Stories by Vera Alves

Provoke opens US office

New Zealand-based Microsoft partner Provoke Solutions has opened an office in the US and appointed its first American employee, the company has announced.

BNZ launches first banking app for Android in New Zealand

With close to 10,000 hits per month coming into its mobile website from Android users, BNZ has just announced the launch of its native Android application for customers.The application, available now from the Android market, allows customers to do the same operations they can do on the mobile website and the existent iPhone app, launched last month. Users can check their balance, view transactions history, transfer money and pay bills. There is also a store and ATM finder, using the GPS capabilities of the Android smartphone.Rogan Clarke, head of BNZ online, says the company realised they were neglecting a large portion of their customers when they released their iPhone application. "This is our attempt to get ahead of the curve," says Clarke, adding that "Android has gotten to a level where we just can't ignore it anymore". Clarke also says the number of Android users "is reasonably close to iPhone numbers" and the uptake is a lot faster.Since its launch last month, the BNZ iPhone app has been downloaded more than 15,000 times. "We knew from the outset that Android users deserved the same experience and when you take into account the exponential growth the platform is experiencing, it was even more important for us to get this app out there," says Clarke. According to Paul Bartlett, BNZ's project manager for www, mobile and online, the company has recorded a "1313 percent increase in Android visitors to the website" in the 12 months to June 2011. Clarke says BNZ is "confident that the solution has the same level of security as the iPhone app", as it requires the same level of authentication required by the iPhone app and the mobile website."Security and making sure the user experience was solid from the outset were our top priorities. You can't have one without the other in our view, so our in-house development team in Wellington have put in the hard yards over many months to ensure these three BNZ Mobile services are world class. BNZ Mobile offers all the security of our main internet banking website along with a silky smooth, mobile experience," adds Clarke.The launch of the app means that BNZ has become the first New Zealand bank to launch an internet banking application for Android smartphones (and one of the first in Australasia to build its own native Android app). Clarke says the company is well aware of the fact that it will not be long before other New Zealand banks launch their own Android apps as well.

CIOs gather to discuss new challenges

“There is an IT attention deficit in the C-suite of most businesses,” said Professor Joe Peppard from the Cranfield School of Management (UK), in the first international keynote that opened the CIO Summit in Auckland this morning.
Peppard delivered his keynote to a full room at Sky City Convention Centre, kickstarting the annual two-day event where New Zealand’s leading CIOs and senior IT professionals discuss the most pressing issues affecting the role of the CIO.

Kevin Ackhurst joins Juniper as APAC VP for partners

After 14 years working for Microsoft, Kevin Ackhurst has taken up the role of vice president of partners, APAC, at Juniper Networks.
Ackhurst was country manager for Microsoft in New Zealand for nearly three years, before moving to Singapore to work as the company’s Asia-Pacific vice president of sales and marketing in July 2010. He started working for Microsoft in 1997 as services director.
May 3 was Ackhurst’s final day at Microsoft and, after a short break, he started his new job at Juniper Networks today. He is attending Juniper Networks' EMEA Partner Conference in Barcelona.

Liquidators' report paints dark picture of Datasouth

IT solutions provider Datasouth, which went into liquidation on March 31, owes millions of dollars to more than 80 potential creditors according to a preliminary report by the company's appointed liquidators.

Pitfalls emerge as social media takes off

According to market researchers Nielsen, 1.8 million people - about 40 percent of the population - are interacting via social media in this country. This is compelling evidence of the growing popularity of these channels.

Local PC market fails to meet expectations

Despite seven percent local growth in shipped PC units for the third quarter of 2010 over the corresponding quarter last year, IDC analysts say it has been a tough second half year for the New Zealand market.