By Leon Gettler >>

COLIN ANSON created Pixevety, a photo management system designed to provide families and schools with a secure but accessible means of sharing photos and videos, in a way that protects children’s right to privacy.

His challenge: selling solution to a problem that people don’t know exists. 

But according to Mr Anson, a growing number of schools are becoming aware of this need, with hundreds of thousands of images stored by schools these days. The schools might have a desire to use those photos in all sorts of ways from a brochure, to a yearbook to Facebook.

“It’s been designed with privacy at its core and it enables a school to efficiently collect, organise and share media,” Mr Anson told Talking Business.

He said this applied to photos and videos.

“It’s a digital asset management system at its core so it will handle any file type,” Mr Anson said.

“The interesting thing is schools are becoming more and more aware of this. Some are choosing to stick their heads in the sand and others are embracing it and really running with it.

“What we’ve seen is that technology has created a situation that only technology can handle.”  

LACK OF POLICY, PROCESS

Mr Anson said schools tend to have few policies and processes for where the images are kept, whether they are shipped offshore and who has access to them. There were also enormous issues around privacy laws.

“Really what it’s boiling down for schools is consent management,” he said. “Consent has to be voluntary, current and specific and that poses a reasonable challenge for schools when you have hundreds of children, multiple parents all with different opinions and it is just too hard to manage day to day photo permissions effectively in relation to Australian privacy principles.

“So Pixevety was created with a consent module that takes care of that for them.” 

He gave an example of a school wanting to use the photos on its Facebook page, with name tags.

“You couldn’t possibly deal with the variables unless you had something like Pixevety behind you,” Mr Anson said.

“We’ve had many schools saying this is going to open a can of worms. Effectively, there are incidents where content has been shared without permission, and that’s caused concern.”

Mr Anson said Pixevety provides a simple solution that gives families a choice.

He said most of the schools Pixevety works with at present are in Victoria and Queensland. The education departments in those states are more active in the space.

However, he said, Pixevety was expanding to New South Wales and Catholic dioceses around the country. It has also moved into New Zealand and Singapore. .

He said a school in San Francisco had already been in touch with Pixevety and the company was opening an office in Los Angeles.

“Without a doubt, it is a global problem,” he said.

www.pixevety.com

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Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.  

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AUSTRALIA has slipped one place to 14 in a global ranking of the digital competitiveness of 63 nations released and commented upon by the Commitee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) on September 27. CEDA identified Australia's key weaknesses including business agility, 'tech skills' and communications.

In releasing the Australian results of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness ranking, CEDA CEO Melinda Cilento said the results showed Australia had more work to do if it were to keep pace with other economies.

“The results highlight that we need a broader national community discussion around the importance of R&D, investment in technology, and tech skills and how the benefits of these flow back to the community,” Ms Cilento said.

Ms Cilento said under future readiness, Australia ranks just 45 for agility of companies, down three places from last year.

In addition, she said, in the technology area, Australia’s communications technology ranking was still poor at 54. 

The ranking rates performance in three areas: knowledge, technology and future readiness, with further subfactors considered under each of these elements.

TECH SKILLS CONCERN

Ms Cilento said another area for concern was the development of tech skills in Australia..

“While the Australian community has an appetite for new technology with a high uptake of smartphones and tablets, ranking ninth and third respectively, we don’t rank well in terms of higher technical skills,” she said.

“Australia ranked 44 on digital/technological skills and employee training, and 53 on graduates in sciences.

“We also need to be aware that economies in our region are making big gains in digital competitiveness with Hong Kong and South Korea entering the top 10 while Taiwan and China have moved up to 13 and 22 respectively from 16 and 30.

“Our Asia Pacific neighbours are making serious investments into skills and technology infrastructure, both areas where we have dropped off in key areas, and we need to ensure we keep pace. These are the drivers of future competitiveness and opportunity.

“CEDA’s Company Pulse nationwide poll of more than 3000 people released this month showed that investment in technology and R&D were areas of disconnect between the community and business leaders.

“The poll examined business priorities and business leaders rated the importance of research and development (R&D) and investment in new technologies much more highly than the general public.

“We need a stronger national conversation around how R&D and adoption by business of new technology can deliver broader opportunities and benefits to the community.

“In reality R&D and investment in technology will underpin Australia’s future prosperity.

“It will help drive productivity that in turn will help drive higher wages, something that our poll showed was a priority for the community.

“However, if there isn’t broad community support, it will make it hard for government to provide the policy environment to support and encourage business to keep investing and developing in this area.”

On the positive side, Ms Cilento said the areas in which Australia had strong rankings were: flow of international students (1), country credit rating (1), tablet possession (3), and e-government (2).

Overall the top five remained unchanged to last year with the US holding on to the number one spot, followed by Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, and Switzerland.

The ranking is produced by the Switzerland based IMD World Competitiveness Centre. CEDA is the Australian partner.

By Leon Gettler >>

DOCUSIGN, the company behind the e-signature, is leading the way to help companies fight climate change.

Environmental benefits are part and parcel with DocuSign’s product offering for over half a million customers worldwide, ranging from Wal-Mart and Unilever to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

DocuSign CEO Dan Springer is taking the company’s corporate social responsibility pursuits to new levels. 

He said it makes a lot of sense to have environmental benefits as part of DocuSign’s product offering as the e-signature removes a lot of the paper.

“At a certain point, we started to become a pretty big business and we realised we were obviating the need for people to use so much paper, and in saving paper, one of the obvious benefits from an environmental standpoint is you don’t have to cut down as many trees,” Mr Springer told Talking Business.

“So it became a natural component of what DocuSign was all about, to be saving our forests and having a positive impact on the environment.”

BILLION OF SHEETS OF PAPER SAVED

Mr Springer said DocuSign had found evidence that it was saving customers billions and billions of sheets of paper.

He said DocuSign had now developed a counter to show customers how much of an impact their company was having on the environment.

“We measure it in terms of pounds of wood, how much tree, they have saved,” he said. “But also we take a look at the water savings because production of paper is quite water intensive and it also uses a lot of energy so it’s carbon emissions related.”

It also eliminates waste, that the company uses as part of its tally. All that from an electronic signature.

DocuSign has also set up a foundation that makes grants. In addition to that, the company was focused on getting its employees to do volunteer work in their communities. 

Every year in November, the company has a DocuSign impact day

“Across the globe in all our offices, our employees do volunteer efforts in their communities,” Mr Springer said.

“We also give our employees three days off in addition to that where they can work in charitable organisations in their communities across the globe.”

DocuSign has also joined an organisation called Pledge One Per Cent where companies take one percent of the value of their business and donate that to not-for-profit causes.  At the time, DocuSign had a market cap of $3 billion so DocuSign took $30 million and made a commitment to contribute that over a 10 year period.

It has subsequently been working with the Jane Goodall Foundation, which focuses on the inter-connectedness between people, animals and the environment.

www.docusign.com.au

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.  

By Jamie Humphrey >>

CLOUD computing has well and truly become mainstream and a central part of the chief information officers (CIO) agendas as they rush to digitalise their businesses.

However, knowing what to do and being able to do it in the most efficient manner are two different things. Companies therefore face several practical hurdles in cloud adoption.

Research firm Gartner recently revealed that although software-as-a-service (SaaS) remains the largest area of information technology (IT) spending in Australia, most future growth will be seen in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), with a predicted public cloud spend of A$6.5 billion in 2019.

That is a 19 percent increase and greater than the forecasted 17.5 percent global average. 

As with other technologies, one size does not fit all in cloud computing. 

With a wide range of providers, platforms, services, and varying cloud computing environments to choose from, the central question for most CIOs is: which cloud, or combination of clouds, best suit my requirements?

NOT SO SIMPLE

Shifting commodity applications like web and email hosting to public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft can be straightforward.

However, business is not always that simple, and it becomes more complicated for other applications and data.

Stricter regulation and governance, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and mandatory data breach notification scheme, and corporate sensitivities around intellectual property (IP) extend strict protocols to protect data.

In many other cases, it makes sense, is required by law, or is desirable, to keep sensitive enterprise data on private clouds (on premise) – isolated from the public internet and with strict access to select groups in an organisation.

THE HYBRID PATH

Hybrid or multi-cloud can offer a direct route through the haze. While the terms hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between the two.

Multi-cloud is a horizontal alignment of clouds, where the clouds are mixed across multiple providers. While this mitigates risk by diversifying cloud providers and services, the workloads remain separate and there is no communication or coordination (orchestration) between them.

Hybrid cloud, on the other hand, is a vertical alignment and refers to the pairing of public and private clouds, which are bound by proprietary technology or a fabric, thus enabling data and application mobility. Within this environment, data is securely shared between applications sitting in either cloud environment.

Multi-clouds are not necessarily hybrid arrangements, but hybrid clouds are always multi-cloud arrangements.

So, hybrid cloud can integrate and intertwine a mix of private and public clouds as well as on-premise environments such as hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). And while each of the environments has various touch points and integrations, they remain fully independent, preventing risks of data leakage from one platform to another.

Therefore, hybrid lets enterprises reduce risk, but also benefit from increased efficiency and productivity, as well as refining the operations of the business to add the entire value of its data for the betterment of the customers and the company.

GOING MAINSTREAM

In 2017, the Australian Government announced its Secure Cloud Strategy to simplify government agency transition to the public cloud for improved visibility and operational effectiveness.

The goal is to ensure that the individual visions of each agency is supported and can offer a common platform, accessible across agencies to encourage collaboration and standardisation.

What the strategy, and many like-minded strategies across industry and government, fails to acknowledge, is that not all clouds are made equal.

There are a number of obvious advantages to public cloud, but it also has some significant limitations and drawbacks. What is certain is that hybrid cloud’s combination of public and private resources maximises cost-savings, productivity and innovation while minimising latency, privacy and security issues.

It’s been a long road to recognition for hybrid – first ignored, then dismissed, and finally embraced. The incumbents who praised the exclusive virtues of public cloud have gone silent, or even hit reverse on their cloud strategies.

Hybrid cloud is fast becoming the mainstream in Australia as the rush to unlock the true value and full potential of cloud accelerates.

Many early adopters and innovators have long advocated for a hybrid model, while lamenting the limitations to business of inflexibility and the ‘one size fits all’ restriction of public cloud. It seems now, everyone else does too.

As businesses and governments look for the freedom to invest, create and innovate, it will be left to the instant access and control of the ever-increasing cloud networks to provide that freedom. This will result in software-driven enterprises being free to focus on enhanced customer and citizen experience and shape the future of business and the economy. And for that, there is only hybrid cloud.

The clash of the clouds is now in full force. All efforts, energies and entities have their sights set on the next frontier in business improvement and efficiency. And given the players that have suddenly entered the fray, the growth figures for the sector mentioned earlier may be underestimated – by a long way.

www.nutanix.com

Jamie Humphrey is the Australia and New Zealand managing director for enterprise cloud company, Nutanix.

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By Leon Gettler >>

BLOCKCHAIN and cryptocurrency could radically change the way companies do business, and even pay their staff, according to Jonathon Miller, managing director of Bit Trade and Bit Trade Labs.

Bit Trade is a digital platform for the everyday Australians to trade and manage their blockchain assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

Bit Trade Labs, on the other hand, is an incubator for blockchain and distributed ledger projects. It is a mission of both companies to empower people with the tools and knowledge to trade blockchain assets. 

As the founding member of industry body Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA), the companies are committed to the growth and mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Australia.

“They will be able then essentially to connect employees with employment opportunities before they have a bank account,” Mr Miller told Talking Business.

“They can use cryptocurrency as a digital banking platform that they’re not responsible for maintaining so it reduces those costs, it reduces those risks.”

Mr Miller conceded there were still some risks, but it was very much about being informed and educated about its implementation.

DE-RISK BY DESIGN

Mr Miller said there were always risks with internet technologies but a lot of those risks could be addressed through good design.

He said platforms such as Bitcoin and Ethereum were experimental, with cryptocurrencies embedded as part of their token offering.

And businesses, he said, were taking to it.

“Businesses are using tokens to raise money,” Mr Miller said. “Instead of going to traditional market places, they’re going to global market places with tokens. That is now becoming a regulated arena and that is now welcomed.

“What you’re seeing is this trend of businesses using cryptocurrency, using blockchains and we help people tap into these markets. We help people not only tap into a local market for these but a global market.”

BACKING REGULATION

Mr Miller said ADCA was now part of the global conversation on regulating cryptocurrencies.

 “We obviously have to look to the US, we obviously have to look to the UK, Europe and Japan,” he said. 

“This technology is very much part of the internet. It needs regulation that suits that. It has to be on a global scale, it has to have the inter-operable.”

Mr Miller said his firm was using the crowdsource legislation to go out and raise funds in Australia.

“We have investors from all walks of life,” he said. “We’ve got our own customers coming to back us, we’ve got institutional investors who are really excited about this space and we’re seeing interest from people who believe in cryptocurrency and who believe in blockchain.”

www.btrade.io

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Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness.  

ends

By Leon Gettler >>

COMPANIES need to reconsider their print strategies with the growth of mobile employees and remote workforces

Adam O’Neill, the managing director of Y Soft, said it was particularly critical with the ‘bring-your-own-device’ movement sweeping through the workforce, where people are bringing their own technology to work with them.

“We are talking about whether they’re travelling staff, field first staff such as sales and services personnel, we’re seeing an increase in activity-based work environments where staff internally are moving from location to location – and all those things naturally direct staff to devices with greater battery life and something that’s a bit more mobile to carry,” Mr O’Neill told Talking Business

“So when a business looks at what to implement from a print strategy, they need to look at how their staff is working and what their preference is.

“The other thing they need to consider is what paper-based workflows does the business use at the moment.” 

He said while there had been an anticipation that print was reducing, this had not happened to the degree the market had anticipated.

Mr O’Neill said the key was to develop systems that would allow employees to seamlessly and securely use the company’s printers from anywhere in the world, using their own mobile device.

This meant replicating their existing workflow from a laptop on a mobile device.

PRINT POLICY VITAL

Mr O’Neill said implementing a print management system combined with a print policy within the organisation would reduce printing costs.

“One way of doing that is assessing those reports, having a look at what we might deem to be unnecessary printing, like printing emails in colour, and then implementing a rule that would automatically enforce that and say change your colour email to black and white, just to reduce costs, and so on,” Mr O’Neill said.

He said this was easy to implement but the biggest issue was change management, addressing that human element and assisting people with that change.

One of the biggest challenges was being able to change the process of the paper coming out of the machine and having the print job come out of any device.

“It is a change to how people work and that has to be addressed through, I guess, education,” he said.

This tended to involve just short training sessions and advising people why the change was being implemented, whether it was cost driven, environmentally driven, convenience driven or a combination of all three.

In the end, Mr O’Neill said, it boiled down to internal advertising.

Done properly, it would ease costs by putting less pressure on the help desk, he said. 

www.leongettler.com

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness

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