Archived Press Releases
HOMECHOICE GOES "E"
This week 28 August Issue Homechoice goes "E" Homechoice, a 15-year-old mail-order catalogue company, has completed the first phase of its e-business implementation strategy. This represents the first of a number of moves on the part of the company to upgrade its systems and online presence in preparation for the move to "E".

Originally briefed as a corporate relations site for shareholders, many of Homechoice's clients, the emerging mass consumer, were hitting its Web site from their workplace, requesting information from the temporary form-to-e-mail on the home page. The majority of customers requested catalogues, account information and enquired about purchasing products directly online.

Realising that mass consumer Internet access was far greater than anticipated, the company revisited its e-strategy, fusing a corporate information offering with services. These include online catalogue order forms, account applications, a human resources zone and client services, among others.

"Clients will be able to purchase directly from the site at a later date, when the development and testing phase has been completed," says Chantelle Pearce, DTP operator at Homechoice. "The company is currently evaluating its options with regard to B2B offering on the market, and defining the functionality it will require. There is then a development and testing phase that must be concluded to our satisfaction before the e-commerce functionality can be implemented."

Fulfilment and logistics issues will also conceivably need to be sorted out, and access to this information will need to be added to the site to allow customers to track the progress of their goods.

The company sells an extensive range of household goods and fashion merchandise. A second division, Innovations, features "gimmicky" items and this will be the first site to be e-commerce enabled, with a temporary site going live in November. Candor.com developed the customised back-end, while Visuals & Interactives, a digital design company, was responsible for front-end development.

Wido Schnabel, MD of Candor.com says: "Online Web stores should be first cousins to mail order. Armed with the complete fulfilment arsenal in addition to a client base, HomeChoice is sure to become an e-commerce market leader."

http://www.homechoice.co.za



MULTIMILLION RAND DEAL FOR SLOTCITY.COM
Hout Bay, South Africa. Application Solution Provider (ASP) Candor.com has sold its domain -www.slotcity.com - and a licence for its Internet gambling technology in a multimillion Rand deal.

The web site was initially developed by Candor's R&D department as a test site to prove that secure interactive slot machines, based on straight HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) was possible.

Managing Director, Wido Schnabel says that Candor.com's unique Internet business model has paid dividends. "Candor's key differential is its strategic approach. We first start off with an assessment and analysis of the target market. If the results are favourable we then invest in the R&D programme followed by the launch of a test web site. At this point we have a gauging system that delivers tangible results to any potential investor or partner."

The test site was launched back in 1997 proving that exciting interactive Internet entertainment was possible without having to resort to code being executed on end users machines. Dietmar Frey, Candor.com's chairman says "Slotcity.com offers fully operational slots that don't need exorbitant bandwidth, program downloading and cuts out the time-intensive downloading encountered with Java Applets."

The international consortium specifically chose slotcity.com for its high visual impact, low-bandwidth, solid development and secure transaction features.

Based on Candor.com's ASP drive, Schnabel hopes this deal will be a springboard for the other Internet technologies that Candor.com has developed and tested over the last four years. These technologies include E-Property, MotorBase, E-Catalogue and DrugBase. "As one of South Africa's first ASPs, we have a tried and tested, simple and cost-effective alternative which allows companies to focus on their core business while Candor.com's technology delivers results-driven returns and minimises total cost of ownership."

On-line gamblers can win US$3000 on the jackpot, or they can play for free by entering www.slotcity.com and clicking on the free site button.


ASP HOTTER THAN "E"
If there's one thing hotter than "e" at the moment it's ASP (Application Solution Provider). These sentiments were echoed last year at the ASP Industry Consortium which was only formed on 11th May 1999. And judging by its membership it looks like the big guns appear to have bought into the concept already. Members include AT&T, Cisco, Compaq, Ernst & Young, IBM Corporation, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, SCO, Sharp and Sun Microsystems.

The consortium defines an ASP as a provider who manages and delivers application capabilities to multiple entities from a data centre across a wide area network. Application Service Providers offer a simple and cost-effective alternative to managing technology in-house and help customers precisely control the total cost of technology ownership.

Candor.com has operated as an ASP since early 1997, long before the new trend emerged and creation of the latest buzzword. Unlike the large ERP vendors however, Candor.com has concentrated on smaller applications, typically developed by its own team of specialists. All of Candor.com's own internal admin functions are provided by Web applications developed for Candor’s specific needs. Similarly, Candor.com has provided Application Hosting services to other customers including Unison Communications (Pty) Ltd, one of SA's leading Telephone Data Manangement Solution Providers. Unison has based all of its admin systems on "Application Hosting", using custom software developed by Candor.com.

With Candor.com based in Hout Bay and head office of Unison based in Johannesburg, Derek Morris, Managing Director (Unison) confirms, "Candor.com hosts a number of applications which include a sales support system, an order book system, automated contract billing, customer support and maintenance job tracking. All enabled with a password protected web-interface, my force can access the information they need, when they need it, from anywhere, all they need is a connection and a browser. What's more, there are varied reports and access levels whereby management or even individuals can monitor their own progress and status. Unison further provides its customers with direct access to parts of its internal admin systems, thereby increasing customer service levels dramatically. Candor.com's application solutions have definitely given us the competitive edge with increased turnaround times, superior customer service and an information network specially tailored to our needs. Return on investment is paramount to Unison and Candor.com has emulated this."


"The ASP model is companies' answer to refocus on their core business and finally dictate to technology and not vice versa as was tradition," says Wido Schnabel, Candor.com's Managing Director.

With Forrester Research predicting the market potential to soar to as much as US$21 Billion in just over two years, ASP could redefine the model for pricing software with many added advantages to the already overburdened IT workforce. ASP has stupendous advantages for medium to large enterprise. Besides eliminating total reliance on an already limited IT resource pool, Medium enterprise can now minimise risk and the expense of purchasing software outright. Large enterprises overseas are also quickly adopting this model because Client/Server technology has proven to be rather costly to deploy and maintain and the idea of just having a Web browser on client machines has appealed to many IT departments. A myriad of opportunities exists where applications no longer fail due to local PC failures and software revisions and updates can be deployed at almost zero cost. New application features can be rolled out over night and made available to the entire user community without laying hands on client workstations.

Schnabel says, "although application hosting is intrinsically entwined with the Internet and e-commerce, it must be dealt with as a single entity. There is already fragmentation overseas and ASPs aren't clearly communicating the function and business benefit that application hosting delivers. Application hosting is not just about electronically packaging Internet, Intranet and Extranet technologies. The key is electronically simulating business processes of an individual organisation. Before providing any application solution to a client, we send one our business consultants into the organisation for about 4 weeks. After that we have a concise needs and process analysis and only then do we start the calculated implementation and development process backed by stern testing and quality control."

Apart from custom written applications, Candor also offers base application technologies which are tailored according to an organisation's business requirements. These technologies include, document management, sales support, job tracking, customer relationship management, human resources and lower end ERP utilities.

Schnabel concludes, "I suspect that many inexperienced companies are going to jump on the ASP bandwagon, fortunately Candor.com has a history-rich experience where hard and valued lessons were learnt and it's from these 'lessons' where businesses will benefit."


DRUGBASE HITS 3 MILLION.
Application Solution Provider (ASP) Candor.com had over 3-Million hits and half a million visitors (sessions) to its web site - www.drugbase.co.za in 1999. A staggering figure considering the site was launched back in 1997 by Candor.com's R&D department with no marketing support what so ever.

Wido Schnabel, Candor.com's Managing Director says, "following the success of the multimillion Rand Slotcity.com deal which amplifies Candor's business approach to initially invest in research, development and testing to minimise investor risk, the time has come to find a partner who will drive and market www.drugbase.co.za. With Candor.com providing the technology we have the formula which can pay tremendous dividends."

DrugBase is the brainchild of Dr John Jensen and is South Africa's first public drug database that covers both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Candor.com has permission from the department of health to publish medicine information compiled from package inserts supplied by pharmaceutical companies up to and including Schedule-7 drugs

DRUGBASE HITS 3 MILLION. Application Solution Provider (ASP) Candor.com had over 3-Million hits and half a million visitors (sessions) to its web site - www.drugbase.co.za in 1999. A staggering figure considering the site was launched back in 1997 by Candor.com's R&D department with no marketing support what so ever. Wido Schnabel, Candor.com's Managing Director says, "following the success of the multimillion Rand Slotcity.com deal which amplifies Candor's business approach to initially invest in research, development and testing to minimise investor risk, the time has come to find a partner who will drive and market www.drugbase.co.za. With Candor.com providing the technology we have the formula which can pay tremendous dividends." DrugBase is the brainchild of Dr John Jensen and is South Africa's first public drug database that covers both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Candor.com has permission from the department of health to publish medicine information compiled from package inserts supplied by pharmaceutical companies up to and including Schedule-7 drugs

Included in the web site is a wealth of content covering other medical genres such as medical advice, treatments, latest medical developments and new pharmaceutical releases all easily accessed by a powerful search engine.

Dr Jensen says, "Candor.com has invested large amounts of money and time in the last three years compiling the database and commissioning medical professionals to submit content. The web site's core focus was to empower end users to easily access information about medicine that has been prescribed to them or drugs that have been standing in the medicine cabinet over the years. DrugBase has other added benefits which include comprehensible information resources that cover everything from allergies, paediatric conditions to sports injuries."

Schnabel concludes, "The opportunity lies in transforming DrugBase into South Africa's most powerful medical content portal. Candor.com is an internet technology and development company and its technology on which we focus. We want a dedicated partner, preferably a large medical concern with a rich marketing history who can take DrugBase to its full potential, so that we can continue to do what we do best - results-driven internet and development solutions."

DrugBase can be accessed at www.drugbase.co.za.



POWER E-PROPERTY PROVIDER SOLUTION
Based on its Application Service Provider (ASP) business model and its objective to professionally consolidate the tarnished Internet property genre, Candor.com has launched www.e-property.co.za. A full internet database-driven property catalogue listing solution, E-Property empowers estate agents to finally take control of their internet presence and more importantly easily manipulate their own database - real time.

Armed with a digital camera or scanner and an internet connection, estate agents can have their own web site, domain (co.za) and a secure database solution from as little as R5 000.00.

E-Property was developed for the retail, commercial, industrial and rental property markets. With access via a password protected administration module, estate agents can add, edit or delete a listing whenever they choose. With 4 pictures per listing (for interior shots, exterior shots or renderings) estate agents can enter a user-friendly web-interface which caters for descriptions such as selling price, special features, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage/s and provisions for any additional information they require.

Wido Schnabel, Candor.com's managing director says, "the most profound advantage is that anyone familiar with a mouse and keyboard can easily manipulate the listings themselves and time-to-market is rapidly increased guaranteeing the most up-to-date dissemination of information to a prospective client base."

Besides the particular user-friendly design approach perhaps the most intriguing aspect of E-Property is the technology that drives it. With two years of development, research and continued consultation with leading property companies, the central SQL database is designed to populate over a thousand web sites with their own domains, posting the data in a standard format according to each individual sites navigation structure and look and feel.

Included is an image optimiser module. When the desired image is loaded from a PC to the server, it can be easily optimised. Firstly the user gets a choice of picture orientation (0, 90, 180 or 270) and then once selected there is a contrast/brightness control. Once the picture settings have been selected, the central server compresses the image (regardless of initial size) to a 15-Kilobyte image for optimised web viewing and download time and posts it on the web page.

Greg Walton of Rattle Property group and one of the first adopters of E-Property says, "E-Property not only answered all our Internet needs but it has become an invaluable business tool. I now have an up-to-the-minute catalogue system, which can be viewed via the Internet, or I can email a direct link of an individual property listing. It's extremely easy to use, all my staff had it waxed within an hour. All descriptions are catered for and I can display up to 4 colour photographs giving any potential buyer a much clearer picture."

Wido Schnabel, ends, "the property web arena is infested with out of date listings, poor design and gross negligence. E-Property is about securing professional web presence and most importantly the transference of web site control to the estate agents in turn offering the end user accurate and current information."
Copyright 2000 - 2010 Candor Technologies (PTY) Ltd.