NZ Fry Up: Lotto NZ seeking to spot problem gamblers online; Retail reinventing itself online; IBM recognises Kiwi AI; Going paperless in the COVID pandemic

New Zealand IT, tech, and telco news and views from our editor in Auckland.

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Lotto NZ in search of online tool to spot problem gamblers

Can behaviour analytics tools spot an online problem gambler? Lotto NZ hopes so. The Crown entity is expanding its MyLotto online portfolio (looking to take the Bingo product online, subject to regulatory approvals) and, as it does so, wants to ensure it can spot harmful gambling. It has issued a request for proposal for a behavioural analytics tool that is based on the psychology of gambling.

While lotto tickets, scratchies, and the like are sold through 1,500 bricks-and-mortar stores nationwide, online sales now account for 37% of all sales. As of December 2020, MyLotto has 1.4 million registered players, with 981,300 actively playing via the web and app in the last year.

“Due to the marked increase in the move towards online play, it is important that we adapt to changing player behaviour and enhance our responsible gaming approach to ensure that it is fit for purpose for online play,” Lotto NZ says.

Currently, customers receive an email when they reach spend limits (both the first time and after three months in a row), but there is not much data on player behaviour, and customers receive limited information, although there is a self-assessment tool.

What Lotto NZ wants is a tool that lets customers see their behaviour on MyLotto and provide the organisation with the ability to tailor its messages to them. If necessary, it could then suppress marketing to those displaying addictive behaviour.

As is de rigour with government contracts these days, Lotto NZ is looking for an off-the-shelf’ product that can integrate with existing systems.

By the way, for every $1 that Lotto NZ receives, 23c goes to community grants and 55c to prizes. Operational costs account for 5c in the dollar, and another 5c goes on retailer commission and MyLotto transaction fees. Tax gobbles up the rest.

Retail reinventing itself online

Also having a good year online is Briscoes Group. It’s been a record sales year for the Kiwi retailer, with its annual report this week showing that online sales grew by almost 80% over the previous year, accounting for almost a fifth of all sales ($700 million). CEO Rod Duke says COVID-19 lockdowns helped drive online sales, but the popularity of services such as ‘click and collect’ (about 30% of all online sales) is expected to continue after the pandemic. “We are confident that the online mix of sales moving forward will have experienced a significant step-change from the 11.3% recorded for the previous year,” he says.

While bricks-and-mortar retailers are reinventing their brands online to stay relevant during the pandemic, those in the catalogue game have been there for some time. Ezibuy, which processes 1.8 million orders a year, relies on business intelligence tools to surface data and analytics direct to business users—from merchandisers to product marketers to its COO Richard Harrison.

As profiled at CIO New Zealand, the business intelligence team report directly to Harrison, who doesn’t think it would be effective if it was part of the overall IT team. “It depends on the organisation, the culture, and the setup, but quite often if you stick BI in the depths of an IT department the real value can get significantly locked. I think that [intelligence] really does need to be surfaced and directly linked to the decision makers,” he says.

IBM recognises Kiwi AI

Two New Zealand women are named in IBM’s top 40 for AI globally. The annual Women Leaders in AI programme, now in its third year, recognises female business leaders using IBM Watson.

Tracey Hawes, general manager for marketing and trading at Fine Wine Delivery, has worked with IBM on developing a recommendation engine. The ‘smart search’ system uses natural language search to find wine, craft beers, or spirits suited to personal taste, without having to consult a sommelier.

Amy Oding, who is operational support and automation manager at Vodafone New Zealand, built with IBM an AI-driven data analytics model. It lets the telco perform detailed traffic predictions that engineers couldn’t previously do because of the high-volume, complex, and dynamic cellular mobile network. As a result, mobile traffic can now be predicted across thousands of cells with numerous types and layers.

Going paperless in the COVID pandemic

The COVID pandemic has driven e-commerce, AI, and digital transformation in general, right across the board. As a result, there have been some gains in the area of sustainability.

So it is that DocuSign is marking the year since COVID-19 (New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown on 26 March 2020), with a survey of New Zealand officer workers. It shows that 75% have reduced their paper use, and 54% are moving to being completely paperless. In addition, the results show that Kiwi office workers used more than 80 sheets of paper per week prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns, and now, one year later, they’ve cut down to 15 sheets of paper per week.

The survey was taken of 750 office workers in Australia and 250 in New Zealand. If your product is digital signatures, a survey about office workers going paperless makes absolute sense.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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