Showing posts with label NICTA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NICTA. Show all posts

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bionic Eye trialled in Canberra


NICTA, Australia’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence and the nation’s largest organisation dedicated to ICT research last week conducted their latest round of testing of their bionic eye.

Tested in NICTA’s Canberra Research Laboratory, the bionic eye has been in development since 2010. This is the first time the patients have tested the bionic eye while moving through a physical setting, previously they have been reacting to objects as they appeared on a computer screen while seated.

Dianne Ashworth, who has been blind for more than 20 years, is one of the patients taking part in the testing. Dr Ashworth said ‘’It’s been amazing. The more I’ve been doing it, the more natural it feels.’’

Watch this video to find out more about the bionic eye External Link - opens in new window and see the testing in action, or read more in the Canberra Times article, Bionic eye trial 'really promising' External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 14 June 2013

NICTA Farewells Founding Board Member


At its May board meeting, NICTA External Link - opens in new window, Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, farewelled board member Brand Hoff.

Mr Hoff had been involved with NICTA since its inception and is one of the longest servicing board members.  He has more than 40 years experience in the ICT industry, including the development of the Australian Bibliographic Network for the National Library of Australia as well as work with the Treasury department.

In 1985, Mr Hoff founded TOWER Software Engineering, a business he grew into a Canberra-based multinational.  The business received numerous industry accolades including three Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) iAwards, ACT Small Business of the Year, NSW Emerging Exporter of the Year and the National AusIndustry Innovation Award. TOWER, which developed the TRIM content management software, was sold to Hewlett Packard in May 2008, following a formal takeover offer.
Mr Hoff is well known and highly respected member of the Canberra business community. He is the immediate past Chair of the Canberra Business Council and continues to serve the Council as a board member.

In 2011, Mr Hoff was awarded the National Pearcey Medal, one of Australia’s most prestigious Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry awards, for a lifetime contribution to ICT.  Dr Ian Oppermann, former Director ICT Centre, CSIRO presented the award, stating that Mr Hoff’s “pioneering efforts in Electronic Records Management Systems positioned Australia as the world’s leader in the creation and use of this now pervasive technology”.

“It is the individual efforts of people like Mr Hoff that exemplify how Australia can successfully innovate and improves its productivity.” Read more about the 2011 National Pearcey Medal External Link - opens in new window.

Following this, in 2012, Mr Hoff was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Read more in the 'Canberra Times' article, IT giant-killer 'chuffed' over recognition External Link - opens in new window.

In farewelling Mr Hoff, Neville Stevens AO, NICTA Board Chairman said that Brand was departing after ten years of dedicated service.

“With his first-hand experience building and running a successful software company, he has helped develop a strong and vital entrepreneurial culture at NICTA. He will be missed.”

Mr Hoff responded stating “It has been a great privilege to serve as a NICTA Board Member and I am very proud to have contributed to the growth of NICTA from conception through to maturity.”

“NICTA is now ten years young and has a strong national and international reputation for research, innovation and commercialisation. I believe the digital revolution has only just begun and Australia is fortunate to have an ICT centre of excellence like NICTA to help navigate to the digital future.”

At the same meeting, Mr Stevens also farewelled fellow board member Barney Glover. The two retiring members were replaced by IBM Australia’s Research Director Glenn Wightwick and Southern Cross University’s Vice-Chancellor Peter Lee. Read more in NICTA welcomes two new Board members External Link - opens in new window.

Brand Hoff
Retiring NICTA Board Member, Brand Hoff.
Source: Canberra Business Council

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

ACT Budget 2013-2014: Supporting Growth, Diversification and Jobs


On 4 June 2013, ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr handed down the 2013-14 ACT Budget, a budget about building and transforming Canberra for a prosperous and sustainable second century.

Within the budget, he acknowledged Canberra’s connected and collaborative private sector –a hub for a growing regional economy – and outlined support initiatives for local businesses to ensure they continue to thrive.

These initiatives continue through the implementation of Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT, released by Minister Bar in April 2012. They encourage businesses and our economy to grow and diversify, and assist businesses to create jobs. Placing a high priority on market-based approaches that broaden employment and business growth, the initiatives aim to improve Canberra’s competitiveness and economic sustainability. They focus on small to medium enterprises and broadening the role of the private sector by providing targeted funding and support to local businesses and helping to attract new businesses and investment.

This includes supporting Territory businesses to sell their goods and services to the world, with $1.5 million in funding committed to the Global Connect program over a period of two years. Global Connect consists of a range of programs to raise awareness among ACT businesses about exporting, promote collaboration among local exporters, increase the number of local exporters and help them tap into new markets. This is delivered through a number of programs including the Trade Connect grant program, the ACT Exporter’s Network External Link - opens in new window and the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards External Link - opens in new window. Read more about the Global Connect funding announcement.

In addition to this, over $5 million has been committed to other initiatives within Growth, Diversification and Jobs: A Business Development Strategy for the ACT. Innovation is a major focus of this, with:
  • $3 million for NICTA External Link - opens in new window, Australia's centre of excellence for information and communication technology research;
  • $650,000 for the Innovation Connect grant program, designed to help Canberra based businesses develop innovative products and services; 
  • $300,000 for the Strategic Opportunities Funding Program, which provides seed funding for the establishment of new innovation infrastructure and collaborative projects in the university and research sector; and
  • $100,000 for the My Digital City innovation prize to stimulate the development of digitally based government services.

The ACT Government is facilitating a business friendly environment through payroll tax reform and reducing red tape. A total of $180,000 was committed to support the already ongoing work of the Red Tape Reduction Panel External Link - opens in new window.

Further support is also provided for business investment, with the development of a brand strategy to shape and promote Canberra comparative advantage as well as committing $520,000 to the newly launched InvestACT program.  This will help allow the InvestACT team to support proactive investment facilitation by providing business intelligence on the Canberra market and supporting potential investors to develop opportunities in the Capital region.

The ACT Government’s expectation is that over the medium to long term, the initiatives within the Business Development Strategy, working in concert with other aligned strategies and approaches of the Government, will lead to measurable diversification and growth in the private sector.

View the full ACT Budget 2013-2014 External Link - opens in new window.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Canberra innovation on show at CeBIT

A number of Canberra businesses recently showcased their innovative products and services at the 12th annual CeBIT Australia conference and exhibition.

Held in Sydney from 28-30 May, CeBIT is the leading information and communications technology business event in the Asia Pacific region, covering cloud, big data, enterprise mobility, security, government, interlogistics, and more.

Over 600 exhibitors, including a number of local businesses, were on show over the three days.

Canberra business eWAY showcased their innovative online payment systems. Developed by CEO Matt Bullock, eWAY allows businesses to accept credit cards payments online with the same ease, flexibility and security they had access to in their bricks-and-mortar stores. The payment gateway is now one of the most respected in the eCommerce industry, and is used by more than 12,000 customers including Qantas, 3M and Canon. Find out more about eWAY External Link - opens in new window.

The eWAY team demonstrates their online payment systems
The eWAY team demonstrates their online payment systems.
Fellow Canberra business EcoSpectral was also on exhibition at CeBIT this year. Founded in 2010, EcoSpectral received Innovation Connect grant funding to help develop energy efficient lighting solutions suitable for domestic, office and government applications. Their systems use scalable wireless networks that sense motion and ambient light as well as a suite of web based services that allow for the lighting system to be configured, controlled and maintained.  This creates a system that conserves energy, provides efficient autonomous lighting control and monitors the environment. Find out more about EcoSpectral External Link - opens in new window.

Founder David Keightley at the EcoSpectral stand
Founder David Keightley at the EcoSpectral stand.
Among the number of local ideas and inventions on display at CeBIT, was NICTA’s Event Watch. Developed at NICTA’s Canberra Research Laboratory, Event Watch is a Twitter monitoring tool that collects Tweets into meaningful clusters. In doing so, it allows users to gain an understanding of Twitter discussions on a particular organisation, person, place, or product, how they have emerged over time and the sentiments around them. Event Watch runs on live Twitter data, therefore giving users the opportunity to react and respond to the information. Event Watch is different from most hashtag and word based Tweet clustering tools by using keyphrase extraction, name entity recognition and sentiment analysis. Find out more about Event Watch External Link - opens in new window or watch a live demonstration External Link - opens in new window.

Dr Jon Gray of NICTA with the Event Watch demo
Dr Jon Gray of NICTA with the Event Watch demo.
Did your Canberra business exhibit at CeBIT Australia? Share your photos on our Facebook page External Link - opens in new window or tweet to @ACTGov_Business External Link - opens in new window.