Friday Fry Up: NZ’s halo effect on software, SamKnows due for an upgrade, Parenting online

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

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NZ’s halo effect on software

Being from New Zealand is a good thing. Especially if you develop software. That’s according to the organisation Buy NZ Made, which have launched the NZ Code trademark. Normally, you would expect the stylised kiwi symbol to appear on real-world items like Merino wool jumpers. But it has now made the leap to the virtual world.

Buy NZ Made executive director Ryan Jennings says that New Zealand has “shown what’s possible with a science-and-technology-first approach to COVID-19, and the world has taken notice. Now is the time to follow that up and prove we code software that solves business problems globally and have it received credibly.” (Fingers crossed that Greenhithe situation doesn’t amount to anything.)

Seeing an NZ Code logo displayed by a software service company could improve consumers’ confidence in using local software service, improve clarity on what consumer data protection applies, and be used by businesses to attract talent that wants to work at a Kiwi software company, Jennings says.

Sounds great? Wondering how to get one? You need to first consider three questions:

  1. Are you developing the code base used in your software service in New Zealand?
  2. Is there a substantial technical code build effort required to deliver your software service?
  3. Have you substantially transformed any overseas code used into a different software service in New Zealand?

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, you can apply for licence and start paying the monthly fee, which ranges from $35 per month for startups through to $500 per month for companies earning between $20 million and $50 million per annum.

SamKnows is due for an upgrade

SamKnows quite a lot, as it turns out. The Commerce Commission moved to the broadband monitoring tool in 2018, and it’s more than proving its worth, according to new telecommunications commissioner Tristan Gilbertson. SamKnows devices called whiteboxes are issued to volunteers, and the data collected is anonymous—it simply measures the performance of each retail service provider’s broadband offering.

You need only look at the most recent issue we flagged in the latest monitoring report with the Fibre Max plans, where it was actually SamKnows that identified the problem, rather than the operators. The operators all seemed to be convinced that everything was working just fine; there is nothing to see here, no problem—but that is not what the independent data coming through from SamKnows was showing. Consumers were paying for something, a benefit that they weren’t fully obtaining. SamKnows was very effective in terms of flushing that problem out and then spurring the industry into problem-solving, which they have now gone on to do.

SamKnows is due for an upgrade, however. Gilbertson would like to see the capability extended to measuring speeds inside the home. “What is not clear is what the in-home point experience is like, and we know that is an issue for a number of different reasons. Consumers have dodgy wiring or putting the kit in the wrong place; it could be any number of different things. SamKnows has an additional functionality that can be activated by way of a data drop to existing whiteboxes that measures the in-home Wi-Fi experience for consumers,” he says.

Gilbertson also notes that some of the smaller retail service providers are not properly represented in programme, so he’d like their customers to be issued with whiteboxes, to create a more complete picture. “What I would like to see is the industry take more responsibility by incentivising their own customers to take up these boxes so we can provide a richer, more granular set of information to consumers,” he says.

Gilbertson, who took up the role of telecommunications commissioner in June 2020, has a busy workload ahead of him, as he detailed in his recent interview with Computerworld New Zealand.

Parenting online

If you didn’t grow up with the internet, it can be hard trying to navigate how to keep your kids safe online. That’s the view of NetSafe, which has this week published the results of research that surveyed about 2,000 New Zealand children and parents. Its findings suggest “parents are in tune with their children’s online lives despite barriers such as different technological differences.”

Even so, there are some gaps (albeit relatively small) that are worth highlighting, such as that 19% of parents were aware their child had been bothered or upset by something online in the last 12 months whereas 25% of children aged between 9 and 17 years said that this happened to them.

This discrepancy could be because it’s hard to gauge the level of harm when you haven’t got direct experience of it, NetSafe notes. “Parents of teenagers aged 13-17 seem to underestimate their children’s exposure to potentially harmful online content to things such as violent images, hate speech, self-harm, and drug taking.”

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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