iTWire - iTWire - Deals iTWire - Technology news, trends, reviews, jobs Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:39:12 +1100 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb eBay and Woolworths sign collection deal eBay and Woolworths sign collection deal

You will soon be able to pick up items you buy an eBay at your closest Woollies supermarket.

The two companies have signed a deal that enables eBay buyers to pick up online purchases at Woolworths and Big W stores. But only from participating sellers – privately sold items will not be included.

The arrangement is initially limited to 90 stores in Sydney and Tasmania, but will be extended to the rest of the country in coming months.

In a joint statement, eBay and Woolworths says that the new service is in response to the growing online retail landscape and consumer demand. “New research shows that one in five online shoppers in Australia buys online at least once a week, yet almost half (47%) are not permitted to receive personal deliveries at work.

“A quarter (23%) have taken holiday or worked from home in order to receive an online delivery. Half (49%) re-direct personal online deliveries because they are at work,” said the statement.

“With this in mind, eBay and Woolworths have developed a service that will provide the most convenient delivery network for online shopping in Australia, giving consumers the chance to choose a collection point that suits their needs.”

{loadposition graeme}

They are presenting the partnership as a significant opportunity for retailers, with a surge in purchase frequency predicted for over two million Australian eBay users.

“This will offer entrepreneurs, and small to large businesses, the chance to boost their reach and introduce an additional revenue stream,” said eBay Australia’s Hamish Moline.

“The online retail industry is growing faster than ever. Last year, Australians spent $16.4 billion in this sector alone. As it continues to expand, the traditional retail model is evolving and the lines between online and offline blurring. Consumers now expect a more bespoke experience that meets their needs.

“The new service creates a brand new avenue for our sellers, driving traffic and encouraging a rise in sales that could change the face of businesses all over the country. Not only that, it’s a service we hope will revolutionise the way Australians shop, enabling a new and convenient way to get the things they need and want every day.”

Moline said 91% of Australians live within 10 km of a Woolworths store. He said that eBay and Woolworths have projected that there will be up to 12,000 sellers involved, and additional Woolworths and BIG W stores included as the service ramps up over the next three years.

“Convenient delivery options have already proved hugely successful for eBay UK via a partnership with Argos, and we’re looking forward to seeing an equally impressive uptake in Australia through a partnership that re-imagines retail.”

Emily Amos, general manager for Woolworths Marketplace said: “Woolworths is Australia’s largest domestic retailer, and we know our customers are busier than ever and are looking for greater convenience and ease in everything they do. This new service will help them make best use of their time by removing the need to wait at home for a parcel to arrive.

“This unique partnership will change retailing in Australia. It brings together Woolworths, Australia’s largest retailer, and eBay, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, to deliver the ultimate in shopping convenience.”

An early participating eBay seller will be Your Home Depot. Operations manager James Harvey said: “This is a click and collect service like no other. It is a fantastic opportunity for us to not only offer a more convenient way to shop for our current customers, but opens us up to an entirely new retail channel. Having the opportunity to take advantage of a ready made national network of physical stores means it is an exciting time to be a retailer in Australia.”

Other sellers will include No Frills, Surf Stitch, Mytopia, Futu Online and Golfbox. It is planned to be expanded to 250 sellers within two months.

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:21:16 +1100
Motorola extends large Victorian emergency services management contract Motorola extends large Victorian emergency services management contract

Motorola Solutions has signed a $41.5 million contract with the Victorian Government to manage the state’s emergency services Metropolitan Data Network for two more years.

The deal is for services from March 2015, when the present contract expires, with an option for two additional one year extensions.

The Metropolitan Data Network (MDN) is the first emergency communications network to be procured under a build, own and operate public-private services model in Australia. It provides secure data communications for Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria, primarily across the greater Melbourne metropolitan region with roaming capability on to a commercial network to provide coverage beyond the metropolitan area.

Motorola Solutions’ managing director Steve Crutchfield says the extension of the agreement enables the agencies to stay at the forefront of technology innovation.

“It allows for a wider choice of devices and applications, including the option to integrate Bring Your Own Device and Applications (BYOD and BYOA). This can be managed without compromising MDN’s performance or security.”

{loadposition graeme}

He said the contract also positions the Victorian Government to deliver against a key goal outlined in its Emergency Management Long Term Communications Plan to ‘establish a statewide, sector-wide broadband capability’.

Motorola Solutions originally signed a five-year contract with the Victorian Government in 2003 to design, build and manage the MDN, providing agencies across the greater Melbourne metropolitan area with direct access to data in the field for the first time.

Crutchfield said that since then the network hasconsistently met and exceeded service levels, including stringent availability targets. This is the second extension of the contract, which will now include trials of new technologies including 4G broadband data and a range of new terminal devices.

Victoria’s Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) supports the delivery of MDN through managing the contract and monitoring delivery on behalf of the Victorian Government. In addition to MDN, Motorola Solutions manages the Metropolitation Mobile Radio network for ESTA and the emergency services agencies it supports.

Motorola Solutions designed and built this network and has managed it for the Victorian Government since 2004.

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Wed, 18 Feb 2015 06:28:51 +1100
Mature move by OneShift with Adage acquisition Mature move by OneShift with Adage acquisition

With Australia’s growing ageing population and the proportion of mature workers in the workforce rising, OneShift, the online job network which matches employees with employers, has acquired Australia’s leading mature age jobs board Adage.

The move by OneShift comes against the backdrop of a report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing that Australians aged 55 and over in the labour market have increased from 25% to 34% over the past 30 years, with most of the increase occurring in the past decade.

And, a recent study also reveals that Australia’s population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase from about 14% in 2012 to over 20% in 2042 and 25% in 2062 – and over the initial 30-year period, the proportion of the labour supply made up of people over 65 is set to increase.

Gen George, the CEO and founder of OneShift, said it was time that businesses and recruiters paid more attention to the mature age labour force market.

{loadposition peter}“As a result of Australia's ageing population, the participation of mature age people in the labour force has become a key issue in policy discussions. The 45 and above age bracket is forecasted to be the fastest growing labour market segment in Australia over the next decade — a fact that businesses and recruiters can no longer afford to ignore.

“We’ve been receiving feedback from businesses that use OneShift seeking more mature age workers because of the experience, and mentorship they bring to a team. Coupled with the desire for mature age workers looking to ease back into the job market, we’re now in a strong position to provide opportunities for this rapidly growing, yet often neglected market.

“Heidi and the team at Adage have done a fantastic job over a number of years educating employers on the benefits of hiring mature staff and providing a dedicated service for thousands of mature Australians seeking to find suitable employment.

“We think bringing together two market leaders in their respective categories is a win win for jobseekers and businesses and we are excited to grow our footprint in the mature market.”

Heidi Holmes, owner and CEO of Adage, said OneShift’s growth trajectory and “unique job matching technology” made it an attractive and natural fit for the business.

“After consistent and steady growth at Adage over the last few years, we felt the Adage network could benefit greatly from the resources on offer through OneShift.

“I strongly believe that this acquisition will not only result in more positive employment outcomes for mature workers and employers but also raise the profile of the mature worker as one which should be embraced rather than ignored.”

Since launching just over two years ago, OneShift says the business has grown tremendously attracting more than 412,000 job seekers and 35,708 businesses to the service, securing $5 million in investment, and launching in New Zealand last year.

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Tue, 03 Feb 2015 14:35:01 +1100
Many pastabilities with Tall Emu CRM Many pastabilities with Tall Emu CRM

Australian food producer Pastabilities has gone live with a new customer relationship management solution from Tall Emu and a new fully integrated ecommerce website.

Tall Emu has automated many of Pastabilities’ internal processes, including integrating its new CRM system and website with its existing MYOB accounting system, allowing Pastabilities to have immediate visibility of all customer data including order history, product preferences and comprehensive contact information. This not only allows Pastabilities to provide a more personal and more efficient service, but it allows them to target individual customers with special offers and new products they are likely to be interested in.

With the new system, Pastabilities, which produces premium pasta on a commercial scale, can now target individual customers with special offers and new products they are likely to be interested in.

“With such a large and expanding customer base and the dynamic and diverse nature of each market we operate in, it has been very challenging for us to organise essential customer information,” said Luciano Schettini, Director of Pastabilities.

{loadposition peter}“Tall Emu has delivered immense benefits to our business already in terms of having customer information and ordering history at our fingertips. The project is only in its infancy, but we are anticipating significant growth through web orders, email marketing and an altogether more efficiently run business.”

Future plans for Pastabilities include integrating its Tall Emu CRM system with its existing phone system to enable its sales team to recognise who is calling them and immediately have all their customer information and order history right on the screen in front of them.

“The challenge with any small to medium sized organisation is the affordability of systems which enable them to utilise all the efficiencies technology provides. We have provided a highly adaptable system to Pastabilities which largely removes the manual component of their customer ordering process by linking all their essential systems to CRM,” said Tall Emu CEO Mike Nash.

“Centralising all of this information is a huge timesaver. With all of the process efficiencies we’ve helped them achieve, Pastabilities is perfectly positioned for growth without having to double their workforce.

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:59:14 +1100
Samsung’s BlackBerry takeover rumours fade to black’s-blackberry-takeover-rumours-fade-to-black’s-blackberry-takeover-rumours-fade-to-black Samsung’s BlackBerry takeover rumours fade to black

A report that suggested Samsung was seeking to buy BlackBerry for US $7.5 billion for its patents has been denied by both companies.

With many tech pundits suggesting Samsung should buy BlackBerry for its patents, QNX OS, app library and more, the only thing that has been missing is a bid from Samsung to do so.

Thus, when Reuters reported a ‘source’ told it that Samsung and Blackberry had finally been in talks to make this happen, it was no surprise to see BlackBerry’s shares jump by nearly 30%.

Unfortunately, the news then faded to black when BlackBerry issued a statement claiming, according to CNBC, that ”BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry. BlackBerry's policy is not to comment on rumors or speculation, and accordingly it does not intend to comment further. "

CNBC also reported that ‘Samsung also denied making a takeover offer.’

BlackBerry’s shares also fell by 15% following the denials.

{loadposition alex08}

Naturally, however, companies are often seen to be denying talks when in the background they’re still furiously negotiating, so it’s hard to know precisely what the truth is in this situation.

Samsung’s dilemma is that its Tizen OS is still not much chop compared to Android, especially when it comes to having any kind of valuable or voluminous app library.

BlackBerry, on the other hand, has the rock solid QNX OS under its belt, with QNX widely used in car entertainment and computing systems, and which powers BlackBerry’s current crop of smartphones.

BlackBerry’s app library is still tiny compared to iOS or Android, but it’s a heck of a lot bigger than Tizen’s, with BlackBerry still having great strength in the enterprise market - something Samsung has tried to crack but hasn’t had a huge amount of success with.

So it seems natural that a Samsung buyout of BlackBerry would make sense, finally giving Samsung an OS it can control its own destiny with, an app library that Samsung might be able to better grow than BlackBerry, a suite of BlackBerry patents, a decent OS and much greater leverage against Google.

Any such deal would naturally face scrutiny from the various regulatory agencies, while potentially raising concerns with BlackBerry’s enterprise and government customers who might wonder whether Samsung’s stewardship of defence-level encryption and acceptance would be as good as BlackBerry’s is at the moment.

For now, it seems the deal is off and perhaps never even was, but the denials may all just be smoke and mirrors to deflect against an acquisition that is still to come.

So we will just have to wait and see whether SamBerry or BlackSung will ever become real, or whether it was the deal meant to be that never was.

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Deals Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:18:02 +1100
MuleSoft’s platform the jewel in the crown for Michael Hill’s-platform-the-jewel-in-the-crown-for-michael-hill’s-platform-the-jewel-in-the-crown-for-michael-hill MuleSoft’s platform the jewel in the crown for Michael Hill

Australian-based international retail jewellery chain Michael Hill has deployed MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform across its business to improve IT flexibility and responsiveness to changing business and market requirements.

The MuleSoft integration platform will automate connectivity between Michael Hill's best-of-breed applications, including its customer relationship management (CRM), mobile and point of sale systems in 289 stores across New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Adrian Wallace, Software Development Manager at Michael Hill said the company had set aggressive growth targets for 2014 including the opening of 20 new stores around the globe, an increase in e-commerce sales and the move towards implementing a customer-focused omni-channel model.

“One of the challenges of a best of breed philosophy is the need to connect discrete systems and remove independent silos. As we have grown, the scale of integration challenges has also grown. We needed a way to automate this connectivity because if our architecture were to continue to grow without a change in approach, we’d be in danger of looking like typical messaging spaghetti.

{loadposition peter}“We see a service bus-driven architecture as a way to avoid that and at the same time, it gives us a capability to become more responsive to changing business demands on the IT department.  MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform provides a natural path for integration and offers a massive improvement to our productivity.”

MuleSoft said the first integration project using Anypoint Platform will support the targets set by Michael Hill by integrating CRM data from six different touch points to create a single view of the customer. This will enable seven key areas across the business including in-store, online, customer care, customer engagement, marketing and mobile to drive a more intimate consumer experience by ensuring coordinated, consistent communication with customers.  

According to MuleSoft, major factors leading to the selection of its platform included the ability to cope with the varied environment of in-house and on-premise applications at Michael Hill, as well as peer and analyst recommendations.

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:18:53 +1100
UXC Eclipse partners with Beyond Bank to deploy Microsoft CRM UXC Eclipse partners with Beyond Bank to deploy Microsoft CRM

IT solutions vendor UXC Eclipse has partnered with South Australia’s mutual bank, Beyond Bank, to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM across the bank’s entire network.

The deployment follows the recent announcement by Microsoft that it has begun hosting CRM Online data in Australian data centres, rather than offshore centres.

Prior to this, Australian local government agencies and financial institutions have not been able to use the Microsoft solution in most circumstances because the data was stored in off-shore data centres, breaching Australian privacy legislation.

Bradley Stroop, CEO UXC Eclipse said the announcement that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will now be hosted in Australia “means that even more organisations will be able to implement this solution”.

{loadposition peter}UXC Eclipse is a Gold Microsoft Partner.

Stroop said Beyond Bank – a customer-owned financial institution - conducted a rigorous review process that included products from 12 vendors over the course of one year before choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

He said it was more than just a software deployment, with Beyond Bank aiming to achieve organisational transformation through its use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, using the solution to achieve improved productivity and business performance throughout the organisation.

Robert Aitken, CIO, Beyond Bank said, “We recently worked with UXC Eclipse to complete a proof of concept with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which was very successful. As a result of the success of that project we are planning an extended rollout of the solution across the organisation.

“The Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation is a business transformation project in which UXE Eclipse has played a vital role. The choice of implementation partner was critical to the success of the project and it was essential that we engage a partner that we could trust implicitly to understand our business and our requirements, and deliver the results we anticipated.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Tue, 09 Dec 2014 15:39:28 +1100
NEC snares $55 million NT Government contract$57-million-nt-government-contract$57-million-nt-government-contract NEC snares $55 million NT Government contract

NEC has secured a multi-year, multi-million dollar computing contract with the Northern Territory Government to provide on-site and remote support for 20,000 desktop, laptop and mobile device end users across the territory.

The whole-of-government end user contract, valued at $55 million over three years, will see NEC support agencies in all government offices except for schools, which are supported by NEC Australia in a separate contract with the NT Department of Education.

In addition to support for desktops, laptops and mobile devices, NEC will support government file and print services, email services, desktop application management and asset management.

The contract provides for an option to extend for a further two years.

{loadposition peter}NEC Northern Territory manager Trevor Oliver said the company’s integrated team of more than 220 employees in the Northern Territory “makes NEC Australia the best positioned ICT services provider in Australia to help the NT Government overcome its unique ICT challenges.”

Oliver said NEC Australia’s capabilities are enhanced by a growing number of strategic partnerships with NT-based ICT businesses that ensure government offices receive “world class services and support across its large geographical footprint -- services which include fly-in and locally provisioned on-site support for offices in remote communities”.

NEC’s key partners for the end-user computing contract include Vertical Technology Group, a Territory-based ICT provider with its own fleet of aircraft to deliver remote community services, staging services and technical courier services, Red Centre Technology Partners for on-site service delivery in Alice Springs, NT Technology to deliver services in Nhulunbuy and Leading Edge to service Tennant Creek.

Oliver said NEC’s multi-source approach ensures that the benefits of its contract flow directly back into the local economy through utilising local knowledge and expertise. “Under this contract, approximately a third of its value will be transferred to local partners, in addition to providing new employment opportunities.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:15:05 +1100
SmartTrans secures China agreement to build travel App, platform SmartTrans secures China agreement to build travel App, platform

Australian-listed mobile and online payments platform and logistics software provider SmartTrans has sealed an agreement with China's oldest and largest travel services provider, China International Travel Service (CITS) to build and distribute an App and integrated online platform that will enable Chinese and Australian consumers to book and pay for travel services between the two countries.

The agreement between SmartTrans (ASX:SMA) and CITS was signed at an event in Beijing over the weekend which showcased the new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Australia and China. The agreement was cited by Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, who attended the event, as a great example of the success of the recently revised FTA.

The event was also attended by China International Travel Service Head Office President, Madam Yu Ningning.

CITS is a state-owned enterprise that was established in 1954, and is now the largest of its kind in China, with 122 agencies across the country and numerous subsidiaries in key regions globally, including Australia.

{loadposition peter}SmartTrans will now collaborate with CITS to develop an App and integrated online platform that uses SMA’s mobile billing platform and distribution channels to allow travellers from China and Australia to book and pay for CITS’ travel packages, visa services, flights and hotel bookings, all from their mobile telephone via SmartTrans’ mobile application.

SmartTrans Chairman, Dr Geoff Raby, a former Australian ambassador to China, says the App will have SmartTrans’ “unique mobile platform embedded”, consolidating the wide range of billing and payment licences and agreements the company has with its long established partners in China.

Dr Raby said SmartTrans is expecting that this latest agreement will provide access to another solid and sustainable revenue stream for the company, especially with increasing numbers of outbound tourists from China and growing numbers of inbound tourists from Australia with some 720,000 people visiting China in 2013.

“This partnership with CITS, a highly regarded state-owned enterprise, is a great mark of respect for our company, our credibility and our technology.

“SmartTrans will now work closely with CITS to develop this App and online platform, utilising our mobile payments platform to enable travellers between China and Australia to book and pay for their travel services.

“We see this partnership, along with the unique consolidation of our multiple payment providers on to one platform as further examples of why our technology provides such a compelling turnkey solution to third parties wanting to do business in China, as well as Chinese businesses who wish to access global markets.

“We are currently in negotiations with a number of such parties wanting to use our proprietary platform for these reasons and we look forward to updating shareholders on our progress in this regard in the near future.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Deals Sun, 07 Dec 2014 19:37:12 +1100
Media moguls back Aussie online finance venture Media moguls back Aussie online finance venture

James Packer, Kerry Stokes and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp are leading investors in Australian P2P lending startup SocietyOne.

eBay matches buyers and sellers. RSVP and eHarmomy match boys and girls. Now Australian startup SocietyOne aims to match up lenders and borrowers online.

Individual investors put money in, would-be borrowers get online and answer questions about their credit worthiness, lender is anonymously matched to a borrower, and SocietyOne takes a fee for organising the process and arbitraging the interest rate differentials.

Sounds great, but like all good online ideas it needs critical mass – and credibility. It now has that in spades, announcing a major investment from a consortium of the Big Three Australian media moguls Kerry Packer, Kerry Stokes and Rupert Murdoch, who between them will invest $20 million in the platform.

Packer and Stokes will invest through their private investment companies, and Murdoch through his publicly listed News Corp. The money will be used for marketing and developing partnerships, and to develop new products.

“SocietyOne is a whole new way to borrow and invest,” says its website. “SocietyOne is a completely new and more efficient way to think about borrowing and investing. We connect quality borrowers with savvy investors using a financial platform that is secure and easy to use. And best of all, everyone gets a better deal.”

SocietyOne is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lender that “connects investors with creditworthy borrowers, anonymously, in a secure online platform.” Its proprietary ClearMatchP2P lending platform was launched in August 2012, and allows people to borrow up the 30,000 unsecured, at a current interest rate of 9.95%.

It was co-founded by CEO Matt Symons and Greg Symons (who are not related). They got the idea from similar startups in the US and the UK. “Online marketplaces have transformed a range of traditional industries including consumer retail, travel, media and entertainment by empowering consumers and lowering transaction costs,” says Matt Symons.

{loadposition graeme}

“With the emergence of innovative platform technologies and more streamlined online credit assessment services, P2P lenders around the world are seeing considerable success building up high quality portfolios and award-winning reputations for great customer service.

“Our goal at SocietyOne is to bring this revolutionary potential to Australia, where banks still dominate the consumer credit market. We want to shake up the consumer finance industry by giving borrowers better rates to match their credit histories whilst providing investors with the opportunity to invest in a profitable asset class.”

The Series B capital raising is with a consortium comprising Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings, News Corp Australia and Stokes’ Australian Capital Equity. Symons said: “This investment marks a new and exciting chapter for SocietyOne and for the acceleration of P2P lending in Australia.”

He said P2P is the future of banking. “It is growing rapidly worldwide, with considerable success in markets such as the US and Europe. Investors have been particularly excited by the significantly increased returns from removing the intermediary from the lending markets.”

He said the largest P2P lender in the US, Lending Club, is now originating over US$1 billion in personal loans per quarter and is expected to float in the next month.

Speaking on behalf of the consortium of investors, James Packer said: “We have seen first-hand the power of technology in reshaping the media industry and I am excited about the potential of technology, led by the team at SocietyOne, to help reshape the financial services industry in Australia.

“We see enormous potential in delivering significant savings to borrowers as well as providing new innovative products that will also be attractive to the investor market. P2P lending is one of the global forces leading the transformation of banking by putting people, not intermediaries, at the centre of the borrowing and lending experience.”

The Westpac-backed venture capital fund Reinventure has also agreed to participate in the latest capital raising following its initial investment in February 2014. “We continue to be impressed by the growth of the model and the execution of this team,” said Simon Cant, co-founder and managing director of Reinventure.

“This new round of investment brings together the best group of strategic investors in the country. This is consistent with our approach of backing experienced entrepreneurs, proven models and driving value to ensure they win their market.”

Symons said SocietyOne uses a risk-based pricing approach to offer creditworthy borrowers a better deal and investors direct access to an attractive new fixed income investment option. “Borrowers with good credit histories benefit from personalised rates that are generally much lower than standard credit cards and up to 5% lower than personal loans from the major banks.”

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Deals Fri, 05 Dec 2014 04:24:57 +1100