Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Microsoft – what’s behind the changes?

June 29th, 2015

The last major senior management shake-up at Microsoft was a couple of years ago and was initiated by Ballmer. His reorganization involved doing away with several product divisions and folding the remains of the old units into larger, “flatter” groups to allow for improved communications among formerly disparate factions.

Nadella’s recent exec changes, particularly the ouster of Elop, whose former unit has been integrated into a new group called Windows and Devices Group (WDG), which includes Xbox, smartphones, and Surface tablets, among others, along with the Windows division. This change stands out because it undoes at least part of Ballmer’s reorg from two years past and puts even more of Nadella’s stamp on the “new” Microsoft.

More importantly, Microsoft’s recent exec changes better align it with the first pillar of Nadella’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” initiative. Nadella’s mobile strategy has always been more than simply building Lumia smartphones or selling more Xbox units: though some may still look at quarterly sales and believe Microsoft is dropping the mobile ball. But there’s more to it than that.

There seems to be a move to technology rather than marketing in the management changes

Mobile-first: more than devices
If there was any doubt about Nadella’s vision for mobile, even after (finally) announcing Microsoft’s wildly successful Office solution is now compatible with Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, those should have been dispelled with the introduction of its Windows for iOS and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) dominant Android OS. The pending Windows 10 OS is said to provide an even better integration experience for users, regardless of device .

Similar to Google’s strategy behind its free Android OS, getting Windows into as many devices as possible — regardless of manufacturer — accomplishes several things. Microsoft’s Bing will be the default search engine, and with last quarter’s 21% jump in search ad revenues, Bing is quickly becoming more than an afterthought.

More devices running Windows should help maintain, the growing number of consumer Microsoft Office 365 users — a figure that increased a whopping 35% last quarter sequentially. integrating Windows into as many devices as possible ramps up Office 365 usage and boosts other app sales like Dynamics CRM.

Nadella’s new WDG division headed up by Terry Myerson better aligns Microsoft with its plans for a more holistic approach to mobile.

With Office 365, Microsoft is placing more emphasis on tools that enhance the entire online platform instead of focusing exclusively on content management

Rather than a “big bang” release every few years, Microsoft is becoming more nimble and shifting toward smaller, more frequent releases whether for Dynamcis, or Office 365

Work is not where we go, but what we do. The workplace is changing and so is the workforce. The enterprise must adapt to new ways of working—whether employees are at the office, working from a café, or from the lobby before a big presentation. Employees expect to be just as productive no matter where they’re at or what device they’re using. VPN clients, intranet access, or home office productivity, or Office 365 in the cloud.

Security has to be rock solid in order for all of this mobile, BYOD, and sharing functionality with partners and customers to work. Microsoft made a point to highlight security in the Ignite keynote. Office 365 has been verified to meet requirements specified in ISO 27001, EU model clauses, HIPAA BAA, and FISMA. It can also support the most complex scenarios around eDiscovery, device management, and DLP.

Social functionality within the workplace is now proven. It provides more effective and time-efficient methods for your employees to work together than traditional methods that require that employees know who to go to for help (e.g., sending an email to a specific recipient vs. posting a question on a forum that anyone can respond to). New functionality in Office 365 is heavily focused on leveraging this model e.g Yammer

BI, big data predictive analytics and dashboards, which highlight cross-team interaction and provide data on how and when you work to help maintain work-life balance. Understanding all of this usage data is key to ensuring effective use of technology, as well as staying attuned to your users’ needs. See the Office telemetry dashboard.

Office Graph is the next iteration of search + cloud + Azure machine learning. It is the “brain” behind features such as Clutter and Delve. To work effectively, it is important for organizational details (e.g., role, hierarchy, team name, location) to be up to date in Active Directory to be able to find:
1) content without query;
2) content trending around you;
3) content you didn’t know existed;
4) colleagues by expertise or interest.
In addition, Microsoft will expose Graph via an API to develop custom apps directly against it.

SharePoint is now positioned as one function of the Office 365 platform. The platform has evolved. With Office 365, Microsoft is placing more emphasis on tools that enhance the entire online platform instead of focusing exclusively on content management. With this broader focus, there is more choice, and with that the need to clearly define business cases for each technology.

What does this all mean?

Groups, Delve, Microsites, Team Sites, OneDrive, and Yammer, do you know which provides the best fit and value for how your team works?

The emphasis on mobile underscores the importance of responsive, fast user experiences. Many core elements of an on-premise solution (e.g., structured navigation, content query web parts) have implications on performance that are magnified in the cloud. In addition, heavily customized user experiences often leverage custom master pages. By using custom master pages, we can miss out on new experiences and features being rolled out on the Office 365 platform

A move to the cloud provides an opportunity to reassess current information architecture. Has your business remained static since you first deployed SharePoint? Take advantage of the opportunity to ensure that all of the assumptions, process definitions, and changes since are reflected in a manner that provide an experience that supports and enhances how your employees work.

In an age of social collaboration and online productivity, new roles are required to ensure an organization is working in the best possible way. Site or community ownership is no longer a passive role. Site owners will evolve into community managers and shift their focus from governance to content curation.

New technology also spawns new roles, such as machine-learning engineers and data experts who strive to garner knowledge from new ways of looking at data that were not possible in the past.

Microsoft’s increased focus on social collaboration and dashboards, which highlight cross-team interaction and provide data on how and when you work to help maintain work-life balance. Understanding all of this usage data is key to ensuring effective use of technology, as well as staying attuned to your users’ needs.

when you’re deploying a new solution for a client, individual users resist changing the way they get their work done and their performance suffers, making them a drag on workgroup productivity and profitability.

Customer-business transitions to cloud-based and hybrid cloud and on-premises solutions are making the “people” side of adoption and change even more important. At the same time, increased use of cloud and mobile applications means upgrade-time cycles are becoming extremely quick. Microsoft is adjusting the previously stately pace of Windows upgrades to accommodate the accelerated expectations of the market.

Change management is important. Agile powerful and simple is the Dynamics Ax mantra and is major factor in user adoption . Some of the basic keys to starting a good Adoption and Change Management (ACM) project are:

•Situation Awareness: a clear, broad, and deep awareness of the way the people in the company do business today, how they’ll be doing business in the future, and what the gaps are between those two scenarios.

•Sponsorship: Understand the power structure in your organization, and determin who is for and against the changes being planned.

•Resistance: Find out whether there are individuals or groups that will be resisting the planned changes and what the root causes are for their feelings.

•Incentives: Determining what employee incentives are in use in the client company. WIFM “What’s in it for me” for many it is fear of the unknown rather than belief in a better future .

•Training: Understand how new and existing employees are to be trained on new business tools and processes.

•Communications: Survey how client management communicates with employees across the company and within workgroups.

•Expertise: A change management team leader who’s trained, knowledgeable and, experienced in change management.

One benefit of using consultants is their exposure to change management every day. Its easy to pinpoint the need but it takes time and conscious effort to out theory into practice and manager also need to go through a change process.

SQL Server Management Studio 2015 – new version (June) – with Check for Updates!

June 27th, 2015

Today, Microsoft announced a new standalone SQL Server Management Studio download

“This is our first effort to release SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) in a mechanism outside of the SQL Engine releases. Our goal is to update this frequently with new features, fixes and support for the newest SQL Server features in SQL Server Engine and Azure SQL Database.”

Microsoft might start shipping updates to SSMS outside of the regular SQL Server Service Pack scenario! This telegraphs a couple of interesting things: first, surely they have to do it because Azure SQL Database ships updates much faster than SQL Server does. So this gives Microsoft a way to enable those updates in SSMS without releasing a separate service pack.

This implies that SQL Server Management Studio is now considered The Way to Manage Azure SQL Database. There isn’t a separate tool coming, nor will designer/developer tools like Visual Studio become a management tool. That sounds good news.

Microsoft Office on Android – 24 June 2015

June 27th, 2015

Microsoft has announced that their line of Office applications has made its way to Android smartphones. With the latest release, Microsoft now supports essentially every Android device. Whether your screen is big or small, and your processor ARM or Intel, you’ll be able to use Office on your Android device.

Microsoft’s partnerships with phone manufacturers mean that these apps will also come preloaded on many future smartphones and tablets.

After launching the first touch-optimized version of Office on the iPad, Microsoft has gradually been building out support for Android. It began with Office for Android first launching as a preview for ARM based tablets running KitKat, with the final release working on Lollipop. Shortly after, Microsoft began supporting Android tablets that use Intel processors, like the Dell Venue 8. Throughout all this, support for Android phones was still absent. With some Android devices having screens that are 6″ or even larger, creating a version of Office for those devices makes a lot of sense.

Using Office 360 gives access to additional features:…
The default assumes you will sgn onto the Mcorsft cloud but for clarification, you can click the “skip” option at the bottom of the first screen after installing it to bypass signing in. and proceed to the app

‘Non selected’ countries may find that many of the Microsoft apps have to be side-loaded – the link says that they are available from Galaxy Apps worldwide. You can also try Google Playstore.

SQL Server 2014 – Latest Builds end June 2015

June 27th, 2015

Since Service Pack 1
Regardless of your branch or patch level, be sure to check KB #2964518 : Recommended updates and configuration options for SQL Server 2012 / 2014, which is full of useful advice. Please always perform full regression testing before installing any SQL Server update in production. It’s becoming more and more clear that you might find an issue Microsoft missed.

SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1 was re-released after being pulled on April 15th due to an issue described in this post. The initial build number was 12.0.4050 but that has been updated to 12.0.4100. The official knowledge base article has been moved to KB #3058865,

Service Pack 1 includes a number of enhancements; these were the most interesting to us:
•The behavior of trace flags 1236 (see KB #2926217) and 9024 (see KB #2809338) will now be enabled by default.
•Several fixes for buffer pool extensions, including the ability to use instant file initialization.
•Improvements in columnstore performance and new extended event coverage for columnstore inserts.

SP1 Cumulative Update #1 includes 141 fixes, including all of the fixes from the RTM Cumulative Updates published up to and after SP1 was released (CU #6, CU #7, and CU #8 – One of the more important fixes is one that involves partial (and thus incorrect) results from a clustered columnstore index with a corrupted rowgroup (more gory details in this blog post and KB #3067257).

Recommendation: Install this Cumulative Update.

Service Pack 1 12.0.4100 KB #3058865 2015-05-15 29 (29)
Service Pack 1 (pulled) 12.0.4050 N/A

RTM Branch

If you are on the RTM branch, SQL Server 2014 is now at Cumulative Update #8 (including well over 400 fixes and enhancements). If you are applying Cumulative Updates at all, or want any of the interim fixes, we highly recommend using the latest update
The Build is 12.0.2546. This cumulative update has 38 public hotfixes . This CU may be less attractive now that Microsoft has also released SQL Server 2014 SP1 CU1. I because many people may get onto the SP1 branch, now that the first CU on top of SP1 has been released, and the branches are back in synch.

Build Name

Build #

KB Article


New fixes (public)

Cumulative fixes (public)

RTM Cumulative Update #8 12.0.2546 KB #3067836 2015-06-22 40 (38) 486 (432)

One of the more important fixes here is one that involves partial (and thus incorrect) results from a clustered columnstore index with a corrupted rowgroup (more gory details in this blog post and KB #3067257).

Recommendation: Install this Cumulative Update.

COD Hotfix for Azure Premium Storage Support 12.0.2506 KB #3063054 2015-05-19 1 (1) 450 (398)
COD Hotfix for intraquery parallel deadlock 12.0.2505 KB #3052167 2015-05-19 1 (1) 449 (397)
COD Hotfixes for SSIS / CCI 12.0.2504 KB #3058512 2015-05-05 2 (2) 448 (396)

A hotfix has been issued to address two completely different issues: (1) a problem with the Unpivot transformation task in SSIS (for more info, see KB #3058512), and (2) a problem with join performance when using a clustered columnstore index (see KB #2999809 for more details).

Recommendation: Install this hotfix only if you are using SSIS with Unpivot or clustered columnstore indexes.

RTM Cumulative Update #7 12.0.2495 KB #3046038 2015-04-23 47 (41) 446 (394)
COD Hotfix for Parallel Batch-Mode Deadlock 12.0.2488 KB #3048751 2015-04-01 1 (1) 401 (355)

A hotfix has been issued to address a potential problem where a parallel, batch-mode scan may lead to a deadlock, and the deadlock cannot be automatically resolved. This should only affect customers using Columnstore indexes. The hotfix can be downloaded from KB #3048751. It is included in Cumulative Update #7 (under a slightly different KB article: KB #3048752).

Recommendation: Install the latest cumulative update above, which includes this fix.

COD Hotfix for Availability Groups with CLR UDTs 12.0.2485 KB #3042370 2015-03-16 1 (1) 400 (354)

A hotfix has been issued to address a problem with CLR UDTs in Availability Group databases. The hotfix can be downloaded from KB #3043788 and is described in KB #3042370.

Recommendation: Install the latest cumulative update above, which includes this fix.

RTM Cumulative Update #6 12.0.2480 KB #3031407 2015-02-16 64 (55) 399 (353)
COD Hotfix for Availability Groups NOT SYNCHRONIZING 12.0.2474 KB #3034679 2015-02-04 1 (1) 338 (301)

A hotfix has been issued to fix Availability Groups reporting as NOT SYNCHRONIZING, an issue caused by CU #5 below. That issue is documented in KB #3033492 and explained further in this SQL Server blog post.

Recommendation: Install the latest cumulative update above, which includes this fix.

COD Hotfix for SSMS (Azure SQL Database) 12.0.2472 KB #3032087 2015-01-28 1 (1) 337 (300)
COD Hotfix for query compile waits 12.0.2464 KB #3024815 2015-01-05 1 (1) 336 (299)

A hotfix has been released that helps alleviate RESOURCE_SEMAPHORE_QUERY_COMPILE waits during concurrent compilation of large queries. A trace flag is also required (-T6498).

Recommendation: Install the latest cumulative update above, which includes this fix. The trace flag is required whether you apply the COD hotfix or the Cumulative Update.

RTM Cumulative Update #5 12.0.2456 KB #3011055 2014-12-17 54 (48) 335 (298)

Cumulative Update #5 has a known issue with Availability Groups reporting as NOT SYNCHRONIZING.

Recommendation: Avoid this update if you use Availability Groups. Apply the latest cumulative update above instead.

COD Hotfix for Availability Groups remote hardening 12.0.2436 KB #3014867 2014-11-27 1 (1) 282 (251)

A hotfix for an issue involving exception handling for remote hardening issues in Availability Groups was released on November 27, 2014.

Recommendation: Install the latest cumulative update above, which includes this hotfix. Install this specific hotfix only if you are using Availability Groups and your applications use OLEDB or JDBC (ODBC / SNAC are unaffected) and you don’t want any of the additional fixes in more recent CUs.

RTM Cumulative Update #4 12.0.2430 KB #2999197 2014-10-21 66 (54) 281 (250)
RTM Cumulative Update #3 12.0.2402 KB #2984923 2014-08-18 40 (32) 215 (196)
MS14-044 QFE Security Update 12.0.2381 KB #2984340 2014-08-12 1 (1) 175 (164)

A denial of service / privilege escalation vulnerability was identified and patched August 12, 2014.

It is described in Security Bulletin MS14-044 and KB #2984340.

Recommendation: Install the latest cumulative update above, which includes this QFE update.

RTM Cumulative Update #2 12.0.2370 KB #2967546 2014-06-27 52 (48) 174 (163)
RTM Cumulative Update #1 12.0.2342 KB #2931693 2014-04-21 121 (114) 122 (115)
MS14-044 GDR Security Update 12.0.2254 KB #2984340 2014-08-12 1 (1) 1 (1)

A denial of service / privilege escalation vulnerability was identified and patched August 12, 2014.

It is described in Security Bulletin MS14-044 and KB #2984340.

Recommendation: Install this GDR update only if you are at a build less than 12.0.2254 and only if you *don’t* want all of the fixes from the latest cumulative update above.

RTM 12.0.2000 2014-04-01 – –

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Asset Management and Tracking in the U.A.E.

June 18th, 2015

It is no secret that Synergy Software Systems and Deyafa Systems work closely together in the hospitality sector.
One of the key technologies used is mobile tracking of assets with RFID and bar code.

Our solutions are implemented and supported by us for major groups in the region. This includes both the physical and financial asset lifecycle management

The Real Asset Management’s (RAM( asset tracking application form allows your customers to perform regular audits and to keep a central, up to date register of their assets at all times.

The mobile app can use existing iOS, Android or Windows mobile devices to track and count assets, quickly and accurately at lower cost.

This app is an ideal solution for finance teams where routine asset tracking, or regular physical audits are often delegated to other department staff..

The mobile app integrates fully with RAM’s fixed asset accounting module for a financial asset register with comprehensive management of depreciation and asset values There is no need to purchase expensive scanning equipment.

Find out how you can :
• Minimise the number of lost assets
• Improve asset utilisation
• Quickly build a central asset register of all valuable or roaming assets
• Keep an up to date register for insurance purposes, warranty, and manufacturer details
• Manage the transfer, issue and return of assets to record accurate asset lending and location
• Flag items as transferred, located, missing
• Upload audited data to the central asset register
• Streamline your annual asset count and financial year end close and audit.

Bitlog WMS seminar 15 June 2015- fully booked

June 14th, 2015

We look forward to meeting all registrants tomorrow at Microsoft Gulf. The seminar is fully booked.

If you are unable to attend or were too late to register then please contact us.

2015 WMS Trends

New regulations -FDA Drug Quality Security Act (DQSA) – manufacturers to serialize all pharmaceutical inventory for human consumption – to counteract counterfeit pharmaceuticals
How BITLOG WMS helps:
• Serialization allows for more accurate ingredient traceability throughout the supply chain.
• End-to-end audit trail by serial number helps manufacturers to recall more efficiently and effectively.
Decreased profit margins and competition
- Patents Expiring losing major revenue streams, seeking cost savings.
- Generic Drugs Patents expiry more generic products – , reduces the profit margins for all manufacturers.

Pharmaceutical companies search for SCM cost savings to maintain profit margins.
How BITLOG WMS helps:
- Real-time data capture and inquiry – accurately track inventory and raw materials, reduce excess on-hand inventory
- Improved WMS = higher order fulfillment = higher sales less admin, = higher brand loyalty
- Bitlog WMS efficiently handles fast moving complex distribution strategies such as direct to consumer

Now 37% of the U.A.E. economy
Aerospace MRO and spare manufacture is now a major industry in the UAE
Airlines only make money when flying. Service providers must offer exceptional service levels. When outsourcing, the main concern of air carriers is not how much it costs, but how the service provider will do what needs to be done.
Risk is compounded by the reduction in the number of suppliers from hundreds to dozens. The same is true of logistics providers: aerospace providers want to work with only one or two that understand the industry’s specialized needs and have the WMS systems to handle the scope and the SLA’s.
Aerospace supply chain managers must meet increasingly tight delivery time windows.
Aerospace companies are frequently requesting that 3PLs manage vendor relationships and inbound logistics.
SWAT—Space Warehousing Accelerated Transformation. To reduce inventory – without raising risk airlines may collaborate to centralise spares to reduce inventory while maintaining service levels.

Airline parts are high-value and have a limited lifecycle.
Each is monitored and replaced on a specific schedule.
Governments impose strict rules about tracing the location and history of airline parts, down to the serial number.
Reverse logistics is a part of the job —not only moving the parts, but monitoring those through repair, and return for service, and providing visibility to the carriers.
Tracking expectations are increasingly sophisticated and granular, with more data collection points and greater detail.
Air carriers want to search databases by reference, project, or purchase order number.
Parts are more specialized, with less ability to share these across airlines, thus complicating inventory management.
RFID and GPS are emerging to increase visibility and tracking of aircraft components.
Modern WMs systems are essential.

AEC Construction Software Provides Rapid ROI to Dubai projects

June 10th, 2015

Nagarjuna Construction Company
Real, bottom line, profit increases in rapid time- less than 3 months.
Find out how we can bring your construction operations into the 21st century – see our videos on this blog site and call Vijay to learn more 00097143365589

WMS – Bitlog Launch Seminar, Dubai 15 June 2015

June 10th, 2015

Attend our free breakfast seminar and network with local industry logistics and WMS professionals.
FAST ROI for Distribution and Retail
Monday15th of June, 2015 , 08:00~11:00Microsoft Gulf, Building 8 Dubai Internet City, UAE

08:30 Registration & Breakfast
09:00 Introductions
09:05 Market and industry changes and WMS selection
How to choose the Right Product + Right Partner
Stephen Jones, Director, Synergy Software Systems
09:30 Next Generation WMS, Fred Boström, Bitlog
10:00 Reach fast ROI with Bitlog WMS, Hultafors Group case study
10:15 Bitlog GCC Launch offer
10.30 Discussion & Coffee

Bitlog WMS Launch event benefits :

Current trends that impact warehousing operations
How to select a warehouse management system,
Meet a proven new, innovative player in the GCC-market,
Meet the implementation partner
Find out how you can optimize your warehouse management,
to reduce cost, increase on time fulfillment and create more profit
A great opportunity to network during breakfast and coffee
Find out about the exclusive Bitlog WMS launch offer for seminar participants

For more information or to register contact : +971 (0)55 7186133

Note there are only a few seats left.

Ax 7 is coming to a cloud near you

June 2nd, 2015

Dan Brown, Microsoft’s AX R&D general manager, in keynote sessions in Orlando last week said that the next major version of Microsoft Dynamics AX, codenamed AX 7, is expected to be released at the end of the year exclusively on the Microsoft Azure platform.

An on-premise version is expected to be available six months later release.

Three primary updates will characterize AX 7:
- a new user experience,
– the extended use of Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS),
- the prevalence of the Microsoft Cloud, or Azure.

The AX 7 workspace is reimagined as a panorama of colorful, pictured tiles that quickly allows the user to view to-do tasks, urgent actions, and any other work-related activities. This will enable users to share common activities with other end-users.

With the LCS task recorder, users can record and annotate tasks and keep other end-users informed.

There’s also the ability to link two browsers enabling users to collaborate side-by-side on a double screen.

We are trying to eliminate clicks and give the production planner power within this user experience,” says Brown.

With AX 7 Microsoft is also making efforts to improve interoperability with its other products like Visual Studio, Office 365, Power BI, SharePoint, and Yammer.
AX 7 will more deeply embed Management Reporter in the interface, to make it the corporate performance management tool of record for AX ad an integral part of the initial deployment. “The more we bring these things together so you are just using the product, the better the overall experience,” Brown said.

X++ code customizations should remain unchanged, making upgrading to AX 7 seamless. However, developers should prepare to work with Visual Studio as their AX 7 development environment. AX will retain its X++ programming language, which is effectively a .NET language now, Brown said. The process for packaging and deploying X++ to an AX 7 instance is done through LCS.

Version 7 will be the first major release since last year’s AX 2012 R3, which added warehouse and transportation management, retail features, and tablet-based point of sale (POS).

This month i.e. June, AX 2012 CU9 will include rolled-up hotfixes, regulatory requirements, and platform capabilities, including compatibility for any new version of Windows.

Microsoft recognizes that not every business is keen on going from 0 to 120 mph on the cloud. “The idea of a hybrid cloud is not new,” says Brown. “We want to evolve to the cloud with you.”

Once the AX 7 on-premise version is released, you’ll have the option of using as much or as little of the cloud that you want. The software will also run on Azure Pack, identically packaging your data both on the cloud and on-premise, resulting in more symmetry and less friction.

Still, when it comes to Azure, companies still have questions about :security, privacy, and sovereignty of data. and ho to budget the cost “I think trustworthy computing is partially about privacy, but it’s also about high availability and disaster recovery, and redundancy,” said Brown. “Microsoft and Azure are investing heavily in data protection and security, and monitoring in our data centers. Microsoft has the widest range of data centers in the world.”

Brown hinted that he foresees more capabilities for mobile and on-premise in the future. ”
About Wendy Scheuring

Inflationary Wave Theory

June 1st, 2015

Is 2015 a turning point in global inflation and, if it is, what can you do to weather the storm? Pete Comely, author of a new book ‘Inflation Matters: Inflationary Wave Theory, its impact on inflation past and present … and the deflation yet to come’, explains…

Recent inflation data show that average prices in the UK have remained static for a second month in a row. History suggests that because of demographic changes we may now be about to enter a period of near-zero inflation for a lot of this century. This is going to have major implications for many aspects of life, but especially managing wealth.

Average prices were unchanged in the year to March, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index. This was due to a combination of a decline in the price of goods (-2.1 per cent) such as petrol, energy bills and food being balanced by increases in services (+2.4 per cent) including train and plane fares. However the declines are largely one-off changes and in a year when they fall out of the calculation, CPI will more than likely return to nearer 2 per cent again. But the current period of near-deflation is a symptom of a larger effect taking place across the globe that few have grasped the implications of yet.

The lower commodity prices we are seeing are as a result of supply exceeding demand. Moreover as we go forward in the 21st Century demand is going to fall still further and deflation is going to become a frequent theme. Populations in most countries are ageing. The average number of children women are having is below the replacement level of 2.1 in every developed market. The UK is 1.9 and Japan just 1.4. It is also low in South America and most of Asia. By 2050, some estimate that world population may even start to decline. In addition the ageing populations around the globe are consuming less too. The net effect of these demographic changes will be lower demand and prices.

This switch towards deflation also fits with longer term trends in inflation. We have seen significant price rises since 1900 but history shows that inflation exhibits a clear wave-like pattern and there are often periods of more stable prices.

A century of rising prices: Inflation has rocketed over the past century.
In his latest book, Inflation Matters, he shows that what drives the underlying trend is population growth and competition for resources.
A wave-like form is created when man realises prices are starting to rise again and attempts to exploit the situation. Investors buy assets that will keep their value during the inflation i.e. property/land and shares. They borrow money to invest, knowing that inflation will erode the true value of their capital and repayments. However that borrowed money increases the money supply which then fuels more inflation in the economy. Governments also join in and encourage inflation, as it allows them to spend more and let inflation deal with their deficits.

There comes a point when this inflation gets too far away from the underlying trend or there is a change in the population demand curve, which we starting to see now. Historically some form of deflationary shock occurs when prices collapse by about a half in a space of 5 years or so.
(What does that say for the swings in the value of property, oil stock markets etc in recent years??????)
Thereafter a bounce back follows in prices but they never reach new highs.

Over time prices gradually decline as technology and productivity improvements reduce the costs of production. The technology tipping point and exponential performance increases discussed in a recent blog is going to dramatically impact this – big dats, parallel in memory processing, nano chips, even recently chips made of wood are already here

Is 2015 a turning point for inflation?
What to do? Short-term, governments have a strong incentive to keep inflation growing as long as they can against these demographic headwinds. It helps reduce the value of their escalating debts. To this end, they have and will continue to encourage their central bankers to print money and will keep interest rates low. This will favour assets such as shares and property. On the flipside, all forms of salary, cash savings and bonds will be gradually eroded by the combination of very low yields and the inflation rate that governments manage to create.

However all that will change when we enter the transition period and the inflation trend actually changes. It is impossible to predict exactly what will cause this to happen and when but a likely candidate could well be a bond market crisis.

Transition: Which assets are best as the inflation cycle turns?
At some point the ever increasing level of worldwide government debt will inevitably collapse and with it destroy a large portion of wealth not only in that area but in nearly all financial assets due to domino effects. The reduced the money supply will impact consumer prices, as will lower velocity of money as fear spreads. During this brief turbulent period, the key asset to hold might be gold. Digital currencies may well come to the fore, if they have credibly established themselves by then. Holding cash might also be a good idea, but it is an easy target for governments.
The world will be different after the trauma of the transition. It would return to some form or normality. There may well be some growth in shares and housing, but it may probably be limited to genuine supply and demand effects.

(for example the main return from holding shares will revert to be dividends of maybe 3 per cent. However in a world of average inflation of -1 per cent, that would still be a net return of 4 per cent, not far off historical levels. Therefore investing for the long-term over the coming decades is going to be a challenge, but maybe not an impossible one. In a world of zero inflation business will look as much at cost control and efficiency as to sales growth and technology and systems can be expected to have major impact.

The nature of society , how we communicate what jobs and skills are needed are all going to be impacted much sooner and much more significantly than we may realise.

(Pete Comley’s book Inflation Matters: Inflationary Wave Theory, its impact on inflation past and present … and the deflation yet to come is available in Kindle format and in hardback from Amazon.

Allegion announce a new release of the IF-6020 – version 1.79

June 1st, 2015

The IF-6020 version 1.79 is going was released on May 29, 2015.

In addition to the implementation of features that enhance the performance of the system, note:

IF-6020 version 1.79
1. The number of person record fields is increased. As of version 1.79, it is possible to enter longer remarks in the fields on the new “Info 4″ tab in the person record.

2. Visitor management in the WebClient isoptimized. Thus, work processes are more clearly structured and more effective.

3. The number of reports is increased from 100 to 1000.

4. The escalation check is enhanced to include month accounts. . For example, according to a company agreement, only two flexitime days are allowed to be taken per month. If a request is made for three days, a reject message is returned.

5. Support of new technologies: MS SQL Server 2014, Oracle 12g and Windows 8.1 are now also supported.

Known bugs have also been fixed.

Kurzweil and Moore’s law and the IOT – what lies ahead?

May 28th, 2015

New figures released by the ITU (the UN agency for information and communication technologies) indicates 3.2 billion people online worldwide by the end of 2015 with — 2 billion of them — live in developing countries.
Since the millennium,mobile subscriptions rose from from 738 million to 7 billion worldwide, and Internet penetration from 6.5 percent to 43 percent of the global population. Almost half of the homes across the world now have internet access (46 percent), which is up from 18 percent in 2005.

As for mobile broadband, the number of users surfing on their phones increased by a factor of 12 since 2007, reaching 47 percent this year.
What will the internet of things bring to the party?

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao commented: “These new figures not only show the rapid technological progress made to date, but also help us identify those being left behind in the fast-evolving digital economy, as well as the areas where ICT investment is needed most”.

Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau,observed: “ICTs will play an even more significant role in the post-2015 era and in achieving future Sustainable Development Goals as the world moves faster and faster towards a digital society. Our mission is to connect everyone and to create a truly inclusive information society, for which we need comparable and high-quality data and statistics to measure progress

This explosive growth reflects Google Futurist Ray Kurzweil core thesis, called “the Law of Accelerating Returns .(He made headlines with provocative yet often accurate predictions, like that a computer would beat a human in chess (already happened) or that self-driving cars would take us everywhere (starting to happen). Kurzweil’s theory states that “fundamental measures of information technology follow predictable and exponential trajectories.”
Information technology progresses exponentially. With exponential growth, it’s one, two, four, eight,… and you’re soon at a billion.

The most famous example is “Moore’s Law,” named for Intel cofounder Gordon Moor,who in 1965predicted that “the number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months. In 1969 I did metallurgical research on Silicon chip manufacure and 1000 components on a chip was about the limit then and such a chip cost about the same as small car.. Computers have shrunk from filling up a room to filling up your pocket, all while becoming way more powerful.

He cites the analogy of the supposed inventor of chess and his patron, the Emperor of China. In response to the emperor’s offer of a reward for his new beloved game, the inventor asked for a single grain of rice on the first square, two on the second square, four on the third, and so on. The Emperor quickly granted this seemingly benign and humble request. One version of the story has the emperor going bankrupt as the 63 doublings ultimately totaled 18 million trillion grains of rice. At ten grains of rice per square inch, this requires rice fields covering twice the surface area of the Earth, oceans included. Another version of the story has the inventor losing his head. Therein lies the most terrifying, exciting, and mystifying aspect of Kurzweil’s thesis.

From an IT perspective we are somewhere in the middle of that chessboard. When the inventor went through the first half of the chess board, things were fairly uneventful. The inventor was given spoonfuls of rice, then bowls of rice, then barrels. By the end of the first half of the chess board, the inventor had accumulated one large field’s worth (4 billion grains), and the emperor did start to take notice.

When a technology like a a fax, then email, then a smartphone comes in and suddenly shifts our entire culture we start to realize how quickly things are accelerating. Humans are linear by thought process whereas technology is exponential.

“As exponential growth continues to accelerate into the first half of the twenty-first century,” he writes. “It will appear to explode into infinity, at least from the limited and linear perspective of contemporary humans.” The consequences of that moment — which is inevitable if Kurzweil’s theories hold — are widely debated.

Elon Musk has repeatedly said that we should be afraid of these high technologies. He’s said that “with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon,” and that it poses the “biggest existential threat to humans.”But for the rest of us, the issue isn’t whether the Law of Accelerating Returns is good or bad. Simply that it exists. “As humans, we are biased to think linearly,” writes Peter Diamandis, the futurist and XPRIZE CEO. “As entrepreneurs, we need to think exponentially.”

Read more:

Social media does it matter to your business?

May 20th, 2015

Watch this informative video to understand the explosive growth of social media.
Tourism Ireland is the publically-funded organisation responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas. Working together with their social media channels, Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps to give the organisation a deeper look at their customers and allows Tourism Ireland to bring a personalised experience to prospective visitors to the Emerald Isle. “Technology allows us to bring a lot of these experiences to life.” Microsoft Dynamics CRM has helped them build a single customer data base that is quickly accessible by their staff allowing them to easily customise their marketing communications.

Bitlog WMS launch seminar with Synergy Software Sytems, Dubai

May 7th, 2015

Bitlog first entered the UAE market in October 2014 and is now officially launching Bitlog WMS supported by Synergy Software Solutions.

Fred Boström, CEO, Bitlog, said: “The UAE distribution and retail industry is developing at a very dynamic pace and there is a great need for efficiency, both with work flow and costs in the vastly growing freezones, like JAFZA, DAFZA and Ajman Freezone. This makes the UAE the perfect choice for us. Not only does Bitlog WMS offer a fully automated system to manage the distribution chain, but it does it such an innovative way that the cost savings and warehouse operations drastically improve from the first day on.”

The WMS will be unveiled on 15 June, 2015 at the launch event with Synergy Software Solutions at the Microsoft Gulf Internet City premises. The software is compatible with all the common ERP systems and comes also with a mobile interface, which has been very popular among the Bitlog clients in Europe.

A customer, Hultafors Group, will be present at the launch event to speak about the 15% savings it achieved through using Bitlog WMS across multiple warehouses.

Stephen Jones, Director Synergy Software Systems, said “We are encouraged by the focus and support Bitlog is bringing to this launch. The UAE has evolved from a regional distribution hub to a global one as new ports, airports, and railways link with the material cities and freezones.. The user friendly Microsoft look and feel and technology stack were other factors in bringing the solution to market, but what matters most is how will it help you run your warehouse to give better service at lower cost. Some features we like include rapid reallocation of inventory based on changing priorities and rapid rescheduling of deliveries- which is crucial for many industries. We think Biltog will add value to many warehouse and distribution operations whether in house or 3PL companies”.

For more information on the event and how you can register please contact and wathc this blog for further news.

Microsoft Azure Stack announced this week at Microsoft Ignify 2015

May 6th, 2015

Microsoft Ignite this week- the company announced that it is making available a version of Azure that can be hosted in your own datacenter.
The new software, called Microsoft Azure Stack allows you to run your own version of the company’s cloud platform on your own servers. The idea is that you’ll be able to use the same application development and deployment techniques from the hosted cloud platform on your own terms.
Azure Stack is essentially everything you see on the hosted version of the company’s cloud service, including the portal, in a single package for running on premise. The software will be available for the first time “this summer.”

Microsoft’s competitors like: Amazon’s EC2 and Google Cloud Compute don’t provide offerings for hosting your own service.

Summary of Technet Guest post by Mike Neil, General Manager for Windows Server, Microsoft:
Chicago at the Microsoft Ignite conference

Hybrid cloud is an ideal solution for many organizations bringing together the agility of public cloud and the control of on-premises systems.
“Today, we are announcing several new solutions that will continue to expand the industry’s most complete cloud:
• Microsoft Azure Stack, a next generation cloud infrastructure that brings Azure IaaS and PaaS capabilities to customers’ datacenters.
• Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, the next versions of the popular application platform and management solutions.
• Microsoft Operations Management Suite, a new hybrid management solution that helps you manage your corporate workloads no matter where they run: Azure, AWS, Windows Server, Linux, VMware, or OpenStack.”

Building Hybrid Clouds
Microsoft is the only cloud vendor that both builds, and runs its own hyper-scale datacenters and delivers that same technology back to customers’ and partners’ datacenters.

Next wave of cloud infrastructure.
Microsoft Azure Stack
- Microsoft Azure Stack delivers IaaS and PaaS services into your datacenter
- Easily blend enterprise applications such as SQL Server, SharePoint, and Exchange with modern distributed applications and services while maintaining centralized oversight.
- Azure Resource Manager (just released in preview last week), gives consistent application deployments every time, whether provisioned to Azure in the public cloud or Azure Stack in a datacenter environment. This approach is unique in the industry and gives developers the flexibility to create applications once and then decide where to deploy t later – all with role-based access control to meet your compliance needs.

- Azure Stack includes a scalable and flexible software-defined Network Controller and Storage Spaces Direct with: – automated sync and failover.
Shielded VMsand Guarded Hosts to bring “zero-trust” software-defined security to your private cloud. Securely segment organizations and workloads and centrally control and monitor access and administration rights.

Preview Azure Stack starting this summer.

New Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016 – Now Available
The next version of Windows Server will introduce Windows Server Containers and Hyper-V Containers (expected in the third Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016 this summer).

Windows Server 2016 will also offer Azure Service Fabric, a platform for building and hosting application services that automatically scale and heal, bringing you the same underlying technology used to power highly scalable services like Skype for Business, Azure SQL Database, and Cortana.
The second Technical Preview of Windows Server 2016. offers a first look at Nano Server. Extending the advanced virtualization features:
• Rolling upgrades for Hyper-V and Storage clusters for even faster adoption of new updates and operating systems.
• Compute resiliency so virtual machines (VMs) continue running even if the compute cluster fabric service fails.
• Storage Replica updates for synchronous storage replication for affordable backup and disaster recovery.

Managing a Hybrid World
Today’s hybrid reality means applications and data are spread across multiple vendors’ environments. While you may not control all the platforms they run on you still need to manage and control these assets to help your organization meet business, compliance and regulatory needs.
Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS)
OMS now extends your System Center investments and Microsoft best practices to simplify management of your assets at a lower cost than competitive solutions, wherever they live-
- any instance (physical, virtual or container)
- and any cloud, including: your data center, Azure, AWS, Windows Server, Linux, VMware, and OpenStack,
OMS tracks and manages:
Log Analytics: collect and search millions of records in seconds across thousands of machines to identify the root cause of operational issues.
Security: identify malware status and missing system updates, and collect security related events to perform forensic, audit and breach analysis.
Availability: enable application and data protection for all servers and applications, no matter where they reside with cloud-based backup and site recovery.
Automation: orchestrate complex and repetitive operations for more efficient and cost-effective hybrid cloud management.

Expect cloud-based patching, inventory, alerting, container management, and more later in the year.

New Technical Preview of System Center 2016 – Available This Week
System Center 2016 has new; provisioning, monitoring and automation capabilities for your software-defined datacenter. iT adds:
• Improved Linux management, including Desired State Configuration (DSC) support, native SSH support, and improved LAMP stack monitoring.
• Software Defined Datacenter management, including mixed mode cluster upgrades, enhanced Scale-Out File Server (SOFS) management, and deployment of software-defined networking (SDN) at scale.
• Powerful new monitoring for Azure, Office365, SQL Server and Exchange.