Monday, 9 March 2015
Do you know about the Digital Canberra Challenge? It’s an initiative that seeks to engage Canberra’s brightest minds to help build and support a dynamic, healthy and prosperous Digital City for the 21st century.
The Digital Canberra Challenge (DCC) invites all Canberrans to get involved in thinking about how to improve our city. If you’re interested in being involved in helping our Government do things better, faster or more efficiently, then keep reading to find out how you can get involved.
How does it work?
Canberrans are invited to put forward challenges of things they think the Government can improve on through the use of digital technology; things that can be done better, smarter, or faster.
The best two of these are then chosen and the ACT innovation community is invited to put forward their solutions. The top two innovator teams become the competitors who then have twelve weeks to develop a prototype solution and a case study. The teams are then judged with the winner receiving $12,500 and the runner-up $7,500.
What’s been happening so far?
The DCC started in 2013 and runs a new challenge every 6 months. We’re currently nearing the end of round 3 and round 4 will start soon.
There has been a diverse range of challenges so far, from making it easier to book ACT Government services (like road tests) to creating an app for patients and visitors to use while visiting The Canberra Hospital.
This round the challenges are: developing a digital public art installation and creating a whole of government image and video library that both the Government and public can access.
How do I get involved?
Do you have an idea?
If you’re interested in making our Government better and have some ideas to put forward, it’s really easy. All you need to do is write a few sentences explaining the situation, the opportunity for improvement and what you want to see achieved. Just go to the Digital Canberra website.
If your challenge gets picked, you’ll receive a Great Idea award. If your challenge isn’t picked this round, don’t worry, it will continue to be considered for future rounds.
Are you an innovator?
Make sure you keep up to date with Program and consider applying if you have a solution to one of the challenges. The challenge will provide you with a fantastic opportunity to get to work directly with a Government agency, to build connections within the innovator community and develop a solution to a real problem.
Friday, 7 November 2014
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has officially launched the new CBR Innovation Network (CBRIN) at its space in Level 5, 1 Moore St, Canberra.
In an Australian-first collaboration between the ACT Government and 5 research organisations, CBRIN is a central hub to connect, promote and accelerate innovation in the ACT. It is a not for profit organisation, supported by the ACT Government with leadership from its 5 foundation partners: The Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra (UC), National ICT Australia (NICTA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and The University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra). The broader innovation community is engaged through various avenues, including an Advisory Committee that will give input to strategic direction.
CBRIN CEO, Dr. Sarah Pearson said "The ACT is uniquely positioned to transform its economy. No other city in Australia can boast such a strong collaboration between its major research and education institutions, coupled with a vibrant and engaged innovation community. We have all the ingredients needed to make our city a globally recognised economy driven by entrepreneurial and innovative companies".
Professor Michael Cardew-Hall, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Innovation and Advancement) said of the ANU's involvement "CBRIN is an exciting opportunity for ANU to connect with the broader innovation community, to support the growth of innovation culture and capability, and is already helping connect start-ups with the support they need".
Professor Frances Shannon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UC said "UC is looking to CBRIN as a collaborative approach to engaging students in entrepreneurship, as well as an opportunity to develop new industry sectors for the ACT".
Dr Phil Robertson, Chief Operating Officer at NICTA said that being based on collaborations between industry and researchers, NICTA was a natural foundation partner for the CBRIN
"We are keen to see CBRIN connect ACT innovators into market supply chains to deliver innovative solutions and a thriving economy", said Dr Phil Robertson.
Lindsay Adler commented "CSIRO is pleased to be involved in this unique collaboration, and will use CBRIN as a tool to support the growth of the ACT innovation ecosystem and economy".
Professor Hans Riesen from UNSW Canberra highlighted "the collaborative approach that CBRIN is employing is unique in Australia, and we see this as a great opportunity to foster excellence in entrepreneurship and successful commercialisation".
The ACT has over 26,000 businesses, with the vast majority being micro and small. It has the highest business formation and patent PC rate in Australia, and is a hotbed of youth entrepreneurism.
CBRIN is headed by Sarah Pearson as the CEO, and Tony Henshaw as the Chair. CBRIN will take a central role in growing the innovation ecosystem and diversifying the economy in the ACT, and will do this by:
- Providing a service connecting innovators and entrepreneurs to the support they need, both online and offline
- Providing a supportive co-working space in collaboration with Entry 29
- Supporting a business accelerator program with Griffin Accelerator
- Developing an incubator program
- Workshops, talks and events for capability building, connection, promotion and commercial solution development through open methods
- Delivering a business assistance service for small companies wishing to innovate and grow
- Delivering programs to support youth and public servants wishing to start on the entrepreneurial journey
- Promoting innovation in the ACT nationally and internationally, to attract funding, talent, and companies wishing to be part of the concentration of world-class expertise and entrepreneurship
Canberra is on track to become a globally recognised hub of entrepreneurial success- a clever, connected and creative city that attracts companies, ideas and talent. With Canberra's unique concentration of education and research institutions, skilled people and multinational companies, CBRIN will integrate, align and expand diverse innovation activities.
Find out more about the CBR Innovation Network at www.cbrin.com.au .
Thursday, 30 October 2014
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has today launched CBRfree public Wi-Fi in Civic East – the first area of the city to go permanently live with Canberra’s new free public Wi-Fi network.
At the launch, the Chief Minster also announced that service provider iiNet will increase the download limit of CBRfree from 100 megabytes per day (3 gigabytes per month), to 250 megabytes per day (7.5 gigabytes per month).
“This is a significant moment for Canberra and represents the ACT Government’s commitment to our future as a smart and digital city,” the Chief Minister said.
“We want to ensure Canberra is a place where businesses and entrepreneurs can compete globally in new knowledge-based and ICT industries.
“The rollout of CBRfree Wi-Fi will continue to make Canberra a place of influence and innovation. It will encourage vibrant town centres where Canberrans are connected to their community and are able to engage with Government services easily.
“It is fantastic that iiNet have offered to increase the download limit of CBRfree to 250MB at no additional cost to the Territory. This allows iiNet to create a homogenous service across the cities in which it delivers free public Wi-Fi while giving Canberrans even greater connectivity.
In May this year, the Chief Minister announced that as of October Civic East – from Garema Place to the Convention Centre, round to Gorman House and up to Girrahween Street in Braddon – would be the first area of the city to go live with CBRfree public Wi-Fi. This would be followed with a staged rollout in other town centres and commercial precincts over the following 12 months.
“The next area of Canberra that CBRfree public Wi-Fi will be rolled out in is Civic West – from Moore Street to the New Acton precinct. This area is scheduled to be fully live in January 2015,” the Chief Minister said.
“Over the coming months, as free public Wi-Fi is rolled out across all of Civic, Canberrans will start to see signage that will identify the free public Wi-Fi hotspots. I encourage you all to log on and check out the new network,” the Chief Minister concluded.
CBRfree public Wi-Fi was recently made available at this year’s Floriade and was incredibly popular. There were more than 48,000 sessions and nearly 13,000 unique users connecting to the network over the duration of the festival.
The new free public Wi-Fi service will provide users with 250 megabytes per day, totalling 7.5 gigabytes per month. An example of the type of internet activity Canberrans will have per month is:
- the capacity to send around 15,000 emails (without attachments);
- make around 1,500 Facebook posts;
- download about 525 songs; or
- download roughly 1,500 photos.
For more information on the rollout of CBRfree public Wi-Fi visit www.digitalcanberra.com.au .
Friday, 17 October 2014
A prototype app giving Canberra residents the ability to seamlessly access a wide range of local services has secured first place – and a $12,500 cash prize for Canberra’s Imagine Team – at the Digital Canberra Challenge awards this week.
Imagine Team’s 'digital ID' wallet gives users one app instead of a myriad of cards to access buses, libraries and other government services. The app, called ‘Cardly’ is the brainchild of co-creators Zakaria Bouguettaya and Andrew Clapham. The prototype app incorporates MyWay cards and ACT drivers' licences but can be extended to include other services. Bouguettaya said he will use the cash prize to further develop the prototype.
“I want to thank NICTA’s eGov Cluster and the ACT Government for backing the Digital Canberra Challenge. The support that this competition is giving to innovative SMEs in Canberra has been fantastic,” said Mr Bouguettaya.
Mr Bouguettaya says he anticipates using the money on extending the concept of Cardly, and investing on his other venture, QuicklyPay.it. As for the next steps for Cardly, Mr. Bouguettaya is in discussions with government agencies to see how the concept can be rolled out for a private beta, and what would be needed to see it through to reality.
The runner-up app came from local start-up company Basement Labs. It aims to streamline information about the Canberra Hospital for patients, visitors and staff. Tim Ainge from Basement Labs has trialled the app in the hospital’s new paediatrics ward. “The value of the app is in providing information in smaller and more relevant ‘chunks’, making it easier for people to consume,” said Mr Ainge.
This awards were presented last night at NICTA’s Canberra Laboratory by ACT Deputy Chief Minister Andrew Barr. He also launched round three of the Challenge. “Through the Challenge, we have seen SMEs challenging the status quo and thinking deeply about the issues facing our government. These businesses have been focussed on developing the right solutions for these challenges. The Digital Canberra Challenge encourages ACT public servants, and the local community, to get involved in thinking differently about our government and developing new and better ways for us to do business,” said Minister Barr.
Michael Phillips, Manager of the NICTA-led eGov Cluster said: “Once again, the diversity, drive and resourcefulness of Canberra’s innovators was on show in the Digital Canberra Challenge. Congratulations to the winners!”
Digital Canberra Challenge is an ACT Government initiative to engage Canberra’s brightest minds to help build and support a dynamic, healthy and prosperous Digital City for the 21st century.
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Creating a leading digital city. That’s the ultimate goal of the ACT Government’s Digital Canberra Action Plan , unveiled by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher MLA earlier this year.
One of the major priorities within the action plan is the implementation of free Wi-Fi in Canberra, commencing in Civic and later rolling out to other town centres and commercial precincts. Last week, the Chief Minister took the next step in achieving this goal, announcing iiNet as the successful supplier to provide the Wi-fi which will be available in Civic from October this year.
iiNet has delivered a free public network in Adelaide that is used by 200,000 people each month and has up to 500 people connected during peak periods.
Once available, Canberrans will be able to download up to 100 megabytes per day of data. When complete, the Territory’s network will be the largest free outdoor public network in Australia.
Read more about in the Canberra Times article, ‘Free Wi-Fi for Canberrans to come to Civic in October’ .
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Six Canberra-based businesses have recently been awarded funding from the latest round of the Innovation Connect grant program.
Innovation Connect, the ACT Government’s flagship innovation program, provides matched-funding grants of up to $50,000 to assist early stage Canberra businesses and entrepreneurs to accelerate the development of products and services through commercialisation pathways.
Since the program was established in 2008, funding of more than $3.2 million has been awarded to 127 local businesses, an amount that was at least matched by the grant recipients.
Among the grant recipients is Paramodic Pty Ltd, who are developing a second-stage prototype for curating and augmenting a narrative of indigenous cultural sites, artefacts and intangible heritage using smart devices.
“The grant will help us to work with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and beyond to enable and inspire our communities to embrace, build, and adapt digital technologies to create real educational and commercial opportunities,” says Ms Mikaela Griffiths, Managing Director of Paramodic Pty Ltd.
The other successful recipients were:
- Dilkara Hair for the commercialisation of an Indigenous professional hair salon range with specific botanical ingredients consisting of unique natural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander blends;
- Correct Communications Pty Ltd for the development of a unique cloud-based service focussed on the unified communications needs of small to medium businesses;
- Targeted Genomics Pty Ltd for the development of high-speed, high-resolution and cost effective genomic testing technologies for the routine quality and safety assessment of drinking and recreational water;
- XCOM-1 Pty Ltd t/as HaystackHQ for the development of a web-based visual analytics service for legal eDiscovery targeting regulatory agencies, tier-1 law firms and the Fortune 5000 companies they serve; and
- Candra Innovations for developing a system for improving dental health with self-screening targeted brushing and networking with professionals using miniature intra-oral camera for oral hygiene devices.
To find out more visit our Innovation Connect page.