May 17, 2020

Spark, Cisco to create new 5G innovation hub in New Zealand

Auckland
5G
new zealand
innovation centre
Jonathan Dyble
2 min
New Zealand
Leading Auckland-based telecommunications company Spark has announced that it has signed a new agreement with multinational technology company Cisco to...

Leading Auckland-based telecommunications company Spark has announced that it has signed a new agreement with multinational technology company Cisco to create a new 5G innovation hub in New Zealand to bolster the country’s next generation connectivity efforts.

The agreement is the first in a number that Spark plans to sign in the aim of preparing and testing the parameters for a 5G network in New Zealand, with the innovation hub set to be crucial in creating this.

See also:

“5G will transform the way we live, work and play with significantly faster speeds and considerably more capacity than previous generations of mobile technology,” said Mark Beder, Chief Operating Officer at Spark.

“The purpose of the 5G Innovation hub is to start planning and testing use cases that’ll help New Zealand businesses win big in a digital world.

The news comes after Spark successfully trialled 5G in both Auckland and Wellington earlier in the year, achieving speeds 150 times faster than the firm’s initial 4G trial.

“The innovation hub will provide a collaborative workspace to allow local New Zealand companies to work with Cisco’s programmable networking technology within a 5G sandbox to explore new ideas,” said Andrew Findlay, Sales and Operations Director for Service Providers at Cisco ANZ.

“Next generation networking underpins the 5G future where the contrasting demands from IoT through to Augmented Reality require unprecedented flexibility in the network, and with that there are new possibilities waiting to be discovered.”

Spark’s 5G network partners are yet to be chosen or named.

Share article

Jun 10, 2021

The Talent War for Skilled Tech Workers

CIO
Technology
HR
covid-19
Elise Leise
3 min
CIOs and recruiters battle over programmers, cybersecurity professionals, and cloud architects, as the need for skilled tech workers hits an all-time high

Post-pandemic, our biggest problem might be a lack of skilled tech talent. As companies move forward with their digital transformation plans, they aim to hire new staff and train their current employees. Out of 750 UK companies polled in a Studio Graphene digital report, 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the next 12 months and more than half (53%) intend to invest in training for their current workers. 

 

Companies are realising that their survival now depends on a limited pool of qualified technology workers. Among the hardest-hit economies are those in Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, but even the United States and the UK will experience the squeeze. “It’s pure supply and demand”, said Alan Guarino, a Korn Ferry vice-chairman. “Companies are paying more...but there’s still a shortage of high-skilled workers. Technology is the thread that runs across every aspect of business”. 

 

Which Jobs Are In Demand? 

According to a 2021 IT salary report by Robert Half Technology, the most in-demand tech jobs of the year include information security professionals, cloud architects, database administrators, systems analysts, and DevOps engineers, among others. But in those fields, it’s difficult to find hires with significant experience, multiple specialisations, and a high level of expertise. And multinationals such as Google, Apple, and IBM usually scoop them up. 

 

Regardless of the exact role, companies need workers who can implement advanced security systems, target cloud and network vulnerabilities, document risk points and failures, and abide by new industry tech regulations. This will likely mean that companies start to take certifications like the ones pioneered by Google and Amazon, instead of insisting on four-year undergraduate degrees. 

 

But even as coding boot camps and year-long certification programmes have ramped up to try to close the gap, smaller tech firms and startups struggle to compete with their bigger counterparts. Remote work doesn’t help matters. “Hire-from-anywhere policies will only heat up a tight candidate market”, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of technology staffing services at Robert Half. “Companies who were already having a hard time recruiting are no longer just working against local competitors, but potentially desirable companies across the country”.

 

How Can CIOs Solve the Crisis? 

As governments try to do their part—Poland offers residency and potential citizenship to skilled tech workers, India offers broad IT, telecommunications, and cybersecurity programmes, and the Netherlands lets its foreign employees earn 30% tax-free income—company executives must take measures of their own. 

 

Some CIOs have started looking to other countries to source expert talent. In the United States, where 80% of U.S. employers state that tech recruiting is a significant challenge, some firms are looking to Mexico, where 20% of college graduates have engineering degrees. As a result, tech companies such as Cisco and Intel have sourced labour from both the U.S. and Mexico. 

 

To compete, here are some first steps: 

 

  • Invest in cybersecurity and cloud development training programmes 
  • Hire based on skills and expertise, not necessarily degrees
  • Outsource to other countries with high percentages of skilled engineers and programmers


Overall, companies that broaden their search for talent and upskill their current employees will be best equipped for digital transformation. As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset [towards] technology and innovation”.

Share article