During the year under review the group created the Investment division. The division did not transact during the year but major inroads were made into setting up a platform for growth into the new financial year.
The first strategic initiative was the establishment of Business Connexion Managed Print Solutions (Proprietary) Limited, an exclusive joint venture between Business Connexion and Canon Smart Office Services. Innovation in technology has led to printers, copiers, scanners and faxes, known as multi-functional devices, becoming intelligent and fully manageable in a network. The ownership of these devices is shifting to the IT department, where standard IT disciplines and controls can be applied.
This strategic initiative establishes the largest, brand-independent managed print solutions organisation in Africa with over six hundred certified support engineers.
Business Connexion has always included basic print support services in its ICT outsource offering, however, this joint venture uniquely positions Business Connexion to deliver a cost effective solution, where Business Connexion, as a single service provider, integrates print and ICT services in one, holistic managed approach.
Independent research studies predict immense growth in the MPS area. Customers using MPS can achieve between 10% to 30% savings in printing services costs, better integration between systems, savings on IT overheads, improved service delivery and productivity. In addition, MPS can now be introduced as a solution offering within the world of cloud computing.
This is a strategic arrangement as it broadens Business Connexion’s solution offering as the group delivers support for managed print solutions in over forty centres across the country. This support, not limited to Canon equipment, covers 80% of the major equipment manufacturers’ products.
The second strategic investment for the division is the partnership between Business Connexion and Limelight NetworksTM to form Business Connexion Content Distribution Solutions. The current era of mobility is characterised by cloud computing services and streaming media. The way people work, play and live is changing due to easy access to all forms of rich content. Internet users expect their work, their entertainment, and their life’s activities to be “just a click away”. Limelight NetworksTM has architected a robust and intelligent platform to serve the demands of this “anytime, anywhere” hyperconnected user and the rapid adoption of smartphones, widgets, netpads, set-top boxes, and other yet-to-be-unveiled devices.
Currently, Limelight Networks™ plays a role in delivering content to more than 90% of the roughly two billion internet connected devices in the world. Business Connexion, using the Limelight platform, brings a solution suite to South African customers including interactive advertising, mobility, video and content monetisation, enabling customers to deliver content more innovatively and cost effectively than has been possible to date.
Entering this market enables Business Connexion to realise its vision, which is to connect the richness of Africa’s wisdom, intellect and resources to the rest of the world and to connect the rest of the world to Africa. Africa is poised to make major progress in bridging the digital divide, from a relatively low base compared with the industrialised world and other developing regions. The group believes to provide the African market with world-class services requires substantial investment in specialised technology, such as is provided by Limelight. The right place to start, in terms of market demand, is South Africa, which leads the continent in terms of internet and mobile penetration, broadcasting and eCommerce. The group will roll out more Limelight points of presence (POPs) in Africa. Kenya and Nigeria will most likely be the next POP in Africa.
Through this new venture Business Connexion Content Distribution Solutions can bring an internet experience to South Africa, and Africa, which matches the expectations of internet users around the world and enables the group to drive the next generation of cloud computing.
Business Connexion Content Distribution Solutions was launched on 28 October 2010.
Business Connexion and Information Bearing Signals (IBS) (which forms part of the internationally backed Kai Group of telecommunications companies with interests in broadband capacity and internet protocol services) have an 80% and 20% interest in Business Connexion Communications (Proprietary) Limited respectively. IBS has purchased bandwidth capacity on the SEA System which forms part of this initiative. Business Connexion Communications now provides wholesale metropolitan, national and international bandwidth and/or content distribution network services.
The division has established a structured framework and processes to manage a portfolio of strategic growth investment opportunities. These opportunities are assessed in terms of their potential contribution to the group’s operating profit and strategic imperatives.
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