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Optus reveals the winners of Ultimate IT Challenge
14 Feb 2011

Luxottica, FareShare, Aspedia and 13CABS recognised for IT Innovation with shared $100K reward

Optus has revealed the four winners of its Ultimate IT Challenge Competition, which were awarded at the Optus Business Innovation Awards ceremony in Melbourne on Friday evening.

NSW designer eyewear provider Luxottica was the overall enterprise winner, whilst Melbourne-based charity FareShare, Queensland website design firm Aspedia, and Victorian taxi operator 13CABS took out the Small and Medium Business (SMB) category prizes. The four winners will share $100,000 worth of Optus products and services, or have the option of funds to help promote their business.

Open to Australian businesses of any size, the Optus Ultimate IT Challenge Competition aims to recognise and reward innovation and teamwork in overcoming IT challenges and attracted entries from a broad range of business sectors, such as IT, transport, retail, construction, healthcare, community services and education.

Luxottica was presented with the enterprise award for the development of its open source point of sale infrastructure that is deployed in more than 1,000 sites across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and China. Luxottica was faced with connecting a large and distributed retail environment that needed to operate across multiple languages and geographies. It overcame this challenge by designing a system, critical to the operation of the business, within a strict framework of costs, supportability, security and availability. Luxottica will have the option of Optus products or services to the value of $50,000 or $25,000 to help promote the business.

FareShare, Aspedia and 13CABS took out the SMB prizes for developing customised mobile applications or systems that deliver real-time access to information and streamlining business processes to enhance service delivery. Each business will have the option of Optus products or services to the value of $16,900 or $10,000 to help promote the business.

  • FareShare: Needed to improve communication between the head office and its delivery fleet. To do this the team developed an iPad App to allow the food charity's van drivers to obtain real-time updates on food collection points and feedback on stock collected and delivery times to the charity's chefs improving the quality and speed of food that is donated to over 100 charities in Melbourne;
  • Aspedia: Developed a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool with website, eCommerce and Mobile Commerce integration for VoIP communications to connect patients and doctors via a Medical Advice Hotline and ensure secure storage of patients medical records and recorded call history;
  • 13CABS: Realised they could use mobile technology to improve its customer service. The company developed an iPhone App to streamline bookings and provide rich GPS-enabled functionality which integrated with its website and online booking service.

The winners were judged by a panel of IT experts including Bruce Lakin, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Computer Society (ACS); Janice Cox, Vice President and General Manager for the Personal Systems Groups (PSG), HP South Pacific; Neil Whiteing, Group Chief Information Officer for Insurance Australia Group (IAG); Robert Parcell, Acting Managing Director, Optus Business; Rohan Ganeson, Managing Director, Optus Small and Medium Business Group and Tony Sarno, Editor, Australian Personal Computer Magazine.

The Australian public also had the opportunity to vote for their favourite entry via Facebook, with Luther College emerging as the most popular entry with 217 'likes'. The Luther College IT Department has overcome many challenges to provide best-of-breed networking, implementing innovative solutions to compliment the learning environment.

A snapshot of the competition entries found that the key IT challenges affecting Australian organisations include reducing operating costs, enabling business productivity, managing disparate systems, devices and data and enabling ease of access to this data to improve service delivery. Many businesses were also looking to leverage cloud computing to increase business flexibility and reduce IT operating costs and infrastructure management.

Commenting on the high standard of entries for the Ultimate IT Challenge, Rohan Ganeson, Managing Director of Optus Small and Medium Business, said "Each entry displayed the often unrecognised innovation that occurs every day in IT departments across the country.

"Optus is proud to highlight these innovations and celebrate them as part of our ongoing commitment to support business. It is encouraging to see so many small and medium businesses innovating in mobile applications and systems to enable their staff to access critical business information in real-time so they can improve service delivery."

Robert Parcell, Acting Managing Director of Optus Business, said "Australian businesses are constantly looking for ways to innovate to improve service delivery, manage a growing magnitude of data and reduce costs. The IT challenges that these organisations have overcome showcase the type of innovation that is critical for Australian organisations to prosper in a competitive marketplace."

The other short-listed finalists in the competition included:

  • ENerds – www.enerds.com.au (New South Wales)
  • Newbiz Solutions – www.newbizsolutions.com.au (Victoria)
  • Ashmor Plumbing – www.ashmorplumbing.com.au (New South Wales)
  • Luther College - www.luther.vic.edu.au (Victoria)
  • Queensland Institute of Medical Research - www.qimr.edu.au (Queensland)

All nine finalists also took part in the ultimate sports challenge on 11 February 2011 where they spent a day competing against Australia's top sporting talent, including AFL Carlton Football Club Captain and Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd, Rugby International Stirling Mortlock, Wallaby Matt Giteau and Tennis Olympian Alicia Molik.

For more information, visit www.optus.com.au/ITChallenge.

Media contact:
Kasia Ciszak
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 7850