Friday Fry Up: Scouts take on tech, Security angles, Health IT revived, Election app developer to vote, SOS business sold

Friday Fry Up is Computerworld New Zealand’s weekly look at the world of IT.

NZ friday fry up logo
Getty Images

Scouts NZ take on tech

Their motto is ‘Be prepared’, but to be fair no one predicted a global pandemic was going to send the country into lockdown in March. With 13,000 members, and 5000 volunteers, Scouts NZ had to act fast to ensure it could continue to connect with its community, says CEO Joshua Tabor.

“By literally separating us from our customers and other stakeholders, COVID-19 put those relationships under grave threat.”

The answer? Technology.

Specifically, a smartphone app due for release this month, which is based on the Salesforce Mobile Publisher platform. It will allow volunteer scout leaders to manage their troops from their mobile.

It’s part of the scouts’ digital strategy, which was brought forward on account of COVID-19. The organisation is also deploying Salesforce’s process automation tools to access data analytics that will help them gain insights for better engagement with members. It will also ensure they can keep on top of the admin and risk management that comes with running 9,000 events throughout New Zealand every year.

“We know that participating in scouts has a huge number of benefits, not least of which is developing resilience and having a positive impact on mental wellbeing. So, if there was ever a time to find ways to ensure continuity of service, this is it,” says Tabor.

Scouts NZ is planning to almost double its youth membership to 25,000 by 2025, so it needs tech that can scale with it.

Security angles

Security firms just love surveys. At least three arrived in the inbox this week, each with a different take on security issues. Surveys may be a classic move in the PR playbook, but collectively they can tell a story. And if the three highlighted below are any indication the latest narrative goes like this: New Zealanders are adopting remote working, this puts us under greater threat from cyber security, but we aren’t taking the threats as seriously as we should.

Research in Asia-Pacific by Censuswide for Barracuda Networks claims that COVID-19 has accelerated remote working in New Zealand organisations by 54 per cent. Of the 200 New Zealand respondents surveyed, 40 per cent had experienced at least one data breach or cyber security incident since shifting to remote working. In addition, the survey shows that 40 per cent of local organisations don’t have an up-to-date cyber security plan in place that covers threats posed by full-time remote working.

Over at Unisys, its 2020 Security Index shows that New Zealanders are becoming more complacent about cybersecurity. As a report in Reseller News explains: “New Zealanders’ concern about hacking and viruses has declined in the last year, from 48 per cent of the population being ‘seriously concerned’ in 2019, down to 40 per cent this year.”

Meanwhile, KnowBe4, which has the ambitious tagline ‘Human error. Conquered’, has conducted a global survey of 1,107 organisations, which includes 506 respondents from New Zealand. We are scored 73 out of 100 for security culture, alongside Australia, Bermuda, Kenya and the UK.

On a similar, but also quite different, topic: Netsafe has been looking at fake news. This has been a hot topic with the New Zealand government this week with Minister of Health Chris Hipkins using the 1pm COVID-19 press conference to quash false rumours.

According to the Netsafe survey, around half the country has fallen for fake news at some point. While 93 per cent have heard of the term ‘fake news’, 48 per cent are concerned about mistakenly spreading it and 14 per cent mention seeing misleading stories related to COVID-19.

Netsafe has launched a campaign called Your News Bulletin, where you can test your ability to spot fake news. It’s trickier than you might expect.

Health IT to be revived

Could New Zealand’s health IT systems finally be in for an upgrade? Radio NZ noted this week that Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield wrote to the District Health Board CEOs on 24 July, requesting they give “very serious consideration to data and digital investment.”

And it seems that it isn’t a short-term fix, with the letter indicating a more long-term commitment to IT spending. “The ministry has been working on a revised set of principles to guide annual planning for the ministry and DHBs to realign data and digital investment. We are not looking to apply these to this year’s annual plans, but the revised principles will be in place for next year’s planning process. We will be supporting a consistent approach across the sector and will provide updated expectations for how DHBs should plan their data and digital portfolios.”

The letter also references the Health and Disability Review Report and the National Asset Management Plan, which took the ministry to task over its lack of investment in IT.

News that the ministry is taking note of recommendations in these reports will be welcomed by sector groups such as NZ Health IT. Its CEO Scott Arrol estimates that DHBs spend about 2.3% to 2.5% of their budget on IT, while the global average is that IT makes up 4.8% to 5% of the overall health budget.

Election app developer to vote

What a difference a month makes. When the prime minister announced on Monday that the general election would be pushed back from 19 September to 17 October, around 5,000 young people suddenly became eligible to vote (according to Stats NZ). Among them is Anjali Mistry (her 18th birthday is 24 September), who together with Drishti Murara, created an app called Eumonia to help people decide what political party to vote for.

almost vegan technovation team Technovation

Anjali Mistry (left) and Drishti Murara (right), the New Zealand creators of the Eunomia app, a finalist in the 2020 Technovation girls programming competition.

Named after the ancient Greek goddess of law and legislation, Eunomia asks players a series of questions about what kind of public services they would fund. The app matches the answers against the information supplied by New Zealand’s main political parties to find the party most aligned to the player’s views. It was a finalist in the global Technovation competition, but lost out to the Irish entry Memory Haven, an app that assists people with dementia.

SOS Business sold

SOS Business, the website set up when the country when into COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 to help local businesses, has been taken over by InKind in the US, which will invest $5 million in the platform. SOS Business has to date sold $2 million in vouchers, enabling people to support their local shops, even when they are forced to close because of COVID-19. Back in June, co-founder David Downs told Computerworld New Zealand he was fielding offers from organisations interested in the platform.

The e-commerce cycle is now complete, with SOS Business fulfilling the five steps to ecommerce success, To recap:

  1. Use existing tools (in this case Shopify).
  2. Go out to your network for help.
  3. Push the message through social media and PR.
  4. Pivot the business model when circumstances change.
  5. Complete a successful exit.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit
Shop Tech Products at Amazon