5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

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Hello, this is what you need to know in tech.

1. The government is spending $280,000 to bring over MassChallenge. The Turnbull government today announced they are partnering with Microsoft and spending $280,000 to bring one of the world’s top startup accelerators to Australia.

MassChallenge, is a non-profit organisation which takes no equity from startups, and will be used in Australia to hopefully boost the startup ecosystem with idea-pitching competitions, startup bootcamps and mentoring.

“Accelerators are an important component of the ecosystem and boost the skills of participating startups through training, mentoring and exposure to investor networks,” innovation minister Christopher Pyne said today at Microsoft’s Innovation Centre in Adelaide.

2. Sydney’s traffic lights are going to be able to talk to trucks soon. In a bid to try and ease traffic congestion, the NSW minister for roads Duncan Gay has announced a trial where trucks and traffic lights will talk to each other.

The idea is that by using machine-to-machine technology between trucks and lights, the number of times trucks stop at traffic lights will be cut.

The theory is that the change could improve travel times at more than 100 major intersections in Sydney and result in smoother overall traffic across Sydney’s roads.

3. Apple updated its MacBook. There’s still only the one USB-C port, but there’s a new rose gold colour option and the processor has been updated to Intel’s latest. Prices in Australia start from $1999, which once you include currency conversion and tax, has a quite a hefty $150-ish premium slugged on it compare to what you pay in the US.

4. Roy Morgan says fintech is threatening Aussie banks. Roy Morgan has released an interesting report on Australia’s big banks, showing that fintech startups are stealing their most valuable customers.

In 2014, fintech investments grew over 200%, while Australia currently has the fifth highest rate of fintech use in the world. This has been backed up by Australian peer-to-peer lender SocietyOne, which reached $100 million of loans at the start of this month.

The most worrying part about this for the big banks is that Roy Morgan says 64% of those who have tapped into fintech offerings never plan to go into a traditional bank branch ever again.

5. Dick Smith’s closing day is sorted. The last day of trading for Dick Smith retail stores is official.

The last store will shut its doors on May 3, with all others gradually shutting between now and then.

All stores have now been notified of the closure, and some stores were already shut on Sunday. The next round of closures will be this weekend, with stores in Port Macquarie, Burleigh Heads and Mount Gambier all on the chopping block.

The rest of the stores will then close between April 26 and May 3.

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