News in brief

Short takes on this week's news

Short takes on this week's news

Atos steps aboard for big-ticket train deal

The Association of Train Operating Companies has signed a £30m 12-year contract with Atos Origin to develop and manage the automation of all rail ticket sales processing in the UK. The deal is expected to deliver operational savings worth £20m by 2018.

Another 300,000 Sony laptop batteries recalled

Fujitsu is recalling 300,000 Sony laptop batteries because of potential fire hazards. Fujitsu joins Dell, Apple, Toshiba and Lenovo in issuing a recall. HP insists its laptops are not affected.

Microsoft locks horns with counterfeiters

Microsoft is tackling counterfeiting of its forthcoming Windows Vista and Windows Server Longhorn platforms. The Microsoft Software Protection Platform also aims to make licensing easier to manage.

Challenge to US snooping on European banks

Europe's head of data protection has challenged the decision of the European Central Bank to grant the US secret service access to private bank-transfer data. Peter Hustinx said serious questions had arisen on the routine sharing of financial data with a US "mirror system".

IT giants put R&D money into Reva's RFID

Cisco and SAP have ploughed £7.3m into emerging RFID supplier Reva Systems. The pair will help Reva develop an RFID device to support network management and scalability.

Microsoft issues 11 fixes for Patch Tuesday

Microsoft is releasing 11 security patches for its Windows operating system, Office productivity suite, and .net development framework today. The fixes are part of its monthly scheduled patching, and include six Windows updates.

Europe renews Testa infrastructure

The European Commission has signed a £140m deal with Equant and HP to replace data communication infrastructures. Networking and infrastructure will be provided for Testa, the EU's classified telecoms network.

Pay-as-you-go car insurance uses GPS

Norwich Union has rolled out its Pay As You Drive insurance scheme to all drivers. A black box within the car uses GPS to provide positioning data collected at regular intervals. This data is transmitted to the insurer, where it is combined with information from TrafficMaster, mapping and billing applications, and a Teradata datawarehouse.

Argos system halts supply chain disruption

Argos is avoiding disruption to its supply chain when planners leave the company by replicating the procedures they use in an automatic container management system. The system, from software supplier One Network Enterprises, is also saving Argos money by reducing the time that containers are left in docks.

'We wish we'd looked after our skills,' say bosses

IT managers are plagued by a sense of regret at work, with many believing they have failed to reach their true potential, a survey by the Chartered Management Institute reveals. More than a third of the 141 IT managers surveyed said they regularly look backed over their careers, and wished that they had developed new skills.

PepsiCo signs up BT for global security deal

PepsiCo has signed a seven-year global network services contract with BT to improve data security and the performance of its networks. Under the contract, the total value of which has not been disclosed, BT will provide and manage an integrated portfolio of data, Lan, security, conferencing, remote access and internet services for the PepsiCo International division of PepsiCo.

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