News in brief

Short takes from this week's news

Short takes from this week's news

Oracle buys telecoms software group

Oracle is to buy Swedish communications software firm HotSip, just a day after snapping up open source software company Sleepycat. HotSip produces telecommunications infrastructure software and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) enabled applications for IP telephony, presence, messaging and conferencing on converged networks.

Threshers deploys apps service provider service

Drinks retailer Threshers has signed up for an application service provider service from Fujitsu Services to help it move from managed stores to a franchise model. Fujitsu Services will provide a managed Epos service designed to give franchisees access to sophisticated Epos, stock management, customer relationship management, web management and pre-accredited chip and Pin applications.

M&S begins RFID trial for 42 of its stores

Marks & Spencer has started a radio frequency identification tag trial in six stores. It plans to deploy RFID tags in a total of 42 stores by the end of April. The deployment covers men's suits and casual trousers and is the clothing retailer's second trial of the tagging technology after a nine-store pilot of the same products in 2004.

Leeds council to build £1.8m contact centre

Leeds City Council is to build a £1.8m multimedia IP contact centre based on the Avaya Communication Manager IP telephony platform. The centre is designed to improve customer access to the council by providing residents with a wider choice of communication methods, including e-mail, voice and the web. It is being developed by Sabio, a contact centre services and solutions company.

Orange targets small business with portal

Small businesses are the target of a new mobile application portal from telecoms service provider Orange. The Business Mobile Applications portal allows small firms to download programs such as CRM, sales force automation and project management, tailored for mobile use. Software and support are provided through partners, and the applications are designed to run on a range of mobile devices provided by Orange.

RSPCA to implement open source systems

The RSPCA plans to implement a range of Novell Linux-based applications, including Open Enterprise Server, GroupWise 7, Zenworks 7 and RSync. These will cover 15 animal centres and four wildlife centres throughout the UK. The investment in open source will increase RSPCA staff productivity and reduce costs, said Chris Rolfe, the charity's network manager.

CSA's flawed IT systems given stay of execution

The government will not be rushed into pulling the plug on the Child Support Agency's flawed IT systems, John Hutton, the work and pensions secretary, told MPs last week. CSA chief executive Stephen Geraghty told MPs that if IT supplier EDS failed to deliver promised improvements by the end of 2007, the government could withhold £17m in payments or take ownership of the system.

Microsoft fights ECover anti-trust ruling

Microsoft is still fighting the European Commission over its threat to fine it £1.42m a day over its non-compliance with the commission's 2004 anti-trust ruling. Microsoft claims the commission is ignoring evidence it made available to the body late last year, but the commission says this evidence came in late and after it had made its compliance orders to the company.

Cern grid computer breaks speed record

The world's largest grid computer, run by the scientists at the Cern laboratory in Switzerland, has seen sustained transfer rates of a gigabyte per second - among the fastest seen on a permanent, international grid using scientific data. The LHC Computing Grid is being used to manage the data from Cern's Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator, which will eventually produce 15 million gigabytes of data per year.

John Lewis to deploy staff smartcards

The John Lewis Partnership is launching a smartcard programme for its 63,000 staff using Siemens technology. Miles Knapman, project manager for the programme, said the deployment would provide "a solution that supports a variety of card technologies and allows us to combine these in whatever way we want on individual cards without having to re-key information about cardholders that is already in our HR system".

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