Teleworkers double to 2.4 million -- and other news briefs

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

Number of teleworkers doubles in eight years

The number of people who are teleworking, mainly from home, has more than doubled in the past eight years to stand at 2.4 million, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics. Back in 1997, when the data was collected for the first time, the figure was 920,000. Teleworkers now account for 8% of all workers.

Abbey shifts product manuals onto intranet

Abbey has deployed Open Text Livelink web content management to move product and procedural data held in technical manuals onto a single, web-based consolidated network accessible by all of the bank's 25,000 staff. The data migration was completed in three months and coincided with the consolidation of several corporate intranets into one centralised system.

Games depot passes go with supply chain app

Hobbyist retailer Games Workshop has implemented a supply chain system from Manhattan Associates to improve productivity at its new £8m warehouse. The application, Manhattan's Warehouse Management for Open Systems, is integrated with Games Workshop's pick-to-light system from Siemens - an order-picking system based on LEDs - and head-office Sage application.

Vosa's e-booking project veers off-course

A government agency has admitted that its online system for booking annual tests for trucks and buses has caused "difficulties for customers". The Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (Vosa) implemented the system on 30 August. Vosa said, "We are working with our IT partner, Atos Origin, to resolve the issues with the new system."

IT investment increases productivity, says LSE

Investment in IT improves the productivity of UK business, according to research by the London School of Economics sponsored by the DTI. The study, which looked at more than 7,500 businesses, found that investment in hardware and software was associated with "significantly higher" output per worker. US firms located in the UK invested 40% more per worker in ITthan the average, and non-US multinationals operating in Britain spent 20% more. Domestic firms spent "much less" than the mean figure.

Microsoft outlines security strategy

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has outlined Microsoft's security strategy and product roadmap. Ballmer said a new product, Microsoft Client Protection, would help protect business desktops, laptops and file servers from malware threats. It also announced a new industry group - the SecureIT Alliance - through which security suppliers can integrate their software into the Microsoft platform.

Scotland's NHS 24  systems investigated

The IT systems used by round-the-clock healthcare helpline NHS 24 are being investigated in a fatal accident inquiry in Scotland. On October 4, the inquiry heard that the nurse had used questions prompted by NHS 24's IT system. A girl, Shomi Miah, died from meningitis several hours after the nurse, Annie Gray, advised her that the IT system said she did not have the infection.

Lloyds TSB to trial smart tokens with customers

Lloyds TSB is to trial technology designed to improve the security of internet banking. The trial will test the public's reaction to using a range of smart token devices which generate one-time passwords. Matthew Timmis, internet and ATM director for the bank, said, "We are currently considering a number of different ways to tackle online fraud. Two-factor solutions are just one stage of the journey towards an overall security package."

Steria awarded £250m probation service deal

The National Offender Management Service has awarded a £250m contract to Steria to supply IT services to the National Probation Service. Steria is already contracted to the service and will move over to the new contract in January. Within the terms of the variable six- to 10-year contract the National Probation Service is expected to fully integrate with HM Prison Service systems.

Eight Windows patches in MS monthly update

As part of its monthly patching cycle, Microsoft plans to release eight security alerts today (11 October 2005) for flaws in the Windows operating system. At least one of the alerts is labelled "critical" - Microsoft's highest risk rating. Microsoft also plans to release a security bulletin about an issue that relates to the Exchange e-mail server. This issue is rated "important".

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