Category: News

Government launches cyber-security programme

cannonThe UK government has launched a £20 million education programme to train nearly 6,000 teenagers in cyber security.

The Cyber Security Schools Programme is being rolled out to help address the UK’s IT skills shortage.

Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital, said: “Our Cyber Schools Programme aims to inspire the talent of tomorrow and give thousands of the brightest young minds the chance to learn cutting-edge cybersecurity skills alongside their secondary school studies.

“I encourage all those with the aptitude, enthusiasm and passion for a cybersecurity career to register for what will be a challenging and rewarding scheme.”

Aimed at 14 to 18 year olds, the programme will see teenagers study a range of cyber security areas alongside compulsory education through a network of clubs, activities and online content.

The programme will be delivered through BT, online education platform futureLearn, cyber security training institute SANS and Cyber Security Challenge UK.

The government has set the target of having at least 5,700 students graduating the course by 2021, with routes into employment provided to successful participants.

Students, teachers and industry organisations can register their interest in the programme through its official website.

Brexit stuffs up PC sales

1046922917The UK’s self-inflicted Brexit crisis has caused PC shipments to drop 11.8 percent, according to IDC beancounters.

IDC has added up some numbers and divided by its shoe size to discover the EMEA PC market has continued to stabilise in the second quarter of 2017 with shipments only dropping 0.6 per cent year over year. However this did not apply to the UK which is more battered than a Mars bar in an Edinburgh chippie.

A total of 15.91 million units of desktops, notebooks and workstations were shipped in Q2, down from 16.01m in the same three months of 2016.

Brexit-related uncertainties meanwhile dragged PC shipments down by 11.8 percent in the UK, while German shipments also contracted, claims IDC.

Notebook shipments were the region’s star performer, growing 3.1 percent annually with a particularly strong 5.2 percent growth in central and eastern Europe (CEE).

Desktop shipments continued on a downward trajectory according to IDC, with shipments falling 8.3 percent year on year in EMEA. CEE again saw the highest year-on-year shipment increase at 7.8 percent.

Western Europe was however subject to soft declines of 2.1 percent annually having previously posted two quarters of growth. Desktop shipments fell by 7.8 per cent annually while notebook sales grew marginally, according to IDC.

The PC market in France, Spain and Portugal all performed above the market watcher’s expectations, seeing year-on-year growth of 1.9 percent, 11.6 percent and 16.7 percent respectively. Benelux also enjoyed a 5.8 percent annual increase in shipments.

“The traditional EMEA PC market continued to stabilize for another quarter, thanks to strong notebook results stemming from a faster adoption of mobility, in both the consumer and commercial spaces.

Malini Paul, senior research analyst of western European personal computing devices at IDC said:  “The return of the CEE region to positive growth for two consecutive quarters, contributed significantly to the overall better than expected results in the EMEA market.”

According to IDC, the CEE region’s strong performance in PC shipments is thanks to a thriving retail market and some large public sector deals in the region.

“In the CEE region, the PC market reported high growth in the desktop space, resulting in an increase of 7.6 percent after more than nine long quarters of market decline. This success can be attributed to promotions in retail, continual growth of gaming, and a few large deals that took place the public and corporate segments,” said Nikolina Jurisic, product manager at IDC.

IDC also claims that the consolidation among the top five PC vendors in EMEA is progressing, with HP growing its market share by one percent year over year, driven by solid notebook results and a desktop growth in the consumer space.

Lenovo also improved market share by 1.1 percent, and saw double-digit growth in commercial notebook shipments. Dell also saw marginal increases in market share for the quarter.

Smartphones sales surge

header_photo_10A GfK Survey claims that there has been a sudden surge in smartphone sales, thanks interest from developing markets.

GfK said that smartphone demand rose to 347 million units making 2Q17 the best second quarter on record.

Emerging Asia led the demand growth with a 13 percent year-on-year increase, followed by Central and Eastern Europe at 11 percent, and Latin America at 10 percent. Market value grew nine percent year-on-year, due to rising average sales price (ASP).

Western Europe and the developed Asian countries dropped by four percent as the market remained saturated and Chinese market was flat.

Arndt Polifke, global director of telecom research at GfK, said: “The record demand for smartphones in the second quarter this year shows that, despite saturation in some markets, the desire to own a smartphone is a worldwide phenomenon. How that manifests itself differs widely by region. Manufacturers are maximizing all their creativity to ensure their latest devices are irresistible – and to increase ASP as a result. Elsewhere, macroeconomic factors and consumer confidence are having an impact, but operators and retailers are employing localized tactics to ensure the smartphone remains the connected device of choice.”

Yotaro Noguchi, product lead in GfK’s trends and forecasting division, said: “Consumers are willing to pay more for their smartphone as they seek a better user experience. Despite the market reaching high penetration levels, GfK forecasts smartphone demand will continue to see year-on-year growth even in 2018, as innovation from smartphone vendors keeps replacement cycles from lengthening.”

GfK expects major device launches in 4Q to help moderate full-year declines to -0.4 percent.

Vauxhall Motors Appoints McCann Velocity

b5Vauxhall Motors consolidated its marketing services account appointing McCann Velocity to oversee CRM, point of sale, print, aftersales and retail marketing.

The appointment will see McCann Velocity take on the fleet business currently held by incumbent agency Graymatter.  The new multi-disciplinary agency, McCann Velocity, has been created specifically to offer Vauxhall Motors a dedicated agency team and will offer a truly channel neutral approach.

Simon Oldfield, Marketing Director, Vauxhall Motors, said, “As Vauxhall Motors and the car industry moves forward at a rapid pace, we need an agency partner beside us that will deliver campaign work from conception through to our retail network.  McCann Velocity is a vibrant agency and will bolster our presence in the market.

“Vauxhall Motors has a long standing relationship with the McCann network, they successfully defended the account adding our fleet business to their remit.  They achieved this by understanding and recognising our need for a truly integrated approach and the requirement of a one stop shop solution.  We look forward to getting underway.”

Paul Dean, Managing Director, McCann Velocity, said, “We are thrilled that the McCann network will continue its long-standing partnership with Vauxhall Motors.  McCann Central has delivered outstanding work for the brand over the previous eight years and with this comes enormous level of insight and trust.

“McCann Velocity has been created to deliver the truly transformative change that Vauxhall Motors is looking for, ensuring that strategically and creatively all brand and tactical activity is delivered in an engaged and seamless way for Vauxhall customers.”

Office 365 beats traditional software licence

Microsoft campusSoftware king of the earth and the rings of Uranus, Microsoft, has seen commercial revenue from Office 365 beating the revenue generated by its traditional licensing software for the first time.

Releasing its figure for the three months ending 30 June, Vole said overall revenue was up 13 percent year on year to $23.3 billion.

Microsoft revealed that revenue from Office 365 had overtaken revenue from its traditional licensing business.

Microsoft does not release exact revenue figures for Azure, instead grouping it with Dynamics 365 and Office 365, but said Azure revenue for the quarter was up 97 percent year on year.

CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft’s world-view of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge was resonating with businesses everywhere.

“Every customer I talk to is looking for innovative technology to drive new growth, as well as a strategic partner who can help build their own digital capability. Microsoft is that trusted partner.”

The importance of Microsoft’s cloud business was highlighted further by a decline in product sales, down 1.5 percent to $13.8 billion. Surface revenue fell two percent, after falling 26 percent in the previous quarter.

Nick McQuire, vice president of enterprise research at CCS Insight, said that Azure will become the market-leading enterprise cloud platform.

“Azure is on track to become the dominant enterprise cloud platform in the industry over the next several years,” he said.

“Few have the reinforcing breadth of a portfolio as vast as Microsoft’s which has been combining over the past few quarters to improve its gross margins. This bodes ominously for rivals such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and IBM which are desperately trying to buck the trend towards commoditisation and falling prices in cloud services.

“While successes in Azure, Office and Dynamics 365, LinkedIn as well as improvements to Surface are positive signs for 2017, the firm is not losing sight of future breakthrough technologies such as artificial intelligence and edge computing. Both are beginning to play an increasingly central role in its positioning for the future.”


GNSS chip market will grow

growBeancounters at TMR, the global GNSS said the chip market is slated to expand at 7.7 percent each year  during  2017 and 2025 to reach a value of US$34.71 billion by 2025 from US$ 17.90 billion in 2016.

In terms of volume, the report forecasts the market to expand at a CAGR of 8.7 percent to become worth 9.16 billion units by 2025 from 4.31 billion units in 2016.

Some of the big names operating in the global navigational satellite system (GNSS) chip market are Qualcomm, ST Microelectronics, Mediatek ., U-Blox, Intel , Furuno Electric,  Broadcom and Quectel Wireless. Currently the market is fragmented with no player having a solid stronghold.

The global GNSS chip market can be segmented depending upon the type of devices into in-vehicle networking systems, smart phones, and personal navigational devices, among others such as smart wearable devices, including smart watches, smart glasses, smart rings, etc. In terms of growth rate, the in-vehicle networking systems is expected to outshine all other segments with a CAGR of 10.5 percent, vis-à-vis value, in the years to come, because of the rising connectivity in vehicles for bettering both driving experience and safety.

Based on geography, the key segments of the global GNSS chip market are North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa. Of them, North America, at present, holds a dominant share both in terms of value and volume and in the upcoming years too is predicted to maintain its leading position. This is because most of the prominent manufacturers of GNSS chips are based out of North America. The market in the region is slated to be worth $10.22 billion by 2025.



ADVA sees expected decrease in profits

2420655483_b82d521083_bADVA Optical Networking announced financial results for its 2017 second quarter ended on June 30, 2017 which show quarterly revenues increased to EUR 144.2 million from EUR 141.8 in Q1 2017.

This marks a decrease of 8.3 percent year-on-year but is within the guidance announced on April 27, 2017.

Operating income in Q2 2017 stood at EUR 9.2 million or 6.4 percent of revenues, up from EUR 6.6 million or 4.7 percent of revenues in Q1 2017.

This number represents a EUR five million YoY increase and is also within previously announced guidance. The operating income amounted to EUR 8.1 million. Cash and cash equivalents totalled EUR 80.8 million. Net liquidity reached EUR 30.8 million and net working capital EUR 100.3 million.

Brian Protiva, CEO, ADVA Optical Networking said that “it was an exciting and turbulent time for the networking industry.”

“It’s a time of incredible contrasts. On one side, cloud and mobility continue to be mega growth drivers driving demand for more bandwidth. On the other hand, our industry continues to face pricing pressure and fierce competition creating the need for further consolidation. Our bid to acquire MRV Communications will enable us to expand our customer footprint, expand our market leadership in Ethernet access devices and expand our portfolio of packet optical solutions. The combined product portfolio will be supported by our continued commitment to operational excellence providing our customers with response times that are unmatched in the industry. Our world-class engineering team, the agility of our organization and our customer focus give us a solid foundation for further growth and profitability.”

Kaspersky warns MSPs need to improve security

securitySecurity outfit Kaspersky Labs has warned that there real dangers that some of the current security offerings from MSPs will fall short and leave users exposed to risks.

SMB Business head at Kaspersky Vladimir Zapolyansky said that for service providers, it’s not enough to simply have cybersecurity services in their portfolio. One damaging incident such as a ransomware infection can undermine their reputation and affect relationships with customers.

The security vendor found that 92 percent  of MSPs now include cybersecurity as part of the portfolio of services they offer and many believe that providing it gives them a better reputation.

Three quarters of those MSPs quizzed by the vendor also expected the provision of security services would gain them new customers as well as keeping existing accounts on board.

The study also revealed that MSPs listed security as one of the main concerns for their customers with many looking for a service that would block ransomware.

But skill shortages along with issues remotely deploying and managing security solutions are causing headaches.

The advice from Zapolyansky to MSPs was to choose security products that had been designed with an service provider in mind and were easy to deploy and manage.

The debate about the value of turning to an MSSP rather than MSP when it comes to security issues will run and run.


Blue Blue blames Brits for poor results

ukflagIBM has seen its revenue decline for a 21st consecutive quarter and it is blaming the Brits.

For the three months ending 30 June, IBM saw revenue drop five per cent to $19.3 billion, while gross profit was down 9.4 percent to just under $8.7 billionn.

On a geographical basis, IBM again blamed the UK and Germany for bringing down overall performance in Europe.

IBM however pointed to the areas of the business it classifies as “strategic imperatives” as a true reflection of the company’s future direction. These parts of the business – namely cloud, analytics, mobile and as-a-service offerings – saw year-on-year revenue growth of five percent to $8.8 billion.

IBM CFO Martin Schroeter said: “We’ve been focused on helping our enterprise clients transform their businesses to leverage their data for competitive advantage and to improve the efficiency and agility of their IT environments. Our strategic imperatives performance has been an indication of our progress in moving to these areas.

“Our clients are taking the productivity savings we’re delivering to them in the more traditional areas of IT and reinvesting those savings to move into these new areas; these are the dynamics you’ve seen in our revenue.”

IBM saw year-on-year growth in its cloud business of 15 percent, up to $3.9 billion, but the Technology Services and Cloud Platforms division which encompasses cloud saw revenue drop five percent to $8.4 billion.

Declines in revenue were also seen across Cognitive Solutions, Global business Services, Systems and Global Financing.

IBM however highlighted revenue growth in its analytics and mobile businesses, which grew four percent and 27 percent respectively. Revenue from security was also up four percent.


All software will soon have an AI component

robby the robotAnalyst outfit Gartner group believes that by 2020 all software will need some form of AI component and software resellers will need to be ready.

Big G claims market hype and growing interest in AI are pushing established software vendors to introduce AI into their product strategy, but this is creating considerable confusion in the process.

Gartner research vice president Jim Hare said that as AI accelerates up the Hype Cycle, many software providers are looking to stake their claim in the biggest gold rush in recent years.

“AI offers exciting possibilities, but unfortunately, most vendors are focused on the goal of simply building and marketing an AI-based product rather than first identifying needs, potential uses and the business value to customers.”

Gartner predicts that AI will be a top five investment priority for more than 30 percent of CIOs by 2020.

There is a widely held fear that AI will replace humans, the reality is that today’s AI and machine-learning technologies can and do greatly augment human capabilities, stated Gartner.

Machines can do some things better and faster than humans can and, once trained, the combination of machines and humans can accomplish more together than separately, suggested the research house.

“Software vendors need to focus on offering solutions to business problems rather than just cutting-edge technology. Highlight how your AI solution helps address the skills shortage and how it can deliver value faster than trying to build a custom AI solution in-house.”


Inspur announces M5 based servers

bb6ca181438a098828227500ef8b4accInspur officially announced its new generation of M5 series server platforms.

The new M5 series family, designed based on different deployment and application scenarios, includes four major product groups (General Purpose, Enterprise, Application Optimized and Converged Architecture Series), 35 products, for cloud computing, big data, AI to provide customers with excellent and robust computing performance as well as reliable and efficient business protection.

General Purpose Series Servers and Enterprise Series Servers have enhanced RASUM (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability, Usability and Manageability) features are integrated to provide ERP, CRM and other traditional enterprise applications with strong, reliable and flexible supportive platforms.

The outfit’s new M5 Application Optimised Series Server meets the needs for computing-intensive applications and data-rich applications. In this group, some servers are designed for cloud data centers.

And some are designed to manage big data, deep learning and other emerging data-rich applications. All these servers provide physical storage capacity and heterogeneous computing power far better than general products. For example, the NF5288M5, a purpose-built deep learning server, offers superb performance for extreme AI computing and HPC mission.

Converged Architecture Product Series is the next generation data center modular solution. The physical indicators, including product performance density, storage density and energy efficiency, as well as the scalability of computing, storage, I/O and other various resources are far superior to traditional servers.

The new M5 series family is equipped with multi-dimensional automatic management solution, and supports OpenBMC and Redfish, the two standard management API interfaces. Inspur also participates in all Open Data Center Projects, which include OCP, OCS, ODCC, Open19.


PKWARE does deal with Digital Pathways

181551Data security outfit PKWARE has announced a new value added partnership with Essex-based Digital Pathways

Digital Pathways, established in 1997, specialises in data protection and cyber security. The company works with companies to ensure the safety of their data and their compliance with applicable regulations.

PKWARE CEO Miller Newton said that Digital Pathways’ expertise in ensuring businesses have the correct data security infrastructure in place is a perfect match for PKWARE’s encryption and persistent data-protection solutions.

“We are thrilled to be able to work together to provide stronger data security offerings for customers to protect their sensitive information, intellectual property, reputation and brand.”

Under the deal, Digital Pathways will be authorised to sell the Smartcrypt product suite. PKWARE will leverage Digital Pathways professional services for assessments, design, configuration and implementation. The partnership will benefit customers across the financial, manufacturing, healthcare and central and local government sectors in need of a defence-in-depth data protection strategy to ensure sensitive data is fully protected against both insider and external threats.

Digital Pathways Managing Director Colin Tankard said PKWARE’s global business data protection products, such as secure mail, file and cloud encryption, will broaden Digital Pathways’ “ability to truly protect our clients’ data wherever it resides and enable the company to integrate with other solutions that may already be in place”.

Huawei about to crack firewalls

huawei-liveHuawei has been named as a potential challenger in the enterprise firewall market.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant report assesses vendors based on two criteria: completeness of vision and ability to carry it out.

Big G has moved Huawei was moved to the Challengers slot due to its position as a major player in the global firewall market as well as its innovative dimensional defence system consisting of high-performance hardware NGFWs, cloud-based virtual firewalls, and cloud sandboxes.

NGFWs are becoming rather important for security minded corporations.

Kevin Hu, President of the Huawei Switch & Enterprise Gateway Product Line, said: “We think that Huawei’s promotion to Challenger is a high recognition of Huawei’s persistence in providing customers with ACTUAL (Application, Content, Time, User, Attack and Location) awareness-based NGFWs.

“It’s also a recognition of Huawei’s efforts in joint innovations with industry customers, handling new security challenges, and holding fast to continuous product R&D investment. As cloud computing is gaining momentum, the range of attacks targeting enterprise infrastructure continuously expands, and enterprises are facing an increasing number of unknown threats. Enterprises need on-demand security protection capability, orchestration and scheduling, and the network security defense systems based on AI, and machine learning to proactively defend against unknown threats. Huawei is in the process of building service-based, intelligent, and automated next-generation network security and develop intelligent network-wide detection and proactive defense systems for enterprises.”

According to the Gartner said that many enterprises were looking to firewall vendors to provide cloud-based malware detection instances to aid them in their advanced threat detection efforts, as a cost-effective alternative to stand-alone sandboxing solutions.

” By integrating cloud-based sandboxing inspection services, Huawei NGFWs can inspect millions of files per day and detect zero-day vulnerabilities around 30 hours earlier than the average in the industry. Enterprise customers can rapidly obtain the latest threat intelligence worldwide as well as online security service support for deep inspection on suspicious traffic to perform proactive defense against unknown known and unknown threats,” the report said.

Revenue from 2015 to 2016 of Huawei firewalls saw a higher growth rate that year than any competing vendor in the industry. Huawei NGFWs are serving more than 100,000 enterprises in over 70 countries to help customers building a proactive, network-wide, and intelligent threat detection and defence system for digital transformation.

Sabio acquires DatapointEurope to expand footprint

giantfootprintSabio has written a cheque for DatapointEurope as part of a cunning plan to give it a bigger European footprint.

Sabio sees itself as a significant European customer experience managed service player. The exact terms of the deal were undisclosed but described as a “multi-million pound acquisition” for a business that when combined with Sabio creates a £60 million revenue business.

Sabio wants to double the size of its business through both organic growth and acquisition and got a boost with an investment from Lyceum Capital last year. Last year it added SaaS specialist Rapport and has been developing its own skills in house.

DatapointEurope  gives Sabio a continential presence and takes the enterprise customers up to 250, across three continents.

Sabio’s CEO Andy Roberts said: “Geographical expansion is critical to Sabio’s growth plans, so the acquisition of DatapointEurope – with its broad reach across Europe and the Americas – is an important next step for the company.”

Ericsson sulks over results

ericsson-logoEricsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm had a Nordic sulk over his companies results and said he was not satisfied with the outfit’s underlying performance.

Ericsson saw continued declining sales and increasing losses in the quarter and while its brand new business strategy was gaining traction, there will need to be some costs cut.

“We will accelerate our actions to ensure that we can meet our target of doubling the 2016 operating margin beyond 2018. Actions will be taken primarily in service delivery and common costs and do not include R&D,” he said.

Sales adjusted for comparable units and currency declined by 13 percent. Based on the development in the first half of the year, Nokia’s current view of the Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment market outlook is in line with external estimates of a high single-digit percentage decline for the full year 2017.

“Considering the current market environment, the company position, and the more focused business strategy, we continue to assess risk exposure in ongoing contracts. Depending on the outcome, we see an increased risk of further market and customer project adjustments, which would have a negative impact on results, estimated to SEK 3-5  billion. for the coming 12 months, of which 30 percent is estimated to impact cash,” Ekholm said.

The decline in the Networks result in the quarter was mainly caused by lower software sales, driven by two key factors; unusually strong software sales in the second quarter last year and cautious mobile broadband investment levels. On the positive side, Ericsson did well in radio.

He said that Ericsson will improve its Networks will be generated through both the continued ramp-up of Ericsson Radio System (ERS) and cost reductions, mainly in service delivery. The ERS continues to prove its competitiveness and now represents 49 per cent  of radio unit deliveries in the quarter. During the quarter, we announced a break-through contract to support Vodafone UK to evolve its 4G network and to provide 5G radio technology. To safeguard a future leading portfolio, we have started to increase R&D investments in Networks.

“In line with our more focused strategy, we signed an agreement in the quarter to divest the power modules business.”

IT & Cloud had another challenging quarter with significant losses. The sequential increase in losses is largely explained by lower capitalization of R&D expenses. Gross margin continued to be negatively impacted by large digital transformation projects, he said.

Sales decreased by eight percent. The RAN equipment market for 2017 is estimated to show a high single-digit percentage decline compared with previous estimate of two to six percent.

Gross margin, excluding restructuring charges, was 29.8 percent. Operating income was $140 million.