Wearables the new way to track and engage customers

CanalysGoogle Glass and Samsung Gear are two of the most talked about developments in wearable devices. And many more are set to follow in their footsteps.

Canalys believes that consumerisation of IT is paving the way for even bigger transitions that will rock the IT industry. Smaller app-enabled devices (‘appcessories’) enable customers and employees to do more on the move. Adoption of wearables, such as wristbands, eyewear and sensors in clothing, will lead to a new era in which location, movement, fitness, health and potentially visual focus and interest points are tracked. The data generated by these devices creates possibilities for brands to understand, segment, target and service customers. Through functional apps, buyers and sellers are also finding new ways to interact.

‘Apps have emerged as the accelerator of current industry transitions. In place of large code bases and years of development, we now have the possibility of turning out multi-platform apps in weeks, or even days,’ said Tim Shepherd, Senior Analyst of Canalys. ‘By focusing on user experience, app developers have revolutionized how new functionality is brought to market and how behavior and activity are measured. Enterprise customers have started to exploit this capability across several disciplines, including product design, marketing, customer services and operations, and buying points are changing as a result.’

Global 3D printer shipment to grow 49%

Gartner3D printing is gaining traction with Gartner expecting worldwide shipments of 3D printers (3DPs) priced less than US$100,000 expected to grow 49 percent this year to reach a total of 56,507 units.

Rapid quality and performance innovations across all 3DP technologies will drive enterprise and consumer demand. Gartner said that shipments will increase further in 2014, growing 75 percent to 98,065 units, followed by a near doubling of unit shipments in 2015.

“The 3D printer market has reached its inflection point. While still a nascent market, with hype outpacing the technical realities, the speed of development and rise in buyer interest are pressing hardware, software and service providers to offer easier-to-use tools and materials that produce consistently high-quality results,” said Pete Basiliere, Research Director of Gartner.

Half of large enterprises to have hybrid cloud by 2017

GartnerNearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017, according to Gartner. In the past three years, private cloud computing has moved from an aspiration to a tentative reality for nearly half of large enterprises. Hybrid cloud computing is at the same place today that private cloud was three years ago. Actual deployments are low but aspirations are high.

When it comes to drivers of private cloud computing, while cost is always an important consideration, a business case for private cloud cannot rely on lower costs as the primary justification.

“Virtualisation reduces capital expenses, and standards and automation reduce operational expenses,” said Thomas Bittman, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst of Gartner. “However, taking the next step of adding usage metrics, self-service offerings and automated provisioning requires investment in technologies without a significant reduction in operational cost. With this in mind, the driving factor for going that next step should primarily be agility.”

Android-based tablets taking over the lead

abi researchA shift in leadership is now upon the tablet mobile computing market, observed ABI Research.

At the year’s mid-point, the market intelligence firm has identified a trio of events signalling Apple’s iPad family of products has passed the baton to the Android ecosystem. During Q2, the number of Android-powered tablets surpassed iOS-based slates for the first time, tablet-related hardware revenues reached parity, and perhaps most important, the average selling price (ASP) of iPad is rapidly approaching the market average.

Overall shipments in the quarter dropped 17 percent sequentially while growing 23 percent year-over-year for the same quarterly period. “Smaller 7-inch class tablets are finally the majority of shipments,” says Jeff Off, Senior Practice Director at ABI Research. “The 7.9-inch iPad mini represented about 60 percent of total iPad shipments and 49 percent of iPad-related device revenues in the quarter.”

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 “region locked”

Galaxy Note 3 pinkAfter the first Samsung Galaxy Note 3 reached the hands of eager fans, one glaringky unwanted feature was spotted — the smartphone has region locked its SIM card.

This brought about a flurry of media reports on why Samsung would do such a thing and how this was a backward move, similar to the region locking of DVDs. Concerned users began lamenting that if this was the case, then they cannot swap in a local SIM card when they are travelling to another region.

But, UK Mobile Review has managed to ease nerves by testing this feature of the Galaxy Note 3. After first using a UK SIM card with the handset, the online media was able to use a UAE SIM card later. Seems that the trick is to use a SIM card from the region from which the smartphone is first purchased to activate the phone and then it can be used with SIM cards issued anywhere else.

Myanmar’s devices market set for explosive growth

IDCMyanmar’s devices market is on target to take centre stage as the country hurtles towards becoming an ICT-driven nation, according to IDC.

Following the award of telecommunications licenses to Telenor and Ooredoo, SIM cards and service provision has dipped considerably towards levels even low-wage earners are able to afford. IDC expects this to drive a considerable uptake in demand for both mobile phones and tablets.

“The Myanmar government has set highly ambitious targets for mobile subscriber penetration over the next two years. At this point, they are on the right track, but there is still much work left to be done,” said Daniel Pang, ASEAN Research Manager for Client Devices at IDC Asia/Pacific.

Huawei lab head first Chinese to receive AAAI fellowship

HuaweiDr Qiang Yang, Head of Huawei’s Noah’s Ark Lab, has been elected a fellow of AAAI (the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence).

AAAI Fellow is the highest honour in the artificial intelligence (AI) community, recognising a small group of AAAI members who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of artificial intelligence. This year, AAAI elected eight fellows from across the world.

Yang is the 1st AAAI Fellow in Greater China and first among Chinese Scientists worldwide. He was elected “for significant contributions to AI planning, data mining and case-based reasoning” in AI. Yang is already a fellow of the institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, International Association for Pattern Recognition, and The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

1m out-of-school Filipinos to get access to mEducation

GSMAGSMA is collaborating with the Philippines government agencies and all mobile network operators across the K-12 spectrum to provide up to one million Filipino out-of-school youths (OSYs) with additional opportunities to access education, including technical vocational (tech-voc) education, via mobile media.

The ground-breaking cooperation on mEducation involves government partners including the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and mobile operators Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. (DMPI), Globe Telecom and Smart Communications.

The operators are co-operating to complement the efforts of multiple government agencies by extending knowledge to OSYs, especially those in underserved areas and geographically isolated communities, with the support and reach of mobile technology. The National Statistics Office of the Philippines reports that in 2011, there were at least 6.24 million out-of-school youths in the country.

ZTE launches world’s largest capacity data centre switches

ZTEZTE has released the BigMatrix 9900 series, the world’s largest-capacity data centre switches designed for large cloud computing and big data scenarios.

The new switches will helpscustomers achieve higher-density deployment in data centres. Each single slot can support up to 144 10G ports, 36 40G ports, or 12 100G ports. The Big Matrix 9900 series comprises four models, 9916, 9912, 9908, and 9904, with each unit supporting maximum switching capacity of 84.48T. Big Matrix 9900 meets the oriented service architecture (OSA) standards.

For big data systems, BigMatrix 9900 provides customers the capability to extract non-structurised and non-relevant data from existing databases. BigMatrix 9900 also adopts modular system design, and can be used to build a super-resilient non-blocking bi-directional forwarding platform with the switching capacity of 1.4P (1,440T) in Fat-Tree mode.

Blackberry to change hands

Blackberry Q5Blackberry has agreed to be sold to Fairfax Financial Holdings for US$4.7 billion.

Fairfax, which already owns around 10 percent of BlackBerry, will pay US$9 per share for Blackberry, and take the company private. However, the deal is not done yet as Fairfax can walk away any time under the terms of the agreement.

“Unless Fairfax plans to radically change or accelerate BlackBerry’s strategy, it’s unlikely to be able to turn the company aroundAnd that means we’re likely seeing the beginning of the end for one of the most iconic brands in mobile technology,” said Jan Dawson, Chief Telecoms Analyst of Ovum.

Microsoft introduces Surface 2 powered by NVIDIA Tegra 4

Surface 2Microsoft has introduced Surface 2, the successor to the ill-fated Surface RT, for which the company booked a US$900 million loss. So, what’s the difference between the first iteration and this new version?

“Surface 2 is not subtle, but is a revamp. It is not the simple changes that everybody wants, but it’s the changes people need,” said Panos Panay, Surface Chief of Microsoft.

It’s powered by the NVIDIA Tegra 4, which should provide a major performance boost over the first-generation Surface RT tablet. The chip’s ARM Cortex-A15 quad-core CPU and 72 GeForce GPU cores should help the device fly across web browsing, zip through Office applications and deliver immersive DirectX gaming experiences.

Promotions help drive ANZ inkjet market

IDCThe ANZ inkjet printer market expanded in Q2, thanks largely to heavy price and bundling promotions particularly within the entry level segment, according to IDC. This augmentation was further supported by the growth of high-end machines that served as a replacement for colour laser printers. 

Unit shipments increased 2 percent to about 443,000 although they dropped by 3 percent on a year-on-year basis 

“The second quarter of 2013 saw aggressive promotions on various levels including price, bundling, cash back, catalogue promotions as well as TV commercials. Continued traction within the photographic printer segment and augmentation of A4 inkjet printers that could print A3 added to the positive development. However, with the close of financial year in March for certain vendors, this expansion was offset due to the limited in-take of new stock on the back of already existing stock in their channel,” said Arunachalam Muthiah , Market Analyst of Peripherals Research of IDC New Zealand.

Samsung rolls out Galaxy Tab 3 (10.1-inch) with LTE in Singapore

Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 with LTEJust when you thought that the Galaxy line-up was packed, Samsung has unleashed yet another model — the Galaxy Tab 3 (10.1-inch) with LTE in Singapore.

Offering an expanded range of options along with previously announced 7-inch and 8-inch versions, the Galaxy Tab 3 (10.1-inch) with LTE is packed with enhanced content and intuitive design for viewing or sharing content.

Stacked with a 1.6 GHz Dual Core processor, it features a comprehensive suite of video, music, and photo software, making it ideal for mobile entertainment.

ViewSonic launches new projectors with dual pen interactivity and advanced connectivity

Auditorium hall with projection screenViewSonic has introduced a new PJD8 series of projectors — PJD8653ws, PJD8333s and PJD8633ws — that features dual pen interactivity and advanced connectivity functionality.

“When it comes to ultra short throw projector solutions, it’s common that manufacturers will offer either reflective mirror technology or direct projection technology, but we feel it is important to offer our customers both. Paired with advanced interactive and connectivity features, our brand new PJD8 series delivers the opportunity of choice, not chance.,” said Roger Chien, Product Manager of ViewSonic

This new ultra short throw, networkable series allows the projector to be mounted right above a whiteboard or screen without creating hot spots, shadows or casting bright light in front of the presenter, making it perfect for smaller or difficult projection spaces like classrooms and meeting rooms.

kalahari.com accelerates market expansion with hybris

khybris SAPalahari.com has selected hybris Commerce Suite to power its retail vision forward, strengthen its position as an innovative market leader, and fast-track market growth selling both digital and physical goods via its online stores and marketplaces.

As Africa’s leading online retailer of electronics, toys, appliances, games and books, kalahari.com will leverage hybris Commerce Suite to respond to growth opportunities and further extend its market share in the fast growing Southern African commerce market.

Providing a true omni-channel experience, the scalability of the hybris Commerce platform will enable kalahari.com to support its rapidly expanding online operations, which include consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-consumer (B2C) retail, and deliver a feature-rich experience to a growing number of mobile shoppers. This will include selling digital goods such as eBooks, via kalahari.com’s own e-reader device the Gobii, and a large expansion of its online catalogue of digital and physical goods.

NVIDIA Tegra Note coming soon

Tegra NoteAt this year’s Computex, NVIDIA gave a preview of a tablet, tentatively called Tegra Tab, that leverages the NVIDIA DirectStylus technology, which significantly improves passive stylus performance.

That device is now called NVIDIA Tegra Note and will be available in the next few months. Designed by NVIDIA, it will be marketed by NVIDIA partners including ColorfulShenzhen Homecare Technology, XOLO, and ZOTAC XOLO in Asia-Pacific. 

The suggested retail price for the Android-based device is US$199, making it highly competitive in the growing tablet space.

Local smartphone makers best Apple in China market

abi researchTo most people around the world, Coolpad, Lenovo and Xiaomi don’t quite ring a bell when it comes to smartphones. But, in China, these three Chinese smartphone OEMs outsold Apple in Q2, according to ABI Research.

Only Samsung managed to hold its own but snaring a 17 percent market share. Lenovo was next with 13 percent, Coolpad with 10 percent and Xiaomi edged out Apple with 6.5 percent.

“Even though these OEMs are only selling into the Chinese market, the size of the market has allowed them to achieve shipment volumes that place these OEMs in the top 12 globally. It is not hard to imagine these OEMs as global competitors within the next two years,” said Michael Morgan, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 available in HK on Sep 25

Galaxy Note 3The much awaited Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be available in Hong Kong on September 25. Coming in black and white, the suggested retail price of the 3G and 4G LTE versions are HK$5,998 andHK$6,198 respectively.

The phablet packs innovative features where users can enjoy captivating viewing experience on the 5.7-inch full HD Super AMOLDED screen that offers a stunning and divine viewing experience with a clear canvas for content creation. It also comes with an enhanced S Pen and multitasking features.

“Some people may often feel that the latest gadgets out there offer a contradicting feeling to our users because while you’re very engaged with your product, you tend to neglect the things around you. With the latest Galaxy Note 3, you will be able to enjoy a delightful mobile experience that brings passion to life,” said Yiyin Zhou, Director of Telecom Business, Samsung Electronics Hong Kong Limited.

ZTE unveils world’s first flexible reconfigurable terabit router

ZTEZTE has unveiled the world’s first flexible reconfigurable terabit router to enable customers to build the highest-performance broadband networks.

The terabit router supports the deployment of multiple line cards with processing capability of 10 gigabits per second to 1T, and modules that offer scalable throughput of 200G to 18T. To enable convenient installation in a wide variety of environments, the flexible interfaces and loose-coupled component design of the router allow customers to configure networks that are customised for their needs, promoting adaptability, consistency and continuity.

The superior performance of the terabit router is built on two proprietary ZTE technology solutions, cloud routing and intelligent system resource scheduling. Cloud routing builds system control plane based on distributed modular technology to ensure efficient network resource utilisation, offering network scalability and support for simultaneous deployment of multiple transmission protocols. Intelligent system resource scheduling enables physical and logic system resource sharing and flexible scheduling to ensure automatic matching of system load and resource allocation, driving superior power-consumption performance of 0.8W/Gbps.

1 in 4 homes watching TV with Cisco

ciscoCisco has an innovative approach to pay TV that has enabled it to gain and maintain its industry leading position. With more than 300,000,000 homes around the world watching TV with Cisco, nearly a quarter of all global TV homes are now enjoying improved viewing experiences.

While 80 percent of the world’s homes have access to TV, fewer than half of them are benefiting from digital and the additional functionality that it can enable. At the other end of the spectrum, the amount of video traversing IP networks is set to reach a record 88 exabytes a month by 2017, with 914,100 minutes of video streamed or downloaded every second – all with less than 50 percent of the world’s population connected to the Internet.

Building on over 20 years of experience driving new services and profitable growth for pay-TV operators and the media and entertainment industry, Cisco can help the industry capture the huge opportunities being generated as every network attached device becomes video capable and consumers seek ubiquitous video access.

Philippines CRM outsourcing market still attractive

ovumThe Philippines continues to be one of the most attractive destinations for outsourcing, fuelled largely by competitive price points and significant pools of labour with English language skills, according to Ovum.

New research focused on CRM suppliers in the Philippines found potential within the industry as a non-voice and non-English-speaking delivery center. Furthermore, as the country’s economy continues to expand, outsourcers will see greater opportunities to serve the increasingly sophisticated domestic market.

“Following our visit to the country and our on-the-ground research, it is clear to us that the Philippines will remain one of the powerhouses among offshore front-office outsourcing destinations,” said Margaret Goldberg, Associate Analyst, IT Services at Ovum and co-author of the report. “The combination of a significant cultural disposition towards customer service and affinity to Western cultures, strong English language capabilities and competitive price points will ensure that the outsourcing industry in the country will continue to see strong growth for years to come.”

Tablets to outship PCs in Q4

IDCTablets and smartphone shipment will continue to drive growth in 2013, according to IDC, which expects tablet shipment to surpass total PC shipment (desktop plus portable PCs) in Q4. The worldwide smart connected device market, comprising PCs, tablets, and smartphones, is forecast to grow 27.8 percent year over year in 2013, slightly lower than the 30.3 percent growth in 2012.

PCs shipment is still expected to be greater than tablet shipment for the full year, but IDC forecasts tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments on an annual basis by the end of 2015. Smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and accounting for 69 percent of all smart connected device shipments worldwide.

In terms of shipment value, the worldwide smart connected device market will again exhibit double-digit year-over-year growth of 10.6 percent in 2013, but this growth will gradually slow to just 3.1 percent in 2017. The tapering revenue forecast reflects the increasing impact of low-cost smartphones and the white box tablet market.

Global smartphone shipment to hit 1b in 2013

IDCOne billion smartphones are expected to be shipped this year, helping the global mobile phone market to rebound from just 1.2 percent growth in 2012 to 7.3, percent in 2013, according to IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

The overall mobile phone market is growing faster than previously forecast thanks to a stronger-than-expected first half of the year driven by strong gains in emerging markets and the sub-US$200 smartphone segment. IDC previously projected 5.8 percent growth for the year. Vendors are now forecast to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, growing to over 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017.

Worldwide smartphone shipment is forecast to grow 40.0 percent year over year to more than one billion units this year. High smartphone growth is the result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets, as well as a growing array of sub-US$200 smartphones. Total smartphone shipment is forecast to reach 1.7 billion units in 2017.

Xiaomi introduces world’s first NVIDIA Tegra 4-powered super phone

Xiaomi Mi3China mobile device maker Xiaomi has announced  the Xiaomi Mi3, the world’s first to be based on the NVIDIA Tegra 4 mobile processor. 

Delivering superb gaming and lightning-fast web browsing, the flagship phone represents the first collaboration between NVIDIA and Xiaomi. The Mi3 will launch on China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, in October.

Based on the Tegra 4 – the world’s fastest mobile processor — the phone combines premium specs and features with all-day battery life. In addition to Tegra 4, it includes a 5-inch 1080p full HD display with 441ppi, 2GB RAM and up to 64GB of storage. The Tegra 4 processor offers record levels of performance and battery life with its 72-core NVIDIA GeForce GPU, quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 and fifth battery-saver CPU core, also based on Cortex-A15.