news Australia must take care not to miss out on the benefits of the ‘next great disruptor’ – the Internet of Things – according to a report published last week by the newly formed Communications Alliance Internet of Things (IoT) Think Tank.
Launched by the Federal Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, the Hon. Paul Fletcher, the report titled “Enabling the Internet of Things for Australia” (you can download it here in PDF format) suggests that, while Australia is not lacking in fundamental IoT capabilities, “a lack of industry and government focus risks losing competitive advantage and global market leadership in the field”.
At stake, it claims, is a potential boost to the Australian economy estimated at up to $116 billion by 2025.
According to the report, it is estimated that there were 10 billion Internet-connected devices in 2014 – a number that is expected to grow to between 30 and 50 billion by 2020.
The IoT Think Tank makes 12 core recommendations for regulatory and policy changes, combined with industry initiatives – aimed to mitigate risks inherent in the development of the IoT and facilitate its growth in order to drive economic growth and competitiveness.
In particular, the report singles out mining, agriculture, transport and telecoms as industry verticals in which IoT-based development can have the most impact and where Australia has the greatest opportunity to develop world-leading expertise.
The Think Tank also called for the creation of six “work streams” to carry forward the recommendations. To this end, a number of additional entities have been invited to join its Executive Council.
Research for the report, carried out by consulting firm Creator Tech, allegedly draws on “international experience in the IoT field, the outputs of a series of industry workshops, a survey, desk research and interviews with more than 35 IoT experts from Australia and abroad”.
John Stanton, Communications Alliance CEO and chair of the IoT Think Tank Executive Council, was positive about the involvement of the Federal Department of Communications and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
“We have a who’s-who of global and leading local industry players on the Think Tank,” he said, “but the direct engagement with government, regulators and consumer groups has strengthened the outputs and created the broad coalition of stakeholders needed to produce national action.”
Accompanying the launch of the report was an announcement from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, the Hon. Victor Dominello, that the Knowledge Economy Institute (KEi) – an IoT innovation hub – will be hosted at UTS as a national centre for IoT innovation and the start-up community.
Additionally, Mike Briers, CEO of KEi, is to be appointed Australia’s first Professor of IoT at UTS.
The IoT Think Tank and KEi aim to work together to provide data and commercial grade IoT technology that will support proof-of-concept projects bringing together business, government and researchers to solve problems in this burgeoning industry.