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Kirsten Wick14 June 2024

Technology solutions for a smarter business

Embracing technology is not just about following trends, it’s being open to possibilities for efficiency, security, and improved customer experiences. With the right tools and knowledge, your business can adapt and thrive in the digital age. 

In the first of our Enable Digital Tech Series, we share insights from three Canterbury technology leaders – Pay-It-Now (PIN), Ember Technology, and JIX Reality – who also share some real-world examples of businesses leveraging these technologies effectively.

Pay it Now (PIN) and blockchain technology

Pay it Now (PIN) provides secure and instant payments using blockchain technology. Blockchain is an advanced database that allows transparent information sharing within a business network. Data is stored in blocks linked together in a chain. This system allows merchants to receive customer payments directly, reducing transaction fees and increasing profits.

Head of Marketing and Merchant Services Daniel Rawiri says blockchain technology can help businesses adapt to new technologies and rising costs. “Canterbury businesses are tech-savvy, showing a genuine curiosity and openness. Many Christchurch merchants have already embraced crypto payments and are willing to incorporate cutting-edge technology.”

At the heart of the PIN network is a Web3 payments system called ‘PIN Payments’. This system offers low merchant fees, immediate crypto-to-flat conversion, and a variety of payment acceptance methods including mobile app, e-commerce, POS, and even self-service kiosk integration.

Ensuring secure transactions 

PIN uses blockchain technology, a secure digital network safeguarded by cryptography to facilitate transactions. These cannot be altered, manipulated, or deleted, making them virtually impossible to counterfeit. Retail businesses are increasingly accepting cryptocurrency payments, with benefits such as enhanced security, lower fees, reduced fraudulent activity, the elimination of ‘chargebacks’, and the ability to continue to operate during power/EFTPOS outages.

Cost-effective customer experiences and benefits

The Pay it Now platform includes the user-friendly PIN Network App, a unique online shopping hub, a gas-less digital asset exchange, and a secure data storage platform. These solutions lower the barriers to using blockchain technology, making it more affordable while providing a secure environment for exploration. With a mission to make cryptocurrency an everyday payment method, PIN is developing a new payment infrastructure, with businesses benefitting from 0% merchant fee and attracting new customers through diversified payment options.

Mr Rawiri says the response to blockchain payments has been positive, with over 330 New Zealand businesses onboard and expansion into Australia underway. Merchants range from mobile businesses and retail stores to New Zealand’s first-ever petrol station to accept cryptocurrency. Enabling customers to spend digital assets significantly broadens your customer base. For example, at Peter Timms Butcher in Christchurch, customers specifically choose to shop there because they can utilise cryptocurrency for their purchases.

Ember Technology: Improving business efficiency and productivity

Ember Technology helps New Zealand businesses solve problems and improve processes in areas such as IT, software development, automation, data analysis, and artificial intelligence.

Managing Director Chris Bailey believes that businesses that act quickly to cut costs as tough times approach and then invest quickly as the economy starts to pick up tend to perform better. Right now, the economy is tough, he says, so businesses need to examine their efficiency, staff skills, and available data to make informed decisions. "We see our customers turning to innovative technologies, like data dashboarding, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Automation, to find these efficiencies."

There are a number of key tools that can help to transform business operations:

Data dashboarding

When resources are tight, managers seek data to make the best decisions. As an example, a medical practice that mapped out the entire patient journey from arrival to follow-up. Using digital tools, they tracked each step, wait times, phone response rates, and satisfaction levels. This data helped improved efficiency and patient satisfaction.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly evolving from a niche technology to a valuable business tool. An example is ChatGPT which can generate business proposals several times quicker. AI's diverse capabilities are transforming various aspects of the workplace. For example, Brannigans Executive Recruitment Agency uses AI to analyse CVs and perform more repetitive tasks, saving time and speeding up the hiring process. 

Automation for repetitive tasks

Automation is ideal for handling manual and repetitive processes, freeing up staff to focus on more important tasks. There are different levels of automation, from full automation with no human involvement to partial automation. Examples include transferring data, onboarding or offboarding customers, and processing payroll and sales. Chris mentions a great example, GreenHalo, which is the most automated and intuitive carbon accounting platform for New Zealand businesses to help track and report carbon emissions data.

To make a system work faster and with less downtime, robotics are excellent for repetitive tasks. In manufacturing, robotics for stacking and palletising products, sorting items, and clean-up is becoming increasingly common.

Internet of Things (IOT)
If your business needs to collect and analyse data from various devices like company vehicles or office buildings, IoT can help. If you have not heard of IoT, it allows devices to send and receive information online. By analysing this data, a business can improve vehicle use or make an office more energy-efficient.

JIX Reality leading in innovation, research, and development technologies

JIX Reality is a cutting-edge technology studio focused on researching and developing new technologies, and shaping the future of learning, marketing, and storytelling. 

Founder Sakthi Ranganathan says Canterbury businesses are keen to explore new digital technologies. “Many businesses are already using technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to improve their daily operations and research efforts.”

What is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technologies that change how we interact with screens by creating immersive experiences. VR uses a headset to transport you to a digital world that you can explore, while AR overlays digital images onto the real world around you through either a clear visor or smartphone. AR and VR can simplify business processes and transform how we work.

Real-world applications 

Sakthi says that in the construction industry, VR can be used to see what a building will look like before it is built, helping in the resource consent process. JIX has also revolutionised cultural and educational sectors by redesigning the International Antarctic Centre Museum with interactive VR exhibits. Additionally, their pre-construction VR visualisations for the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre have streamlined design processes and attracted investors. In retail, JIX's AR solutions, such as virtual fitting rooms and home furnishing previews, enhance the customer experience by allowing realistic product visualisations before purchase.

Exploring the impact on customer experiences

Despite being a small company, JIX Reality has worked on a number of diverse projects, including partnering with Singapore Airlines to create a VR walkthrough of the Airbus for trade shows, allowing people to explore the aircraft virtually. They have also worked with Education New Zealand, Te Whatu Ora, Ministry of Education, Sony Inc., and Christchurch City Council, partly on Aorangi, a project that helps young people connect with their heritage through storytelling. Other projects include a virtual receptionist powered by AI, an interactive learning web portal, an automotive AR configurator, a touchless interface, and a smart and sustainable recycling bin.

Keep an eye out for the next blog in our Enable Digital Tech Series for other smart, cost-effective solutions to support your business on your digital journey.

The Enable Digital Tech Series is proudly brought to you by our Supporting Partner Enable Fibre Broadband.



Kirsten Wick

As a Communications and Media Specialist at Business Canterbury, I believe that championing our local business community has never been so important. Is your business doing something new, innovative, award-winning? Email me so I can help to share your story.