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New programmes boost NZ bid to become a digital nation

New programmes boost NZ bid to become a digital nation

“If we are not thinking about how digital technology is changing farming, construction, tourism, retail or banking, then we risk overlooking the full transformative impact of this change,” says Communications Minister Simon Bridges.

Government will promote the smart use of digital tools in three pilot sectors: arable farming, tourism businesses and tradies in the construction sector.

Government will promote the smart use of digital tools in three pilot sectors: arable farming, tourism businesses and tradies in the construction sector.

A digital sector and government alliance to explore the economic and social benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) has been launched as part of New Zealand’s goal to become a digital nation.

“IoT is a transformative technology, one that promises to boost productivity across all major sectors of the economy, assist in monitoring our health, make transport and logistics more efficient, help reduce energy consumption and tackle environmental issues,” says Communications Minister Simon Bridges.

“The Government has a key role to play in ensuring that New Zealand can take advantage of what IoT has to offer,” says Bridges at the launch of the alliance.

The alliance is one of several programmes in the new Building a Digital Nation report released this week.

“The digital economy is a key focus of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda,” says Bridges.

The alliance will provide a forum for enabling us to better understand the benefits and potential issues of IoT, such as privacy and cyber security, he states.

“Initial research by the alliance, which will provide an evidence base for future work, already suggests potential economic benefits to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the New Zealand economy through the deployment of IoT across a variety of sectors.”

This is the first time the full programme of activity has been pulled together in one place, serving as a focal point for ongoing engagement with the digital community and for shaping and driving New Zealand’s digital transformation

Communications Minister Simon Bridges

The Building a Digital Nation report sets out how the Government is partnering with New Zealand’s digital sector, with other sectors of the economy and the wider digital community, to enable New Zealand to become a leading digital nation.

“This is the first time the full programme of activity has been pulled together in one place, serving as a focal point for ongoing engagement with the digital community and for shaping and driving New Zealand’s digital transformation,” says Bridges.

Bridges says businesses are starting to recognise the benefits of digital technology but more could be done to seize this opportunity.

“Digital transformation is not just about the technology sector,” he explains. “It affects every sector of New Zealand.

“If we are not thinking about how digital technology is changing farming, construction, tourism, retail or banking, then we risk overlooking the full transformative impact of this change.”

New Zealand businesses are using some types of technology well, but some, particularly small businesses may not be realising the full benefit digital technology can offer, he states.

Smart use of digital tools

The programme aims to encourage SMEs to use digital technology to immprove productivity.

Read more: Ovum: E-government is so passé; try digital government

The report says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is working with the Ministry for Primary Industry, technology industry associations, regional economic development agencies, and the wider business community to promote the smart use of digital tools in three sectors: arable farming, tourism businesses and tradies in the construction sector.

The first phase of this programme will develop targeted messaging and materials to actively engage people in these sectors about specific opportunities digital tools can create for their respective sectors.

The government is supporting the development of three new Digital Journey assessment tools tailored specifically for each of the three sectors.

These tools will allow firms to benchmark their current digital maturity across a range of measures specific to their sector, and will provide targeted advice for steps to improve their digital maturity. This will complement work to develop a cyber credentials scheme to help small businesses improve their cyber security, the report states.

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