Facebook, Ericsson collaborate

The companies will create an innovation lab in California to expand connectivity to emerging markets.

Read time 9min 10sec

The international ICT market was very quiet last week, although there were several small acquisitions by the 'big boys', such as IBM and Oracle.

At home, Koos Bekker's 'temporary departure' from the helm at Naspers dominated the local market news.

Key local news

* Good interim numbers from FoneWorx, with revenue up 32.1% and profit up 10%; Metrofile, with revenue up 11.5% and profit up 44.4%; and Morvest Business Group, with revenue up 15.2% and profit up over 700%.
* Mixed interim numbers from Digicore, with revenue down 4.5% but profit up 39.7%; and Silverbridge Holdings, with revenue down 6.2% but profit up 314.6%.
* A positive trading update from EOH.
* Esquire Technologies acquired FilmChrome, a digital film and video company.
* MICROmega Holdings bought Freshmark Systems, a provider of information management systems specifically designed for SA's fresh produce markets.
* MapIT will be renamed TomTom South Africa.
* Telkom SA has asked for tenders for the provisioning of video on-demand services.
* The appointment of Bob van Dijk as CEO of Naspers.
* The resignation of Tom Vosloo as chairman of Naspers (as from April 2015).
* The departure of Koos Bekker as CEO of Naspers (becomes chairman in April 2015).

Key international

* 3M acquired Treo Solutions, a data analytics and BI provider to healthcare payers and providers.
* IBM bought Cloudant, a database as a service provider.
* Oracle purchased BlueKai, an online data management start-up.
* RF Micro Devices acquired TriQuint Semiconductor, a supplier of RF chips that help connect cellphones to data and voice networks. The deal was worth $1.6 billion.
* Rovi purchased Veveo, a provider of intuitive and personalised entertainment discovery solutions.
* Square acquired BookFresh, an online scheduling start-up.
* Tech Mahindra bought the IT Services arm of BASF, in a move designed to strengthen the former's presence in Western Europe.
* TeleTech purchased Sofica Group, an independent customer management services company.
* Huawei and InterDigital have settled their patent dispute.
* A German court has rejected a EUR1.6 billion claim filed against Apple by IPCom, regarding a patent that enables mobile phones to make emergency calls even when networks are overloaded.
* Investment firm Elliott Management has increased its offer for Riverbed Technology to $3.36 billion.
* Facebook and Ericsson will create an innovation lab in California to expand connectivity to emerging markets.
* Panasonic will return to the smartphone arena with Toughpad handsets.
* Mt. Gox, once the largest Bitcoin exchange, has filed for bankruptcy.
* Very good quarterly figures from Sina.
* Good quarterly numbers from Mentor Graphics.
* Mediocre year-end figures from Autodesk and SFR (France).
* Mediocre quarterly results from Avago Technologies.
* Mixed quarterly figures from American Tower, with revenue up but profit down; Baidu, with revenue up but profit down; Cablevision Systems, with revenue up but profit down; CDI, with revenue up but profit down; Liberty Media, with revenue up but profit down; OmniVision Technologies, with revenue down but profit up; Tech Data, with revenue up but profit down; Telefonica, with revenue down but profit up; TeleTech, with revenue up but profit down; and Verisk Analytics, with revenue up but profit down.
* Very poor quarterly figures from TiVo, although back in the black.
* Quarterly losses from Infoblox, Nimble Storage, Palo Alto Networks, Salesforce.com, SBA Communications, Splunk, T-Mobile US, Telephone & Data Systems and US Cellular.
* The resignation of Kevin Russell, CEO of Optus (Australia).
* A planned IPO in the US by Weibo, a China-based social media service.
* A planned IPO in May 2015 by Kakao, the South Korean messaging group.
* A planned IPO later this year by HubSpot, an online marketing software company.
* A planned IPO by Varonis Systems, a provider of an innovative software platform that allows enterprises to map, analyse, manage and migrate their unstructured data.

Research results and predictions

South Africa:
* Shipments of tablet PCs to SA last year increased 107.1% in Q4 2013 to total 513 000 units, while traditional PC shipments decreased 18.8% over the same period, according to IDC.

EMEA/Africa:
* EMEA server revenue shrunk 6.4% in Q4 2013, while shipments declined 2.5%, according to Gartner.

Worldwide:
* The telecommunications industry needs to invest up to $1.7 trillion over the next five years to meet data demand, according to Etisalat and Telenor.
* Worldwide server revenue shrunk 6.6% in Q4 2013, although shipments grew 3.2% to over 2.5 million units, according to Gartner.
* Emerging markets have become the centre of attention regarding present and future smartphone growth, according to IDC.
* Global smartphone shipments will fall this year, with a growth of only 19.3% as compared to 39.2% in 2013, according to IDC.
* The worldwide LTE subscriber base will reach 170 million this quarter, from the 225 operators in 98 countries with LTE networks up and running, according to the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute.

Stock market changes

1. JSE All share index: Down 0.3%
2. Nasdaq: Up 1% (highest weekend close since the year 2000)
3. NYSE (Dow): Up 1.4%
4. S&P 500: Up1.3% (highest-ever weekend close)
5. FTSE100: Down 0.4%
6. Top SA share movements: Adapt IT (+15.4%), Ansys (+30.8%), Blue Label Telecoms (+7.7%), CompuClearing (+8.3%), Digicor (+14.4%), Gijima (-7.7%), Mix Telematics (-8%), Mustek (+8.9%) and Sekunjalo (+15.9%)

Look out for

International:
* The merger of Vivendi's SFR unit and Numericable, the latter having listed very successfully in France in November last year.

South Africa:
* Further news on the possible Vodacom/Neotel deal.

Final word

According to Gartner, companies wishing to unlock the full potential of mobility must master a wide range of technologies and skills, many of which are unfamiliar to IT staff. These top 10 technologies and capabilities are:

Huawei and InterDigital have settled their patent dispute.

* Multiplatform/multi-architecture application development tools. Most organisations will need application development tools to support a '3 x 3' future, ie, three key platforms (Android, iOS and Windows) and three application architectures (native, hybrid and mobile Web).
* HTML5, although this won't be a simple panacea for mobile application portability, because it's fragmented and immature, and therefore poses many implementation and security risks. However, despite many challenges, HTML5 will be an essential technology for organisations delivering applications across multiple platforms.
* Advanced mobile user experience design. Leading mobile apps are delivering exceptional user experiences, which are achieved by a variety of new techniques and methodologies, such as motivational design, 'quiet' design and 'playful' interfaces. Designers are also creating apps that can accommodate mobile challenges, such as partial user attention and interruption, or that can exploit technologies with novel features or 'wow' factors, such as augmented reality. Leading consumer apps are setting high standards for user interface design, and all organisations must master new skills and work with new partners to meet growing user expectations.
* High-precision location sensing. Knowing an individual's location to within a few metres is a key enabler of the delivery of highly relevant contextual information and services. This year, Gartner expects growth in the use of wireless beacons using the new Bluetooth Smart standard, and in the longer term, technologies such as smart lighting will also become important. Precise indoor location sensing, combined with mobile apps, will enable a new generation of extremely personalised services and information.
* Wearable devices. The smartphone will become the hub of a personal-area network consisting of wearable gadgets such as on-body healthcare sensors, smart jewellery, smart watches, display devices (like Google Glass) and a variety of sensors embedded in clothes and shoes. These gadgets will communicate with mobile apps to deliver information in new ways and enable a wide range of products and services in areas such as sport, fitness, fashion, hobbies and healthcare.
* New WiFi standards. Emerging WiFi standards such as 802.11ac (Waves 1 and 2), 11ad, 11aq and 11ah will increase WiFi performance, make WiFi more relevant to applications such as telemetry, and enable WiFi to provide new services. Over the next three years, demands on WiFi infrastructure will increase as more WiFi-enabled devices appear in organisations, as cellular offloading becomes more popular, and as applications such as location sensing demand denser access-point placement. The opportunities enabled by new standards and the performance required by new applications will require many organisations to revise or replace their WiFi infrastructure.
* Enterprise mobile management (EMM). EMM is a term that describes the future evolution and convergence of several mobile management, security and support technologies. These include mobile device management; mobile application management; application wrapping and containerisation; and some elements of enterprise file synchronisation and sharing. Such tools will mature, grow in scope and eventually address a wide range of mobile management needs across all popular OSes on smartphones, tablets and PCs.
* Mobile-connected smart objects. By 2020, the average affluent household in a mature market will contain several hundred smart objects, including LED light bulbs, toys, domestic appliances, sports equipment, medical devices and controllable power sockets. These domestic smart objects will be a part of the Internet of Things, and most will be able to communicate in some way with an app on a smartphone or tablet. Smartphones and tablets will perform many functions, including acting as remote controls, displaying and analysing information, interfacing with social networks to monitor 'things' that can tweet or post, paying for subscription services, ordering replacement consumables and updating object firmware.
* LTE and LTE-A. LTE and its successor, LTE Advanced, are cellular technologies that improve spectral efficiency and will push cellular networks to theoretical peak downlink speeds of up to 1Gbps, while reducing latency. All mobile users will benefit from improved bandwidth, and superior performance combined with new features such as LTE Broadcast will enable network operators to offer new services.
* Metrics and monitoring tools. The diversity of mobile devices makes comprehensive app testing impossible, and the non-deterministic nature of mobile networks and the cloud services that support them can result in performance bottlenecks that are hard to locate. Mobile metrics and monitoring tools, often known as application performance monitoring (APM), can help and provide visibility into app behaviour; deliver statistics about which devices and OSes are adopted; and monitor user behaviour to determine which app features are being successfully exploited.

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