Asha Barbaschow

Published 1 hour ago: May 16, 2023 at 9:27 am

Hello and happy Tuesday. I asked ChatGPT to write a nice intro for this morning’s briefing and boy did it ramble. So I’m not going to C+P it, instead, I’m just going to get stuck into five things happening in the tech world you may have missed.


1. Aristocrat to buy Israel’s NeoGames for $1B

Australia’s Aristocrat Leisure, the company you’d know about if you’ve ever walked through a poker machine room in a pub, has spent $US1 billion on the purchase of Israel-based online gaming solutions provider NeoGames SA. Per Reuters, the takeover will give Sydney-based Aristocrat “entry into the attractive but highly regulated iLottery market, and facilitate further penetration across other online real-money gaming (RMG) verticals”. Yikes.

2. Victorians, rejoice

Commuters will be able to pay for Victorian bus, tram, and train fares with a debit or credit card as part of a new contract for the state’s public transport ticketing system, a report from the ABC explains. Unlike Sydney and Brisbane, the state’s public transport ticketing system was not built ‘openloop’, meaning it didn’t use NFC tech that works with Visa, Mastercard, or American Express (or, as a result, Apple Pay). But now, the state has a new contract aiming to fix that whole mess right up. U.S.-based Conduent Business Services has been awarded a $1.7 billion, 15-year contract to take over the service at the end of 2023.

3. Sheep facial recognition, because why not

Over to iTnews now and they’re reporting that an Australian farm is set to trial sheep facial recognition technology made by New Zealand-based agricultural technology company NeXtgen Agri. The trial is expected to kick off “within the month” in north-western Victoria. The setup involves a camera, a single-core computer and “five or six different neural networks” that are designed to match ewes with lambs. How BAAA-zarre. Sorry.

4. EU surprises by approving Microsoft Activision merger

Microsoft’s big deal to eat up one of the biggest power pellets of the video game industry received a boost from EU regulators. On Monday, the European Commission — the body overseeing the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard merger — announced it had approved the $US68.7 billion deal to go forward, as long as the companies pinkie swear they’ll throw a competitive bone to other publishers along the way. Last month, the UK’s competition regulator declared the deal would drastically hurt competition in the video game industry, especially with cloud gaming as Microsoft has been pushing that realm heavily as of late. Both Microsoft and Activision said they would appeal the decision, further mentioning they were willing to offer these or similar concessions to British regulators. Read more about it here.

5. Restaurant tech startups look at merger

Two of Australia’s food and restaurant startups are looking at merging, according to the Australian Financial Review. The AFR is reporting that Melbourne-based Mr Yum and Sydney’s me&u engaged in negotiations about creating one company. As the report states, both startups have built businesses around food ordering with QR codes and payments, attracting backing from leading figures in Australian restaurants and global venture capital firms. Mr Yum is backed by investment giant Tiger Global, while me&u’s investors include pub baron Justin Hemmes and chef Neil Perry.

BONUS ITEM: As we started this with casting shade on ChatGPT, let’s end it with a software joke.

See you tomorrow!

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