News, insight and events
from across the Group.

As the career landscape has changed, with employees no longer staying with one company for the bulk of their career, corporations have been turning to contract workers on a larger scale. Many Millennial tech employees spend the first years of their career purely in contract jobs that may last months or years. For many, it has become a way of life. The practice has not taken off with small business to the same degree, but there are reasons a small business shouldn’t ignore the concept of contract workers.

When I initially heard that some aeroplanes were introducing wifi to selected flights, my immediate thought was - why? What is so important whilst in transit that it can't wait till landing? Is this removing the modern worlds final place of total freedom from hashtags and likes?

Admittedly, on a recent Emirates flight to the UK I got lured in fifteen minutes prior to my first layover by two-hours of free wifi. I was curious as to what all the fuss was about and it was handy arranging my airport pick up ahead of time. However, was it really necessary? There are two primary methods to enable a passenger Internet connection on an airplane; if you want to know what these are, you’ve come to the wrong article.

I'm a huge advocate for new technologies that simplify and improve our lives; and there are some pros to having wifi access on planes. If it is a business trip, it could reduce time wasted travelling and increase productivity. However fellow opposers argue that it could actually inhibit productivity with the added distraction of people making phone calls, and unlike being on the underground, you can’t move seats when you’re on a plane.

Year by year we use our screens considerably more - we order food from them; handle our banking; we even use them to work out. These are all arguably very useful additions to our app-store; however there has been a lot of persuasive research lately about the effects of smartphones on mental health - anxiety, depression and disturbed sleep are a few of the many linked side effects. I will chat through some of these in the paragraphs to follow.

Like a smoker going cold-turkey, the vast majority of smartphone owners experience anxiety and distress when they are without their device. This is added stress on top of the day-to-day stress of normal life, and is not something we need if you ask me. As Hooked author Nir Eyel powerfully stated, “we use our booze and our tech for the same reason - an escape from restless reality.” And this is coming from a guy who wrote a guideline book to teach technology people how to build habit-forming products.

The strong and significant association between social media use and depression is also widely recognised and tested. A US-based study found that levels of depression increased with total amount of time spent using social media and number of visits to social media sites per week. Although some other studies have produced mixed findings, it is easy to see why the constant use of "likes" could cause people to continually seek validation from others to bolster their self esteem; or why scrolling through other people's holiday snaps could make a relaxed weekend at home feel slightly less appealing.

What else is really worrying is that, according to a study published in September 2015, the amount of caffeine in a double espresso has less of an effect on sleep quality than bright light exposure from smart-phones at night! My boss recently bought an old-school alarm clock, and leaves his phone in the living room before bed at night for this precise reason.

In summary, although there are some obvious benefits to having wifi access on aeroplanes for business use; surely on the whole it is more beneficial to protect the last remaining refuge we have free from constant mobile interaction. I can think of a few more useful ways we could be spending our aeroplane time - sleeping, meditating, journaling; or whatever happened to getting stuck into a good book?

Do you see air travel as a safe haven from screen-time, or are you counting down the days until airplane mode is a thing of the past?

In a world where technology is evolving faster than we ever thought possible, augmented reality is one of the most exciting new technologies people can’t take their eyes off. It’s predicted to generate more than $120 billion in revenue by the year 2020 and we’re only at the start of that journey.

Leading innovators like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple and Sony, have set the precedent for the future of AR through investments and strategic moves. Imagine a world where our environment comes to life through digital layers that give relevant, contextual information in real time; digital layers that enhance our real world. AR is precisely as it is defined: an augmented, or some might argue, improved, reality that we live in.

Plattar is a cloud-based platform that comprises a template driven app builder and easy to use drag-and-drop content management system for managing AR experiences, and can deploy content to any device. Plattar operates on a SaaS subscription model, and for larger projects provides bespoke content solutions and support. This combined with a custom consulting service makes for a powerful solution to enterprise and SMB clients. Plattar are currently working with some of the leading brands in the world.

After successfully completing their seed round and securing A$1.1million last year, Plattar is looking for an experienced COO to help take them through their next growth phase.

As the COO, you’ll be responsible for everything from developing a strategy that complements the vision set by the CEO to full responsibility of the P&L and Growth metrics. You’ll be managing a team and be hands on with driving the product roadmap. This is a chance to get in on the ground floor with one of the most exciting new technologies around and help build it into a global leader in the augmented reality market.

To be successful in this role you’ll need a strong, proven background in either product, sales/marketing, operations, consulting or relevant start-up experience and used to pitching and raising capital for a business.

If you want to find out more, please apply here.

In November I spent 5 days in Dublin in the middle of arguably the largest gathering (and rowdiest, compliments of the free Guinness at the venue) of Tech-focused professionals on the planet: Web Summit. There were more people, more speaking sessions, more pitches, and more hustle and bustle than one could imagine.