Award gives Mallard cause to smile

The beleaguered education minister, Trevor Mallard, has been handed an award that might help offset harmful headlines about the secondary teachers' pay dispute.

The beleaguered education minister, Trevor Mallard, has been handed an award that might help offset harmful headlines about the secondary teachers’ pay dispute.

The Digital Opportunities initiative, a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and IT suppliers, took the prize for “Most significant contribution to IT” at the 2002 Computerworld Excellence Awards. Digital Opportunities was launched last year with the aim for extending access to computers, the internet and IT training to schools and communities throughout the country. The scheme involves government money and discounted products and services from several IT suppliers.

Eleven winners were named at an Excellence Awards presentation dinner in Auckland on Friday night. The “Overall excellence in the use of IT” award went to the Auckland Regional Council while the information chief at Auckland City Council, Ian Rae, was named “CIO of the year”.

The TAB took two awards: its Jetbet II migration was judged “Most successful project implementation” and the betting agency also won the "Excellence in e-commerce: business to consumer" category. The Jetbet project cost $8 million, took 15 months and involved porting 750,000 lines of legacy code running on Concurrent hardware to Windows NT.

Signature Travel won the second e-business prize, “Excellence in e-commerce, busines to business”, with Serko Online, an online corporate booking engine. It’s the second award picked up by Serko this month: it also received the Microsoft Award for E-Commerce in the Asia-Pacific, the first time a New Zealand company has won that category. Serko was launched last June, giving customers an interface to the travel industry's Amadeus global reservation system -- the same as that used by Signature’s consultants.

This year’s “Excellence in decision management” award went to DB Breweries, for MAMS (mobile account management system), based on the Visual Elk and Panorama products of customer management software provider StayinFront.

Centreport, Wellington’s port company, was the winner in the “Excellence in the use of IT for customer service” category with its Jade-based Chartts (cargo handling and real time tracking system) and Fastgate, a paperless cargo processing system.

The “Excellence in the use of IT in government” award went to the Office of the Retirement Commissioner for its website, which features information on planning for retirement.

The “Technology innovator of the year” was judged to be Masterton-based SiliconBlue, for web management tool OcoLoco. OcoLoco can turn developers and designers into “virtual ISPs”, the company says, giving them control over SiliconBlue’s web-hosting infrastructure without much technical knowledge.

This year’s education awards went to MacLeans College of Bucklands Beach, winner of the "Excellence in the use of IT in education: primary and secondary" category; and Bubble Dome, in the “Excellence in the use of IT in education: tertiary, community and commercial” category.

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