Join host Paul Spain and guest Matt Archer, CTO at Quadrent, as they discuss AI’s impact on data privacy, the importance of technology access for young people and the latest tech news from the week, including:

  • Fabrum to collaborate with Toyota
  • GM’s US$850 million infusion into Cruise robotaxis
  • Meta’s halt on AI training in EU
  • Backlash to Adobe’s latest terms of service
  • Musk’s record payout from Tesla
  • Ozone concerns over Starlink satellites
  • Limitations on new hardware requirements for AI capabilities

Plus, a look at Quadrent’s sustainable technology initiatives and its collaboration with educational communities.

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Special thanks to organisations who support innovation and tech leadership in New Zealand by partnering with NZ Tech Podcast: One NZ HP Spark NZ 2degrees Gorilla Technology

 

Episode Transcript (computer-generated)

Paul Spain:
Hey, folks, greetings and welcome along to the New Zealand Tech Podcast. I’m your host, Paul Spain, and great to have Matt Archer back on the show. How are you, Matt?

Matt Archer:
Very good. Thank you, Paul. Thanks for having us.

Paul Spain:
Good to get a chance to catch up again to, you know, shoot the breeze on all things that have been happening in the tech world recently and to find out a little bit about what you’re up to these days as chief technology officer at Quadrent.

Matt Archer:
Yeah, well, been working with the team at Quadrent for the last about two years now. I’ve got some really exciting things happening there. Quadrent is a lessor, so spent the last 20 years building a reputation as one of the most trusted financiers, Australasia. And we’re doing some really cool stuff with the Green lease now, which is designed to help kids and get some of that technology that’s sitting in corporate New Zealand and Australia to, to where it can really help as part of a second life.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, really interested in delving into that. So we’ll be talking about that. We’re talking around a mix of sort of global and local news. A New Zealand company that’s collaborating with Toyota. We’re going to delve in there on the liquid hydrogen storage, GM and some of their investment into autonomous driving and robotaxi, the technology meta adobe. We might tap in on Musk’s big Tesla payout and a few other topics. One that I think that we should delve into as well is whether we actually need all these new so called AI computers and smartphones, or whether we’re actually being taken for a little bit of a ride. So some interesting insights there that I think folks will, might find useful.

Paul Spain:
But, of course, before we jump in, a big thank you to our show partners to One NZ, 2degrees spark, HP and guerrilla technology. So, yeah, first up, we’ve got news that covers Fabrum, which is based in Christchurch, a New Zealand company who are leaders in the world of, as they put it, zero emission transition technologies aimed at sort of enabling the lower carbon technology or the economy. And they’re doing this deal with Toyota with their proprietary liquid hydrogen storage technology. So it seems like Toyota are, you, you know, are still very, very committed to hydrogen, but it has, you know, it’s been a challenge creating, you know, a network of refueling, you know, capabilities around New Zealand. So, yeah, this sounds interesting. You know, what are your thoughts? Is hydrogen got a, you know, do you see it playing an important role as we kind of try and move away from, you know, traditional and fossil.

Matt Archer:
Sort of fuels, yeah, I think the emission side of things is certainly really interesting. I remember seeing a video of some of these hydrogen refueling stations that the forecourt covered in solar panels. So these things don’t even need to be on the grid to function. So when they get refueled, you’ve got all these tanks on one side and then all the electrics and all of the connectivity all happens completely off grid. So I think, and in the world where we are dependent still on electricity to fuel our devices, you know, we’re in a bit of a spot of bother when the lights have got to be turned off, which is kind of what we need to do to get those emissions down. Right. So I remember when I went down the west coast, Tess and I did a trip down the west coast of the South island, and, you know, halfway around this tiny little town is this single electric refueling station. Yeah, I thought, man, you’d have to be pretty game to take, to take your ev up and down that coast, considering there’s like one point on a very, very long road.

Matt Archer:
So I think, you know.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, I think it’s, yeah, when you go, you go, if you go sort of haast so if you were going. Yeah, from, from, say, you know, wanaka to try and get up to the west coast, you’ve got. Yeah, you’ve got to hope you don’t get into bother. And some of the charges that were there, because they’re not, if I recall correctly, they’re not actually on kind of the national grid. Right. So you can’t just, you know, find some big, fast charger. And it’s basically, I think, when you get to say, you know, Fox glacier, which is quite a hike, before you sort of start getting back to, you know, sort of semi, well, not even full sort of access to fast ev chargers. I think there’s one or two hotels, maybe Fox glacier.

Paul Spain:
So, yeah, interesting challenges. Right? Interesting challenges as we try and transition away from traditional vehicles, because if you.

Matt Archer:
Could drop one of those, say, a hydrogen refueling station, it’d be a lot easier if it didn’t necessarily have to be plugged in somewhere. You could remote locations like the South island, you could drop those in quite comfortably, and all of a sudden you have a really renewable, long range, you know, tour. We’re not likely to get stuck back into nowhere. So.

Paul Spain:
Yeah. Yep. Well, good to see, always good to see kiwi companies that are, you know, you know, out getting that, that attention, you know, on the global stage. This news came through with the government delegation to Japan in recent days. So yeah, there was. There was some, you, you know, commentary coming through there from. From Prime Minister Chris Luxon around it and also from Fabrin. And, yeah, I think, you know, a big deal to be bringing on board, you know, a customer of Toyota’s sort of scale and ilk.

Paul Spain:
So, you know, we wish them well and always good seeing New Zealand kiwi companies achieving these. So great to see that initial business sort of signed it underway. Also, when it comes to cars, we’ve heard about GM putting some more cash, shall we say, into cruise, which is the entity that has been working on the autonomous driving technologies and have, you know, with their robo taxis and varying, you know, parts of the US. So, yeah, topping that up with $850 million. I had a bit of a chuckle looking through X, Twitter, whatever we want to call it, after this news came through. And Musk’s comment was, was something along the lines of, that’s not enough. And I think General Motors have poured in. Was it over $8 billion since 2017? And was it nearly three and a half billion us dollars lost on cruise in 2023? So there’s.

Paul Spain:
There’s some deep challenges with getting from the ideas when it comes to autonomy to actually delivering the end results. And of course, we’ve seen that with Waymo. They’re over a decade kind of deep into their research and development. And yes, they are delivering services. In a number of us cities, these AI things aren’t necessarily as easy. We talk about exponential growth in AI and we’re solving all these problems really quickly. But actually it takes a lot of money and a lot of time for these harder cases.

Matt Archer:
I remember when Cruz came out, the thing that I thought was interesting is they chose San Fran because of the amount of hills. And it’s like, this is possibly the most difficult city in the whole of America to build autonomous taxis from. So they literally chose the hardest one. And you’re type of going, well, maybe you could have started maybe with a straight line rather than the lethal weapon chase scenario.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, yeah. Well, I guess if you can solve it in a place like San Francisco and the Bay Area, then you’ve probably got some pretty good chances elsewhere. So, yeah, I mean, yeah, very interesting to see you do, like, even Tesla and so on, you see some of these real sort of deep experts in AI technology and so on coming and going from these firms. And it is quite fascinating just seeing the way that folks sort of move around from one new cutting edge endeavor to another. And, yeah, I’m looking at this one. I’m thinking, man, when do they get to the end of their journey? And I’m not sure that this is going to be the year for cruise.

Matt Archer:
It’s hard though, right? Because you just have one pedestrian incident and everything gets pulled. So the only real acceptable level is zero failure, which is, there’s a lot of really crazy pedestrians that are having all sorts of accidents that have got nothing to do with human drivers at the moment. So I don’t know, I think it’s a very hard bar for these guys to be pursuing. Good luck to them.

Paul Spain:
Yeah. Yep. So interesting, interesting times now meta, they seem to keep appearing in the news. Why I’m really particularly complimentary of them as a business. Cause they seem to do, you know, so many dumb and bad things. But I was pleased to read that they’re halting plans to train their AI on Facebook and Instagram posts. When I first read that headline, I was like, oh, good, guys, this is a good thing. And then I read the rest of it, which said in the EU, right, so they just, you know, one region.

Matt Archer:
Where they’ll get a big smacked bottom.

Paul Spain:
If they do the bad things. Yeah, they get that smackdown. Right. Because that, you know, they were going to be extending things into Europe, but obviously it’s actually, it’s, it’s all, it’s all just too, too hard. So, you know, they’ve, you know, they’ve, they’ve, they’ve, they’ve put out a blog post where that, you know, yeah, they’d previously sort of, you know, touted coming AI features for the, for the EU, but yeah, those things, those things take a back seat. It will be interesting to see how other, you know, how other players navigate EU on, on these sorts of matters because, yeah, their legislation is more restrictive, shall we say, and often in ways that are, you know, that are really good for consumers and other businesses, but not always. So, yeah, we’ll have to see how that stuff plays. How, I mean have you, have you interacted much with meta’s AI? I see there, if you go into say, Facebook and Instagram and so on, we used to have a search of your AI stuff’s there.

Paul Spain:
There’s these AI elements that are built in. It doesn’t sort of seem like a big game changer at this point.

Matt Archer:
Yeah, I think the challenge is, is whether it be meta or Apple, they’re giving away all the candy that everybody wants. I mean, everyone wants to use this AI to create memojis and to do all these things that are relatively window dressing, cosmetic pieces. But what’s happening to the data behind the scenes, I think is the most concerning. You sell the farm to have your pretty avatar sparkling with all sorts of other things, and meanwhile they’re tracking your entire purchase history through Facebook Marketplace and everybody who is in your group and what their socioeconomic status and what they’re doing to sell marketing insights to other people. So I think the output for the end user is so little compared to what they are taking behind the scenes. And, you know, almost feel like we need more policemen, right? More whistleblowers to say, hey, just so you know, this is what committing to AI and letting them use your data means, right? You’re being profiled at a very deep level after this. And I think it’s concerning Facebook. I think of not being quick to come to the party to explain how they use the data, but if you’re a business and you’re wanting to buy insights and you’re wanting to market to people, those parts of the world know very much how valuable the Facebook data is.

Paul Spain:
So you have the challenge that if you kind of look across the broader populace, it’s really hard for everyone to really be up to date on what are the risks associated. We’re all busy. We understand in our businesses, our data needs to be kind of kept private because varying legal things, what the impact will be on our customers and clients and so on. If you end up sharing your data, what will be the impact on the business if its own intellectual property gets shared? So those things are probably easier to understand. But even there, I think the habits of a lot of folks aren’t necessarily as wise as they should be. But when it comes to the consumer world, you know, we have that love for. Oh, yep, yep, I’ve got this and it’s free, so I will use it without necessarily thinking too much further. The EU is, I guess, is the somewhat exception that there is a stronger layer of legislation to provide protection.

Matt Archer:
And my thoughts, as well as while I may have a security background and understand in depth the risks that I and my businesses may be affected by the stuff my mum and dad, who aren’t in business, retired, right. That are on the facebooks all the time and, you know, oh, yes, I’d love to link my son Matt and his network to my network for you to web crawl. You know, I don’t have a whole lot of.

Paul Spain:
It’s not quite how you think about it, but that’s what you’re doing, right?

Matt Archer:
Exactly. And so if someone wants to pivot, they can pivot. My family, who may not be as conscientious about these things, and I think Facebook very much understand those relationships because the whole platform’s been built on them. And so I think they should be taking a slightly more mature and responsible approach to what this means now, because most, 99% of people have no idea what it actually means saying yes to that. It’s not just a memoji, it’s a whole world of potential profiling which you’re committing to.

Paul Spain:
So, yeah, and I think they operate on there’s this sort of basis of doing bad stuff will hurt them, like the Cambridge Analytica scandal and other dramas that they’ve had over time. But in most cases, it seems that the share price bounces back and, you know, people are quite quick to forget. I’m kind of curious how we bring about changes for bad actors, of which I see meta as being one of those bad actors because of the dangerous impact that they have on youngsters, because of the way that they treat their, even paying advertisers and so on. You know, the way that they, they don’t offer much help if an account gets compromised and, you know, you’ve had a company account set up for your business and someone, you know, rebrands it to this or that uses your credit card to run a pile of advertising, you want to get it back to the state that it was in before it was compromised. Yeah, they can’t, you know, they can’t help you. Yeah. So, yep, I don’t have a lot.

Matt Archer:
Of, not a lot of love there.

Paul Spain:
Maybe we’ll see that change in the years ahead. Now, Adobe, another big technology company, they’ve suffered a bit of backlash around their terms of service, and we’ve seen a little bit of this with sort of a range of firms with people saying, oh, look at the terms of service of this company. Don’t ever use their, don’t ever trust them. And, you know, Adobe have been hit with that as people got pretty upset with their terms of service. So they’ve come in and quite quickly changed their terms of service to, you know, I guess avoid it hitting them in the pocket effectively. So, yeah, I guess, you know, you’ve just got to move quickly when you make these kind of mistakes or you don’t, you know, you don’t communicate something in a clear enough way. And sometimes this has a bit of a flow on, you were mentioning before we started around, what software was it? You got an alert from saying, hey, our terms of service are such that we will never be scraping your data and using it to train our AI.

Matt Archer:
It was the Miro drawing, drawing platform. And it was a very specific update that said the data that you use on our platform will never be used to train our AI and was like please click here to read our current terms and conditions. So clearly what was being leveled at Adobe potentially has got a much wider breach. And sure the inbox is going to get fill up with a number of other of those type of disclaimers.

Paul Spain:
Because.

Matt Archer:
I guess in the litigious world, I know the time that I spend in the United States, you know, the terms and conditions sheets are just a completely different animal. I know the businesses I was involved in in New Zealand might have a, you know, five to ten page T’s and C’s. When you get to the states it turns into like 40 page six point font. You know, in every single potential scenario ends up having to be covered, covered. So, you know, I think the global market that we’re in, all of the stuff is going to be tested and in some court of law sooner or later. And if you’re unlucky to be the first one off the rank, you’re going to pay the cost of the learning for the wider community.

Paul Spain:
So, you know, lessons are getting learned. Meantime, adobe seem to be doing, doing reasonably well in terms of their stock, not at their all time highs, but they’re doing pretty well, put it that way. And it will be interesting to see what the future of them is as a business. But certainly their move into very much a sort of software as a service followed in the steps of I guess, Microsoft and others. That model has worked out very well for Adobe, but on the flip side, they have been smacked down a little bit for hiding termination fees and making it difficult for folks to cancel their subscriptions to the degree that the US Department of Justice has actually filed a lawsuit against them alleging that they’re deceiving consumers by hiding those early termination fees and making it difficult for people to cancel. So, yeah, I mean, it’s good to see that governments are sort of coming after some of the bad actions from these bigger entities who at times need to be held to account.

Matt Archer:
You know, it’s got to be quite bad though before government gets involved, don’t you? So it’s not like they’ve necessarily jumped in and said, oh, just because we feel like being good citizens, we’ll do this. You just imagine there’s been a lot of noise up to that point.

Paul Spain:
So yeah, usually a pretty, pretty big deal. Now Friday was an interesting, interesting day because we got that confirmation through that and I don’t know exactly what it worked out in New Zealand dollars, I think. I did an interview with tv three on Friday, and I think they were saying that Elon Musk payout, it’s not a direct sort of cash payout, but they were talking about, I think, in the 80 billion New Zealand dollar range, 46 billion us. Now, this was a really interesting scenario, because what are we going back roughly five years or so, this pay package was put in where if they were able to, or if under Musk’s leadership, he was able to see Tesla scale to something like, I don’t know what the amount was exactly, but it was sort of more than ten times its value at the time. Then he was going to get a really big payout, maybe a 10th or so of that, of that increase in value through stock allocations and so on. So, yeah, then that got taken away by, you know, by. By a judge who was like, oh, this wasn’t made clear enough. And I think there was a fair bit of debate around whether it.

Paul Spain:
Whether it was or wasn’t. But it seemed like most. Most shareholders were saying, no, no, we knew what we were agreeing to. And so new vote came in in conjunction with their annual AGM, I suppose. And this thing has been sort of ratified again.

Matt Archer:
So 75% or something confirmed that he’s overwhelming, wasn’t it?

Paul Spain:
Yeah, that he’s got the payout. Interestingly, some other things that weren’t recommended by the board were accepted. One of the things was that they needed much bigger than 50% for these sorts of votes in the past. You know, maybe it was two thirds that were. That were needed to get, you know, to get things through, especially things that were or. Yeah, certainly things that have been, you know, put forward by shareholders. And so a few behind the scenes changes there that have been accepted, which may end up sort of changing the shape of Tesla in the future. But to me, it’s an absolutely ridiculous, eye watering sort of, you know, some that we’re talking about here so completely, you know, almost impossible to really get your head around for a normal person, where these sorts of figures don’t really make any sense or mean anything.

Paul Spain:
So. But to me, it was like, well, that was up to shareholders to decide, you know, how they would want to reward that. And, you know, a lot of folks would have done really well out of it. And when we look at Tesla’s business or Musk’s businesses, Tesla and SpaceX especially, we look at companies that have really been on the cutting edge and have moved at a pace that others haven’t been able to, and that, in many ways, the rest of the tech world looks at. Is that how you look at it? What are your thoughts on this?

Matt Archer:
Yeah, look, I think you’ve got some people that are building these massive funds of money by buying companies and holding them forever and just watching them grow into these megaliths. And then you’ve got someone like Elon, who is an agitator, like a polarizer, but to say he’s not a man of action would be completely incorrect. So, you know, you’ve got the opportunity. I think, if you’re a shareholder for Tesla, just to have someone like that stay with the company for another half of a decade is possibly the best money you could ever spend. Right? EspeciALlY if his participation has continued to be yardsticked to the performance and growth of your entity. So, you know, I think they’re lucky to have him. I think. I personally think the guy is an absolute genius, and I just love his action and his approach to a lot of these big problems.

Matt Archer:
He’s not afraid to talk about moving earth to another planet, which in some regards is total lunacy, but yet he’s building all of these technologies to facilitate that. So, you know, at the end of the daY, if he’s bringing the return in, his bosses are the shareholders. As you said, there’s nothing cloak and dagger about this. It was spelled out at the beginning. The shareholders could have changed it. They have the ability to change it moving forward, you know, but I think he was pretty vocal that, you know, if you take this away from me and you screw me, I’m going to go and start a competitor company to Tesla, which is like the death knell of Tesla. And if anyone on the planet could do that, it would probably would be him. So, you know, I think on balance, you know, everyone’s going to win on it, and, you know, maybe it’ll fund another, another crazy, go to Mars company in the mix as well.

Matt Archer:
So.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, the other thing that was happening on, yeah. Late last week, and I think it ended up being covered in the same news story, and certainly from tv three’s coverage, was that we’re now seeing that researchers out of USC and the states are saying that they’re concerned about ozone risks associated with de orbited satellites. And I guess that the focus is on de orbited Starlink satellites from SpaceX. So I guess it’s kind of a bit of pushback on. Look, yes, Musk’s companies are innovating at a rapid pace, but there is a risk when you’re moving very quickly that you break things. Some things are okay to break other things. If we end up sort of destroying ozone layer, that might not be something that would necessarily play out well. So, yeah, interestingly, you know, the last few years there have been some.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, times where the ozone layer has been in a lot better state. It does seem to kind of vary from year to year, but we’re not in the sort of constant going backwards to the, to the scale that we. That we were. But, yeah, I think. What was I reading? That the stats are showing that the Earth Zozo layer is only slightly, you know, increased between 2022 and 2023. Yeah, there are some, some genuine concerns that. Yeah, what goes on in space may impact that.

Matt Archer:
So it’s a big place though, right? I mean, I think I remember reading that, that, you know, the total volume of the oceans of the earth is something like 1.3 billion cubic kilometers and the total amount of plastic wastes is 0.2 of one cubic kilometre. So the sheer volume is just immense. And it’s not to say we shouldn’t be looking at these things because the way the exponential curves work, we could be in a hole world of trouble very shortly. Yeah, it’s a hard one to measure as well, I guess. Yeah.

Paul Spain:
Look, I think there will be a lot of interest in this now and I think we need to know what we’re getting ourselves in for, don’t we? And if there are some really negative environmental impact of satellites, then we’re gonna need some way of looking to address that. Do you send them off into the ether? Do you give them enough juice to turn them in a direction and throw them towards the sun? What do you do?

Matt Archer:
Do you land them? Everyone’s got their own little landing capsule. Pick it up like a net netting fish. Home again.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, there’s, I’m sure, a whole range of options, but it’s good that this is being looked into. Now, we promised to talk around AI PCs and smartphones and whether we are being scammed. And this one came up because of a point you made before we started when we were sort of chatting. And Apple have put a bit of a line in the sand when it comes to some of their new AI capabilities coming through in iOS and, you know, and I guess macOS too. And we’ve probably seen some, a little bit of discussion online as well with Microsoft and their co pilot PCs. And there’s a whole lot of controversy around Microsoft recall. And when. When recall was announced people sort of started kicking the tires and having a look at it and it was a special feature for AI only PCs for these copilot PCs.

Paul Spain:
And some folks were kind of curious and wondered well why would they limit it to, do they really need the new chips or is this marketing spin so that Microsoft can sell more Windows licenses? I guess with new computers and I don’t know what their behind the scenes deals are with the likes of intel and Qualcomm for chips and so on, but quite possibly there’s some benefits maybe beyond their Windows licenses too, who knows? But yeah, this idea of just limiting it to these brand new machines was something a few folks were curious about. And so it wasn’t long before you jump online and people were sharing, oh, you can turn this stuff on, on your, you know, non brand new AI chipped up PC and actually it seems to be just fine. And then yeah, we look, oh hold on, you need the iPhone 15, do you to, do, you know, X, y, Z? So that, I guess that’s, that’s the question. Should, should we be, should we be limited or actually, is it actually very reasonable and very fair when you think around, hey, it wasn’t that many years ago you would buy, you know, you’d buy a phone, you’d buy a car, you’d buy a laptop. And what it came with, it just stayed the same. Now, you know, the iPhone and so Apple with their products and Tesla probably especially and certainly Microsoft with Windows and there’s a raft of others have taught us what you buy on day one actually it’s going to get better over its life. But there is a flip side to it, isn’t there, that these companies are still out there to make a profit and sometimes they’re going to draw a line and say look, you need to buy the latest and greatest to get it. I guess what I’m not sure about is when is that fair and when is it taking us all for a ride? And it did feel a little bit like that with what Microsoft were doing with recall.

Paul Spain:
Although, you know, recall is probably something you want to stay well away from. But if that was something that you had really wanted, you know, you might have felt a bit hard done by that you were going to need to buy some new hardware when, you know, if you wanted to use it kind of officially without, without doing any kind of hacks on your system. And yeah, we look at the chips that are in our phones and you know, some of those older chips maybe actually they could do what we’re being told. You have to have the latest top end phone in order to do.

Matt Archer:
I guess it depends on what the product is that you’re buying, right. Because if you’re buying a hardware device like an iPhone that should be able to be used for whatever you, the owner and the contributor of the finance wants it to be used for, then there’s been all sorts of lawsuits in America upholding people’s right to use their own device the way that they want to use it. Right. And to the point of, you know, unbuckling Apple’s very controlling support rules about servicing devices. Should you be able to go to a non, Apple provided a service, the product. But if the product is actually Apple intelligence. Right. And they have, and you are now, through the terms and conditions using a product that they define must be used in a particular way.

Matt Archer:
And it just so happens that there’s another hardware piece that’s a precursor to it. Be interesting to know where the line of ownership is because, you know, if you go back a number of years, you know, jailbreaking iPhones was the way that you turned on the next world of functionality. I mean, I remember jailbreaking one of my iPhones way back in the day because hotspots were, you know, you wanted to use your iPhone for a hotspot. This was a radical concept to be able to use your phone as a mobile Internet router. Yeah. But you couldn’t do that, you know, on the Apple iPhone because they locked it out. Unless you had a summon lock or something to that.

Paul Spain:
Yeah. Particularly in the US. Right. I think the US market, it was quite closely tied to, you know, to whatever the deal was between the carrier and Apple. Yeah. Look, I find this, it is a really interesting one, and I think probably each case is going to be a little bit different. I’ve noticed with Tesla that they’ve been talking about putting an AI chat type capability into the car. I’m presuming it would be a link up to the cloud type type capability.

Paul Spain:
You know, that’s an area, like other things, where it’s got better over time. But I am also seeing them launch certain features, and certain ones are if you’ve got XYZ chip in your car. So it depends when you bought it. And in their case, it does seem to be kind of interestingly, the sort of the most at the more honest end of the picture. Right. They’re not trying to cut you out of. Out of features from what I’m seeing, because you haven’t bought their very latest car. It’s more, you know, look, if the current processor can handle it reasonably well and what you’ve got in there in terms of hardware, can handle it, will give it to you.

Paul Spain:
If that’s going to cause some sort of a challenge, it’s not going to run smoothly or what have you, then they don’t roll out that functionality. Probably the only exception I can think of, and they haven’t explained it well, and this will have racked up some gamers, is, I’m drawing a blank. The gaming, particular gaming platform, the Nvidia go, it’ll come back to me. But basically a whole ecosystem of. Of games that you could run on some specific teslas that had enough memory, the right gpu and so on. And I think it was steam, actually. So you’d be able to run these Steam games in your car, which for some people was just, this is incredible. This is not what you expect of a car, to have that sort of processing, to be able to operate.

Paul Spain:
And Tesla were delivering it. Now we’re hearing actually, that functionality is being turned off. Now. I don’t know the reasoning where there’s some sort of licensing, whether this is kind of there, whether it’s to do with the arrangement with steam or what have you. So, yeah, so no one gets this stuff perfect, I guess, is the reality. Sometimes things get turned off, sometimes new features can’t be. Can’t be made available.

Matt Archer:
And if you think with Siri in particular, if you remember the early days of Siri, it was 100% cloud processing, and so you couldn’t, if you didn’t have an Internet connection, there was no Siri. And who cares about Siri? But they started doing the trans. For the first five minutes, you own an iPhone, it’s great. But then you.

Paul Spain:
Siri, that’s what we’re interested in.

Matt Archer:
Apple intelligence transcription, that transcription service that everyone started going, oh, this is amazing. But then it wouldn’t work if you didn’t have Internet. And then subsequent versions bring that transcription onto the chip. And then Apple are wanting to be very secure. They don’t want that to be leaking back to the cloud. So I do get it. They’re trying to potentially juggle processing power with security. And I think everyone’s trying to do the same thing, right? We’re not wanting our transcriptions to be getting put on a cloud server somewhere and indexed and trawled for all sorts of things.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, I mean, I think you probably have to make your own call on who are the companies to, you know, to trust in these regards. But I think, you know, we shouldn’t forget these are commercial entities that are, they have hungry shareholders who are wanting more and more profits and there will be elements to how they operate and you can just look at the cost of some of the things and the margins that they make, you know, to get a bit of a feel on whether they’re there purely for us or whether they actually have some commercial intent. And I think it’s fair to say all the companies we’ve just talked about have some great commercial or some great benefits for the users of technology, but they are there to line the pockets of their investors. So buyer beware is all I can say. And probably what I’m not sure if I mentioned it on recall sound as though Microsoft are putting a bit of a stop and a further pause on recall than what even we were talking about last week. And so we’ve got these new Snapdragon X Elite and so on based laptops and tablets, new sort of surface. What are we, Surface pro eleven? I think it is Surface laptop seven that are launching in the coming hours and a whole range of other devices there that they were expecting to launch with some access to recall.

Paul Spain:
It sounds like that is not going to be quite the case. So just something to be aware of. If you were very excited about Microsoft Recall and if you missed the other episodes we talked about that, you can go back and have a listen. Over the past few weeks it’s been coming up a little bit. Now I’m really keen to delve into what’s happening in the world of Quadrent. You say quadrant or quadrant, how do you rent?

Matt Archer:
Because leasing company has a rent component to it.

Paul Spain:
Yeah. So Quadrent’s sort of Auckland, is it Auckland headquartered?

Matt Archer:
Yeah, we’re based in Auckland, got offices in Sydney as well. And you know, we’ve got, got some representation in Wellington as well. So we serve the larger corporates in New Zealand and Australasia with their type of leasing requirements. So a large part of that is it assets? So we have some of our large partners investing in thousands of machines at a time and we’re helping to facilitate those into the organisation and helping them achieve the business objectives they’re trying to achieve. And so you know, a couple of years ago we were looking at the situation in New Zealand where it comes to where our kids are and where our learning challenges are and where, you know, it’s quite disturbing the fact that in New Zealand we’ve got some really well resourced communities and some really under resourced communities. But yet, you know, we’re looking to ask the same outputs of children that are well resourced from children that are not. And so it struck us that a lot of our customers and a lot of our partners that have got quite large fleets of notebooks that are generally at the high end, because in corporate world, if you’re commanding, you know, a good position, you’re going to want a good computer. And after three years, that computer is still going to hold a lot of processing power, probably more so than an entry level Chromebook from the local superstore.

Matt Archer:
And so the opportunity to deal with a sustainability challenge of processing those computers through an iTad, ensuring that we’re not making these through a what? An iTad advanced disposal partner.

Paul Spain:
Okay, here we go.

Matt Archer:
So, an iTad is the part of the sustainability chain that says, look, give us your computer. We’ll make sure that it gets wiped to government standards. We’ll make sure that everything in this device is graded, and we’ll then rebox that device. And a portion of the returns from our customers are going into these communities. And so kids are getting these new box experiences courtesy of our customers, a joint process. And we’re also making sure that we’ve invested a lot in a program called R two V three, which ensures that the whole chain stays accountable. We don’t want greenwashing in there. We don’t want these assets going off out of country to third world environments where human trafficking and these other things, we don’t want to be part of that at all.

Matt Archer:
The program ensures that all of the assets, not just the ones that are going to the kids, but the ones that have been recycled into a circular economy, are done so with a really high level of integrity and auditability. So, PwC audits us with a lot of these processes. And, yeah, it’s a great community that our customers are really getting involved in. So it’s exciting.

Paul Spain:
It’s really encouraging to see sort of more activity down this track, because, yeah, as you say, we’ve got some challenges there. And, look, if we can make good use of that equipment and help those that otherwise wouldn’t have access to the technology, that’s brilliant. And who is tending to sort of fund that? Cause it’s. What I’ve noticed in the past is it’s the. And we see this with sort of some of the smaller organizations looking at their gear. It’s come sort of end of life. They’ve had the maximum sort of productivity that they’ve been able to get out of the device, usually over three years. And then the further from that, I guess the less relevant it is.

Paul Spain:
When you’ve got that need for maximum productivity in a workplace, but potentially still useful elsewhere. So gear becomes available, but it’s. It’s often actually pretty expensive to get that gear wiped, repurposed into a position where a youngster could start benefiting from it. How does that tend to play out?

Matt Archer:
So the goal with the program is to make sure that we maximize the amount that we can give to the endpoints. But obviously, there’s a lot of work that has to happen on those as well. So it ends up becoming a partnership, both with the customer, with quadrant and with itads, and also with the endpoints, with the social inclusion part of the chain where we need to work with the schools. Right. Because it’s not just about getting a device through, getting it cleaned up, making sure that it’s of an a grade quality, because we only put the a grade units into the kids. We don’t want them dealing with broken things, with keyboards that aren’t working or screens that have got defects. And so the way that it works is everyone contributes a part of the benefit they may have received. And then if we all just deprecate ourselves a little, then there’s this great outcome that can occur for the kids at the end of the equation.

Matt Archer:
And so I think that’s in keeping with the sustainability approach, where if any one person looks to benefit above everyone else, then no one really actually achieves the win. And so, you know, as you say, the. The life of these assets is much longer than three years. And so, historically, companies may have chosen to try and keep those inside the business, but there’s often a lot of benefits and a refresh for a customer, and let’s make that second life really valuable in the community and to the learning outcomes of these kids. Yeah, and so that’s. That’s how it works. We all. We all take a little bit less than we would have otherwise, and then the beneficiaries of those are our kids in the community.

Paul Spain:
That’s really cool. And where are you at in the journey to sort of get these things set up and start being able to make the technology available?

Matt Archer:
We are well underway in both Australia and New Zealand. We’ve been working with a really well respected company called the Smith family in Australia. That’s one of the largest partners for ensuring these type of devices get into the communities we’re wanting to get them into. We’re on our way to 20,000 devices per annum. Is our goal in the next couple of years to get there. We’re well on the way to that. Approaching 1000 kids over the last year that we’ve got devices to, which is exciting and looking to have some really big ramps towards the end of the year to help us get towards our goals on that. And so, yeah, there’s a lot of interest.

Matt Archer:
We got recently nominated for a sustainability award, which we didn’t unfortunately, pick up last year, but maybe this year, Gary. And look, it’s a great journey, it’s a great narrative. Our customers are really enjoying the process of it, so.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, well, that’s good. That’s really good. Good to hear. Well, all the best with the next stages of that journey. And it’s always encouraging to hear about things that are going to have a good sort of flow on. And it’s not just about those youngsters at a, you know, at a point in time, I think, you know, if you and I were to sort of stop and to look back at the access that we got to technology, you know, as. As younger people, you know, that is, you know, key part of what sort of, you know, played into being able to build, you know, careers in the future. And even if it’s just, you know, doing a bit of, you know, gaming or whatnot, you know, kids interacting with.

Paul Spain:
With technology can open the doors to great learning and careers. So there’s all sorts of flow on. It’s not always easy to make these things happen, but I think it’s worth the effort.

Matt Archer:
Totally agree. Totally agree.

Paul Spain:
Well, big thank you to our show. Partners to Gorrilla technology, HP, Spark, 2degrees and One NZ. We will, of course, be back again next week with another episode. If you’ve been listening to the audio, then worth tracking us down on social. You can find our live streams, usually across the likes of YouTube, X and Facebook under NZ Tech Podcast. Or you can catch us on LinkedIn by following myself, Paul Spain. Yeah, that’s us for this week, Matt, anyone that wants to get in touch, what’s the best way to. To track you or the quadrant team down?

Matt Archer:
Yeah, look, I think, you know, quadrant dot co dot NZ, green hyphen lease or digital inclusion will give you a bit of an update of what we’re doing on that front. Otherwise, you know, Twitter’s or X, as you say, it’s always a good way to connect up, so.

Paul Spain:
Yeah, yeah, good stuff. All right, thanks, Matt. Thank you, everyone, and we’ll catch you next week.