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Innovation the key to igniting the New Zealand economy

Wed 26 Oct 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

There’s never been a more exciting time to be working in technology in New Zealand than right now.

In an industry that does not respect tradition, only innovation, the challenge for Kiwi businesses and start-ups is how to compete on the world stage in a highly competitive global industry that is exploding with new innovations every day.

As Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016 has unfolded in Auckland this week, it’s clear to me that the technology tools that will inspire and enable possibilities and opportunities for creating world-changing solutions are available at our fingertips today.

For 21 years, the Microsoft Ignite NZ conference – formerly known as TechEd – has been the place where IT professionals, business leaders and the developers of tomorrow’s technology come together to learn about the Microsoft technology that will help them build the successful products and businesses of the future.

And like never before, the tools to make the future possible and enable the digital transformation that will build the New Zealand economy are going to be on display at this year’s event. It’s why we’ve given it the theme ‘The Art of the Possible.’

The fact is, we are on the verge of the fourth industrial revolution, which is driven by the automation and augmentation of knowledge-based work. Data analytics, machine learning, bots, mixed reality – technology is evolving, and insight is the new currency, natural language is the new interface and artificial intelligence (AI) is the way of the future.

The technological tools for igniting innovation are not limited to software either. The very recent announcement of the market expansion of Microsoft HoloLens comes at just the right time for Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016 attendees. 

Many this week (myself included!) have been blown away by their first experience of this revolutionary mixed reality device at this event, so it will be fascinating to see what local creative ideas and applications will emerge from this moment in the years to come.

Alongside the 160 sessions of technical inspiration, Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016 is showcasing applications from some of New Zealand’s leading software innovators that are built using Microsoft technologies. These are the companies that are not just building the next generation of technology, but the next wave of the New Zealand economy.

  • Volpara – a software innovator that provides breast imaging analytics and analysis products that improve clinical decision-making and the early detection of breast cancer.  
  • Hapara – a software provider with global reach that provides instructional management tools for teachers, learners, and administrators in schools to help them organise, manage and monitor learning with the help of technology.  
  • PageProof – the fully encrypted cloud proofing and approval system that enables marketing and creative professionals to securely collaborate on proofing artwork, documents, presentations, branding, videos, and photography.  
  • Xero – the beautiful accounting software now enables businesses to connect their accounting data to powerful analytics using Microsoft Power BI, so they can gain valuable business insights in seconds and increase their business performance.  
  • Blackbay – the global logistics software solution that streamlines the parcel delivery process by connecting the shipper, depot operator, dispatcher, driver and the consumer with real-time information to provide an efficient and transparent delivery process.  
  • Booktrack – a new content creation and distribution platform that turns reading into an immersive movie-like experience. Booktrack’s patented technology lets anyone add a synchronized movie-style soundtrack to an e-book or other digital text content, with the audio paced to each individual’s reading speed.

The above examples are just the start of what I believe will be a growing wave of innovations that will ignite the New Zealand economy and influence the world.

The attendees at Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016 are at the forefront of that new wave. I can’t wait to see what they will develop next!

Article by Barrie Sheers, Managing Director, Microsoft New Zealand.

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