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Stories by Jeanne-Vida Douglas

Networking, not buying

Is the internet dead - at least as we know it?
London-based social media commentator Nicolas Moerman has discovered in Google trends that there has been a significant slowdown in traffic to a range of once-popular search, blogging and e-commerce websites over the past 18 months.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas28 Nov. 09 22:00

Operators make call on niche customers

If there was ever a market that turned supply and demand theory on its head, it's mobile phones, and our seemingly endless capacity to spend more on mobile services and handsets despite drastic commoditisation.
By 2005, the Australian market was just passing saturation point as penetration sailed through the 100 per cent mark, but demand remained strong. People with one mobile phone bought a second or in some cases a third handset, and it's now not at all unusual for people to carry multiple SIM cards, so they can flip them in and out of their phones to take advantage of different rates and plans.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas08 Nov. 09 22:00

Shape shifter

Just as the 1990s were kicking off, David Yuile found himself at one of those all-important crossroads: armed with a degree in electrical engineering and an innate interest in mathematics, he had to decide what to do with the rest of his life.
Now chief operating officer at Australian telco AAPT, he says that as a kid he invested all of his spare coins into arcade games, and he credits the emergence of microcomputers with having rescued him from a career in finance.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas30 Sept. 09 22:00

Roar of the cloud

Anthony Rosier can identify the size and specifications of a bolt, nut or screw at 20 paces. He runs a small hardware wholesale business in Sydney's Sutherland Shire, specialising in the importation and supply of small hardware. After 28 years in business, the company, General Fasteners, is expanding, Rosier is putting on staff and having to think seriously about what would happen if his computer systems went down.
"About three months ago, I decided we needed to back up our data offsite because if we lost it we would be out of business," Rosier says. "We don't have an IT guy, it's all basically up to me, and losing our data was always at the back of my mind.”

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas17 Sept. 09 22:00

Weather the storm

Tucked between arctic air currents and hot desert winds, Melburnians know that if they wait long enough, stormy skies turn to golden afternoons. Unlike Brisbane, with its heatwaves that last for weeks, or Sydney and its frequently rainy winters, Melbourne’s weather can switch from balmy to blizzard and back in 24 hours.
A Melburnian born and bred, Telstra chief information officer John McInerney knows how to wait for the weather to turn. He began working for the national telco in 2003, two years before the appointment of Sol Trujillo as chief executive precipitated a deluge of North Americans.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas06 Sept. 09 22:00

Robots play the field

In The Terminator movies, giant robots battle for control of Earth in science fiction while bewildered humans watch on in awe - and scramble to get out of the way. In real business, large companies already use giant robots - in a scramble for competitive advantage.
After more than a decade of development, stevedore Patrick's 65-tonne driverless straddle carriers have radically changed the way cargo is moved at its Brisbane terminal. In Western Australia's Pilbara region, giant autonomous and semi-autonomous robots in Rio Tinto's Mine-of-the-Future program are drilling blast holes, crushing rocks and transporting iron ore. On farms all over the country, semi-autonomous tractors criss-cross enormous wheat fields.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas24 Aug. 09 22:00

Open source of savings

With more that 62 per cent of companies looking to cut back or freeze spending on information technology, large corporations are looking again at using open-source software such as Linux instead of proprietary software, IDC research shows.
Sometimes referred to as "free" software, open-source software provides end users with access to the underlying software code and is often much cheaper to acquire than proprietary software.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas25 March 09 23:00

Now you're talking

The first examples of using the internet to make telephone calls date back to the mid-1990s. However, only recently has the technology reached the level of maturity where companies can combine telephone, internet and computing functions into a single package.
"We first looked at IP [internet protocol] telephony about seven years ago, but the technology just wasn't reliable enough to implement,"

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas14 March 09 22:00

Bosses behaving badly

At first, Martin (not his real name) could not believe what he was
seeing. A senior manager asked a junior staff member to stand in front

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas10 March 09 22:00

Ahead in the cloud

Google: transitive verb to search for on the internet. Macquarie
Dictionary 2006.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas06 Dec. 08 22:00

Happy to be hand-held

While many businesses strive to appear technologically advanced, others have to be more careful about the image they project - especially when that image is associated with affordability.
When JB Hi-Fi group information technology manager Geoff Craig began building a wireless point-of-sale system to replace the company's tedious manual processes, the last thing he expected was to over-deliver and have the project placed on hold.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas29 Oct. 08 22:00

10 things the internet will make possible in the next five years

In 2003, the internet had a rather dismal 15th birthday party, reeling from the 2001 bursting of the dotcom bubble. While everyone was still using it, no one really wanted to invest in new applications. In 2008, broadband is faster, websites are more functional and new technologies are making lives more interesting and business more efficient. Here's what will be happening online when the internet turns 25.
1 Move

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas10 Oct. 08 22:00

Building IT advantage

After more than 30 years running information systems in areas as diverse as retail and pharmacy, Peter Hatten decided it was time for a new challenge. And boy, did he pick a doozie.
When he took on the role of chief information officer at building and construction company Abigroup, he was determined to transform the company's information technology infrastructure into a single, streamlined service. However, other challenges soon became apparent.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas04 Aug. 08 22:00

Overcoming change fatigue

The University of Sydney is being rebuilt from the inside out. Winding roadways with pokey parking for each faculty are being bulldozed in favour of wide avenues, and dingy student cafes are gradually being replaced by modern kiosks.
However, these winds of change are unlikely to have any significant effect on the haphazard collection of buildings that radiate out from the 150-year-old quadrangle. Solid stone structures with high ceilings seem to be competing for space alongside permanent demountables, underground lecture theatres and intricate multipurpose structures with numerous entrances and countless balconies. It's history written in architecture.

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas18 May 08 22:00

Tongue-tied, fund-starved

Here's the good news: Most chief executive officers think their chief information officer is doing a good job. When analyst group IDC asked 200 CEOs for an appraisal of the work their IT departments carry out, the feedback was mostly positive.
But here's the bad news: most CEOs have no idea what their chief information officers actually do. And if that isn't already enough of a slap in the face - it's all your fault, CIO!

Written by Jeanne-Vida Douglas04 May 08 22:00