Digitisation, data and the Internet of Things (IoT) offer unprecedented economic opportunities for the private and public sectors, with McKinsey estimating that digitisation could be adding as much as $2.2 trillion to Australia’s annual GDP by 2025.
A 2013 study by Cisco Systems found that Australia is one of the nations with the greatest potential to benefit from IoT, thanks to its proximity to Asia, well-trained engineers and “innovation power”.
In that study, CISCO estimated the potential Value at Stake for the Australian economy of IoT to be more than $104 million (US$74 billion) over the coming decade.
So the global IT giant‘s announcement last year that it would spend around $21 million (US$15 m) over the next five years developing 'Internet of Everything' (IoE) Innovation Centres on the east and west coast of Australia is exciting news indeed.
The company cemented its ongoing commitment to IoE innovation in Australia with the launch of Innovation Central, Sydney on 15 February 2016.
A new, globally-connected 'IoE' hub for Australia
The new centre, based at Australian Technology Park (ATP) in inner-city Redfern, is the IT multinational’s second IoE hub Down Under, joining the Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre (CIIC) in Perth, which opened in July 2015.
Innovation Central will be ideally located at ATP Innovations, Australia’s leading technology incubator and community of technology entrepreneurs. The new Centre will incorporate dedicated space for showcasing “IoT in action” as well as open areas promoting the discussion and development of new ideas and technologies.
It will also link to a hub on the University of New South Wales (UNSW) campus and to its west-coast counterpart at Curtin University in Perth.
A platform for technology ideas and open innovation
Australia’s new east-coast Centre, says Cisco, will be “a platform for technology ideas and open innovation”.
The aim is to bring together start-ups, industry experts, developers and researchers in an open environment that fosters the generation, development and testing of novel solutions – solutions that contribute to better outcomes for business and quality of life and spark a new generation of start-ups and jobs in Australia.
Cisco’s initial ecosystem partners in Innovation Central include:
- CSIRO’s Data61, bringing together CSIRO’s Digital Innovations division and the National ICT Association (NICTA);
- University of New South Wales (UNSW);
- National Farmers’ Federation (NFF);
- NSW Farmers Association;
- ATP Innovations; and
- NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
In collaboration with its industry partners and ecosystem start-ups, Cisco experts will use the allocated funding to develop “proof-of-concepts, features and functionalities” and to do rapid prototyping.
“The aim now, with Innovation Central, Sydney, is to turn innovation into real commercial solutions based on IoE in agriculture, smart cities and transportation in Australia," said Ken Boal, Vice President, Cisco Australia and New Zealand, just prior to the launch of the new facility.
Innovation Central, Sydney, will be the tenth in Cisco’s global network of Innovation Centres. The company helms similar IoE hubs in Berlin, Barcelona, London, Paris, Perth, Rio de Janeiro, Songdo, Tokyo and Toronto.
Why Cisco is investing more than $21 m in IoE hubs for Australia?
Cisco's five-year, 20-plus-million-dollar investment in IoE Down Under reaffirms its ongoing global commitment to generating new economic growth through technology innovation derived from digital transformation, IoT and cybersecurity.
“Australia is a sophisticated market with a high level of innovation and is an early adopter of new technology. [It] is already highly regarded globally for its resources and agriculture sectors and is well-placed to serve the rapidly growing Asian markets – and the government has prioritised these sectors accordingly," Boal explained.
“We are confident that our investment, as well as that of our partners, will help to accelerate the government’s recently announced National Innovation and Science Agenda – an impressive agenda that requires industry to support collaborative innovation initiatives.”
Matt Brand, CEO, NSW Farmers
“NSW Farmers is a leader in digital innovation in agriculture and is driving collaborations between digital providers and producers across all sectors.
“Advances in technology across sensor tech, automation, digital logistics and marketing make this an exciting time for our industry. The IoT is critical to enabling data-driven approaches to production and to optimising sustainability, profitability and quality assurance.
“Our participation in the Centre is about accelerating adoption by our members and helping to ensure that developers understand operational requirements as we seek to close the gap between farmers and their customers.
“We see digital innovation as central to our competitive advantage in export markets and to authenticating the quality of Australian food and fibre products.”
Adrian Turner, CEO, CSIRO's Data61
“As the leading ICT research organisation in Australia, we see our foundational partnership in Innovation Central as an opportunity to build and extend relationships in the local and global IoT ecosystem. It will also facilitate deeper collaboration and high-impact outcomes with Cisco and other partners around our cybersecurity and data analytics research.
“This aligns well with Data61’s strategy of building an Applied Data Research Network to help create new technology-based industries for Australia in domains where we have competitive advantage, and position us as a global leader in the next wave of computing. Our strength industries are the ones that stand to benefit most from IoT.”
Professor Mark Hoffman, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, UNSW
“As the leading engineering institution in Australia, we believe that Innovation Central and the hub that we will build on our campus will enable much closer linkage between industry and the research sector.
“It will enable IoT and cybersecurity-related research to be undertaken by post-grads and undergrads that may also, potentially, lead to related jobs and careers.“
Simon Talbot, CEO, NFF
“NFF is the national body representing farmers and agriculture across Australia. Australian agriculture is entering a new growth phase and is likely to generate $1.2 trillion between now and 2030, while this year alone, agriculture is predicted to reap a record farm-gate return of $57.6 billion.
“We need to reposition agriculture as an industry not of the past, but of the future with a flourishing culture of entrepreneurialism and innovation. Innovation Central is an ideal opportunity to accelerate the digitisation of Australian agriculture and help the industry seize the vast growth opportunities before it.”
Hamish Hawthorn, CEO, ATP Innovations
“ATP Innovations partners with technology-based start-ups and entrepreneurs to help them grow, achieve success and find investment through the support of personalised assistance and mentoring.
“Hosting Innovation Central inside our incubator will add value to existing and future portfolio companies and provide a dynamic link between start-ups, industry and research that will be the first of its kind in Australia.”
The Hon. Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water, NSW DPI
“NSW Department of Primary Industries works to increase the value of primary industries and drive economic growth across NSW. We recognize the need to work closely with industry and to focus on digital transformation taking place in all sectors not only in Australia but globally.
“Innovation Central is an ideal mechanism to accelerate this agenda and drive transformation across the state.”
Innovation Central’s Australian website is set to launch soon, so Google it.