Government and Tech Giants Join Communications AllianceSydney, 8 May 2015 - The Australian Government and a host of global technology giants have joined the Communications Alliance Internet of Things (IoT) Think-Tank that will today formally launch a major new industry program to exploit the benefits of IoT for Australian industry.
Internet of Things Think-Tank
The Bureau of Communications Research (BCR) within the Federal Department of Communications will sit on the Executive Council of the Think Tank, alongside industry heavyweights Intel, IBM, Telstra, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Ericsson and Hewlett- Packard.
Australian technology player RoZetta Technology will also join the Executive Council, along with global consulting leader KPMG, local ICT consultants Creator Tech and Communications Alliance.
The Think-Tank, announced in late March, will meet for the first time in Sydney today to set the direction for the IoT program, which is expected to focus on:
- Identifying and addressing regulatory and other enablers and inhibitors, to help create an environment that allows the full potential of IoT services and their cross-sectoral benefits to be realised in Australia; and
- the opportunity for Australian companies to be early beneficiaries of new business models through IoT and for Australia to become a significant exporter of business solutions enabled by IoT.
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said the calibre of participants in the Think-Tank underlined the importance that the global technology industry attaches to being prepared for the enormous opportunities – and also the risks – inherent in the growth trajectory and potential disruptive power of the Internet of Things.
“The Think Tank will have access to world-leading expertise from an array of the companies that are pioneering the development of the Internet of Things across the globe,
“Having the Bureau of Communications Research participating as observers in the program is a huge bonus – a cooperative industry/Government discussion is vital as all stakeholders grapple to understand the industry and policy settings that will work to fully harness the potential of IoT in the future,” Mr Stanton said.
The BCR will sit on the Executive Council as an ‘active observer’, indicating that as a government entity contributing to policy development it is not bound by recommendations flowing from the project.
Numerous key stakeholders have also signalled their intention to contribute to the program. These include the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), communications consumer group ACCAN, leading Australian law firm Baker and McKenzie, and other members of Communications Alliance.
Communications Alliance has warned that the growth and pervasiveness of IoT could mean that parts of Australia’s telecommunications regulatory framework will be rapidly overwhelmed or will inhibit the national ability to reap the benefits of the changed environment.
While forecasts vary, there is a generally held view among expert commentators that the number of connected devices will grow to within the region of 30 billion by 2020 – around a five-fold increase from present day experience. Even more rapid growth is anticipated in the Asia-Pacific market place.
The Executive Council will commission an initial research project that is expected to result in a first set of findings and recommendations in the September/October timeframe this year. It is anticipated this will identify focus areas for potential regulatory policy and industry action including, for example, specific cross-sectoral collaboration.
The objective of the program is that by mid-2016 Australia will have an activated IoT industry community, with a future strategy and vision that is understood and supported by Communications Alliance, industry, the Federal Government and other stakeholders. The project is also intended to dovetail with the Federal Government’s deregulatory and red-tape reduction programs.
An open industry workshop will be held in June to further advance the program. Details will be announced soon.
The IoT project will examine ‘Enablers and Inhibitors’ across several axes of influence.
1. Technology enablers such as:
- availability of a wide range of sensors;
- access technologies from low bit to high – predominantly wireless, but not necessarily mobile;
- networking protocols and platforms for creating IoT applications; and
- access to big data analytics capability
2. Business drivers and enablers such as:
- expansion of internal M2M initiatives to external customers;
- the cost of embedded wireless receivers; and
- service business models optimised for low bandwidth, wide coverage markets
3. Regulatory enablers and inhibitors such as:
- Roaming Rules: Traditional roaming regimes and interconnect/revenue models were not designed to suit the demands of a globally-interconnected or notionally connected multitude of mobile sensors.
- Numbering Schemes: Numbers are a finite resource and the existing formats will be exhausted very quickly by IoT demand unless some accommodation is made.
- Data Sovereignty: The emergence of IoT creates an environment in which data will become available from a far more rich and diverse array of sources. Data streams from different countries, different vertical and from many more points within the value chain will enable a revolution in ‘big-data’ analysis and create solution platforms that are undreamt of today.
- Identity Management and Privacy: The value of data in cross-sectoral applications, such as health and insurance is apparent. However the efficacy of user consent to applications will be tested as will the meaning of privacy. These are issues under serious consideration overseas and will have ramifications in Australia.
- Access Security: As the value of data becomes more evident there will be new challenges around access security. IoT creates new opportunities for fraudsters. The boundaries between ‘research’ and ‘espionage’ may blur.
- Spectrum Allocation and Cost: The Australian Government is already undertaking a review of its spectrum management and allocation regime. An IoT environment may be significantly hampered by the application of traditional philosophies on how spectrum is priced and allocated.
- Access to Low Cost/Low Data Access Networks: IoT and M2M applications are often high frequency, how volume, low bit-rate in nature. Data network access models may need to be rethought to produce a ‘win-win’.
- The Commercial Value of Information: New commercial thinking is likely to be required as new IoT-based business models and opportunities emerge. ‘Analysis-as-a-Service’ could touch the commercial lives of every sector.
ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.
Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.
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