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ACS Week In Review: 4 October 2013

Friday, 04 Oct 2013

As we move towards the end of the year ACS members may notice that there a calls for nomination to various elected positions within the society. The value of an organisation like the ACS exists within the membership, and the ACS is proud to call more than 22,000 Australians members. If you are an ACS member, and are interested in becoming an integral part of the society, contact your local branch for more information. Branch contact information is available on our website at www.acs.org.au

Tweet away but the boss is watching

Employers are allowing workers private internet use but there are strings attached, reports Nate Cochrane.

News this week of the disciplining of a Tax Office worker for using Facebook during work hours is a reminder that, even as organisations embrace employees’ personal use of technology, they are stepping up efforts to ensure such activity complies with corporate policies.

The Australian Services Union complained this week of cyber-snooping on ATO workers, after a customer service employee who posted on social media and surfed real estate listings in office hours was disciplined. 

ACMA receives 50 network interference complaints every week

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is receiving about 50 complaints a week about instances of radiofrequency interference.

Executive manager of the operations and services branch, Mark Loney, told the ACMA's annual RadComms summit the authority had about "75 open complaints" concerning interference as at the end of last week.

"We get about 50 complaints of interference a week [and] we resolve about 50 a week," he said.

"The average time that we have an interference case open is about three weeks.

"Some are dealt with much faster because they deal with public safety or they're having a major impact on public access to telecommunications [services]."

Despite the number of complaints increasing over time, Loney believed that the numbers were "pretty good" considering the "tens or hundreds of millions of devices" in use in Australia.

Schools turn to BYOD as Government laptop programme ends

The cessation of the previous Australian government's laptops in schools program is likely to see the mass adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) programs by schools as they seek to shift the cost of purchasing and maintaining iPads and laptop PCs from the government to parents.

One school, Georges River Grammar School, has already begun a BYOD program for its 2014 students following confirmation by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) in May that the laptops in schools project would be discontinued at the end of this year.

The school has just completed a major upgrade of its wired and wireless network in order to be able to support an anticipated influx of BYOD devices, as well as better enforced BYOD policies.

Its new wired network features HP switches with two 10Gbps links and redundant core switches. The previous network was also based on HP switches, and featured a 1Gbps backbone.

The new wireless network is also based on HP gear, and features 66 access points serving every room at the school, and four access points serving external sites. It also features 11 VLANs, allowing it greater control over network access and security. Previously, it ran a Meru wireless system with one access point to cover about four rooms.

Banks sharpen focus on mobile, tablets

Australia's first internet bank is shifting its focus from websites to mobile apps as it seeks new ways to serve customers – especially those with tablets.

St George, now part of the Westpac group, was the first to offer internet banking in 1995, when fewer than a handful of banks worldwide were online. But as consumer preferences shift, St George is now prioritising mobile devices as the simpler, more powerful way to reach customers. St George has 1.1 million digital customers, half of whom use mobile platforms, said the bank's head of mobile Travis Tyler.

"The big piece of work at the moment is transforming the mobile and tablet experience," Tyler said of the bank's mobile redesign project which needed to capitalise on tablet features such as cameras and gesture control.

The bank is also reportedly looking at smartwatches as a possible new avenue for mobile baking and payment apps, and a budget planner populated with Australian Bureau of Statistics data, more use of geolocation, better integration with the group's BT superannuation products, and video conferencing with bank experts.