IT customs systems will fall apart like chocolate orange

terry's2-large_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bq4cHFBfxHqfroyKoKkNhhsIOb6wYDoBFLKDEGDsm5ADgThe  new IT for the UK’s customs is so unready for Brexit it will fall apart like a chocolate orange, the National Audit Office has warned.

It has said that the Government’s post-Brexit IT system for customs is heading for a “horror show” that could risk £34 billion of public income.

In a scathing assessment, the National Audit Office said the computer system might not be ready by the time Britain leaves the EU, potentially plunging the UK’s ports into chaos.

The £157 million system is due to be completed just two months before Brexit in March 2019, but the NAO says delays common to new IT would cause massive disruption.

In unusually tough language, auditor general Sir Amyas Morse said ministers were only beginning to understand the momentous task of Brexit and that without further resources would find that “at the first tap, this falls apart like a chocolate orange”.

Publishing his report on the Customs Declaration Service, Sir Amyas said the IT system to record declarations on imports and exports threatened to become “a horror show”.

He said that the system is “well regarded”, but not considered flexible enough to cope with new rules after Brexit.

He went on: “At the moment it’s due to deliver just two months before the EU deadline … Our view in this report is that there is very little flexibility, should the programme overrun or unexpected problems occur. There are plenty of such problems that could occur.

“We’re not telling you this is a badly run project but, to be frank, looking at IT projects with still considerable technical challenges not yet resolved in them, we kind of know that it’s normal for there to be some drift in time.

“What’s unique about these circumstances is there can’t be a drift in timescale. Normally if you have this project and it took another six months to be a working project you’d say this is a pretty successful project. But this is not like that.”

Among risks outlined in the NAO’s report is the possibility that Britain’s final deal with the EU might require features in the IT system not yet anticipated by its designers – requiring last minute changes and causing more delays.

The Government wants to migrate from the old customs computer system starting in August 2018 and finish in January 2019. Under Article 50 the UK will leave the EU automatically just eight weeks later.

Planetek gets mapping contract

Hereford_Mappa_Mundi_1300Planetek has signed a framework contract with the European Union Satellite Centre (EU SatCen), for the provision of Earth Observation based Very High Resolution Reference Mapping products in support to FRONTEX, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

Planetek will support the EU Satellite Centre in the provision of Earth Observation mapping products to FRONTEX

The information products to be provided will “enhance” border surveillance, a current challenge for the European Union as regards migration and security. The Reference Mapping Service aims at providing a background of geographical context including relevant information on hydrography, topography, land cover, infrastructure and population. The Service will support the monitoring of border areas and the improvement of decision-making and response capabilities of the authorities responsible for controlling and monitoring European borders.

Planetek Italia and Planetek Hellas CEO Giovanni Sylos Labini said being the only SMEs within this group of large companies that have signed the same framework contract is certainly a challenge.

“We are thankful to SatCen for the trust that has been shown to Planetek Group and we are committed to provide the best possible services to this highly esteemed EU Entrusted Entity.”

Dell EMC enhances its channel

i_love_enhancements_tshirtDell EMC has released a set of “enhancements” for its channel partners.

As you might expect, cloud computing featured heavily in the programme revisions. Dell EMC is keen to encourage its partners in the area, which is making it a bomb.

The Dell EMC Networking X-series will also become the vendor’s first distributor-exclusive product line. The X-Series is a family of web-managed 1GbE and 10GbE switches, designed for SMBs.

The outfit has expanded its client incumbency programme for the commercial segment, claiming that it will protect partners’ relationships with historical look-back for revenue and deal registration.

Virtustream has added its enterprise cloud solution platform to the partner programme. The idea is that it will provide “customers with public cloud consumption with private cloud performance”.

Dell EMC has been talking up its “flexible consumption models” through the channel with Cloud Flex, storage offering Flex on Demand and PC-as-a-service packages on certain product portfolios.

It expanded 2017’s Cloud Service Provider and Strategic Outsourcer track, alongside offering rebates based on sell-in revenues.

Michael Collins, senior vice president, channel at Dell EMC EMEA said that the developments underline Dell EMC’s strategy to position its partners as strategic advisers that enterprises can trust.

“We want our customers to know that Dell EMC’s partner ecosystem is steadfastly committed to understanding their immediate and future business IT needs.

“We believe that our latest updates to the Dell EMC Partner Programme make us the leading long-term technology provider of choice to help channel partners satisfy their customers and guide them along their IT infrastructure transformation journey”, added Collins.

iManage’s cloud is in the hands of lawyers

billboard_dogsiManage announced that a big firm of European patent and trademark attorneys has selected iManage Cloud for its operations.

Potter Clarkson LLP chose iManage Cloud to move from paper-based files and an existing in-house document management system to a modernised and efficient cloud-based solution.

iManage Cloud will improve workflows and cross-firm collaboration. Future integration with Potter Clarkson’s planned business process application will allow the firm to pull together its different data sources including client, matter and operational information to help achieve business insight and value from their data.

Potter Clarkson Practice Manager Philip Morris said that iManage Cloud will significantly improve efficiency throughout its business, enhancing its  Microsoft Office 365 investment and providing the capability to work securely with matter and client files from anywhere on just about any device.

“The mobility, collaboration and resilience delivered by the product is incredibly important to us, while iManage’s UK-based data centres ensure the integrity and security of our data.”

iManage partner Phoenix Business Solutions is assisting Potter Clarkson with the implementation. The firm plans to roll out the solution by the beginning of November 2017, with an expected 160 users throughout the organisation.

iManage EMEA General Manager Geoff Hornsby said deploying iManage Cloud, Potter Clarkson will provide its patent attorneys with tools that enable them to deliver more responsive service to their clients without compromising security.

Wannacry means no more tears for resellers

141022153424-sleep-woman-clock-story-topThe rise of ransomware attacks is just what corporations needed to finally get off their Windows XP machines and upgrade.

According to the latest numbers from Spiceworks XP is still running on 11 percent of desktops and laptops but the penetration rate has dropped fairly quickly in just the last quarter.

Two years after Windows 10 was launched, the analysis of what is being used out in the market indicates that 60 percent of global organisations have adopted Microsoft’s latest offering.

This means that after hanging on to XP for grim death, SMEs and corporations have finally realised that it is a false economy and that they are leaving themselves open to ransomware attacks.

The SME community has been the most supportive with 67 percent of those firms with 100 to 500 staff moving to the OS.

Spiceworks senior technology analyst Peter Tsai said that widespread ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and Petrwrap have put businesses under pressure to upgrade unsupported operating systems, such as Windows XP and Vista, and move to more secure systems like Windows 10.

“And while Windows XP is still running in some businesses, it’s evident that more companies are beginning to recognise the security risks and prioritise upgrades in order to better secure their networks”, he added.

Spiceworks found that in the last three months the penetration levels of Windows XP fell by 10 percent. Windows 7 remains the most popular OS but 10 continues to grow.

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.”