Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Apple’s China Deal Helps Lift Technology Issues

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Stocks continued to climb in quiet trading on Monday, as investors began to close the books on 2013.
Apple helped lift technology stocks after it reached a deal to sell the iPhone through China’s largest wireless carrier.
The market has moved broadly higher since last Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve said it would start pulling back on its stimulus program next month as the economy improves. Last week, the government also raised its estimate for third-quarter economic growth to 4.1 percent, the fastest pace since 2011.
“Everything is going in the right direction,” said Rob Stein, chief executive of Astor Investment Management, based in Chicago.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was up 9.67 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,827.99. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 73.47 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,294.61. The Nasdaq composite rose 44.16 points, or 1.1 percent, to 4,148.90.
Apple rose $21.07, or 4 percent, to $570.09, after the company reached a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest cellphone provider, to sell the iPhone in China. The iPhone is already sold through two smaller carriers there. Technology stocks in the S.&P. 500 rose 1.5 percent.
Trading was very light ahead of the Christmas holiday. On the New York Stock Exchange, 2.8 billion shares were traded, well below the recent average of 3.4 billion.
Both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market will be closed Wednesday, Christmas Day. Both exchanges will also close at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday for Christmas Eve.
The market is heading for its best year in more than a decade. The S.&P. 500 index has increased 28 percent so far this year — 30 percent when dividends are included — putting it on track for its biggest annual gain since 1997.
“People want to hold on to these gains, so no one is going to take any undue risks this close to the end of the year,” said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at Williams Capital. The next two weeks, with Christmas and New Year’s Day both falling in the middle of the workweek, will very likely also see light trading, he said.
In other economic news, consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in November, the most since June.
Bond prices fell slightly. The 10-year Treasury note fell to
98 15/32, off 11/32, its yield rising to 2.93 percent from 2.89 percent.
Gold fell $6.70, or 0.6 percent, to $1,198.40 an ounce. Gold has slumped 29 percent this year and is headed for its first annual loss since 2000. Traders have dumped gold as fear that the Fed’s easy-money policies would cause inflation has dissipated.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The technology business week: Vodafone expands 4G coverage, Accelrys acquires Qumas

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with mobile operator Vodafone expanding 4G coverage across Ireland.

Vodafone expands 4G coverage to six cities and 31 towns across Ireland

Vodafone has switched on 4G for smartphone users in six cities and 31 towns across Ireland, the mobile operator said this past week.
4G delivers data speeds of up to 10 times faster than 3G. At the same time, Vodafone is bringing 3G coverage to anywhere in Ireland that currently has voice coverage.
The six cities include Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Kilkenny. The towns include Bagnelstown, Ballincollig, Bunclody, Carlow, Carrigaline, Carrigtohill, Cloyne, Cobh, Dungarvan, Dunmanway, Enniscorthy, Fermoy, Gorey, Kanturk, Kenmare, Killarney, Killorglin, Kinsale, Lismore, Listowel, Mallow, Midleton, Millstreet, New Ross, Newmarket, Rosslare Harbour, Rosslare Strand, Thomastown, Tralee, Tullow, and Wexford.

Accelrys acquires Qumas in US$50m deal

Life sciences software player Accelrys Inc has acquired cloud-based quality management software firm Qumas in a deal understood to be valued at around US$50m.
The acquisition of the Cork company will enable Accelrys to help its customers manage the scientific innovation lifecycle by reducing regulatory risks and improving compliance effectiveness.
Qumas integrates content, processes, people and systems into enterprise compliance programmes that eliminate the cost and complexity of managing paper-based as well as disparate or legacy document management applications.

IBM wins US$115m server contract with European Commission

IBM and business partner Bechtle AG have won a US$115m contract with the European Commission to provide servers to European Union institutions and agencies in the 27 member states. 
The contract is the largest and most comprehensive awarded by the European Commission for office and application servers.
IBM and Bechtle AG have already provided more than US$2.6m in systems and services to date and expect to deliver more than 6,100 System x and Flex System servers and supporting services over the course of the contract.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ten Business Technology Trends You'll Read About in 2014

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Which business technologies will lead the way in 2014? Research firms, journalists, and bloggers are gearing up to share their thoughts on this question and offer their predictions over the few weeks. Immersed in today’s dynamic business technology environment and excited about what’s to come, we at LNS Research offer our early list of main focus areas you can expect experts to be discussing over the next few months.
1. Mobile
At this point in late 2013, reports suggest that mobile devices are outpacing PCs as the primary source for computing. Traditional business functions (and innovative new ones) are increasingly expected to be accompanied by a solution in the app store. In 2014, managing by walking around will continue to occur, only even more-so with a tablet or smartphone in hand.
Expect to see a diversity of predictions touching on further consumerization—and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)—related issues. These will include supporting cloud-based, mobile application infrastructures, cybersecurity, compatibility, software-to-app migration, proximity sensing, and organizations’ abilities to match IT support capabilities with growing user needs.
2. Big Data & Analytics
In recent years, we’ve experienced an explosion of data. Reports say that the amount is doubling every few days. And with Internet/Intranet connectivity becoming more commonplace, new trajectories can be expected. Software vendors and in-house IT departments alike are working hard to develop simpler, faster solutions for harnessing this growing giant.
The challenge is certainly in a wrestling match with the opportunity right now and in 2014 we can expect that to shift into manufacturers' and other businesses' favor. Expect predictions around new techniques for uncovering consumer insights and manufacturing asset and production improvements, as well as a rise in cloud-based solutions for big data and analytics.
3. Cybersecurity
2013 was a tough year for cybersecurity. The NSA proved that information is not as secure from third-parties as many businesses assumed it was. And from corporate Twitter account breaches to confidential information getting into the wrong hands, we saw that hackers continue to be a very real threat.
As cloud, mobility, and connected devices make more headway in the business realm, expect to see predictions around the tradeoffs between accessibility, cost, and risk, as well as best practices for ongoing information security management and the need for ‘secure-by-design’ software and systems.

What Does Managed Services Mean?

Many firms promise managed services, but don't follow through as promised. TVG Consulting likes to be proactive in their work.  Most companies are just reactive to problems that have already occurred. Being proactive will prevent problems from occurring in the first place reducing IT downtime and costs.  Response time is also important in managed services.

Monday, December 2, 2013

BlackBerry head says company is 'very much alive'

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BlackBerry's interim chief executive said Monday reports of the death of the company "are greatly exaggerated."
Former Sybase CEO John Chen said in a letter to customers that BlackBerry is returning to its roots, refocusing on delivering devices and services to business users.
Chen was brought in as the interim chief executive and executive chair after talks to sell the company collapsed last month.
He said in the letter that the company is aware that "BlackBerry is not for everyone."
Blackberry quickly lost dominance as the leading smartphone maker after the 2007 launch of Apple's touchscreen iPhone.
Chen notes that competitors are circling but that BlackBerry is "very much alive, thank you."
Chen said BlackBerry has substantial cash and said he'll refocus the company on four areas, including the handset business. Chen put more emphasis on BlackBerry's mobile device management business, which allows IT departments to manage different devices connected to their corporate networks. He also emphasized BlackBerry's popular BlackBerry Messenger application. And he mentioned embedded QNX software systems, which are used in-vehicle infotainment systems and industrial machines.
BGC analyst Colin Gillis said a letter meant to reassure customers is needed. The much-hyped BlackBerry 10 system, its latest phones, flopped. The company disclosed in September that it would book nearly a billion dollars in losses related to unsold phones and the company announced last month it was no longer for sale.
"They are being targeted pretty heavily. Their customers are up for grabs," Gillis said.
Focusing on business users is probably the only move Blackberry has left, Gillis said.
"It's a much smaller business. This is the niche player. You can build phones for those people in that niche. You can have a decent little business," Gillis said. "Enterprise customers who like keyboards. There's not really a good keyboard device out there. Some people like keyboards. I personally don't love typing on glass."
Gillis said he expects Chen to name himself CEO soon because he's not acting like an interim CEO. "He's signing all this stuff as CEO," Gillis said.
Shares of BlackBerry rose 4 cents to $6.37 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.
The decline of the BlackBerry has come shockingly fast. The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, changed the culture by allowing on-the-go business people to access wireless email. Then came a new generation of competing smartphones, and suddenly the BlackBerry looked ancient. Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007 and showed that phones can handle much more than email and phone calls. In the years since, BlackBerry been hammered by competition from the iPhone as well as Android-based rivals.

Can a Phone System Benefit Your Business?

Technology is so important to business productivity these days, and a phone system is no different.  Although there are many other means of communication, nothing is quite like the telephone and if your business doesn't have a system in place it might be suffering.  Customers like talking on the phone because its personal and allows them to reach you right away, unlike email.  TVG Consulting, an IT support company in Los Angeles, offers ALLWORX phone systems to their clients.

For more information visit their blog.