Dial SA for service

first_img12 November 2003As companies worldwide respond to increasing cost and efficiency pressures, South Africa is well placed to become a favoured international location for outsourced call centres and business process outsourcing.Traditionally, countries such as India and the Philippines have led the way in servicing markets for the United States and Britain, among other countries. South Africa is quickly catching up, however, thanks to a range of factors working in its favour.World-class service levels of call centre staff, time-zone compatibility with Europe, high rates of fluency in English, a (still) favourable exchange rate and an advanced telecommunications industry have all contributed to the growth of South Africa’s call centre industry.South Africa became an even more attractive location to set up these businesses when a second undersea fibre-optic telephone link with Europe, along the east coast of Africa, was established in February. Another fibre-optic link runs along Africa’s west coast.Dialogue UK opens shop in Cape TownIn March, British company Dialogue UK put R20-million into a call centre in Cape Town. The company’s investment is expected to rise to R70-million in the next three years, while the call centre’s staff complement is set to rise to 600 from 110 by early next year, reaching 1 500 by 2005.Dialogue UK’s local operation, Dialogue Communications, already services several multi-nationals operating in South Africa, including Shell, Pfizer and British American Tobacco, as well as a number of nationwide newspaper and other publishing groups.Since its acquisition of the local call centre, Dialogue UK has added a number of major UK names to its client list, including mail order business Truebell and Lexchatsafe, a company that monitors children’s use of the Internet in the US and UK markets.Dialogue chairman Jason Drew told the Business Day newspaper that South Afica has enormous potential to become a major destination for outsourced contact centres from the UK, the US and the Netherlands.Dialogue UK’s decision to invest in South Africa was prompted, among other things, by the “cultural fit” between SA and the UK, and what Drew described as South Africans’ “natural tendency towards service”.Drew told Business Day that, according to an international report on the industry across a range of countries, South Africa’s skilled call centre workforce worked harder than its international counterparts – 243 days a year at 42 hours a week, compared with an international average of 220 days a year at 36 hours a week.“Until recently the majority of UK companies outsourcing their customer contact services tended to look to companies in India, since operational costs are lower than in the UK and Europe”, Drew said.“However, continually interrupted power supply issues, the marked time differences and a productivity rate lower than in South Africa, are encouraging organisations to consider this country, which offers excellent value and is supported by high standards of local telecommunications, banking, financial services and IT.”According to Business Day, the call centre industry worldwide was predicted to generate an income of US$59-billion in 2003 to match the growing demand in areas such as financial services, home shopping, cellular telephony and healthcare.The paper reported South Africa’s share at an estimated R523-million, but noted that the country had the capacity to increase this share significantly as its full potential was recognised and more foreign companies established call centres offshore.Other globlal call centres in SAGlobalTeleSales, Lufthansa’s Cape Town call centre, was set by the German airline in 1999 to fulfill its “follow-the-sun” 24/365 phone channel strategy (“Hours of Operation: 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year”, the company boasts on its website.) GlobalTelesales reportedly handles between 100 000 and 120 000 calls a month for Lufthansa.Active Contact Solutions was reportedly the first British outsource company to set up shop in Cape Town. The company has over 60 call centre seats in Cape Town servicing its UK customers. According to its website, the contact centre “has contracts with leading South African banks, a worldwide motor company, a leading South African FMCG company, and runs outbound debt chasing for a credit card company. It also runs several mail order contracts.” Offshore costs, according to the website, “are approximately 20% cheaper than those of UK call centres”.Swiss-based outfit Mindpearl (formerly known as Qualiflyer Customer Care Centres) runs a state-of-the-art facility in Cape Town. The call centre has 129 workstations, employs 125 poeple, and has the capacity to grow to 650 seats and 500 employees by 2005. According to the SA Technology Vanguard, while MindPearl’s clientele includes airline and travel companies, future operations will also be focused on the financial sector in South read more

Why Don’t Green Buildings Live Up to Hype on Energy Efficiency?

first_imgFaulty energy modelingIt was an extreme case. But it was also a good example, according to Coley, of how overly optimistic energy modeling helps cause the “energy performance gap,” a problem that has become frustratingly familiar in green building projects.The performance gap refers to the failure of energy improvements, often undertaken at great expense, to deliver some (or occasionally all) of the promised savings. A study last year of refurbished apartment buildings in Germany, for instance, found that they missed the predicted energy savings by anywhere from 5% to 28%. In Britain, an evaluation of 50 “leading-edge modern buildings,” from supermarkets to health care centers, reported that they “were routinely using up to 3.5 times more energy than their design had allowed for” — and producing on average 3.8 times the predicted carbon emissions.The performance gap is “a vast, terrible, enormous problem,” in the words of one building technology specialist, and that’s not an exaggeration. Though much of the public concern about energy consumption and climate change focuses on automotive miles-per-gallon, the entire transport sector — including trains, planes, ships, trucks, and cars — accounts for just 26% of U.S. climate change emissions. Buildings come in at 40%, and they are the fastest growing source of emissions, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.Eliminating the performance gap matters particularly for European Union nations, which have a legally binding commitment to reduce emissions by 80% to 95% below 1990 levels by mid-century. But knowing with confidence what savings will result matters for anybody trying to figure out how much to invest in a particular energy improvement. Builders and occupants are not to blameResearchers have generally blamed the performance gap on careless work by builders, overly complicated energy-saving technology, or the bad behaviors of the eventual occupants of a building. But in a new study, Coley and his co-authors put much of the blame on inept energy modeling.The title of the study asks the provocative question, “Are Modelers Literate?” Even more provocatively, a press release from the University of Bath likens the misleading claims about building energy performance to the Volkswagen emissions scandal, in which actual emissions from diesel engine cars were up to 40 times higher than “the performance promised by the car manufacturer.”For their study, Coley and his co-authors surveyed 108 building industry professionals — architects, engineers, and energy consultants — who routinely use energy performance models. To keep the problem simple, the researchers asked participants to look at a typical British semi-detached home recently updated to meet current building codes. Then they asked test subjects to rank which improvements made the most difference to energy performance.Their answers had little correlation with objective reality, as determined by a study monitoring the actual energy performance of that home hour-by-hour over the course of a year. A quarter of the test subjects made judgments “that appeared worse than a person responding at random,” according to the study, which concluded that the sample of modelers, “and by implication the population of building modelers, cannot be considered modeling literate.” RELATED ARTICLES Finding a cureSo what’s the fix? The current accreditation requirements for energy modelers are “very gentle,” said Coley, but “when you’re trying to get something off the ground relatively quickly, you can’t send everybody back to college for three years.” In any case, the problem isn’t really education in the formal sense.“It has to do with feedback,” he said, or the lack of it. The culture of building construction says it’s perfectly reasonable for architects — but not energy modelers —to travel hundreds of miles to see how the actual building compares with what they designed. For energy modelers, there’s not even an expectation that they’ll get on the phone with the building manager at year one and ask how energy usage compares with the original model. As a result, said Coley, energy modeling can become like theoretical physics: “You can very easily create a whole web of theories, and then you find yourself studying the physics of your theories, not the physics of the real world.”The answer, he suggested, is a regulatory requirement that modelers follow up on their work by routinely checking their predictions against a building’s actual energy consumption. A system of modest inducements could also make that feedback more broadly available — for instance, by promising to take three weeks off the planning permissions process for developers who commit to posting actual energy usage to an online database. The Green Building Council has begun to require that sort of reporting for projects seeking LEED certification, said Hampsmire, with an online read more

Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag nominated for ICC’s all-time greatest Test team

first_imgBatting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and opener Virender Sehwag are among the list of players nominated for an online poll to select the greatest team of all-time on the occasion of Test cricket’s 2,000th match. The historic match will take place between India and England at Lord’s from July 21 to 25, and the ICC has called on supporters from across the globe to select the greatest team of all-time. While Sehwag has found a place in the list of openers, which also has the likes of former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar, Tendulkar has been short-listed for the middle-order batsman’s slot. However, no Indian player has found a place in the shortlist for the slot of wicketkeepers and fast bowlers, while the 1983 World Cup winning Indian team captain Kapil Dev is in the reckoning as an all-rounder. Legendary Bishan Singh Bedi and Anil Kumble have been shortlisted for the spinner’s role in the dream team. Sir Donald Bradman and West Indian great Viv Richards are in the fray for the middle-order’s slot, while attacking wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist is pitted against South Africa’s Mark Boucher for the stumper’s position. Legendary West Indian pacers Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding and Pakistani great Wasim Akram have been shortlisted in the bowler’s category along side champion spinner Shane Warne. The ICC’s website is seeking votes from the fans and cricket lovers across the world to pick the dream Test team from a shortlist of 60 players split into five categories. The fans will be asked to pick two opening batsmen, three middle-order batsmen, a wicketkeeper, three fast bowlers and one spinner. The public vote on ICC’s website closes in two days’ time with results set to be announced the week before the 2,000th Test. “With the 2,000th Test coming up it is appropriate to remember some of the great players through the ages that have thrilled audiences and inspired us all,” ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement. “With so many legends of the game to choose from, it is a very difficult task and I’m sure one that will lead to plenty of fond recollection and great debate. “Test cricket is the pinnacle format of our great sport and it is important we continue to protect and promote it so that it grows even stronger over the next 2,000 matches.” The shortlist for Dream Team Opening batsmen: Geoffrey Boycott, Sunil Gavaskar, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Hanif Mohammad, Virender Sehwag, Herbert Sutcliffe, Victor Trumper. Middle-order batsmen: Don Bradman, Greg Chappell, Wally Hammond, George Headley, Brian Lara, Javed Miandad, Graeme Pollock, Ricky Ponting, Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar. All-rounder: Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Aubrey Faulkner, Richard Hadlee, Jacques Kallis, Imran Khan, Keith Miller, Wilfred Rhodes, Gary Sobers, Frank Worrell. Wicketkeepers: Les Ames, Mark Boucher, Jeff Dujon, Godfrey Evans, Andy Flower, Adam Gilchrist, Alan Knott, Rod Marsh, Clyde Walcott, Wasim Bari. Fast bowlers: Curtley Ambrose, Sydney Barnes, Michael Holding, Dennis Lillee, Ray Lindwall, Malcolm Marshall, Glenn McGrath, Fred Trueman, Courtney Walsh, Wasim Akram. Spinners: Bishen Bedi, Richie Benaud, Lance Gibbs, Clarrie Grimmett, Jim Laker, Anil Kumble, Muttiah Muralidaran, Bill O’Reilly, Derek Underwood, Shane Warne.advertisement- With PTI inputslast_img

9 months agoReal Madrid chief Butragueno on Isco: I won’t question Solari

first_imgReal Madrid chief Butragueno on Isco: I won’t question Solariby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid chief Emilio Butragueno refused to comment on Isco’s situation after victory at Real Betis.Real coach Santiago Solari left the midfielder on the bench for the 2-1 win.”It’s a decision of Solari, I should not enter it,” replied Butragueno when asked about Isco.”A coach makes those decisions and belongs to his world, I insist, we should not enter.”On new signing Brahim Diaz, he added: “He’s a boy with a lot of personality, we have a lot of hope in him, we have to give him time.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Australia to create its own space agency for economic boost

first_imgCANBERRA, Australia – Australia announced on Monday it will create its own space agency to increase its share of the $330 billion space economy.Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the agency would be part of Australia’s development of an innovation and science economy. But the government has provided few specifics.“It’s a small agency to co-ordinate and lead,” Turnbull told reporters. “The space sector, of course, is one of enormous potential.”Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Michaelia Cash said the agency’s charter would be developed by the end of March.“The global space industry is growing rapidly and it’s crucial that Australia is part of this growth,” Cash said in a statement.“A national space agency will ensure we have a strategic long-term plan that supports the development and application of space technologies and grows our domestic space industry,” she added.The opposition Labor Party said such an agency was needed to increase Australia’s share of a global space economy from less than 1 per cent of what the government estimates is worth $330 billion.Labour said Australia and Iceland were the only countries in the 35-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that do not have a space agency.Australia in 1967 became one of the first countries to launch a satellite and images of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon were transmitted by NASA’s Honeysuckle Creek tracking station in Australia.But successive governments have baulked at establishing a space agency because of cost. The government has yet to announce how much it will invest in the new agency.last_img

Air Canada and Jazz parent extend agreement securing regional airlines future

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:CHR)The Canadian Press MONTREAL — Air Canada and Chorus Aviation Inc. have extended a purchase agreement by 10 years that will see Chorus subsidiary Jazz Aviation LP continue to provide Canada’s biggest airline with regional service through to 2035.Analysts say the deal will quell concerns around Chorus’s future after Air Canada announced last February it would expand its Rouge fleet and fly the lower-cost airplanes on Canadian regional routes — Jazz’s traditional stomping grounds.Chorus says the agreement, announced Monday, will grow its revenues by $940 million for a contracted total of $2.5 billion in aircraft leasing and fixed fees over the next 17 years. The deal also amends a 2015 agreement by lowering the fixed fees and incentive revenue Chorus receives by about $50 million annually.Under the new contract, Air Canada will make an equity investment of $97.3 million in Chorus, giving the carrier about 9.99 per cent of Chorus’s Class A and Class B voting shares, cumulatively.Chorus aims to put some of the proceeds from the investment to its leasing business, facilitating the purchase of new, larger-gauge aircraft, including nine CRJ900s in 2020.Chorus, a Halifax-based holding company, saw its stock shoot up 15 per cent to $7.21 from $6.29 in midday trading following the announcement.last_img

Womens basketball Buckeyes hot shooting torches Canisius 8956

OSU junior guard Kelsey Mitchell guards the ball in the Buckeyes 89-56 victory over Canisius on Dec. 11 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsBehind 51.5 percent shooting and a solid defensive effort, the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes downed the Canisius Golden Griffins 89-56 on Sunday afternoon.“I thought our effort, our attention-to-detail was better than it’s been,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said. “We’ve practiced better.”Both teams shot well out of the gate and the Golden Griffins took an 11-9 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first quarter. The No. 12 Buckeyes (8-3) would then outscore Canisius 22-7 the rest of the opening quarter, a stretch that included an 11-0 run and eight made field goals in a row. The teams played just about even in the second quarter, with the Buckeyes edging out Canisius 19-16 in the frame.OSU missed its first four shots of the second half, but a field goal from junior guard Kelsey Mitchell with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter started an 8-0 run for the Buckeyes. OSU would take a 69-44 run into the fourth quarter and would outscore the Golden Griffins 20-12 in the final frame to claim the 33-point victory.Mitchell led the Buckeyes with 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting. The Buckeyes buried 16-of-21 free throws, and despite converting on over half of its field goals, OSU was just 3 for 18 from three-point territory.“We have good shooters, but we didn’t shoot the ball very well today from the arc,” McGuff said. “That’s something that we’ve got to get in the gym and work on a little bit.”Canisius was led by 14 points from sophomore forward Sara Hinriksdottir. Senior guard Lauren D’Hont grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.Defensive improvementOSU put together one of its better defensive performances of the season on Sunday. Of the Buckeyes’ 21 forced turnovers, 15 were steals. Canisius shot well early from the three-point line – 7 of 16 in the first half – but they finished just 10 for 31 from beyond the arc and couldn’t get anything else going.“I thought our press today was as good as it’s been in a couple weeks,” McGuff said. “We really gave Canisius problems.”The Buckeyes didn’t allow the Golden Griffins to see the free-throw line at all and committed just eight team fouls. All nine Buckeyes who saw the floor had two personal fouls or less. McGuff praised his team for a solid defensive game, but acknowledged that there were still several hiccups.“We had 4, 5, 6, 7 possessions where we had really good possessions and then just didn’t finish them out,” McGuff said. “We were close to having a really good day defensively.”For the game, Canisius shot 34.8 percent (23-for-66).Bench pointsAnother Buckeye advantage came in bench points, where OSU outscored Canisius 40-6. The bench effort was led by freshman forward Tori McCoy, who scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. She was also 3 of 3 from the free throw line.Redshirt sophomore forward Makayla Waterman had one of her best games on the young season, adding nine points, nine rebounds and a team-high five assists. Freshman guards Kiara Lewis (10 points) and Jensen Caretti (four points) also contributed off the bench.“As we go through the year, depth is going to be a real strength of ours,” McGuff said. “Today, I thought we had some really good minutes off the bench.”OSU’s current depth has been well documented, but the Buckeyes are about to get even deeper. Redshirt junior guard Linnae Harper is just days away from regaining eligibility and will be available to play in OSU’s next game against Alabama State on Friday.“She’ll bring a lot of defense, rebounds and points,” OSU junior guard Asia Doss said. “That means way more depth as far as our rotations and the pressing, I feel like, is going to be even more hectic.”Harper decided to transfer from the University of Kentucky last fall.Up nextOSU will finish off its current five-game home stand with a game against the Alabama State Hornets on Friday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Schottenstein Center.

Ezekiel Elliott takes home 85th AAU Sullivan Award

Junior running back Ezekiel Elliott won the 85th annual AAU Sullivan Award a day after not participating in the 2015 OSU Spring Game. Gray defeated Scarlet, 17-14. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerDespite not taking the field in more than three months, Ohio State junior running back Ezekiel Elliott is still winning awards.The offensive MVP of the 2015 national title game was awarded the 85th Amateur Athletic Union Sullivan Award on Sunday, a day after the Buckeyes’ Spring Game.The award “honors the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States,” according to its website.Among the finalists were NCAA basketball national champion Jahlil Okafor from Duke and three Olympic gold-medalists.Elliott said in a press release that he was overwhelmed with the award.“I want to congratulate all the finalists,” Elliott said. “I feel somewhat undeserving of this award with all these great athletes up here and all their tremendous accomplishments. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to win an Olympic gold medal, so I want to congratulate all for being here.“I’ve got to thank my parents for pushing me to being the person I am. They demand excellence out of me and that drove me to be the person I am today.”OSU coach Urban Meyer offered his congratulations to his running back in a press release after coaching the Buckeyes in the Spring Game on Saturday.“This is a tremendous honor for Ezekiel and his family, and a privilege for Ohio State to have a Sullivan Award winner,” Meyer said. “I want to congratulate Ezekiel, and his teammates, and the coaches on the Ohio State staff who all work extremely hard to get the best out of our student-athletes on and off the field.”Meyer has now coached two Sullivan Award winners. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow won the award in 2007 while Meyer was the Gators’ coach.Elliott finished the 2014-15 season with 1,878 rushing yards and 18 scores on the ground and has sat out most of spring practice after undergoing offseason wrist surgery.He did not participate in Saturday’s Spring Game, but is expected to return to full strength for summer workouts and fall camp.Elliott and the Buckeyes are set to open their 2015 on the road against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Va.

CDC issues warning for travel within the United States

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, August 4, 2016 – The UK tells its pregnant citizens not to travel to South Florida as the CDC for the first time in history issued a warning for travel within the United States.  And today Magnetic Media learned that the US has now added the Turks and Caicos Islands to its advisories regarding the Zika Virus.The US Embassy in Nassau over the phone confirmed to us that they are monitoring very closely these islands, and have in the meantime recommended that their US Citizens traveling to or residing in the TCI enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or STEP.  This allows citizens to get US updates and makes it easier for the US consulate to contact them, as American citizens in the event of an emergency.Meanwhile, in Florida the CDC has named a 100 square mile area, north of Down Town Miami – Windward – as a Zika stricken zone due to 15 confirmed cases of local transmissions; which means mosquitoes are passing along the scary virus to residents there.Meanwhile, in Florida the CDC has named a 100 square mile area, north of Down Town Miami – Windward – as a Zika stricken zone due to 15 confirmed cases of local transmissions; which means mosquitoes are passing along the scary virus to residents there.  There has been concern by residents that the five cases in TCI were not more immediately reported; during House of Assembly debate last week, the Health Minister, Premier Rufus Ewing explained what factored into the delay in reporting.  But that explanation does not take away the local population or a tourists’ right to know.The Centers for Disease Control explains in the Mandatory Reporting of Infectious Diseases by Clinicians document that, “Reporting of cases of infectious diseases and related conditions has been and remains a vital step in controlling and preventing the spread of communicable disease. These reports are useful in many ways, including assurance of provision of appropriate medical therapy, detection of common-source outbreaks and planning and evaluating prevention and control programs.”There has been no update since the initial report of five confirmed cases in the TCI; we still have no idea what island, which part of the island or if there are more cases waiting to be confirmed.  In the US, quite a contrast, as the CDC has been so specific in reporting the infested area of Florida that it has narrowed it down to square miles, tells that there are 15 confirmed cases, and advises its citizens and guests to the country not to go to the Winward District. Related Items:CDC issues warning for travel within the U.S, U.S embassy encourages their citizens to enroll in STEP program, updates slow to come on Zika cases in TCI Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img