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IN ORBIT: News snippets

IN ORBIT: News snippets

WITSA releases global IT skills directoryIn an attempt to help alleviate global IT workforce shortages, the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) recently released the world's first international IT skills directory. Based on data collected from 21 countries and regions around the world, the inventory provides an overview of the critical issues and proposed solutions relating to IT skills and workforce shortages around the world.

"The demand for IT skills is large and growing, and the current undertaking reflects WITSA's belief that workforce-related _barriers constitute a growing predicament to the future development of IT and the high-tech industry," says WITSA chairman and Fujitsu Limited executive David Olive.

An international consortium of 41 information technology industry associations, WITSA intends to make the inventory a "living document" that will help IT organisations develop successful strategies for dealing with the shortages. "We believe that these findings will provide a useful tool to establish best practices, recommendations and other remedies to the barriers caused by the growing skills gap," Olive says.

The inventory can be accessed at www.witsa.org/inventory.htm.

Channel gets a glimpse of Big Brother

Big Brother fever has spread to the channel and we have a local developer to thank for it.

Sydney-based Massive Interactive was chosen as developer of the reality TV Big Brother's Web site www.bigbrother.com.au following what the company claims was as exhaustive a selection process as the selection for the Big Brother cast itself.

"Being chosen as the Web developer for Big Brother is of great significance to Massive Interactive, as it reaffirms our strong back-end competence as well as our innovative creative skills," says Louise van Rooyen, Massive Interactive's managing director. "The current climate of the industry has seen many companies fail; however, due to Massive's strong business model we have been able to diversify our client offering and exceed industry expectations."

Part of the convergent solutions group Massive Media, Massive Interactive joined the closely guarded project as part of a creative team consisting of Southern Star Endemol, Channel Ten and Dreamworld.

The site, pre-launched in early April, features news updates, contestants' audition videos, interviews with previous contestants, as well as live 24X7 streaming, forums, polls and competitions, and is predicted to become one of the most visited Web destinations ever to be created down under.www.bigbrother.com.auWireless LAN market to exceed $US4 billionFalling prices and new technologies that continue to make wireless LANs speedier will bring a surge in corporate use with total revenue in that market reaching nearly $US4.6 billion by 2005, according to new research from Cahners In-Stat Group.

Wireless LANs will be pushed, as in the past, by "Wi-Fi" (wireless fidelity) products, including IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) products using the 802.11b and 802.11g standards, according to the US-based market researchers.

Wares from low-cost, high-volume vendors are predicted to push the market, with prices falling substantially and quickly next year. Wireless LAN products will become more prevalent outside of North America and that will further spur the market. The researcher also says the growth rate for end-use revenue in the wireless LAN _market will go up next year _due to the introduction of 5GHz products.

The new research report also finds a couple of hurdles related to wireless LAN growth. The main obstacle is that wireless networks don't perform as well as standard corporate network hardware and software. Secondly, IT professionals don't yet consider wireless LANs a basic necessity.www.instat.comKodak gets funky across platformsIf you thought Kodak was very noble in telling the Internet-savvy to go and "seize life", think again! What they're really saying is that they have a new gadget that captures images, moving pictures and MP3 files all in one and they want you (or your kids) to buy it.

Christened mc3, this portable device combines a digital video recorder, an MP3 player and a digital camera in a tiny frame of 65mm (W) x 105 mm (H). It works on both Microsoft and Macintosh platforms and comes with a comprehensive range of software allowing users to create and edit multimedia videos, edit photos and convert CD files into MP3 format.

Too cool not to try? It retails at $499 and comes with a ready online community at www.kodak.com/go/mc3XFacts7 -Number of registered Internet users in Oz: 3.8 million--7 -Number of users registered as business or government subscribers: 400,000-7 -Average amount of data _downloaded by each subscriber: 273 MB7 -Number of ISPs operating in only one State or territory: 595 (38%)7 -Number of business and government Web sites hosted by ISPs: 101,2357 "-Percentage of Internet subscribers on free Internet access plans: 187 -Percentage of Internet subscribers on a monthly/quarterly/annual _access plan: 64-7 -Percentage of all Internet subscribers in Australian capital cities: 75Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics


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