The Communications Alliance IoT think tank has released a report into IoT in Australia, saying that a lack of industry and government focus risks denying Australia the opportunity for IoT competitive advantage and global market leadership that could be worth up to $116 billion to the Australian economy by 2025.
Comms Alliance launched the think tank in March and announced plans to produce the report, saying that the growth trajectory of IoT and its pervasive influence meant that parts of Australia’s telecommunications regulatory framework might be rapidly overwhelmed or inhibit the national ability to reap the benefits of IoT.
The report makes 12 core recommendations for regulatory and policy changes and calls for a number of industry initiatives that it says are “designed to avoid the risks inherent in the development of the IoT and facilitate its development in Australia in ways that will drive economic growth and competitiveness.”
It also calls for the creation of six work streams to carry forward the recommendations. To facilitate their implementation Comms Alliance has invited a number of additional entities to join the think tank’s executive council. It also includes a list of 41 observations on IoT made by the authors of the report – Frank Zeichner and Geof Heydon of consultancy Creator Tech.
The report singles out the industry verticals of mining, agriculture, transport and telecommunications as sectors where, it says, IoT-based development can have the greatest impact and where Australia has an opportunity to develop world-leading expertise.
UTS to host Knowledge Economy Institute
The launch of the report was accompanied by an announcement by 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, established by Sirca, will be hosted at UTS as the national focal point for IoT innovation and the start-up community.
The CEO of the KEi, Mike Briers, will be appointed as Australia’s first professor of IoT at UTS and Comms Alliance says plans are underway to establish other IoT implantation hubs in other capital cities.
“The IoT think tank and KEi will work closely together to provide data and commercial grade IoT technology to support proof of concept projects that bring together business, Government and researchers to solve problems,” Comms Alliance said.
Despite the “lack of industry and government focus,” Comms Alliance praised the contribution of the Federal Department of Communications and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to the think tank.
CEO and chair of the think tank executive council, John Stanton, said: “We have a who’s-who of global and leading local industry players on the think tank, 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.”
Launching the report at an event in Sydney, Paul Fletcher federal minister for territories, local government and major projects, said: “The Bureau of Communications Research within the Department of Communications has been an active observer on the think tank executive council and contributed heavily to the research report.
“The Department will remain engaged with the executive council and there is also close engagement with the Digital Productivity group – which has recently moved from the Department of Communications to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.”
ACMA to look at spectrum needs of IoT
He added: “The ACMA has also been a key participant in the work of the think tank and in fact has agreed to lead one of the planned follow-on workstreams – that dealing with spectrum issues and how to ensure that suitable frequency bands spectrum can be made available to meet the emerging needs of IoT applications.”
(In its Five year spectrum outlook 2015 – 2019, the ACMA says its current licensing arrangements “adequately encourage innovation in [IoT] via the class licensing regime,” but: “there is potential demand for additional spectrum management arrangements as … the number of connected devices increase as more objects are connected.” The ACMA says it will continue to monitor international developments.)