Qrious' new CEO to lead big data business

Ed Hyde will lead Spark New Zealand's big data business, Qrious, as it aims to help organisations use available data sets to improve their products and services.

Spark New Zealand, formerly known as Telecom New Zealand , has appointed Ed Hyde as the chief executive officer of its big data business, Qrious.

Launched in March this year, Qrious is a stand-alone startup part of Spark Ventures innovation and incubator business unit. It is Spark's entrance into the big data market, aimed to help businesses within segments such as government, healthcare, public transport, and housing, to use available data sets to improve their products and services. It is servicing these companies through on-demand expertise and cloud offerings, including platform as a service and software as a service.

Qrious has also partnered with Apigee to use its API platform to manage and monitor its data, analytics, and application platform.

Rod Snodgrass, chief executive of Spark Ventures, said Hyde's appointment will be pivotal to Qrious as the company assists New Zealand organisations with data, analytics, and applications.

"Qrious is ready to expand its horizons and deliver insights to more New Zealand businesses. Ed has a strong strategic, product, and commercial focus, but more importantly, Ed is a guy who wants to push boundaries, challenge the status quo, and change the game," he said.

Hyde has previously held roles within Spark, including as senior vice president for Spark Ventures, general manager for mobile product for Spark New Zealand, and commercial director for Yes Telecom in the UK.

Commenting on his appointment, Hyde said that Qrious will help businesses better leverage available data to make faster and improved decisions.

"Organisations can privately and securely host their own data and combine this with other public or private data sets such as demographic data, address databases, and weather to create more powerful insights than previously possible. Our experts can help them to work with this data to derive valuable information and understanding," he said.

Qrious is also establishing a Data Science Academy, where students will be trained on analytical techniques.

In April, the company's general manager Cyrus Facciano said the academy will help fill the data scientist gap that exists in New Zealand.

"Talent is a major problem. When we were doing our initial analysis and using the studies around data scientists and the global shortage, we estimated there'd be about 1,200 data scientists short in New Zealand in the next three years," he said at the time.

"We had a look around, and we saw there was one university offering it, but there were a total of six pupils, so we figured there's a major limit with realising that value."