Jon on Tech – How to modernize your organisation


There is no question that companies need to transform their technology stacks, both to improve their competitiveness and to remain relevant in the market. Studies confirm that digitally transformed companies are able to bring new products to market 44 times faster and run business-critical applications 3 times faster.

But getting there is not a simple task. Many great organisations have become stuck between realisation and execution. It’s not that they lack the will to make changes, but that these are very daunting and major shifts to adapt to.

Hosting a discussion show on the sidelines of the recent Dell EMC Forum held in Sandton, Johannesburg, renowned speaker and presenter Michael Jackson spoke to Brad Pulford, Director of Infrastructure Solutions at Dell EMC, about this impasse. Pulford noted that many organisations wrestle with digital transformation for elementary reasons:

“One of the things you need to do, when you are defining any customer’s outcome, is having an endpoint. This is one of the most difficult things for customers out there: they see a lot of stuff going on, a lot of the things we’re talking about. But how do you adopt those things and make them relevant for your organisation? It starts with actually understanding what journey you want to embrace today.”

It’s key to bring the right foundations into play, putting platforms in place that can show the effect of new technology and business concepts. Once these basic blocks are available, a company can begin to understand their environment. This makes it possible to start defining the way forward.

For example, what elements are present or missing in a company’s data centre environment? Would it help to consider a hyper-converged infrastructure approach or to adopt all-flash arrays? What would the impact be on the organisation and its ambitions?

As soon as you put some of those tangible ideas on the table, customers become familiar with what is required to inspire change among their people and processes:

“What we’re seeing at the moment is one of the key disruptors is taking your people on that journey, ensuring they are enabled and empowered, and au fait with what is going around the key tenets of what’s creating this revolution and change in the industry.”

Dell EMC’s family of companies are specifically geared towards bringing those possibilities to life. From redefining existing data centres to connecting users on cutting-edge devices to next-generation application development using platforms such as Pivotal, the very essence of the Dell EMC experience is to help its customers define the transformation journey.

If an organisation is treading digital water, it will soon start to sink. This is a frightening prospect for many. But it doesn’t need to be – and once an organisation knows where it is and where it needs to be, things become a lot clearer.

“It’s about having a starting point and a destination in mind,” said Pulford. “If you understand the elements of IT transformation and you understand what digital can do for your organisation, there’s no doubt you’ll embrace what is required to make a success of that journey.”

Jon on Tech – Cyber Fraud with Dial-A-Nerd

Recently Goliath and Goliath lost R300k in an email scam.

In today’s hyper-connected environment, no company, no matter its size or sector, is immune to the ever-growing threat of cyber fraud. Indeed, whether your business is a one-man show or a sprawling multinational, it is wise to assume that you will – at some point – fall in the crosshairs of a savvy cyber criminal. From ransomware to social engineering, the threats come in many forms – and everyone is vulnerable.

“Despite the huge amount of press generated by digital scams such as invoice interception and phishing we are still finding companies which get caught unawares. It is clear that South African business leaders need to drive awareness internally and take even more proactive measures” cautions Colin Thornton, MD of leading IT consultancy Dial a Nerd.

To begin with, he advises leaders to implement training or induction processes which highlight the risks and how to spot them. After that regular tests can be performed reasonably cheaply by such as sending fake phishing emails – and then identifying where the weaknesses lie. No matter how extensively a company invests in firewalls and anti-virus software, which are still essential, it’s often employees who inadvertently introduce threats. Even if there isn’t a threat being introduced by email attachment, or website link, an uneducated employee could be a soft target for social engineering or hacking.

Jon on Tech – Realize Your Digital Future

Technology innovation is advancing at an exponential rate, powering a new era of digital transformation. Yet most IT leaders say their transformation initiatives are still emerging or evolving.

Dell EMC Forum 2018 is a chance to accelerate your transformation, with direct access to the latest technologies, mindsets and delivery methods driving business success.

Across a day of interactive knowledge sharing, discussions and demos, you’ll hear the latest on:

  • Digital transformation:
    Drive new business outcomes with agile software, IoT and analytics.
  • IT transformation:
    Explore the latest platforms, converged systems and cloud technologies.
  • Workforce transformation:
    Empower people with technology that aligns with the way they work.
  • Security transformation:
    Discover new ways to tackle the constantly evolving threat landscape.

Don’t miss this chance to connect with your peers, Dell Technologies leaders and the new Dell EMC community in a unique environment built for knowledge sharing and collective problem-solving.

Accelerate your transformation by registering for Dell EMC Forum 2018 today.


Jon on Tech – Dell Pushes the Boundaries


At the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Dell is unveiling a suite of elegant new products and software to address the myriad ways people play and work. In addition to revealing some of the world’s most beautiful devices, Dell will highlight incredible hidden innovations within these products designed to improve performance, functionality and the overall user experience.

“At Dell, innovation never sleeps. We’re passionate about creating technology that expands the boundaries of what’s possible,” explains Sam Burd, president, Client Solutions Group, Dell. “With Dell, the incredible product design you see on the outside makes for gorgeous machines, but one of our most striking advantages comes from the innovation within. Beauty and brawn lurk beneath those beautiful exteriors, revolutionizing and redefining personal computing, and giving people experiences they want – and some they’ve never dreamed possible.”

Feats of engineering—XPS 13 and XPS 15 2-in-1

Dell’s XPS portfolio has won more product awards than any other brand in the company’s history. The latest XPS 13 is improved in every conceivable way and was just named a CES 2018 Innovation Award honoree. Along with its next-generation InfinityEdge 4K Ultra HD display, the XPS 13 adds a dazzling Rose Gold with Alpine White woven glass fiber interior as an option to traditional silver and black, with narrower borders and up to 80% more thermal headroom. Inside its thinner, lighter design, the Dell Power Manager delivers power just when you need it, while GORE Thermal Insulation, the same silica aerogels used in the Mars Rover to diffuse and dissipate heat, introduces an innovative material into the thermal design to keep the system cool while it works hard.

Addressing a gap in the marketplace for thinner, lighter and more powerful mobile devices that both hobbyists and professional creators demand, Dell unveils the first XPS 15 2-in-1, the world’s most powerful 15-inch 2-in-1, a feat of engineering that embodies innovation on every level. Balancing high performance with a sleek design, the smallest and thinnest 15.6-inch 2-in-1 available delivers the CPU and graphics horsepower to run content creation apps, process huge files and play AAA games while featuring touch, pen, an innovative maglev keyboard and the screen real estate that creators crave. New 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processor combining a high-performance Intel CPU and discrete Radeon™ RX Vega M graphics in a single package, help make the new XPS 15 2-in-1 possible. The XPS 15 2-in-1 also offers an eye-catching next-generation InfinityEdge 4K Ultra HD display with vivid colour and cinematic immersion in an impossibly slim 16mm form. Expert craftsmanship, premium materials and finishes including machined aluminium, carbon fibre and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 make this a functional, futuristic design.

Dell PC and smartphone integration with Dell Mobile Connect Software

People don’t just have a mouse and keyboard in their hands when using a computer, they now also have a smartphone. To increase convenience and productivity, Dell is the first PC maker to introduce a software solution that enables complete wireless integration between Dell PCs and smartphones (iOS and Android). Pre-installed on all new Dell consumer PCs, Dell Mobile Connect empowers users to make calls, send texts, get notifications and even fully mirror their phones to interact with all their favourite mobile apps.

Immersive experiences with Dell Cinema

Now more than ever, people watch movies and TV shows on their PCs with the expectation of a full cinematic experience, including studio sound and visual quality, as creators intend. That experience is now available on XPS and select Inspiron PCs through Dell Cinema, an immersive audio and visual experience.

  • CinemaColor: powered by Windows HD Color, decodes and displays high dynamic range (HDR) streamed content with enhanced detail, more vivid hues, sharper brightness and a wider colour gamut; Netflix in HDR also is supported on Dell Cinema PCs
  • CinemaSound: a Dell exclusive audio innovation powered by Waves MaxxAudio Pro that delivers clearer highs, enhanced bass and higher volume for a true cinematic audio experience
  • CinemaStream: powered by Killer and SmartByte, a software-based solution co-developed by Dell and Rivet Networks that optimizes online streaming and interactive video resulting in less buffering, more bandwidth and better resolution

Dell debuts new Alienware Software Command Center and eSports Training Centers

Redesigning its software from the ground up, Dell debuts the new Alienware Command Center that merges system settings, content and other functions into a simple and elegant interface. Alienware Command Center helps a novice to experienced gamers optimize and tune PCs and peripherals to their unique gaming needs. Now a gamer can access her or his game library from all sources on a PC, easily create custom profiles for each game and squeeze out more performance with power management and overclocking tools.

Concurrently hitting the market is AlienFX 2.0, the second generation of Alienware’s proprietary in-game lighting system that works across Alienware PCs, mice and keyboards. The Alienware Command Center provides even more customization of individual keys and key groups with more than 16.8 million colours in each lighting zone.

Dell and Alienware have long invested in the eSports industry: supporting the first Championship Gaming Series in 2007; working with Team Liquid, Team Dignitas and ELEAGUE; and most recently working with Tobii to infuse eye-tracking technologies into eSports tournaments revolutionizing the spectator experience. Alienware currently is the hardware of choice for Team Liquid, who have selected Alienware peripherals (mice, keyboards, monitors) for use in training and competitions. Today, Dell is announcing the launch of the new Alienware eSports Training Facility for Team Liquid setting a new standard for a dedicated eSports training centre. The new 8,000 square foot facility in Los Angeles will serve as Team Liquid headquarters, supporting multiple competitive teams with an in-office chef, sports psychologists, nutritionists, dedicated coach and analyst and training spaces– with everything powered by the newest and most powerful Dell and Alienware technology. Athletes will be training for high stakes competition while design teams, video crews and coaching staff make use of monitors, touchscreen displays and more to break down the action and create content for fans.

Dell makes VR a reality

Alienware is collaborating with NVIDIA and Oculus to create a new category of competitive virtual reality (VR) eSports that combines physical and mental competitive gaming and brings it to the masses. During the last two months, more than 200 participants across 14 different cities competed on Alienware systems to get the fastest time on Survios’ latest VR game, “Sprint Vector.” 

Dell also is announcing a new VR-ready Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop starting at just $799 to reduce the entry cost of VR. Engineered for PC gamers, the new Inspiron Gaming Desktop features 8th Gen Intel Core processors with up to six cores and graphics, solid-state drive options for faster boot-up times and intelligent thermal design for longer gaming sessions.

Adding to the ease of one-stop shopping, Dell is the first PC provider to sell the consumer version of HTC Vive VR headsets. In addition to offering the HTC Vive Business Edition, Dell is also confirming a deal with Meta to offer its immersive augmented reality (AR) headset. This move will satisfy those developing new solutions with latest VR and AR technologies. Check out the blog for more information.

New monitors and a significant performance uplift for Dell’s Latitude portfolio

Dell continues to lead the industry in displays with the addition of the world’s brightest ultrathin monitors in their class: the Dell 27 Ultrathin Monitor (S2719DM) and Dell 24 Ultrathin Monitor (S2419HM). Pictures come to life in luminous, vivid colour and both monitors support HDR-content playback for a CinemaColor experience, producing beautiful colour depth, clarity and contrast in a virtually borderless InfinityEdge display for strikingly realistic images. With a sleek profile at only 5.5mm at its thinnest, both monitors deliver peak brightness of 600 nits.

Designed for the mobile workforce, Dell’s Latitude portfolio of secure and manageable commercial notebooks and 2-in-1s has been fully refreshed with the latest 15W dual-core and quad-core 8th Gen Intel® Core™ vPro™ 15W processors delivering significant performance improvement. Productivity benchmark tests show dramatic performance uplift over products based on the previous generation processors. The additional cores and threads make a noticeable difference on company networks when IT is running encryption, malware scans and other background apps to secure and connect employees. The Latitude product line also has been updated with several exciting new hidden innovations. For example, the Latitude 7490 notebook features an exclusive active steering antenna that delivers better WiFi range, speed and connection reliability, and a new Full HD super low power display that reduces power consumption by up to 50%, resulting in several hours of additional battery life. Check out this blog for more details on these innovations and the exciting new lineup of Latitude business solutions.

To maximize productivity for on-the-go professionals and media enthusiasts, Dell is introducing the world’s most compact Thunderbolt™ 3 storage device and one of the fastest portable drives available, the Dell Portable Thunderbolt SSD 1000 (1TB) and SSD 500 (500GB).

Jon on Tech – Dell Ranks Top 50 Global Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

Dell announced findings of the 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities), revealing how  50 top global cities are fostering high-potential women entrepreneurs (HPWE). Building on 2016 WE Cities research, this study ranks cities, not countries, to show the impact of local policies, programs and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs on HPWE. 

Johannesburg features at position 28, ahead of Seoul, Barcelona, Tokyo and Dublin. This is a slide from its position at 23rd in the 2016 study, reflective of tougher market conditions. Nonetheless, the City of Gold continues to represent African cities as a hub where business is open to everyone, regardless of their gender or creed.

“Globally, women’s entrepreneurship rates are growing more than 10 percent each year. In fact, women are as likely or more likely than men to start businesses in many markets. However, financial, cultural and political barriers can limit the success of these businesses,” said Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell. “By arming city leaders and policymakers with data-driven research and clear calls to action, we can collectively improve the landscape for high-potential women entrepreneurs, which in turn dramatically lifts a city’s economic prospects – as what is good for women is good for the economy.”

“It is in the world’s best interest that women entrepreneurs everywhere thrive. The WE Cities can be used as a diagnostic tool to help ensure that lawmakers are enabling women entrepreneurs to succeed,” said Elizabeth Gore, entrepreneur-in-residence at Dell. “Each of the cities on this list can learn from one another and encourage political change to attract and support women entrepreneurs. The resulting change will be felt at not just a city level, but at a humanity level as we develop an ecosystem where all entrepreneurs can thrive regardless of gender.”

Top 50 WE Cities Ranking & Methodology

Building on the past five years of Dell’ research on HPWE, five important categories of city characteristics were identified: capital, technology, talent, culture and markets. These pillars were organised into two groups – operating environment and enabling environment. The overall rating has 72 indicators, and 45 of these, nearly two-thirds, have a gender-based component. Individual indicators were weighted based on four criteria: relevance, quality of underlying data, uniqueness in the index and gender component. The 50 cities were ranked as follows: 

  1. New York
  2. Bay Area
  3. London
  4. Boston
  5. Stockholm
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Singapore
  9. Toronto
  10. Seattle
  11. Sydney
  12. Paris
  13. Chicago
  14. Minneapolis
  15. Austin
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Melbourne
  18. Atlanta
  19. Amsterdam
  20. Portland (OR)
  21. Berlin
  22. Taipei
  23. Pittsburg
  24. Tel Aviv
  25. Copenhagen
  26. Vancouver
  27. Houston
  28. Johannesburg
  29. Barcelona
  30. Seoul
  31. Munich
  32. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
  33. Nairobi
  34. Dublin
  35. Warsaw
  36. Belfast
  37. Milan
  38. Beijing
  39. Tokyo
  40. Bangalore
  41. Kuala Lumpur
  42. Sao Paulo
  43. Dubai
  44. Shanghai
  45. Mexico City
  46. Lima
  47. Guadalajara
  48. Istanbul
  49. Delhi
  50. Jakarta

While NYC ranked No. 1, its total score out of 100 was 62.9, leaving considerable room for improvement

The 2016 and 2017 studies differ in several ways, including the total number of cities, number of indicators and the weight of indicators based on new data sources. Given the new elements to the ranking, scores should not be compared year-over-year. 

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Jon on Tech – BCX Launches Enterprise Game Changer

Virtustream, the enterprise-class cloud company and a Dell Technologies Business, today announced its first customer and partner in Africa. BCX, Africa’s premier end-to-end digital solutions partner, providing advanced information and communications technology, will implement Virtustream® xStream® and Virtustream Viewtrust™ software to further orchestrate, automate and secure BCX’s cloud capabilities.

Virtustream xStream is an integrated cloud management platform that enables service providers such as BCX to deliver enterprise-class, IT-as-a-Service to their customers. BCX’s cloud capabilities are strengthened by the addition of Virtustream Viewtrust enterprise risk management and continuous compliance monitoring solution.

“We are pleased to support BCX’s extension of their cloud solutions into mission-critical applications to serve the market needs across South Africa,” said Steve Midgely, vice president, Virtustream. “Our relationship with BCX is further evidence that Virtustream’s platform is the preferred solution for enterprise cloud services delivering mission-critical applications for customers throughout the world.”

BCX, a fully owned Telkom Group subsidiary, serves Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) -listed enterprises, public sector organisations, state-owned entities and medium-sized businesses in Africa, Dubai and the UK. Virtustream’s cloud capabilities will be deployed in two BCX Tier IV datacenters, one in Johannesburg and the other in Cape Town, for the coverage BCX requires to meet their growing business needs supported by Telkom Group’s reliable Metro Ethernet connectivity.

“Enterprise cloud is a high priority for businesses in South Africa, and we undertook a rigorous selection process to find the right solution to offer business-critical workloads in the cloud for our customers and enhance our existing cloud capabilities,” said Jacques Loubser, chief of infrastructure solutions, BCX Group. “In the end, Virtustream was a good fit for us, because we already manage many major private company and government workloads. These organisations deeply value the agility and performance of the Virtustream cloud solution. The additional benefits accrued from Virtustream Viewtrust for security and compliance make the new service a compelling and unique offering within South Africa.”

Virtustream cloud solutions are expected to go into service within the BCX datacenters in July 2017.

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