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1 INSERT COMPANY LOGO HERE South North African American Machine-to-Machine SSL Certificate in Retail Technology Product Leadership Award Award 2014 Frost & Sullivan 1 We Accelerate Growth

2 Technology Leadership Award Machine-to-Machine in Retail South Africa, 2014 Frost & Sullivan s Global Research Platform Frost & Sullivan is in its 50th year in business with a global research organization of 1,800 analysts and consultants who monitor more than 300 industries and 250,000 companies. The company s research philosophy originates with the CEO s 360-Degree Perspective, which serves as the foundation of its TEAM Research methodology. This unique approach enables us to determine how best-in-class companies worldwide manage growth, innovation and leadership. Based on the findings of this Best Practices research, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present the 2014 South Africa Technology Leadership Award in Machine-to-Machine in Retail and Finance to XLink Communications. Significance of the Technology Leadership Award Key Industry Challenges Addressed by Technology Leadership Customers are adopting integrated platforms The emergence of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) solutions at Point of Sale (POS) terminals is accelerating the move towards a cashless economy that is based on using credit and debit cards to make payments. In the past, retailers relied on either fixed line or GSM networks for their primary connectivity. However, the market has evolved to more integrated Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) applications in order to allow multiple transactions to be processed simultaneously. This has seen a migration towards the use of ADSL for primary connectivity and less reliance on the services offered by service providers using GSM networks connectivity. Migration from a dual SIM to a single SIM By using GSM networks to remotely connect POS terminals and the banks mobile terminals has allowed service providers to offer a more convenient and cost-effective alternative to fixed line networks. However, a major concern for banks and retailers using the GSM networks has centred on the redundancy of the solutions, given the mission critical nature of payment solutions. Until recently, M2M providers in South Africa had relied on dual SIM technology, where devices typically used the SIM cards of the country s two largest mobile operators, Vodacom and MTN. This was designed especially to allow the devices to switch between the two networks when the primary one failed. However, since 2012, banks have been migrating to single SIM technologies on their mobile terminals, which meant that they did not have redundancy at site level. The challenge service providers are therefore facing is that they could not guarantee the banks a high uptime on these terminals Frost & Sullivan 2 We Accelerate Growth

3 Acceptance by all stakeholders Given that the POS EFT solutions essentially give third parties access to customers bank accounts, the market is subject to fairly strict regulation. This is exacerbated by the need to have high redundancy, especially required by retailers when processing transactions. In order to gain traction in the market, service providers are therefore expected to gain the acceptance of different players in the ecosystem, ranging from the regulators, banks and retailers to the network operators. Their POS technologies should be designed to be in line with the industry-specific regulations of their clients, which tend to be especially stringent for banks. For example, in order to be PCI compliant, service providers cannot allow traffic to go out over the public internet for security purposes. Key Benchmarking Criteria for Technology Leadership Award For the Technology Leadership Award, the following criteria were used to benchmark XLink Communications performance against key competitors: Development of New Technologies Leverage of New Technologies Brand Perception Customer Value Decision Support Matrix and Measurement Criteria To support its evaluation of best practices across multiple business performance categories, Frost & Sullivan employs a customized Decision Support Matrix (DSM). The DSM is an analytical tool that compares companies performance relative to each other with an integration of quantitative and qualitative metrics. The DSM features criteria unique to each Award category and ranks importance by assigning weights to each criterion. The relative weighting reflects current market conditions and illustrates the associated importance of each criterion according to Frost & Sullivan. Fundamentally, each DSM is distinct for each market and Award category. The DSM allows our research and consulting teams to objectively analyze each company's performance on each criterion relative to its top competitors and assign performance ratings on that basis. The DSM follows a 10-point scale that allows for nuances in performance evaluation; ratings guidelines are shown in Chart Frost & Sullivan 3 We Accelerate Growth

4 Chart 1: Performance-Based Ratings for Decision Support Matrix This exercise encompasses all criteria, leading to a weighted average ranking of each company. Researchers can then easily identify the company with the highest ranking. As a final step, the research team confirms the veracity of the model by ensuring that small changes to the ratings for a specific criterion do not lead to a significant change in the overall relative rankings of the companies. Chart 2: Frost & Sullivan s 10-Step Process for Identifying Award Recipients Best Practice Award Analysis for XLink Communications The Decision Support Matrix, shown in Chart 4, illustrates the relative importance of each criterion for the Technology Leadership Award and the ratings for each company under evaluation. To remain unbiased while also protecting the interests of the other organizations reviewed, we have chosen to refer to the other key players as Competitor 1 and Competitor Frost & Sullivan 4 We Accelerate Growth

5 Chart 3: Decision Support Matrix for Technology Leadership Award Measurement of 1 10 (1 = lowest; 10 = highest) Development of New Technologies Leverage of New Technologies Brand Perception Customer Value Weighted Rating Relative Weight (%) 20% 20% 20% 20% 100% XLink Communications Competitor Competitor Criterion 1: Development of New Technologies XLink is being recognised for exhibiting best practices in the M2M market designed for the POS EFT solutions market. In this segment, the company has endeavoured to develop market leading technologies to meet the needs of its retail clients. This includes the VersaLink, which is one in a line of 3G routers offered by the company for primary communication or backup communications in the EFT space. As in the recent past the larger retailers have begun to adopt integrated EFT connectivity solutions, VersaLink has become an important backup solution in creating the back-up connectivity for this segment of customers who are using ADSL for their primary connectivity. What differentiates the VersaLink from most other competing products in the market is that it runs on the Virtual Redundant Reroute Protocol (VRRP). Based on the protocol, XLink creates a virtual IP address for entire set of the customer s till points, to which all the transactions go regardless of the communication channel (ADSL or GSM). In the past, using the two different communication technologies for primary and back-up connectivity meant that when the primary line went down the customer would need to physically switch cables to the back-up connectivity. However, with VersaLink, the switch between the two is seamless as XLink uses the VRRP protocol. Moreover, returning to the primary connectivity technology (typically ADSL), is done automatically when it becomes available and is done without intervention from the customer. This ensures maximum uptime for customers and minimizes the incidence of failed EFT transactions arising from interrupted connectivity in their ADSL line Frost & Sullivan 5 We Accelerate Growth

6 Criterion 2: Leverage of New Technologies In 2007, Vodacom acquired a 35 percent stake in XLink, which later grew to 51 percent in 2011, as the mobile operator looked to expand its presence along the M2M value chain. This gave XLink access to the operator s resources via a cash injection as well as access to the expertise of Vodacom s parent company, Vodafone, which is considered one of the leading operators in the M2M market in Europe. XLink subsequently implemented the Global Data Service Platform (GDSP) developed by Vodafone, and also offered locally by Vodacom. The GDSP platform enables enterprises to control and manage their M2M devices across different countries. Moreover, the platform allows Vodafone SIMs to roam on the networks in which it has a presence directly or through subsidiaries, as well as over the networks of the mobile operators with which it has partnerships. As a result, when the network to which a device is connected fails, the SIM can switch to a partnering network through roaming. This is an especially important feature for M2M solutions that do not use dual SIM technologies. It was because of this feature that XLink adopted the platform, as South African banks were losing the on-site redundancy of their mobile terminal by migrating from dual to single SIM technologies. By leveraging the platform, should the primary network (Vodacom s) fail the single SIM devices would simply roam on the networks of the operator s partners. It is expected that Vodafone SIMs in M2M devices will be able to roam on Cell C by 2014 and on MTN s by Criterion 3: Brand Perception Since its inception in 2004, XLink has come to be considered one of the leading providers of GSM-based EFT solutions in the South African M2M market. Its growing reputation owes much to the innovative solutions it has been providing for its customers, particularly in the retail and finance sectors. This has seen the company become the main provider of POS EFT connectivity that is based on the GSM network, with a 60 percent share of that market. Moreover, by giving its customers the capability to remotely monitor their field devices using MIS portal, XLink has been able to win tenders from three of the country s big five banks. In addition, the company has been able to draw on the technical expertise of partners, such as Vodafone, WRP Consulting Engineers, KT Utility Forensics, Baobab Technologies and Device Insight. XLink has looked to leveraging these partnerships, in order to not only become a key provider of M2M solutions in the retail and finance sectors but also expand its solutions beyond its traditional sector-focus. The strength of these key strategic partnerships coupled with a highly adaptable portal that offers device tracking and monitoring, has laid the foundation to offer M2M in other verticals. A case in point was when in 2014, XLink in collaboration with WRP, delivered a water meter Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution that drew on the field water engineering expertise of WRP and XLink s M2M platform as well as its experience in billing and connectivity Frost & Sullivan 6 We Accelerate Growth

7 Criterion 4: Customer Value The XLink MIS solution was designed to monitor the signal strength in the network connecting the remote device, the date and time of a transaction as well as the success or failure of the transaction. Using a web portal to monitor the status of devices and quality of the connection to the devices allows the XLink technical support staff to remotely diagnose technical problems. As a result, the support staff can make intelligent calls, minimizing the need for on-site support visits while at the same time shortening the lead time to problem resolution. This has seen the company deliver improved support services, achieving a first line problem-solve ratio of about 85 percent. Through the portal, enterprise customers are able to monitor the last 50 executed transactions, markedly superior to the portals of some of its main competitors, which can monitor up to previous 10 transactions. In addition, using the MIS, XLink can remotely switch between the SIM cards of different operators, which further enables the company improve the speed of its support services. Moreover, as service providers are prohibited from moving traffic over the public internet, XLink has looked to overcome this through its Access Point Names (APNs). XLink has 11 private APNs, which helps the company to offer its clients secure access for their payment devices, thereby limiting the risk of unauthorised access to customer accounts. Conclusion Frost & Sullivan has recognised XLink Communications for exhibiting best practices in the Machine-to-Machine market for the retail and finance sectors. The award is in recognition of XLink s achievement in Technology Leadership, which has seen the company become one of the leading providers POS EFT solutions in South Africa. It is estimated that XLink has around 60 percent of the retail POS EFT connectivity market, for solutions based on GSM network connectivity. One of the company s differentiators in the market has been the VersaLink. The solution gives the company s customers using ADSL lines for their primary connectivity network a seamless handover between fixed networks to the 3G network. This ensures a high-uptime, an especially important feature of the solution for retail customers. In addition, the company s MIS platform offers customers a range of M2M tools that allow them to remotely track, monitor and control their assets over the internet. Their MIS platform is used by the majority of the country s largest banking institutions. XLink is a well-deserved recipient of the 2014 Technology Leadership Award, Machine-to- Machine, South Africa Frost & Sullivan 7 We Accelerate Growth

8 Critical Importance of TEAM Research Frost & Sullivan s TEAM Research methodology represents the analytical rigor of our research process. It offers a 360-degree view of industry challenges, trends, and issues by integrating all seven of Frost & Sullivan's research methodologies. Our experience has shown over the years that companies too often make important growth decisions based on a narrow understanding of their environment, leading to errors of both omission and commission. Frost & Sullivan contends that successful growth strategies are founded on a thorough understanding of market, technical, economic, financial, customer, best practices, and demographic analyses. In that vein, the letters T, E, A and M reflect our core technical, economic, applied (financial and best practices) and market analyses. The integration of these research disciplines into the TEAM Research methodology provides an evaluation platform for benchmarking industry players and for creating high-potential growth strategies for our clients. Chart 4: Benchmarking Performance with TEAM Research About Frost & Sullivan Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit Frost & Sullivan 8 We Accelerate Growth

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