By Team Techweek
1 June 2021
Appropriate that TEDx Auckland 2021, with its theme of optimism, opens Techweek2021 - one of the very few live TEDx events being held anywhere in the world right now.
The range of speakers and topics highlighted that we need a diverse range of ideas and disciplines, if we are to deliver on the theme of optimism.
Great community event held at Manurewa High School Makerspace. Awesome, creative hands-on workshop appealing to all ages. Makerspace was able to share more about how they design and use their tools.
Microsoft/TechWomen and Sponsors got together to host this event in Christchurch for the community impacted by the Christchurch shooting incident to support, enable and upskill the community. This was primarily widows and young sons and daughters of the victims.
Part of the event consisted of a 30 min panel discussion with people from the community to speak about their dreams and challenges they are facing for companies to learn from and to understand how to help and support them.
The event was over two days with sessions around; personality and relationships using DISC, Intro to P&L and excel for small business by Bridgewest Ventures, IT career options and CV. creating by 40 Foot, AI workshop and potential roles in AI. It also discussed Microsoft free certification programs alongside mentorship program By Datacom and internships plus financial support towards certification by Bridgewest Ventures were offered.
Sponsors: TechWomen, Microsoft, Datacom, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Bridgewest Ventures, 40 Foot, University of Waikato, 109.
Minister Clark spoke about the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa that will enable the country to build a world-class digital nation. The strategy has three pillars
He recognises that great ideas will be coming out of Techweek and he encourages people to share, enjoy and give feedback.
Duane Grace officially opened Techweek2021 and thanked all partners.
The Techweek theme this year ‘Connecting for a better future’ – all about connecting, engaging and collaborating for a better future.
The Tech21 Summit connected ākonga (learners) and the tech sector - navigating through our digital future! Highlights included:
Whaia te pae tawhiti kia tata, Whakamaua te pae tata kia tina!
Explore beyond the distant horizon and draw it near, take hold of your potential so it becomes your reality!
Taino Bendz and Lena Waizenegger ran a one hour interactive workshop to help people become less distracted and more productive in a world full of internal and external distractions. The major challenges that prevent us from being focussed are: mind-wandering, sleep deprivation, tress, external distraction, internal distractions (i.e. procrastination), multitasking.
The audience was asked the question about ‘how do you procrastinate?’ Coming in at number one was (unsurprisingly) social media!
The myth of multitasking
Some key take home tips on how to stay focused and work more productively:
Karen Newman (self described as ‘Farmer’s Wife’) shared her experience of how Xero has helped take the pain out of managing the farm accounts. It’s gone from a laborious, stressful and time consuming task to a more enjoyable one that provides critical insights to the business, allowing the couple to make informed decisions and build a clear strategy for future growth and success.
Xero, Figured and Paysauce introduced their cloud-based tools that help farmers in a constantly changing environment to:
Centrality in collaboration with BlockchainNZ, hosted this evening networking event which was a great chance to hear from local blockchain start-ups as well as established organisations.
Emma Parker is ANZ Tech’s Transformation Manager and leads ANZ Technology’s delivery of talent programmes of which the tech graduate program is a key part. She was joined by Grace Taikato who is currently going through the graduate program.
Grace’s take on the graduate program and ANZ as an employer:
In today’s changing world, it’s no longer good enough to sell products or services by simply promoting the price or features. It needs to mean more – values, purpose and differentiators that connect with your target audience. With this in mind, the New Zealand Tech and Innovation Story – or our Tech Story -is a marketing initiative from the industry and Government designed to deliver a consistent and compelling way of promoting our tech and innovation capabilities to the world.
Simon Pound facilitated discussion with NZTech’s Chief Strategy Officer, Julie Gill and IDC’s New Zealand Country Manager, Louise Francis and 35 year Silicon Valley veteran Randy Komisar.
Together, they discussed how a compelling brand story can help our tech businesses grow internationally by;
Key brand themes that emerged during research include; innovative, trust, connected, diverse, collaborators, open, fresh, creative, maturing, values, unique, balance, humans in mind, punch above weight and growth. The key message: Aotearoa’s tech ecosystem is growing and maturing, but is still young enough to be agile with fresh ideas. The Tech Story will be activated later this year.
Hosted by Hayley Horan for NZTE speaking to Sheila Yabo – Business Strategist, Venture Buuilder and Project Manager from South Africa.
What is driving it and any room for NZ?
Cape Town – how is this different to other places in Africa?
Common mistakes foreign companies are making when entering African market
Key message: Excellent work comes from a bright spark (in reference to the School’s logo).
The event was a celebration of:
Linda Brown, Chair of Media Design School (and CEO, Torrens Global Education) was among one of the guest speakers: “We are celebrating a four year journey. [We have created] a home where everyone is welcome”
Aimee from the Techweek team took part in this immersive virtual reality, here is a recap of her experience:
“We sat down, put on our VR goggles and were instantly transported to Antarctica. For ten minutes we were transfixed on what the team had produced from over 4,000 hours of development.
The detail was incredible, it felt like you were actually inside Sir Ed's hut, moving around through the different rooms of the hut by hand controllers which through the goggles look like puffy glowing mittens.
You can even see food in the kitchen cupboards and oil paintings on the walls that have recently been restored. And when you peak outside the windows and move around you can see the changing view of the ice shelf.
I even felt a bit cold throughout the experience!”
With: Kathryn Topp- CEO and Founder of Yabble, Anne Fulton- CEO and Founder of Fuel 50, Bex Rempel – Co-founder and CEO of ZeroJet, Maria Jose (MJ) Alvarez – Investment Manager at NZGCP.
Panel discussion with female founders who are taking New Zealand companies to the top. Some key points included:
With: Kurt Rogers from Chorus facilitating with Jessica Bell, Director – Scott Brown Carpentry, Patrick Moynahan – Managing Director, Computer Recycling, Paul Dyson – Director, Scarecrow
Technology has assisted these SME’s with:
What’s important for SME’s?
Top tips for SME’s starting out:
During Techweek2020, we explored the new challenge of enforced remote working. Today, nearly everyone is working remotely, at least some the time. However, there is no one-size-fits-all remote working checklist!
Remote working will remain for many organisations says RemotAbility’s co-founder Deepak Selvaratnam. However, the challenges (and opportunities) vary for individuals and organisations. Remote workers need specific capabilities, but it is a combined effort, alongside organisations. Regardless of capability, a targeted approach is required to support remote workers.
Continuing individual remote work challenges include reduced supervision, communication issues, home office hazards and interruptions (like family, pets, doorbells and neighbours!), self-management, the blurred line between work and home, social isolation, motivation and wellbeing.
Meanwhile, organisations are now managing hundreds of workplaces, instead of one. This requires remote working policies and procedures, plus work tools and communications. New global remote work standards for individuals includes workspace, environmental conditions, technology, insurances/taxation, personal productivity, mental health and wellbeing.
With: Facilitated by Simon Yarrow - Callaghan Innovation, with Asantha Wijeyeratne - CEO Paysauce, Bridget Hawkins - Chief Sustainability Officer Crop X, Scott Townshend CEO – Trev.
Biggest opportunities for SAAS to stand out in a competitive landscape
How to make your product exportable
Speakers for the event included Tony Ward – President of the Americas, Xero, Ben Calder – CEO, Wherewolf, Stephanie Garnica, Director of Global Business Development, City of Denver Economic Development & Opportunity, and Betcy Mathew, NZTE Portfolio Manager.
The tech industry in Denver, Colorado is thriving, and this is supported by a number of key proof points such as 2nd on the State Tech and Science Index, recruitment - 133K tech jobs posted in 2019, and economic impact - $50B – up 14%.
A common theme from speakers was the comparison between Denver and San Francisco. Differences in cost of good talent, staff tenure and training, living costs, ‘rules of business’ and lifestyle were cited as key reasons why setting up base away from the Valley and coastal US centres made commercial sense. As an example, average tech industry job tenure is 18 months in Denver but only 7 months in San Francisco which means higher training costs.
Amongst other initiatives such as the Denver StartUp Week, they have set up a global Landing Pad – which has focused on NZ and Australia specifically. The Landing Pad provides a great opportunity for businesses to access resources, introductions and opportunities to establish and scale locally.
Advice for kiwi tech businesses included thinking of Denver and the wider US was to think bigger than when in NZ, shift the attitude to celebration, opportunity and excitement – not typical kiwi business traits. They also highlighted the importance of having an office in the US was vital for growth and being close to your partners for legitimacy.
The US healthcare environment has never seen more change than it has over the last year--posing new opportunities and advantages for Healthtech companies entering and expanding their US presence.
Healthcare leaders Don Fowler, Principle at Venture Atlas Labs and Harris Eyre, entrepreneur in neuroscience and neurology-driven policy discussed what's changed since Covid, the impact of a new Administration, proven strategies for maximizing pilots and partnerships, and tactics to accelerate concrete commercial traction.
Brendan O’Connell – CE AgriTechNZ
Some of the largest databases in the country are the databases that have been driving genetic development from organisations such as LIC. To a large extent the industry is already strongly embracing data as an enabler, the opportunities to come are what are the additional uses and types of the data and how they work together. Like any other sector, how do we live up to the need and potential of digital transformations and building on the digital foundations for agriculture to improve the sustainability of what we do and improve the value of what we do and to keep creating more value for both NZ and for the world. Data is not new to agriculture but the potential is significant…
Kylie Horomia - WayBeyond
Data itself is not new, it’s how the farmers are able use it and use it well. There are a lot of growers that traditionally kept information in notebooks and on paper, scribbled down and never looked at again. That is the change for us, everything is mobile apps, into your computer and into the cloud, looking into insights, trends, over months, weeks, days and for the majority it is environmental data that is being pulled, automation data you name it – it’s there but there is a lot and so it is how they are using it that has changed and is changing.
CERT NZ’s co-founder Declan Ingram facilitated a panel discussion with researchers involved in the newly formed Cyber Security Research Programme. This large trans-Tasman project is creating tools to protect against future cyber attacks.
Massey University’s Julian Jang-Jaccard, provided an overview on AI for automated response to threat. This project focuses on uses cutting edge AI techniques to enhance resilience through detection, evaluation and response.
University of Waikato’s Vimal Kumar discussed AI for Human Centric Security (AIHCS) with a focus on assisting the humans (engineers) to work more efficiently. Current work includes configuration generation, AI for automation and explanation generation.
The University of Auckland’s Steven Galbraith’s also joined the webinar to raise awareness of post-quantum cryptography. There is an urgent need to develop and deploy cryptosystems that can run on current devices but withstand an attack from a quantum computer, he said.
This exclusive evening event held at the GRID saw the launch of TIN’s new, expanded 2021 Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Tech Sector. It also featured a panel of NZ tech sector representatives sharing stories and discussing ideas on sustaining New Zealand's global ambitions for tech success in a COVID-affected world.
Hosted by: Paul Brislen, with Teresa Pollard – Associate Director Strategic Partnerships at Datacom, James David – Associate Director Sales at Datacom, Lee Timutimu – CEO & Founder Arataki Systems.
Addressing the skills shortage in New Zealand:
How to inspire young people into tech:
How to increase women into tech:
Matt Ensor, Business Director, Beca.
Equality is providing the same level of support and assistance to all levels of society
Equity is providing different levels of support and assistance, depending on the specific needs and abilities. ie, the same bike is not best suited to everyone.
However, It's important to understand how to use this richer information - data about communities is taonga - so you need to ask how do you use it in decision making?
When using AI, we need experts in diversity and cultural appreciation.
Ultimately NLP is bringing new insights to decision making, which needs a change in understanding how we develop business cases. You need the Poet and the Quant. (Quantitative analysts)
A good time was had by all on a rainy Techweek Saturday!
Dunedin Schools Game Jam ran from Friday through to Sunday and even featured on The Project!
This hackathon ran from 8am Saturday through to 5pm Sunday. Participants went home at 10pm Saturday for some well needed rest but were back bright and early Sunday morning!
The hackathon was a huge success with a full house of talented devs taking part. The CENNZnet team was blown away by the quality of ideas and what was built in just two days. So impressed, that they doubled the prize pool as they couldn't pick just one winner!
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