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New Zealand tech slipping behind

Download Weekly – A report from Tuanz and Vodafone warns NZ is slipping behind in technology.
New Zealand tech slipping behind

Aotearoa’s Digital Priorities in 2022, a report from Tuanz, sponsored and promoted by Vodafone, suggests New Zealand is at a “tipping point” and “slipping behind the world on key measures of digital economic performance”.

The report pulls on data from the Portulans Institute Network Readiness Index which benchmarks and ranks nations on a range of technology measures.

Scandinavian nations, the Netherlands and Singapore rank at the top of the list. New Zealand comes in a 20 in the list, down from 16 a year earlier.

The report puts New Zealand at 42 in the world for access to technology and at 56 for cyber security.

Shortage in hardware, products and skills

It said New Zealand companies face shortages when finding hardware, tech products and digitally skilled workers.

Other problems include stretched technical resources are stretched and industry leaders running in challenges due to skills gaps, as they struggle to retain or attract staff.

Tuanz chief executive Craig Young says the nation could add $46 billion in economic value by 2030 with digital transformation in non-technology companies, but if we continue to perform poorly against competing nations it will be hard to achieve that.

He says New Zealand is doing work to improve the sector, but other countries are doing things better.

“New Zealand must find ways to bring new skills into the industry or risk an ongoing brake on the aspirations of our companies to compete in this increasingly digital world.

Developing talent

“While we will always need to bring skills in from offshore, our companies and government also need to be aligned in developing homegrown talent, especially in under represented groups such as women, Māori and Pasifika,” he said.

Vodafone chief enterprise officer Lindsay Zwart says a focus on new tech could help: “Business leaders are being affected by talent shortages and supply chain delays but can drive efficiencies by using cloud and software as a service based services which reduce reliance on in-country resources and hardware.”

You can read a commentary on the Portulans Institute Network Readiness Index on the web site later today.

Sky calms media acquisition speculation

A statement issued by Sky company secretary James Bishop to the NZX confirms the broadcaster and internet service provider is eyeing a possible takeover of the remaining parts of Mediaworks.

Sky says: “It is currently in exclusive negotiations with Mediaworks shareholders regarding a potential acquisition of MediaWorks’ radio and out of home advertising business”.

It goes on to warn the likelihood of a transaction is uncertain.

Earlier reports suggest Sky talked to the current owners of MediaWorks: Oaktree, a US-based private equity firm and Quadrant, an Australian media business.

MediaWorks sold its television business, including TV3, to the US-based Discovery in 2020. It kept the radio networks and an outdoor advertising business.

Internal Affairs works with Australians to fight spam

Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs and the Australian Communications and Media Authority plan to work more closely together as they deal with spam and scam email and txt messages.

This week the pair signed a fresh memorandum of understanding which will see them share information and co-operate on enforcement.

Secretary for Internal Affairs, Paul James says; “…working collaboratively with other international jurisdictions is a key way to tackle this issue”.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin says: “Research we conducted in 2021 shows 98 percent of Australian adults receive unsolicited communications on their phone. The recent ‘FluBot’ malware scam affected both Australians and New Zealanders, and information sharing with our New Zealand counterparts has aided the ACMA’s spam and scam work.

Akamai reports on rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service

A report from Akamai Technologies on Ransomware-as-a-Service attacks suggests gangs are disrupting supply chains and having an impact on critical infrastructure.

The Akamai Ransomware Threat Report looks at recent attacks and builds a picture of the attacker’s methodologies, tools and techniques.

It says that one ransomware attacker, the Conti gang, targets business with US$10 to $250 million in revenue, where it finds the most success: “The gang’s tactics, techniques, and procedures are well-known, but highly effective – a sobering reminder of the arsenal that is at the disposal of other hackers. But also that these attacks can be prevented with the right mitigation.”

Spark’s Qrious unit hires Laing as CTO

Qrious has promoted director of AI and data science Christopher Laing to become the business’ chief technology officer. Laing was previously head of AI at Xero and worked previously as the global lead data scientist at Allianz in Germany.

In other news…

Vodafone completed moving its operations to SAP cloud. The telco need to develop its own IT infrastructure after separating from its UK parent company.

Gartner says the international market for Infrastructure as a Service public cloud services grew 41 percent in 2021. Amazon Web Services remains the dominant player with a shade under 40 percent of the market. Microsoft is in second place with around 20 percent. The top five SaaS brands account for 80 percent of the total.

Accounting software company MYOB released figures showing New Zealand’s small and medium sized enterprises invested half a billion dollars in digital technology last year. It says half the companies report their digital systems are hindering not helping the business.

After a brief working-from-home fuelled revival, PC shipments have resumed their long-term decline although sales remain above their pre-pandemic level. IDC reports it expects PC shipments to fall 8.2 percent in 2022. Among the reasons: Lockdowns, war and inflation.