The initiative springs from the Knowledge Wave conference in Auckland in August and is being co-ordinated by IT business strategist Gary Connolly.
Connolly is organising a meeting tomorrow hosted by the University of Auckland, a prime mover of the Knowledge Wave event. He expects attendees from the university, government agencies, Telecom’s advanced solutions group and other private businesses.
“This is past the idea stage,” Connolly says. “We now want to make decisions about implementation.”
One scheme he envisages is the establishment of five data centres, for which sites are being scouted, to host data archives for foreign governments and businesses. “It makes sense for New Zealand to be an archive location,” says Connolly, because of its situation “at the end of [telecomms] pipes” to the rest of the world.
Tomorrow’s meeting will be hosted by Robin Ducker, the IT business development manager at university services arm Uni-Services.
“The idea is starting to get some shape but it’s still early days,” says Ducker. “It appears to be an area of business that takes advantage of a perceived disadvantage of New Zealand — our isolation.
“[Recent] events [the US terrorist attacks] highlight the attractiveness of it.”
Ducker says the university is not committed to putting money into the idea. He was drafted into exploring it by an academic from the university’s Tamaki campus, where plans are under way to develop a technology park. “The idea is to get the university, industry and government working together. That’s what moves innovation forward.”
Connolly is being paid by Tele-com to co-ordinate efforts. The con-sulting manager within Tele-com’s advanced solutions group, Findlay Herbert, says the idea has the potential to create services located in regional New Zealand, “there-by creating employment and generating offshore revenue”.
The Southern Cross Cable could provide the necessary bandwidth.
“The purpose of our investigations is to identify the potential demand for the facility and develop an understanding of the uptake and therefore the scale of connectivity required,” Herbert says.
Connolly says he’ll approach Auckland IT security specialist Arjen de Landgraaf, whose idea of turning New Zealand into an international e-commerce hub was reported in Computerworld last week, to see if he will back the archive plan.