Oceania Government


Machine learning will scale personalised customer interactions: Flamingo

ZDNet

Born in Australia and based in the US, Flamingo is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that provides an "intelligent guided selling platform" to help financial services firms address the problem of low online sales conversion rates. By combining web chat, web forms, and artificial intelligence, Flamingo guides customers through their purchasing decisions, Wallace explained, coupled with a data science capability. "Conversational commerce agents are not generic chatbots, but virtual assistants bound to specific business processes ... Rosie automates this process to sell insurance or onboard customers. The platform offers capabilities such as broad vocabulary natural language understanding, question answering across any knowledge graph, dialogue management and dialogue state tracking, and large scale training data generation and management, with cloud-based or on-premises deployment.


Queensland amends legislation to allow drone use on farms

ZDNet

The Queensland government has announced amended legislation that now allows the state's farmers to use drones to spray their crops. "The improvements to the legislation provide Queensland producers with cost effective options for crop protection." The Queensland government announced a AU$1 million investment in remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) technology in July, expected to benefit the LNG, agriculture, mining, energy, telecommunications, search and rescue, and environmental management industries. The investment from the Queensland government was paid for out of the state's AU$405 million Advance Queensland kitty, which was handed an additional AU$225.2 million in the 2016-17 Budget.


Australian government to leverage British standard for smart-city planning

ZDNet

According to Hypercat, IoT is increasingly being used by smart cities to help inform decision making and improve city services including air quality, energy usage, traffic flows, and asset utilisation. "We believe the formula for establishing a world-leading smart, IoT-enabled Australian economy that drives growth and prosperity involves industry and government working together in focused sectors including smart cities," Piers Hogarth-Scott, national IoT leader of KPMG Australia, said on Tuesday. "The launch of Hypercat in Australia aims to unlock the benefits of smart cities by creating an interoperable IoT ecosystem that gives confidence to cities and local government. At a cost of AU 50 million, the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program aims to support councils across Australia to fast-track open data and innovative technology solutions to fix local problems in a bid to make cities and suburbs more liveable, sustainable, and productive.


Queensland government to inject AU 1m into drone technology

ZDNet

The Queensland government has announced a AU 1 million investment in remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) technology, expected to benefit the LNG, agriculture, mining, energy, telecommunications, search and rescue, and environmental management industries. As of September this year, commercial operators of "very small remotely piloted aircraft" will no longer be required to obtain a number of regulatory approvals to fly their unmanned vehicles under new regulations approved by the federal government in April. Under the unlocking innovation banner, small businesses are slated to receive AU 22.7 million as part of the Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy, and AU 10 million will be invested to develop new technologies for business, in areas such as Monday's drone announcement, as well as big data and the Internet of Things. Palaszczuk first announced the state's Advance Queensland initiative in last year's budget with the total investment currently sitting in the ballpark of AU 405 million.


ATO steers GST legal case away from Uber

ZDNet

During the second hearing day at the Australian Federal Court, counsel representing the ATO said during his closing statement that Uber's argument that the definition of taxi travel under the GST Act is only applicable to taxis and limousines is not plausible. Uber lodged legal action against the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) back in August last year in the hope that the ATO would overturn its decision requiring Uber drivers to register for GST. However, in documents lodged to the Federal Court, Uber argued the public issue by the ATO "unfairly targets Uber driver-partners". This included the same regulatory conditions that are enforced for taxi drivers, such as driver history checks and vehicle safety checks.


Uber attempts to raise doubt around taxi definition in GST legal case

ZDNet

Counsel representing Uber specifically addressed how the GST laws have defined "taxi travel" as "transporting passengers in a taxi or limousine for fares". Uber's counsel also referenced Fine to point out that unlike taxis, where the service they provide is anonymous, UberX drivers know the details of their passengers, including their name, mobile number, and location, and are aware that Uber collects their personal information such as credit card details. However, in documents lodged to the Federal Court, Uber argued the public issue by the ATO "unfairly targets Uber driver-partners". This included the same regulatory conditions that are enforced for taxi drivers, such as driver history checks and vehicle safety checks.


Australia Post to trial drone delivery

ZDNet

Government-owned Australia Post has announced its plans to trial the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) -- or drones -- to deliver small parcels around the country. "We're excited to be the first major parcels and logistics company in Australia to test RPA technology for commercial delivery applications," Fahour said in a statement Friday. Earlier this month, the federal government introduced new regulations on the use of RPAs in the country, which now sees commercial operators of "very small remotely piloted aircraft" no longer required to obtain a number of regulatory approvals to fly their unmanned vehicles. Since then, Finland's national postal company, Posti, followed suit, successfully testing the use of a UAV for delivering online purchases in October; and Swiss Post, Swiss WorldCargo, and logistics drone manufacturer Matternet joined forces in mid-2015 to test the practical use of flying drones in logistics in Europe.