Last weekend I took the family to Whakapapa for a play in the snow and we struck a bluebird day! It was stunning, with blue skies and views to Mt Taranaki and beyond. What we didn’t strike lucky was the lengthy queues of people buying day passes. While there is plenty of technology on the mountain, it is still seriously lacking. Waiting in a queue for an hour and a half to buy a ski pass is incredibly disappointing. Through the use of digital mobile technology and payment systems utilising smartphones a more efficient user experience could easily be provided, for kiwis and tourists alike. It’s everyday experiences like this that remind me how important our vision is to create a prosperous nation underpinned by technology.
Techweek’17 is almost here. When I think back to a year ago when we committed to expanding Techweek from a calendar of Auckland events to a truly national festival, we knew it would be a challenge. With very limited funding we approached this year as our MVP. The goal was to engage tech communities throughout New Zealand and create a national experience.
Recently, I attended the IBM World of Watson Conference in Las Vegas. I was there to assess advances in cognitive computing (AI) and determine how we can better integrate such modernized technology into the New Zealand ecosystem. What struck me most revolved around the use of cognitive computing to distil useful information from big data. This type of data-to-outcome crunching means we can make huge improvements to not only retail, logistics and supply chain management, but also city services, social welfare and security. We now have the tools to better adapt our products, services and support to fit the exact the needs of each market, as the market needs it. Unfortunately, the adoption of cognitive computing is slow-going, but it doesn’t have to be in a place like New Zealand.
Next May, with the support of numerous passionate people from a variety of tech communities, government agencies and cities throughout New Zealand, NZTech will deliver Techweek’17. Techweek is a week-long celebration of tech and innovation. It is a national festival of hundreds of independently run events curated as a cohesive experience. Right now at techweek.co.nz we are accepting expressions of interest for any event, community or organisation that might like to host an activity during Techweek’17.
The technology sector in New Zealand continues to grow rapidly and is a key enabler and accelerator on all fronts for the rest of the economy. I am very fortunate to be part of it and humbled by the latest opportunity to make a difference. First and foremost, our Deputy Chair Rachel Kelly and I would like to acknowledge the hard work and successes contributed by the previous Chair of NZTech, Bennett Medary. In our new roles, we are fortunate to inherit a top-performing team of board members, CEO Graeme Muller, advisors and staff.