Australia’s Chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO, alongside international IT company Cisco and a host of public institutions, met in Sydney today to launch Innovation Central, Cisco’s latest research and development hub focused on Internet of Things (IoT) innovation and commercialisation. In launching the event, cisco highlighted a specific focus on smart cities and digital agriculture, while Dr Alan Finkel also highlighted IoT’s importance for driverless technologies.
Innovation Central will be the home of Cisco’s collaborative initiative with CSIRO’s Data61, UNSW, NSW Department of Primary Industries, ATP Innovations, the National Farmer’s Federation and NSW Farmers, and will aim to develop proof-of-concepts, features and functionalities and perform rapid prototyping to realise an IoT-enabled future.
Innovation Central will be located at ATP Innovations, Australia’s leading technology incubator and community of technology entrepreneurs. The centre will also link into a hub on the campus at UNSW, where the university’s research expertise and strength of university graduates will feed into the growing IoT revolution. The new Sydney centre will be the tenth Cisco centre globally and combine with Cisco’s Perth centre, which was opened in December in collaboration with Curtin University. In addition to Perth, the centre joins eight other Cisco Innovation Centres in Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Songdo, Berlin, Barcelona, Tokyo, London and Paris. Cisco’s expertise of 25,000 engineers globally will seek to together with industry partners and ecosystem startups in a globally cooperative tech ecosystem.
The focus of the Sydney centre will consist of four key areas of innovation: astronomy, smart cities, resources and agriculture, and have targeted key public institutions and projects to bring IoT to these fields. Cisco is investing US$15 million over five years to these Australian Centres, reaffirming its global pledge and ongoing commitment to generating new economic growth, through technology innovation derived from digital transformation, IoT and cyber security. With partners also making significant investments, as well as funding on specific projects, the total investments are expected to greatly exceed this figure.
Cisco’s Australia and New Zealand Vice President, Ken Boal, presented the new centre and says Australia is in a particularly advantageous position to benefit from IoT.
“Australia is a sophisticated market with a high level of innovation and is an early adopter of new technology,” Boal said. “Australia is highly regarded globally for its resources and agriculture sectors, ensuring the nation is well-placed to serve the rapidly growing markets within Asia and the government has prioritised these sectors accordingly.”
“We are confident that our investment, as well as that of our partners, will help to accelerate the government’s recently announced National Innovation and Science Agenda – an impressive agenda that requires industry to support collaborative innovation initiatives. The aim of Innovation Central Sydney is to turn innovation into real commercial solutions based on IoT in agriculture, smart cities and transportation in Australia.”
Also present at the launch was NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, NSW Minister of Primary Industries, Land and Water, The Hon. Nial Blair MLC who both highlighted the high value of Innovation Central to the NSW economy.
According to Cisco’s CTO Kevin Bloch, operations at the Sydney are expected to begin in mid-2016.