Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Launch: Large Language Models (LLM) Working Group’s Living White Paper

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

Join AI Forum NZ’s Large Language Models (LLM) Working Group to learn more about their white paper on LLM and Generative AI in New Zealand currently in development.

The technology is moving so fast that a traditional white paper would be out of date the moment we crossed the final T, so the Working Group has partnered with IBM watsonx to produce a proof of concept for a living library of information that will be launched at this webinar and available for you to question afterwards.

The purpose of the white paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of the benefits, challenges, and governance considerations associated with LLMs in New Zealand, as well as best practices for deploying and managing these models in the local context. This will help organisations and individuals make informed decisions about how to use LLMs responsibly and ethically.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 12 December, 2023
  • Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Location: Webinar
  • Event Type: Online
  • Cost: Free

Speaker Details

  • Matt Ensor, Chair/Workstream Lead, AI Forum NZ LLM Working Group (CEO, FranklyAI)
  • Ming Cheuk, Executive Council Member, AI Forum NZ and Contributor to LLM Working Group (Co-founder and CTO, ElementX)
  • Maggie Koussa, Workstream Lead, AI Forum NZ LLM Working Group (Digital Solution Consultant, FranklyAI)
  • Dr Ian Watson, Professor, University of Auckland
  • Madeline NewmanExecutive Director, AI Forum NZ

Supported By

ElementX, FranklyAI, Arcanum, The University of Auckland, Simply Privacy, Spark, Auckland University of Technology, InternetNZ, Microsoft NZ, Ambit AI, Ako Academy, Aware Group, Massey University, University of Canterbury, IBM watsonx



Are You Ready? Low A.I. Readiness Reveals Challenges for NZ Organisations

Tuesday, November 28th, 2023


Cisco has disclosed its maiden AI Global Readiness Index. This unique study aims to understand the level of preparedness of organisations around the world in terms of deploying AI into their operations. Shockingly, only 9% of New Zealand’s organisations are fully equipped to incorporate and maximise AI.

The Index brought to light the vast difference between the aspiration of Kiwi firms to adopt AI and the actual readiness for AI integration across areas like strategy, infrastructure, data, governance, talent and culture. Additionally, Cisco developed an AI readiness tool, permitting New Zealand businesses to evaluate and compare their readiness.

While 14% of global respondents were prepared for AI deployment, 61% of these organisations believe that they could lose their competitive edge due to AI’s rapid advancement. Furthermore, although 67% have strategies in place, these are more high-level concepts, with businesses unprepared for deployment.

Approximately 93% of New Zealand organisations reported that the urgent necessity to adopt AI-powered technologies has risen over the past six months. There exist considerable gaps in six key business areas, with 91% accepting their unreadiness to assimilate AI entirely. Alarmingly, 65% feel that they have a year at most to implement their AI strategy or risk severe business impact.

In comparison to global organisations, NZ entities are notably advanced in terms of strategic readiness. However, among the six readiness pillars, they lag in Data (#4), Talent (#5), and Culture (#6).

The index was unveiled to underscore the rapid consumption of AI and the major technological shift it is causing in businesses and individuals across the region. However, Cisco advised Kiwi firms to establish the essential groundwork for AI implementation to avoid potential failure.

This report is backed by a blindfold study involving 8,161 business and IT leaders involved with AI, across 30 markets, from companies with more than 500 employees. Of these, 191 were respondents from New Zealand.

The Index concluded that AI readiness is lacking not only in Kiwi firms but also globally due to a lack of focus on vital areas like infrastructure and governance and a lack of scalability when faced with AI challenges. It further observed that despite a highly defined AI strategy, most of the respondents hesitated to embrace AI, underlining that more needs to be done on this front.

The readiness was studied across six key areas: strategy, infrastructure, data, talent, governance, and culture. Almost one-third of the respondents were deemed “Pacesetters” or fully prepared. However, the AI readiness tool revealed that 62% of Kiwi organisations were less prepared, categorised as “Laggards” (4%) or “Followers” (58%), pinpointing several significant gaps.

Despite these drawbacks, organisations across New Zealand demonstrated a high level of motivation to make AI a priority, with more than seven out of ten (72%) organisations embracing AI with moderate to high urgency. From these insights, it is evident that the AI Readiness race is on.


This article first appeared on ITBrief on 21 November 2023, by Sean Mitchell. 

Canterbury Tech Monthly Event – November

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

November’s in-person event will be presented by two speakers, Sam Sehnert, CTO, and Tim Ackroyd, Sr. Web Develop of Custom D Ltd.

They’ll be speaking on ‘The Art of Deployment Automation,’ From “move fast and break things” to “move fast and break nothing”

Software delivery has come a long way from the dark ages of physical CDs and several weeks of preparation to release an update. Today’s expectation is 100% uptime, fast bug fixes and updates deployed as soon as they’re ready without interruption to business or user operations. But how many actually deliver on that promise?

In this talk, Sam and Tim will demystify CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment) for everyone and share both the business benefits and real-world technical implementation.

Event Details:

When: Tuesday 7th November 2023
Where: PWC, Level 3, 60 Cashel Street

Get Tickets

Christchurch council reduces water consumption by 13% with SAP

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023

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The Christchurch City Council has successfully implemented SAP S/4HANA, driving a 13% reduction in household water consumption. It projects this figure to rise to approximately 20% in the coming year. Subsequently, a quarter of citizens with high water usage—those consuming over 6,000 litres daily—have rectified water leaks.

The digitisation efforts are part of an initiative to improve the long-term sustainability of the council’s water supply. This has been heralded as especially crucial as Kiwi officials warn that the El Niño climate system could pose a heightened threat of drought.

Maintaining a network of wells, reservoirs, pipes, pump stations, and aquifers to supply nearly 148,000 households with water, Christchurch City Council was acutely aware of the problem of excess water usage. High demand is often noted during the summer in particular. Unequal usage distribution was a notable concern, with a mere 4% of households found to use more than 23% of the entire residential water supply, mainly for outdoor irrigation and gardening, as well as unidentified leaks.

To counteract this, the council enacted a new excess water rate via a second instance of SAP S/4HANA. This would aid in managing water demand and mitigating the risk of pressure drops in the network over the summer while also reducing necessary funds for network expansion to meet demand, thereby bolstering the long-term sustainability of its water supply.

Leah Scales, General Manager of Resources and Chief Financial Officer at Christchurch City Council stated: “Christchurch City Council is focused on driving sustainable outcomes for our district and meeting our climate change goals. We knew we needed a best-in-class solution, which is why we selected SAP. Through the implementation of SAP S/4HANA, we have been able to effectively reduce demand on the water network and save on the cost of building and maintaining our wells, pumping stations, reservoirs, and other network infrastructure.”

Scales noted that as Christchurch residents have become increasingly engaged with water preservation and sustainability, shifts in their water usage behaviour have begun to emerge, and more leaks are being discovered and fixed to prevent water wastage. The website’s water reporter page has seen more than 444,000 visits, highlighting the growing public interest in water sustainability.

Nick Quin, Director of Public Sector at SAP New Zealand, highlighted the critical role technology plays in creating a sustainable future and enhancing people’s lives. He commented, “Only by recording, reporting, and acting on actual sustainability data can organisations deliver tangible sustainability outcomes. By using SAP S/4HANA, the council can drive meaningful long-term impact for its residents and create a more sustainable future for its people.”

This article was first published on CFOTech New Zealand on 24/10/2023 by Sean Mitchell. 

CerebralFix’s Virtual Forest

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Technology leaders at the EPIC Innovation Campus in Christchurch enjoyed drinks and a catch up in a virtual forest on the 12th of October, courtesy of CerebralFix. The regular tenants drinks, where companies meet to share lessons learnt in business, was hosted by gaming company CerebralFix, which occupies 600+ sqm of the 4000 sqm technology campus in the heart of the city.

The image included in this post shows a 30m2 Virtual Production LED volume that has been setup inside of the CerebralFix office at EPIC Innovation Campus, and is being used for developing skills and technology as part of Canterbury’s screen infrastructure. The technology is well known for playing a big part in hit series such as The Mandalorian by Disney where actors benefit from seeing environments, creatures and special effects while they act – rather than studios adding them after filming. The added benefit is that once in the virtual world, producers can control everything from special effects and digital assets, to weather and the time of day – providing truly dynamic, real time virtual environments at the complete control of the director.

CerebralFix has partnered with local companies Resonate and Pixel, and collectively have been in R&D for just over a year. Their next stage will be a culmination of everything they’ve learned and applied to a proof-of-concept short film, with support from The Screen Canterbury NZ Production Grant and University of Canterbury.

Challenge aims to position Christchurch as NZ’s centre of health innovation

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

HealthTechChallenge_Email Banner_1200x400_FA2 (no enter now)


Ōtautahi Christchurch aims to become the home of health tech innovation in New Zealand with the HealthTech Supernode Challenge, opening Monday 29 June.

With a total prize pool across multiple categories valued at over $340,000, there are plenty of reasons to enter the HealthTech Supernode Challenge. This includes entry into a virtual pre-accelerator programme, the potential for startup investment, a Canterbury District Health Board validation contract, and an exclusive invitation to a further startup incubator programme. 

Most importantly, all Challenge finalists will receive extensive profile, new networks and exposure to one of NZ’s most prolific health innovation ecosystems. 

The nationwide challenge, sponsored by ChristchurchNZ, is open to anyone with a healthtech innovation or idea – from students and startups to researchers, and healthcare professionals. 

The aim of the Challenge is to identify and generate commercially viable solutions that address real healthcare problems focusing on the Aged Care sector and Rural New Zealand. There is also an Open category to ensure no innovation is left uncovered.

Applications open 29 June 2020, with finalists announced 19 August. Anyone in New Zealand can apply.  The url is (this link will go live on Monday 29th).

Up to 20 finalists will embark on an intensive, six-week virtual pre-accelerator programme to support teams through a market validation process that will rigorously test their idea.

The top finalists emerging from the pre-accelerator will present to a panel of experts at a Demo Night, to be held on 22 October at Manawa, in the heart of Te Papa Hauora Christchurch Health Precinct. Judges include Microbiologist and Media Commentator, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles and Ian Town, New Zealand’s Chief Science Advisor at the Ministry of Health.

The HealthTech Supernode Challenge is delivered by the Ministry of Awesome and the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship with support from ChristchurchNZ, KiwiNet, and Ryman Healthcare.

Healthtech is a growth sector for Christchurch and an area of existing strength, with the city looking for opportunities to continue to attract and grow talent, business and innovation.

Joanna Norris CEO ChristchurchNZ said there is no city better placed than Christchurch to host the Challenge.

“Ōtautahi Christchurch is home to Te Papa Hauora, a world-class Health Precinct which integrates research and innovation with education and community wellbeing, pair this with the talent coming out of the tertiaries and a thriving tech ecosystem and we’ve got the perfect testbed to challenge the status quo and find new ways to address the biggest health issues facing the globe.

I have no doubt we’ll see some very competitive submissions coming through with the potential to drive the city’s economic recovery and create new high-value jobs.’’

Quote from KiwiNet.

“Now more than ever is the time for us to be investing in and accelerating new and innovative ideas. Which is why it’s so important that we step up and support our local and emerging researchers, who are developing new technologies with the potential to change New Zealanders’ lives, for the better. The Supernode Challenge will provide an amazing opportunity and platform for these innovators, and we can’t wait to see what incredible ideas are put forward.” Alexandra Stuthridge, Commercialisation Manager at KiwiNet.

Quote from Ryman.

“We jumped at the chance to be able to support the HealthTech Supernode Challenge because we think it couldn’t come at a better time. New Zealand’s population of older people is growing, and this growth is set to speed up rapidly as the Baby Boomers retire, placing extra demand on our health system. We’d like to support our best and brightest minds in developing new technologies to help us cope with this demand, and which will improve the quality of life for older people.’’ Rick Davies, Head of Technology and Innovation at Ryman Healthcare.

Productivity the barrier to tech being the top exporter

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Kiwi tech companies urged to ‘eat more of their own dog food’ when it comes to selling

Kiwi technology needs to sell itself smarter to realise it’s potential to become the country’s largest export industry, according to the latest Market Measures report.

“We don’t face the same environmental constraints of the other two major export sectors, agriculture and tourism, so the potential for tech is virtually limitless,” says Owen Scott, Managing Director of Concentrate Limited, who organise the study along with fellow tech marketing company Swaytech.

“Improving our ability sell efficiently is one way of unlocking more of this potential, and ultimately becoming New Zealand’s primary export industry.”
In its ninth year, Market Measures gathers information about sales and marketing from over 300 New Zealand companies, and compares the results to similar data from the USA.

“In this study we found Kiwi companies over reliant on company founders and high-value sales people to sell their product,” said Mr Scott. “46% of companies said a founder was still closely involved in sales, and the average sales person in an export market was paid a base salary almost 50% higher than a typical US sales person.”

“It’s not a scalable approach to generating export sales, and is reinforced by the fact 40% of companies said productivity was their main problem when it came to managing sales teams.”

Bob Pinchin, Managing Director of Swaytech, said the fact US companies used on average three times the number of digital sales tools (e.g. email automation, contact intelligence) than their New Zealand counterparts was evidence they were more focussed on efficiency. “In the tech industry we call this ‘eating your own dog food’, but our firms are turning their nose up at these tools at the moment.”

“We have talented tech sales people who convert leads at an incredibly high rate, but it’s the volume of sales that is the issue – this productivity challenge is one we have to solve to overtake the other two big export industries,” he said.

“Our tech sales people are really ‘artists’, talented and creative and able to craft sales, but what we need more of is scientists – people operating within a rigorous system able to produce repeatable, predictable sales results at a lower cost,” said Mr Scott.

He said that more than ever before, our tech companies are willing to invest in sales and marketing, which has been a feature of Market Measures since it began in 2008. “That ranges from a stable 25% of annual revenue spent on sales and marketing (including salaries and costs) for established companies, through to an aggressive 127% for start-up tech businesses.”

“NZTE works with an increasing number of internationally successful tech companies but as the Market Measures study suggests, some of them – big and small – are forgetting to cover some of the basics that lead to export growth,” says Charles Haddrell, Customer Director at NZTE, the principal sponsors of Market Measures.

“Getting your sales and marketing strategies right isn’t just a nice to have – it’s a must have. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies and know from experience that implementing robust sales processes, developing sales and execution skills, hiring well, and being aware of the technologies to support the sales and marketing functions are vital to being successful overseas.”

To purchase the report, click here.

NZTech’s CEO on what Apple’s latest acquisition means for us

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

It was big news in the Kiwi start up community last week when Apple confirmed it would acquire Auckland start up PowerbyProxi.

And NZTech’s CEO Graeme Muller says that the deal is confirmation that New Zealand is on the right track to become a global tech story – and be known for our technology just like we are for tourism.

“When the world’s largest tech firm purchases our technology, in this case PowerbyProxi, we know we are on the right track, doing some great things,” adds Muller.

“The purchase of PowerbyProxi by Apple is another sign of the growing strength of New Zealand as a leader of tech innovation. The top 200 tech exporters are now selling more than $7 billion a year into offshore markets while employing thousands of Kiwis here in New Zealand.”

Muller says employment across New Zealand’s tech sector increased by 22% between 2015 and 2016 and now accounts for 6% of the national workforce.

To read the full article click here.

Putting the wind in our tech sector sails

Monday, July 31st, 2017

It’s been a few weeks now since Emirates Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup. A lot was said at the time about the technology and innovation the team developed and put together to win back the Auld Mug. From the cyclors and foil design, to the remote controlled wingsail, spectators and commentators were in awe of how “brave” the team were to not just think outside the square, but to come up with a totally different shape entirely. All of this with nowhere near the sort of money and funding that the other teams had.

This sort of innovative thinking on a relative penny and dime budget is not something new to Kiwis, the Number 8 wire mentality is something of which we are rightfully proud. What most New Zealanders don’t realise though, is how successful our technology sector is, and sometimes it takes someone from the outside to come in and highlight it for us.

Recently, Garage Technology Ventures’ managing director Bill Reichert spent four weeks in New Zealand as entrepreneur in residents at AUT. He travelled around the country, met with start-ups and produced an Innovation Report on what he found.

Reichert is a renowned member of the technology community in Silicon Valley. As an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, mentor, speaker and advisor, he has been in the industry for decades and understands innovation and what it takes to build a successful tech venture.

He found New Zealand a surprising home of innovation with some clever, talented minds at the helm of some exciting businesses. While there is room for improvement within the innovation space, there were 10 businesses that really impressed him with their products and execution.

Click here to read the full article.

Tech education needs to catch up

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

You’ll forgive us for sounding like a broken record, but discussions about technology in education have been cycling for years now with the same message being conveyed; it needs to catch up.

NZTech held it’s eighth annual meeting the other week where it announced the businesses that make up its community now collectively employ 100,000 people. Chief executive Graeme Muller says the growth of the industry is crucial not just for the sector, but for New Zealand’s economy and the nation’s wellbeing as a whole.

But in a column in Idealog’s 2017 Technology issue, out next week, OMGTech! co-founder and Vend founder Vaughan Rowsell says more needs to be done to equip the future generations so they can flourish in the tech industry.

Seeing as the World Economic Forum report predicts that 65 percent of jobs for primary school aged kids will have as adults don’t actually exist yet, he says it’s essential digital technologies and a strong knowledge of tech are taught to the youth of today.

“Many young New Zealanders don’t believe they can have a career in these [creative and tech] sectors and that is just dumb,” Rowsell says.

Click here to read the full article. 

Emphasis on tech in schools concerns parents (but excites students!)

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Kiwi students are looking forward to an education refresh that incorporates more technology use in classrooms. The ‘Digital Technologies’ literacy plan involves developing teachers’ skills to deliver new digitally focused curriculum to encourage problem solving skills required for the future.

However, parents are concerned about their children will be spending even more time ‘looking at a screen’ and compromising traditional learning.

Minister of Education, Hon Nikki Kaye, maintains that “as tomorrow’s business leaders, data scientists, artists, health workers, chefs, engineers, user experience designers, urban planners, farmers or navigators, creating and developing digital technologies will be a core requirement for success.”

To find out more about how learning in schools will change, click here.

New Zealand household’s data consumption on the rise

Monday, May 29th, 2017

New Zealanders are using data at even higher rates than previous years. Both Orcon and Chorus have reported 50 and 60% increases in average data usage from 2016 to 2017. The average household uses around 160GB of data, mostly used up by streaming and gaming.

This shows we are a country with a healthy appetite for new content and new ways to consume our old favourites such as movies and TV shows.

To find out more about the latest statistics, click here. 

Space-age technology for NZ MS patients

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

New Zealand MS patients are the subject of a new trial using what some are calling ‘space-age technology’.

Watch the video by 1 News here

Technology disrupting the agriculture industry

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Farmers are in for a shock. According to Allflex Innovation and Business Development Manager, Pat Gunston, the technology revolution is on its way.

“We didn’t think it was possible a few years ago, but now we put animals down a race and read their eartags as fast as they pass by,” explains Gunston.

The New Zealand economy relies heavily on farming but many agree that we shouldn’t be. As technology advances, the future of farming is put at risk. To stay relevant and important to the country, the farming communities need to find ways to optimise and streamline their processes through the use of technology.

To find out more about this, click here. 

What’s the use of money?

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

We’ve assumed it for a while but Mastercard, in a recent survey of 1000 New Zealanders have found that 90% of people choose digital payment options over cash. So what will happen to the money when digital payment completely takes over. With the rise of apps like Apple Pay, its making it even easier for anyone to digitally pay for goods and services, especially in traditionally cash driven areas such as communities.

To find out more about the outcomes of the survey, click here. 

Robots, virtual reality and living on Mars – Christchurch Techweek ’17

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Virtual reality gaming, robotics, earthquake safety engineering and how people can live on Mars – these are just a taste of the creative and technology-driven events on offer during Techweek’17 in Christchurch.

Techweek’17 events will be running from 6 to 14 May around New Zealand, the theme for this years’ programme is, “finding local answers to global questions”. Christchurch, with its concentration of innovation and entrepreneurial businesses, is offering a programme of events that will inspire and impress.

Highlights in the Christchurch programme include:

EPIC True Stories: from idea to global innovation: hear how organisations including SLI Systems, CerebralFix and Brush Technology overcame the challenges of establishing business models, winning international clients and scaling their businesses beyond startups. (Tues 9 May 2pm to 4pm)

People making a difference: a showcase and lecture series highlighting University of Canterbury research. Topics include: Hunt for the Wilderpeople 2 – how swarms of drones can help in major disaster areas, the cutting edge of electric vehicle design, spatial information mapping and species protection in Antarctica. (Wed 10 May, 5pm to 8pm)

Showcasing AgTech: a glimpse into how technology is creating quicker, more efficient and different ways to improve agriculture. (Wed 10 May, 9am to 3pm)

Mission to Mars: The Mission to Mars programme, which is supported by NASA and Fablab, brings to life NASA’s strategy for mankind to live on Mars. See how students in Yr 9 and 10 design, 3D print and build habitats to live on Mars. (Wed 10 May 9am to 4pm)

The Future of Food: a look at the global food ecosystem and how to shift our mindsets from organic farm-fresh ethically-sourced produce to bio or genetically-engineered food. (Friday 12 May, 7.30am to 9am)

To view more events and to register visit

About TechWeek’17

Techweek exists to amplify New Zealand innovation that is good for the world, it is run by the tech ecosystem under the guardianship of not-for-profit NZTech and an establishment board of industry talent, all passionate about increasing NZ prosperity. It’s produced in association with MBIE, NZTE, ATEED, and MoE, and supported by New Zealand Tourism, Callaghan Innovation, WREDA, CDC, Hamilton City Council, Rotorua Lakes Council and Tauranga City Council.

Techweek’17 events will be running in over 15 towns and cities around the country including Northland, Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and more.

Government alliance a stepping stone to becoming a digital nation

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Our Communications Minister, Simon Bridges, recently released the Building a Digital Nation report which outlines several programmes to drive New Zealand towards becoming a digital nation. One of the programmes discussed is an alliance between the digital sector and government to explore the economic and social benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The alliance will provide a forum for enabling us to better understand the benefits and potential issues of IoT, such as privacy and cyber security.

“Initial research by the alliance, which will provide an evidence base for future work, already suggests potential economic benefits to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the New Zealand economy through the deployment of IoT across a variety of sectors,” says Bridges.

To find out more about the alliance and the full Building a Digital Nation report, click here.

Callaghan’s wearable technology competition – your chance to win big

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Recognising the adoption of wearable technology around the world, Callaghan Innovation have launched a competition to find “the next big thing in wearable technology”. The 2017 C-Prize competition is offers winners $100,000 as a grand prize package and $50,000 in cash to stimulate ideas with the best becoming a viable business.

To be considered for the prize, entrants need to create a proof-of-concept for a piece of wearable technology. They will need to create a combined hardware-software wearable solution that captures and processes user data and communicates feedback allowing the user to act to enhance their outcome.

The competition is open to anyone aged 16 and over, living in New Zealand. Entries are open until midnight, July 2 2017 at

Bringing tech into the Basketball world

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Basketball New Zealand have been announced as a finalist for the Innovation Excellence Award at the 2017 New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards, for the enabling of Glory League.

Glory League is a software that creates video replays and highlight snippets for individual players and provides them with the files to be able to share through social media. Basketball New Zealand Chief Executive Iain Potter says that “it provides an opportunity to re-experience and share their basketball thrills multiple times with friends and family members. This brings a players on-court experiences to life on social media.”

Glory League, a New Zealand innovation out of Auckland, is leading the way in terms of player experience and are showcasing this on a global stage.

To find out more about Glory League and the Basketball New Zealand finalist announcement, click here.

Getting the brand together

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Why are resellers and distributors an unfashionable route to growth for tech companies?

Music fans mourned the untimely demise of Joni Sledge, one of the quartet of Sledge sisters responsible for the disco anthem ‘We are family’, released in 1978. The classic tune remains popular almost 40 years later amidst all the explosion of musical styles we enjoy today. Fortunately, we haven’t become too carried away by the latest hip-hop to forget the big hair and big beats of disco.

In the marketing world digital has become pervasive, to the extent it sometimes seems the ‘classic’ ways to grow a business like using channels (e.g. resellers, distributors, sales agents) are seen as irrelevant. According to the evidence one of the best ways for New Zealand technology companies to grow is selling through channel partners.

The main method of indirect selling is through resellers who typically handle the physical distribution, sale and implementation of a product. Licensing is another indirect option, where a company can use your product, or a part of it, as their own branded product. And there are many variations on these themes.

“If the product is really good the next most important thing is to have a crystal clear understanding as to what is the best distribution channel for the product,” said one respondent in the annual Market Measures study of hi-tech sales and marketing.

A finding of the 2016 study of 300+ Kiwi tech exporters was that although using a reseller or distributor had a positive statistical relationship with high turnover growth, only one third of companies surveyed used a channel of some sort. While that is an increase on the 25% of channel users in the 2010 study, there is still plenty of opportunity.

To read the full blog, visit the Concentrate website here.

Code Club’s new partnership

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Code Club Aotearoa has partnered with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The Foundation works to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world. They provide low-cost, high-performance computers that people use to learn, solve problems and have fun.

At a recent Raspberry Pi Global Meetup, Code Club’s National Training Manager Tom Bijesse was able to understand how a partnership with Raspberry Pi can really strengthen Code Club’s presence in New Zealand. “After seeing how people are learning with Raspberry Pi I now think that with proper support Raspberry Pi can make learning to code more interactive and easier to understand.”

To find out more about the Raspberry Pi partnership and Bijesse’s learnings from the Meetup, click here.

Students urged to combat cybercrime

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

The career options for students who want to combat cybercrime are expanding so rapidly into fields like law, research, teaching and insurance that a leading Hamilton based cyber security research centre is urging secondary school students to get serious about tapping into this exciting job market.

Globally, unfilled cyber security jobs are predicted to reach 1.5 million by 2019 and international experts say the entire cyber security sector unemployment rate is zero percent.

The government’s cyber security strategy annual action plan report released last week shows the government-appointed cyber security taskforce aims to introduce a secondary school programme to help position students for higher level study towards cyber security qualifications.

Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato (CROW) associate professor Ryan Ko is a member of the New Zealand cyber security taskforce and says secondary school students need to be informed of the massive cyber security career potential for their personal benefit and that of the New Zealand economy.

“We need to train more Kiwis in cyber security to align with the fast growth and deployment of new technologies. This is important to protect New Zealand because tech is our fastest growing industry and a lapse in cyber capability would be detrimental to the economy.

“Only 23 percent of board of directors actively participate in security policy and $34 billion could be added to the New Zealand economy if businesses made more effective use of the internet.

“A range of job roles are appearing within popular career sectors like government, law, research, teaching and insurance where there is a demand for employees who have skills and knowledge in cyber security.

“Top executive positions are also being established that have chief risk officers reporting directly to the chief executive and if this trend continues, it opens up exciting career pathway opportunities for junior cyber security professionals,” Ko says.

CROW runs the annual New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge for secondary school students who want to learn more about cyber security, show off their skills and chat to industry experts about what it takes to develop a career in cyber security.

In only its fourth year, the shape of the challenge for 2017 has changed to keep up with the rapid changes in security-related jobs that are occurring as the world adapts to advancing technologies.

“Rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) means devices are being deployed into consumer environments – homes and offices – with very poor or non-existent security features. These devices can easily be compromised and used in malicious activities.

“This year we have introduced a new policy-based round to the challenge because it is important that students have a broader viewpoint of security. Students will need to assess the risks associated with emerging technologies like drones and look at how to apply and enforce policies which will help to protect organisational assets,” Ko says.

The challenge, which includes a career fair, is attractive for small to medium businesses as it is a chance for them to compete against and scope out talented future employees from within New Zealand’s secondary school and tertiary sectors.

Around 500 participants from all over New Zealand are expected to compete from mid-June with the top 150 gathering at the University of Waikato campus in July to receive hands-on training and compete in teams to become the 2017 New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge Champions.

 For more information contact Make Lemonade news editor Janelle Blythe on 021 662 138.

Creative app developer named among NZ’s top 100 CIOs

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

A small but innovative Christchurch app developer is today rubbing shoulders with the cream of New Zealand’s top chief information officers (CIO) by being named among the top 100 CIOs in the country.

The annual announcement recognise New Zealand’s 100 most innovative and effective chief information officers, who are influencing rapid change across their organisations. 

The app company, LWA, was included among the best of the best largely because of the company producing an app for Aramex, the largest courier company in the Middle East.

LWA chief executive Atta Elayyan says he was humbled by being named in the top 100.

“Aramex’s recent acquisition of Fastway has seen its global footprint expand as far as Australasia. For them, we were able to successfully consolidate all courier task management needs into a single app that ran on any smartphone in arguably the world’s most comprehensive bring your own device (BYOD) courier app.”

Elayyan, who has Jordanian heritage, says LWA is providing solutions for with Silver Fern Farms, his company has recently been working with a Christchurch company called Assura which specialises in health and safety and work flow solutions for government organisations such as the Ministry of Social Development and Greater Wellington Regional Council. 

“Like the Aramex solution, we’re delivering a rich BYOD solution which helps streamline health and safety and work flow processes while eliminated the need for a paper trail.

“The next two years will essentially be building a services division around VR/AR solutions and investing in joint product opportunities with our clients and partners that we can sell to the enterprise market.

“LWA was founded on a passion for tinkering with new and exciting technologies and this remains a core aspect of our company culture. We are excited about making the top 100 CIO list and we are driven for the future. It’s great.”

For further information contact LWA Solutions chief executive Atta Elayyan on 021 1453358 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

NZ Energy Innovation Challenge 2017

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Disruption is hitting the global electricity industry and New Zealand tech companies have the potential to lead the world with innovative solutions.

Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ are calling every coder, inventor, tinkerer, engineer, or ideas person to enter an Innovation Challenge from February 1 with ideas pushing boundaries in how consumers and businesses use, manage, distribute, transmit, and generate power. Selected finalists will present to an expert industry panel for the chance to win prizes and access to industry partners.

Check this out for more informations!

Equality attracts top tech talent

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Leading Australasian eCommerce provider eStar says businesses that practise diversity and equality have a huge competitive edge when it comes to employing top talent and maintaining a productive and engaged workforce.

As New Zealand’s fastest growing sector and third largest exporter, tech employs five percent of the workforce and has the highest paid employees than all other sectors on average.

The number of software developers employed in New Zealand doubled between 2006-2013 and growth is expected to continue to around 5.2 percent a year until 2020.

Based in Christchurch and Melbourne, eStar is one of New Zealand’s largest and growing IT companies employing more than 70 people. Its workforce has increased by a third in the last 18 months and represents 17 different cultural backgrounds.

eStar chief operations officer Kevin Rowland says the company focuses on having the right people in the right role and building a culture that is welcoming and inclusive.

“Four of our back-end developers are from India and we have a diverse workforce of women from Brazil, Hong Kong, Egypt, Philippines, Germany and Sri Lanka, as well as loads of Kiwis.

“Employing people from diverse backgrounds provides significant opportunities for us to leverage engagement, innovation, productivity and improve service to our clients,” Rowland says.

Women take up 23 percent of tech roles in New Zealand but at eStar, 41 percent of employees are women and this figure is expected to increase.

Three of the four senior tech leads at eStar are women, all of whom have been promoted from within the company. The client support and client delivery managers are female and eStar has women in a range of roles including developers, web designers, scrum masters, project managers, product owners, solutions consultants and client support, among others.

Rowland says eStar’s employee remuneration is based on skills and value and they treat everyone equally.

“Remuneration has nothing to do with gender or culture. It makes no difference whether people are male or female, it’s all about recruiting the right person for the job who has the right skills and experience.

“In the last two years at eStar we have placed a big focus on how we all work together and this has resulted in remarkable employee engagement results. Having a more engaged team has had a direct impact on employee turnover, so that our retention for the current year is 87.85 percent, well above industry average.

“Having engaged and satisfied people in the tech business is so important as we are all competing for the top talent.”

eStar is actively involved with various projects to encourage more young Kiwis into tech careers such as Shadow Tech Day, ITP TechHub and Futureintech.

About eStar

eStar is Australasia’s leading specialist eCommerce solutions provider, delivering outstanding experiences with some of the region’s best brands, through a combination of thought leadership, user experience, development, design and partners. Clients include Country Road, Briscoe Group, Swanndri and Smiths City Group, amongst many others.

For further information contact Make Lemonade news editor Janelle Blythe on 021 662 138.


Author: Janelle Blythe

source: Make Lemonade

New Zealand leading AI

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Soul Machines, based out of Auckland, are leading the world in humanising Artificial Intelligence innovation. The company has just unveiled their first virtual assistant, an emotionally intelligent virtual agent.

With financial backing out of Hong Kong, this technology promises to deliver big things across a range of different industries while putting New Zealand technology on the map.

To find out more about the project click here.

My F.C., the world’s first fully digital football platform wins BNZ Start-Up Alley

Monday, February 20th, 2017

My F.C., the world’s first fully digital football platform claimed first prize, winning $15,000 and a trip to San Francisco. Designed to remove pain points founders Sam Jenkins, Mike Simpson and Sam Jasper experienced as football players, coaches, managers and fans themselves, the platform links the management of teams, clubs, leagues and national bodies with crowd-sourced and independently validated data from users.

Read more >

LIC Innovation Farm to host Farming2020 during Techweek17

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Drones, robotic technologies, and automated on-farm sensors – they’re all on display near Hamilton, as LIC’s Innovation Farm plays host to the agricultural showcase ‘Farming2020’.

Farming 2020 is among the signature events included as part of an inaugural three-day event, Techweek17, which takes place from Tuesday 9 May.

Wayne McNee, Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) chief executive, said the company was delighted to host Farming2020 at its unique Innovation Farm in Rukuhia.

The LIC Innovation Farm included sensor technology that provided instant information on milk content being produced by its cows (commercially farmed on-site). The farm also included automated in-shed technology, including leading-edge Protrack™ herd management systems and in-line milk meters.

Farming2020 would showcase some of New Zealand’s leading AgTech businesses and solutions in what was increasingly a digitally-connected farm environment, Mr McNee said.

“The event’s mission maps LIC’s own commitment to build and deliver next generation technology solutions, designed to improve the prosperity and productivity of our farmers.”

Farming2020 organiser, Wharf42, said the event would educate a diverse audience about how digital innovation was impacting on agriculture’s long-term future.

Peter Wren-Hilton, principal architect of Farming2020, said the audience included industry representatives, other tech innovators, investors, media, and groups of students from schools across central North Island.

Agricultural robotic, drone, and on-farm sensor demonstrations would be a highlight, along with other smart AgTech platforms.

Beside educating its audience and sharing ideas, the event would also capture high-grade content for future use in participating New Zealand AgTech companies.

Original Article:

Digitech to play a big health role

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

A special event at Parliament next week will mark the 15th anniversary of the New Zealand Health IT (NZHIT) cluster as digital technology gains momentum in the health sector.

 The NZHIT group was formed in February 2002 in a major push to start digitising all things health.

To mark the 15th anniversary, NZHIT chief executive Scott Arrol says they will be holding several events throughout the year to emphasise the significant part the organisation has played in the health sector in the last 15 years and to highlight the substantial contribution NZHIT will make well into the future.

 “It is fitting that the first anniversary event is being held at Parliament on February 14 and I will outline the future of the health IT sector over the coming years. The Ministry of Health will also be presenting an update on their single electronic health record (EHR) project, which is a topic of considerable interest to the whole health sector in NZ.

 “The EHR will enable patients, clinicians, DHBs and the wider health community to use health data to support better health outcomes. The first stages of the project are well underway.

 “Also, our 15th anniversary coincides with 2017 being an election year so it is fitting that we’re holding the first event at Parliament. This will provide the opportunity for people keen to be involved in health IT to mix and mingle with politicians from across the political spectrum while demonstrating the strength and relevance that we bring to enabling a healthier New Zealand.

 “Our NZHIT digi-health membership is growing rapidly as service providers, companies and organisations embrace health IT. We have a firm vision for interoperability and we have done a lot of work in this area since the first Cloud in Health symposium for New Zealand.

 “This year we will deliver the future tech in health symposium in May and the cybersecurity in health symposium in July, in partnership with HiNZ, TUANZ and RHAANZ.”

 Arrol says the healthcare sector has the fastest growth in IT spending in New Zealand, bringing exciting opportunities for health IT companies, especially now that the technology industry is New Zealand’s third largest exporter.

 For further information contact NZHIT chief executive Scott Arrol on 021 414631 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Author: Kip Brook


Digital transformation an appetite for risk

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Digital transformation is taking hold of the world – and with it an appetite for security and privacy risk, a digital expert says.

 Hayley Carthy, chair of the DX conference in Auckland next month, says New Zealand is tracking strongly as it transforms to the digital world.

 “New Zealand has some great success stories in finance, health and biotech that have gained recognition on the global stage but digital transformation means different things to different organisations. There is no one size fits all or we’d have all nailed it by now. That said, we as a nation, are in great shape.

 “Being relatively small means we are nimble and not typically impeded by scale, but we need to learn how to better use this to our advantage. This takes appetite for risk and people who understand how to execute without compromising trust and integrity – remembering security and privacy amplify in the digital world.

 “I don’t necessarily think we should be striving to be digital pioneers in every industry – rather pursuing the right opportunities that will have a great impact.

 “In today’s fast paced world one universal driver for digital is efficiency – time and money. Beyond that it’s important to clearly understand the outcomes you’re seeking by going digital: How can digital enhance or accelerate delivery of our business strategy? And can digital help remove barriers for success?

 “Accessing the capability we need in some areas can be a challenge as we are competing with larger populations when it comes to luring scarce resource.  Injecting fresh thinking is vital and helps extend and challenge the thinking of others. 

 “The March 22 DX conference in Auckland will be a great opportunity to hear how other organisations are tackling their digital journey. While digital transformation means different things to different organisations, there’s a lot we can learn from each other. I’ll certainly be taking on board every insight I can from our great line up of speakers.

 “One major government department project is Inland Revenue’s business transformation which is easily one of the largest in scale and ambition in the Government sector – making it simpler and faster for New Zealanders to pay and receive their taxes and entitlements.  Another government agency making an impact that most of us will have seen in action is NZ Customs Service with their border modernisation programme.

 “In industry, the digital transformation led by Xero is a great example. Keep in mind digital is not just about removing paper. If you think of it that way you’re only seeing a small part of the opportunity.

 “So the future of digital has to be beyond simply translating existing processes and services to digital. To transform we need to re-imagine every interaction, transaction, service into an opportunity to meet a customer need that they didn’t even know they had! That’s the sweet spot where digital success lives and thrives.

 “Digital brings the rest of the world to our doorstep, and vice versa. Barriers that used to exist are broken down, meaning boundless opportunities for NZ to contribute and compete on a global scale,” Carthy says.

 For further information or to arrange an interview with DX conference chair Hayley Carthy contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275030188.

 Photo: DX conference chair Hayley Carthy