5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Groundhog Day/ IMDb

Here’s the top news for Thursday:

1. It’s hard to go past the dizzying array of gadgets Google launched today. There are new phones, speakers, headphones, cameras and tablets – here’s the rundown from our colleagues at BI US. Meanwhile, Sonos also unveiled its new One speaker that has a microphone embedded for voice commands using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant – but Alexa isn’t yet available in Australia and the Google capability is coming next year.

2. Australia could be an international hub for entrepreneurs, but one thing is killing that dream. The current immigration laws dictate a minimum $200,000 of investment into startups with founders that want a visa to come to Australia. The local industry says this is too onerous, and the requirement should be scrapped for foreign startups accepted into Australian accelerators. Read more on how foreign entrepreneurs see Australia as an attractive destination.

3. The ATO has started testing the government’s centralised ID service. Currently applications for new tax file numbers — which involve trips to the post office or Centrelink for identity checks — can take up to 40 days, but minister Angus Taylor says the new Govpass system will reduce this to “just minutes”. Eventually other public sector agencies will also adopt Govpass to identify citizens.

4. It’s Groundhog Day for the NBN. The Conversation says the joint standing committee on the NBN released its latest report last Friday afternoon before a long weekend made 23 recommendations but most were dismissed or ignored by the chairperson’s dissenting report. The highly politicised mess has resulted in similar findings from previous committees, making academic David Glance wonder if it submissions to committees makes any difference at all.

5. IBM is acquiring a Sydney digital consultancy that’s had CommBank, Westpac, Qantas and PayPal as customers. CRN reports the company will merge into Big Blue’s IBM iX digital transformation division — with Vivant founder Anthony Farah to become IBM’s digital strategy and iX lead for Australia and New Zealand.

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