Australia PC market bucks global trend by inching up 3.3%

Consumer and enterprise PC purchases are driving growth in the Australia PC market, which includes desktop, notebook and workstation.

The consumer segment grew 8.6 percent year over year (YoY) in Q2, according to IDC.

“The retail channel was negatively impacted by Dick Smith’s exit last year. This year however, promotional events such as Modern PC program run by Harvey Norman spiked growth in the consumer space. AMD’s new Ryzen series launch and EOFY sales further fuelled growth in this segment,” said Sagar Raghavendra, Client Devices Analyst of IDC Australia.

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AI takes centrestage at ICML in Sydney

NVIDIA is bringing its wealth of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and expertise to the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) in Sydney.

Held at Sydney International Convention Centre from August 6 to 11, the event is expected to attract up to 3,000 participants, primarily faculty, researchers and PhD students in machine learning, data science, data mining, AI, statistics, and related fields.

The NVIDIA booth (Level 2, The Gallery, Booth #4) will feature many firsts in Australia, such as demos on 4K style transfer, a deep neural network to extract a specific artistic style from a source painting, and then synthesises this information with the content of a separate video; self-driving auto using the Drive PX2 AI car computing platform; Deepstream SDK that simplifies development of high performance video analytics applications powered by deep learning; and NVIDIA Isaac, the AI-based software platform lets developers train virtual robots using detailed and highly realistic test scenarios.

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Facebook to add ads to Messenger

As if we don’t already have enough of ads. Facebook has announced that it will start rolling out ads to Messenger. With 1.2 billion users, the social media giant does have immense appeal for advertisers.

It seems that Facebook has completed test runs in Australia and Thailand and are ready to unleash ads on the rest of the world in the coming weeks.

The thing is that Messenger was literally forced onto mobile users when Facebook unbundled it from its mobile app. Users did not have a choice. Of course, there’s always browser access — it’s a little cumbersome but still an option for those resisting the move.

Deeper into AI

The keynote address at Google I/O yesterday showed that Google is much more than just a search company. It is becoming more artificial intelligence (AI). Google is specifically using deep learning to help in many areas of everyday life.

 

Here are some as shared on Google’s blog post:

Google Assistant can help answer your questions and find information—but it can also help you get all kinds of useful things done. Today we’re adding a few more:

  • Schedule new calendar appointments and create reminders. Starting today on Google Home, you can schedule appointments and soon you’ll also be able to add reminders. Since it’s the same Google Assistant across devices, you’ll be able to get a reminder at home or on the go.
  • Make your home smarter. We now have 70+ smart home partners supporting the Google Assistant across Google Home and Android phones, including August locks, TP-Link, Honeywell, Logitech, and LG.

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Public cloud service in mature APAC region to hit US$10b in 2017

GartnerThe public cloud services market in the mature Asia-Pacific (APAC) region — Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea — is forecast to grow 17.7 percent in 2017 to total US$10 billion, up from US$8.5 billion in 2016, according to Gartner.

By 2019, Gartner predicts that total public cloud services spending in these countries will rise to US$13.6 billion.

Public cloud services are shared, meterable, elastic and scalable multi-tenanted IT offerings delivered as a subscription-based service to external customers using internet technologies.

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Monash University launches M3 to accelerate research

M3 launch
Australian Chief Scientist Alan Finkel AO and Monash Professor Ian Smith get ready to press the red button to launch M3.

Monash University is taking research to another level with the launch of M3, the third-generation supercomputer available through the MASSIVE (Multi-modal Australian ScienceS Imaging and Visualisation Environment) facility.

Powered by ultra-high-performance NVIDIA Tesla K80 GPU accelerators, M3 will provide new simulation and real-time data processing capabilities to a wide selection of Australian researchers.

“Our collaboration with NVIDIA will take Monash research to new heights. By coupling some of Australia’s best researchers with NVIDIA’s accelerated computing technology we’re going to see some incredible impact. Our scientists will produce code that runs faster, but more significantly, their focus on deep learning algorithms will produce outcomes that are smarter,” said Professor Ian Smith, Vice Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure), Monash University.

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NVIDIA introduces Battlebox PC in ANZ

BattleboxAt PAX Australia held over the weekend in Melbourne, NVIDIA introduced the combat-ready Battlebox PC, which is designed especially for hardcore gamers.

A Battlebox PC is a beast of a gaming machine with a powerful combination of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti GPU horsepower, two-Way NVIDIA SLI and the best components. It is also VR Ready and supports 4K gaming and DX12 for better visual effects and rendering techniques.

The Battlebox PC will is available from Centrecom, MSY, Mwave, PC Case Gear, PLE, Origin PC, Scorptec, and UMART in Australia, and Computer Lounge, PB Technologies and Playtech in New Zealand.

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NVIDIA GRID 2.0 available in Australia

NVIDIAFollowing its announcement at VMworld in August, NVIDIA GRID 2.0 is now available in Australia.

The performance, efficiency and flexibility improvements in the latest release of NVIDIA GRID mean enterprise businesses can now deliver even the most graphics-intensive applications to any connected device virtually.

With NVIDIA GRID 2.0, employees can work from almost anywhere without delays in downloading files, increasing their productivity. IT departments can equip workers with instant access to powerful applications, improving resource allocation. And data can be stored more securely in a central server, rather than on individual systems.

 

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Australia tablet and 2-in-1 market takes massive hit

IDCThe numbers for the tablet and 2-in-1 market for Q1 in Australia look grim — total shipment was 770,772 units, representing a massive 40 percent quarter-on-quarter decline.

According to IDC, while the seasonal slump is customary, the magnitude of this decline is steeper than expected. Shipment decline of 25 percent year-on-year further reinforced the reality of a slow-down in demand for this product category.

However, drilling down into the segments reveals some positive signs. Whilst consumer shipments declined by 27 percent year-on-year, commercial shipments increased by a modest 1.2 percent.

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Australia nudges towards hosted and cloud-based UC solutions

frost and sullivanAustralia’s on-premise unified communications (UC) market experienced a decline in revenues in 2013, according to Frost & Sullivan. This was mainly due to the improved understanding of the benefits of hosted and cloud-based UC solutions, which have now reached mainstream adoption.

Organisations are now able to deploy any UC application over a hosted model, and have a much improved understanding of the benefits of hosted and cloud-based UC solutions. In addition, the capital intensive nature of on-premise solutions limits the flexibility for organisations to adapt to the changing communication and collaboration environments. As a result, the on-premise UC market is approaching a phase where growth rates are flat or declining.

According to Anand Balasubramanian, Industry Analyst of ICT Practice, Australia & New Zealand at Frost & Sullivan, the decline in the Australian UC market revenues can be attributed to the changing business preferences for communication and collaboration solutions.

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New iPhones are bigger with Watch to come in 2015

iPhone 6It’s confirmed. The new iPhone 6 and 6 plus are bigger than their predecessors. Of course, this is not exactly news with the numerous leaks over the past weeks.

Sporting a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, the iPhone 6 is the smaller of the two and is marginally thinner than the previous incarnation. The larger iPhone 6 plus ventures into the phablet space with a 5.5-inch display. Both smartphones come with the A8 processor, a 8MP rear and 2.1MP front camera.

Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia are among the 15 countries where the Apple products will be first sold on September 19.

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ZTE teams up with Blue Jeans Network on videoconferencing services

ZTEZTE is collaborating with Blue Jeans Network on video conferencing services, under which ZTE customers will be able to experience Blue Jeans Network’s cloud-based video conferencing services (VCS) and connect easily to one another via their ZTE VCS products, creating a uniform user experience that fosters collaboration.

Starting in August, ZTE VCS room system with Blue Jeans video conferencing services will be available in Singapore, Australia, the US, and Europe.

Blue Jeans Network extends high-quality video communications beyond the traditional boundaries of virtual conference rooms by allowing individuals, employees, partners and family and friends, to connect and interact with each other seamlessly and effectively. Its technology is used by customers such as Facebook, Foursquare, Match.com, and Stanford University.

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NVIDIA GRID Test Drive comes to SEA and Australia

NVIDIANVIDIA has availed GRID Test Drive in Southeast Asia and Australia. GRID Test Drive is a simple and secure way to test the power of NVIDIA’s GRID technology for cloud-delivered graphics acceleration.

NVIDIA GRID technology allows knowledge workers and high-end graphics users such as engineers and designers to utilise graphics-rich applications through the cloud anywhere on any device – with the same quality and performance they would have on a professional workstation.

As the demand for virtualised desktop infrastructure (VDI) continues to grow, NVIDIA’s GRID Test Drive allows anyone considering VDI, or those frustrated with the performance of their current VDI deployment, to easily test GRID for free and experience the difference of having powerful graphics behind their remote desktops and applications, without first having to build a proof-of-concept private cloud.

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China, Japan, South Korea, and Australia to drive smart home appliance growth in APAC

abi researchChina’s booming luxury market along with more mature markets such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia will drive growth in the APAC region for smart home appliances at a five-year CAGR of 92 percent, according to ABI Research.

The smart home appliance market, defined by products with built-in connectivity, will grow substantially to reach nearly US$25 billion by 2018. Currently limited to the top-end luxury models, wireless connectivity will slowly permeate to lower tier brands and models.

“Smart home appliances have yet to incorporate features that add significant value for their premium price. Smart home appliance features are at present limited to remote access through mobile devices. The true value of these smart grid ready devices, such as use in demand-response energy management programmes, is several years away and initially will be primarily US-based,” said Adarsh Krishnan, Senior Analyst of ABI Research.

 

Touch-enabled notebooks top wish list

IDCTouch is in. Beyond touch screen phones, users in Asia-Pacific want touch-enabled notebooks.

According to an IDC Asia-Pacific end user survey, 82 percent of respondents prefer a touch-enabled notebook for their next purchase.

The annual survey that studies end user behaviour and usage on client devices. The usage explosion of smartphones and tablets, where touch screen is a prominent feature, is a key driver of taking these screens to the personal computer. The study also finds that the majority of PC users today, even in emerging markets, own a smartphone, especially for 26-35 year olds at 87 percent. 

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NVIDIA GRID brings visual computing capabilities to Australia

NVIDIABusinesses across Australia can now deploy graphics-accelerated virtual desktops to their employees – cost-effectively, anywhere and on any device – with the adoption of NVIDIA GRID technology by leading technology partners.

Servers from Cisco, Dell, HP, IBM and others are now incorporating NVIDIA GRID into their desktop virtualisation solutions. Combined with enterprise virtualisation software from Citrix, Microsoft or VMware, these solutions can deliver GPU-accelerated applications and desktops to engineers, designers, architects, product design teams and special-effects artists throughout Australia.

Melbourne-based Xenon Systems was appointed as the first NVIDIA GRID Demo Centre for Australia and New Zealand earlier this year. 

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ANZ WLAN market boosted by increase in devices

IDCThe wireless local area network (WLAN) hardware market in ANZ continued to grow for the third consecutive quarter, according to IDC.

While enterprises remained the largest users of wireless infrastructure, the consumer space gained share from enterprise over the year. This means that more consumer wireless routers were sold, thanks to an increased number of devices in households during the period.

Service Provider (SP) WLAN deployments differed between Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand SPs embraced 3G/LTE offload via WLAN infrastructure while Australia SPs preferred to rely on available spectrum to support mobile connectivity. Overall, SP contribution to the WLAN market remained minuscule in the region despite having the strongest growth. Table 1 shows growth for the three main segments quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) and year-on-year (YoY):

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Australia big on cloud computing

IDCAustralian enterprises are taking to cloud computing. According to IDC’s 2013 Australia End-User Cloud Survey, 86 percent of Australian enterprises were currently using cloud computing, up from 71 percent in 2012.

IDC observed that line-of-business (LOB) managers in leading-edge enterprises had begun to add to CIO’s cloud spending by direct acquisition of cloud services as a delivery mechanism for new competitive offerings within their own industries and marketplaces. This was validated by the survey results where the business unit (69.6 percent) was ranked higher than the IT department (59.8 percent) by the respondents when it came to the responsibility for selection of the service providers in their most recent cloud computing projects.

“Until 2012, cloud was primarily an IT label for IT infrastructure services delivered as a service. Now, cloud is no longer just an IT infrastructure play. Cloud-based business services being acquired by LOB managers will now drive growth in the use of externally sourced services. Cloud in 2013 is now business as usual for CIOs, IT managers, and LOB managers. By 2015, cloud will be just another delivery model for a range of “as-a-service” offerings that are based on infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS),” said Raj Mudaliar, Senior Analyst, Cloud Services Research at IDC Australia.

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Android and Windows tablets picking up steam in ANZ

IDCThe ANZ tablets market grew a phenomenal 147 percent year-on-year in Q1, bringing the total market size up to 1.14 million units, according to IDC. This tremendous growth was due to increased demand of smaller, cheaper Android tablets, as well as Windows tablets.

“Users now have better access to a wide range of low to high-end tablets as well as different operating systems compared to last year. In 2012, an user would usually choose between an Apple iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab but now, a year later, brands like ASUS, Acer and Microsoft would also appear on the user’s radar,” said Suzanne Tai, Associate Market Analyst of IDC’s ANZ Infrastructure Research Group. “Whitebox tablets have picked up significantly as well, driven with heavy promotions by retailers such as Aldi, Harvey Norman, K-Mart, and Warehouse Stationary.”

“Android is growing its foothold in the marketplace, thanks to Samsung’s aggressiveness with promotions and channel strategies, as well as the influx of whitebox tablets. Additionally, Windows tablets are also gaining traction with entry of new models, pilot rollouts and implementations in commercial sector especially in education.”

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PC sales in ANZ dip in Q1

IDCThe PC market is weakening as demand for tablets and other mobile devices strengthen. In Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), the PC market closed Q1 with a 21 percent and 27 percent dip respectively compared to the same quarter last year, according to IDC.

This decline is all the more ominous in view of recent cuts to the Australian Federal interest rate and the quarter being the end of financial year in New Zealand.

“The softness in PC sales across the consumer and commercial space reflects a declining demand for PCs,” said Amy Cheah, Market Analyst of IDC Australia. “More consumers are skipping or delaying PC purchase as tablets become the more common alternative for mobile access. Vendors, as a result, took a more cautious approach this quarter, cutting back on shipments given the slow moving inventory situation.”

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Atomic makes last stand alone

Atomic, an Australian technology magazine targeted at PC enthusiasts, has just breathed its last — as a standalone publication. From the February issue, it will be merged with  PC & Tech Authority (PC&TA).

“With the media landscape shifting at such a fast pace, we felt it was vital that we prepare for the future by pouring all of our resources into one overriding consumer tech brand. It gives the team focus and allows us to invest in areas that deliver expert content, while creating a stronger footing in the consumer tech market,” said  Jeremy Vaughan, Managing Director of Haymarket Media.

Going forward, PC & Tech Authority will be carry more than 16 pages on PC component reviews and gaming content.

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