The fast pace of tech change is a challenge

OPINION: It’s never been more important to be up with technology.

Having a highly technology literate population will help us play a significant part in the global knowledge economy of the future.

Get it wrong and our economy will lag behind as the world moves more and more into the digital space.

And people who are unable to access information technologies, or who are without the skills to use them, run the risk of being excluded from social, educational, cultural and economic benefits.

Keeping up to speed is not an infrastructure issue for Christchurch – most homes, businesses and schools have phone lines or Enable fibre connections at the gate – but rather a matter of disposable income and access.

It is the cost of buying an entry level computer, tablet or mobile phone, keeping on top of the operational costs, data charges and then making sure that we have the right virus protection, software upgrades and applications to keep up with the pace of change.

So, what can we do about it?

We can amplify the importance of being technology savvy amongst parents, teachers, schools and our peers. We must work collaboratively to create ease of access and act with bold ambition to champion innovation and bring new ideas to life at a civic scale.

The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 is best described as an exponential pace of technology change that will lead to increasingly rapid disruption, fundamentally impacting the way we work and live.

“Disruptive tech” will not only effect production and processes but ultimately will change jobs and economic prosperity.

By disruptive technology I mean invention that changes the way we do things.

Think mobile phones or portable devices, the internet, increasing use of Cloud platforms, advanced robotics, autonomous cars, nanotechnology, 3D printing or virtual reality.

Sound familiar?

That’s because they are already all upon us and we have only scratched the surface of their impact on society.

In contrast to previous revolutions, which were characterised by single advances in mechanisation, we are now facing multiple new technology roll outs in quick succession that combined will impact on all aspects of our professional and personal lives.

For example, virtual reality software being developed in Christchurch will be able to train you to use tools and machines in a near real simulation.

Then think about how this might change traditional education systems.

Here in Christchurch we have an opportunity to come together with global experts and thought leaders to talk about the rapid technological change our world faces in the biggest event for tech in the calendar year.

The annual Canterbury Tech Summit is in Christchurch next week with a theme of Amplify.

Seven hundred of our country’s hardest grafters, STEM masters, logical risk takers, supporters and students will once again converge on Christchurch. Our local tech community will be able to meet together; to collaborate and inspire each other to do better and keep on the cusp of change.

I am assured attendees are guaranteed a fantastic line-up of quality speakers and workshops covering the latest top technological trends from Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality and blockchain to cybersecurity.

It’s all about amplifying our efforts, collaborating to do things better, faster and more efficiently.

It is a given that more jobs will be replaced by learning computers and this will extend into fields that have not historically been vulnerable to technology advances.

By contemplating the change, providing access, amplifying the message and educating, we can also explore new opportunities.

The pace of change should be considered an opportunity, one we need to collectively embrace and harness.

Technology will continue to affect us all – professionally and personally at a growing pace – and next week will be another opportunity to amplify that message.

The fourth industrial revolution is here. We all need to get ready.

Richard Sandford is ChristchurchNZ’s general manager of innovation and business growth

Christchurch Tech Summit to ‘amplify’ innovation

Once an annual barbeque, the summit is now one of New Zealand’s biggest conferences.

The Christchurch Tech Summit will take place on September 12.

With the theme of “amplify”, Canterbury Tech is hoping to build on last year’s theme of “growth” and help businesses to accelerate that growth.

Communications & Events Manager at Canterbury Tech Nina Lamb said the theme applied leadership, team building and culture.

Lamb said that the summit is connector for people in the Christchurch tech sector, which is the second largest tech sector in New Zealand. It contributes $2.4 billion of GDP and exports $1.1 billion annually, which Lamb attributed to its unique nature within the South Island.

She referred to an example where a lawyer and an entrepreneur met and developed software for legal help. “Bringing people together in one room for a day of learning, of sharing ideas. That’s really what this event does.”

While Canterbury tech regularly host smaller monthly events, they said this one occasion will see people from across the country come together to share and facilitate networking.

“I think the main difference to other events is the amazing breadth of who we have attending,” Lamb said. Described as a cross-section of everyone in the sector, she said everyone from students at one end to senior executives at the other, and all the developers in the middle.

Connecting at this scale and having a place to celebrate Canterbury technology are among a number of reasons she believed this event is not to be missed.

The conference is split into three streams, with three speakers talking at any one time. The streams focus on business, applied technology and homegrown businesses. The summit’s keynote speaker is Harold Hillman, a leadership coach.

Another presence that has generated excitement is Cryptopia, a small start-up company in Christchurch that exchange over 400 cryptocurrencies. Starting out with two people in December 2014, it has now grown to include a UK office and employ over 100 people, with over 2 million users worldwide.

The easiest way to register for the September 12 event is on their website www.techsummit.nz.

As well as the afternoon event, there will also be workshops in the morning focusing on diving deep into particular topics, including artificial intelligence. These require separate registration through the same site.

The event will be held at the Air Force Museum in Wigram, Christchurch on September 12.

Doors will open at 11.30am, before the formal program commences at 12.45pm.


This article was published by Isaac Gunson on MetroNews (25.08.2018).

Breaking the bottleneck

The world is increasingly reliant on technology. It impacts daily life in almost every way; communication, entertainment, housing and lifestyle, finance, healthcare, education and travel to name a few. The demands on businesses responsible for delivering solutions to enable and enhance these aspects of daily life are also increasing. And this means the demands on these businesses to continuously develop and improve the quality of software also continues to grow.

The wide adoption of Agile and DevOps as highly productive methods of delivering innovative applications and services has enabled many organisations to be more responsive, at a lower cost. And it is becoming more acceptable nowadays for significant time and budget to be invested in resources to transform development operations in terms of tooling, training and coaching.

But still, many organisations are operating in the past.

Despite all the advancements in software development, software testing remains dominated by yesterday’s tools, which no longer meet the needs of today’s accelerated development process.

The legacy tools and methods of software testing often result in a bottleneck, and in fact, many organisations tell us that software testing and quality assurance cause the largest bottleneck to implementing DevOps. The result is process that is a frustratingly slow to market and costs that are increasing.

Transforming testing for the modern era.

The reality is that testing is a cross-functional activity that involves the whole team and should be done continuously from the beginning of the project. Key to this is understanding the role of a tester and what type of testing should be performed for the project at hand. Distinguishing testing tasks for all phases of delivery is also a critical component.

Automation is a tenet of DevOps. Tests are generally written up front before development starts, with agreement between the developer and a user representative. Automated testing enables higher quality results by identifying problems earlier and reducing manual effort. It has great ability to lower costs, increase speed, improve quality and accelerate digital transformation.

Business processes can also be automated.

But it’s not just software development that can greatly benefit from automation. Many executives we talk to are challenged with scaling up staffing levels, improving employee productivity and reducing manual tasks and errors, providing consistent and strong user experiences and integrating existing applications and software without creating custom APIs or using costly integration software. And all while maintaining an acceptable level of operational cost.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the automation of manual business processes, best targeted at high-volume, repetitive or mundane tasks.  It enables the automation of a large percentage of business processes without requiring expensive IT integration. It sits on top of an organisation’s IT infrastructure enabling the implementation of technology quickly and efficiently because many workflows simply require data to be transferred from one system to another.

RPA has proven to be an effective tool in situations where organisations have high volumes of rule-based transactions and processes that are prone to error due to the complexity or disparity of systems, or simply due to human error when conducting repetitive tasks. Organisations with processes that require 24/7 support or with budget limitations that constrain significant system upgrades or replacements can also benefit greatly from RPA.

Change is inevitable.

Whatever your business, whatever your processes there is one thing that is inevitable – change. The world is moving too fast not to jump onboard the train. But the good news is that there’s help available regardless of the maturity of your business processes. So, don’t be shy, embrace change and enjoy the great outcomes technology can enable.


This blog post was submitted by Grant Borrie, Executive Director of TTC. The Testing Consultancy is a Silver Sponsor at this year’s Canterbury Tech Summit. 

 

Remaining disruptive and agile – key success factors for Vocus Communications

This year’s Canterbury Tech Summit opens its doors for the 16thtime on 12th September to another sell-out crowd of over 700 members of the innovation, tech and business ecosystem.

The conference theme “Amplify” struck a chord with event sponsor Vocus Communications. While this is Vocus’ first year supporting the event, their experience servicing NZ organisations as a telco spans over 22 years.

With more than 30,000 km of fibre in the ground, including over 4,200 km in New Zealand, Vocus make sophisticated, high-performance communications solutions more accessible than ever for businesses across New Zealand, Australia and the broader region, including true Trans-Tasman, on-net connectivity.

“Traditionally, New Zealand has been seen as an exporter of primary industry products, but this is starting to change as advanced technology infrastructure is enabling rapid modernisation and innovation,” says Susie Stone, GM Vocus Communications.

“Increasingly New Zealand is being seen as a country that is globally competitive, and as more businesses, incubators and startups spring up in the knowledge economy space, the need for faster and more reliable networking infrastructure will be keenly felt.”

Being a disruptor of the industry, using agility to keep doing things differently to larger competitors, and partnering strategically to support the digital transformation journey of customers are three key ingredients of success for Vocus but will no doubt apply to many organisations aiming to “Amplify” their business outcomes.

For more information on Vocus Communications visit: vocus.co.nz

To register for the Canterbury Tech Summit visit: www.techsummit.nz

Sourced provides valuable snapshot of tech sector

Local tech recruitment firm Sourced has it’s finger on the pulse when it comes to major trends in the tech sector. In it’s 10thyear, the Sourced Report provides Canterbury and Auckland technology professionals with the most up to date trends and changes occurring in the respective markets.

The September report, which has just been released, saw some intriguing changes regarding hiring activity, in both Christchurch and Auckland, with a new key reason for hiring emerging for the first time in a long time as businesses move into the next phase of the projects they had planned. It also served as a pertinent reminder around the things that IT professionals value, and why they value those things, in particular around work/ life balance. Flexibility really came to the fore in this report, and it is expected that this will be a key trend long-term, with more businesses recognising its importance to retention and making strides in this direction.

The team was also pleased to see a steady increase in the number of women who participated in this survey. It is anticipated that this will increase further ahead of the next report where a year-on-year comparison can be made.

Download your copy of the full report below and be sure to check in with the team from Sourced at the upcoming Canterbury Tech Summit on 12thSeptember.

Sourced Report Sept 2018 Final [Digital]

www.sourced.kiwi

www.techsummit.nz

 

Trimble gearing up for Canterbury Tech Summit

Showcasing the coolest projects in their hefty R&D portfolio to hundreds of eager peers is a highlight of the Canterbury Tech Summit for global tech powerhouse, Trimble.

The Tech Summit, kicking off on September 12 in Christchurch, is the South Island’s largest annual tech conference, bringing together over 700 leaders in innovation, technology and business to share ideas, grow their networks and be inspired.

For Gold Sponsor Trimble, the Tech Summit is an opportunity to share the latest exciting projects with others in their industry and network with the best and brightest tech talent.

“We have some cool, out-there projects. Participation is about promoting an awareness of Trimble because we don’t sell directly into New Zealand, we sell through dealers, so people will only know us by the people who work in our R&D teams,” says Trimble Managing Director Corinne Haines.

Trimble, an international company listed and head-quartered in the US, has an annual revenue of roughly US$2.3 billion and 8,500 employees world-wide.

The multinational organisation has offices all over the world yet has strategically elected to retain the beating heart of its R&D base right here in Christchurch.

Haines heads up a Christchurch-based team of 250 developers and says the Tech Summit is a great place to scope out potential talent as well as get the low-down on the latest developments in the wider tech industry.

“We can give people good job opportunities and help the economy of Christchurch,” she says.

“It’s also great to see what else is happening in Christchurch and to support the industry in our city to ensure that we have a vibrant technology environment which encourages people to enjoy working in our city, and to improve the economy of the Christchurch and the country.”

Find out more about the sponsors here

For more details or to register for the 2018 Canterbury Tech Summit: http://www.techsummit.nz/

Tech Summit a chance to meet old friends and new

The opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in Canterbury’s tech sector is a major drawcard for the Canterbury Tech Summit.

Signal1.jpg

That’s why local institution Signal, a collaboration of University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Ara Institute of Canterbury, University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, are proud Silver Sponsors of the 2018 event.

“We see the Christchurch tech sector as a fantastic place for technology and the Tech Cluster is a great environment to meet people,” says Signal Director Stuart Charters.

“The Summit has great speakers coming and while you don’t get everybody in the sector together in the one place, you get as near as you can. It’s great to meet up with old friends and to meet new people as well.”

The Canterbury Tech Summit, held on September 12 in Wigram, Christchurch, is an industry-driven tech mecca and the largest tech event in New Zealand.

The must attend event has been created and formed by ordinary Kiwis passionate about tech and its ability to make things go faster, better, and more efficiently.

Charters says he’s looking forward to seeing examples of the creativity and diverse innovation currently going on in the tech sector as well as sharing the word on cool work SIGNAL is doing.

“We are all about growing and developing tech professionals for New Zealand. We offer a range of courses to encourage people into the profession and to develop those who are in the profession already,” Charters says.

The theme for the 2018 event is “Amplify”, and the Summit will be a stage and podium to amplify voices, inspire others, and multiply new ideas and opportunities.

An exciting line-up of speakers from homegrown tech firms including Rocket Lab, RedShield Security, FaceMe, and Trineo will share their experiences and technologies with 700 attendees.

Find out more about the sponsors here

eStar shines brightly at Tech Summit

Whether you’re a small start-up or a tech powerhouse, the opportunity to showcase what you do best to hundreds of the industry biggest tech talents sounds like a business developer’s dream.

That’s one reason Australasian eCommerce solutions provider eStar are proud sponsors of the Canterbury Tech Summit, renowned as the biggest event of the South Island’s tech calendar.

“We want to make sure that people are aware of who eStar is and what we do,” says eStar Chief Operating Officer Kevin Rowland. “It’s all about raising awareness of eStar.”

eStar are a company that people may not have heard of yet have probably used their eCommerce sites at one time or another. Their current client portfolio includes names such as David Jones, Country Road, Witchery, Taking Shape and other fashion brands across Australia and New Zealand.

Rowland says the Summit is opportunity for companies big and small to share their bright ideas and amplify the great work they’re doing while learning from the best and brightest in the industry.

“It’s just an amazing event, the Summit itself,” he says. “I learn something every year from both the speakers and from going around talking to the other people who have stands there.”

Sigmoid Curve’s managing director Harold Hillman will open the summit with a keynote and demonstrate how authentic leadership and genuine connection management can lead organisations through change with a collective sense of ownership and commitment to strong results.

Attendees will also be able to attend workshops with speakers from Microsoft, Callaghan Innovation, Assurity, and NEM NZ. The workshops will cover the latest developments in artificial intelligence, blockchain, organisation-wide innovation, and Team Dynamics.

For Rowland, the Summit, held on 12 September 2018, is all about learning and talking to people. “It’s just an incredible event in many ways and we are very glad to be a part of it.

Find out more about the sponsors here

Connections and conversations at the Canterbury Tech Summit

What do you get when you bring together hundreds of New Zealand’s top tech talent?

An opportunity for the best and brightest tech minds to get together and explore ideas on how to make the future a better place.

That’s top of the agenda for next month’s Canterbury Tech Summit, the pivotal event in the country’s tech calendar.

Wellington-based Catalyst, a Silver Sponsor of this year’s Summit, says the event is an opportunity for those within the industry to get together to forge great connections and conversations.

“We see the value of people in our industry from across the region coming together in one place to inform and inspire each other,” Catalyst told ChristchurchNZ.

“We’re also keen to make new connections across the technology sector.”

Catalyst is New Zealand’s largest open source service provider, producing intelligent solutions for tricky business problems from their headquarters in Wellington and other offices around New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.

With only a handful of tickets remaining, this year’s Summit is on track to be another sell out event, attracting over 700 attendees.

Delegates will be treated to a strong line up of speakers from top tech firms including Rocket Lab, Trineo, Cryptopia, RedShield Security, Skilitics, FaceMe, and more, who will share their experiences and technologies during the event.

With this years’ Tech Summit tackling subjects including “working with digital humans” and “empathic computing” to the “future of money”, latest defence strategies against “hacking” and even “New Zealand’s role in space”, there will be plenty of opportunities to brainstorm innovative solutions to help make our future a better place.

Find out more about the sponsors here

Catalyst are Silver Sponsors of the Canterbury Tech Summit

New immigration settings positive for Christchurch businesses

24 August 2018

Christchurch businesses have greater opportunity to harness international student talent and propel their companies onto the global stage, thanks to recent changes to immigration settings.

Earlier this month, the government announced several changes to immigration settings for international students, effectively channelling higher-skilled talent to the regions.

ChristchurchNZ programme manager of international education Bree Loverich says this is good news for Christchurch, where migrant workers are essential solutions to our region’s growing skills shortage.

“These new immigration settings attract international students studying at higher level degrees by offering them more post-study work rights for a high level of qualification,” Bree says.

“This provides students with a pathway to residence who have the skills that our businesses need.”

New immigration settings incentivise international student talent to study and take up skilled employment outside of Auckland and into the regions, where it’s most needed.

Christchurch faces a skills shortage of 73,000 by 2031 and needs to attract and retain talented people in the face of global competition to drive economic growth and remain competitive.

“Cities must compete for capable people which is far easier when that global talent already has a connection to the city, community and friends via education,” Bree says.

“Rather than recruit migrants via immigration skilled labour initiatives, international education develops a global talent pool of students whom are trained in New Zealand, in English, and are Kiwi culturally aware.”

Talent attraction is key for supporting businesses to commercialise innovation made possible by leveraging the connections, cultural insights and talent of international people.

Canterbury businesses already have a reputation of being innovative and for turning investment into new things, but there is room for improvement in translating this into economic outcomes.

In many cases, successfully bringing a product to market is inhibited by lack of diversity in the workplace and understanding international market nuance. Some export businesses have had great success with commercialising because of the expertise brought to their business from the global talent pool available right here in Canterbury.

Lincoln Agritech is one great example of a local business that was propelled onto the international stage after opening their doors to a Chinese intern via ChristchurchNZ’s Job Ready Programme.

During his internship, the student, James Wang, leveraged his international experience and language skills to develop Lincoln Agritech’s Chinese distribution plan and is now a fulltime employee with the company.

Lincoln Agritech CEO Peter Barrowclough says he quickly recognised the value James’ international experience could offer their organisation.

“James’ international agricultural experience and lingual skills made him a pivotal part of our company’s overseas expansion,” says Peter.

Lincoln Agritech is one of many Christchurch companies engaged with the Job Ready Programme, developed to support international students’ pathways to employment and help small to medium enterprises realise the potential of the global, yet local, talent pool and gain essential workforce development capability available on their doorsteps.

“This talent pipeline offers the cultural expertise that Canterbury businesses need to scale and commercialise their products and services offshore,” Bree says.