Monday, October 31, 2011

Thailand flood exerts broad impact on electronics supply chain

EL SEGUNDO, USA: The catastrophic flooding in Thailand is affecting the production of several key end products, electronic parts and subsystems—most notably automobiles, car components, cameras, analog and discrete semiconductors, and hard disk drives.

The disruption to the electronics supply chain is having an indirect impact in turn on the production of other devices and systems, including notebook PCs, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), cameras and set-top boxes. Beyond Thailand itself, the worst-impacted country is Japan, which maintains extensive manufacturing operations in areas affected by the disaster.

As a result of the flooding, the HDD industry in the fourth quarter will suffer its worst downturn in three years. HDD shipments in the fourth quarter will decline to 125 million units, down 27.7 percent from 173 million in the third quarter. The drop is the largest sequential decrease on a percentage basis since the fourth quarter of 2008 when shipments fell 21.2 percent during the worst point of the last electronics downturn. IHS estimates that 30 percent of HDD production in the fourth quarter this year will be lost because of the disaster. This will result in a significant shortage of HDDs.

Because of the shortage, HDD inventories will be depleted and will cause average HDD pricing to rise by 10 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the third.

The downturn will be spurred by production disruptions and stoppages at the manufacturing operations of some of the world’s largest HDD makers—namely Western Digital Corp. and Toshiba Corp.—as well at suppliers of key components. Thailand is the world’s second-largest producer of HDDs after China and is a major supplier of hard drive parts.

Given the direct impact of the disaster on its operations, Western Digital is likely to lose its status as the world’s largest shipper of HDDs, with its rank expected to fall two positions to third in the fourth quarter, down from first place in the third quarter. Toshiba’s rank could fall to fourth place, down from fifth.

In the PC market, the HDD shortage is likely to have the greatest impact on notebook PCs. The specific HDD plants affected by the flooding make devices designed for mobile computers. However, the PC industry appears to have sufficient stockpiles to last through the fourth quarter, so a disruption to notebook shipments in 2011 is not expected. Just the same, with HDD production disruptions expected to last at least six months, the shortage could impact notebook PC production in the first quarter of 2012.

Starting in the second quarter next year, IHS expects the notebook supply chain to begin to adjust to the impact of the disaster, obtaining hard drives from alternative sources in different regions and using other types of storage solutions, including solid state drives (SSDs). Such a workaround will allow the notebook supply chain to mitigate the impact of the HDD shortage.

In another fallout from the disaster, the DRAM market could be negatively impacted by slowing sales of notebook PCs. Any reduction in PC sales due to supply chain constraints will further depress the already oversupplied DRAM market.

In the automotive sector, eight original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that build cars in central Thailand have halted all output. The manufacturers are Ford, Mazda, Hino, Honda, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota. These OEMs announced that they have suspended production until the end of October, although IHS expects the action to extend into mid-November. IHS Automotive downgraded Thailand’s light-vehicle forecast to 1.64 million units in the fourth quarter, down from 1.77 million units. A further reduction of 50,000 to 75,000 units is possible. Already, floods have affected vehicles to be exported to core markets in the ASEAN region, Australia, Japan and the Middle East. Thailand’s exports account for 56 percent of total production.

The loss of critical automotive electronic component and parts supply from Thailand also has impacted Japan’s car output. In particular, prolonged part-inventory issues from Thailand may cause Japanese suppliers and OEMs to force further production adjustments. A key challenge could come sometime in the fourth quarter and the first quarter of 2012, as the Japanese continue trying to compensate for lost output from the country’s earthquake disaster earlier in March. The component shortages out of Thailand also are expected to impact car manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and China.

In the camera sector, the Thailand camera manufacturing operations of Sony, Nikon and Canon all have been disrupted or suspended by the flooding. As a result, IHS iSuppli anticipates that overall camera shipments will drop in the fourth quarter and possibly in the first quarter of 2012.

Lastly, the manufacturing operations of two major analog and discrete semiconductor suppliers—On Semiconductor and Microsemi—have faced a significant impact from the disaster in Thailand. Fellow suppliers Rohm and Toshiba also have been affected, but to a lesser degree. For now, IHS believes the manufacturing disruptions at On Semiconductor and Microsemi will have minimal impact on the entire semiconductor industry. However, whatever direct impact there may be will be felt mostly in the Japanese market. This is because On Semiconductor has limited alternative sites in which to move the test and assembly of customized packages for customers in Japan.

Overall, the Thailand flooding represents the second major natural disaster to affect Japan this year, after the March earthquake. Thailand plays a key role in the manufacturing operations of Japanese companies, with an estimated 1,800 Japanese manufacturers operating in that country and 450 Japanese businesses located in seven flood-hit industrial parks.

Harris and Marketron to deliver single view of data across radio, TV, cable and digital platforms

MELBOURNE & HAILEY, USA: Harris Corp., an international communications and information technology company, and Marketron, a leading provider of business software solutions and services for the media industry, are working together to provide media organizations with a combined view of advertisers, revenue, inventory and other critical data across various media assets. The collaboration brings two competing media software providers together to develop a consolidated business solution for customers working across multiple mediums.

The two companies are integrating the Harris NetGain business intelligence and analysis system with Marketron's Mediascape open ecosystem platform to provide clients sophisticated analytics capabilities across multiple platforms. The Mediascape integration also allows data from Harris' market-leading OSi-Traffic system to fuel Marketron Insight Reporting for detailed transactional and operational level reporting. This gives clients the freedom to choose best-in-class transactional systems, regardless of the provider, to manage their various inventory types, while enabling comprehensive insight and visibility across their entire cross-platform advertising business.

"Our clients are some of the largest and most successful media companies in the world. They have chosen best-in-class systems to manage their different inventory types; for example, Marketron is the chosen provider for radio assets and Harris was selected because of its expertise in the television and cable arenas," said Steven Minisini, CEO at Marketron.

"As an industry leader, we felt it was critical to create an open platform that supports our clients' choices while also enabling them to have the visibility and reporting capabilities that they need to run a multi-media enterprise. We are working with Harris to provide these capabilities to our clients and to strengthen the entire industry's performance."

"The Harris-Marketron relationship is an ideal example of how customers win when vendors work together to build a common solution for the greater good of the industry," said Harris Morris, president, Harris Broadcast Communications. "This collaboration portrays two companies willing to open their platforms for the benefit of their customers. Harris' media software leadership in television, cable and new media from mobile to the internet, working in concert with Marketron's industry standard Mediascape platform, will be key to driving information exchange, data management and consolidated reporting across several mediums."

As the media industry evolves, companies with assets in radio, television, cable, digital and more require an open platform that will provide the ability to view inventory, financial, advertiser and additional data in a common and unified method. "At Cox Media Group we employ different solutions to manage our radio and TV operations, which limits visibility into the performance of our media platforms," said Mark Beck, vice president of information technology at Cox Media Group. "The collaboration between Marketron and Harris is significant to the media industry and lays the foundation for providing us with real-time, consolidated information to manage our business more effectively."

HP intros all-in-one PCs for everyone

BANGALORE, INDIA: HP has launched its widest range of all-in-one desktop PCs for the Indian market, unveiling a new portfolio of products that offer consumers powerful and sleek PCs for the family.

“HP is bolstering its market presence with new strategic portfolio enhancements, including the TouchSmarts with innovative designs at mainstream price points for consumers,” said Vinay Awasthi, senior director, Product & Marketing (PSG), HP India. ”As the Indian PC market evolves, we believe that people expect a lot more from their PCs – from the overall design to the user experience. This reflects in the growing popularity of the all-in-one form factor in India and at HP, we continue to contribute significantly to this market segment.”

The new line of HP All-in-One PCs encourages families to use technology as a tool to bond with each other, share experiences, learn together and enjoy each other’s company. In line with this, the company has also launched the HP All-in-One Family Ties Game. This game promises a rich and fun experience for all members of the family and also gives a chance for users to win prizes along with letting them experience the new HP All-in-One PCs range via an interactive platform.

TouchSmart advantage
The 23-inch diagonal HP TouchSmart610 and TouchSmart520 PCs are designed for consumers who demand a premium multimedia and touch experience. Along with 2nd Generation Intel Core

Processors, these TouchSmarts feature a suite of built-for-touch applications and a free-standing full HD display that tilts up to 30 degrees, complementing its environment instead of defining it. The floating form of the TouchSmart520 is minimal and elegant with enough space between the stand and display to hide the keyboard when not in use.

The newest version of HP’s exclusive TouchSmart 5.0 software provides the most intuitive, immersive touch experience to date. Some of the features include touch optimized applications from Twitter and Facebook, as well as HP’s exclusive RecipeBox, webcam and music applications.

Users can conveniently access Windows Start menu, apps, desktop icons and applications within the same desktop environment. With a scrolling desktop that expands horizontally via the TouchSmart’s Magic Canvas, users can easily customize their user experience by dragging and dropping their favourite files and apps onto the TouchSmart’s carousel.

Additionally, users can experience content and programs from a notebook PC on the TouchSmart’s Magic Canvas with HP LinkUp Technology for a more comfortable, entertaining and productive experience.

Music lovers will enjoy a premium listening experience with integrated Beats Audio technology on HP TouchSmart PCs.

The TouchSmart610 PCs are available at a starting price of around Rs. 71,999. The TouchSmart520 PCs will be available in India from November 2011, at a starting price of around Rs. 60,999. The HP Omni120 PCs are available at a starting price of around Rs. 27,999. The HP Omni220 PCs are available at a starting price of around Rs. 50,999. The HP DreamScreen400 PCs are currently available at a starting price of Rs. 21,999.

September LCD brand and SI shipments grew by 7.6 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively

TAIWAN: According to the September shipment report of top 10 global LCD SIs and Brands in published by WitsView, TrendForce’s display research division, shipment by SIs in September grew continuously by 7.6 percent compared to August while shipment by brands surged by 10.8 percent.

The growths are due to several factors:
a) September is the end of Q3 for most brand makers, which will be active in pushing shipment;
b) Brands pulled in their stock in expectation of the production capacity loss during the National Day Holidays;
c) Distributors began to prepare for the coming year-end promotion in the US and Europe.

In terms of shipment outlook in October, although some of the brands are continuing preparation for the Q4 hot season, as most brands have already stocked up in advance in September, shipment in October is expected to drop slightly by 1-3 percent. SIs are also expected to see a 4-6 percent drop in October both due to the production capacity drop in the October and the fact that the September base period was higher to begin with.

Most notably, some brands with their own factories are impacted by lower-than-expected sales, resulting in production capacity stagnation. These brand makers have begun to increase their in-house manufacturing ratio while others have turned to producing all products with their own factories (i.e., Samsung). By increasing in-house production portion when end-market demand is sluggish, brands can have an edge in cost competitiveness and stabilizing its work force.

However, this practice will take a toll on the performance of pure SI makers, as they have to look for new clients without their own factories to remedy with the situation. WitsView pointed out that such change in business model highlights the importance of both vertical integration and having stable overseas shipment outlets when there’s a market downturn. Therefore, from Taiwan’s display industry, the critical challenge ahead is to search for overseas shipment outlets.Source: WitsView, Taiwan.

OCZ and ADATA performed well in SSD performance test

TAIWAN: DRAMeXchange, the research division of TrendForce, tested the mainstream products of 2.5” SSDs in the middle of 2011, including the standard SSDs with affordable prices, and the high-speed SDDs which are adopted by medium and small size companies and work stations. The categories of tested SSDs include SATA2 with 60GB and 100GB storage and latest SATA3 with over 100GB storage, which are for different members’ references.

Because of relatively expensive controller chip, the mainstream of SATA3 SSDs target for over 128 GB storage, which can be not only applied in the mainboard of desktop and laptop, but also used in the workstation, in order to improve the limited transmission of SATA2 SSDs.

About nine SATA3 SSDs with storage ranging from 64GB to 256GB, have been tested, in which Marvell has equal shares with SandForce. The best-performing products are OCZ Vertex3 series and ADATA S711, whose performances have approached to the theoretical transmission limit of SATA3 SSDs. In addition, DRAMeXchange has also tested ADATA S511, which shows good performance and is the perfect SATA 3 SSD for consumer’s budget.

The best SATA3 SSDs
Considering the factors of overall performance, specification and price, the winner is OCZ Vertex3 PRO 200GB, and the following products are also recommendable:

OCZ Vertex3 PCBA0636-P (240GB)



Crucial m4 CT128M4SSD2

Strontium SRSSDMX-25

The best cost-performance 128GB SATA3 SSD: The winner is Crucial m4 CT128M4SSD2, which adopts the controller chip from Marvell.

The best cost-performance 200GB SATA3 SSD: OCZ Vertex3 PCBA0636-P 240GB.Source: DRAMeXchange, Taiwan.

Businesses shun “risky” offshore call centres for higher-cost local services

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Companies that provide offshore contact centre services face a tough battle to win new business over coming years, as demand in major markets is low, according to new Ovum research.

Ovum’s report is based on a survey of senior executives at leading North American, European and Australian businesses, which revealed that just two per cent said they would look to offshore their customer service centres in the next 12 to 24 months, while only 10 per cent said they would do so within 25 to 36 months. Meanwhile, a massive 80 per cent said they had no plans to offshore their contact centres.

Regions such as India and South America have been established as offshore contact centre locations in recent times, due to their low delivery costs supported by cheap labour and premises. However, Ovum’s research has confirmed that lower delivery costs are not offsetting the concerns enterprises that have not already taken the plunge have about these locations.

Peter Ryan, Ovum lead analyst and author of the report, commented: “These numbers will make worrying reading for companies that provide offshore contact centre services and are hoping to win new business based on their ability to reduce costs for clients. Several new barriers to offshoring contact centre work have come to the fore and made it a risker prospect for enterprises. Enterprises feel that the reduced prices simply don’t compensate for the potential to lose customers in these tough economic times.”

According to Ryan, there are four key issues that now concern enterprises when it comes to offshoring their customer service centres. These are quality of the interaction with end users, stability of the offshore destination, pressure from consumers to keep work in the domestic country, and fears over safety of data.

Ryan commented: “The issue over the quality of the interaction with customer service agents and end users is a key one. Customers can quickly become frustrated if they feel their enquiry is not being dealt with quickly and effectively and take their business elsewhere. In this tough economic climate, enterprises are less willing to send their contact centres to low-lost offshore locations because they feel there is greater risk that quality will become an issue.”

In terms of the stability of some of the new, developing offshore locations, recent troubles have brought concerns about continuity of service for enterprises. “Many enterprises would rather pay a ‘premium’ to ensure continuity of service for their customers than have to deal with the political unrest and drugs wars” commented Ryan.

But Ryan questions whether domestic markets will continue to be more attractive for CRM outsourcing well into the future. He added: “At the moment there are good deals to be found in places like Australia, the UK and US due to the economic crisis pushing down labour and premises costs and reducing agent churn. This has helped some businesses to move their contact centres back onshore, but the question is, how long will that scenario be sustained? Could it be that when the job market and economy recover those decisions will be rethought?”

This is especially the case in Australia, which for all intents and purposes did not have a recession, and where contact center pricing is among the highest anywhere globally. The big question is whether Australian firms can afford to remain onshore?

Blue Coat adds video intelligence to Reporter product to provide better understanding of web video usage

DUBAI, UAE: Blue Coat Systems Inc., a leading provider of Web security and WAN optimization solutions, announced that its Blue Coat Reporter now provides intelligence about the usage of Web video on corporate networks. Version 9.3 of Blue Coat Reporter features a new tabular view of video usage information, providing an at-a-glance view of how employees or others on the network are using Web video.

Blue Coat estimates that video currently comprises an average of 20-50 percent of the traffic on a corporate network, but it can rise to 90 percent or more. Industry experts expect the amount of video traffic on corporate networks to grow substantially over the next several years. Blue Coat solutions can dramatically reduce bandwidth used by video over the Wide Area Network (WAN) or Internet gateway through use of video caching for on-demand video and stream-splitting for live video.

The new version of Reporter helps companies understand video usage trends by providing:

* Top ten ranking of Websites accessed by employees to watch video, including the amount of bandwidth video each site consumes for video content.
* Top ten ranking of employees using the greatest amount of bandwidth for watching Web video, including the amount of bandwidth they consumed.
* Top ten ranking of groups within the company using the greatest amount of Web video, including the amount of bandwidth for each group.
* Top ten ranking of the protocols or methods used to deliver Web video.

“Blue Coat uniquely solves the challenges companies face in delivering Web video and internal video over their existing networks,” said Nigel Hawthorn, VP EMEA Marketing at Blue Coat Systems. “The new Reporter product provides important insight on how employees are using Web video and enables companies to understand and address trends and patterns of behavior. In addition, our next generation WAN optimization solutions reduce the impact of video by a substantial factor while boosting the performance of business-critical applications.”

Blue Coat Reporter 9.3 is available immediately. Customers with previous versions of Reporter can upgrade free of charge if they have a current support plan. New customers of ProxySG or MACH5 appliances can get a free copy of Reporter for 750 users or less. Companies with greater than 750 users can purchase an edition for larger organizations.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

ZOTAC and NVIDIA intro GeForce G.One signature edition graphics cards

INDIA: ZOTAC and NVIDIA unveiled GeForce G.One Signature Edition graphics cards in India. Under this new series, the companies bring GeForce GT520 and GeForce GTX 560Ti with Microsoft DirectX 11 technology. Both the new additions deliver outstanding visual computing experience with perfect high-definition video playback capabilities.

By pairing 384 unified shaders with an ultra-wide 256-bit memory interface, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 560 Ti G.One Signature Edition is capable of rendering phenomenal hardware-tessellated visuals with Microsoft DirectX 11 technology and deliver unprecedented gaming interaction realism using NVIDIA PhysX technology – all while delivering best-in-class frame rates for a smooth lag-free gaming experience.

Powered by a NVIDIA GeForce GT 520 series graphics processor with 48-high-speed unified shaders paired with massive capacity memory, the ZOTAC GeForce GT 520 G.One Signature Edition enables users to speed up everyday computing tasks with the power of NVIDIA CUDA technology. Tasks such as high-res photo editing and web browsing are accelerated with the ZOTAC GeForce GT 520 for quicker image editing and webpage loading.

Gamers ready to step into the third-dimension can connect the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 560 Ti and GT 520 G.One Signature Edition to 3D-ready monitors or TVs using the available dual-link DVI or HDMI 1.4a outputs to experience immersive 3D content. When multi-display gaming is desired, up to two ZOTAC graphics cards can combine to unlock NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround technology for stereoscopic triple-display gaming that takes immersion to unprecedented heights.

The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 560 Ti G.One Signature Edition is priced at Rs. 15,999 while the GT 520 G.One Signature Edition is priced at Rs. 3,390. The pricing includes all the taxes and levies.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cable operators to deploy 10 million video gateways in 2016

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Cable video gateways, devices that integrate the functions of a broadband router with set-top box functions, will grow from less than 700 thousand units in 2010 to over 10 million in 2016.

Cable operators in North America and Europe are looking at advanced gateway products from vendors including Pace, Samsung, and Technicolor to deliver advanced services and content to every device in the home, including TVs, media tablets, and smartphones. Meanwhile, operators in Asia are looking at the gateway as a low-cost way to get triple play to new audiences.

“Cable gateway boxes can be more cost-effective, especially in homes with three or more TV screens, compared to traditional set-top box architectures,” explains Jason Blackwell, practice director, digital home. Cable gateways, used in conjunction with IP-only thin-client set-top boxes, give operators the ability to centralize costly cable tuners, hard drives used to offer DVR functions, and network processors at one location in the home. In addition, these centralized architectures help to provide operators with a migration strategy from traditional QAM broadcasting to IP video.

“Surprisingly, the feature-rich devices that many manufacturers are showcasing today account for only 30 percent of the total market – with low-cost devices used to deliver triple play services in an integrated fashion in Asia accounting for a larger component of the video gateway forecast,” says Sam Rosen, senior analyst. “The set-top box market today is showing increasing polarization between high-end models with 3D user interfaces and low-cost boxes used to bring millions of customers pay-TV services for the first time in their lives.”

Sony Internet TV gets Google TV update and Android Market

SAN DIEGO, USA: Sony Electronics announced a software update to the Google TV platform, which powers the unique entertainment experience found on Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV and the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc player.

This latest version not only powers existing Google TV features, but also adds the Android Market for apps, which at launch includes hundreds of apps, including many designed and optimized for television. This update will roll out to all connected Sony Internet TV devices by early next week.

Sony released the world's first TV based on the Google TV platform in the US last October - today's update brings a simpler and clean interface, improved performance, better search functionality and the Android Market to all currently installed Sony Internet TV and Sony Internet TV Blu-ray owners. Additionally, future consumers of Sony Internet TVs and Blu-ray Disc players will receive the update during the initial start-up installation. Other new benefits include better integration with Android and iOS devices, like smartphones and tablets.

"Connected experiences are a pillar of Sony's value to TV consumers and Sony Internet Television powered by Google TV certainly brings 'smart' connectivity to the highest level," said Steve Haber, EVP, Sony Electronics. "We very much look forward to the possibilities the Android Market will create for customers to personalize their experience. Users will enjoy the new features that this update brings to their interactive engagement with home entertainment programming, either through Sony Internet TVs or Bu-ray Disc players."

With the Android Market integration, new fun and useful apps will be added regularly, allowing television viewers unique and customizable entertainment experiences. At launch, original Sony applications will include TrackID, which searches and identifies music heard on television broadcasts, packaged media or streaming video. Additionally, Sony Select will deliver a curated collection, highlighting featured applications to consumers in an easy-to-browse manner.

The Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV brings more entertainment choices to TV every day with unprecedented viewing options from cable/satellite or internet based services. Whether it's favorite network shows, movies, YouTube and other online clips, or the latest cool new app – whatever you want to watch, whenever you want to watch, it's all on your Sony Internet TV powered by Google TV.

Simpler sensor structures coming to projected capacitive touch screens in 2012

SANTA CLARA, USA: Projected capacitive, the predominant touch screen technology, has many different structures. Over the next few years, these structures will be simplified as sensor substrate layers are reduced, according to the DisplaySearch Touch Panel Market Analysis: October 2011 Update. These simpler touch panel structures will bring the benefit of thinner and lighter devices.

“Two approaches are emerging to simplify projected capacitive sensor designs,” said Jennifer Colegrove, PhD, Vice President of Emerging Display Technologies for DisplaySearch. “One is sensor-on-cover and the other is in/on-cell.”

In-cell and on-cell sensors are typically integrated during the display manufacturing process, whereas sensor-on-cover involves coordination between touch sensor and cover glass makers. While Apple products use glass-based sensors with ITO (indium tin oxide, the typical transparent conductor) layers on both sides, most sensors use one or two layers of ITO on the same side of the glass; this is required for sensor-on-cover because the outer side is the exterior of the product.

As projected capacitive touch screen shipments grow by more than 100 percent Y/Y, cover glass has become a key component in touch screens. Regardless of the type used—sensor-on-cover or in/on-cell—cover glass is a must for projected capacitive touch for both cosmetic and protection purposes. Cover glass finishing is very labor-intensive and, depending on the processes required and specifications, has yield rates in the 70 percent range. Process challenges will be an increasingly strategic issue for the industry. Depending on the technology and supply chain, cover glass finishers and touch module makers will be working together by contract or informal relationship, while tier-one touch module makers are integrating and expanding their in-house cover glass finishing capacities.

Price trends by region and size
The touch screen supply chain is evolving differently in each region, based on variations in technologies and supply chain variables. Although sensor patterning and lamination processes are mostly automated, manpower is still necessary, especially for inspection. Japan, with high labor costs as well as a complex supply chain, tends to have the highest cost structure. China offers the lowest prices for mature mobile phone sensors, and Taiwan has lower prices for tablet PC sensors. This is due to greater availability of glass and better access to Gen 4.5 and larger equipment for sensor deposition and photolithography.

For popular mobile PC sizes (9.7” and 10.1”), average selling prices (ASPs) per unit are in the range of $1-1.50 per inch; however, DisplaySearch anticipates ASPs will fall as popularity increases. ASPs of regular notebook sizes (>11.6”) are still higher due to challenges in scaling production.

Other key findings
Curved or shaped cover glass—referred to as 2.5D if along one axis and 3D if along both axes—is a new design trend. Many touch-enabled smart phones look very similar, so brands are looking to use curved cover glass to differentiate their products. Due to its more complicated processes and costs, DisplaySearch expects curved cover glass to be used primarily in high-end models.

While touch module makers are likely to outsource larger-sized sensors if volumes increase, DisplaySearch expects tier-one touch module makers to integrate cover glass finishing because it is critical for sensor-on-cover production and for decreasing substrate weight and thickness.

Moving into the holiday season, DisplaySearch forecasts that the tablet PC market will be increasingly important for the touch panel industry, particularly as lower-priced products, like the Amazon Kindle Fire, enter the market.

HP's new CEO acts swiftly to resolve lingering strategic problem

Carter Lusher, Research Fellow & Chief Analyst, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: Ovum applauds HP CEO Meg Whitman for acting swiftly and decisively to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding HP’s intentions for the Personal Systems Group (PSG). The announcement by now former-CEO Leo Apotheker that PSG was undergoing a strategic review and could be sold or spun off was an unmitigated disaster.

Apotheker’s August announcement about PSG was a critical blow to his credibility after announcing in a much hyped analyst event only five months earlier how important PSG’s products were to HP. In addition, Apotheker said that the decision would not be completed until 2012.

Everything around the PSG strategic review decision sent shock waves of uncertainty through the enterprise and public sector IT executive circles as it called into doubt HP’s ability to execute a clear strategy for any product or solution. IT executives need insights into strategic vendors’ intentions in order to make multi-year commitments and HP’s actions called into doubt its stability.

Whitman demonstrates that she is not hesitant about reversing Apotheker’s decisions and that she will act swiftly. These are two characteristics that IT executives welcome as it shows that Whitman might be able to stabilize HP and return it to its previous status as a strategic supplier to IT.

Mellanox joins OCP, intros world’s first 10GbE mezzanine adapters for OCP servers

SUNNYVALE, USA & YOKNEAM, ISRAEL: Mellanox Technologies Ltd, a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end connectivity solutions for data center servers and storage systems, has joined the Open Compute Project (OCP) under the Open Compute Foundation. Initiated by Facebook, the Open Compute Project’s mission is to develop and specify the most cost-efficient, energy-efficient and scalable enterprise and Web 2.0 data center technologies.

“We are pleased to join the collaborative effort of the Open Compute Project and to provide our scalable, high-performance and energy-efficient server and storage I/O solutions to enable its success,” said David Barzilai, VP of marketing at Mellanox. “We believe that the OCP standards provide best practices that will help more companies to build efficient solutions for the emerging Web 2.0 and cloud applications.”

In addition, Mellanox announced immediate availability of 10GbE mezzanine cards based on Mellanox’s energy efficient, high performance ConnectX-3 EN silicon that are compliant with the Open Compute Project (OCP) specification. The OCP ConnectX-3 10GbE mezzanine adapters offer optimized latency and performance for converged I/O infrastructures while maintaining extremely low system power consumption. For enhanced agility, customers can combine ConnectX-3 with Mellanox VMA (Messaging Accelerator) software to accelerate socket-based applications with latencies as low as 4us and with UDA (Unstructured Data Accelerator) for Big Data application accelerations.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Netlist's PCI Express mini SSD drives included on PCI-SIG integrators list

IRVINE, USA: Netlist Inc., a designer and manufacturer of high-performance memory subsystems, announced that its 64GB SLC- and 128GB MLC-based PCI Express (PCIe) Mini SSD drives are now included on the PCI-SIG Integrators List.

Following PCI-SIG compliance testing, Netlist's PCIe Mini SSD drives have demonstrated their interoperability with PCIe equipment and comply with industry standards. PCI-SIG is the consortium that owns and manages PCI specifications as open industry standards. In addition, Netlist today expands its Embedded Flash product portfolio with the new 32GB mini PCI Express SSD.

"We are pleased that Netlist is expanding its embedded Flash SSD product offering to include PCIe 2.0 based solutions," said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG president and chairman. "As a PCI-SIG member and PCIe multi-product vendor, Netlist is helping to further establish PCIe products in SSD storage applications."

"Addition to the PCI-SIG Integrators list achieves an important milestone for Netlist's SSD products. This addresses a key requirement of our OEM customers for their cloud datacenter server and storage equipment offerings," said Steve McClure, VP of worldwide sales and marketing for Netlist. "Expansion of our PCIe portfolio complements our existing and recently announced mSATA and 1.8" SATA SSD offerings to provide a complete portfolio of the two leading storage transport protocols."

Netlist's 32GB mini PCIe SSD is fully compatible with the PCI Express 2.0 specification, supports DDR ONFI 2.2 Flash and bi-directional transfer rates to 5GT/s (Giga transfers per second) on the PCIe bus. It supports read performance up to 350MB/s and write performance up to 190MB/s.

By supporting SLC, MLC, and ONFI 2.2 NAND Flash technologies with enhanced ECC support with on-chip wear leveling algorithm, the modules can also sustain Commercial (0 degrees C to +70 degrees C) or Industrial (-40 degrees C to +85 degrees C) applications. It can support Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface 1.0 (NVMHCI) and Advanced Host Controller Interface 1.0 (AHCI) – making the product well suited for enterprise and industrial environments that face wide temperature, shock, vibration, humidity, and altitude variations.

Netlist has shipped samples of its new mini PCIe SSD to a leading customer and begun general availability sampling.

Pressure sensors to become top MEMS device by 2014

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Thanks to their relatively high prices and expanding use in a host of automotive, medical and industrial applications, pressure sensors will become the leading microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) device by 2014, according to an IHS iSuppli MEMS & Sensors Market Tracker.

Driven by a strong automotive industry recovery after the recession, pressure sensors last year generated $1.22 billion in revenue, up 26 percent from 2009, to reach second place in terms of revenue among all MEMS devices. Growth this year will be more modest at 6.6 percent, but a double-digit expansion is predicted for 2012. By 2014, revenue for MEMS pressure sensors will amount to $1.85 billion, as shown in the figure.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

“Pressure sensors will become the top MEMS device in revenue in three years’ time as a result of steady market expansion,” said Richard Dixon, Ph.D., senior analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS. “The rapid growth of pressure sensors means that these devices will trump even the ubiquitous accelerometers and gyroscopes so popular now in the MEMS space.”

The average price of MEMS pressure sensors varies, depending on the level of compensation and calibration of the die, as well as the type of packaging. Pricing could range from several dollars to tens of dollars for high-value industrial and medical uses, and climb to hundreds of dollars for the most specialized applications, such as aircraft hydraulics or air data measurements—including any combination of industrial use in harsh media, temperature and pressure, Dixon noted.

MEMS pressure sensors find heavy use in assorted applications
A MEMS pressure sensor is a membrane element that deflects under pressure. The deflection can be measured by either a Wheatstone bridge arrangement—piezoresistive-type sensing—or by a change in the distance between two plates via capacitive sensing. Both approaches are popular, with the piezoresistive type found, for example, on tire-pressure monitoring systems.

The automotive sector remains in 2011 the biggest area for MEMS pressure sensors, claiming 72 percent share in revenue, followed by medical electronics at 11 percent and the industrial segment at 10 percent. The remaining 6 percent of the market is split between consumer electronics on the one hand, and military-aerospace on the other.

In the automotive sector, engine management is a leading application in the form of manifold air pressure sensors in petrol engines and common fuel rail pressure sensors for diesel cars, especially in Europe. For improved combustion, some organizations are also undertaking research on pressure sensors that can survive inside the vehicle’s cylinder to better measure the exact stoichiometry—the proportion of elements in a chemical reaction—for feedback to engine management systems.

Automotive sensors are significantly more expensive than consumer sensors due to the often harsh environments in which the devices operate. Moreover, long qualification times are needed for the sensors, which also need to be reliable for stretches of time lasting as long as 15 years. Some devices, such as brake or tire pressure monitors, are critical to the safety of vehicles.

One new automotive application of MEMS pressure sensors can be found not only in automatic transmission but also increasingly in new double-clutch transmission systems as well as manuals due to the requirement on greater precision for control. Different kinds of sensors are possible, and German manufacturer Bosch recently entered this market with a MEMS solution in which the oil acts directly on the back of the silicon sensor (a so-called backside-entry design) with pressures of up to 70 bar.

In the medical market, pressure sensors are used mostly as low-cost disposable devices for catheters employed in surgical operations. But they also can be found in more expensive devices used for pressure and differential flow monitoring in continuous positive airway pressure (CPAC) machines for treating sleep apnea—with significant potential as implantable sensors after 2015. Operating without the need for batteries, implantable sensors can be used for cardiac measurements and to monitor for glaucoma in the eye.

Within the industrial sector, big segments for MEMS pressure sensors include the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) sector, level measurements, and various industrial process and control applications. Aircraft, for instance, use the sensors to monitor engines, flaps and other functions, in addition to precision altitude air pressure measurement.

MEMS pressure sensors not so hot in consumer and mobile devices
MEMS pressure sensors to date have not been used as much in the consumer electronics and mobile space, where their revenue is under $50 million today. Among their diverse applications, however, are weather stations, sport watches, bike computers, diving equipment and pedometers, along with white goods—such as water-level sensors employed for energy-efficient washing machines.

For the mobile segment in particular, no major application has emerged so far. High-end smartphones in the future could include pressure sensors to act as an altimeter for location-based services indoors, though the infrastructure is not yet in place. In tablets, the only use for pressure sensors thus far is to adjust the device to show local weather conditions.

As a result, compared to the uptake of accelerometers and gyroscopes in consumer and mobile devices, the use of pressure sensors here during the next few years will remain very modest.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

186 million stop-start vehicles to be in use by 2020

BOULDER, USA: While automotive stop-start technology is virtually unknown in North America today, the benefits it provides in terms of fuel economy and emission reductions make the shift toward such vehicles inevitable. Stop-start systems enable gasoline engines to turn off when vehicles are slowed down or stopped.

Driven by efforts to meet mandated reductions of greenhouse gases, automakers have introduced stop-start vehicles (SSVs) over the last decade under a variety of names, including micro-hybrids and idle stop vehicles, and a number of brands released by the manufacturers. These vehicles offer 5-10 percent reductions in both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Requiring more robust batteries and starter systems than are found in internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and priced at a small premium over ICEs, they are considerably less expensive than hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

According to a recent report from Pike Research, sales of stop-start vehicles will grow rapidly in the coming decade, rising from 3 million units in 2011 to 37.3 million units per year by 2020. By the end of the decade, a total of 186 million vehicles globally will incorporate the technology, which will become standard on the majority of vehicles sold in Europe as well as on dozens of models in North America and Asia.

“By 2020, stop-start vehicles will represent more than one-third of all light-duty vehicle sales,” says research director John Gartner. “SSVs are already outselling hybrids globally by a factor of 3.5 to 1, and that gap will widen to a 16 to 1 ratio by 2017 because of the lower cost of SSVs compared to HEVs.”

Indeed, the stop-start capability of hybrids has proved very popular with consumers, because of the quieting of the engine while stopped at an intersection as well as the increased fuel economy. Eliminating engine idling through stop-start technology is seen by automakers as a low-cost, highly beneficial investment.

Due to stringent emissions regulations, the largest SSV market for the forecast period will be Western Europe, which will represent 98 percent of the 3 million SSVs sold in 2011. By 2020, Western Europe will account for 42 percent of all SSVs sold. The fastest-growing region for SSV sales will be North America, where annual sales will roughly double each year from 2011 through 2020. More than two dozen SSV models were available in Western Europe as of early 2011, while in the United States, only three SSV models are for sale.

OnCore Manufacturing acquires advanced manufacturing facility in Suzhou, China

SUZHOU, CHINA: OnCore Manufacturing Services, LLC, a leading global provider of electronic manufacturing services (EMS), announced the acquisition of Alta Electronics International Inc.

With capabilities that meet customers’ requirements for advanced electronic engineering and manufacturing services and strategically located in the Shanghai-Suzhou-Wuxi area, the facility will combine the OnCore’s core expertise of managing highly complex product manufacturing with the company’s Velocity, rapid prototyping, and product commercialization services.

“The new facility will provide engineering and manufacturing services of advanced electronics for our US customers that require an entrée into the China market or whose products benefit from being sourced in China,” said Daniel Perez, president and CEO of OnCore. Perez also said, “Suzhou is a key part of our customer driven strategy of providing them with the capabilities and geographic footprint they demand.”

“Becoming part of the OnCore family will provide our existing customers with a broader range of product commercialization services,” said Ming Li, president and GM of OnCore China. “The Suzhou facility will continue to provide our customers; especially those that serve the industrial, semiconductor and advanced communications markets, with rapid commercialization and volume production services that they have come to expect from us.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ObjectVideo signs OEM agreement with AVTECH

SHENZHEN, CHINA, RESTON, USA & TAIPEI, TAIWAN: ObjectVideo, the leader in intelligent video, announced the completion of an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partnership agreement with AVTECH Corp., a leading supplier in the IP device, software, mobile surveillance software (EagleEyes) and CCTV market.

AVTECH will incorporate ObjectVideo OnBoard intelligent analytics software into a wide variety of products, with the first being an Intel PC-based offering of the OV Analytics Service running within AVTECH's HyDra Professional CMS software.

"ObjectVideo is very pleased to be working so closely with AVTECH to make their upcoming product offerings ObjectVideo-enabled," said Raul Fernandez, CEO for ObjectVideo. "Mass market demand for reliable analytics is growing rapidly, so this relationship with AVTECH allows the two companies' combined technology innovations to be brought to market."

AVTECH will be incorporating patented ObjectVideo analytics into several new products built on the HyDRA platform, including the AVH-100 -- the first HyDRA product in AVTECH's line of network video recorders (NVRs.) The HyDRA platform is designed and developed by AVTECH for versatile IP surveillance, such as production line management, office access control, etc. With ObjectVideo analytics, this platform will be more powerful and intelligent, making it suitable for a wider range of business and personal applications.

"AVTECH sells many DVR, NVR, IP camera and CCTV camera products in the market today, and ObjectVideo provided the most ways in which we could incorporate their [intelligent video surveillance] technology into those products in an efficient manner," said Chap Tien, CEO of AVTECH. "We will even be able to offer OV to our customers as a part of a PC-based video management solution."

This type of partnership is made possible by ObjectVideo's multi-platform availability as a patented software ingredient, which enables partners like AVTECH to benefit from the expanded architecture flexibility and device options that are making it significantly easier to embed analytics throughout the video ecosystem.

SonicWALL launches Application Traffic Analytics software suite

SAN JOSE, USA: SonicWALL Inc., the leading provider of intelligent network security and data protection solutions, announced the launch of its Application Traffic Analytics software suite.

This next-generation solution consists of SonicWALL Global Management System (GMS) 7.0, Analyzer and Scrutinizer and provides enterprise IT managers with unparalleled insight into real-time and historical network bandwidth utilization, application traffic, security threats and employee productivity. The new Application Traffic Analytics solutions suite provides powerful visualization into the network to assist administrators with troubleshooting and ease with overall network management.

The ability to deliver historical and real-time forensic insight into application and data traffic flowing through a network enables IT managers to better predict, prepare, respond to – and avoid – bandwidth spikes. It also helps manage security threats, inappropriate application usage and network outages. The SonicWALL suite of Application Traffic Analytics solutions improves network management and helps drive ROI and business productivity by ensuring business-critical service-level and compliance requirements are consistently met.

For enterprises, the SonicWALL Application Traffic Analytics solution combines a SonicWALL Next-Generation Firewall and either the SonicWALL GMS 7.0 or SonicWALL Scrutinizer. For small- to medium-sized businesses, the SonicWALL Application Traffic Analytics solution combines a SonicWALL Next-Generation Firewall and either SonicWALL GMS 7.0 or SonicWALL Analyzer. SonicWALL's Next-Generation Firewalls with the Re-assembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection (RFDPI) engine provide the rich data source that is then utilized by these tools to give users unmatched deep real-time and historical insight insight.

"Network administrators are under continual pressure to minimize costs and optimize network capital investment, while facing exponential growth in business applications, digital content and network growth. Fifty percent of companies surveyed by industry analyst firm Forrester Research said at least 30 percent of their bandwidth is being consumed by social networking traffic1. Being able to truly visualize, prioritize and protect network traffic flow is a business critical requirement," said John Gmuender, VP of engineering and CTO of SonicWALL.

"By utilizing the network security SonicOS platform that leverages the unique capabilities of our RFDPI engine, our new suite of Application Traffic Analytics gives the ability to eye-ball and analyze historical and real time data and application flow. By delivering granular hindsight, we give our customers the foresight to better plan and manage the corporate network in a way that translates directly to the bottom line through enhanced network performance, security and ROI."

Michael Crean, CEO of Solutions Granted Inc., a solution-based information technology firm specializing in complete managed services, network development and security, added: "SonicWALL's new application traffic analytics allow us to have more meaningful business discussions with our customers. For example, we can show in detail which applications are used most in a given day, month or year and which applications are a legitimate use of their network infrastructure and their employees' time. This level of visibility and analytics helps us help our customers enhance their ROI and productivity."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Optomec aerosol jet solution improves yields for display panel manufacturing

ALBUQUERQUE, USA: Optomec announced that Micronics Japan Co. Ltd (MJC) has launched an enhanced defect repair system powered by Optomec’s Aerosol Jet Print Engine. The MJC NEOSYS Line Open Repair (LOR) System improves Flat Panel Devices production yields by repairing open circuit defects in Touch Panels, LCD, Plasma, and e-Paper display products.

The NEOSYS LOR System is in production use today meeting high customer reliability requirements. The system provides 25 percent higher throughput than alternative repair methods, such as Laser-Chemical Vapor Deposition (L-CVD), and also enables high vertical step coverage of up to 2 microns in open repair processing. The NEOSYS LOR repair system can process large rigid and flexible display substrates up to Gen 10 (2850 mm x 3050 mm), including glass, glass epoxy, and polymer films.

The NEOSYS LOR System incorporates the Optomec patented Aerosol Jet Print Engine to deposit highly conductive, fine line traces to repair micrometer size open circuit defects. The repair process was developed by MJC.

Samsung 830 SSD drive now available

RIDGEFIELD PARK, USA: Samsung Electronics America Inc. announced that its new line of advanced internal solid state drives (SSDs), the Samsung SSD 830 series, is available for purchase. These drives – which set a new standard for SATA 6 Gb/s SSDs - are available in capacities of 64 GB ($129.99), 128 GB ($229.99), 256 GB ($429.99) and 512 GB ($849.99).

Norton Ghost installation software and Batman: Arkham City for PC, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developed by Rocksteady Studios, will be included for a limited time with all 128 GB or higher models. A code provided in the box will enable a download of the full PC version of the game.

The Samsung SSD 830 Series incorporates a high-performance Serial ATA Revision 3.0 interface, doubling the data bandwidth of Samsung’s previous SSD product, the SSD 470 series. As a result, the drives boast superior random read speeds (up to 80,000 IOPS) and faster sequential read and write speeds (up to 520 MB/s & 400 MB/s, respectively).

Further, the drives utilize 20-nanometer-class toggle DDR (double-data rate) NAND chips which enable data transfer rates up to 133 megabits per second (Mbps)—more than three times faster than conventional (66 Mbps) single-data-rate (SDR) NAND chips. Samsung’s unique triple-core MCX controller, which excels in multi-tasking, provides superior throughput under heavy input/output (IO) loads, allowing for more consistent performance on a wider variety of tasks.

LCD TV panels shipments see unprecedented decrease in 2011

TAIWAN: According to the survey report published by WitsView, a research division of TrendForce, the Q3 global shipment of large-size panel has reached 1.76 million units with QoQ regression of 0.5 percent and YoY growth of 13 percent.

In terms of application categories, the distribution demands for Mid Autumn Festival and National Day Holidays in China have supported part of momentum of TV panel shipment. However, the inventory issues in European and US markets have affected the procurement strength, leading to the QoQ regression of TV panel shipment by 0.1 percent. The shipment of monitor panel has been affected by inventory control among downstream brands, resulting in a QoQ regression of 7 percent.

Affected by tablet PC products and weak demands in European and US markets, the stock preparation activities among downstream OEM makers in Q3 have been weak in NB PC market with only a QoQ growth of 1.6 percent for NB panel shipment. Overall tablet PC panel shipment has been driven by the procurement in Kindle Fire supply chain leading to a QoQ growth of 24 percent. With tablet PC specifications gradually moving towards high definition development, the actual demand of netbook market has been gradually reflected by the shipment performance of Netbook panel with a QoQ regression of 24.1 percent in Q3.Source: WitsView, Taiwan.

WitsView research manager Jian-An Chen indicates that by comparing the shipment performance of LCD TV panel (which is the most crucial application affecting the digestion of panel production capacity) to the past, it can be found that there is actually a YoY regression of 8.4 percent in Q3 this year. During 2006~2010, incremental YoY growths of panel shipment can be found in every quarter of every year (expect for 2008 4Q under the impact of financial tsunami). This year, the overall market. impacted by debt crisis in Europe and US, high unemployment rate and high inflation, has in turn caused the downstream TV brands and channels to adopt tighter inventory control.

As a result, most of the makers were digesting the finished goods and panel inventories purchased panel from last year. Downstream brands have been shying away from aggressive procurement due to falling panel price, leading to QoQ and YoY regressions of TV panel shipment in Q3 2011. The previous incremental TV panel shipment growth did not occur in Q2 and Q3 2011. With pessimistic Q4 forecast on TV panel demand, WitsView projects a first-ever annual regression for TV panel shipment for 2011 with YoY regression of 1~3 percent.Source: WitsView, Taiwan.

JetBrains intros AppCode

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: JetBrains, the creators of intelligent, productivity-enhancing development tools, extends its wide range of technology-specific development environments with AppCode - a new IDE for Objective-C developers.

Much like other JetBrains IDEs, AppCode's biggest strengths are advanced code analysis routines and a smart editor, which enables intelligent code completion, powerful refactorings, auto-import, one-click code navigation, automatic code formatting, and more productivity-bound features. That, along with transparent integration with Xcode, makes AppCode a powerful tool not only for professional Objective-C developers but also for those just joining the ever-growing iOS developers camp.

"Our goal with AppCode is to help developers maintain the high quality of their application code so it equals the high standards for UI and user experience that iOS and Mac OS platforms apply," said Maxim Shafirov, the AppCode project lead at JetBrains. "After 11+ years of successful IDE development, we have formed a set of development best practices and code quality standards that we think will benefit the fast-evolving community of Objective-C developers. Thanks to tight integration with the existing set of tools provided by Apple, we can see AppCode quickly becoming a key tool in the arsenal of professional Objective-C developers."

Besides its smart code authoring and navigation abilities, AppCode 1.0 offers the following key functionality:
* Xcode interoperability - open and create Xcode projects from AppCode. Xcode versions 3 and 4 are supported.
* Integrated graphical debugger over either GDB or LLDB.
* Running and debugging iOS applications on a device or in a simulator.
* Visual unit test runner for OCUnit.
* Automatic memory leak detection with appropriate quick-fix option.
* Support of the latest iOS 5 features, like Automatic Reference Counting.
* Version Control Systems integration - unified UI for most popular VCSs such as Git, SVN, Mercurial, Perforce and CVS.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Zebronics wireless mouse BLUE MO makes browsing easy

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Top Notch Infotronix, India’s leading supplier of products and accessories for Computers, Consumer Electronics and Communication under the brand ‘ZEBRONICS' has unveiled its latest wireless Bluetooth mouse, BLUE MO, which gives you freedom from wires

The Zebronics Wireless Mouse BLUE MO sculpted design and soft grip enables browsing and navigation much easier. It functions smart sleep mode and an On/Off switch with advanced 3.0 Optical technology that delivers laser-grade precision over the most challenging surfaces using less power to maximize the battery life.

Blue Mo can be used continuously for long hours without any strain because of its good shape and textured smooth grips. Optimized for web browsing, the 1600Dpi sensor and scroll wheel fits the best in style for gamers and common users for reviewing Google searches or other browsing tools with ease and comfort.

The Zebronics Wireless Mouse features an innovative wheel that packs more grooves per millimeter, giving you a smoother navigation experience. It makes scrolling through long Web pages faster and easier. Plus on most computer systems, it lets you move backward and forward on the Web just like with a swipe. It features faster scrolling, wheel navigation and laser grade precision so you can surf the Web with ease," said Rajesh Doshi, country manager, Top Notch Infotronix (I) Pvt Ltd. "Blue Mo offers a perfect mix of precision, performance and comfort - letting customers freely interact with the digital world, a place where we spend an ever-increasing amount of time," he added.

It allows users to work with ease and confidence. The mouse instantly reconnects during each use and operates without interference from other wireless devices. The sculpted form ensures a comfortable, secure grip that can be used in the right or left hand.1600 Dpi optical sensor technology ensures accurate movement on the screen with 10 meter of distance. With top-of-the-line Bluetooth technology, the Bluetooth Blue Mo offers the ultimate ease in wireless connectivity and eliminates the need for a receiver, preserving a USB port for other devices. Whether used with or without a mouse pad, it delivers precise cursor movements with long range connectivity.

The Zebronics Aviator Series is available from computer accessories and electronics stores at a reasonable price of Rs 740.

Information management industry to reach revenues of $37 billion

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Asia-Pacific information management software market will reach revenues of $6.01 billion in 2015, a compound annual growth rate of 11.57 per cent from the $3.88 billion it will reach at the end of 2011, predicts Ovum.

In a new forecast, the independent technology analyst finds that the strong growth will be driven by enterprises realising information management software’s vital role in their corporate performance.

Ovum lead analyst, Nishant Singh, commented: “The information management market has been growing steadily over the past five years, with enterprises continuing to make investments despite the global recession. However, the next five will see the market really starting to take off, with strong growth across the globe.

“There are several reasons why information management has become increasingly important to enterprises. Chief among them are shrinking business cycles, increasing process and quality control issues, brought about by globalisation, and the fact that most organisations have by now extracted the benefits of their ERP implementations.”

Singh continued: “Most of the data generated by IT investments has now overgrown the existing systems that were supposed to capture and accurately portray it, driving a strong need for information management tools such as content management and business intelligence systems. These systems enable enterprises to extract content and information hidden in their diverse data sources, such as transactional and operational systems, manage that data effectively, and apply sophisticated predictive analytics to improve their processes and decision-making.”

According to Ovum, the top three Asia-Pacific information management vendors by market share are IBM, EMC and SAS. Singh commented: “While SAS’ revenues are driven to a large extent by its premium pricing, EMC and IBM have drawn on their market presence in storage and infrastructure software to cross sell their offering.

“The common trend among all these market leaders however, is that they have a strong reputation in the market, and are continuously working on enhancing that reputation – either through a very strong research and development programme, or through aggressive acquisitions.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

The ENIAC Joint Undertaking to drive up to 1B€ investments in pilot lines for key enabling technologies

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: The ENIAC Joint Undertaking invited the European R&D actors in nanoelectronics to express their interest to coordinate Key Enabling Technologies “Pilot Line” projects underpinning up to 1B€ of private and public investments in the next two years.

The “Micro- and nanoelectronics, including semiconductors” has been recognized by the High-Level Experts Group nominated by the European Commission as a Key Enabling Technology (KET). The final report recommended that the EU and its policy makers take steps to retain critical capability and capacity in these domains of vital European importance.

The ENIAC Joint Undertaking engages now in preparing future potential calls for proposals in alignment with the KET concepts by issuing an invitation for expressions of interest to coordinate “Pilot Line” projects. Andreas Wild, executive director of the ENIAC Joint Undertaking, said: “Taking this initiative, the ENIAC Joint Undertaking fulfils its charter to increase and leverage public and private investment in nanoelectronics in Europe, becoming one of the main mechanisms implementing the Key Enabling Technologies policies to strengthen European competitiveness and allow the emergence of new markets and societal applications.”

A KET “Pilot Line” project shall be executed by a consortium establishing a manufacturing facility to implement an innovative technology in novel products meeting social challenges, and build demonstrators to be later deployed in real life European manufacturing sites.

Extrapolating the initial evaluation of the “Pilot Line” project ideas, the private investment and the public funding through incentive programmes for R&D and other channels shall approach 1B€ to be engaged in the next two years.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Comcast leads US-dominated audiovisual business in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Companies based in the United States dominated the list of the world’s Top 50 audiovisual firms in 2010, with US-based Comcast Corp. leading the market with more than $35.6 billion in revenue, according to a new IHS Screen Digest Television Insight Report.

“Illustrating the importance of America to the global audiovisual market, the Top 5 companies in the business in 2010 were based in the United States, and derived most of their revenue from the country,” said Tim Westcott, senior analyst for TV at IHS. “Furthermore, these five companies collectively accounted for $143.2 billion in revenue, representing 30 percent—or almost one-third—of the combined revenues of the Top 50 players. For the third year in a row, the list was led by Comcast, based on its status as the largest US cable operator.”

The table shows the world’s Top 10 audiovisual companies, ranked by 2010 revenues from any activity that involves the production or exploitation of content. This includes traditional businesses such as cinema and broadcasting, as well as more recently developed business lines like computer games and online.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

All told, half of the Top 50 companies in 2010 were based in the United States, while seven had headquarters in Japan and five made their home in the United Kingdom. Three companies each from France and Germany also found their way into the elite group, while two emerged from Italy. The remainder was divided among lone entries in Luxembourg, Brazil, Mexico, China and Canada.

Bigger than Poland
Together, revenue in 2010 from the Top 50 audiovisual companies reached a staggering $470.5 billion—higher than the gross domestic product of Poland, ranked 20th in the world, and just below that of Switzerland, according to publicly disclosed figures by the International Monetary Fund.

The No. 2 performer in 2009, Time Warner, fell to fourth in 2010 with revenue of $26.9 billion—no longer the colossus it once was after spinning off its cable and recorded music arms while decoupling from AOL. Closing in on Comcast in 2010 was search giant Google Inc., categorized as an Internet portal, with $29.3 billion in revenue, up from fifth place in 2009. Unchanged in third place was The Walt Disney Co., with 2010 revenue of $27.3 billion.

Walt Disney and Time Warner were the largest diversified media companies, defined as entities active in a number of related areas including broadcasting, film and TV production, and home video production. Such companies gained scale through merger and acquisition deals when buzz words like “synergy” still ruled the boardrooms.

Rounding off the Top 5 was pay-TV operator DirecTV, which enjoyed strong growth to land revenue amounting to $24.1 billion.

High flyers and losers populate the ranks
The top non-American company was Japan’s Sony Corp., landing in sixth place at $23.5 billion, but felled by a negative three-year growth rate also suffered by the likes of Viacom Inc., Yahoo Inc., Warner Music Group and radio powerhouse Clear Channel Communications Inc. Sony’s inclusion in the top echelon was largely due to its Hollywood studio component, and does not take into account its prominent consumer electronics division.

The top European player was Vivendi from France, in ninth place with $16.6 billion—the most successful exemplar of the European attempt to build a diversified media company based on the U.S. model, with its interests in pay-TV and computer games.

Also landing in the Top 10 was Rupert Murdoch’s scandal-tinged News Corp., in seventh place with $22.7 billion. Lower down in the rankings was BSkyB of the United Kingdom, the entity Murdoch had hoped to take control of before the fallout.

Two other companies in the Top 10 were Time Warner Cable in eighth place, with $16.8 billion; and NBC Universal, another diversified media company—the sixth of its kind on the list—in the 10th spot with $16.4 billion.

The United States, aside from being home to fast-growing cable and satellite companies, also spawned new challengers in the form of computer hardware and software entities such as Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., as well as from telcos like Verizon FiOS TV.

Verizon FiOS TV was also the fastest-growing company on the list, logging a phenomenal three-year growth rate of 142.0 percent, followed by Apple Inc. at 48.1 percent and Google at 34.5 percent.

Companies with the largest cumulative decline during the period were Warner Music Group, down 14.9 percent; Nintendo Corp., down 14.2 percent; and cable operator Liberty Global International, down 14.1 percent.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Total Immersion releases cross-platform augmented reality (AR) platform free to game and app developers

LOS ANGELES, USA: Total Immersion, the global leader and pioneer in augmented reality (AR), released a new version of D’Fusion Studio, an evolution in AR technology. Free to download, D’Fusion Studio 3.2 empowers developers of all stripes to create a new breed of rich cross-platform games and applications that leverage Total Immersion’s groundbreaking AR technology.

Drawing on 11 years of market leadership, industry knowledge and expertise, D’Fusion Studio outperforms other AR solutions in three categories: the speed at which targets are recognized, the ability to track markerless targets as they move through an environment and stability, or lack of jitter, in the tracked image and associated 3D elements.

D’Fusion Studio offers the most advanced feature set on the market-free of charge:
Multiplatform: Developers can create games and applications for a variety of platforms including iOS and Android, Web, Microsoft Kinect and kiosk.

Sophisticated: Superior markerless tracking—including face-tracking—quickly recognizes images as targets as they move through the scene and even rotate.

Efficient: D’Fusion Studio draws from a single authoring environment and a single set of assets (images, 3D models, scripts) to maximize efficiency.

Comprehensive: D’Fusion Studio boasts the unique ability to recognize an image from a target data store of up to 1,000 images (competitive solutions do not exceed a target data store of 30) – while maintaining the same recognition time, requiring only a slight increase in resource utilization (CPU, RAM).

Immersive: D’Fusion Studio’s AR technology successfully blurs the lines between the real world and the rich digital universe of 3D allowing end users to deeply engage in the real-time experience without distraction caused by the technology.

“D’Fusion Studio uses superior AR technology to get as close as possible to erasing the line between reality and the digital world,” said Total Immersion CEO Bruno Uzzan. “Now, by making D’Fusion Studio free to all developers we’ve removed yet another barrier—developers are limited only by their imagination.”

Demand from public cloud service providers and private cloud adopters will drive strong growth for full range of storage solutions

FRAMINGHAM, USA: Cloud computing will be a key driver of net new IT spending over the next five years as public cloud service providers and the adopters of private cloud environments invest in the supporting infrastructure.

According to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC), overall spending by public cloud service providers on storage hardware, software, and professional services will grow at a CAGR of 23.6 percent from 2010 to 2015, while enterprise spending on storage for the private cloud will experience a CAGR of 28.9 percent. By 2015, combined spending for public and private cloud storage will be $22.6 billion worldwide.

"Despite current economic uncertainties, IDC expects cloud service providers – both public and private – to be among the most expansive spenders on IT products and services as they continue to build out their facilities worldwide and expand their service options," said Richard Villars, VP, Storage Systems & Executive Strategies at IDC.

The most significant driver of storage consumption over the past three years has been the emergence of public cloud-based application and infrastructure providers. Many of these cloud-based service providers (e.g., iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, Facebook) act as content depots, which are primarily in the business of gathering, organizing, and providing access to large quantities of digital content.

Meanwhile, other cloud-based service providers have emerged with a focus on delivering IT infrastructure and applications in an "as a service" model (e.g.,, WebEx Connect, Amazon Web Services, etc.). Over the past several years, these companies have undertaken massive storage buildouts as they have expanded their service offerings, entered new markets, and extended their geographic reach.

In parallel to the expansion of the public cloud, many organizations have started to deploy their own private clouds for application, compute, and content (archival) storage. Some of these private cloud deployments (e.g., government and research sites) are comparable in scope and complexity to public cloud environments, while others are more limited in scope.

Moon Festival and National Holiday LCD TV sales grew by 13.6 percent from last year

TAIWAN: According to WitsView, a research division of Trendforce, and Chinese research institute Σintell, LCD TV sales between the Moon Festival and National Day holidays( from September 5 to October 9) reached 5.98 million units, which was an increase of 13.6 percent compared to last year. As this was slightly better than original projections, the previous accumulated inventory of China’s TV vendors could be cleared more effectively.

WitsView assistant vice president, Burrell-Liu, indicated that total LCD TV shipments are expected to hit 2.01 million units in 2011. Demand from China will reach 4.1 to 4.3 million units, taking up approximately 21 percent of the global share. During the week-long National Day holidays, Sony and Sharp concentrated on promoting low-priced CCFL and LED models. Their respective shipments jumped by 20 to 23 percent over the same period of last year.

Meanwhile, Korean players’ strategy focused on highlighting their 3D TVs. However, as 3D TVs are still relatively more expensive, the sales growth was less than 8 percent. Thus, their overall sales performance was worse than expected. Finally, China’s TCL, Skyworth, Changhong and Hisense all posted an annual sales growth ranging between 17 percent and 22 percent. As for Konka and Haier, their growth was slightly lower at around 10 percent.Source: WitsView, Taiwan.

Between the Moon Festival and National Day holidays, China’s LED TV shipment ratio reached 59 percent. From Jan. ’11 to Sep. ’11, the overall LED TV penetration rate in China climbed to 43 percent, 1 percentage point higher than the 42 percent global average. As for 3D TV shipments, the penetration rate of China’s top six brand vendors during the month-long holiday promotions was 23 percent. From Jan. ’11 to Sep. ’11, China’s overall 3D TV penetration rate was 8.5 percent, also slightly higher than the 8.3 percent global average.

Skyworth and Changhong’s respective 3D TV shipment ratio reached 34.4 percent and 25.8 percent. Separately, beginning from Aug’11, amid the SG (shutter glass) camp’s aggressive price promotions, it has rendered the shipment ratio between SG and PR (pattern retarder) to shift dramatically from 22:78 in 2Q11 to 49:51 in Sep11.

In 3Q11, the quarterly aggregated shipment growth from China’s Top 6 TV brand vendors reached in the range of 26 percent and 29 percent. In 4Q11, it is projected to grow by another 16 percent and 19 percent from last quarter.

The currently lowered inventory levels should spur TV brand vendors to begin pulling in inventory earlier in preparation for the 2012 Chinese New year holidays. If panel makers can continue to effectively control their utilization rates, coupled by persisting lower inventory levels, hopefully, it will stimulate some form of long-overdue recovery in 1Q11.

Interactive Intelligence to launch cloud-based communications trial program

DUBAI, UAE: Interactive Intelligence Group Inc., a global provider of unified IP business communications solutions, will launch a trial program called Quick Spin that enables organizations to sample for free the company's communications-as-a-service offering.

The Interactive Intelligence CaaS offering provides cloud-based communications applications for contact centers and enterprises, along with flexible deployment models for migrating between cloud, premise, and hybrid configurations.

"Despite potential benefits of cloud-based communications deployments, organizations must still conduct thorough due diligence to determine if this model is right for their unique needs," said Gartner research vice president, Drew Kraus. "I'm seeing an increasing number of organizations that are interested in a flexible deployment model — including premise-based, cloud-based, or a hybrid of the two — that will enable them to adapt the approach according to their evolving needs."

The Interactive Intelligence Quick Spin program will be delivered via a Web portal, enabling organizations to quickly set up interactive voice response menus, skills-based routing, call flows, real-time speech analytics, and more.

IBM brings Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities to India

MUMBAI, INDIA: IBM announced the launch of IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities, a new solution designed to help cities gain a holistic view of information across city departments and agencies.

This development is significant keeping in mind the current landscape in India. IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center, part of the Next Big Wave Technologies offerings for India market, leverages analytical insights to monitor and manage city services through one central point of command so cities are better able to anticipate problems, respond to crises, and manage resources.

The IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities will allow cities to use information and analytics to make smarter and more timely decisions, helping local leaders manage a spectrum of events, both planned and unplanned, such as deploying water maintenance crews to repair pumps before they break, alerting fire crews to broken fire hydrants at an emergency scene, or anticipating traffic congestion and preparing redirection scenarios.

The Intelligent Operations Center is designed to optimize the operational efficiencies of a city and provide a unified view of all city agencies including energy, public safety, transportation, and water.

The Intelligent Operations Center is at the heart of IBM’s Smarter City Solutions designed to enable city leaders to provide exceptional service to citizens. The Operation Center’s focus also lies with better coordination of the existing human and municipal resources when disaster strikes. With this approach, cities can minimize disruptions to public services and reduce the overall cost of maintenance and repairs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Intergraph releases GeoMedia Motion Video Analyst Professional 06.01.02

HUNTSVILLE, USA: Intergraph has released the GeoMedia Motion Video Analyst Professional 06.01.02; enabling defense and military analysts to geospatially integrate video with multiple intelligence sources for enhanced situational awareness and actionable intelligence.

GeoMedia Motion Video Analyst Professional, a full-motion video analysis product, empowers military, coalition forces and agencies to exploit and analyze full motion video from UAVs and other airborne vehicles for both tactical and strategic analysis, and combines with image analysis and surface analysis products to provide unprecedented situational awareness and decision making confidence.

Agencies can now integrate and geo-fuse full-motion video with other data formats to generate a complete, multi-dimensional operational picture. GeoMedia Motion Video Analyst Professional embraces the analysis of all types of geospatial intelligence including raster maps, vector data, motion video, satellite imagery and signal intelligence. Additionally, users' clipmarks and annotations are stored within the system for simple retrieval based on a query of location, time or any attribute of the video.

In GeoMedia Motion Video Analyst Professional 06.01.02, users can now produce complete digital reports from live-stream full motion video within five minutes after identifying an item of interest in the video. This release also enables users to view full motion video in a single common geospatial environment, incorporating other types of geospatial information.

"This unique offering provides complete situational awareness for strategic analysis," said Brig. Gen. Jack Pellicci, U.S. Army (Ret.), President and CEO, Intergraph Government Solutions. "Motion Video Exploitation allows the free interchange of personnel to support operations in theater and analysis in the command center."

This release also enables the production of ortho-mosaic images from full-motion video utilizing technology from third-party providers, such as nVidia's efficient CUDA processing. In turn, the creation of ortho-mosaic images of the video allows the user to utilize existing technology for imagery analysis, such as change detection over time.

Intergraph also supports interfaces, such as 2D3 Sensing's Catalina COTS video server. Catalina provides a cost-effective COTS interface to the ground station or the UAS aircraft to support live-stream video analysis in theater or at the command center.

SAP Labs unveils ChariTra in India

BANGALORE, INDIA: SAP India, a subsidiary of SAP AG, announced the availability of ChariTra, an on-demand network created by SAP Labs in India that connects volunteers, non-profits and corporations to work together toward causes and make a difference in their communities.

An abbreviation of “charity transformation,” ChariTra was designed and released by the SAP Labs team in India within 90 days and demonstrates SAP’s commitment to rapidly build innovative solutions that serve the needs of customers.

Dr. Vishal Sikka, member of the SAP Executive Board, Technology and Innovation Platform, announced the new on-demand network at SAP TechEd 2011 Bangalore, being held from October 19-21, at the Karnataka Trade Promotion Organization (KTPO) Trade Center.

ChariTra enables non-profits to post their resource needs to a large community of people who want to help make a difference and to mobilize volunteers and resources toward a specific activity. For individuals and corporations, ChariTra allows them to easily find causes that they want to support, connect with non-profits and other like-minded individuals, and share their experiences and outcomes with others.

ChariTra recently enabled over 50 non-profits and thousands of volunteers throughout India’s Joy of Giving week, a nationwide event during which millions of people volunteered their time and resources to many causes. For example, HOPE child care center needed volunteers and had success using ChariTra to find resources to help.

“We posted a request on ChariTra looking for volunteers to spend time, play games and share stories with 30 children that had come from the streets of Bangalore,” said Mohan Kumar, head of the HOPE child care center. “ChariTra allowed me to simply post my need to find volunteers who wanted to spend time with the children and I quickly had many volunteers promising to help.”

Technology is a key enabler for bringing about change, which drives positive impact beyond businesses. Taking this thought forward, the SAP Labs team in India developed ChariTra using “design thinking,” an approach that views a problem from three key angles: desirability, feasibility and viability. ChariTra is also built on the SAP HANA platform.

“Our team’s efforts have created a product that uses technology as an enabler to bring about a social change,” said VR Ferose, managing director, SAP Labs India. “We are encouraged by our vision to build sustainable communities around us that help those in need by connecting them to those who want to give. In this vision, innovation and new technologies will continue to play a vital role. ChariTra uses technology innovatively and showcases SAP’s fast approach in completing the product cycle.”

Initially debuted to the India market, ChariTra will soon be launched globally.

ECA2 designs and produces the world’s largest aquatic show

CHINA: Every evening at OCTBAY Shenzhen, China, located by the magnificent Shenzhen Bay, up to 5,000 spectators can now gather to celebrate the return of the birds in this momentous décor dedicated to the mangrove through a magnificient aquatic show. The ECA2 team has been selected to design and produce a new 38 minute multimedia show. It took 28 months to create the world's largest acquatic stage, which covers an area of 5,600 m².

This galvanising acquatic show at OCTBAY, Shenzhen, which started in August 2010, has already become a hit. It was a new artisic and technological challenge for the ECA2 team to bring about a representation of the forces of nature, staging the four elements merged with the magic of captivating images:

• WATER : two water screens (50-metre base), hundreds of water jets.
• AIR: 5 geysers.
• FIRE: 14 large flames.
• LIGHT: 600 underwater projectors, 60 automatic projectors.
• IMAGES : 7 videos projectors, 5 laser projectors.

The show control system synchronises hundreds of special effects, interacting with more than 50 actors, acrobats and dancers, surrounded by its mysterious and enchanting creatures to perform a touching interpretation of life in the mangrove.

Nimbuzz launches cross platform video calling and video chatting for iPhone and PC

BANGALORE, INDIA: Nimbuzz, a leading and multi-award winning IM application in the world, has upgraded its platform with video communication tools. The company has introduced video calling and video chatting technology to its 65 mn users globally, bringing in a new phase of communication.

Video calling that works over 3G and WiFi, enables people to stay-connected with fellow Nimbuzz users who have installed the latest Nimbuzz version. Even the users can experience video communication on their mobile with the existing 2G network, by using Nimbuzz video chat where the users can have the visual advantage with text-based communication.

Jamshed V. Rajan, country manager, Nimbuzz India, said: “At Nimbuzz, we believe in providing the best possible communication platform for our users. With 3G becoming popular and with Smartphones with front cameras in vogue it was only natural for us to get into Video Calling. In fact, we have done one better by introducing a Video chat as well wherein users share the video streams with each other but communicate by text.”

With the increasing need of video communications, Nimbuzz also plans to introduce video-communication technology to its other platforms like Symbian and the fast growing Android.

SSD performance test results indicate 128GB Richmax/SUPERSSPEED and G.SKILL jointly rank first

TAIWAN: DRAMeXchange, the research division of TrendForce, tested the mainstream products of 2.5” SSDs in 2011, including the standard SSDs with affordable prices and the high-speed SDDs, which are adopted by medium and small size companies and work stations. The categories of tested SSDs include SATA2 with 60GB and 100GB storage and latest SATA3 with over 100GB storage, which are for different members’ references.

The tested 17 SATA2 SSDs with 128GB storage are mainly supplied for business notebook users and PC gamers, who stress on both product performance and data storage speed. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that the top 10 of 17 tested SSDs have adopted the chips of SandForce, which shows the chips of SandForce have excellent control performance. On the other hand, the SSDs choosing the chips from Phison also achieve good testing results.

In addition, because the Chinese company BIWIN has launched the “BIWIN Pro” series products, DRAMeXchange tested BIWIN Pro BWDSA25MCB with the storage capacities of 60G and 120G. The SSD, which adopts SandForce SF-1222 as the master chip, and IMFT’s (Intel/Micron) 25nm NAND as the flash chip, also show excellent performance. BIWIN Pro BWDSA25MCB-120 has the advantages of sufficient capacity, affordable price and excellent performance, which is perfectly appropriate for common notebook users.

The Best SATA2 SSD of 120GB MLC
Considering the factors of overall performance, specification and price, the winner is Richmax/SUPERSSPEED Seraphim MLC 240GB (however, the storage capacity is more than 128GB) and G.SKILL PHOENIX PRO FM-25S2S-120GBP2.

The following products are also recommended:
KingFast KF2501MCF
Richmax/ SUPERSSPEED Seraphim MLC120GB
Netac S600
Apacer Turbo AS602

The best cost-performance SATA2 SSD of 128GB.
Strontium SRSSDGM-25 and BIWIN Pro BWDSA25MCB-120 show a good balance of performance and price.Source: DRAMeXchange, Taiwan.

Oracle to buy Endeca

Mike Davis, Ovum Senior Analyst

AUSTRALIA: Oracle is buying enterprise search specialist Endeca, despite having its own capable but lacklustre secure enterprise search (SES) product.

We believe it is about time that Oracle ‘bit the bullet’ and gained itself some high end capabilities, and a referenceable customer base for enterprise search, rather than continuing to develop SES.

The overlap/convergence with Oracle's business intelligence offerings, and its other enterprise applications should produce some interesting solutions, in what Oracle is already referring to as unstructured data analytics.

However, Endeca was the last of the 'big' independent enterprise search engines (Autonomy and FAST having already been swallowed by HP and Microsoft respectively) and we believe this continues to illustrate that even the biggest software companies often fail to get their innovation fast enough internally.

Gartner identifies top 10 strategic technologies for 2012

ORKANDO, USA: Gartner Inc. highlighted the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2012. The analysts presented their findings during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, being held here through October 20.

Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. These technologies impact the organization's long-term plans, programs and initiatives.

“These top 10 technologies will be strategic for most organizations, and IT leaders should use this list in their strategic planning process by reviewing the technologies and how they fit into their expected needs,” said David Cearley, VP and Gartner fellow.

“Organizations should start exploratory projects to look at promised candidate technology and kick off a search for combinations of information sources, including social sites and unstructured data that may be mined for insights,” said Carl Claunch, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

The top 10 strategic technologies for 2012 include:

Media Tablets and Beyond. Users can choose between various form factors when it comes to mobile computing. No single platform, form factor or technology will dominate and companies should expect to manage a diverse environment with two to four intelligent clients through 2015. IT leaders need a managed diversity program to address multiple form factors, as well as employees bringing their own smartphones and tablet devices into the workplace.

Enterprises will have to come up with two mobile strategies – one to address the business to employee (B2E) scenario and one to address the business to consumer (B2C) scenario. On the B2E front, IT must consider social goals, business goals, financial goals, and risk management goals.

On the B2C front, which includes business to business (B2B) activities to support consumers, IT needs to address a number of additional issues such as surfacing and managing APIs to access enterprise information and systems, integration with third-party applications, integration with various partners for capabilities such as search and social networking, and delivery through app stores.

Mobile-Centric Applications and Interfaces. The user interface (IU) paradigm in place for more than 20 years is changing. UIs with windows, icons, menus, and pointers will be replaced by mobile-centric interfaces emphasizing touch, gesture, search, voice and video. Applications themselves are likely to shift to more focused and simple apps that can be assembled into more complex solutions. These changes will drive the need for new user interface design skills.

Building application user interfaces that span a variety of device types, potentially from many vendors, requires an understanding of fragmented building blocks and an adaptable programming structure that assembles them into optimized content for each device. Mobile consumer application platform tools and mobile enterprise platform tools are emerging to make it easier to develop in this cross-platform environment. HTML5 will also provide a long term model to address some of the cross-platform issues. By 2015, mobile Web technologies will have advanced sufficiently, so that half the applications that would be written as native apps in 2011 will instead be delivered as Web apps.

Contextual and Social User Experience. Context-aware computing uses information about an end-user or objects environment, activities, connections and preferences to improve the quality of interaction with that end-user or object. A contextually aware system anticipates the user’s needs and proactively serves up the most appropriate and customized content, product or service. Context can be used to link mobile, social, location, payment and commerce. It can help build skills in augmented reality, model-driven security and ensemble applications. Through 2013, context aware applications will appear in targeted areas such as location-based services, augmented reality on mobile devices, and mobile commerce.

On the social front, the interfaces for applications are taking on the characteristics of social networks. Social information is also becoming a key source of contextual information to enhance delivery of search results or the operation of applications.

Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as sensors and intelligence are added to physical items such as consumer devices or physical assets and these objects are connected to the Internet. The vision and concept have existed for years, however, there has been an acceleration in the number and types of things that are being connected and in the technologies for identifying, sensing and communicating. These technologies are reaching critical mass and an economic tipping point over the next few years. Key elements of the IoT include:

Embedded sensors: Sensors that detect and communicate changes are being embedded, not just in mobile devices, but in an increasing number of places and objects.

Image Recognition: Image recognition technologies strive to identify objects, people, buildings, places logos, and anything else that has value to consumers and enterprises. Smartphones and tablets equipped with cameras have pushed this technology from mainly industrial applications to broad consumer and enterprise applications.

Near Field Communication (NFC) payment: NFC allows users to make payments by waving their mobile phone in front of a compatible reader. Once NFC is embedded in a critical mass of phones for payment, industries such as public transportation, airlines, retail and healthcare can explore other areas in which NFC technology can improve efficiency and customer service.

App Stores and Marketplaces. Application stores by Apple and Android provide marketplaces where hundreds of thousands of applications are available to mobile users. Gartner forecasts that by 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile application downloads from app stores every year. This will grow from a consumer-only phenomena to an enterprise focus. With enterprise app stores, the role of IT shifts from that of a centralized planner to a market manager providing governance and brokerage services to users and potentially an ecosystem to support entrepreneurs. Enterprises should use a managed diversity approach to focus on app store efforts and segment apps by risk and value.

Next-Generation Analytics. Analytics is growing along three key dimensions:
* From traditional offline analytics to in-line embedded analytics. This has been the focus for many efforts in the past and will continue to be an important focus for analytics.

* From analyzing historical data to explain what happened to analyzing historical and real-time data from multiple systems to simulate and predict the future.

* Over the next three years, analytics will mature along a third dimension, from structured and simple data analyzed by individuals to analysis of complex information of many types (text, video, etc…) from many systems supporting a collaborative decision process that brings multiple people together to analyze, brainstorm and make decisions.

Analytics is also beginning to shift to the cloud and exploit cloud resources for high performance and grid computing.

In 2011 and 2012, analytics will increasingly focus on decisions and collaboration. The new step is to provide simulation, prediction, optimization and other analytics, not simply information, to empower even more decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action.

Big Data. The size, complexity of formats and speed of delivery exceeds the capabilities of traditional data management technologies; it requires the use of new or exotic technologies simply to manage the volume alone. Many new technologies are emerging, with the potential to be disruptive (e.g., in-memory DBMS).

Analytics has become a major driving application for data warehousing, with the use of MapReduce outside and inside the DBMS, and the use of self-service data marts. One major implication of big data is that in the future users will not be able to put all useful information into a single data warehouse. Logical data warehouses bringing together information from multiple sources as needed will replace the single data warehouse model.

In-Memory Computing. Gartner sees huge use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems. In addition, it offers a new layer of the memory hierarchy in servers that has key advantages — space, heat, performance and ruggedness among them. Besides delivering a new storage tier, the availability of large amounts of memory is driving new application models. In-memory applications platforms include in-memory analytics, event processing platforms, in-memory application servers, in-memory data management and in-memory messaging.

Running existing applications in-memory or refactoring these applications to exploit in-memory approaches can result in improved transactional application performance and scalability, lower latency (less than one microsecond) application messaging, dramatically faster batch execution and faster response time in analytical applications. As cost and availability of memory intensive hardware platforms reach tipping points in 2012 and 2013, the in-memory approach will enter the mainstream.

Extreme Low-Energy Servers. The adoption of low-energy servers — the radical new systems being proposed, announced and marketed by mostly new entrants to the server business — will take the buyer on a trip backward in time. These systems are built on low-power processors typically used in mobile devices. The potential advantage is delivering 30 times or more processors in a particular server unit with lower power consumption vs. current server approaches.

The new approach is well suited for certain non-compute intensive tasks such as map/reduce workloads or delivery of static objects to a website. However, most applications will require more processing power, and the low-energy server model potentially increases management costs, undercutting broader use of the approach.

Cloud Computing. Cloud is a disruptive force and has the potential for broad long-term impact in most industries. While the market remains in its early stages in 2011 and 2012, it will see the full range of large enterprise providers fully engaged in delivering a range of offerings to build cloud environments and deliver cloud services. Oracle, IBM and SAP all have major initiatives to deliver a broader range of cloud services over the next two years. As Microsoft continues to expand its cloud offering, and these traditional enterprise players expand offerings, users will see competition heat up and enterprise-level cloud services increase.

Enterprises are moving from trying to understand the cloud to making decisions on selected workloads to implement on cloud services and where they need to build out private clouds. Hybrid cloud computing which brings together external public cloud services and internal private cloud services, as well as the capabilities to secure, manage and govern the entire cloud spectrum will be a major focus for 2012.

From a security perspective new certification programs including FedRAMP and CAMM will be ready for initial trial, setting the stage for more secure cloud computing. On the private cloud front, IT will be challenged to bring operations and development groups closer together using “DevOps” concepts in order to approach the speed and efficiencies of public cloud service providers.