CIO

Movers and shakers: Warren Hughes of OneHQ, Sam Osborne and Sharyn Catt of Virtual Blue and Rochelle Payne of Tether

A roundup of new ICT executive appointments

Warren Hughes is now Head of Technology at business services firm OneHQ. He is also concurrent director of Affero Ventures. His previous roles include GM Equinox IT, Fronde Head of Product Development, Chief Technology Officer at Lotto NZ and IS Manager at Farmlands.

Warren Hughes
Warren Hughes

Sam Osborne and Sharyn Catt have founded Virtual Blue which provides robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) services for mid-sized to enterprise businesses.

Virtual Blue’s services include intelligent automation consultancy, with RPA delivery and implementation, production support and maintenance. The company will be partnering with global RPA providers to ensure New Zealand businesses have access to the best global solutions locally.

The founders have been working in the RPA market in New Zealand for the past three years.

Osborne, Virtual Blue managing director, fronted New Zealand’s first RPA programme in 2016 as the general manager of robotics and automation for Quanton, and previously worked with companies including Vodafone NZ, 2Degrees and BNZ. Catt, who is Virtual Blue’s director of customer solutions and operations, was previously head of consulting services for Quanton and has more than 15 years’ experience as a business consultant.

The two believe  2019 will see a strong move towards the combining of the two technologies, providing a powerful opportunity to help ‘take the robot out of the human’.

Sam Osborne and Sharyn Catt
Sam Osborne and Sharyn Catt

Osborne stresses that RPA is not about reducing headcount.

“In our experience we have never found that organisations are business casing RPA to get rid of people. They’re looking at the technology to take away the mundane and repetitive work and help create more efficient workforces,” she says, in a statement.

Virtual Blue’s launch comes as Kiwi companies are increasingly starting to raise the bar with their digital strategies. “We’re seeing a lot more demand from both mid business and enterprise around how to do both RPA and AI as part of a whole digital strategy,” Osborne says.

“Internally, organisations understand digital strategy, but I think we will see much wider take up this year. RPA and AI are no longer emerging technologies, they’re becoming a mainstream part of digital transformation."

RPA and AI are no longer emerging technologies, they’re becoming a mainstream part of digital transformation

Sam Osborne, Virtual Blue

New Zealand green buildings expert Rochelle Payne takes an equity share in healthy homes technology start-up Tether.   

Payne, an accredited professional in LEED, BREEAM, Green Star NZ and Homestar, as well as being a Passive House Consultant, says Tether has the potential to completely transform how homes are built because it goes beyond design to measure in real-time what happens when humans occupy a space.

The Tether EnviroQ is a battery (or mains) powered indoor environmental quality monitoring system for housing, schools and work environments that is designed to ensure quality living, learning and working conditions all year round.

Stuart van der Veen
Stuart van der Veen

Stuart van der Veen is the new chief platform officer at Aerobotics. He joins Aerobotics from Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB), where he was head of disruption and Innovation. At Nedbank, he successfully created new market opportunities in strategic industries, including a financial services partnership with Aerobotics in agriculture. Together, they worked to better serve clients by garnering unique data-driven insights through tree crop aerial imagery analytics.

“I am proud and excited to join Aerobotics and help build on the incredible growth they have already been able to achieve," says van der Veen. “Aerobotics’ technology and services are already providing farmers and the agriculture industry transformative information and insights, and I am excited to contribute to one of the best South African and global stories of our generation.”

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