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Business update Insights Media

Unico welcomes Thomas Crawford as CFO

Unico welcomes Thomas Crawford as CFO

7 June 2021

John Rowland, Managing Director Unico is pleased to announce the appointment of Thomas (Tom) Crawford as Chief Financial Officer of the company. This follows the announcement that David Goode will be stepping into a strategic advisor role assessing investments for Unico and uSpark.

Tom will join Unico on Monday, 7 June 2021, and will be supported by David in the transition and handover.

Commenting on the appointment, John Rowland, Managing Director said “I am excited to have Tom on board and look forward to continuing our diversification strategy and achieving our strategic growth ambitions. He joins us from Adecco Group where he worked in the UK and Australia, and his experience includes professional services technology, and recruitment. I would also like to thank David Goode for his tremendous effort over the last couple of years and look forward to continuing to work with him on Unico and uSpark investments.”

Tom Crawford, CFO

Tom Crawford said “I am thrilled to be joining Unico. I have long held a passion for optimising business performance through technology, and I look forward to working with John, the Executive, and the wider Unico business on achieving the company’s strategic growth objectives.”

Tom Crawford

Before joining Unico, Tom Crawford was the CFO of the Adecco Group’s New Zealand operations, driving a return to profitability for the country and successfully diversifying the business into high-growth industries.

Tom held several senior leadership roles with Adecco and was talent-tracked through Adecco’s international future leaders’ program, gaining exposure to a wide range of industries and markets.

Tom helped to set up the finance function and provide strategic direction to a fledgling technology company of the Adecco Group and worked for several years as a finance business partner for the professional technology services brands of the Adecco Group.

Tom started his career in finance on a graduate program with Reed, the largest privately owned recruitment business in the UK. From there, he successfully secured international assignments to help transform finance operations in South Korea and Australia for the Reed Global Group.

Professionally, his key passions are in empowering and developing high-performing teams, optimizing finance and business processes through technology, and positioning finance as a business partner to help drive profitable sustainable growth.

Outside of work, Tom is passionate about travel, learning new languages and cultures, and enjoys cooking and spending time with his family.

Tom is a member of the chartered management accountants (CIMA) and holds a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of York in the UK.


John Rowland

Managing Director

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Business update Media

Defence Strategic Advisor – Harry Moffitt

Retired SAS Team Commander, Harry Moffitt, leading defence charge

31 May 2021

Harry Moffitt is a strategic defence advisor to Unico in the Defence and Government sector. He brings to the table over 30 years of experience in defence and holds top security clearance.

Harry is supporting Unico with our diversification strategy and continues to build out our experience in the Defence and Government sectors. Unico offers an extensive range of services for Defence, government and public sector including satellite provisioning, digital transformation, information and communications technology, system integration and bespoke technology solutions.

Recently retired, Harry is a former SAS Team Commander turned organisational psychologist. He has extensive military and government experience at operational and administrative levels and an exceptional track record in strategic and tactical decision making and leadership.

Harry is engaging, transformative, and highly principled with an excellent ability to build strong strategic relationships. He has extensive experience working at the board and senior executive level across industry and habitually engages at Ministerial levels of the federal government. He has a unique and deep understanding of cultural and organisational transformation and is passionate about sovereign capability development.

Harry’s outstanding strategic and political acumen, combined with his background as a strategic advisor for various defence transformation projects, perfectly matches Unico’s ambition to expand capability offering in defence and government.


Harry Moffitt

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Business update Media

Land Forces 2021

Unico is excited to be attending Land Forces 2021

1-3 June 2021

Unico is excited to be heading to Brisbane next week to attend Land Forces 2021. Our Public Sector specialist Brent Wijnberd will be flying solo, if you see him make sure to say hi. Fun facts: Brent is a massive fan of country music, plays guitar, and loves Bruce Springsteen.

As an Australian founded and 100% resourced technology company, we pride ourselves on serving the Australian community and its people. Our people are NV1 and NV2 cleared, and are based in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney, and are experienced with Microsoft Azure.

Unico offers an extensive range of services for Defence, government and public sector including satellite provisioning, digital transformation, information and communications technology, system integration and bespoke technology solutions.

We look forward to connecting.


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Insights Media Partners

All-Star Mile voting shows horse racing continues to strengthen female audience

All-Star Mile voting shows horse racing continues to strengthen female audience

Highly secure website and All-Star Mile voting platform with a validation rate of 96.4%


Unico is proud to have supported Racing Victoria deliver their vision for the All-Star Mile for three consecutive years. The All-Star Mile is the world’s richest mile and the only race where the Australian public choose who races on the day.

Racing Victoria and Unico collaborated to create a highly secure website and All-Star Mile voting platform that is auto-scaling, auto-healing with cloud-first design, and the ability to handle high levels of user traffic. Unico is proud to announce for the third year that a Big 4 Advisory firm’s Cyber Security team were unable to penetrate the platform and a validation rate of 96.4% was achieved through SMS verification codes and Salesforce marketing cloud campaigns.  

The All-Star Mile was designed to attract a new and more diverse audience, which was achieved for the second year in a row with over 32% female voters. This could not have been delivered without the teamwork and collaboration between Racing Victoria and Unico – our team more than halved the number of unverified votes from last year worked on tight deadlines and had to adapt to meet regulatory constraints” Racing Victoria GM Customer Strategy & Engagement Marcia Allan.

This year’s All-Star Mile continued to engage fans with 10 wildcard Owner Ambassadors who shared a prize pool of $500,000, with Matt Fory from Shepparton taking home the top $250,000 prize alongside winner Mugatoo.

If you would like to find out more about Unico’s All Star Mile secure website and voting platform, please contact Evan Harridge.


Evan Harridge

Director Innovation

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Business update Media

Melbourne Business School Wandering Warriors Scholarship

wandering warriors veterans scholarship program
veterans scholarship program

Omni Executive & Unico are proud to support the Melbourne Business School ‘Wandering Warriors Scholarship’

7 April 2020

Omni Executive & Unico are proud to support Wandering Warriors through the Melbourne Business School ‘Wandering Warriors Scholarship’. The Wandering Warriors Scholarship program will provide veterans with the opportunity to study, grow, and develop through Australia’s leading MBA program, equipping them will the skills, experience, and network to successfully transition out of defence and further their future career. 

Omni Executive and Unico, have joined forces to deliver end to end high availability mission-critical solutions to the Australian public sector. Both look forward to working with Wandering Warriors and the Melbourne Business School to grow the veterans scholarship program and continue to support our deserving veteran community.

On Thursday, 22 April, Unico and Omni Executive will be hosting a launch event, if you are interested in attending please register your interest below:

Event details:

Date: Thursday, 22 April

Time: 5.30pm -7.30pm

Location: Situation Room, National Press Club of Australia, 16 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600

RSVP: Please click here to confirm your attendance by Friday, 16 April. We look forward to seeing you at the launch

John Rowland, Managing Director


John Rowland

Managing Director

Categories
Case studies Partners

Australia’s first entitlement server eSIM solution for wearable device compatibility: uPair

UPair-1

Australia’s first entitlement server eSIM solution for wearable device compatibility: uPair 

One number, one service. An entitlement server eSIM solution that allows Telco network customers to use the built-in cellular capability of their wearable technology. 


Summary

  • An easy to integrate, low entry cost entitlement server solution ready to implement for all Telcos
  • Compatible with Apple & Samsung devices
  • High availability, low latency and fault-tolerant provisioning system
  • CRM integration and customer entitlement management 
  • Built in multiple edge case scenario capability & ACID compliance
  • Utilised an Oracle MySQL database

Many Telcos don’t have the budget, resources or knowledge to develop an entitlement server solution for their own business.

That means they are missing out on crucial new streams of revenue that can be gained from charging customers for value-added services.

Entitlement server solutions are used to allow users to connect multiple SIM and eSIM enabled devices to one number and service. This connection can be bundled into a subscription package where pairing capability is offered via mobile app.

Our solution uPair gives lower tier Telcos the ability to compete with Tier 1 Telcos by offering their customers wearable tech pairing at a low cost of entry.

Unico partnered with Australia’s largest mobile service provider who needed an application that allowed Australians to use the built in cellular capability of the new ‘Apple watch’ (GPS + Cellular) .

In doing so Unico were the first in Australia to develop an eSIM solution that supported wearable device compatibility.  

uPair eSIM solution developed by Unico

By integrating this entitlement solution our customer could share a single service with a mobile device through sharing accurate subscriber identification information with their network.

Our client was equipped with a telco grade, real-time and high availability entitlement server solution that enabled them to offer value-added services to their customers.


uPair was able to meet the needs of a world-class telecomms provider and deliver a world first in eSIM technology.

– John Rowland, Managing Director, Unico


The project included provisioning and enabling of the eSIM for the Apple Watch to download and update its network whilst allowing paired devices to operate with a ‘shared number’ service. The partnership marked the first time an eSIM technology had been delivered to the Australian consumer market.  

Thanks to uPair thousands of Australians are connected to Australia’s biggest mobile network for phone calls and messages via their wearable devices

If you are interested and want to find out more get in touch below and talk to us today.

Jason Bodsworth

Business Development Manager

Categories
Insights

What is SMART Workplace Technology? And how can it help businesses return to the office in the new COVID-19 normal

What is SMART workplace technology? And how can it help businesses return to the office in the new COVID-19 normal.

SMART workplace technology has played a major role in the PropTech industry for decades, but what is SMART technology? And how can it help businesses return to the office in the new COVID-19 normal.


SMART technology and SMART workplaces have played a major role in the PropTech industry for decades and have gone through many transitions and evolutions over the years. A range of solutions exist on the market that are primarily focused on workforce management, workplace traffic management, analytics and access control. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a range of SMART technology options being adopted into a range of workplaces by both tenants and building owners.

So what is SMART technology?

SMART technology means “Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology”. This technology is used to provide cognitive awareness to objects, by making use of advanced technologies like internet of things, artificial intelligence, machine leaning and big data.

This workplace technology makes use of smart devices like sensors to collate, adapt and convey information about objects and environment, making the monitoring process seamless and self-governed.

SMART technology has recently been combined with new hardware capabilities such as thermal imaging technology to help identify COVID-19 symptoms.

SMART technology lays the foundations for what we like to call a ‘SMART workplace’ which can be defined as:

A digital transformation driven solution encapsulating products and systems, connecting employees and their work environments. A SMART Workplace is geared towards improving collaboration, increasing productivity for workforces and providing employee wellness and safety, thereby helping organisations to make effective and optimal utilisation of human capital and physical resources.

But how can a SMART Workplace help your business in the new COVID-19 normal?

1) Temperature scanning & safety gear detection:

Thermal imaging camera technology has been used across a variety of industries to help identify abnormally high temperatures that pose a health or transmission risk. However, the advent of COVID-19 has driven its widespread adoption in new areas such as retail and real estate. Most approved medical devices utilise infrared radiation to accurately measure temperatures. Placing cameras at designated entry points across a workplace means pedestrians can be monitored for unsafe temperatures that could pose health risks. This information can then be directly sent to users or staff via a mobile app, who will then enact internal safety procedures. Add in AI-enabled mask detection capability and you can systematically help prevent health threats, mitigating the risk of workplace outbreaks.

2) Workplace data & traffic management:

As additional safety procedures are implemented at scale across larger workplaces, the challenges of managing the capacity of people from the lobby, to the lift and into the office become increasingly apparent. Social distancing protocols mandate set lift capacities and other safety precautions that cause major lift delays in larger workplaces during peak periods. Consequently, it is essential that organisations maximise building capacity to make commuting as efficient as possible. By integrating sensor data, analytics and a mobile application, landlords and tenants can easily gather accurate insights on occupancy and utilisation. These are be used to safely manage lift capacity, track overcrowding and identify areas prone to overcrowding that pose health risks. Detailed data and reporting are essential for larger organisations looking to ensure staff can safely return to the office at scale and formulate a key component of a workplace traffic management plan. 

3) Social distancing management:

Some organisations will require social distancing protocols to be implemented and upheld throughout the workplace. Live reporting on usage and occupancy of space can help safely manage density across the workplace.

SMART occupancy sensors are IoT devices that can detect someone’s presence and location in real-time. Installing sensors across leased and communal areas allows management to determine with pinpoint accuracy how many people are occupying a specific space. This data can then be used to determine if individuals are within space capacity limits in areas such as lifts, common areas, meeting rooms or even individual desks. Combine this data with an integrated mobile app and you can enable real-time proximity alerts that notify staff when they have breached pre-set social distancing protocols or are at risk of overcrowding.

4) Mobile ID scanning and touchless technology:

High transmission risks within traditional work environments has resulted in the need for touchless alternatives to buttons and handles, as well as the reduced human interaction where possible. Hardware such as touchless buttons and mobile ID scanners can support a ‘frictionless’ journey throughout an entire building. By taking this one step further and integrating facial recognition or mobile authentication, physical interactions can be removed at selected access points. Add in a web application for guests or visitors and you can manage sanitary access control across an entire building.

5) Usage based cleaning:

Bathrooms, kitchens, desks and other high-touch areas pose a significant infection risk that can be greatly reduced through cleaning based on usage rather than schedule. ‘SMART’ occupancy sensors can register usage instances and alert tenants when cleaning or sanitation is required after a set amount of usage instances.


Are you considering utilising SMART workplace technology yourself or for your clients?

Unico develops and integrates a range of SMART workplace solutions and SMART technology for Australian businesses, building owners and developers.

If you would like to find out more get in touch with me today.


Evan-Harridge

Evan Harridge

Director of Innovation

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Insights

Three ways Super Funds can drive customer engagement and strengthen governance practices

customer engagement

The Australian super industry is undergoing a period of unprecedented disruption as technology reshapes customer engagement and expectations and drives funds to redefine offerings and delivery capabilities.

Customer expectations are rising, forcing organisations – regardless of size or sector – to become increasingly customer centric and digitally enabled to not only gain competitive advantage, but even just to compete and survive.

Super is no different. A shift is occurring. What members consider the ‘norm’ has changed. They expect a tailored customer experience, not just to be shown their portfolio. They expect to be provided with transparent value and benefits, personalised recommendations and insights. They want great service, competitive returns and an understanding of what you, the super provider, is doing for them personally.

Coupled with this heightened expectation is a loss of consumer trust in Super funds. This industry and regulatory shift is forcing funds down the expensive path of restructuring organisational values and having to adhere to strict regulatory compliance which has been amplified by political and public scrutiny.

As the power shift to consumer increases, funds have been witnessing an increase in customers exercising their choice to leave in search of better alternatives. This trend is causing a flow on effect of voluntary and involuntary consolidation and mergers of funds.

As funds re-establish standards, technology can be leveraged to help drive customer engagement and strengthen governance practice through the following:

1) Data virtualisation platforms – a single source of truth for all your data:

Many funds run administration services across multiple disconnected systems with little to no integration. Most of these systems are slow, expensive to integrate and require a high level of manual processing that can result in technical debt costing time and money to maintain.

Having to rely on a range of disparate systems usually means there is limited capacity to effectively map out client behaviours and interactions across all channels, as data sets are isolated. This results in an incomplete customer profile that does not consider all aspects of a customer’s financial history and behaviour.

Funds also often lack the ability to accurately curate structured data and unstructured data (emails, texts, letters etc.) collected from customer journeys. Consequently, they are unable to comprehensively understand each customer’s experience and by extension how to best serve each customer thr9ough customer engagement.

Data virtualisation is a technology data management solution that allows an application to retrieve and integrate data from across an entire organisation regardless of where it is located and present it in a single place. Governance, control, data lineage and security can be managed and even enhanced using data virtulisation, over other data consolidation techniques. This allows customer and business insights to be gained quickly and often more cost effectively than building data warehouses and data lakes. Modern financial services challenges require solutions that facilitate a faster and cheaper time to insights, whilst managing governance requirements. Data virtulisation is one way funds and companies can meet the challenge.

2) Artificial Intelligence (AI) models for improved customer engagement and member experience:

Adopting AI offers a viable solution to customer engagement by enabling funds to connect with clients via AI generated insights. Unprecedented amounts of data can be analysed to find patterns, trends and inflections to determine exactly when and how customer’s needs have changed.

Once established, AI algorithms can engage customers in automated interactions that previously wouldn’t have been cost effective, including customer queries and conflict resolution. Super is often perceived by customers as complex as they struggle to understand the benefits and the value the fund is providing. AI and automation has made first class customer service cost-effective, scalable and achievable for the super industry.

3) AI powered regulatory risk & compliance frameworks:

Compliance, risk and audit have traditionally been reliant on rule-based processes to assess and prevent compliance breaches. In addition, these systems often rely on data from a single platform for each risk assessment. However, without a holistic, enterprise view of the enterprise it is difficult for a fund to truly assess enterprise compliance and manage its whole-of-company risks.

AI paired with a data virtualisation platform can be used to build and train models to have secured views on all enterprise data. Data sources for each model can be tracked and managed for traceability, bias reduction and stop non-compliance from the source, through to model development and production. This combination provides lineage from source data to AI model to the final AI-powered decision; a vital component in good financial service governance.

Proactive risk management, governance and compliance tools and frameworks can anticipate, detect and manage AI-backed risk assessments and analytics – allowing funds to respond faster to threats and be nimble in responding to changing regulatory compliance demands.


Mark Hannon

Head of Telco & Pre-Sales

Categories
Insights

Four ways to protect your investment in IoT from cybersecurity threats

Four ways to protect your investment in IoT from cybersecurity threats


IT professionals are used to thinking about how to protect our information technology assets from cybersecurity threats. Data loss, data theft, exposure, identity theft and ransom attacks are the menu du jour. As we move towards Industry 4.0 internet of things (IoT) is connecting operational technology (OT) to the network at breakneck speeds, raising the stakes for cyber-attacks to the levels of tales we see in dystopian fiction.

We have seen nation-state attacks against nuclear power plants (India, November 2019), as well as widespread attacks on IP connected surveillance cameras. Just today it was announced that  a major cyber security attack has been identified by the Australian government. However, threats like ransomware take on a new form: consider a farm with hundreds or thousands of IoT sensors being held ransom under the treat that their crop may be flooded just before harvest, sending them into financial ruin. 

cybersecurity threats
Recent attacks have highlighted just how vulnerable Australian government and business are to malicious cyber attack.

OT security is no longer speculative; this week we have seen exposure of attack surfaces in the networking stacks of embedded devices. Nineteen vulnerabilities were discovered in the Treck TCP/IP library commonly in use in IoT devices, four of which are considered critical.

Physical security used to be the primary concern for OT managers, but now we must consider a broader landscape due to cybersecurity threats. 

How do OT cyber-attacks work? 

In addition to securing the back-office systems the devices talk to, OT security professionals now need to look at the devices themselves. The attack vectors can be broken into four key areas of concern. 

1) Device firmware: This is the software running the device and comprises the base operating system on the device and the application sitting on top of this. Both elements will make use of code which is either subject to unintentional vulnerability via defect, or introduction of malicious artefacts through open-source libraries in use. 

2) Device hardware: There are common protocols in use to communicate between the hardware elements of IoT devices which can be the subject of attack. The very common I2C and one-wire protocols connect sensors and actuators to a device and are prone to being sniffed if physical access is available. 

3) Device APIs: IoT devices are useless unless they are connected to a back end, and these interfaces or application program interfaces (APIs) are often vulnerable to attack. The same attack tools used to attack web servers can be used to attack IoT devices; most common weaknesses exploited are default usernames/passwords, weak passwords, and hard-coded passwords, but buffer overrun attacks are also a concern for the transport protocols in use (HTTPS in most instances) where the attacker uses carefully constructed URLs to attempt to break into the API. 

4) Radio networks: Wireless communications are a dream come true for an attacker, removing the need for physical access to carry out an attack. Open discovery protocols or weak network configuration can leave devices open to man-in-the-middle attacks which potentially expose user or API credentials, allow actors to extract, inject or otherwise change device data or allow actors to alter the state of actuators by replaying or inserting commands on the device interface. 


“Physical security used to be the primary concern for OT managers, but now we must consider a broader landscape.”


So, what can you do?

We have found that there are four components to an effective protection strategy for IoT assets from cybersecurity threats.

1) URL filtering: This is the practice of recognising URLs that are known sources or destinations for cyber-attacks. In the case of IoT it is particularly important to manage this access to prevent BotNet attacks which can generate significant amounts of traffic or computational load. 

2) Behavioural assurance: IoT devices are typically low power, low data bandwidth devices so many will fit into one of a few behavioural patterns. Once a pattern is selected for a device, we watch traffic for patterns outside this behavioural definition. For example, a period of high data utilisation when the device has been classed as low bandwidth, or traffic generation during a period when the device should be dormant. 

3) Behavioural profiling: Patterns of behaviour can be established quickly for IoT devices. Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can be trained early in a device life cycle to understand the expected behavioural profile of a device, observing low traffic under normal circumstances, occasional high traffic due to an event, and seeing traffic to several legitimate destinations. Once established, the AI can continue to scan the traffic, watching for changes in this behavioural profile to understand when an attack is imminent, or under way. 

4) Global threat profiling: If you have access to enough devices, AI algorithms can begin to learn the patterns of the threat actors as well. This can be applied to the entire population of devices under protection, meaning that new threats can be identified and acted on more rapidly than would be otherwise possible. 

Choose the right protection and integrator  

Unico have extensive experience delivering tailored solutions that meet the specific needs of our customers. Alongside Allot, one of our strategic partners, we have a product that provides four comprehensive modes of protection for your IoT infrastructure: 

  • URL filtering 
  • Behavioural assurance 
  • Behavioural profiling 
  • Global threat profiling 

If you would like to find out more about protecting your business or your customers business from cybersecurity threats, then please get in contact as I would be happy to show you how the Allot IoTSecure Service can provide affordable, multi-tenanted IoT protection solutions ready to ship to your customers out of the box. 


Bruce McCole

Principal Consultant

Categories
Case studies

FX – CX design model for foreign currency and international payments

FX – CX design model for foreign currency and international payments

Target state customer experience CX design model for foreign currency and international payments


Project

  • FX end customer experience CX design business model

Problem

  • Customers moving to other banking institutions due to a lack of transparency with foreign currency charges
  • Unsophisticated product and service offering

Approach

  • Series of initiatives that are focused on closing out business function gaps and ultimately winning back market share for the organisation.

Outcome

  • A sophisticated end-to-end CX design business model that segmented customers in the correct channel and identified key pain points in the product and services delivery value chain
  • A clear view of the Target State Business Operating Model for FX and international payments

Foreign currency exchange is a complicated process. For customers of an
Australian bank, sending money overseas involves foreign banks providing
additional services to ensure the transaction is settled as per customers
instructions.

One issue was that the bank was unable to provide their customers with
transparency of fees charged for the end to end service. Understandably
customers weren’t satisfied with the service, with some leaving to find
a more sophisticated banking institution with greater transparency and
confidence.

An end-to-end customer experience view was developed through CX design which identified key pain points by customer type and channel (i.e. banker, branch, online etc.) through to the relevant front, middle and back office support functions. The focus was on customer demand types and how well each of the relevant business processes, technology and people were aligned to support customer needs.

This solution provided the banking institution with a clear view of the Target State Business Operating Model for FX and International payments along with a series of initiatives focused on closing out business function gaps. This regained much needed customer confidence, winning back market share for the organisation.


Grant Minchin

Principal Consultant