Nov 30, 2017 - Would you like to listen to what amount to verbal tweets while you are driving: short 42 second messages from friends, musicians, news reporters, thought leaders, comedians and others? Well, technology from ASX-listed Israeli company HearMeOut will interest you. The company has developed a platform and smartphone apps to do just that, and has now made its service accessible while driving.
HearMeOut says its platform “enables users to share and listen to 42‐second audio posts through the platform’s native feeder on other social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook,” and that through its app, “people can express their authentic voice and put their unique signature on social media interactions.”
The company has now announced it has developed a working prototype of a device, which it calls Hoop, that will enable drivers to have full access to all the features of the HearMeOut platform direct from the steering wheel of their car, without linking to any other platform.
It says Hoop is compatible with any car steering wheel, and will let drivers safely use the HearMeOut platform with both hands on the wheel. It is being developed in conjunction with DSP Group, a global provider of wireless chipsets for converged communications.
HearMeOut describes Hoop as a natural extension of its existing connected car strategy. It has a distribution agreement with Ford for the implementation of its technology with Ford’s Applink Sync platform in the US, UK and Ireland.
The company has joined Spotify and Waze in a program overseen by the SmartDeviceLink consortium that includes a number of car manufacturers and brands including Toyota, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki, Peugeot, Citroen and Daihatsu.
SmartDeviceLink is a system to standardise the connection between in-vehicle infotainment systems and smartphone applications
While having short messages being whispered into their ear while they drive might not excite many drivers. HearMeOut CTO and co- founder, Lior Menashe, claims the development of Hoop to be “globally significant,” because “for the first time ever a user can seamlessly engage with the HearMeOut platform regardless of the technology in the car.”
Hoop’s development, he says, “positions HearMeOut as a global leader in the ‘connected car’ space.”
HearMeOut has a market valuation of $11.8 million and in Q3 2017 was rated sixth in the social platform category on Apple’s US App Store, below Facebook and WhatsApp.
The company claims its popularity is being driven by the increasing use of voice for interaction with online systems. It cites figures estimating that 20 percent of mobile queries are now voice searches, and says this number is expected to reach 40 percent by 2018. Also, the company says 40 percent of millennials use voice activated intelligent assistants.
On some estimates, quoted by Microsoft at a presentation in Sydney, within a few years people will spend more time talking to machines than talking to their spouse.
Against this background HearMeOut says it has a vision to become the leading social network. The means to achieve this, it says, will be to establish sustainable growth by expanding its assets in three main areas: automotive, entertainment and technology.
In the field of entertainment the company plans to work with media companies, broadcasters and celebrities to gain content and reach. It also plans to recruit influencers from various categories.
On the technology front the company says its application programming interface (API) is in constant development to fit various wearable devices and voice assistance hardware.
It has also foreshadowed Hoop 2 “an upgraded device that features an entire closed ecosystem based on HearMeOut’s services and platform.”
The company is also doing OEM development for car companies to enables one-to-one, one-to-group and one-to-many communication via third parties and social networks.
Nov 24, 2017 - Artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart data are major themes at next year’s MobileTECH 2018. This is one of New Zealand’s largest agritech events and will see technology leaders from throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors gather in Rotorua in late March. The pace of change within the primary sector is continuing to be driven by advances in new digital technologies. While New Zealand has been a world leader in traditional farming systems, it is critical for the sector to maintain and grow productivity through the smart adoption of these new innovations.
“MobileTECH 2018 will continue to be a platform for change and showcase where the industry is headed,” said Ken Wilson, MobileTECH’s programme manager.
“The 2018 programme will feature over 35 speakers covering disruptive topics like the integration of machine learning in health and safety systems, blockchain for secure agricultural transactions and key learnings from the successful rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT) to farms throughout New Zealand.”
Thundermaps uses machine learning algorithms and big data to redefine health and safety in rural locations. OSPRI now use Thundermaps to protect their contractors working on farms. The system tracks millions of data points to ensure, via a mobile app, that the contractor receives relevant real-time hazard warnings no matter how remote the location. Both companies will be presenting at MobileTECH.
Blockchain is set to become the future for payment and supply-chain systems. Australian-based company, AgriDigital, will be on-hand to discuss what this means for the primary industry. AgriDigital delivered the world’s first live settlement of a physical commodity using blockchain technology. The pilot project saw the sale and successful delivery of 23 metric tonnes of wheat to a beef farm in NSW using the blockchain system.
The Internet of Things has moved from being an exciting upcoming technology to one that is delivering real benefits to early adopters throughout the industry. A number of speakers, including network provider Spark Ventures, agritech company ReGen and King Country farmer Lachlan Chapman, will focus on the real-world application of IoTs.
“The MobileTECH 2018 programme will open with the big technology trends and discuss how we can improve investment and collaboration within the agritech community,” said Mr Wilson. “Day two gets hands-on, highlighting practical case studies on the adoption and use of these innovations by primary sector businesses up and down the country.”
MobileTECH 2018 will be running on 27-28 March 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events..
13 Nov 2017 - New Zealanders are set to start receiving emergency alerts to their mobile phones, warning them that their life, property or health is in serious danger. Minister of Civil Defence Kris Faafoi said implementation would start with a live nationwide test of Emergency Mobile Alerts on 26 November. “By running this test and asking people to be aware of the alerts, we are able to test our systems, the cell towers and your phones ability to receive an Emergency Mobile Alert,” Mr Faafoi says.
“This is a test for now but when emergencies happen this is another tool we can use to keep everyone in our community safe. Not all phones are currently capable of receiving the alerts, so we need people to look after others: if you receive an alert, tell your neighbours, your whanau, your colleagues.”
The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) is leading the implementation of the new emergency alert channel. A nationwide multi-media campaign starts today (Sunday), online, on radio and on street posters, letting people know about the alerts and how to check whether their phones will receive them.
The alerts are sent using cell broadcast technology, so there is no need to sign up or download an app. They can be targeted to affected areas, so you will only get them if the emergency is in your area. It is expected that around one third of phones will immediately be able to receive alerts but this will rise over time. You can check whether your phone can receive the alert and find out more at civildefence.govt.nz.
Minister Faafoi says Emergency Mobile Alert is an additional channel to help keep New Zealand safe in an emergency and does not replace other alerting systems and information channels, or the need to take action after natural warnings.
“If you feel your life may be in danger, don’t wait for an official warning. Take immediate action. For example in local source tsunami, there may not be time to send an alert. Please recognise the natural warnings and get safe – ‘Long or Strong, Get Gone’”.
Emergency Mobile Alert messages can only be sent by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management, Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups, NZ Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
6 Nov - The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has approved Teletrac Navman as an Electronic System Provider (ESP) and appointed it as an agent for the collection of Road User Charges (RUC) using its new RUC Manager platform and Electronic Distance Recorder. Teletrac Navman RUC Manager along with the Electronic Distance Recorder will allow users to manage, purchase, display and update road user licences in real-time. RUC Manager automatically tracks vehicle distance and calculates off-road activity, enabling accurate, NZTA-approved RUC rebates.
“The work Teletrac Navman undertook to develop RUC Manager to meet specific New Zealand regulatory requirements and gain ESP approval is a mark of our commitment to our long-standing customers and to the transport industry as a whole,” says Ian Daniel, vice president and managing director Asia Pacific, Teletrac Navman.
In July 2017, Teletrac Navman reached the milestone of tracking 100,000 vehicles across Australia and New Zealand.
“Globally the transport market is highly competitive. Businesses must perform under pressure, so solutions which help them to better manage costs, improve service, address safety, capture and analyse data, and address compliance requirements are extremely important.”
To receive NZTA approval Electronic System Providers must go through a rigorous development and testing process to prove the quality and reliability of the system.
“Teletrac Navman has completed the NZTA testing process and meets the standards for recognition as an ESP. The standards are designed to ensure that the technologies and systems tested are robust, reliable, and make compliance easier across many industries including transport, agriculture, forestry, trade and civil services,” says John Freeman, manager revenue assessments, NZTA.
Hawaiki, the new subsea cable system that will link Australia, New Zealand, and islands of the south Pacific with Hawaii and the mainland United States, reached another construction milestone. The 14,000 km of undersea fiber-optic cable is in the final stages of being loaded aboard TE SubCom’s cable-laying vessels, the CS Global Sentinel and the CS Responder. Installation of the system will commence in early October 2017.
The fiber cable was manufactured at SubCom’s Newington, New Hampshire facility, along with more than 170 completed repeaters. TE SubCom also noted that horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the cable landing in Pacific City, Oregon and Sydney, Australia has been completed. In Sydney, the construction of the land duct route is complete, the installation of the terminal equipment has started and the pulling of the land cable is scheduled to begin shortly. In New Zealand, the construction of the land duct route is complete and the construction of a new cable station is underway.
The system is on schedule for completion by mid-2018.
The carrier-neutral Hawaiki cable system was co-developed by New Zealand-based entrepreneurs Sir Eion Edgar, Malcolm Dick and Remi Galasso.
Growing evidence shows that the downside of super-fast connectivity and ultra-fast broadband is producing an equivalent lift in cyber-attacks, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.
Muller, just back from the multinational Global Tech Leaders Dialogue in Melbourne yesterday, says many nations involved in the forum confirmed increasing cyber-attacks along with faster connections.
“This week alone we have seen sophisticated scams using fake government websites and email addresses,” Muller says.
“The national cyber emergency response team CERT NZ have identified and exposed scams such as the fake IRD tax rebate email scam and the fake Ministry of Primary Industries exporters advisory email scam.
“Both elaborate cases of phishing attacks designed to get people to click on a link that inserts malware onto their computer. This malware allows criminals to capture your key strokes or take over your machine.
“As systems across our economy are becoming more digital the greater the number and variety of attacks, says Muller, and at the extreme end of the range of concerns is what could happen when complex systems like autonomous vehicles or drones come online.
“Our discussions in Melbourne focused on the increasing need for all countries to share information better around cyber issues as global supply chains connecting large corporates and small to medium enterprises across borders provide many potential vulnerabilities that expose us all.”
Recent research from the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO), highlights that cyber security remains a significant risk as nations in the region become more digital.
The report, due for release on September 11, recommends the establishment of a regional CERT to connect national cyber security response teams for faster information sharing.
Muller says the cyber security of New Zealand and its trading partners is particularly important as digital trade grows and ultimately sees something similar to a security version of the World Health Organisation develop as the sense of shared responsibility grows and nations work to decrease cyber-crime.
“The New Zealand government’s cyber security strategy is considered world leading and as a nation we continue to work on improving our security together.
“The third annual NZTech Advance Cyber Security Summit in Wellington on October 25 will see tech leaders, security experts and policy makers finding innovative solutions for improving our cyber security.
“The summit has become an environment for shared learnings and experiences, and the opportunity to check in on the work being done as part of the national security strategy.
“We will hear from firms like TradeMe and Xero, completely digital businesses and how they are managing their security, and there will be updates from the minister, the CERT and the National Cyber Policy Office.”
“This is a nationally critical issue that is not about to go away and our ability to get together like this and collaborate, across industry and government, means that as a nation we are well placed to be one of the most secure nations, and this will help drive economic growth in the future,” Muller says.
For further information contact NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller or 21 02520767 or Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.
Hawaiki Cable has chosen 81year old Northland based electrotechnology company McKay Ltd to build its cable landing station at Mangawhai Heads in Northland, signing a multimillion dollar contract with the company.
Hawaiki said McKay would be responsible for the complete civil, building, electrical, standby generation, AC and DC UPS systems, and HVAC systems.
McKay’s managing director, Lindsay Faithfull, said Hawaiki had very particular requirements and the company had come up with “a unique Northland based solution that included our local partners and met Hawaiki’s needs.”
Construction of the 14,000 kilometre cable that will link New Zealand to Australia, Hawaii and mainland United States started with a ground breaking ceremony at Bream Trail Farm in Mangawhai Heads last November. The system is scheduled to be in service by June 2018.
Hawaiki announced in May that 90 percent of the 14,000km of cable required for the system had been completed, along with 150 repeaters.
When it announced the contract with McKay, Hawaiki said the cable would have options to expand to several South Pacific islands. It has been promoting these since launch of the project and early route maps showed dotted links to Samoa and American Samoa, Wallis, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island. However the current map on its web site shows a link to American Samoa only.
Norfolk Island is very close Hawaiki’s route and the island’s community, backed by One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson, has urged the Federal Government to fund a link to the island, but to no avail. The government, it seems is unwilling to stump up the $A1m to provide a branching unit that would enable connection at a later date.
TriWorlds Pty Ltd, a Norfolk Island company lobbying for the extension, said in November “Australia has recently provided $US1.5m to Samoa for a similar cable connection. A cable branching unit to Norfolk Island could be secured for less than $A1m as insurance to ‘future proof’ the island by allowing it the chance to connect later.”
It added that Hawaiki Cable had given a final deadline of 15th December 2016 for Australia to commit to a Norfolk Island connection
What about the hedge funds and such like said to be lurking in the middle distance? The two newspaper groups began to go heavily into play in the 80s bubble and will have been stripped by now of hard asset value i.e. real estate. So they are unlikely to be a target for speculators.
NZ Commerce Commission Fairfax & NZME Merger Saga Decrypted---Presents Case Study on Peril in Strategic Planning of an Early Assumption That Masks Evolving Reality
Indicates need to distinguish between what is known and what is hoped for
The two newspaper companies always gave the appearance of being confident that they could win over to their way of thinking the Commerce Commission? They made the mistake, so evident now, of believing in their own assumption to the effect that the Commerce Commission would see the merger positively.
What were the contrary signals from the Commission that they missed? The Commerce Commission’s point of view in its rejection of the first draft of the merger proposal turned on several doctrinal, ideological, words that indicated that it was not for turning.
What were these words? Democracy, plurality and above all, diversity.
Why diversity? The loaded word runs through the Commission’s deliberations in a now clearly visible thread. It means that people considerations carry clear priority over any competing considerations in this case those of efficiency, economy of scale and so on.......
Why did the two companies go to the Commerce Commission in the first place? Would it not have been more effective to have simply concocted a new structure with a holding company? The Wellington and Auckland based companies had their hearts set on a single merged New Zealand company with a consolidated balance sheet and all that goes with it such as just one management structure.
Until quite recently the two companies worked closely together with a cooperative news pool and joint advertising sales promotion – why didn’t they just carry on as a de facto cooperative? This cooperative structure began to dissolve when the two newspaper groups came into play during the stock market bubble. The old proprietorial families moved away and were replaced by professional managers.
Where and when did they lose the plot? In their search of their competitive edge they opted for going it alone and thus they acted independently now in terms of their own evolving individual web sites and also in acquisitions. They dissolved their news gathering and dissemination cooperative, the New Zealand Press Association. Also abandoned now were certain geographic areas in which they had long agreed not to compete with one another.
Did they underestimate what the internet was going to do to them? At first the internet looked even promising. There were new personalities, celebrities that people wanted to read about. Covering the internet brought in the coveted younger demographic. Let’s look back. When television arrived in New Zealand the newspapers actually benefitted, and the Sunday papers were now launched to satisfy the interest in the new world of television
What happened with the internet? The internet instead now ushered in the era of disintermediation which is still accelerating all around us. People want to deal direct, sweep away the middle operator, the mainstream media, which had hitherto controlled the gateway to news coverage. You want an event covered?You go to Facebook. You want something known – there’s Twitter. You have an opinion? Then you start a blog. You have a range of points you want to air? Start your own website.
There are also any amount, at least 50, broadcasting channels available now. Plenty of competition you would think? The Commerce Commission took a narrower view of this scene than the newspaper managements jointly appeared to appreciate. The Commerce Commision’s verdict centred on most of the nation’s daily newspapers being held in a single set of corporate hands, and the perception thereof.
The daily newspapers published by the two groups are often considered to say the same thing about the same things anyway? The Commission concerned itself with the perception. In this case the perception of most of the dailies being controlled by just the one proprietor. It was now at the first decision that there was introduced the notion that New Zealand if the merger went through would convey a similar perception as that of China in that the press in China is controlled by just the one entity, the Communist Party. The signal was clear. It was not picked up.
The Commission’s second and seemingly last veto was delivered at the very start of International Free Press Day. Was this symbolic? Perhaps – and just because in this attenuated affair so much can be viewed as turning on symbols and perceptions.
What happens now? The two newspaper groups, the ones based in Auckland and Wellington must wash their minds of further approaches, appeals, to constituted authority including now the judiciary, and they must do so primarily on the grounds of sidestepping any further distractions. The danger of a strategic assumption, in this case that the Commerce Commission would approve the merger, is just that it is so enticing just because it makes the transition from supposition to reality. The wish becomes the fact.
In practical terms, this means....? The two groups will have to rearrange themselves around a new corporate structure and one that stops just short of a unified balance sheet. The daily newspaper business, an extremely marginal one, is riddled with intensive and in-built administration procedures especially on the subscriber and circulation side where there are stop-starts that can only be automated up to a certain point. They must now merge these departments. They must merge too their printeries.
They will have to be more radical than that, given their falling circulations? They will have to adopt a new business model and my feeling is that they will develop a franchise model which has already been experimented with by at least one rural newspaper management buyout. Print is relatively strong in the provinces. A franchise move will allow the two groups to develop their centralised services and will dilute the liability also of their substantial staff contingencies.
What about the hedge funds and such like said to be lurking in the middle distance? The two newspaper groups began to go heavily into play in the 80s bubble and will have been stripped by now of hard asset value i.e. real estate. So they are unlikely to be a target for speculators.
We keep hearing about the Auckland and Wellington-based groups. But what about the third proprietor, the one in Dunedin? The Smith family who control the Otago Daily Times group kept it within the family. They are a force to be reckoned with and in the affair under discussion remain the dog that did not bark. Or, if it did, was not heard by anyone. They remain in an envious competitive situation notably now dominating the high value tourist region centred on Queenstown.
What would you recommend that the two beleaguered would-be North Island-based suitors NOT do? Cut the frequency of any of their dailies to let us say three issues a week. The disruptive force of the internet and everything that came with it was to break the newspaper-reading habit. This custom so dominant until just so recently can only be further disrupted by meddling with the frequency of established daily titles.
One has this impression, somehow, of unfinished business. Was anything held back by any one of the parties involved? The episode was characterised by candour. It was just that the two parties looked at the same thing, the merger scheme, and each saw something that was quite different.
Your full hindsight? The two groups should have pulled back after the first round when the Commission’s viewpoint was made clear. They should have done so issuing high-minded yet truthful communiques about the severity of their position, and their continuing determination to better the lot of the public at large. In the event they appeared resentful and so their task in formulating a virtual amalgamation will be harder than before.
It’s easier than ever for Kiwis to watch TVNZ shows with today’s launch of a revamped tvnz.co.nz bringing together Live TV and OnDemand viewing.
TVNZ now live streams all its channels – giving viewers the option to view 1, 2 and DUKE on devices at the same time as on air broadcast – and offers local TV shows, Live sports, 1 NEWS, international dramas, box sets, movies and short form videos, all for free OnDemand.
“The big growth trends among New Zealand viewers are the demand for video and viewing on mobile devices, and we’re responding to this by bringing them together on tvnz.co.nz.” said TVNZ Chief Executive Kevin Kenrick.
“It’s all about giving viewers the choice and control – whether they want to watch broadcast TV, time shifted TV, TV streamed on a mobile device, Live or OnDemand,” he says.
Features of the new mobile optimised site include simplified navigation, a new video player and smarter integration for social feeds and content.
TVNZ is extending the amount of time its programmes are available online. “We’re giving people more time to watch episodes before they expire, more box sets and more stacking of episodes one after the other, so viewers can watch at their own pace,” says Kevin Kenrick.
Viewers can work their way through whole seasons of cutting edge dramas Clique and Cleverman (season 2 arrives 3 July), and all four feature length episodes of Oliver Stone’s The Putin Interviews – all new and exclusive to tvnz.co.nz.
TVNZ will be on more streaming devices with a Chromecast app set to launch next month, followed by an Apple TV app later this year, says TVNZ.
TVNZ is available on the following supported devices: • Apple iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus; Apple iPod Touch iOS9; Apple iPad 2, 3, 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2; Apple iPad Mini, Mini 2, Mini 3, Mini 4 (iOS9 and above) • Apple AirPlay • Android devices including the Samsung Galaxy S7, Edge, and Tab A 10.1 (Android version 4.3 and above) • Samsung 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Smart TVs and selected models of Smart Blu-ray players and Smart Home Entertainment Systems • FreeviewPlus TVs, set top boxes and MyFreeviewPlus Recorders • Playstation3 & Playstation4 • Microsoft Surface and Mobile • Xbox One
Coming soon: Chromecast (July).
TVNZ Live streams are available in high definition at 720p resolution.
Promo emails in middle of Mother of All Hacking Attacks
What was Spark thinking when on Sunday it released to its Xtra email subscribers a promo message from its entertainment operation Lightbox?
The emergency over the global WannaCry hack was sounded at 2030 hrs on the Friday just before. This should have conveyed the message to the entertainment subsidiary that this was most definitely not the time to start a mass promo over email –especially over your own circuits. And have given the unit plenty of time to intercept any such planned scheme. Several days, in fact.
But out the customised marketing email went out on Sunday......by which time the rest of the world was convulsed by the new intruder emergency which this time demanded pay-off for unfreezing users’ computer data.
The Lightbox marketing invitation was ironically entitled “Laugh, cry and escape this Mother’s Day.”
Many Xtra users are unaware that Lightbox is a Spark product.
The email greeted the Xtra customer by their first name and continued-
“This Mother’s Day make a cup of tea, grab the comfiest chair in the house and settle in for some entertaining television.
"Laugh and cry with other people’s families in Better Things, Life Unexpected, Outrageous Fortune and everyone’s favourite and colourful Modern Family.
Don’t forget the biscuits!”
Meanwhile MSC Newswire has received an explanation from Spark over our report of the scam email over Xtra demanding passwords that used in its subject line these words: “Dear Xtra Spark Email User “
Spark notes that the email address rogers.com is a Canadian telco –making very hard for spam filters to detect and block this. This is a very common attack vector for scam emails, because they are more likely to get past filters and into your inbox. Such emails “phishing” emails, because they are fishing for information and- the goal of this email is to get you to respond with personal or sensitive information so they can steal from you or defraud you.