iTWire - iTWire - Deals iTWire - Technology news, trends, reviews, jobs Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:26:37 +1000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb NEC contracted to help manage WA water resources NEC contracted to help manage WA water resources

NEC has been selected as the primary partner for the WA Department of Water to deliver an IT platform to enhance the department’s capacity to manage the state's water resources.

Under the terms of the four-year contract, NEC will be the single supplier to DoW throughout the term of the project, providing ongoing technical support during each stage of the system’s build out, as well as working with the department to transfer knowledge to the appropriate internal project and technology service teams.   

The contract provides for NEC to exclusively deliver the platform, giving the DoW the capabilities to manage increased demands on water resources caused by rapid population growth, while giving it the tools to better manage forecasted declines in rainfall in some regions.

The contract has been signed at a time when many water resources in Western Australia, particularly in metropolitan areas, have reached or exceeded their theoretical sustainable consumption limits. Between 2005 and 2011 the number of water resources exceeding sustainable consumption levels increased from 11% to 18% of resources.

{loadposition peter}The four-year program of work being undertaken by NEC will assist the state respond to these conditions and give it the information and tools to more accurately forecast and manage resources in areas where demand is close to capacity.

The platform will also support the department’s mission critical objective to achieve maximum use of water while avoiding possible unsustainable consumption by aligning water management policies with operational practices.

In addition, the project will improve the collection, storage and use of water resources as well as providing enhanced monitoring capabilities to ensure the department can supply high quality data to government, policy makers and industry, and accurately plan allocation of scarce resources.

Mike Barber, IT Services Director of NEC Australia Mike barber said that, using a Microsoft solution stack, NEC will deliver an “easy-to-use interface for water users to more efficiently apply for new water licences or renew current licences. This will also streamline the department’s reporting requirements and make water trading more efficient.”

According to Barber, NEC was selected on the strengths of its record in delivering large, complex and customised enterprise technology projects across Australia. “In particular, NEC Australia demonstrated exceptional competency in Microsoft solutions, including building business application interfaces within the NET framework, web services integration and SQL database development.”

 “This important contract with the Department of Water validates NEC Australia’s expertise in the required Microsoft technology stack. Our consistent and proven approach to system architecture, design, development, testing and deployment ensures Western Australia is delivered a truly cohesive and appropriately scaled platform,” Barber said.

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:04:08 +1000
Fleetmatics seeking closer relationship with Xero customers Fleetmatics seeking closer relationship with Xero customers

GPS fleet tracking and field management vendor Fleetmatics is looking to amplify its relationship with cloud based accounting supplier Xero and its customers.

Fleetmatics senior marketing director Andrew Kraynak is in Australia for Xero’s XeroCon users conference to discuss the partnership with XeroCon attendees. The two companies have already established a “good working relationship,” Kraynak told iTWire.

The Xero user conference is being held at Sydney Showground this week. Kraynak says the two companies’ products are a natural fit – they are all cloud based, and Fleetmatics’ two product lines are complementary to Xero’s accounting software.

New Zealand based Xero has been one of the great software success stories of recent years, taking its cloud-based accounting package to market leadership in Australasia. It is now entering the US market.

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Fleetmatics is best known in Australia for its 2013 acquisition of local company Connect2Field, which had developed a suite of cloud based field service management applications. That product is now called Fleetmatics Work

Fleetmatics itself was established in Dublin in 2004, and floated on the NYSE in 2012. It expects annual revenues this year of US$228 million (guidance published in recent quarterly reoort), and has 780 employees and over 23,000 customers globally. Its GPS tracking and fleet management product, called Fleetmatics Reveal, tracks has over 500,000 subscribed vehicles worldwide.

“The cloud model makes it easy for people to implement,” says Kraynak. “Cloud used to be an enterprise play, but increasingly SMBs are using our software – hence the tie-in with Xero.”

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:32:46 +1000
Vodafone goes with Ericsson for major upgrade Vodafone goes with Ericsson for major upgrade

It’s been a good week for Ericsson in Australia. Monday it was Telstra, Wednesday it’s Vodafone.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has chosen Swedish telco infrastructure giant Ericsson as a sole supplier to replace and upgrade its complete national core network.

It is the second major deal Ericsson has announced in Australia this week. On Monday it signed Telstra up for a three year extension of its backbone optic fibre network, in conjunction with partner Ciena.

The deal will see VHA completely modernise and consolidate its core network with Ericsson. “This will allow us to utilise the world’s most technologically advanced telecommunications infrastructure,” said Benoit Hanssen, VHA’s chief technology officer.

“The new core network will offer greater network agility and flexibility, create cost efficiencies, and enable the introduction of new 4G LTE services,” Hanssen said. Among these will be the introduction of voice over 4G (also known as VoLTE), which Hanssen said VHA plans to launch in 2015 following trials later this year.

“Current 4G networks primarily focus on providing faster data services,” said Hanssen. “Customers have rapidly adopted 4G smartphones, which offer very fast data speeds. But no Australian network is offering voice calls on its 4G network, and our new core network will enable us to do that. It will improve the customer experience by providing HD voice calling.

“In addition, VoLTE allows users to access voice and data services at the same time over 4G, without compromising data connectivity speeds. The choice of Ericsson’s technology and services is an essential part of our program to increase our network performance and customer satisfaction.

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“With our enhanced indoor 4G coverage and voice calls on the same network, our customers will feel the difference. The call audio quality will be high definition, and call connection times will be significantly shorter,” said Hanssen. “In other words, there will be virtually no time lag between the customer pressing the call button and the call being connected when they are using 4G.”

Last month, Vodafone said its 4G network would reach 95% of Australia’s metropolitan population by the end of 2014 by utilising its low-band 850MHz spectrum holding.

The upgrade will use Ericsson’s Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) technologies and policy control and circuit-switched core. Ericsson will also provide integration services for voice and packet core that will support VHA’s business transformation and improved customer offering.

Ericsson’s IMS platform is the foundation for the introduction of VoLTE. Over the period of the five year agreement Ericsson and VHA says they are committed to fully virtualising the core network. Like Telstra, VHA will adopting Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) in the core network, which it says will provide greater network agility and flexibility and create cost efficiencies.

Hanssen said the deal with Ericsson is part of the multi-billion dollar investment VHA is making in improving its network and customer experience. “Vodafone is the first operator in Australia to commit to this technology in its core network, meaning we will have one of the most advanced networks in the world. It cements Vodafone’s reputation as one of the world leaders in mobile network technology.

Ericsson has supported the majority of the world’s first commercial VoLTE launches and is the market leader in EPC, with more than 150 commercial contracts in 70 countries and more than 115 commercial IMS contracts.

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:43:35 +1000
Dataweave selected for NSW Government identity management project Dataweave selected for NSW Government identity management project

Sydney-based IT services consultancy Dataweave has been selected by the New South Wales Government as a key implementation and support partner in the consortium deploying a new Identity Management solution in the state.

The new Identity Management project will implement an Identity Hub to effectively manage the end-to-end lifecycle of user identities across all NSW Government enterprise resources, both within the firewall and beyond into the cloud.

This is expected to allow the NSW Government to enhance service delivery, streamline Government work practices, and reduce costs.

The Identity Hub consortium comprises Dataweave, Qubit Consulting, Oracle Australia and NTT Communications.

{loadposition peter}Dataweave managing director Norman Weaver said the company will provide consulting, project management, systems integration and ongoing 24/7 support services for the Identity Hub service, while Qubit Consulting will assist with specialist identity management systems consulting and expertise.

"Large organisations often face serious challenges when managing user access to IT systems and data. The NSW Government Identity Hub will make it possible to streamline the administration of user accounts and passwords, while creating a better user experience and tightening security," Weaver said.

The Identity Hub will be hosted within the NSW Government's new GovDC data centres located at Silverwater and Unanderra, on a new Infrastructure as a Service platform provided by NTT Communications, utilising Oracle hardware.

Weaver said the Identity Hub is intended to improve overall IT security across NSW Government, while providing a better user experience. This will be achieved through the use of a federated Identity Management framework delivered via a Software as a Service (SaaS) architecture. The Identity Hub will be based on Oracle Identity Management, Oracle Enterprise Data Quality, Oracle Advanced Security, Oracle Audit Vault and Database Firewall and Oracle Data Masking products.

Weaver said the solution was designed to extend seamlessly out into the public cloud, allowing businesses and citizens accessing government services to be incorporated into the solution.

“The use of a fully managed SaaS deployment model allows greater scalability, removing the pain and complexity of disconnected user account administration and password management for NSW Government agencies.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Wed, 20 Aug 2014 02:03:27 +1000
Google gets a Jetpac Google gets a Jetpac

Tech titan Google is the master of Web search but is quickly also becoming the master of acquisitions, announcing on Friday it has picked Jetpac Inc, a San Francisco-based travel guide startup.

Founded in 2011, Jetpac takes your photos from social networks, like Instagram, and uses an algorithm to take the information and make travel guides. The software compiles a series of photos about specific, searchable hotspots from over 6,000 cities around the world, along with the standard contact and location data.

The app also allows users to access local guides, on a range of popular places, frequented by particular people - for example the free app can find things such as hipster bars, or bars frequented by a lot of women.

It claims it can “spot lipstick, blue sky views, hipster mustaches and more”, and covers places as wide-reaching as Kathmandu.

The app also features 'Snappyness Ratings' generating lists of the most popular hotspots based upon the number of photos taken for each place.

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Perhaps more important than the Jetpac app is its deep learning technology, which is probably one of the most attractive things about the startup for Google.

The value of the deal remains undisclosed and neither company has disclosed any financial information but Jetpac posted a statement on its website confirming it would withdraw its Jetpac City Guides app from the App Store within days to instead work withGoogle.

“We look forward to working on exciting projects with our colleagues at Google. We’ll be removing Jetpac’s apps from the App Store in the coming days, and ending support for them on 9/15," the company said on its website.

]]> (David Swan) Deals Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:25:43 +1000
IBM and City of Melbourne use big data with big fashion IBM and City of Melbourne use big data with big fashion

IBM and the City of Melbourne have signed a three-year partnership to make the tech giant the official 'Innovation and Technology' partner for Melbourne Spring Fashion week.

IBM, founded 103 years ago in 1911, isn't generally seen as the most fashionable company but is seeking to address that, announcing a new interactive online experience for this year’s Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) to help shoppers hunt down the best retail bargains.

The launch of the experience signifies the beginning of a three-year partnership between the City of Melbourne and IBM as the Official Innovation and Technology Partner for MSFW, also announced today.

IBM said it would be working closely with the City of Melbourne throughout this year's MSFW (29 August - 7 September 2014), in a bid to "leverage the benefits of mobile devices, social media and data analytics technology for event goers."

The company has created a mobile website for the event and as a hub at the MSFW’s opening night event - ‘Shop-Hop' -a one-night only shopping event featuring the latest collections, pop-up runway, roving entertainment and local DJ’s and musicians.

The interactive website, hosted on IBM Cloud, will enable consumers to plan their evening (using any device) by viewing the event schedule, plotting their shopping experience on a virtual map. The site will also allow them to receive event updates, retailer special offers and personalise their entire experience over the course of the event.

Chair of Marketing Melbourne, Councillor Beverley Pinder-Mortimer said “We are excited to be partnering with IBM for one of Melbourne’s most iconic events - Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. This year, we will get to see first-hand how technology can create unique experiences for Melburnians, as well as businesses across the city.”

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IBM will use social media analytics technology to analyse online conversation in real-time across Twitter and Instagram throughout the whole event, providing analysis and insights for the City of Melbourne and help it plan future events.

Brock Douglas, Strategy and Analytics Lead for IBM Australia said, “In a trend-based industry like fashion, understanding consumer desires is crucial to market success. Using insights from Big Data Analytics, we have helped transform the way businesses engage with their customers to lift the consumer experience. Through this work with MSFW, IBM is committed to helping retailers stay ahead of the trends and the City of Melbourne get closer to the wants of their stakeholders.”

The Melbourne Spring Fashion Week site is now live - check it out here.

Fashionistas can also follow the conversation on ‘Shop-Hop’ Opening Night and across the event using the hashtags #MSFW, #IBMMSFW #MSFWshophop.

]]> (David Swan) Deals Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:47:30 +1000
Dimension Data to acquire Oakton for $171 million$171-million$171-million Dimension Data to acquire Oakton for $171 million

Dimension Data Australia has announced it will buy ASX listed IT services company Oakton.

Dimension Data has offered Oakton shareholders $1.90 per share, an attractive 42.6% premium to the volume weighted average price for the last three months, though shares closed at $1.89 yesterday before trading was stopped following the announcement. Based on the 89.9 million shares in issue, this values the all-cash offer at approximately $171 million.

Oakton’s board has unanimously recommended the acquisition, which is now subject to an independent expert concluding that it is in the best interests of Oakton shareholders, and in the absence of any superior proposal. The deal is subject to Oakton shareholder approval, as well as other conditions such as Australian court approval.

Oakton, founded in 1988, has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, and Perth, as well as an offshore development office in Hyderabad, India. It listed on the ASX in 2000 and has over 1,100 employees.

Dimension Data was founded and is based in Johannesburg, South Africa and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Japanese telco and services giant NTT since it was acquired in 2010.

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Rodd Cunico, Dimension Data Australia CEO said, “In June 2013, Dimension Data entered into a strategic partnership with Oakton in which we bundled our ICT infrastructure integration, cloud, and outsourcing services with Oakton’s solutions. The partnership has proven to be very successful.

“Dimension Data and Oakton have a complementary value proposition and footprint, and a strong cultural fit. The proposed acquisition will expand Dimension Data’s presence in Australia significantly.

“With stronger strategic IT consulting capabilities and our proven technology expertise, we’ll be able to provide the type of end-to-end solutions our clients are seeking. This is an exciting opportunity for Dimension Data, and one that I believe will position us as one of the leading IT solutions and services providers in Australia.”

Dimension Data has assured iTWire that there will be no staff cuts as a result of the acquisition.

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:13:35 +1000
Agworld raises $6 million for North America expansion$6-million-for-north-america-expansion$6-million-for-north-america-expansion Agworld raises $6 million for North America expansion

Agricultural industry cloud specialists Agworld, based in Perth, today announced it raised a $6 million Series C round of financing, to be used towards a North America expansion.

Agworld said in a statement this latest of round of funding, led by Reed Elsevier Ventures with participation from existing Agworld investor, Yuuwa Capital, brings the company’s total equity raised to $12 million.

The money will be used to support its expansion into the North American agricultural market while "continuing to enhance the core Agworld product offering across the value chain for the Australian market."

"Agworld’s tremendous success in Australia reflects the rapidly changing future of farm production,” said Tony Askew, General Partner of Reed Elsevier Ventures.

“We are very excited to help Agworld expand into the US market so that farmers and agronomists around the world can harness the value of their farming data with Agworld’s leading mobile and cloud technology.”

The Perth-based company currently operates in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and the US.

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Agworld provides a centralized software platform for each participant involved in the crop production process, allowing for real-time collaboration and management of critical information, activities and recommendations throughout the crop production cycle.

The company provides decision-making tools such as comprehensive crop production plans, geospatial data interrogation, agronomist recommendations, and financial and crop performance reporting.

“It’s all about farmers and their service providers understanding the core risks and opportunities for their business in the context of that specific location and farm entity,” Agworld CEO Doug Fitch said.

“As the venture capital arm of one of the largest global data and information solutions companies, Reed Elsevier Ventures is an ideal investment partner for Agworld, bringing with them extensive knowledge of the big data industry and fast moving SaaS business models,” Fitch said.

“This infusion of capital allows us to remain at the forefront of the agricultural information management and big data markets, while we continue to change the way growers, advisors and suppliers capture unique insights to improve farm operations.”

]]> (David Swan) Deals Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:59:12 +1000
Telstra pays $350 million, becomes major video streaming vendor$350-million-becomes-major-video-streaming-vendor$350-million-becomes-major-video-streaming-vendor Telstra pays $350 million, becomes major video streaming vendor

Telstra has announced it will acquire Ooyala, the US video platform supplier it had previously invested in. The acquisition represents a major move into the booming global video streaming and analytics market.

The purchase of Silicon Valley-based Ooyala for US$270 million ($291 million) marks a major expansion by Telstra beyond its traditional telco base. The investment increases Telstra’s ownership in Ooyala from 23% to 98%, and is in addition to the US$61 million its subsidiary Telstra Ventures has previously invested in Ooyala over the past two years. Telstra has now payed mpre than $350 million to own Ooyala.

The deal is subject to the usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals, which are not expected go cause any problems, and should be completed within the next 60 days.

Telstra CEO David Thodey said Telstra’s investment and controlling stake in Ooyala would help build it into a world leading personalised video platform company.

“Ooyala enables broadcasters, operators and media organisations to deliver digital TV and video content, across any device to mass audiences, using analytics to provide recommendations, personalised content and advertising to the end user.”

This is the first investment for Telstra’s new Global Applications and Platforms group. Thodey said the division’s strategy is to create long-term global growth in markets adjacent to Telstra’s core business, where software disrupts traditional business models.

“Ooyala is one of the industry’s fastest-growing personalised video platform companies. The company provides solutions for customers such as broadcasters, pay TV operators and online media sites globally,” Thodey said.

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“Ooyala delivers a personalised video platform as an end-to-end cloud service, which saves customers high upfront investments in online video infrastructure and helps increase the return on their content. Our investment allows Ooyala to take their solution to the next level and thereby further accelerate its growth.

Telstra is now a top 20 global telco, and like many of its competitors it is looking to expand beyond the traditional telco space into digital media space. “As TV and video consumption continues to increase across multiple devices, the systems and platforms for managing, distributing and monetising these services will continue to evolve,” said Thodey.

“This provides an opportunity for Telstra and Ooyala to establish a consolidated leading global company to deliver platforms and services on which the next generation of TV and video will be built.

“Telstra‘s global customer relationships, our established presence in Asia and proven integration capabilities, combined with our expertise in online video and investment in Foxtel provide us a unique opportunity to succeed in this growth market.”

Ooyala chief executive Jay Fulcher will continue in his current role. Ooyala will become a subsidiary of Telstra and operate as an independent business, retaining its brand, structure and management.

Fulcher said Ooyala has worked closely with Telstra for two years. “We share a vision of what is necessary to deliver the next generation of personalised cloud TV and video. Telstra's acquisition validates both the scale of the global market opportunity and our data-centric strategy for helping our customers win as the industry transforms.

“Telstra’s investment will help us accelerate our growth and cement our lead as the most innovative and forward-thinking cloud TV and video platform company in the world," Fulcher said.

Ooyala (the word means ‘cradle’ in the Indian language Telugu) was founded in 2007 and is forecasting revenue of US$65 million this year. It has more than 330 employees worldwide and claims 135 million unique users worldwide. Customers include Telstra (of course), News Corp, ESPN, Univision, Telegraph Media Group, Dell, Sephora, Foxtel, NBC, Comedy Central, and the Washington Post.

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Tue, 12 Aug 2014 09:34:42 +1000
Apple and Samsung call partial truce Apple and Samsung call partial truce

The world’s top two smartphone companies have called partial truce in their never ending litigation against each other.

Apple and Samsung have announced that they will stop all the court actions against each other outside of the US.

Their long-running battle extends back to 2011, when Apple first took Samsung to court over alleged infringement of intellectual property rights to the iPhone. Apple has said Samsung copied the iPhone’s shape, icons and other aspects.

The legal battle has extended to courts in Australia, South Korea, Japan and Europe, costing both companies a fortune in legal fees. Now they will be paying lawyers only in the US.

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"Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States. This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in US courts,” the two companies said in a joint statement to the Wall Street Journal.

The litigation has become increasingly meaningless. The two companies have become by far the biggest players in the smartphone market, the Apple’s dominance has waned as Samsung’s has grown. Apple has previously been awarded over US$ 1 billion in damages by a US court, but Samsung has appealed the decision, ensuring the case will stretch on for many more years

Even if Samsung ends up paying the money, and it did actually copy from Apple, any amount it will pay will be dwarfed by the massive profits it has made on the back of its ride to smartphone market dominance.

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:37:40 +1000