Category: Columns

  • Amazon’s offshore cloud vs NZ options

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a dominant player in the global cloud computing market. It runs 33 percent of the world’s public cloud services, according to Synergy Research Group. Second is Microsoft Azure (13 percent) and Google Cloud Platform (6 percent). For all its global dominance, AWS in New Zealand is something of a black […]

  • Digital humans walk among us

    One of the biggest digital trends of 2018 has been the rise of virtual assistants. But forget Siri, Alexa and chatbots. Those are old-school technologies now. The new wave of virtual assistants are AI-powered 3D avatars, otherwise known as “digital humans.” If you’re old enough to remember the 80s, you can think of digital humans […]

  • Legislation as code: the government’s AI projects

    Artificial intelligence is now an integral part of many organisations across the globe. And if a recent government showcase of digital projects is anything to go by, our government is all-in on AI too. The day-long showcase, of digital projects running across various government agencies, was held on 12 November at the head office of […]

  • Shopping for Augmented Reality apps

    One of my predictions for 2018 was that augmented reality (AR) apps would finally go mainstream, based on software and hardware advancements I expected this year in both iPhone and Android. So is AR a reality now, or is it still mostly vapourware? Let’s take a look. First things first, developments in smart phones over […]

  • How government algorithms are judging you

    Stats NZ has released a report about how algorithms are used in government services and what (if anything) needs to be improved. The report’s key finding was that human oversight is critical, despite the ever-increasing reliance on algorithms in decision making. Although the report found that our government services do have an appropriate level of […]

  • The funding gap in our tech sector

    The 2018 TIN Report was released recently by the Technology Investment Network, and it confirmed the continued growth of New Zealand’s technology sector. Total revenue for the top 200 technology companies (the TIN200) was $11.1 billion, an increase of 11% over the past year. Most of that revenue – nearly $8 billion – was in […]

  • Tūranga & the digital era of libraries

    Earlier this month Christchurch’s flash new central library, Tūranga, was opened. As well as being housed in a beautiful, newly constructed 5-story building, Tūranga has been outfitted with the latest in technology. Christchurch citizens will have access to a production studio (featuring 3D printers and a laser cutter), an audio and video studio (including a […]

  • SwipedOn acquired for $11 million – sold too soon?

    Last week Tauranga startup SwipedOn announced it had been acquired by UK public company SmartSpace Software for $11 million. The news was surprising, since SwipedOn had only recently completed its first funding round ($1 million in January) and appeared to be at just the beginning of an upward trajectory in sales. So why sell a […]

  • Is NZ ready for online voting?

    In last week’s column, I predicted that the government’s digital identity service RealMe will eventually be used for online voting. I was surprised to discover this is a divisive issue, since some people think online voting will never (or at least should never) happen. Others – including parts of the New Zealand government – think […]

  • RealMe vs the decentralized web

    It’s an interesting time to be growing a centralized online identity service, like the government’s RealMe. That’s because the current trend in web development is to decentralize. After seeing the damage done to our society in recent years by government-sponsored hackers let loose on large, centralized apps like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, developers the world […]

  • Why TradeMe invested in millennial startup Sharesies

    My recent column about startups in New Zealand raised some hackles in the local tech scene. I had argued there were too few startup success stories coming out of our startup accelerators (and certainly no unicorns). Others responded that while we may not be churning out multi-million dollar startups, accelerators are helping to train entrepreneurs. […]

  • Why the crypto market crashed in 2018

    At the beginning of the year, cryptocurrencies were riding high. Bitcoin reached US$17,000 in early January, while Ethereum rose to just under US$1,400. But since then, it’s been all downhill. Last week, Bitcoin dipped to around US$6,200 while Ethereum went below US$200 for the first time since July 2017. I must admit, I had been […]

  • The internet is broken

    For many years, Facebook’s motto was “move fast and break things.” Indeed, that pretty much describes the ethos of all of Silicon Valley over the past couple of decades. The goal of companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple – at least for online services – has been to grow rapidly and fix any mistakes […]

  • Do startup accelerators work in NZ?

    Many of New Zealand’s young or inexperienced entrepreneurs start their journey at a startup accelerator. These are typically three to five month programmes designed to help entrepreneurs take their ideas and make them a commercial reality. The idea is to match founders with so-called “mentors” – who are often angel investors looking to find (and […]

  • The pros and cons of crowdfunding

    Raising money for a startup used to be difficult, but now there are almost too many options. Venture capital, angel investment, startup accelerators, crowdfunding, private equity, IPO, and now cryptocurrency ICOs are all potential avenues for early stage businesses. Traditionally, startups have raised “seed rounds” from angel investors or accelerators, and then gone onto larger […]