Articles about ICT

Is New Zealand business ready for Artificial Intelligence?

Posted 1 July 2017 by David Spratt

A decade or more ago I used to defeat chess playing computers for a small wager. It was simple stuff really – just find a weakness and ruthlessly exploit it – in my mind computers were basically binary and thus “stupid”. Today chess masters are fair game for computers. My party trick is ancient history and I am frankly a little scared about what happens when computers can outsmart humankind.  Terminator anyone? Some would argue that we have nothing to fear. Others feel exactly the opposite. Stephen Hawking recently wrote “The full development of AI could spell the end for...
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New Branding and New Services

Posted 25 May 2017 by Richard Gardiner

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. Drawing is the honesty of the art. Salvador Dali Today Total Utilities announces its new branding. Over the last 18 years we have worked hard to assist companies in controlling consumption and cost. It's an exciting day for us and we are proud to share this with you. From today you'll see a change in the way we look, including our new ribbon logo. The spherical shape represents the whole as we take a 360 degree approach to understanding our clients and their utility requirements, whether it be Energy, Waste and ICT or Insights,...
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Production Management and the Industrial IoT

Posted 5 May 2017 by David Spratt

In the first two parts of this series I looked at what the internet of things (IoT) actually is and then at the Energy Management possibilities for businesses competing on the world stage. In this, part three, of the series we get down to the nitty gritty of Manufacturing Production Management and how measuring energy flows and consumption can inform critical decisions. I could make this complicated but if we really get down to the basics there are three main categories that require constant attention in a production environment: People, Processes and Technology. People –...
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How the Internet of Things is transforming Business

Posted 27 February 2017 by David Spratt

Over Christmas 2015 I spent a lot of my beach time getting sun burnt and considering the threat of global warming to my kids and to their kids. I eventually decided that, to save the planet, I could start by measuring the energy consumption of every electrical device in the world. This would help people understand how to use these devices more efficiently, they would use less energy and “voila” world saved! The only problem is – how the heck do I talk to every electrical device in the world? More importantly – how do I get them to talk back to me? Welcome to the emerging...
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Winners, losers and unrequited computer love…a satirical review of 2016

Posted 13 December 2016 by David Spratt

After a busy year trying to make sense of the changing ICT landscape I’m winding down for Christmas by attending as many customer and supplier events as possible. The prospect of free wine and food, stimulating conversations and standard speeches by sales managers delivers a mix of pleasure and pain. I’ve also delighted in compiling my 2016 awards list of companies and individuals that have taken on the IT challenge and made a difference, one way or another. The IT challenge awards go to: The 1980’s Post Office in Disguise Award: Chorus. Given the task of delivering fibre...
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How to manage costs and consumption in a cloud services environment

Posted 1 August 2016 by David Spratt

We talk to dozens of small and large companies around the country to help them modernise and streamline their ICT needs. We frequently hear about an issue that’s important to managers everywhere: a supposed lack of control over the growth of these as-needed costs. In many cases, the concern isn't a technical issue, it's a management one. It is also one that can be modelled and controlled. You can always spend more money on cloud services, but you shouldn't be surprised by your monthly bill. In an ICT/cloud infrastructure model there are three basic levers that need to be managed in order...
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Driving transformation and savings in challenging times: Zespri case study

Posted 12 July 2016 by David Spratt

The year 2013 was tough for Zespri. The PSA virus was decimating its growers’ high value, gold kiwifruit crops across New Zealand. As well, a major initiative was underway to help growers replace existing cultivars with a more disease- tolerant variety, Sun Gold. The hope was that this cultivar’s vigorous fruiting qualities would also lead to strong production, that it would be outstandingly successful with consumers, and help sustain the growth of the industry. The Zespri board and executive had witnessed the devastation of the Christchurch earthquakes and the Japanese...
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Technical debt: Why the IT team doesn’t get invited to the staff Christmas party – Part two

Posted 30 June 2016 by David Spratt

Complexity, cost, and increasing competitive inertia create big problems for business IT departments, as we saw in part one of this series. In today's post, David Spratt addresses what to do about it. So where did we leave off, last post? Competitive advantage through Information Technology seems a thing of the past. Your business is loaded with technical debt - spending money on systems that add less and less value while costs continue to soar while nimble, more agile competitors grab your market share The IT department is full of people focussed on boxes that go ping and red...
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Utilities experts net good result for fisheries company

Posted 18 April 2016 by David Spratt

When you have a global supply chain delivering premium live seafood and chilled fresh fish to domestic and overseas markets, there is little room for communications, business process or system errors. Aotearoa Fisheries Limited is the largest Maori-owned fisheries company and it’s been harvesting, processing and delivering live, chilled and frozen seafood since its establishment in 2004. It harvests, processes and delivers chilled, canned and frozen seafood and ready to eat products to over 20 countries. For the past five years Aotearoa Fisheries has been working with utilities...
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Technical debt: Why the IT team doesn’t get invited to the staff Christmas party

Posted 11 April 2016 by David Spratt

I had lunch with an old friend last week and he raised the issue of technical debt with me: the notion that complexity breeds complexity until a business’ IT systems are a burden rather than a benefit. The realisation came, like a bolt from the blue, that this was the reason my beloved IT industry had moved from being a creative, savvy business industry to being seen as a dull cost centre, distrusted and feared by many businesses and their management. Harsh perhaps, but why else then have we seen the CIO, a key executive team member in the 90s, relegated to the IT Manager,...
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