and there remains a perceived tie with IBM when Big Blue sold off a chunk of its hardware.

However, Lenovo doesn’t offer cloud services or a complete product line outside of its home turf and is somewhat lacking on the ineternational enterprise stage. It has no small core direction, according to Moor Insights, a weak storage offering, and no apparent network switch or fabric offering.

Moor Insights & Strategy believes Lenovo will have the opportunity, although not without challenges, to pick up IBM’s x86 server business, which could address some of the above concerns. There is also a window for Lenovo to expand its SMB offerings within EMEA, particularly western Europe, where small to medium businesses are highly concentrated.

If Lenovo decided to buy IBM’s x86 business, Moor thinks it’s likely it’d go for the whole lot, while IBM could minimise damage to its own bottom line by maintaining blade IP, which it could then license to Lenovo. An acquisition would propel Lenovo to #3 in the server charts, way ahead of Fujitsu and Cisco, but the buy would have to be twinned with serious efforts to maintain previous IBM customers to prevent seduction over to rivals like HP or Dell.

Moor Insights suggests Lenovo focus on the cloud, where it is underrepresented, as well as building a portfolio it can extend to the large business market.  It must also underline its “message” – although it’s understood Lenovo performs well in client devices, the message is “not translating in the server market,” according to Moor. Lenovo needs to reinforce its position to potential enterprise customers.

Lenovo, the report says, is “at an interesting crossroads in the server market”. While there is ample opportunity for the company to really cement its position and overtake some of the competition, it will need to invest heavily.

“Lenovo has an opportunity to break out of its position and quickly move up in the market, as well it remains a company that could disrupt the market the way that Dell did years ago. But in order to do that, it needs to get into the market in a serious way,” the report concludes.

HP announces open SDN app store

HPHP has announced what it calls the first enterprise class software-defined networking (SDN) open ecosystem, with the HP SDN Developer Kit (SDK) and the HP SDN App Store.

HP boasts the emergence of SDN should do away with fiddling around with legacy network gear and epic customisation projects, instead automating network operations. But an open SDN ecosystem, HP argues, will encourage collobration and innovation to improve the technology, compared to closed, proprietary SDN.

The HP SDN dev kit is up for grabs in November this year, and includes all the necessary stuff for building SDN apps. HP hopes this will bolster its position in the market as well as complement support services. On the app store, customers can browse, search, buy and download SDN apps onto their virtual application networks SDN controller.

HP partners and indie software developers will be able to develop, simulate and validate enterprise level SDN apps to then sell on HP’s app store. Developers will have access to API documentation, developer guides and sample code, as well as the ability to test app functionality and interoperability that can simulate user conditions, using the SDN sim suite and HP SDN Virtual Lab.

Partners registered for HP SDN developer kit include Citrix, F5, Infoblox, Intel, Microsoft, Mitel, Riverbed, Shoretel, Samsung, SAP, Tech Mahindra, VMware, Websense, and more.

The company wheeled out IDC network infrastructure veep Rohit Mehra, who pointed out it will be the apps that will bring SDN technology to the forefront of mainstream networking.

“The catch 22 is that to innovate through applications requires a large investment in infrastructure to develope, which becomes prohibitive,” Mehra said. “The advent of an SDN app store and developer kit makes this an accessible alternative for developers”.

Clearly there is value for HP, too, which has a wide range of products and software that fit in with SDN. In addition, the company added OpenFlow support to 10 new routers in HP FlexNetwork.

SDN certification will be available December 2013, while the SDN app store should be ready in the first half of 2014, along with apps services and support, and services and support for HP OpenFlow. Developer support is available in November this year.

As part of the HP ExpertOne program, those interested in learning more can sign up to the cheerily named “SDN Learning Journey” course.

Senior veep and GM for networking at HP, Bethany Mayer, said the networking industry should leap on the disruptions offered by SDN.

“HP has created the industry’s most comprehensive SDN product portfolio as well as an open SDN ecosystem, which offers an environment for enterprises and partners to rapidly tune the network to their business and application needs,” Mayer said.

Brands eager to adopt ‘responsive design’ ads

tesco-hudl-tabletOne in ten of the UK’s top spending advertisers have built websites that automatically bring up content depending on the device of the end user – otherwise called responsive design.

If a user clicks on a website through a tablet, for example, the ad content will be designed specificallu for that platform, and likewise with a PC, laptop or smartphone. Research from the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau indicates the leading 11 adopters of responsive design are Peugeot, Nissan, Direct Line, Go Compare, Sainsbury’s Bank, Sky, EE, Microsoft, Colgate-Palmolive, the Department of Health and Chanel.

Leading the way per sector are the automotive and tech or telecoms sectors, followed by finance.

IAB senior mobile manager, Alex Kozloff, said in a statement the speed of responsive design adoption is “encouraging” because it demonstrates brand leadership on how consumers are interacting with advertising.

“Responsive design is the next stage in mobile optimisation and represents a multi-platform experience that enables users to have the best surfing experience on whatever device they’re using,” Kozloff said.

And for the rest of us, there’s Adblock.

Rural SMEs struggle with cloud

clouds3Small to medium enterprises are increasingly looking to local cloud providers rather than monolithic tech companies that do not necessarily inspire trust in their customers.

According to local cloud provider for local people, Prism Solutions, there are hyper geographical requirements for cloud that remote providers may not be able to address, such as being aware of connection speeds or the need to support existing IT structures.

Because of the government backed drive to boost web speeds in cities across the UK, SMEs are turning toward cloud as a faster way to access their data rather than office based servers.

Prism’s MD Richard Alexander noted there are plenty of firms in small towns or rural areas which simply do not have good enough connectivity to make the most use of cloud services.

“Unfortunately, some of them seem to have figured this out only after they have attempted to make the transition into virtual computing,” Alexander said. “They are then faced with the increased costs of leased lines or bonded digital subscriber lines, which effectively eradicate any savings they thought they would make”.

While it is somewhat indicative of a company’s common sense if they try to shift to virtual computing on a 28.8k modem connection, Alexander warns that some companies are interested in getting the contract signed and don’t give two stuffs about actually advising their client’s needs.

“Many seem more fixated on the land grab opportunity of new business,” he said.

Global telco revenues to stay flat

smartphones-genericWorldwide revenues for the telecoms industry are expected to stay mostly flat over the coming years, according to a report.

A deep decline in spending on voice services will be offset by growth in mobile and fixed broadband data services, according to analyst house Ovum. Total telco IT spending is expected to reach US$60 billion in 2017, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.6 percent between now and then. It will be emerging markets such as APAC, Middle East and Africa, and South and Central America that will drive top spending.

For North America, it’s predicted spending will run a CAGR of 0.8 percent to hit $17.5 billion by 2017.

Telcos will have to get their thinking caps on about tariffs and services to build revenues over the next five years. LTE, network optimisation and “creative” approaches to partnerships will become ways for businesses to save cash, according to report author Shagun Bali.

“Telcos need to monetise new business models, leverage customer data by investing in analytics, and define their response to over-the-top players,” Bali said.

Ovum has mapped the overall trend as reducing internal IT spending while increasing spending on external IT projects. Telcos will have to outsource maintenance of legacy systems, and make use of trusted partners that can provide expertise in segments such as big data analytics.

“The combination of middling profits, high capital requirements, high risk, and uncertain economic growth requires telcos to place their bets carefully, including investing in growing revenue streams and managing customer experience more than ever before,” Bali said. “The result is increased opportunities for the IT industry. In the long term, telcos will place more focus than they have before on software to drive innovation”.

Dell attempts to clear the air on data laws

dellsig Dell SecureWorks has teamed up with European law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse (FFW) in a bid to dispel common myths about data protection laws.

A whitepaper looks at current laws and exactly how they impact security implementation in the EMEA region, as well as providing some pointers on using external Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) for security.

Top myths, according to the report, are as follows: using a third party to process personal data isn’t permitted, transferring data outside the European Economic Area can’t happen, organisations can’t use cloud services for processing or storing personal data, and foreign security and law enforcement authorities automatically have access to personal data.

Data protection law, the report points out, applies almost exclusively to data controllers, meaning the office which decides why and how that data is processed. On the other hand there are data processors, for example, a person who processes that data on behalf of a controller, whether that’s an agent, contractor or service provider, without deciding why and how that data is processed.

Processors, Dell says, are not usually subject to European data protection law.

The ever expanding volume and types of cyber attack make it more difficult for companies to protect themselves. At the same time, laws governing how data is handled are becoming more strict. So it makes sense for organisations to use external security like MSSPs to make sure there is data compliance at the country level, the regional level, and global laws. Dell’s report argues how and why legislation supports these moves.

Stewart Room, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse, said that compliance with security and data protection laws is vital – but some businesses are unsure of how to tackle the problem.

“It is no wonder businesses lack clarity as the requirements vary for different countries, within the EEA and globally,” Room said. “We have developed this whitepaper with Dell SecureWorks to provide guidance and reassurance for organisations and we have found that the laws in EMEA support the use of external providers such as good quality MSSPs which provide better data security because of their enhanced level of expertise, awareness and threat intelligence”.

The report is available on the Dell Secureworks website, here.

eBay, Argos partner for collection

argos-logoFor some time now, eBay has been pushing discussion about the future of etail, the high street, and how brick and mortar will intersect with online shopping – now, in a bold move, the company has joined up with Argos in a bid to offer the best of both worlds.

Online shoppers will be able to buy selected goods from eBay and pick them up in-store at Argos outlets across the UK. 50 eBay merchants are taking part, but are anonymous at time of publication.

Argos already has its own click and collect service but expanding it to include popular eBay stores will certainly not harm the company, provided the scheme is implemented properly. Amazon, which eBay increasingly sees as its top competition rather than its original selling point as a bidding website, has collection points in the UK too.

Earlier this year, Argos reported its first sales boost in years. It attributed much of this to the check and reserve feature. This is not to be sniffed at considering the otherwise lacklustre state of the UK’s tattoo-parlour, betting and pawn-shop packed high streets.

eBay has trialled a service called eBay Now across the pond in New York and San Francisco, partnering with popular retail outlets such as Home Depot and Urban Outfitters to arrange for goods to be delivered within the hour for a fee. This may be rolled out to Britain next year.

Commenting on the announcement, Warick Business School’s retail expert, Dr Scott Dacko, said whether or not this service becomes “the” model, integration between online and offline sales is “the future for retail”.

“It is likely to be a win-win-win arrangement, with both partners and UK consumers benefiting all round,” Dacko said. “I am sure the arrangement will prompt a host of competitors to move more quickly into not only seamlessly integrating their online and brick-and-mortar operations but also looking into similar partnerships as well”.

During Christmas last year, eBay experimented with a bricks and mortar showroom where customers could try out products and interact with them through an app.