11 Mar 2014

Telecom launches Qrious business

2:45 pm on 11 March 2014

Telecom is making a substantial investment in starting up a stand-alone business which will act as a platform for organisations to collect and analyse data, it says.

Qrious will act as a platform where businesses, the public sector and other organisations can privately host their own data and combine it with other publicly available information, and Qrious staff will help interpret the data.

Qrious general manager Cyrus Facciano said it should be up and running by mid-year and its results would be reported as part of Telecom's.

"Data as a market is kind of ancillary to what Telecom do, and it's also part of the digital venture's ethos, which is what this venture is a part of.

"It also requires obviously a strong ICT element, particularly in the area of coms when you're onboarding large volumes of data and storing it, as well as reasonable scale, so we felt that we had a lot to contribute in those areas to make this opportunity a reality for all of New Zealand."

Mr Facciano would not say how much the venture was costing, only that it represented a "substantial investment" for digital ventures as a unit. He believed the business had the potential to be massive and, in the long-term, expected the revenue generated from it would be significant.

Technology commentator Peter Griffin said it was a smart move by Telecom.

"There are people doing this here in New Zealand but there's no one key player that has great depth of experience in this area, so I think it's a smart move to try and get into it now," Mr Griffin said.

"I like the fact also that they're going to try and breed a whole new generation of data scientists. We need more of these people, both in the private sector and government, in scientific research for instance.

"That's a big trend overseas. We're going to need millions of data scientists around the world in the coming years so to have a big corporate like Telecom actively playing in that area is, I think, a really good thing."

Privacy and security would be an issue, Mr Griffin said, and Telecom needed to ensure it was authorised to use the data.