iTWire - iTWire - Latest News iTWire - Technology news, trends, reviews, jobs Thu, 02 Oct 2014 08:06:13 +1000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Surveillance laws pass – Government can tap the entire Australian Internet–-government-can-tap-the-entire-australian-internet–-government-can-tap-the-entire-australian-internet Surveillance laws pass – Government can tap the entire Australian Internet

Australia’s security agencies now have the power to access any computer in Australia, for any reason. They don’t have to let you know why, or even if they are doing it at all.

Big Brother has been knocking on the door, and the Government – and the so-called Opposition – have let him in. Legislation greatly increasing the Government’s surveillance powers has passed both houses of Parliament, supported by both major political parties.

Under the new National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and its shadowy offshore counterpart the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) can monitor any device attached to any other device with just a single warrant. The definition of ‘connection’ is very loose, and effectively means that all devices connected to the Internet are covered.

The legislation was easily passed in the current environment of confected outrage against Islamic terrorism. The ‘opposition’ Labor Party supported the bills, not wishing to be seen as soft on terrorism. Only the Australian Greens and libertarian Senator David Leyonhjelm opposed the bill.

The powers given to ASIO and ASIS under the bills are extraordinary. They are truly Orwellian. The have been justified by the Government as a necessary counter to a threat that has seen no deaths on Australian soil and which has been greatly magnified by sensationalist articles in many sections of the press – most notably the Murdoch tabloids.

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Under the legislation ASIO – or ASIS – can access any device attached to a network. It can alter information on that device, and its actions are not required to be disclosed. If the actions take place under a Government designated ‘special intelligence operation’, any consequences arising from the agency’s actions, even if those actions are illegal, are not allowed to be reported.

Indeed, any reporting on any specific ASIO’s activity is now prohibited, with journalists and others facing ten year in jail for doing their jobs. It is now 20 years since Sun Microsystem’s Scott McNealy said “you have no privacy – get over it.” It was a bit of a joke at the time – no more.

But what are we worried about? “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.” We can trust the Government and its spy agencies not to abuse their powers.

Can’t we?

]]> (Graeme Philipson) C Level Thu, 02 Oct 2014 06:10:03 +1000
Vertigan says split up the NBN and sell it off Vertigan says split up the NBN and sell it off

The second report into the NBN by the Vertigan panel has made recommendations on privatising the NBN which are far more radical than any yet proposed.

The final version of the Vertigan report into the NBN’s regulatory environment has now been released. It recommends the restructuring of NBN Co into a number of smaller entities that would compete against each other and against other telcos, and which could be privatised as appropriate.

This is a long way from Labor’s vision of a single government owned monopoly, and much more in accord with the Coalition’s professed desired for a competitive and privately owned telecoms environment.

Predictably, many are outraged at the recommendations, and even the Government appears to be retreating from them. The Vertigan recommendations do change the flavour of the debate, however.

“Given the scale of the investment Australian taxpayers are making in high-speed broadband, ensuring services are provided efficiently is crucial,” says the report. “However, relying on NBN Co as an integrated entity to be the principal means of delivering those services is deeply problematic.

“The current model, in which NBN Co controls the full spectrum of technologies, inhibits the development of competition, is difficult to effectively regulate and results in unacceptable risks to, and costs on, taxpayers and consumers.”

You can see where this is going.

“While it is always a case in public policy that ‘one would not start from here’, the current situation creates important opportunities for a transition to effective competition. In particular, disaggregating NBN Co into competing business units, initially structured according to its existing and planned network technologies, would create roughly equally matched networks.”

Right – we get the drift.

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“For the first time since Australia’s reform process began in the 1980s, this would provide a market structure in Australia where similarly sized networks would compete, much as happens in North America and significant parts of Europe. This would provide the most effective platform from which competition could develop, encouraging innovation, forcing down costs and reducing the need for intrusive and ultimately inefficient regulation.”

Ah, the wonders of the free market! Competition blooms, costs come down, and we are all better off.

The report also says that even if the Government does not break up and sell off NBN Co, it should still be open to competition. Come on down, TPG. “Statutory obstacles to market entry and other barriers to competition should be eliminated or at least reduced, while still ensuring regulation can deal promptly and effectively with any anti-competitive behaviour.

“Introducing greater flexibility into the regulatory arrangements, including through the removal of blanket prohibitions that affect infrastructure competitors, would enable greater timeliness, innovation and responsiveness in supply and encourage more efficient practices to be adopted.”

The full report can be found here.

Communications Minister Malcom Turnbull has explicitly and quickly rejected many of the report’s recommendations. He says “now is not the time” to consider disaggregation.

“The Government is also mindful of its election commitment to complete the NBN as quickly and inexpensively as possible, of the value in minimising industry uncertainty, and of large losses for taxpayers and the budget that would result from implementation of several of the panel’s recommendations regarding the NBN.

“While disaggregation of NBN Co’s business units (as the panel recommends) after the network is complete cannot be ruled out, now is not the time. Breaking up NBN Co would distract its management and delay the provision of high-speed broadband to all Australians.”

The full text of Turnbull’s initial response can be found here. He says the Government is considering its full response, which it will provide by the end of the year.

“Amending existing laws governing broadband networks that compete with NBN Co (as the panel has also proposed) so they are fair for all market participants will take time and inevitably involve uncertainty. In the meantime competing vertically integrated networks which do not provide wholesale access to retail service providers could undermine the level playing field for retailers.

“Therefore the Government is consulting industry on a carrier licence condition to ensure maintenance of the level playing field originally intended by the existing legislation.” (Turnbull flagged this recently).

Vertigan also recommends that NBN Co recover its costs of deploying fibre in new housing developments in full, by charging developers who would then pass on the costs to people buying these properties. Turnbull leaves the door open:

“The Government recognises that the private sector has been placed at a substantial competitive disadvantage by the current arrangement, where NBN Co provides fibre infrastructure to new developments at no charge while the private sector has to recover costs in the normal way. The Government will consult with industry stakeholders with a view to finalising reforms in this area that address the imbalance in competition in a manner that is fair to all parties, including new home buyers.

Labor has already dubbed this an ‘Internet tax’. Opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare, in a press release headed ‘Malcolm's mates release another dodgy report’ says: “Look at what has just fallen off the back of a truck. Another report into the NBN recommends:

  • a new tax on developers that will be passed on to homeowners and increase new home prices
  • scrapping the cross subsidy for the bush—which could lead to higher prices for people in the bush
  • that NBN Co be effectively abolished and chopped into a number of different companies
  • that companies like TPG be allowed to compete with NBN Co and potentially cut the revenue NBN Co makes by up to 10%.

“Malcolm Turnbull needs to rule out these bad taxes and bad ideas. People buying new homes should not have to pay a new NBN tax. People in the bush shouldn't have to pay more than people in the cities to access the NBN.

“Cutting NBN Co into a number of different companies will just slow down the rollout of the NBN. There have now been almost as many inquiries into the NBN as there were into who shot JFK.

“Malcolm Turnbull now has six reviews and no excuses. He should get on with it, stop complaining, and build the NBN.”

When will it ever end?

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Telecoms & NBN Thu, 02 Oct 2014 06:03:07 +1000
Exclusive: Huawei working on universal mobile device says Australian chairman Exclusive: Huawei working on universal mobile device says Australian chairman

Chinese multinational technology giant Huawei is working on a single universal mobile device that will replace smartphones, tablets and just about everything else in both the home and office, according to the chairman of the Australian branch.

iTWire sat down for a lengthy interview with Huawei Australia Chairman and Independent Director John Lord to discuss his involvement on the board, the company's relationship with Australian governments at various levels and what Huawei is doing to get its name out there to a public who still largely may have never heard the word 'Huawei', let alone know how to pronounce it (for the record, it's 'wha-way').

When you talk about Huawei, how do you like to describe it?

It has been what I used to call a BP. BP used to be called British Petroleum. They used to always say 'BP, quiet achiever', and Huawei, when I was approached to join the company four years ago, I'd never heard of it. Most people I knew had never heard of it. And yet there were statistics then saying over 50% of Australians use a bit of Huawei in their daily communications needs. And none of us had heard of it. So it just means they were supplying business to business, and doing that well. And to be fair, the company globally said at the time 'we don't have to do anything else', but all of a sudden it started to get a bit more into mobile phones, and wanted to break out a bit more from being just business to business. And it wondered why people hadn't heard of it and didn't want to do business with it. Huawei realised it needed to start branding, and get known, so in this last three years you've seen it published its annual reports. It always did them, and they were always audited by KPMG for the last ten years, but they couldn't see that anyone would be interested. So it's published them, it's gone out and branded, it's told people who it is. And they've started to do that globally, they really want to become a global corporate. It's been a big change.

Have you found people in Australia are getting to know the brand, or is it early days?

It's definitely applied to Australia, well we're still the only non-executive board, we'll expand the board model overseas hopefully this year or early next, but when we came on the board, the three of us, we said to Huawei 'no-one knows us. We really do need to get known', and that was the case in Australia. Absolutely no-one in Australia, except if you were very heavily into the ICT industry, had ever heard of Huawei. So then there were all these things like 'ah, you must be a government-owned enterprise', or 'you couldn't possibly be privately owned, no Chinese company could be this big and be private.' So coming back to Australia, it was really a big job to tell people about it. The other thing is of course the pronunciation. It's really tough if you don't know it!

It's also branding. People need to do know what it is you actually do. If I say to Australians 'do you know that we're number three in the world at mobile phones', they say 'you're not, if I go down to my local phone store, you're not the third maker in there', and we're not. But globally, we're number three. A lot of that is China, and new areas in Africa, South America and Europe, where we are big. So in Australia we're just starting to get into that market. Our latest P7 has just got into Harvey Norman, it's the first Huawei product they've carried.

Is the smartphone market specifically going to be a key focus?

Yep. The network market is pretty full, and it's replacement and competition between the network vendors. And it's still our biggest source of revenue in Australia, and perhaps globally. But the future focus for the company in Australia and globally is enterprise and devices. Devices will probably change over the next ten years. Right now it's smartphones and media pads at the moment, but our R&D team is working on one device that probably will do all of that, and I know you can almost do that now, but as well as that will talk back to your home, turn the heating on, talk to your car, and do all of those things. Those will be the future devices people will want. Instantaneous communication from the one device. You're seeing us all fiddle around with watches and goodness knows what at the moment, I think that's gimmicky, and that will change into this single device, one that's hopefully not too big, and will do most things. You'll walk around the house with it, you'll answer your phone on there, and you'll control your house.

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Is Huawei well positioned to offer that device?

Definitely our R&D centre is looking at that device, and I'm sure our competition is too, although being Huawei, we're across the whole spectrum of ICT, and probably only Ericsson are too, although they've recently pulled out of mobile. Some of the others are just phones so they'll have to make a transition. But yes, our R&D is definitely looking towards the device of the future, that actually helps people do the tasks better, and that interaction with the individual. Because at the moment they give you information, the individual still has to use it. But in the future it's going to be this interaction between the user and the device, the device will help the individual make the decision. And that's the real growth we see. The data's all there.

How do the board meetings work, what do you talk about as part of your role as Chairman?

It's been a great learning experience for me and my fellow Australian directors, and also for the company, because it's never had an independent board before. They're an executive director board in China, so they control the whole operation. So the last three years has been getting comfortable with each other and delegations coming down to the Australian board. So it would be fair to say by the middle of last year we were at a situation where what you'd call all the good normal delegations you would expect from a centrally controlled company down to an independent board have come true and were fully endorsed. So the board now is totally responsible for governance and compliance with all Australian regulations and other rules. We're responsible for marketing in Australia. We're responsible for public image and brand. And we're responsible for corporate social responsibility. So all those delegations have now come down to the independent board. I describe the model now as a board model that meets all Western governance standards, that has a Huawei and Chinese influence.

And what is the Chinese influence? A slightly different way of doing business. A more conciliatory approach; going around the topic to get to the answer, rather than directly across the table. What's the Huawei part? It's really a family. All the shares are owned by the employees, and if you leave you've gotta give them back, well we buy them back. Huawei is very much a company that wants to know you, and know its employees. So at the board level, it wants to have a close relationship with its board. So on our board we have two global directors, three Australian directors and two senior managers. And we very much depend on a close relationship, so we meet outside the board a lot, and it's a very open relationship. That's the Huawei family feel that you get. Apart from that, we follow all the rules, and I guess we are moving towards being a global corporate, and I guess other companies like this before us, like Toyota, in Japan, they design the car, build the car, colour the car, and then they give it to a region to market it, sell it and introduce it. And if you look at Huawei, all the co-ordination of R&D is done in Shenzhen. And we get on with the marketing and introducing Australians to it.

For more, including on how Lord describes Huawei's relationship with the Australian government, continue to page two.

Are there other things that make Huawei especially different?

I guess the other difference with the company is it puts R&D centres in areas of expertise. For instance Italy is our microwave R&D centre. There aren't two of them. It's Italy. They had this centre there, a cell of small companies supporting R&D infrastructure that focused on microwaves. I think UK recently got the R&D centre for industrial design. That one's in the UK because the company found a very smart company there, and got them to join us, so that now does our product design including colours and things. We have different areas of expertise across the world. And in Australia, before Christmas we bought a company called Fastwire, based here in Melbourne, and that does software for operational support systems. And that provides our global supply time. It's the only one of that we have in the world. So we don't duplicate. And I think all ICT companies will have to do that in the future, because you don't have all the brains in one country or one base, I mean Silicon Valley's close, all the brains go into Silicon Valley, but what we've done is used the brains back in their home countries, and made centres there. You've got to do that.

Are Australian government relations improving, or are they frosty?

It'd be fair to say government relations have never been frosty. There's been decisions made by governments that affect us and affect all the ICT industry. In fact, we're watching the ISPs at the moment having heavy discussions with government at the moment about what they have to hold and store, and the advantages and disadvantages. We're watching the Googles and the Apples having discussions with government about tax. So we all have our moments.

With a company like Huawei coming out of China, with technology and innovation, there's going to be some people saying 'ooh, we don't trust this technology,' and there's others saying 'we need to embrace this technology in Australia.' And irrespective of which party was in government, we always had our supporters, and those who question what we're doing. That's the job of the board, is to keep working with government of either persuasion to say 'hey, here's what we can do for your country', while we also do our business. The Australian board would say we've got three main roles - to continue to grow the profits, 10% every year, second is to continue building our relationships, and Optus and Vodafone are very big for us in the world and in Australia. And the third area is trying to get Huawei to get more of its innovation and R&D coming to Australia, because we believe the smaller SMEs in Australia, the ICT SMEs, they get it. Australian ICT SMEs are underrepresented in global supply chains in the world. And if we've got very smart SMEs, we've got very good universities, and we're a reasonably small country, so we'll have to focus on R&D and innovation. And that way we won't have all that people going to Silicon Valley, they'll stay here as well. So a focus on our ICT SMEs would be a win-win for Huawei, and it'll help Australia. So that's a message we're selling the government as well, welcome companies that are dealing with technology, irrespective of where they come from, because Australian business will grow out of it.

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Has that been the biggest challenge over the last few years? Getting people to welcome imported talent?

Yes it has, and I wouldn't say we're the reason for it, I understand the Minister for Technology Malcolm Turnbull's coming out with a innovation and technology paper soon, which is going to say this is where we see Australian businesses, SMEs and companies going in innovation and technology. I think it's going to be a very heavy focus on them growing and keeping people in country. The real challenge for Huawei in Australia is we come from what you call a non-traditional ally, or non-traditional partner country. If we're European or American, we're tradeworthy. Huawei isn't. The example I give is, the 1960's, when Japan was getting into big manufacturing, it came to Australia.

Australians said 'we're not going to buy a Japanese watch, because it's a cheap copy of a Swiss. We're not going to buy a Toyota, they've copied it from somewhere, and we don't trust the Japanese because we just fought the war against them.' Huawei's almost like that in Australia today. Who is China, what's it doing, it doesn't have a democracy. And what's this private company doing out of China? And didn't China used to steal technology, and copy it? And here we are saying 'here's Huawei, here's its R&D, here's all the patents', and all of that.

The other thing is we're counter-cylical in growth, in that when some of the European companies had problems with mobile phones and ICT, and had to downsize, we picked up quite a few employees. We've grown 10,000 employees a year in the last few years. They didn't all just graduate, we've picked up quite a lot, but yeah it's quite huge.

You've got some contracts with the UK government, what's different about them than the Australian government?

I think it's fair to say we were working closely with BT at an early stage, and we were therefore better known. As I said, in Australia no-one could spell Huawei... they'd never heard of us. We were just working really well business to business. In the UK we were a bit more obvious because we were working with BT, which is the Telstra of the UK effectively. When the UK got to their NBN equivalent, there was this company called BT saying 'we use Huawei products, and in these areas they're better than anyone else in the world. And when we do our NBN we want to keep using it.' And the UK government said 'that's fine.' So what we did then was build a test laboratory, so all our equipment could be tested, before it went into the NBN. And the British government said 'that's fine, that suits our security requirements, BT is the guarantor and the partner of Huawei', so we went very excitedly into their NBN. I think we were known better, and secondly the British worked out very early on the technological advantages of a company like Huawei. And I guess UK was a little more used to R&D and innovation than Australia is. The Brits used to have their own industries, and they've kind of faded away, but Australia imports basically all of its ICT. We don't really have an ICT industry here.

Australia still looks to the US a lot more than Europe does, and Europe used to do it all itself. And because it used to do itself, its got a bit of US and China now, whereas now Australia just look to the US, and we have total reliance on it for ICT. And I think in the future that won't be the case, we'll still have a reliance on the US, because the US will always be a leader in innovation and technology, but I think our future will be Asian technologies, and the US. And that's the stage Australia's got to get to if it wants to get the best of both worlds.

For more information on Huawei Australia check out its website.

]]> (David Swan) Mobility Thu, 02 Oct 2014 00:44:41 +1000
Seagate secures surveillance storage Seagate secures surveillance storage

Seagate has released a disk drive designed specifically for storing surveillance video that's sold with a three year 'rescue service plan' for data recovery in the event of damage or data corruption.

Video surveillance has largely gone digital, partly because of the improved image quality but also due to the ease of accessing the required clip plus the opportunities for automated analysis.

While the Seagate Surveillance HDD is the company's seventh-generation surveillance-optimised drive, it is the first to come with optional data recovery services.

Seagate vice president of marketing Scott Horn said "when data loss occurs it's an expense to the customer. Seagate's Surveillance HDD with Rescue services addresses this issue head on and alleviates these concerns."

{loadposition stephen08}While full details of how the service will work in Australia have not been released, Seagate Rescue appears to be an insurance-style arrangement involving a trade-off between a known but comparatively small upfront payment and the risk of an expensive data recovery operation.

Capacities up to 6TB mean one drive can store up to 600 hours of high-definition content, and optional rotational vibration sensors mean reliable operation in enclosures containing up to 16 drives.

Seagate Surveillance HDD is engineered for high write workloads over extended periods of time.

The drives are not yet available in Australia.

]]> (Stephen Withers) Security Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:02:51 +1000
Fujitsu’s ‘green credentials’ on display in new HQ’s-‘green-credentials’-on-display-in-new-hq’s-‘green-credentials’-on-display-in-new-hq Fujitsu’s ‘green credentials’ on display in new HQ

Fujitsu has consolidated its Australia operations into its new Oceania headquarters building officially opened in Sydney today with a traditional sake ceremony.

The Japanese ICT services giant, which first opened its doors in Australia in the early 1970s, has now moved its Australian staff from three separate locations to the new facility in the northern Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park.

A colourful traditional Japanese Kagami-biraki sake ceremony marked today’s official opening of the new purpose-built offices by the NSW Minister for Finance and Services, Dominic Perrottet with Masami Fujita, Head of Global Corporate of Fujitsu and Masato Takaoka, Japan’s Consul General.

The new headquarters building – which will house 850 staff - encompasses 9,400 square metres over 5 floors, and has a 5-star rated Green Star.

{loadposition peter}“This move will benefit our people, customers and the business. The single site will vastly improve collaboration between our teams, resulting in staff who are better equipped to provide service excellence,” said Mike Foster, CEO and Executive Director of Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand.

“And, as a technology company, I believe it is very important for Fujitsu to lead the way in the application of technology. By incorporating the latest tools and ideas in our own workplace, we are also able to showcase our commitment to sustainability; a key value of our organisation.”

Foster said the bespoke, energy efficient design of Fujitsu’s new offices also leverages wireless and collaboration technologies, advanced ‘Follow Me’ printing capability that allows staff to print to any printer in the building, and ‘soft phone’ technology that eliminates the need for separate telephones on desks.

“Macquarie Park is also very well serviced by public transport which will help reinforce Fujitsu’s green credentials. These, and other initiatives, will see a significant reduction in the company’s waste output and energy consumption.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Strategy Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:24:07 +1000
NEC wins South Australia WoG network contract NEC wins South Australia WoG network contract

NEC Australia has been awarded a $70 million contract to manage the South Australian Government's networks.

The South Australian Government has chosen NEC Australia to manage, maintain and support the central and local data networks of all state government agencies.

The whole-of-government contract, with an initial term of three years, is worth $69.8 million.

It gives the SA Government the option to extend the arrangements for two three-year periods.

{loadposition stephen08}The Government's previous contract with Dimension Data expired yesterday.

Acting Minister for the Public Sector Martin Hamilton-Smith said "NEC Australia's extensive experience in providing managed IT and network services will ensure the government has the best resources, expertise and tools to meet its objectives.

"These services are being delivered from NEC's recently established control centre here in Adelaide ensuring jobs stay in South Australia."

NEC state manager Chris Korte said "We were able to demonstrate to the South Australian Government through a competitive process that NEC Australia has the most efficient and effective network and IT management services."

]]> (Stephen Withers) Deals Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:16:52 +1000
Linux Foundation backs NFV project Linux Foundation backs NFV project

The Linux Foundation - with support from many big names in the industry - has launched a project to build an open platform for network functions virtualisation (NFV).

The Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) Project seeks to build a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform that will allow carriers to indroduce new products and services more quickly.

The project's platinum-level founding members include AT&T, Brocade, China Mobile, Cisco, Dell, Ericsson, HP, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Juniper Networks, NEC, Nokia Networks, NTT DoCoMo, Red Hat, Telecom Italia and Vodafone.

Other well-known participants include Alcatel-Lucent, ARM, Broadcom, Citrix, Orange, Sandvine and Wind River.

{loadposition stephen08}OPNFV will work with existing open source NFV projects to coordinate integration and testing, and to fill development gaps that become apparent.

Spokespeople for the OpenDaylight, OpenStack and Open vSwitch projects welcomed OPNFV.

"The OpenStack community has been working to address the massive opportunity NFV presents, and we look forward to collaborating with OPNFV to advance these critical infrastructure efforts through open source development," said OpenStack Foundation executive director Jonathan Bryce.

The OPNFV Project will also work with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's Industry Specification Group for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV ISG) to help maintain alignment between standards development and the reference platform.

"The NFV ISG's mission is to facilitate the industry transformation and development of an open, interoperable, ecosystem through specification, implementation and deployment experience," said NFV ISG chairman Steven Wright.

"The ISG recognises the value of open source implementations to converge industry requirements and facilitate the development of the NFV ecosystem.

"I look forward to the future releases of the integrated open source infrastructure platform from OPNFV."

New components developed as part of the project will be licensed under the Apache Licence 2.0.

OPNFV joins other Linux Foundation collaborative projects including MeeGo, Open Daylight, Tizen, and Xen.

]]> (Stephen Withers) Open Source Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:56:46 +1000
Spending on unused software out of control Spending on unused software out of control

Many organisations are throwing away their money on software that does not even get used, forcing a rethink of their purchasing decisions and a significant shift away from traditional purchasing models for enterprise software.

According to joint research by Flexera Software and IDC, the amount of unused software – or shelfware – is rampant within organisations at a time when budgets are being squeezed.

Funds are scarer and for almost two thirds (63%) of organisations software budgets will either stay the same or shrink over the next two years.

And, with the squeeze on enterprise software spending, Flexera says organisations are now looking for better ways to align software costs to value.

{loadposition peter}This survey into software spending reveals that 96% of organisations say that at least some of the software they’ve purchased is shelfware, while a significant number - 39% - report that 21% or more of their enterprise software spend is wasted on shelfware.

And, decision-makers are under pressure to change their approach to purchasing.

According to Flexera, the traditional purchasing model for enterprise software – the perpetual software license – has drastically decreased in popularity.  Previously nearly ubiquitous, only 45% of organisations today say that the majority of their software is deployed using perpetual licenses, and Flexera expects this percentage will decline to 36% over the next one to two years.

The flight away from perpetual licensing has seen alternate licensing models increasing in popularity, and almost a quarter of respondents (24%) say the majority of their software estate today utilises subscription licenses.  The move to subscription licenses is expected to rise further to 26% over two years.

And, 17% of respondents say the majority of their software estate utilises usage-based licensing models – with that figure expected to rise by another 1% in 12 to 24 months.

“It doesn’t always make sense to pay up front for the full cost for software before the application has proven its value to the organisation,” said Steve Schmidt, Vice President of Corporate Development at Flexera Software.

“In their drive to increase efficiency and cost effectiveness, some organisations prefer to pay for software in ways that allow them to better align their costs to value.  That might mean paying over time via a subscription model, or by the features, functionality or capacity that they’re actually using, via a usage-based model.”

According to IDC’s Amy Konary, Research Vice President - Software Licensing and Provisioning, it’s very easy for shelfware to accumulate when organisations don’t “proactively implement best practices and technology to track, manage and optimise their software estates.”

“Enterprises must have the ability to continually identify where software licenses are deployed, how those licenses are being used, and reconcile that data with the complex set of rules contained in the licensing agreements.  By having this level of insight, CIOs can begin to identify shelfware, eliminate waste and reallocate their budgets more effectively.”

Flexera’s Schmidt says the revenue breakdowns revealed in the report show that application producers see the writing on the wall and are offering a greater variety of licensing models.

According to Schmidt, only slightly more than a third of producers (35%) say that the majority of their annual software license revenue now comes from perpetual licenses, while nearly a quarter – 22% – say a majority of that revenue comes from subscription/term licensing.  Nine per cent say a majority comes from usage-based licensing.

“Having the ability to identify customer needs and licensing model trends, and then quickly respond with new licensing options can give producers a significant competitive advantage,” Schmidt says.  

“However, licensing standards are evolving and license management systems are growing more complex, making them less cost effective to develop in house.  We see an increasing number of producers adding automation that will make it easy to offer a wide range of flexible licensing models for their applications, allowing them to cash in on the trend and gain market share.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Enterprise Solutions Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:13:37 +1000
It's business time for Uber in Australia and New Zealand It's business time for Uber in Australia and New Zealand

Ridesharing taxi disruptor Uber is slowly conquering the consumer market in Australia and New Zealand and it now has Cabcharge squarely in its sights, announcing Uber for Business.

Today's news follows the July launch of Uber for Business in the US, UK, France and Canada, with the service now available across markets in 45 countries.

"Uber for Business is a dedicated platform that enables small and mid-sized companies to set up an Uber account with a centralised billing system and maintain a travel dashboard that business administrators can view and use to manage budgets – and all of this at no cost to the business," the company said in a blog post.

"Companies can allow employees to bill to a single card on file rather than activating multiple company credit cards or requiring reimbursements. 

"Employees have access to this new payment option in their Uber app and can say goodbye to the hassle of filing expenses with paper receipts. And with products offered at every price point, employees can travel in style while staying within every company’s budget. With UberX in Australia, that could mean a saving of 20% to 50% compared with a taxi."

The company said that across 45 countries, Uber for Business has been fully translated into 22 languages, and, rather absurdly, of Uber for Business were an Uber city, it would be the fourth fastest growing "of ALL time". CEO Matt Barrie said, “As CEO of the world’s largest crowdsourcing marketplace, what better way is there of getting from A to B than by crowdsourcing it? That’s exactly what Uber does, and it’s a brilliant service. At, we’ve been using Uber for employee trips due to its convenience and reliability, and now Uber for Business takes it to the next level with reporting and employee management functions! It makes life easier for our accounts team with integrated and itemized billing. I love the product.”

The news comes as the federal government reviews its competition laws, potentially opening up the market for companies like Uber to legally compete against taxis in Australia. As it currently stands there are different rules for each state and territory jurisdiction, with some drivers receiving fines of thousands of dollars for not holding a taxi licence.

Uber was effectively deemed illegal in New South Wales.

For more info on Uber for Business check out the website.

]]> (David Swan) Strategy Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:03:43 +1000
Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact coming - sometime Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact coming - sometime

Sony says its Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is coming to Australia, but it hasn't revealed when, or how much it will cost.

According to Sony officials, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is the world's slimmest and lightest compact tablet, measuring just 6.4mm thick and weighing in at 270g.

The 8in Android-based device is also waterproof and dust-tight to the IP65/68 specifications.

So when can you get your hands on one? Dunno.

{loadposition stephen08}Sony Australia officials say the Wi-Fi only model will be available from the company's online store and from Sony Kiosks and Centres.

The 4G version will be sold through Optus.

But the company isn't even ready to say when it will reveal the new tablet's Australian on-sale date and how much it will cost.

Like the Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact smartphones, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact includes PS4 Remote Play.

With the addition of a Dualshock4 wireless controller and a GCM10 game control mount, the tablet can be used play games on a PS4 via a Wi-Fi connection.

]]> (Stephen Withers) Mobility Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:33:53 +1000