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Kiwis rate their digital skills

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 19 March 2020, 5:25 pm

As we adapt to the many changes imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic in the coming weeks and months, it will be technology that will help pull us through. From being able to work remotely, through to enabling online social interactions that maintain our mental wellbeing. The Productivity Commission's latest survey into how Kiwis view technology is therefore a timely piece of research.

The Commission asked 1001 New Zealanders about their attitudes to emerging digital technologies in February 2020. The questions were a subset of those that the European Commission asked 28 countries in the European Union.

"New Zealanders were, overall, much more negative than those in EU countries about the effects of emerging technologies on the economy and on society. By contrast, they are very positive about the effect of these technologies on their own quality of life, and about the quality of their own digital skills," the report notes.

According to the survey, 87% of Kiwis agree they are sufficiently skilled in technology in general, 93% in relation to their jobs, 86% in using online public services such as filing a tax declaration, and 86% for digital and online learning. This was a high percentage when compared to EU countries, and somewhat heartening given the need to move to an online environment for many of our daily interactions.

It's also good news for those technology companies that enable virtual work and worship - albeit in countries other than our own. The latter is a reference to Pushpay, which yesterday posted an update to the NZX on the impacts of Covid-19 to its business. Pushpay enables a digital payments for the US faith sector. As churches close their physical premises, the company is experiencing a huge surge in demand for its solutions.

"A number of Pushpay's customers are taking preventative measures to suspend in-person gatherings, emphasising live streaming, connection through their apps, small group meetings and digital giving. In terms of digital giving trends, Pushpay's processing volume over the last weekend was higher than the Company expected prior to COVID-19."

"Although church facilities may be closed for the meantime, their services will continue and we remain committed to supporting our customers through mobile-first solutions. Church is more than a building and we are seeing communities rally together," says CEO Bruce Gordon.

While Pushpay primarily caters to the US market, its experience is a good example of how different areas of people's lives are moving further into the online space. When the worst of this pandemic is over, it will be intereting to see how much remains there.


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