5 things you need to know in Australian tech today

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty.

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

1. Facebook wants to partner with Aussie banks. Facebook is looking to take advantage of its 11 million Australian users, and is looking at mobile banking as one of its avenues.

Paul McCrory, head of financial services Australia at Facebook, said the $428 billion tech giant has built “huge mobile platforms” that see 11 million Australians a day. Facebook sees opportunities in leveraging that scale to do business with Australian banks.

“Banks are mobile businesses as well, except they also have legacy [systems] that sit behind them. How do we help partner with this vast scale we’ve got, to help a bank, for example, drive digital options?” Mr McCrory told The Australian Financial Review’s Banking and Wealth Summit in Sydney on Tuesday.

2. It looks like Labor will be looking to implement a FTTdp policy for the NBN. If it gets elected, that is. While Labor hasn’t officially announced its NBN policy for the upcoming election, shadow minister for communications Jason Clare spoke strongly for the FTTdp (fibre to the distribution point) rollout and against most other options.

“Fibre to the driveway provides download speeds that are up to 10 times faster than Malcolm Turnbull’s fibre to the node network,” he said.

“Given this, if NBN Co can roll out fibre almost to your front door for almost the same cost as fibre to the node and give you much higher speeds — why aren’t they doing it?”

3. Aussie software was used to decrypt files for the Panama leak. A small Australian tech firm, Nuix, has tasked with analysing nearly five million emails, three million database files, two million PDFs and bucketloads more data as they helped uncover one of the biggest leaks in history. Pretty impressive for a small local firm.

4. IKEA jumps into VR. IKEA is today launching a new virtual reality experience for customers at home that will allow you to design your own kitchen and even walk around in it.

The Swedish retailer is using HTC’s Vive headset for the IKEA VR Experience. IKEA is pushing two key features of the new VR service, with one of those being the ability to change the colours of drawers and cabinets in the kitchen with just one tap. Another allows the ability to either shrink yourself into the size of a child or enlarge yourself to someone very tall to help improve safety.

5. Aussie startup Appen is behind Instagram’s new algorithm change. The ASX listed language and search data services company just secured Instagram as a key customer. Appen makes software that helps computer algorithms think more like humans, a big deal in the artificial intelligence game. For Instagram though, they’re using Appen to help with their new feed which displays posts in the order Instagram thinks users will want to see it, rather than just chronologically.